Buckeye Leaves: Michigan

It always takes some standout performances to win The Game, and that's what Ohio State got Saturday in its two-touchdown win vs. Michigan. We pick our favorites in this week's edition of Buckeye Leaves.

Ohio State made it 12 wins in 14 tries vs. Michigan, producing a number of standout performers. Who were our players of the game, though? BSB gives out our Buckeye Leaves.

Kane Anderson: This is probably the hardest game to choose a Buckeye Leaf for. In the end, I’m going with Ezekiel Elliott. The sophomore had a pretty fantastic showing for his first start in The Game. It was no 2013 Carlos Hyde, but Elliott had the rushing game chugging along quite efficiently against a Michigan defense that specializes against the opposition's run game. Obviously the touchdown on fourth-and-1 will be his main highlight, but he was picking up good chunks of yardage before that and kept the clock rolling in the second half.

Ryan Ginn: My Buckeye Leaf goes to redshirt freshman quarterback J.T. Barrett, who kept Ohio State in the game before seeing his season end with a devastating ankle injury. The Texan completed 13 of 21 passes for 176 yards and one touchdown and also rushed 15 times for 89 yards and two touchdowns. His play has been invaluable this season, and Ohio State will desperately miss him. His 25-yard touchdown run that tied the game at the end of the first half was one of the biggest plays I’ve seen him make this season, and there’s no shortage of those to choose from. He earned these gold pants.

Matthew Hager: It was not his best game of the season, but it was likely his last. J.T. Barrett completed 13 of 21 passes for 176 yards and rushed for 89 more. He also had a hand in three touchdowns, two rushing and one passing. Barrett had a great redshirt freshman season, and with this being it for him this season he'll go out with one final Buckeye Leaf from me.

Marcus Hartman: A few good options today, but I’m going to go with Darron Lee. Even before his game-clinching fumble return for a touchdown, he was having a nice day for the Buckeyes. The linebacker ended up with nine tackles, including a sack and two tackles for loss. He also got a hit on the quarterback to round out his day.

Jeff Svoboda: After making nine tackles, two tackles for loss, a sack, a quarterback hurry and a fumble return for a touchdown, I'm going to go with Darron Lee. The central Ohio native has made it clear he understands the rivalry already and had one of his best games, especially as Michigan did a good job blocking OSU's other two linebackers in the run game. Lee frequently swooped in to make the inital hit on Michigan rushes and took part in some of the biggest plays of the game, including his 33-yard fumble return TD that finished off Michigan once and for all.

Blake Williams:A hat-tip to J.T. Barrett and the performance he delivered before his unfortunate injury, but I am going with Ohio State’s other main offensive weapon, Ezekiel Elliott. The sophomore running back became the offense after Barrett went out and the coaching staff put the ball in his hands on the most important play of the game. Facing fourth down and with just a one-score lead, Ohio State gave Elliott the ball and a 44-yard burst later the game was in hand. Elliott was effective before that play, averaging 4.8 yards on his other 16 carries. All in all, 121 yards and two touchdowns is a pretty good day at the office, especially in The Game.

Who do you think should be so honored? Let us know in the Ask The Insiders forum.


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