Michigan Football: Winners and Losers from the Week 13 Game vs. Ohio State
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Despite a 21-point flurry of offense in the first half and a 122-yard rushing effort from Denard Robinson, the Michigan Wolverines could not overcome four turnovers and predictable second-half play calling in their 26-21 loss to the Ohio State Buckeyes on Saturday.
Michigan's BCS bowl hopes are gone, but the Wolverines will still be heading south to play in a prestigious postseason game on New Year's Day.
Before we look forward to who the Wolverines will be playing in their bowl game, let's examine who the biggest winners and losers were from Michigan's loss in Columbus.
Winner: Roy Roundtree
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Roy Roundtree had extra incentive to turn in a big performance against the Ohio State Buckeyes, seeing as he is from the state of Ohio, and the fifth-year senior wide receiver made one of the biggest plays of the game for the Michigan Wolverines.
Devin Gardner hit Roundtree along the sideline for a decent gain that turned into a 75-yard touchdown reception thanks to a breakdown in Ohio State's secondary and a great display of blocking by junior wideout Drew Dileo.
The Trotwood, Ohio product finished the game with three receptions for 92 yards and one touchdown, which led all of Michigan's receivers.
Only junior receiver Jeremy Gallon had more catches (six) than Roundtree.
Loser: Al Borges
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After piling up 21 points and over 200 yards of offense in the first half against the Ohio State Buckeyes, offensive coordinator Al Borges got away from what made the Michigan Wolverines nearly unstoppable.
Michigan's offense put on a show in the first two quarters by keeping Ohio Sate's defense with play-action passing, Devin Gardner's scrambling abilities and the threat of Denard Robinson breaking off a big run on any given play.
However, the play-calling became too predictable in the second half, and Borges often times kept Gardner on the sidelines, most notably in 3rd-and-short situations, while Robinson, Vincent Smith and Thomas Rawls continued to get stuffed at the line of scrimmage on attempted rushes time and time again.
The Wolverines only had two drives last longer than three plays after halftime, and one of those ended on an interception.
Al Borges Trending...Being a B1G coordinator is like being a TV sports host: If you're Trending, it's not going well.
— Bruce Feldman (@BFeldmanCBS) November 24, 2012
I've been a big supporter of Borges all season and still stand by my claims from earlier this year, but on Saturday afternoon in Columbus, the Wolverines were not put in a position to win the game as a result of stagnant play-calling, along with the misuse of Gardner and Robinson late in the contest.
Winner: Frank Clark
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The biggest winner on Saturday afternoon at the Horseshoe was sophomore defensive end Frank Clark, who made a number of big plays, including a completely devastating hit on Braxton Miller for a sack that knocked the Ohio State Buckeyes out of field-goal range in the second quarter.
Clark finished the game with four tackles, but had a much larger impact than his final statistics reflect.
Time after time, Clark pressured Miller and played a large role in making sure the sophomore quarterback could not get to the edges and burn the Michigan Wolverines with big plays in the rushing game.
If there was any debate about who should be Michigan's starting rush end, Clark put an end to it with his performance in The Game.
Loser: Michigan's Offensive Line
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The Michigan Wolverines looked stout along the offensive line in the first half, but were completely dominated in the second half by the Ohio State Buckeyes front four that played without first-team All-Big Ten defensive end John Simon all afternoon.
Denard Robinson found some holes to run through early on, and Devin Gardner managed to bail out Michigan's offensive line by scrambling out of trouble for much of the game even though the pass blocking was sub-par at best.
Michigan's offensive line surrendered four sacks, two of which resulted in fumbles, and gave up two other negative rushing plays.
The Wolverines only gained 68 total yards in the second half, and Michigan's inability to run the ball due to poor blocking by the offensive line cost the Maize and Blue a chance at a second straight victory over the Buckeyes.
Senior running back Vincent Smith and sophomore Thomas Rawls only managed to rush for a combined 14 yards on 10 carries.
Winner: Denard Robinson
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While many will be quick to say Denard Robinson could not have been a winner from The Game this weekend because of his fumble in the third quarter, the senior quarterback still had the play of the game for the Michigan Wolverines in the first half.
Robinson's 67-yard touchdown run put the Wolverines up 21-17 with only 40 seconds remaining in the second quarter, and the Deerfield Beach, Florida native had 124 rushing yards on six carries by halftime.
Unfortunately, as mentioned earlier in this slideshow, Al Borges did not manage the tandem of Robinson and Devin Gardner as well as he could have, which ultimately cost Michigan its chance to pick up a win in Columbus for the first time since 2000.
Robinson did all he could to help the Wolverines top the Ohio State Buckeyes for a second straight year, and the defense continued to give one of college football's most electrifying players chance after chance to break off one more dazzling run to win the game.
Every time, though, Borges chose to put Robinson on the field for 3rd-and-short situations without Gardner at quarterback, or even on the field, for that matter, and put Michigan's biggest star in predictable situations.
Borges' play-calling in the third and fourth quarter never gave Robinson a chance to do the same amount of damage he did to Ohio State's defense early on.
Loser: Michigan's BCS Bowl Hopes
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Any hopes and aspirations the Michigan Wolverines may have had about sneaking into a BCS bowl game for a second straight season were put to rest at Ohio Stadium by the Scarlet and Grey on Saturday.
The large number of SEC teams in the top 10 made it possible for the Wolverines to earn a BCS bowl berth if they were able to finish the regular season in the top 15, which would have been a possible with a win over the No. 4 Ohio State Buckeyes.
The 26-21 loss ended any argument the Wolverines would have had, so Michigan will be heading to the Capital One Bowl, Outback Bowl or the Gator Bowl depending on what happens in the Big Ten title game next weekend and how the various committees decide to handle the Northwestern Wildcats, who finished the season 9-3.
If the Wisconsin Badgers beat the Nebraska Cornhuskers in Indianapolis, the Wolverines will likely fall to the Outback Bowl, where they would be projected to face the South Carolina Gamecocks, or the Gator Bowl to take on the Mississippi State Bulldogs or Vanderbilt Commodores.
However, if the Cornhuskers win top Wisconsin, the Capital One Bowl will likely be placing a call to Michigan, not Northwestern.
The draw of Denard Robinson playing the final game of his college football career in the state of Florida, along with Michigan's massive fanbase, makes much more sense monetarily than picking Northwestern does.
Winner: Jake Ryan
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The future looks bright for the Michigan Wolverines defense if sophomore outside linebacker Jake Ryan continues to give opposing starters fits like he did in the 109th meeting between the Maize and Blue and the Ohio State Buckeyes.
Ryan was an intricate part of Michigan's game plan that helped limit big running plays by sophomore quarterback Braxton Miller, who finished the contest with 57 rushing yards on 20 carries.
The Westlake, Ohio product recorded nine tackles, including a sack and forced fumble early in the fourth quarter, which gave the Wolverines a chance to start a potential go-ahead drive at the Michigan 36-yard line.
Michigan's defense simply did not have an answer for Carlos Hyde running right up the gut time and time again, but Ryan made sure Miller did not win the game with his legs, which is exactly what the 6'3", 242-pounder was supposed to do.
The rest of Michigan's linebacking corps impressed as well. Sophomore outside linebacker Desmond Morgan led the Wolverines with 11 total tackles, and fifth-year senior Kenny Demens racked up nine tackles.