Jim Harbaugh says Ohio State hurt Michigan with a lot of ‘speed plays,’ and ‘we take responsibility’ for the 62-39 debacle, Nov. 24, 2018.
Nick Baumgardner, Freep
Free Press sports writer Nick Baumgardner looks at which Michigan football players or position groups helped and hurt their stock in Saturday’s 62-39 loss at Ohio State:
WR Nico Collins
Collins made two outstanding catches in the end zone for touchdowns Saturday, finishing with four receptions for 91 yards and two scores. Collins finishes the regular season with 552 yards and six touchdown catches. He has had a very productive sophomore season and appears to have himself set up for a breakout year as a junior in 2019.
WR Donovan Peoples-Jones
Peoples-Jones is in the same boat as Collins. He’s had a terrific sophomore season and the possibilities for his junior year seem very promising. He made seven catches for 64 yards on eight targets, the only one he didn’t haul in was a tough grab that was thrown low and behind him. He’s a better blocker, a route-runner and is more dependable. He’s on the right track.
More from Seidel: U-M, Harbaugh failed this season. Simple as that
K Jake Moody
Michigan might have a new field goal kicker as true freshman Jake Moody was 2-for-2 in Saturday’s game and is now 8-for-8 over the last two weeks. Quinn Nordin was in uniform and was actually on the field to attempt an onside kick late in the game. But Moody was the choice for the rest of the placekicking duties at Ohio State.
Jim Harbaugh’s coaching staff got worked Saturday in every possible way. The offensive game plan was far too careful. The defensive game plan was shredded and lit on fire. Michigan had players making execution errors on the field to be sure, but this was a poorly coached game all around. No one was innocent in this one. A complete meltdown.
U-M’s No. 1-ranked pass defense and Don Brown’s man-to-man coverage plan were both completely exposed by Ohio State’s speed and Dwayne Haskins’ arm Saturday. Any time Michigan showed man coverage, Ohio State either went with crosses over the middle or took a deep shot against a single-high safety. It worked far more than it didn’t. Michigan’s corners were grabbing. Linebackers were chasing. Safeties blew coverages. They had no shot.
Zero sacks. Zero quarterback hurries. Michigan’s once-vaunted defensive line ended the regular season with a whimper on Saturday at Ohio State, as Haskins was allowed to stand tall without much to worry about all game. U-M’s pass rush seemed to vanish last week against Indiana and it never really recovered. Perhaps health was an issue here, but either way: Nowhere near good enough on Saturday from a unit that had been great at times this season.
Contact Nick Baumgardner: firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @nickbaumgardner.