ANN ARBOR, Mich. – Ohio State has turned what's known as The Game into its Game, making one of the greatest rivalries in sports a one-sided series with little suspense.
Chasing a national championship, not simply beating the Wolverines, is how the Buckeyes measure a successful season.
And under first-year coach Ryan Day, they have put themselves in a position to potentially win it all for the second time since the 2014 season and third time this century.
J.K. Dobbins ran for four touchdowns and Justin Fields threw four TD passes, providing plenty of firepower for No. 2 Ohio State to rout No. 10 Michigan 56-27 Saturday for a school-record eighth straight win in the series.
“It feels great just to continue the legacy of this great Ohio State tradition,” defensive end Chase Young said. “We're just going to try to keep it moving and keep it rolling next week.”
The Buckeyes (12-0, 9-0 Big Ten, No. 1 CFP) will head to the Big Ten championship game to face No. 13 Wisconsin on Saturday with a spot in the College Football Playoff in sight.
Fields will likely use the limited time to rest and test out braces to protect his left knee that was injured for a second straight week.
He went down in the third quarter and gingerly walked off the field to get evaluated in a tent behind Ohio State's sideline. He came back after a few plays and on the next snap, scrambled and threw a 30-yard touchdown pass to Garrett Wilson.
“It was a magical moment,” Day said. “I thought it was a Heisman moment.”
Fields has thrown 37 touchdown passes with only one interception and scored 10 more times rushing.
The sophomore said he aggravated a strained ligament, forcing him to use a bulky brace after starting the game with a smaller one, but didn't consider sitting out.
“I wanted to show the team I was tough,” he said.
Bishop Luers graduate Austin Mack had three receptions for 39 yards and a score in the game.
The Wolverines (9-3, 6-3, No. 13 CFP) will have to settle for a second- or third-tier bowl game after coach Jim Harbaugh fell to 0-5 in the rivalry, and the program lost to Ohio State for the 15th time in 16 years.
“It's just kind of the same thing every year,” Michigan tight end Sean McKeon said. “It gets old, but you've just got to play better against them.
Harbaugh was asked if the difference between the teams was talent, preparation or coaching?
“I'll answer your questions, but not your insults,” Harbaugh said to a reporter.
Michigan got off to a strong start, driving 75 yards on the opening drive and scoring on Giles Jackson's 22-yard run.
The Wolverines followed that with the first of too many mistakes that doomed their chances of pulling off an upset as a heavy underdog. Quinn Nordin missed the extra point and less than a few minutes later, the Buckeyes took the lead for good.
Patterson was 18 of 43 for 305 yards with an interception late in the game. He completed 14 of 19 in the first half for 250 yards before the Buckeyes slowed down the one-dimensional offense.