J.J. McCarthy's 'Legacy Day' Celebrated by Twitter as No. 3 Michigan Stuns No. 2 OSU

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured Columnist IVNovember 26, 2022

Michigan quarterback J.J. McCarthy drops back to pass against Ohio State during the first half of an NCAA college football game on Saturday, Nov. 26, 2022, in Columbus, Ohio. (AP Photo/Jay LaPrete)
AP Photo/Jay LaPrete

The balance of power in the Big Ten East once again resides in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Third-ranked Michigan defeated No. 2 Ohio State 45-23 in Columbus, Ohio, on Saturday.

Coming out of the pandemic-shortened 2020 season, Jim Harbaugh looked like a lame duck. Now, the Wolverines head coach has two straight victories over Ohio State and might have his team in the College Football Playoff for the second successive season.

Harbaugh also outclassed counterpart Ryan Day, utilizing a new plan of attack to pick apart the OSU defense. Michigan adopted a ground-and-pound approach in 2021, finishing with 297 rushing yards. That wasn't an option Saturday with running back Blake Corum suiting up but clearly limited by his knee injury. Instead, it was quarterback J.J. McCarthy's time to shine.

Tony Garcia @RealTonyGarcia

A legacy day for J.J. McCarthy.<br><br>The sophomore pounds the ball in from three yards out on third-and-goal. Caps a 15-play, 80-yard drive that took 7:51 off the clock. Wolverines have the Buckeyes on the ropes.<br><br>Michigan 31, Ohio State 20. 13:10 to play.

Braylon Edwards @OfficialBraylon

This is the <a href="https://twitter.com/jjmccarthy09?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@jjmccarthy09</a> we were promised!!! <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/letsgo?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#letsgo</a>

RC Maxfield @RCMB323

A star is being born today in Columbus and his name is J.J. McCarthy

Tom VanHaaren @TomVH

That drive for Michigan took 7 minutes 51 seconds off the clock. <br><br>JJ McCarthy is now the first player with three passing TDs and one rushing TD against Ohio State since Tajh Boyd did it in 2014 per <a href="https://twitter.com/ESPNStatsInfo?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@ESPNStatsInfo</a>

Matt Hinton @MattRHinton

right now is why JJ McCarthy &gt; Cade McNamara was always a foregone conclusion

Tony Paul @TonyPaul1984

JJ McCarthy, all of 19 years old, had to have known coming into this game that it’d be pretty much all on him to beat Ohio State, with no running game. What an epic performance.

Tony Jones @Tjonesonthenba

JJ McCarthy being mid all season just to turn into Joe Namath when it really counts. I respect it

The sophomore finished 12-of-24 for 263 yards and three touchdowns and added 27 yards and one score on the ground. He routinely found success with deep throws, identifying a weakness within the Buckeyes secondary.

Bleacher Report @BleacherReport

CORNELIUS JOHNSON CANNOT BE STOPPED 💨<br><br>(via <a href="https://twitter.com/CFBONFOX?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@CFBONFOX</a>)<a href="https://t.co/wVgrqI86Dp">pic.twitter.com/wVgrqI86Dp</a>

FOX College Football @CFBONFOX

ANOTHER BIG PLAY FOR THE TOUCHDOWN! 🔥 😤 <a href="https://twitter.com/UMichFootball?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@UMichFootball</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/colstonlovelan1?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@colstonlovelan1</a> x <a href="https://twitter.com/jjmccarthy09?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@jjmccarthy09</a> <a href="https://t.co/N5nlJ7ejbz">pic.twitter.com/N5nlJ7ejbz</a>

CBS Sports @CBSSports

JJ McCarthy's top three longest passing touchdowns of the season have ALL come today against Ohio State: <br>• 75 YDS<br>• 69 YDS<br>• 45 YDS <a href="https://t.co/ONu4K2AuYW">pic.twitter.com/ONu4K2AuYW</a>

JP Acosta @acosta32_jp

This game might end in the same result for Michigan, but how they got there is really cool. JJ McCarthy is having an awesome game <a href="https://t.co/9ScmMYFBui">https://t.co/9ScmMYFBui</a>

Chris Mack @THEChrisMack

Credit to JJ McCarthy. I didn’t think he’d be able to outplay CJ Stroud if it came down to a QB vs. QB battle, but in the big play department he’s owned this game.

Whatever happens from here, McCarthy wrote his name into program lore with this performance.

McCarthy's influence waned as the game entered its final stages, with Donovan Edwards taking over. Edwards' touchdown runs of 75 and 85 yards in the fourth quarter were an exclamation point on an emphatic result.

It was easy to chalk up Ohio State's loss to Michigan in 2021 as a bit of a one-off and reflective of issues with last year's team. Now, the momentum in this rivalry has clearly shifted back to the Wolverines, and the Buckeyes are the ones with glaring structural flaws.

This version of McCarthy was sorely lacking in Michigan's one-sided semifinal defeat to Georgia a season ago. Assuming Harbaugh's squad captures the Big Ten crown, the outcome could be different if it gets another crack at the Bulldogs.