By RICKY LINDSAY, Editor-in-Chief
If there was any steel left in Michigan’s spine, Ezekiel Elliott broke it.
One week after a dreadful performance — 12 carries, 33 yards, one touchdown — Elliott bounced back in a major way. He demolished the Wolverines’ defense, rushing for 214 yards and two touchdowns in No. 8 Ohio State’s 42-13 victory.
Elliott moved past Eddie George (1992-1995) on Ohio State’s all-time rushing list with his performance.
“He should be in New York. He’s one of the best players in America, he should be a Heisman (nominee),” Ohio State head coach Urban Meyer said. “He’s as good a player as I’ve ever been around.”
No. 8 Ohio State improves to 11-1 (7-1) while No. 10 Michigan drops to 9-3 (6-2).
Michigan’s 29-point loss was the second worst home loss in The Game since World War II, according to Jon Morosi of FOX Sports.
Both teams couldn’t get much going early in the first quarter, but a roughing the kicker penalty on an Ohio State punt shifted momentum its way. Two plays after the call, Elliott busted out a 66-yard run to set Ohio State up for a J.T. Barrett keeper and the game’s first points.
The duo gave first-year head coach Jim Harbaugh’s Michigan squad fits with an up-tempo and option offense.
Barrett finished 9-for-15 passing for 113 yards and a touchdown, also rushing for 139 yards and three scores.
“When you have a dual-threat quarterback like J.T. Barrett, it adds that extra element when they run the zone read and they run the option,” Chris Wormley said. “It’s not just looking at the running back as a threat to run the ball, you’re looking at a quarterback that can run the ball too.”
While Ohio State made 369 rushing yards look easy, Michigan limped to 57 yards. The Wolverines’ leading rusher was two-way star Jabrill Peppers, who totaled 29 yards on seven carries.
“What Jabrill Peppers does for that team is just phenomenal, him being able to play both ways,” Elliott said. “Whenever he touches the ball, you kind of hold your breath.”
With the lack of running game, Jake Rudock shouldered Michigan’s offense. The fifth-year senior went 19-for-32 passing for 263 yards and one touchdown but was knocked out by former St. Thomas Aquinas (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.) teammate Joey Bosa early in the fourth quarter. Harbaugh said that Rudock injured his left shoulder but did not know the “specifics.”
Jehu Chesson shined with Rudock at quarterback, catching six passes for 96 yards and a touchdown. Amara Darboh had 60 yards on three catches and Jake Butt had 50 yards on four catches.