ANN ARBOR, Mich. (AP) — Ryan Day’s decisions on The Game could haunt him. Again. No. 3 Michigan beat No.…
ANN ARBOR, Mich. (AP) — Ryan Day’s decisions on The Game could haunt him.
No. 3 Michigan beat No. 2 Ohio State 30-24 on Saturday, making the most of backup coach Sherrone Moore’s aggressive calls and taking advantage of Day’s sometimes conservative approach.
On the Buckeyes’ second drive, Day failed to complete fourth-and-1 from his own 46 and punted in a scoreless game.
“We didn’t want to give them any momentum,” he said quietly.
Trailing 14-10 late in the first half of a game he absolutely had to win, Day allowed more than 30 seconds to elapse and settled for a 52-yard kick – which was missed – instead attempting to convert a fourth-and-2 from the Michigan 34 to potentially be in position for a go-ahead touchdown.
“I felt like it was the right thing to do,” he said when asked to share his arguments.
Day knows, more than anyone, that every choice he makes will be questioned as he leads one of college football’s perennial powers.
This is especially true after the coach in his fifth full season was arguably supplanted by an offensive coordinator with four games of experience as interim head coach in place of Jim Harbaugh, who was suspended by the Big Ten and his school for half of the regular season. .
If Day took a cautious approach in some critical moments, Moore did not.
Moore surprised the Buckeyes by putting backup quarterback Alex Orji in the game early in the third quarter and running him, resulting in a 20-yard gain.
“It was something we were willing to make as a change,” Moore said. “We always have different things, different wrinkles, to throw people off balance. It was something they really hadn’t seen all year, and it ended up working well.
Moore also fooled Ohio State early in the fourth quarter, calling a trap play that allowed running back Donovan Edwards to throw to Colston Loveland for a 34-yard gain.
“I’ve done about 500 plays, and this was one of them,” he said. “It came out at the right time.”
Both plays set up baskets, which proved to be the difference in the six-point game.
Moore credited the players for practicing well enough to gain the confidence to take calculated risks.
“I would be doing them a disservice if I tried to be conservative,” he said.
The Wolverines (12-0, 9-0 Big Ten, No. 3 CFP) will advance to the Big Ten championship game next Saturday night against No. 20 Iowa for a chance to advance to the College Football Playoffs for a third. consecutive year.
The Buckeyes (11-1, 8-1, No. 2 in the CFP) will have until next Sunday to find out if they will have the chance to clinch a place in the national semifinals, as they were last year last after losing to Michigan.
“The worst part is we have to sit back now and see how everything plays out,” said Ohio State quarterback Kyle McCord, whose two interceptions were the only turnovers during a post -noon clear and crisp. “It’s out of our control. I know last year we got a second chance at life in the playoffs.
“The worst part is that it’s beyond our control.”
Over the last two years, it seemed like Michigan was the tougher team against Ohio State. Day and the Buckeyes pushed back hard against those who questioned their stamina, but failed to prove it in the biggest game.
“No. Definitely not. I see guys who want to put on the $1,000 Louis V outfit, who want to act tough,” Michigan wide receiver Roman Wilson said. “I see the film. You’re not tough.
Former Ohio State running back Maurice Clarett took to social media to ask Ohio State athletic officials to find a new coach.
“Ryan Day…. I love you brother but I have to go, ” Clarett posted. “This is why you get paid millions.” I can’t get paid 9 hours and lose 3 times in a row.
The last time the Buckeyes lost three straight in the series was between 1995 and 1997, when John Cooper led the program and went 2-10-1 against Michigan in what was otherwise a Hall of Fame career. Former coach Urban Meyer went 7-0 against the rival Wolverines. Meyer’s predecessor, Jim Tressel, also went 7-0 as Ohio State won 15 of 16 combined games in the series, including Day’s first season.
Day is 56-7 over five-plus seasons at Ohio State, but his 1-3 mark against Michigan is the one that means the most to the program and its passionate fans.
“We are all disappointed,” he said. “We know what this game means to so many people and to fail is certainly crushing.”
Follow Larry Lage on https://twitter/larrylage
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