Buckeyes and Wolverines Battle in 42-41 OSU Win

Written November 30th, 2013 by Eric
Braxton Miller accounted for four touchdowns against the Wolverines, including 3 on the ground.

Braxton Miller accounted for five touchdowns against the Wolverines, including 3 on the ground.

The Buckeyes and Wolverines met for their annual rivalry tilt in The Game today in Ann Arbor, Michigan. In a game that was a severe departure from the historical battles in this series, the Bucks and Wolverines fought to a 42-41 game that ended with an OSU victory and their 24th straight. Braxton Miller ended the game throwing 6/15 passes for 133 yards, 2 touchdowns and an interception, while running for 153 yards and 3 touchdowns on 16 carries. His counterpart, Devin Gardner, threw 32/45 for 451 yards and 4 touchdowns, while running 9 carries for 10 yards and a touchdown.

Carlos Hyde had another history-making day today. His 226 yards and a touchdown on 27 carries counts as the most yards against Michigan of any back in Ohio State history – which puts him above some very prestigious company. This also made for the first time OSU had a pair of 100 yard rushers against Michigan since 1967. On a day with little to no passing for the Buckeyes, Jeff Heuerman led all receivers with 2 catches for 59 yards and a touchdown. De’Veon Smith led Michigan in yards gained on the ground with 57 on 7 carries, while Jeremy Gallon picked up 175 yards and a touchdown on 9 receptions.

This year’s version of the game started with the ball in the hands of the good guys. Things looked good for OSU running the ball with Carlos Hyde up the middle, and the offense was able to work itself into Michigan territory. Unfortunately, a pass thrown behind the receiver, and a sack on first down, helped to stymie the drive. With the Buckeyes punting, it was the first opening drive that Ohio State had failed to score on all season – a quick reminder to throw out the season records when these two teams meet.

Michigan came back with a vengance. Pinned on their own one yard line, it required only 2 plays to put them inside two yards of scoring. Receiver Jeremey Gallon, on second and long, took the screen on the left side, and had enough blockers to find an opening. He was only barely tripped up shy of the endzone by Bradley Roby. On the fourth play of the drive, Devin Gardner ran the option keeper into the endzone for the first points of the game.

Things were looking a little dicey for the Bucks offensively. Miller was struggling to find his targets in the passing game, even though the Buckeyes weren’t throwing much. Carlos Hyde was having little difficulty gaining yardage, but Miller’s running was being reasonably well defended. On another 3rd and long from near mid-field, Miller again went to the long pass. Devin Smith found himself a couple steps ahead of his two defenders, and hauled in the long pass that was a hair overthrown. He managed to maintain his balance enough to fall into the endzone to finally put the Bucks on the board.

Michigan nearly answered on the kickoff. The return man put the ball within yards of the endzone, but a fortuitous holding call brought the football back to the Michigan 30 yard line. The Wolverine’s offense, after looking atrocious for so many weeks, was having no trouble moving the ball against the Buckeyes. Before long, they were again in scoring position inside the ten yard line. It required only another two plays for Toussaint to get the ball to the edge and hit the goalline untouched from five yards out.

It didn’t take long for the Buckeyes to answer in a big way. Keeping the ball on the ground, Carlos Hyde powered ahead for about 5 yards a carry to advance the offense. But it was a quarterback keeper that made the difference. From 53 yards out, Braxton Miller navigating through the defensive line and found himself alone in the second level. A quick move evaded a safety and he was off to the races to score again, needing only a little stiff-arm to get him the last couple yards into the endzone.

The game was quickly turning into a shootout – not the kind of OSU/Michigan game you grew up with to be sure. Michigan scored again on an excellent pass over the head of CJ Barnett for a 17 yard touchdown to Jeremy Gallon. The defense simply had no answer for what Al Borges wanted to do (yes, you read that right) up to that point, and it was starting to put a strain on the Buckeyes.

A bit of embarrassing fisticuffs intruded on the game in the first half.

A bit of embarrassing fisticuffs intruded on the game in the first half.

Following the kickoff, Dontre Wilson was surrounded by Michigan players after he had been brought down. What ensued should cause the officials to be ashamed of themselves. The entire field erupted in a brawl that we haven’t seen in this game since David Boston and Charles Woodson went to town on each other. In the end, Dontre Wilson and Maurcus Hall were both ejected, along with Mario Ojemudia from Michigan. Delano Hall of Michigan (#44) also should have been ejected, having thrown the punch that set Wilson off, but he escaped punishment in the scrum.

Following the fight, the Buckeyes were again stopped on offense, putting them down seven with the apparently unstoppable Michigan offense taking the field. Surprisingly, the Buckeye defense finally stood tall and slowed the Wolverine attack, eventually picking up a pass-break-up from Bradley Roby that probably should have been picked off. Unfortunately, Ohio State could do nothing with the football on the ensuing drive, despite a huge 15 yard unsportsmanlike conduct penalty on Frank Clark to give OSU a first down after failing to convert on third and short.

With only minutes left in the half, the Buckeye offense went to work again after another defensive stop. The Bucks finally began to play smart football on offense, blocking well for Carlos Hyde, and hitting the short passes over the middle against the soft Michigan coverage. It was exactly the kind of change the offense needed to get themselves moving against the Wolverine defense. Braxton Miller continued to try to pass the football, but was finding it difficult against Michigan’s coverage. Finally, on 2nd and 10, Miller was forced to scramble to buy time. Eventually, he signaled to adjust the receivers, and then took off for the endzone, eventually scoring on the 21 yard scramble.

Both teams began the half with a three and out. Things got unbuttoned for Michigan first on their second possession of the period. A nice pass on second and long got the momentum in their favor that they were able to convert into a steady drive. On third and long, Devin Gardner took the ball up the middle on a draw play. At the end, a Buckeye defender slid into the football and knocked it free. It was ruled a fumble on the field, and later confirmed by review – though the replay appeared to be less than conclusive.

The Buckeye offense quickly took advantage of the reversal of fortune. A couple big runs from Braxton Miller and Carlos Hyde put the ball inside the five yard line. After Hyde was stuffed on first down, Miller ran a quick read option, keeping the ball and hitting the left corner of the endzone. He was basically untouched going in, earning the Buckeyes their first lead of the football game.

Banking on the success gained in the previous drive, Michigan continued to move the ball with confidence. They were soon able to put the ball in scoring position, but found themselves facing a third and short from outside the 10 yard line. A Buckeye blitz forced Gardner to toss a bad pass to Funchess, who was not looking for the throw. Michigan initially planned to go for the field goal, but decided wisely to go for it on fourth down. Wisely, because their field goal kicker was not active for this game, and had been replaced by the punter – who missed a kick moments after the timeout was called. On fourth down, Gardner had no open options, and skipped the pass off the turf.

Carlos Hyde continued to have his huge running day. Two carries were all it took Hyde to get the ball to mid-field. That was followed by another big run from Miller. A short run from Jordan Hall, trailed by a another first down run from Hyde, put the Bucks in great scoring position. Running play action, Miller found Heuerman wide open over the middle of the field for the 22 yard score.

After being held scoreless for the entirity of the third quarter, Devin Gardner managed to work the Wolverines in for the score. Fighting every step of the way against the OSU defense, Gardner took what the defense was giving him. A couple short passes here, and a handful of decent runs, got their offense into scoring position. On the ten yard line, Gardner was forced to escape pressure, which allowed him to find Dileo in the endzone for six.

The Wolverines got a huge break going the other way. The Buckeyes focused on running the football to kill clock and move down the field. Unfortunately, on the second play of the drive, Carlos Hyde tried to do too much. He got propped up as he fought for yardage, and the football popped out. Michigan was able to recover the ball on the OSU side of the 50, putting them in great field position down a single score.

That mistake would cost the Buckeye defense another touchdown. It required 13 plays for Michigan to get the ball into the endzone, including five inside the five yard line, but Gardner was able to find Butt on third down to knot the game at 35 a piece. It wasn’t to last, though, as the Buckeyes quickly drove down the field to score, banking entirely on the running game with Miller, Hyde, and Corey Brown who got in on a little end-around. Carlos Hyde finally punched the ball into the endzone from one yard out, leaving two minutes on the clock.

Gardner dinked and dunked themselves down the field with very little time left on the clock. The OSU defense was easily giving them 10 yards per play in the passing game. That allowed Michigan to get down to near the OSU 30 yard line with a minute left on the clock. On first down, the Buckeyes brought the blitz and succeeded in bringing Gardner down on the sack, forcing the Sun and Blue to take a timeout. Toussaint worked the Wolverines down to inside the five yard line. On the next play, Gardner found Funchess for the Touchdown. With the opportunity to either tie or take the lead, Brady Hoke chose to go for two with thirty seconds left on the clock. Gardner looked right to find Dileo in the endzone and tossed a pass.

And Tyvis Powell jumped the route for the interception.

Michigan still had an opportunity to collect an onside kick, but Bradley Roby caught the kick and covered it up, functionally ending Michigan’s hopes for a win.

Considering the game was an 11 point spread, and considering how poorly Michigan had played in the latter half of the year, that Michigan made this such a close fought battle is very impressive. If you ever needed more evidence that this rivalry is still alive and well, that game was it. Even when a team is having a down season, they can still make this game something memorable.

The Buckeyes will next face the Michigan State Spartans for all the marbles in the B1G Championship Game in Indianapolis, Indiana. You’ll be able to see that game on FOX at 8:00 PM Eastern Time.

15 Comments

  1. JeffNo Gravatar
    November 30th, 2013 at 3:59 pm

    I am sorry..But they failed even in a win. This was a battle, one that even though they won, they lost. Good job carlos!

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  2. RonNo Gravatar
    November 30th, 2013 at 4:14 pm

    Defense, I’m very angry with you. However, BCS voters will be equally unimpressed, regardless of next week’s performance with MSU.

    Let’s all forget this silly talk about national championships and such. Focus on the B1G championship and a Rose Bowl berth. I’ll be very happy if those goals are realized.

    Pretty good job on offense. Would’ve liked to see how they planned to sprinkle Dontre into the game, but, “Oh Well”.

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  3. Bill VanceNo Gravatar
    November 30th, 2013 at 6:00 pm

    I was in the stadium for the 1969game and I can tell the naysayers that I have an infinitely better feeling today. 24 in a row..undefeated..Still in the conversation.

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    EricNo Gravatar
    November 30th, 2013 at 6:34 pm

    Good thoughts Bill. The only stat that matters is the W.

    That means double verses Michigan. I think some of the OSU fanbase has either forgotten it, or never learned the lesson.

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  4. markbuckiNo Gravatar
    November 30th, 2013 at 6:55 pm

    The only game other than the Cal game I have been disappointed in the defense. i know they are young, growing and learning.. but I don’t see how this defense can cope with an upper echalon team especially with such a weak secondary. Roby is in for a rude awakening when he hits the NFL.
    I love my Buckeyes and what UM has done to rejuvinate the program but this defense (secondary) is not ready for prime time.
    I have faith that the Bucks will finish undefeated after playing MSU and the Rose Bowl… teams they are on a par with.
    Go Bucks!!

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  5. RonNo Gravatar
    November 30th, 2013 at 7:45 pm

    Wow! Both Alabama and Ohio State upset on the same day! Of course, we’re upset about different things.

    I’m grateful for a victory, at any margin.

    [Reply]

  6. JohnNo Gravatar
    November 30th, 2013 at 7:54 pm

    So let the talk begin cause some of Auburn’s wins have not been that impressive

    [Reply]

    EricNo Gravatar
    November 30th, 2013 at 8:32 pm

    Plus they blew it to LSU in crushing fashion.

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  7. EdNo Gravatar
    November 30th, 2013 at 10:26 pm

    A win is a win. First off the ramifications of today…….I don’t give 2 shits , people keep moving the preverbrial line that qualifies one for a FUCKInG title game shot. Recently , we ALL have been prvy to certain networks and thier SO called experts lay out scenarios ……,to have them ALL go POOF!!!!! It’s a joke…….take care of your BIZ and your fine…..the fact that there’s a scenario that an SEEEECEEE is NOT In the title game now is is unfathomable because that ” Just can’t Happen ” as one so called Expert said this week on the 4 letter. I am giving the 4 letter the middle finger right now with a smile.

    Now , I want to make it abundantly clear ……,the defensive gameplan, and execution in today’s game was complete and total BullSH**!!!!! Michigan was like 10 or 12 for like 60 attempts on 3rd down conversions coming into this game…….we could not get them off the field the entire first half…….I think Roby takes plays off , just my opinion . And he will pay for that at the next level . Why we were not aggressive as hell , and when we saw blood in the water ( as sharks do ) when Gardner was hurt and hobbling , why we were not on him like white on rice is a joke. Fickle needs to GO!!!!!….Urb at some point and time needs to take his headset away…….rivalry game or not , Michigan’s offense is NOT and has NOT been good enough to put up 40 points.
    It is what it is……it’s a win , and we move on regardless if the splitting hairs here.
    But for some to say we have no shot or no biz in the NTional title game , need to exit stage left please ……I will hold the door open for you…..,

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    ErictBBCNo Gravatar
    December 1st, 2013 at 10:06 am

    Great thoughts Ed.

    Only one concern – do you really want OSU on that stage, all the marbles on the line, with the defense we displayed today? Just asking, because our defense does not in any way match up well with FSU in their current form.

    Also, do you really want to play FSU with the possibility that Winston WON’T play? Can you imagine the commentary after that game? “Well, the Buckeyes beat a paper tiger…a paper Seminole if you will…so the B1G can only win championships against teams crippled by off-field issues.”. Yuck.

    Just throwing the obvious thoughts out there for discussion. Have at ‘em.

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    JohnNo Gravatar
    December 1st, 2013 at 11:25 am

    Tired of this FSU supposed greatness, where is their big win of the season Clemson? Wisconsin is far better than Clemson. Their rival the 7 loss Gators? Miami with their 4 losses?

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    ErictBBCNo Gravatar
    December 1st, 2013 at 1:40 pm

    Oh, I’ve thought he Seminoles were beatable all season. I’m just sayin’ that our passing defense looked somewhat….non-existent…yesterday.

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  8. KenNo Gravatar
    December 1st, 2013 at 9:03 am

    My, that was some game.

    I would have liked to have seen some pressure against Gardner. I also would have liked to seen some sound tackling. And, people in hell would like ice water, too, I suppose..

    Great play by Tyvis on the interception. Under the circumstances, it would have been great if he’d been able to make the INT and keep his balance for a ‘pick-2′, a la Brian Rolle vs. Navy.

    The fallout from the Hall-Wilson ejections will be worth keeping an eye on as we enter post-season play.

    A well done recap, Eric, thank you.

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    JohnNo Gravatar
    December 1st, 2013 at 11:28 am

    On that fallout did anyone see the ESPN clip of the UM player that got ejected on the headset? Since when does a player who’s a backup at best go on a headset? Hmmmmmm

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  9. EdNo Gravatar
    December 1st, 2013 at 10:36 am

    Well , this Buckeye isn’t tapping out……we won’t know what would happen in any game until its played.
    So should we forfeit our invite to a National Championship game ……because at times our D is inconsistent ?…….Screw that…..go in that locker room and tell those kids that……And I guarentee you you’d get another Mo Hall exiting ” The Big House ” salute……

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