Head coach Ryan Day took the brunt of the criticism on social media Saturday after the previously undefeated No. 2 Ohio State Buckeyes fell 45-23 to the still-undefeated No. 3 Michigan Wolverines in the 118th edition of The Game.
OSU was favored to win at home at Ohio Stadium in Columbus, especially with Michigan's superstar running back Blake Corum being severely limited by a knee injury, but Jim Harbaugh and the Wolverines pulled off the upset, beating Ohio State for a second consecutive year.
The Buckeyes had won 17 of their previous 20 meetings with Michigan entering Saturday's game, but by virtue of their victory, the Wolverines have won back-to-back contests against OSU for the first time since 1999 and 2000.
Most of Michigan's offensive success this season has come on the back of Corum and the running game, but with Corum ailing, Harbaugh allowed quarterback J.J. McCarthy to air the ball out to great effect.
All three of McCarthy's touchdown passes were from at least 45 yards out, marking a true rarity for both the Michigan offense and Ohio State defense:
Day made adjustments, but that allowed Michigan to gash OSU on the ground in the second half, including touchdowns of 75 and 85 yards by Donovan Edwards in the fourth quarter to put the game out of reach.
Fans and experts questioned Day's decision-making not only in terms of defensive alignment, but also offensive play-calling, as star quarterback C.J. Stroud was not permitted to take the game into his own hands for the most part.
Stroud finished with 349 passing yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions, but Day was committed to running the ball with third-string running back and converted linebacker Chip Trayanum, which limited the explosiveness of the offense.
Many wondered why Stroud and star wide receiver Marvin Harrison Jr. weren't simply allowed to take over the game, which they have proved capable of on many occasions:
Day was also crushed for twice deciding to punt on fourth down around midfield with the Buckeyes trailing 24-20. Even Stroud expressed his displeasure, per Pat Forde of Sports Illustrated:
Ari Wasserman @AriWasserman
A team feels the temperament of the coach. When Ohio State punted on that fourth down, Ryan Day showed weakness and trepidation despite having the better football team and home field. That stuff is contagious and now Michigan is on the doorstep of scoring on the following drive.
Even with Saturday's loss, Day has gone a remarkable 45-5 in parts of five seasons as the head coach at OSU, but the Buckeyes have not won a national title during that time and may have played their way out of this season's College Football Playoff.
Because of that, many were calling for Day's job on Twitter:
Firing Day after suffering the first loss of the season in late November may seem like an overreaction, but even Day himself stressed the importance of beating Michigan before the game.
When asked this week if he made four changes to his coaching staff during the offseason due to last season's loss to Michigan, Day strongly suggested that was the case, telling reporters: "We're evaluated by the big games. That's the way it goes here, and certainly we know what comes with it."
Day has won some big games at Ohio State, but he has perhaps lost just as many, including a CFP National Championship Game and two contests against fierce rival Michigan.
Michigan clinched its spot in the Big Ten Championship Game and likely the CFP regardless of the result, whereas Ohio State must wait and hope for losses by TCU and perhaps even LSU and USC to have a chance to play for a national title.
It remains possible that the CFP committee has seen enough to put Ohio State in the CFP even with a home loss to Michigan, but it would be the definition of backing into the playoff.