ANN ARBOR, Mich. — Late in the third quarter against Michigan, Ohio State quarterback Justin Fields had a teammate pushed into his knee, causing it to buckle and reaggravating a sprained MCL he suffered against Penn State.
Fields walked off the field on his own power, went to the medical tent, put on a bigger knee brace than he was already wearing and returned to the field. In his first play after the injury, Fields threw a 30-yard touchdown pass to the back of the end zone to freshman wide receiver Garrett Wilson to put Ohio State up 42-16.
That was one example of the fantastic performance Fields put on in Ohio State’s 56-27 win over rival Michigan.
“I thought it was a magical moment,” coach Ryan Day said. “I thought it was a Heisman moment, for him to go down, take that injury, puts the brace on, comes back out and makes a throw that we didn’t design that way. There were some plays that we design that played out just the way we thought they would today, but that was not one of them.”
Day went on to commend his quarterback for ad-libbing and making a play.
“That’s about as good of a throw I’ve seen in a long time,” Day said. “He put it right in the back of the end zone and that just goes to show what’s inside of him. His heart, his character and his competitive toughness is as good as I’ve ever been around.”
Fields started the game only completing three of his first nine pass attempts for 43 yards, but finished the game 14-of-25, throwing for 302 yards and four touchdowns with no interceptions. Those four touchdowns moved him to second all-time at Ohio State in touchdowns thrown in one season with 37, behind the 50 touchdowns Dwayne Haskins threw last season.
He moved into third for most touchdowns thrown in a single season for Big Ten quarterbacks, behind Haskins and Drew Brees (39).
Fields’ performance Saturday against Michigan helped give the Buckeyes the second most points allowed by the Wolverines under Jim Harbaugh, second only to the 62 points Ohio State scored last season.
Fields didn’t do it all on his own, however, as running back J.K. Dobbins rushed for 211 yards and four touchdowns on 31 attempts and the Ohio State defense shut down Michigan’s offense in the second half, holding quarterback Shea Patterson to 4-of-24 passing in the third and fourth quarter.
It was a full team effort, but Day emphasized the fortitude from his quarterback that ultimately helped push this team to its eighth straight win against Michigan and gave Day his first as the Ohio State head coach.
“You talk about tough, wow. I’ve never been around a tougher quarterback than (Fields),” Day said. “He’s competitively tough, he’s physically tough and then to come in and make that play like that (in the third quarter). That was one of the best throws I’ve seen in a long time.
“In that spot after taking that hit, after just putting a brace on, I don’t even know what to say. It was a magical moment and I’m just proud to have been a part of it.”