Ohio State's offense versus Michigan's defense in the 1st half. This is a little more geared to both what Ohio State did to attack Michigan and Michigan's coverage response to it as opposed to grading players.
This is probably easier to follow watching the game. Terminology is mine that if you have a question I'll be happy to expand upon anything in the comments. For example, "Mesh" is not traditional Air Raid Mesh, but two routes crossing in the box. I tried to keep terminology simple and self-explanatory, but that's not always easy.
Backfield Motion Formation R/P Play Gain
1 0-10 -43 Gun Wk Y Mo Slot Twins L Run IZ Arc 9
Slot (89) motions to boundary pre-snap and then comes back across the formation to “Arc” upon the first player he sees outside the DE. 21 blocks down and seals Hudson blitzing off the edge putting 89 on Metullus allowing Haskins to get outside with a lead blocker. Looks like Michigan running a simple scrape exchange with pressure, but Hudson doesn’t do his job and loses Haskins completely. Michigan running Over (to me, WS A Gap and SS B Gap with DTs) Cover 1. Without EZ film not always easy to determine DL techniques, but will do best I can.
2 2-1 +48 Gun Wk Slot Twins R Run IZ Split 2
OSU lines up fast and runs split zone where 89 now kicks out the DE opposite the direction of the zone play. Gary sheds the poor block by 89 and gets underneath to get in on tackle. Everyone else looks gap sound, Dobbins tries to cut back to B Gap where Kemp makes the tackle (along with Gary). Hudson is responsible for Haskins on Read look. Michigan running Over Cover 1, but tight shade by Nose and 4i Technique by Tackle.
3 1-10 +46 Gun Stg F Mo Pro Twins L Pass Shallow 16
Straight dropback pass. 21 motions across formation to boundary and then runs a Shallow route across the field. A simple play, but so well designed. Motion forces a change in matchup. The Shallow goes up the field a few yards before cutting across and actually uses the umpire as a pick. The RB crosses the formation to clear the non-blitzing LB from the field side. The single WR to the field runs off CB and blocks just after the catch. Michigan running Over Cover 1 with an End-Tackle stunt to both sides with Bush blitzing the A Gap. It is easily picked up.
4 1-10 +30 Penalty -5
5 1-15 +35 Gun T Leave TE Empty R Pass Mesh 11
Straight dropback pass. RB leaves the backfield to line up weak and runs the exact same Shallow route 21 ran the play before (upfield, in front of umpire). #2 WR Strong is fairly tight to box and runs a Curl at 10 yards over the box. TE runs a Crossing route and gets in between RB and Gil. Again the Field side is cleared out and it’s complete. The Front is a mess but looks like a Tite 3/5/7 to Field (4 to a side). Bush blitzes Field B Gap while 3 and 5 Techs work down 2 full gaps. OSU does a great job picking it all up. Cover 1 again.
6 2-4 +24 Gun Split F Box Slot R RPO IZ Split 0
IZ Split action by OL and TE, but Haskins is throwing Flare to 14 the whole way. Bad throw prevents what could be a pretty big play. WR at bottom of screen is trying to block Thomas (guy covering 14), but while he misses, does create some a lot of space if the ball is thrown well. Front is a mess (3-3-5 personnel), but DTs slant to TE side (and do a good job getting across 2 gaps) and a scrape exchange blitz to the open end--unsure if Winowich is correct here, possibly should be under TE and handling the RB (who might get yards if he gets the ball). Again Cover 1.
7 3-4 +24 Gun Stg Bunch R FiB Pass Mesh 24
Bunch formation is into the boundary. Same play, just run slightly differently. #1 WR runs the Shallow (again upfield 2-3 yards before coming across), single WR to Field runs the Crossing route. #2 runs vertical and #3 runs the Curl into the box at 10 yards. No real pick here as 17 simply has leverage on Watson and then outruns him to the EZ. Because the RB stays into block, Michigan has a low hole player in Hudson who Haskins does a great job of looking off. The field is cleared out again for the WR. Michigan has 2 3 Techs (NFL pass rush Front). Weakside slants down while Bush comes off the WS edge. RG locks onto Dwumfour a bit much, but the RB picks up Bush easily. The DTs are useless on this play.
8 0-10 -25 Gun Wk Unb Slot Quads R Pass 2 Verts 0
Play action pass with the slot and RB both blocking OSU’s left edge. It looks like 2 verticals with a Bubble by the covered #3 WR which gets blown up by Hill. Michigan looks like they struggle to line up to the unique formation, but OSU does nothing right on this play. The pass is actually illegal (no call) to a covered #3 WR and 89 holds Ross on the play. 3-3-5 with a slant to the field and Kinnel and Ross off the WS edge. Looks like 4 under 2 deep coverage by Michigan and the Verts were covered.
9 1-20 -15 Gun Wk Unb Slot Quads R Run IZ Split 2
Straight forward run here. The unique formation I think changes some Run Fit responsibilities forcing Kinnel to fit inside like an LB. He’s a bit slow to get there, but Dwumfour fights just enough, while getting blocked to the ground, forcing Weber to adjust/jump and preventing a straight line run through the middle. 2 3 Techs and Cover 1 by Michigan.
10 2-16 -19 Gun Wk Slot Trey L Pass Smash 0
Play action pass with the slot and RB blocking OSU’s right edge. Return route by #1 to the Strength and a very deep Corner route by #2. WS #1 runs 15-18 yard Stop route. Haskins telegraphs this one waiting for the Corner to open. It never does and falls incomplete. 2 3 Techs by Michigan and they try a longer developing ET pass stunt (I think it’s to both sides but Field DE doesn’t run it--possibly because he thinks he’s being read). The stunt gets nowhere. Coverage is unique. SS #1 is Man as well as the LBs on TE/RB. Looks like bracket coverage on 21 and WS #1.
11 3-16 -19 Gun Wk Deuce Pass Snag/Rail 0
Straight dropback. Snag concept to the 3 WR side (Snag/Corner/Flare) and what I call a Rail concept to the Field (#2 Fade). OSU is probably hoping to get Man to hit either #2 WR, but Michigan runs same coverage as last play. Bracket the #2 WRs and man everywhere else. Haskins steps and tries to hit RB on late wheel but incomplete. Watson gets away with a blatant hold on this play. Front is 2 3 Techs and this time the DTs fake rush and mirror the QB. As he steps up and to his left, Paye forces a throw. Good adjustment by defensive coaches.
12 0-10 -25 Gun Wk Slot Twins L Pass Flare 1
Quick flare to RB out of the backfield. OL is blocking pass so no screen look. Quick game route to boundary (Slide-Vert). Michigan disguises pre-snap and I believe confuses Haskins into making the flare throw into a Man look. OSU’s WRs try to block a man inside in order to get Watson to follow. However, it’s Cover 2ish to the Field. Watson jams #1 WR, sees throw, and makes tackle with Ross for a yard. Boundary slants by 5 and 3 Tech (with Hudson off edge) sees Gary clean, but ball is out before he can be a factor. Over Front with Man to boundary and Cover 2 look to Field.
13 2-9 -26 Gun Wk Slot Twins R Run IZ Split 8
OSU lines up quick again and runs IZ Split. Michigan isn’t finished lining up and RB takes it for an easy 8 yards straight through the PS B gap. There’s no LB on the boundary side at all. Bush sheds a block and makes the tackle at 8 yards. Dwumfour looks like he was held, but no call. However, a late after the play penalty costs OSU the down and 15 yards, effectively ending the drive. Not sure what the Front is supposed to be (maybe the 3 man look), but it’s definitely Cover 1 with a 5 man pressure.
14 3-16 -19 Gun Wk Z In Slot Trey L Pass Wk Flood 0
OSU motions the Z in (1) to create a Stack look to attack Man coverage. Michigan obliges. 1 runs an Over route deeper across the field trying to create separation from Long. He has a bit, but Haskins throws behind and Long gets the PBU. Front looks like 2 2 Techs (head up on guards) with a slant to the boundary and outside pressure from Hudson. Hudson gets chipped by the TE and Winowich gets chipped by the RB coming outside on a late Flare route. Interior DTs get little push giving Haskins time.
15 0-10 -20 Gun Wk Trey L Pass Mesh 0
Back to the mesh routes. This time Michigan is in some type of 2-High zone and play it poorly. Weber runs a straight Wheel route up the sideline and Gil is 3 steps behind him. Haskins just misses the throw or it’s a potential TD. Unsure of blame here. Are Gil and Hill supposed to switch this with an immediate In route by #1 WR? Gil thinks so and when he realizes Weber is open runs after him. Hill looks lost. Looks like C-2 everywhere else with boundary safety tracing the TE vertically. Over front with no interior pressure and edge players upfield.
16 2-10 -20 Gun Stg Deuce L Run FS Zone Rd 9
Haskins is reading Dwumfour here and it’s an easy 9 yards. Michigan is back in the bracket coverage. Man on the #1 and RB, bracket the 2s. Bush runs with the back and the 3 Tech headed straight up the field, it’s an easy read and keep. Hudson could make this play earlier but looks like he reads pass from the OT and turns his back to the box. Haskins goes 8 yards before he’s touched and slides. Michigan is in their 2 3 Tech front anticipating pass.
17 3-1 -29 Gun Wk Y Mo Slot Twins L Pass Boot Hide 5
Quick boot off the IZ Split/Arc action from earlier. 89 comes back across to the flat to be the only viable WR on the play. Motion allows #2 WR (14) to determine who to block as well as identify Man coverage. 14 blocks the correct guy, but Metullus makes a really good play to sniff out what’s happening which isn’t easy after all the mesh routes. If he takes 2 more steps inward, 89 might run forever. Over front becomes an Under on the motion.
18 1-10 -34 Gun Wk Slot Twins R Run IZ Split -1
OSU tries to go fast after getting the 1st down, but doesn’t work this time. Michigan doesn’t look perfectly aligned, but has bodies in the box. Gary gets pinned inside a bit and Weber takes it outside, but Kennel is there to make the play for the TFL. I would guess the bracket coverage again from Michigan.
19 2-11 -33 Gun Wk Trey L Pass Mesh Return 11
Same route concept as the missed Wheel earlier, but the shallow and cross now become return routes. Hill gets caught looking in backfield as ball is thrown to 83 who fights through Gil for the 1st down. Michigan is again in straight Cover 1. ET stunt again to both sides but Gary doesn’t run it leaving 2 guys too far outside to the field to be effective pass rushers. Bush runs straight into the center. Winovich not having success inside either.
20 1-10 -44 Gun Wk Slot Twins R Pass 3 Verts 0
OSU goes “Check w/me” to the sideline to identify the coverage. They run play action pass with 3 verticals down the field and the two Field verticals are open. Haskins misses the wide-open Field Fade. I’ve assumed Long was playing man on #1s with the bracket coverage before, but he clearly zone turns after about 10 yards as if it’s Cover 2. If it is Cover 2, then Kinnel isn’t deep enough. Both guys look at each other after the play (which we can safely say isn’t a good sign). OSU pulls the center on the protection look which holds an unblocked Winovich. Interior DL literally doesn’t move from LOS.
21 2-10 -44 Gun Z In Empty L Pass Mesh 28
OSU motions twice. First time to go to Empty identifying man coverage. Second time, to get to a Stack look to the boundary. Same Mesh concept as before. Michigan with a 4 to a side look that is perfectly picked up by the OSU OL. Winovich is also handled giving Haskins plenty of time. Again, the route technique by 14 is excellent going upfield, putting Watson on his heels, and then moving away from him. Route concept leaves no secondary support giving OSU their biggest gain of the day thus far.
22 1-10 +28 Gun Wk Slot Trey R Run IZ Split 4
Same split zone run as before. Winovich creates a big hole by running upfield and Metellus/Hudson seem confused on who has the TE and the RB. Could be a big gain, but Hudson tracks the RB keeping it to 4. Bush blitzes to the SS. Looks like 2 3 Techs again with stand up ends. Possible that OSU tends to go with a shot play after a big play which would explain the pass defense look on 1-10.
23 2-6 +24 Gun Wk Unb Slot Quads R Pass 2 Verts 24
The 1st play of the second drive of the game. This is what it was SUPPOSED to look like. Play action pass off a split zone look. #3 runs a bubble but he’s actually covered and ineligible (unsure if Michigan recognizes it). It looks like we are getting a bracket on the #2 WR leaving Watson on #1 WR. He doesn’t make the play. Coverage isn’t bad, but Watson can’t find the ball until it’s too late. There is some pressure on the play, but it’s a bit late from Winovich. Looks like an ET pass stunt (later developing) to the Field that is ineffective.
24 0-10 -21 Gun Wk Y Mo Unb Slot Trips R Run IZ Split 1
Michigan starts in their 3 Man front and looks a bit confused or a late call from sideline. Either way this should be a good play for OSU, but their RT somehow doesn’t block Ross in front of his face. Michigan essentially ends up with 3 guys playing Haskins on this play (which seems like overkill). Winovich gets inside to the B gap to slow the RB down and Ross is right there unblocked to make the play.
25 2-9 -22 Gun Stg Slot Trey R Pass Mesh 8
Condensed splits by the #2 and #3 WRs here. Mesh routes with the Wheel--just running out of a different look. Michigan blitzes Watson from the corner and Ross off the edge (DL slants down to the Field) and for the first time all day, Michigan gets home. Unsure if Ross should hit the B gap or not--looks like he’s finding the best path, but he and Watson end up outside the OT and Ross doesn’t make the play. Watson stumbling doesn’t help the cause either. Haskins immediately sees an open gap and runs for 8 before sliding. Michigan in a 4 under 2 deep zone. Meyer picks up a 15 yard penalty off the non-call on Haskins hit.
26 3-16 -15 Gun Wk Slot Trey R Pass 3 Verts 0 (15)
Straight dropback here. Michigan in their bracket coverage from play 10 above (Man on #1 SS, TE, and RB). Bracket #1 WS and slot WR. Slot WR converts his Vert to a Dig with the coverage, but I think Haskins is going to 17 the whole way here after looking off the safety. The ball is badly underthrown but Watson finally gets tagged with a hold/PI. TE chips Gary, interior DL goes nowhere. Winowich is 1-on-1, but can’t quite get there in time.
27 1-10 -30 Gun Wk Z Orbit Unb Trey R RPO IZ Read -5
Not sure the reason for this call. Michigan has run enough scrape exchange with Cover 1 to make this real tough. The orbit motion simply forces an exchange of responsibilities in the Michigan secondary. 3 Tech slants to A Gap. There are two guys off the edge (Gary and Bush) as 89 runs his RPO slide route. Haskins keeps and loses 5. Ohio State had run something like this before but worked to pin the LB with a WR (Play 1).
28 2-15 -25 Gun A Leave Quads R Screen Slip 33
OSU motions RB to SL to Quads formation. A simple Slip screen to 21 who again is being bracketed. Hudson comes off his man but can’t quite make the tackle at about 3 yards and Campbell now just makes a play. Terrible job by Long who loses contain making it a big play. DL does a poor job recognizing screen but works to get back in the play. Man coverage again with a bracket on Campbell.
29 1-10 +42 Gun Wk Slot Trey R Run IZ Split 4
OSU goes “Check w/me” and runs their base run play (at least for this game). Michigan run stunts the 3 and 5 techniques allowing Gary to get involved on the play. Winovich sheds a block as well. Ross pressures off WS edge. Dwumfour ends up in wrong gap for whatever reason. Michigan in Over Cover 1.
30 2-6 +38 Gun Wk F Box Slot L RPO IZ Split 3
Same play as first drive. An “RPO” that is going to 14 the whole way. This time Haskins completes it and OSU mostly gets what they want--a WR blocking Hill while Watson goes with him. While Hill doesn’t make the tackle he makes the play by slowing 14 down enough to let Watson get back in the picture. Michigan is in their 3 Man front bringing pressure with 2 and playing Cover 1.
31 3-3 +35 Gun Wk Slot Twins R Run IZ Split 4
Check w/me. Base run play gets the first down. DTs are in really tight 3 and shade techniques, but both end up in A gaps. Hudson blitzes off edge and Bush looks like he wants to pressure also which leaves the PS B Gap uncovered. Dobbins cuts back too soon, but finds the open PS B Gap late to get the first down. Paye makes the tackle. Cover 1.
32 1-10 +31 Gun Stg Slot Trey L Pass 3 Verts 31
Play action pass. One of the reasons it’s been tough to determine some of the bracket / 2 high coverage is that I’m not sure how well Michigan is running it. I’m pretty sure a guy isn’t supposed to be wide open by 15 yards in the end zone. Similar to the play 20 except this time Haskins boots to his left, sets and throws to 1 in the end zone. Clearly man coverage on the outside, but what is Kinnel doing? He’s probably supposed to trace the TE, but the TE blocks and that just leaves him looking in the backfield and then falling down. Hill looks like he’s playing true C-2 dropping off the hash a bit at the snap. Commentators said it was a blown coverage, but in reality it’s been blown most of the day. This is first time OSU gashed Michigan with it. No pressure on the QB at all. Paye gets stoned by a TE.
33 0-10 -25 Gun Stg F Jet Deuce L Run IZ/OZ? 9
40 seconds left in the half. Michigan is in their pass front (2 3 Techs). Man coverage with 2 deeper safeties, but they look very confused on the Jet motion by 14. It’s a simple run (I’d say IZ and they are just blocking it wider with the front, but could be OZ tracks). Winovich gets caught inside allowing RB to get out the gate, but Bush runs him down for a gain of 9.
34 2-1 -34 Gun Wk Trips L Pass Stick 0 (10)
Stick concept with the 3 WRs at the top. Haskins is looking at what I think is the Sluggo route to the bottom. Watson is all over 9 and gets the flag. Michigan is in Cover 1 with a low hole player as a safety. Dwumfour beats the guard and gets some pressure. Paye drops out and spies the QB. Gary destroys his OT also. Good pressure with what is essentially a 3 man rush.
35 1-10 -44 Gun Wk Trey L Pass Mesh 0
Same Mesh concept. Bracket coverage does a nice job. Man on the RB/TE/ and SS #1. They bracket the WS #1 (83) and slot WR (14). When 83 goes inside Watson drops off helping on Wheel by the RB and Kinnel runs with him. When 14 goes inside Hill zones off and Matellus chases him. Good coverage on Wheel by Bush and ET stunt gets Winovich free getting a hit on Haskins (first of day?)
36 2-10 -44 Gun Wk Slot Trey L Pass 3 Verts 0 (15)
3 Verts where 14 converts his Vert to a Dig with the bracket coverage. Same bracket coverage as before. This time OSU gets more protection by chipping Winovich with the RB and Gary with the TE. Absolutely no pressure on the QB. Haskins throws the Field Fade and draws the flag on Long. Tough call in my opinion.
37 1-10 +41 Penalty--12 men on the field
38 1-5 +36 Gun Stg Y Mo Slot Twins R Pass Mesh 33
Condensed set. Same mesh route with the Wheel out of the backfield. Bush just gets ever so slightly picked losing one step and this time Haskins hits the RB in stride for the big gain. Same 4 to a side blitz that is easily picked up by OSU. Gil I believe on the pressure. Cover 1.
39 1-G +3 TIMEOUT OSU--Michigan has 13 men on the field
40 1-G +3 Gun Stg Z In Pro Twins R Pass Flare 1
This is a Flare the entire way. Z (85) tries to block RB’s man (Bush), but can’t quite do it as Bush goes over the top as opposed to underneath. 6 man rush with 5 blockers leaves Dwumfour free but he only touches Haskins. Cover 0.
41 2-G +2 Gun Stg F Mo Pro Slot R Run Q Sweep 0
Martell in the game for QB run game. Sweep action to the outside but in trying to release upfield TE doesn’t take his guy with him (Furbush) who makes the tackle essentially unblocked for no gain. Otherwise, it’s a walk in TD. Great cut block on Bush by RB, although I do wonder if he was supposed to block Furbush. Cover 0.
42 3-G +2 Gun Wk Trips L Pass Stick Up 0
Stick concept with a return route by #2 and up route by #3 to the Field. Haskins is looking boundary the entire way. A short Fade Stop is caught by 9 but not in the end zone leading to a FG. Watson does a good job holding his ground forcing 9 to shorten his route.