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You’re Nuts: What was most puzzling about Ohio State’s loss to Michigan?

Your (almost) daily dose of good-natured, Ohio State banter.

Michigan v Ohio State Photo by Aaron J. Thornton/Getty Images

At least it was a beautiful day to be outside in late November in Columbus on Saturday! Other than that, if you’re an Ohio State fan there isn’t really anything positive to say about what happened inside Ohio Stadium between the Wolverines and Buckeyes. With the 45-23 loss to Michigan, Ohio State has not only now lost back-to-back games to the Wolverines for the first time since 1999 and 2000. The Michigan victory was their first in Columbus since 2000, and now Ohio State hasn’t beaten the Wolverines since 2019.

There was so many puzzling things that happened in Saturday’s game that Ohio State fans will be questioning for years. With a spot in the College Football Playoff hanging in the balance, the Buckeyes didn’t show up for the second half in their own building. While there is still a chance Ohio State could make the CFP if a few results fall their way this coming weekend, there’s no question that Ryan Day and everyone else involved with the Buckeye program has to take a long, hard look at what happened on Saturday, and how to make sure it doesn’t happen again.

Since the wounds from the loss to Michigan are still fresh, we figure it is a good time to find out what was most infuriating about what we saw on Saturday. What was the most surprising thing Ohio State did, or didn’t do, in the 45-23 loss?

Today’s question: What did you find most puzzling in Ohio State’s loss to Michigan on Saturday?

We’d love to hear your choices. Either respond to us on Twitter at @Landgrant33 or leave your choice in the comments.

Brett’s answer: Dallan Hayden only getting two carries

Not that I was expecting Hayden to be Beanie Wells and carry the football 39 times on Saturday, but Hayden only carried the football two times in the game. Does Ryan Day know that Hayden had two straight games where he ran for more than 100 yards, and was the best healthy running back on the Ohio State roster?

What makes Hayden only getting two carries in the game even more stupefying is Chip Trayanum got 14 carries in the game. The same Chip Trayanum that transferred to Ohio State to become a linebacker, and only had one carrying this season prior to Saturday’s game. I get that Trayanum had a couple of years of experience as a running back prior to coming to Ohio State. What I don’t get is why Ryan Day went away from a running back that was finding confidence after two really good games.

If Hayden was given the workload that Trayanum saw in Saturday’s game, is the result different? We’ll never know. I just figure that Hayden could have given the Buckeyes a better change of pace than Trayanum did. If Day didn’t want to give Hayden so many carries because he was a true freshman and he wasn’t confident that Hayden was ready for the moment, then what was all the work Hayden did the two weeks before Saturday’s game for?

Were there more egregious things from Saturday’s game that should be addressed? Definitely. This is just what stuck out the most for me since Hayden had been playing so well lately.

Meredith’s answer: Ohio State not capitalizing on early possessions

For me, the most disappointing thing of this disappointing game (besides Michigan planting their flag at the 50-yard line, blergh) was how Ohio State had a chance to put Michigan away early — but didn’t.

The Buckeyes started the game with a methodical, 12-play touchdown drive. The defense then held the Wolverines to a field goal. Ohio State added a field goal after the Buckeyes’ second drive stalled out at the Michigan 14-yard line.

What happened next is the challenge. The Ohio State defense forced three-and-outs on the next two Michigan drives. And Ohio State’s offense, which had been humming:

  • Turned the ball over on downs after an eight-play, 36-yard drive
  • Punted after a four-play, 21-yard drive

I’m not saying Ohio State had to score on every possession, but the idea of being up 24-3 in the second quarter would have shifted the mentality, especially since it felt like Ohio State was so in control on both sides of the ball even if those two drives didn’t lead to scores. Michigan was quick-strike Saturday, but the Buckeyes had the formula figured out early and let the Wolverines out-strategy and out-adjust them. Plus, even with a quick-strike attack, it’s hard to come back from a three-score deficit.

The Buckeyes scored another touchdown in the first half after two quick strikes from Michigan to maintain the halftime lead, but the offense seemed dead in the water by then. Remember how Ohio State’s second possession out of the break (the first resulting in a punt) ended up with a 1st-and-35 after two penalties?