Football

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Jim Harbaugh brought his hands to hips, an empty stare glued to his face.

If he had looked forward, he would’ve seen Ohio State running back J.K. Dobbins leaping into the end zone, sparking pandemonium from the sea of red behind him.

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As the seconds continued to churn off the second-half clock Saturday, a sea of red began to funnel down the rows of Michigan Stadium. Chants of O-H-I-O from the traveling fan base rained down, and the locals filed for the exits.

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Shea Patterson took the snap at Ohio State’s 16 early in the second quarter, hoping to convert third down and potentially bring Michigan within two points.

But he dropped the ball, and a Buckeye fell on it. You’ve seen that before.

What happened next should be familiar, too.

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On Jim Harbaugh’s fifth try, on Michigan’s eighth since it last won this matchup and on a day that, for a moment, seemed to have all the ingredients, it wasn’t enough. Not nearly enough.

Ohio State defensive end Chase Young set a single-season school record for sacks.

Chase Young beat his blocker easily, grabbed the back of Sean Clifford’s jersey and sacked the Penn State quarterback deep in the Nittany Lions’ own territory.

Defensive coordinator Don Brown called junior defensive end Kwity Paye the best spread run defender he's ever seen.

When the shirts arrived, nobody on Michigan had any use for them.

Shea Patterson started thinking about this year's Ohio State game when Michigan lost to the Buckeyes last year.

He was then asked if he had what it would mean to win on Saturday. And for the briefest of moments, before affirming his focus was just on the next day’s practice, Patterson peeled back the curtain.

“I have,” he said. “I have.”

Junior wide receiver Nico Collins will be a pivotal part of Michigan's gameplan against Ohio State..

Even in a game that will feature future NFL talent up and down the field, Collins’ skillset will stick out. Ohio State will likely line up cornerback Jeff Okudah on Collins for the majority of the game, who, for all his merits, will be at a three-to-four inch size disadvantage. Collins, coming off a monstrous six-catch, 165-yard, three-touchdown outing against Indiana will be out for more in the most important game of his career to date.

Presented by The Michigan Daily’s sports section, a rotating cast of writers discusses Michigan sports.

Just days before The Game, senior sports editor Ben Katz speaks with football beat writers, Aria Gerson, Max Marcovitch and Ethan Sears, about the latest Michigan-Ohio State football showdown.

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Just when all looked depleted, when the only source of intrigue for the Ohio State game was going to be the margin of defeat, Michigan lifted a moribund season from its already-constructed grave. In the process, it instilled just a kernel of that pesky, pesky thing called hope.