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Sunday, November 25, 2012
3 Up, 3 Down: Ohio State 26, Michigan 21

By Michael Rothstein

Devin Gardner
Devin Gardner and the offense was shut out in the second half against the Buckeyes.
COLUMBUS, Ohio -- The Wolverines saw a lot of same old, same old on the road Saturday in a 26-21 loss to undefeated archrival Ohio State.

Good defensive play, individual standouts and some major questions on offense. Now with a month until a New Year’s Day bowl wraps up this season, the Wolverines have a lot to think about and work on for the future.

Here are three big positives and negatives for Michigan out of its regular season finale.

THREE UP

1.Michigan’s linebackers

The Wolverines once again showed strength in the middle of their defense despite the Michigan offense putting them in bad position after bad position. Desmond Morgan had 11 tackles, Jake Ryan forced two fumbles, had a sack and added nine tackles, and Kenny Demens also had nine tackles. Ryan and Morgan return next season and could be the best unit in the Big Ten.

2. Will Campbell

For almost four full seasons, Campbell always played with lofty expectations and little production. Now, with his career winding down to his final two games, Campbell had the most productive game of his career. He assisted on 10 tackles against Ohio State, including a half-tackle for loss. The 10 stops doubled his career high in tackles. After the game, he credited teammate Quinton Washington as a big reason he was so productive.

 3. Roy Roundtree

The fifth-year senior had another touchdown Saturday and caught three passes for 92 yards -- continuing his late-career flourish with Devin Gardner as his quarterback. Roundtree moved past Jason Avant and Marquise Walker to move into seventh in career receiving yards for the Wolverines with 2,277. He’ll have a chance to move into the top four with 41 yards in Michigan’s bowl game.

THREE DOWN

1.Michigan’s offense

All season long, Michigan lived on the verge of predictability with its offense when Denard Robinson was its quarterback. Then, in the biggest game of the season, with Robinson available to play anywhere from quarterback to running back to wide receiver, the Wolverines fell into a predictable offensive shell. When Robinson was in, he was almost exclusively a quarterback and exclusively ran the ball or handed off. When Gardner was in the game, Michigan more than likely passed the ball. Ohio State understood the tendency and shut the Wolverines down. A week after one of his best games called at Michigan, Al Borges had one of his worst.

2.Michigan’s running backs

With the regular season completed, none of the Wolverines running backs showed any sort of progress this season. Fitzgerald Toussaint is out for the season. Vincent Smith had 12 yards rushing and the current running back of the future for the Wolverines, sophomore Thomas Rawls, had 2 yards on five carries. Its best running back, Robinson, had 122 yards Saturday, but mostly from the quarterback position.

3.Michigan’s upper hand on Ohio State

The winning streak for the Wolverines against Ohio State ended at one game. They still haven’t beaten the Buckeyes in Columbus since 2000. And considering Braxton Miller is around for at least one more season and Ohio State has been recruiting as well as Michigan, the Buckeyes might once again be grabbing the upper hand in the series.