Wolverines are known to maul deceased animals for food in the wild.
When it came to Michigan’s defense Saturday, the only mauling done was by Ohio State junior running back J.K. Dobbins and the Ohio State rushing attack.
Dobbins finished with career highs in yards with 211 and touchdowns with four, catalyzing a 56-27 Ohio State victory against its archrival.
“I know he was sick to his stomach about the fumble [against Penn State], and he wore that on his sleeve all week,” Ohio State head coach Ryan Day said. “He just had a look in his eye today. He was not gonna be denied.”
Day said another position group with that same look in their eyes was the offensive line, which helped the Buckeyes rack up 264 team rushing yards against the nation’s No. 13 rush defense. It also kept Michigan’s pass rush at bay with only one sack by the Wolverines.
Redshirt senior guard Jonah Jackson said the offensive line having such motivation is par for the course.
“Every game, we come in with a look in our eyes, dominate, be fierce, be nasty,” Jackson said. “This game is extra special because you prepared so long for it. Once we threw the pads on, once we were out there, it was time to get right.”
Ohio State’s first drive showed Dobbins would serve as the base of its offense Saturday.
The Texas product gained 79 yards during the 75-yard scoring drive, as a sack on sophomore quarterback Justin Fields gave four extra yards for him to pick up.
On his first carry, Dobbins fumbled the ball in the open field but it bounced back into his arms, and he capitalized with a 34-yard run.
The Buckeyes faced third-and-14 later in the drive, but Fields found Dobbins leaking from the backfield on an angle route for a 28-yard catch-and-run.
Dobbins polished off the drive with a 5-yard touchdown plunge.
Later in the first half, when Michigan climbed to back within a point, Dobbins took a third-and-4 handoff around the right side and weaved his way six yards into the end zone to extend the Ohio State lead once again to 21-13.
Dobbins dusted off his first half with 17 carries for 103 yards and three touchdowns.
“It was great. Big rivalry game. Without my O-line, I couldn’t do it,” Dobbins said. “I just want to keep going, keep getting better.”
Rushing lanes opened to Dobbins’ legs continued from the jump of the second half. He dashed 41 yards on a counter the first play for Ohio State, then set up another Buckeye touchdown with a 21-yard reception. Ohio State extended its lead to 35-16.
Capping Dobbins’ performance was another long run off the right side of his line, bouncing outside and hitting the jets for a 33-yard scoring dash, the final score by either team Saturday.
Dobbins is garnering some Heisman Trophy conversation alongside Fields and junior defensive end Chase Young for Ohio State. Day endorsed all three candidates.
“All three of them deserve to be in New York, and I’ll let everybody make the decision on who they think,” Day said. “Justin Fields, the way he played today was unbelievable. The way J.K. ran, and how talented and dominant Chase Young is.”
Even with the award considerations — Dobbins was also named a Doak Walker Award finalist for the nation’s best running back — the workhorse said he still has a lot to prove.
“I’m not satisfied,” Dobbins said. “I’m not even close to being satisfied.”