CFN Analysis - Ohio State 26, Michigan 21
Posted Nov 24, 2012

The CFN analysis of Ohio State's win over that team up North.

E-mail Pete Fiutak
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- It's already starting. There's already chirping from Buckeye fans about wanting the AP national championship. Just enjoy being 12-0. Enjoy beating Michigan. Enjoy the excitement of what this program could potentially do over the next several years under Urban Meyer. But that's it. 2012 Ohio State isn't the national champion and it isn't even the Big Ten champion.

- Blame the NCAA. Ohio State did the crime, but college football loses by not getting to see the Buckeyes play for the Big Ten title or the BCS championship. The NCAA should fine programs up the wazoo or take away a ton of scholarships, but the pretend punishment of bowl and conference ineligibility hurts the teams that want to prove they're the best.

- No, do NOT compare this Ohio State team to the 2002 version. That team was loaded with NFL talent. This is a team full of grinders, and helped by a quarterback who needs to be given far, far more credit and attention.

- Why isn't Braxton Miller front and center for the Heisman? 14-of-18, 189 yards, one touchdown, 57 rushing yards – there isn't a more valuable player in college football. Ohio State isn't 12-0 without him.

- Michigan still has a problem on defense, getting powered on when push comes to shove. Ohio State was simply more physical up front when it needed the hard yards, and Carlos Hyde got the job done with 146 yards and a score on 26 carries.

- However, the Wolverines did a decent job of holding the Buckeyes to a few field goals after some key turnovers. The game could've gotten out of hand, but Michigan came up with some key third down stops.

- Michigan could never get control of the game because the running game didn't work. Denard Robinson had one nice 67-yard run early, but that was about it, finishing with 55 yards on the other nine carries. The Buckeyes did a nice job of stringing plays out and not letting Robinson or Devin Gardner get into the open.

- The Buckeye defensive front did its job without John Simon, who was out with a knee injury. Gardner was never able to get comfortable, and it showed as he had to rush his throws just enough to be off.

- Hoke vs. Meyer. These two guys get it. Rivalry on.

Richard Cirminiello

As good as advertised. This was vintage Michigan-Ohio State, one of the epic rivalries in all of American sports.

Brilliant job of making halftime adjustments by the Buckeyes defensive staff. After giving up a few big plays in the first half, Ohio State didn't allow Michigan to get beyond midfield, let alone score a point.

That said, the Wolverines coaches did nearly as good of a job of containing Denard Robinson in the final 30 minutes than the Buckeyes did. No. 16 was vastly underutilized in the second half.

Denard might be the only player in college football history whose draft grade is actually improving after an injury. Scouts have had a chance to visualize how he'll be used on Sunday now that his career as a strict quarterback is about to end.

Ohio State RB Carlos Hyde has a future in the NFL. Good inside power and just enough giddy-up to get outside the tackles from time to time.

Urban Meyer led Ohio State to just its sixth undefeated season ever despite not having the motivation of the postseason at his disposal. Then again, he also didn't face the pressure of playing for a spot in the BCS National Championship Game. Still very impressive under the circumstances.

Devin Gardner still has a ton to learn about being a successful all-around quarterback in the Big Ten. He made a ton of costly mistakes throughout the afternoon, which ought to be worked on between now and the bowl game.

By Matt Zemek
E-mail Matt Zemek

As Ohio State celebrates a 12-0 season in Urban Meyer's first year as the head coach of the Buckeyes, consider just one play from Saturday's win over Michigan, one play that should not be allowed to get lost in the shuffle. Midway through the third quarter, with Ohio State leading by a 23-21 score, this game turned in ways that casual fans and detached observers might not have grasped at the time.

Michigan receiver Jeremy Gallon hauled in a 30-yard pass from Devin Gardner and had a path to the end zone at his own 44. However, in a play reminiscent of the 1981 NFC Championship Game between the Dallas Cowboys and the San Francisco 49ers, Ohio State's Bradley Roby somehow managed to tackle Gallon from behind. Much as San Francisco's Eric Wright barely tackled Dallas receiver Tony Hill on a deep-intermediate pass from Danny White, Roby's play saved his team from what would have been a devastating blow.

Here's how the parallel between the '81 NFC title game and Michigan-Ohio State 2012 deepens, however: One play after Eric Wright's tackle on Jan. 10, 1982, Dallas fumbled to seal the win for San Francisco. Similarly, one play after Roby's tackle, Michigan quarterback Denard Robinson fumbled.

The Wolverines – hamstrung by inefficient passing, poor play selection from offensive coordinator Al Borges, and Ohio State's resolute defense – never threatened to score for the remainder of the game.

Any perfect regular season in college football requires an iconically defining play at some point. Brad Roby's tackle of Jeremy Gallon became that magic moment for Urban's Unbeatens, the ballsy Buckeyes of 2012.

By Phil Harrison
Follow me @PhilHarrisonCFN

Meyer one, Hoke zero. Twelve games up for OSU, and twelve games in the win-column. And with that, Urban Meyer's first season at Ohio State can only be considered a huge-success. Many will tell you that this Ohio State team can't hang with Alabama, Oregon, Notre Dame, Kansas State and the other top dogs this year, and they may all be right. But at the end of the day, Urban Meyer came into Columbus, took a team that doesn't have the talent of past Ohio State teams, and had them answer every-single challenge.

While there might not be a whole lot to play for this year (chaos at the top pending with the AP vote), the framework has been set that Ohio State is on its way back to perhaps being a monster in the Big Ten. After all, if Meyer can do what he's done with THIS team, what's to be said once he gets all of his recruits in the fold and things really get cooking?

You'd certainly be wise to not project greatness just yet, but things are looking up with Ohio State garnering only its sixth undefeated season of all-time. If that doesn't speak volumes of what has been accomplished by Meyer and the coaching staff, what does?

Now we'll all wait to see what happens the rest of the way in the college football landscape. Ohio State is done with its ballgames for 2012, and sure it would take a plague amongst the top for the AP to give any kind of championship notice to the Buckeyes, but there is still that possibility. If Notre Dame loses tonight, and if others falter along the way, we might be looking at some bizarre history. Again, highly unlikely, but still not as far-fetched as it once sounded.

And what a disappointing season for Michigan. It all started with the public-flogging in the Jerry Jones dome against Alabama, and it ended with no division or league-championship, and no win over its ultimate arch-rival. You have to also wonder about the immediate future of the program?

Denard Robinson is graduating, so it'll likely be Devin Gardner's team next year. And while he showed flashes of brilliance, we'll all have to wait and see what comes of the metamorphosis in the offensive-scheme and ultimate direction for the Michigan program. Hoke is hauling in the recruits, so there will be plenty of groceries to cook with, but is he a great chef or not? Time will tell.

On to more drama today and through the coming weeks. Chaos or no chaos--we shall see.

By Bart Doan
Follow me @Bart_cfn

Ohio State is undefeated. Let that sink in a bit, because the shake up in college football has just begun. There will be a chance for the AP to make a real statement about the agenda driven sport with their votes, but for today, to the victors go the spoils, and once again The Game goes to Columbus.

This had all the makings of a classic. And it nothing else, this rivalry is ‘back,' and you can insert any sort of hyperbole you want. There's Michigan-Ohio State, and there's everything else.

It felt a little off tilt, Rich Rodriguez, Luke Fickell, the last few years. Clearly, the Ten Year War is as close to being back as it's going to get. Urban Meyer and Brady Hoke's teams made this feel like the rivalry of yore. Michigan came in a decided underdog. OSU came in unbeaten. In the end, it was probably a bit of coaching that did in the Wolverines.

Early in the second half, you felt the arc of the emotion turn a bit. Michigan had a fourth and two at midfield, up one on the first drive of the half, and wasted a timeout. The thought process? After crashing Thomas Rawls into the line for no gain, eschew the punt and go for the fourth. With Ohio State all day dominating the ball through the O-gap, again, Al Borges ran Denard Robinson this time into the teeth of the defense and he was stoned.

A field goal later, Michigan would never see the lead again. All day, Borges called confusing plays. Sure, Denard Robinson is electric, but why wasn't he given the ball out in space? Once OSU adjusted and crept those safeties up near the line of scrimmage in the second half, Denard under center was a wasted call.

Yet consistently, even when the passes were working, Denard's playbook was predictable until it was too late.

Meanwhile, Meyer's team, minus John Simon, destroyed Michigan's offensive line the way the only other two elite teams they played did...Alabama and Notre Dame. Folks, Ohio State has depth and can play in the trenches. Michigan lost to the top three teams in the country, none at home. That's the narrative on their season.

The narrative on Ohio State's isn't finished, though they are. No, it wasn't a work of art, and if you'd have told Meyer that his team would muster only two field goals in spite of nearly 30 plays in Michigan territory in the second half, he probably would have asked for a Buckeye Martini at halftime.

Yet defense wins games in this rivalry and in this conference. So does running the ball. Ohio State did that. Michigan played a bit over their heads at times. Surely, if nothing else, The Game is back.