Despite a mistake-filled first half, Ohio State trails Michigan by only one at halftime, with the Wolverines leading 21-20.
The difference has been the dynamic play of Michigan’s offense. Denard Robinson’s hand injury prevents him from ably passing the ball, yet he has split time under center with Devin Gardner.
Robinson has carried only 6 times, but has gained 124 yards and a touchdown, including a 67-yarder that put Michigan ahead 21-17 late in the half.
Robinson now has the second most rushing yards in his career of any FBS quarterback, trailing only former West Virginia quarterback Pat White. His touchdown was also the 91st total score of his career, passing Chad Henne on Michigan’s all-time list.
Gardner has done well throwing, completing 6 of 11 for 107 yards and a touchdown, although 75 of that came on the Maize and Blue’s first touchdown, a scoring strike to Roy Roundtree.
The Buckeyes have been hampered by missed tackles, a turnover (a fumbled punt return that gave Michigan excellent field position), and six penalties costing them 49 yards.
On the plus side, the OSU offense has done pretty well, out-gaining the visitors 240 to 219. Braxton Miller is 11 of 13 for 156 yards and a touchdown, although he has negative 3 yards rushing on 9 attempts.
Carlos Hyde has been running downhill, picking up 66 yards on 11 attempts with a touchdown, while Corey Brown scored the other six-pointer with a 14-yard grab. Brown has 7 catches for 71 yards (and a 21-yard run), while Devin Smith has added 63 yards on a pair of grabs.
Defensively, the Buckeyes have three sacks, despite the absence of John Simon, who is not playing due to a knee injury. Freshman Adolphus Washington forced a fumble on his first quarter sack, while Zach Boren and Ryan Shazier also wrapped up Gardner on blitzes.
Drew Basil only had four made field goals coming into the game, but banged two through the uprights in the first half. His first was a season-high 41-yarder only to be passed by a 52-yarder as the second quarter expired.
Michigan is 7-0 this season when leading at half-time, something that the Buckeyes will have to overcome.