COLUMBUS, Ohio -- The ass-kicking of the home team on its hallowed ground Saturday at Ohio Stadium was so complete Michigan running back Donovan Edwards had options. At the end of a thrashing of his team's biggest rival not seen in Columbus for almost 30 years, the Wolverines' sophomore was asked what it was like to see nothing but daylight on his long touchdown runs in a rivalry that has been typically decided by inches, not yards.
"Which one?" Edwards asked.
Which one, indeed. In the final 7:11 of No. 3 Michigan's epic 45-23 win over No. 2 Ohio State, Edwards broke away for touchdown runs of 75 and 85 yards. Altogether, Edwards ran for 174 of his career-high 216 yards in the fourth quarter.
That was the point where it all changed for both sides. The downtrodden Wolverines now own back-to-back wins over their hated rival for the first time in 22 years. They're the ones on the rocket ride to a College Football Playoff spot. They're the ones able to talk all kinds of junk.
"I was going to start taunting, but I stayed down," wide receiver Cornelius Johnson said after a pair of long touchdown catches that left a shredded Buckeye secondary literally grasping for air.
"Who wouldn't want to be the villain?" said Michigan linebacker Michael Barrett, who was practically dancing off the field.
Meanwhile, it's hard to believe the C.J. Stroud era will pass without the Heisman Trophy favorite going into Saturday not winning so much as the Big Ten East as Ohio State's starter.
Buckeyes coach Ryan Day has lost two Big Ten games in his four-year career. Both of them have been to Jim Harbaugh in the last 12 months.
"It feels great to sing '[Hail To The] Victors' in Columbus," said Harbaugh with so much relish all the statement needed was a hot dog to go with it. "Our team really earned it in every way."
Not much made sense for either side, but Michigan made the most of its opportunity to beat Ohio State in consecutive games for the first time since 1999-2000. The Michigan team that couldn't run it (9 yards in the first half) suddenly crammed it down the Buckeyes' throats (243 yards in the second half).
The team without the Heisman frontrunner (Stroud) saw its five-star quarterback (J.J. McCarthy) break out with three long touchdown passes. The team that -- as recent as a year ago -- couldn't beat Ohio State to save its life with eight straight series losses now owns its most hated rival.
Who's your daddy, Buckeyes? A year ago, Harbaugh couldn't beat Ohio State to save his life. Nine months ago, Harbaugh was interviewing for the Minnesota Vikings job on National Signing Day and frankly didn't care what happened next.
On Saturday, his Wolverines were planting their flag on the Ohio Stadium 50-yard line as the coach made another statement.
"Honestly, I don't even know how to feel right now," Stroud said after what is likely is final game at The Horseshoe. "It just happened so fast."
When whatever it is Stroud is feeling wears off, he will realize Michigan just played looser. Both teams went into the game shorthanded. Ohio State was missing leading RB TreVeyon Henderson. Michigan's Heisman candidate, RB Blake Corum, lasted one series before what looked like a lingering knee issue knocked him out.
Harbaugh, McCarthy and company adjusted. The game was reset when McCarthy threw a simple out pattern to wide receiver Cornelius Johnson that turned into a 69-yard touchdown pass to tie the game at 10. Ohio State defensive back Cameron Brown missed a do-or-die tackle. That became a theme for the Buckeyes secondary.
One series later, McCarthy spotted Johnson so open downfield that he had time to mail him a 75-yard scoring pass. This time, safety Cameron Martinez was victimized by a double move. That is not Michigan football. It came into the game with one completion all season of more than 60 yards, none of more than 70 yards.
At one point, Michigan had run 19 plays and scored 17 points. "We emptied the playbook in many ways," Harbaugh said.
Yeah, you did Jimbo. A 15-play, 80-yard scoring drive in the second half was kept alive when converted linebacker Kalel Mullings completed a 15-yard flea flicker pass on third-and-1. Mullings had come into the game with 20 career tackles and (obviously) no career passes.
And then there was Edwards playing with a cast on his right hand. The injury caused him to miss last week's game against Illinois. There wasn't much choice for Edwards when Corum couldn't go.
"There was not a lot of pain, or he was that tough of a guy," Harbaugh said.
"It was like pipes bursting," McCarthy said of the running game. "We're putting the pressure on. We're putting the pressure on. We're putting it on. Eventually, it's going to burst."
By the end of a transitional day in this rivalry, the Big Ten and the national landscape, it was absolutely fitting to assess this rivalry going forward.
Michigan's 45 points were the most it has scored against Ohio State since 1946. The 22-point margin of victory was also the Wolverines' largest over the Buckeyes since that game.
Ohio State's chances of advancing to the playoff took a near-fatal hit because Michigan was able to pivot and they did not. At the end of the day,. A program that never dropped below No. 3 in any of the rankings all season was physically and strategically beaten.
"This is not the outcome we all envisioned," Day said dryly.
Ohio State might still have the better program overall and in future seasons. All those top-tier recruiting classes. All those draft picks (66-47 over Michigan since Harbaugh arrived in 2015). All those playoff appearances. All those wins over Michigan. There have been two national championships since 2002.
But ask a Buckeyes supporter what any of that meant Saturday.
Michigan is suddenly 12-0 for the first time since 1997, the last time it won a national championship. The last time something like this happened in Columbus, John Cooper -- the last coach to lose consecutive games to Michigan -- was fired.
No one is saying that's going to happen. But there will be a reckoning at Ohio State. Two years is too many for Ohio State to go without beating Michigan, which itself was too much on Saturday.
"We were just waiting for it to come out. We knew what it was," McCarthy said. "It was just great it came out at this time."