Ohio State-Michigan is a matchup in which one big play is like two or three in any other. The reverberations of a standout Buckeye performance in The Game are felt for years to come, and The Lantern picked five that are still running through our minds years later:
5. Wide receiver David Boston, 1998
In his tenure as Ohio State head coach, John Cooper went 2-10-1 against the Wolverines.
However, one of the two times Cooper managed to slay the Wolverines came on the back of wide receiver David Boston.
Boston had 10 receptions for 207 yards with two touchdowns in Ohio State’s 31-16 victory against Michigan in 1998. Not only did Ohio State go on to tie Michigan and Wisconsin for a share of the Big Ten title, but it also went on to defeat Texas A&M in the Sugar Bowl to cap off an 11-1 season.
Boston’s 207 yards are the most receiving yards recorded by any Buckeye receiver against Michigan in the 121-year rivalry.
4. Running back Carlos Hyde, 2013
Ohio State boasts a stable of legendary running backs –– Archie Griffin, Eddie George and Ezekiel Elliott to name a few –– but Carlos Hyde ran for more yards than any of them against Michigan.
Hyde carried the ball 27 times for 226 yards and a touchdown in Ohio State’s 42-41 victory against Michigan in 2013.
Hyde’s workhorse load was instrumental in propelling the Buckeyes forward to stay undefeated. Hyde’s performance wore down the defense en route to a 526-yard offensive onslaught.
In addition, Hyde’s lone score gave the Buckeyes a 7-point lead with the game winding down. With the Buckeyes up 42-41, an interception by Tyvis Powell sealed the deal for the Buckeyes.
3. Quarterback Troy Smith, 2004
An argument could be made that quarterback Troy Smith’s performance in 2006’s “Game of the Century” deserves a place on this list –– but he was already the Heisman front-runner.
In 2004, no one expected it when Smith lifted unranked Ohio State over No. 7 Michigan in just his fifth career start.
Against Michigan, Smith was the entire Buckeye offense. Of the 446 total offensive yards Ohio State totaled that day, Smith was responsible for 386 of them. Not only did he pass for a then-career-high 241 yards and two touchdowns, Smith also led the team in rushing, gaining 145 yards on 18 carries for another touchdown.
The dominant effort plus an upset over Michigan is enough to give the spot to 2004 Troy Smith.
2. Linebacker Chris Spielman, 1986
This is the lone entry on this list in which the Buckeyes actually lost a matchup with the Wolverines. In a top 10 showdown between No. 6 Michigan and No. 7 Ohio State, the Wolverines came back from a 14-6 deficit at halftime to win 26-24.
However, despite the team’s loss, Chris Spielman’s performance was so dominant that it still claimed him a spot on the list.
Spielman tied the single-game tackling record set by linebacker Tom Cousineau back in 1978 with 29 total tackles. Nineteen were assisted and 10 were solo tackles. No other player for the Buckeyes had more than five solo tackles that day.
Spielman finished his career at Ohio State third overall in tackles with 546.
1. Quarterback Dwayne Haskins, 2018
It was supposed to be a revenge tour for Michigan in 2018, but Ohio State’s Dwayne Haskins made Columbus a rough stop for the Wolverines.
Sixty-two points is the most an Ohio State team has ever put up against Michigan in regulation, and much of that has to do with the Buckeye quarterback.
Haskins put on a clinic, eviscerating the No. 1 pass defense in the country to complete 20 of 31 passes for 396 yards and six touchdowns –– both of which set new highs for Buckeyes in The Game.
The performance was part of a 54-touchdown year for Haskins that vaulted him to New York as a Heisman Trophy finalist and eventual first round NFL Draft pick.