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Ohio State ‘Devastated’ After Losing Against Michigan Again

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For Michigan and Ohio State, the outcome of The Game frequently determines the course of the entire campaign.

The Buckeyes and the Wolverines square off against one another in what is positioned as the most important game of the entire season due to their intense rivalry. Both wins and losses are important, and following Michigan’s 30-24 victory, coach Ryan Day and the Buckeyes have now dropped three straight to the Wolverines.

Since 1995–1997, Michigan has not triumphed over the Buckeyes in three straight games.

“We know what this game means to so many people, and so to come up short is certainly crushing,” Day said after the game. “Not only because you invest your whole year in it, at Ohio State, what this game means and so, there’s a locker room in there that’s devastated. It wasn’t a lack of effort, but again, we didn’t win the rushing yards, we didn’t win the turnover battle, so you’re not going to win this game.”

Day is now 1-3 against Michigan, and this time, coach Jim Harbaugh, who is serving a three-game suspension, was at home watching the game. For the fourth time this season, offensive coordinator Sherrone Moore served as the acting head coach and defeated Day and the Buckeyes at Michigan Stadium.

Jim Knowles, the defensive coordinator for Ohio State, focused on strengthening the defense overall in the lead-up to this game, hoping to limit the explosive plays that hurt them against the Wolverines in 2022. The Wolverines never gave up, even though the defense only allowed one play over 30 yards, down from five plays over 40 yards in 2022.

“Not enough. Ultimately, you got to win this game,” Knowles said. “I certainly feel like we were a play short. So, that’s something that I got to keep working on.”

Before the game, Ohio State’s defense had only allowed three rushing touchdowns all season, but running back Blake Corum scored two of them on the ground. During the third quarter, Michigan led 24–17 thanks to a 22-yard run. Michigan gained 156 yards on the ground for the game after being limited to less than 40 rush yards in the first half.

Ohio State’s pivotal moment occurred during Michigan’s last drive of the fourth quarter. During a seven-minute drive that used up enough time to almost seal the victory, the Buckeyes allowed 42 rushing yards.

“I don’t know ultimately what the final numbers were, but I feel like when you go into this game, you got to win with rushing yards and it didn’t happen,” Day said. “They had more than we did and that’s a big part of controlling the game. Certainly has to do with the last couple of drives. And then also the turnover battle, I’d like to say it’s more than that, but I’m not sure it is.”

Kyle McCord, the quarterback, made two costly interceptions offensively. After the first goal, the Wolverines scored, and the game was won with the second.

“It hurts, that’s really the only word for it,” McCord said. “To work that hard for that opportunity and just to come up a few plays short hurts. There’s no way around that, so it’s a tough one.”

The Buckeyes’ immediate prospects included participating in the Big Ten title game and possibly earning a spot in the College Football Playoffs. Their hopes of winning the conference championship are gone because Michigan will now play Iowa. Still, there is very little chance of making the playoffs. Despite losing to Michigan in the previous season, Ohio State managed to finish in the top four. Though it remains possible, Ohio State has no control over the outcome due to the loss.

Day responded that his attention has been too focused on getting ready for this final regular season game to consider the playoffs.

“We have a very good team. We came up short today and it’s devastating but I believe in our players,” Day said. “I think we have a veteran team, I think we have a team that is solid in all three phases. I’d have to see what else is out there. Honestly, I’ve just been so focused on this game, I appreciate the question, I just don’t have a great answer for you right now.”

In the long run, though, Day will now have to respond to inquiries regarding the program and its potential to defeat Michigan. Even though they finished the season 11-1, this rivalry will make the loss hurt. Day is 55-4 overall against teams other than Michigan, but just 1-3 against the Wolverines. Moving forward, Ohio State will concentrate on those four games as it attempts to recover from its third consecutive defeat to the Wolverines.

“The biggest thing is that games like this come down to one or two plays,” McCord said. “And you prepare all offseason and prepare all year long and your season really comes down to a handful of plays, whether you make them or you don’t. And I think that just goes to show the margin of error, especially in games like this, are so slim.”

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