It took Ohio State a lot more than expected to come out of Ann Arbor undefeated, but the Buckeyes prevailed 42-41 after a failed two-point conversion by Devin Gardner. Gardner threw the ball to what he thought was an open receiver, when Tyvis Powell stepped up and intercepted the pass to secure the Buckeyes victory. The game seemed to be in hand for the Buckeyes after taking a two touchdown lead in the fourth quarter, but Michigan seemed to have other ideas.
In a game that started off with a quick score by Michigan's Jeremy Gallon on an 84-yard touchdown reception from Devin Gardner, the Buckeyes responded with a deep bomb of their own when Braxton Miller found Devin Smith for a 53-yard score to tie it up at 7. The Wolverines obviously came with a game plan of their own, as they scored with ease after a screen play took Michigan to the goal line, where Fitzgerald Toussaint would finish off the seven-play, 70-yard drive on a four yard touchdown run that would put Michigan up 14-7.
Ohio State wasn't done in the first quarter though, when Braxton Miller found some daylight and outraced the Wolverines secondary and stiff-arming his way into the endzone on a 53-yard scamper to tie the game at 14. Miller would finish the game completing 6 of 15 passes for 133 yards and two touchdowns, but his real contributions came on the ground. 16 carries for 153 yards and three touchdowns would have a huge impact on the game, as every point mattered in the heated contest.
The second quarter was a bit more passive, but provided plenty of fireworks from the opening kickoff. After another Michigan score put the Wolverines up 21-14, Ohio State returned the kickoff, but following the kick return, true freshman Dontre Wilson and offensive lineman Marcus Hall were ejected after a large fight between the two teams broke out. Michigan's Royce Jenkins-Stone was ejected as well, but whether Hall and Wilson might face some more punishment for the Big Ten Championship Game remains to be seen. Hall was seen flipping the bird to the Michigan crowd as he left the field and entered the locker room.
After the ejections, neither team could get any kind of offensive momentum going, but in the waning minutes of the first half, Ohio State tight end Jeff Heuerman would find the endzone on a Braxton Miller pass to help tie the game at 21. At the half, the Buckeyes barely held an edge in total yards (308 to Michigan's 300) and were in a dogfight with a couple of players kicked out of the game.
Clearly, halftime did the Buckeyes some good, as they came out firing on all cylinders on the defensive side of the ball. Michael Bennett would land a sack on the first possession of the second half, and despite Ohio State not being able to get points on the board right away, the pressure on Michigan's quarterback became heavier. On a third down scramble, Devin Gardner would take a shot that would dislodge the ball from his arms and end up in an Ohio State football and momentum for the scarlet and gray. The duo of Braxton Miller and Carlos Hyde would prove to be too much all day long, and following a 33-yard run by Hyde, Miller would cap the drive off with a score and the Buckeyes first lead of the day, at 28-21. Hyde finished his final Ohio State-Michigan game with 27 carries, 226 yards and one touchdown.
Michigan was able to sustain some of their momentum, driving down the field to Ohio State's 16-yard line. Facing a 4th and 2, the Wolverines would go for it, but Gardner's pass would fall just short of his intended target and the Buckeyes would take over on downs. Braxton Miller and the offense picked up where they left off, as they rolled down the field en route to Jeff Heuerman's second touchdown of the day, coming on a 22-yard throw in an impressive showing by the Buckeyes offense to put Ohio State up 35-21.
With all of the momentum, and a two touchdown lead, the Buckeyes were in control of the game and only one quarter to go. Michigan would eventually settle down with a methodical drive that resulted in a Drew Dileo touchdown catch from Devin Gardner with 11:15 left to play and the Buckeyes holding onto a 35-28 lead. Looking to eat some clock and perhaps provide a final nail in the coffin, Ohio State went to work on offense but only three plays in, Carlos Hyde would lose the football while trying to fight for the all-important extra yardage. Michigan would then recover and begin their drive in Ohio State's territory. The Buckeyes defense would force two third downs, but Gardner would escape both times to keep the drive alive, including a 4th and 2 conversion that would result in Gardner finding tight end Jake Butt for the tying touchdown at 35-35.
Michigan's two drives took almost the entire quarter of play, and left Ohio State 5:01 to take the ball down the field and score. An errant kickoff by the Wolverines would set up Ohio State at their own 35, where Braxton Miller would again cut through Michigan's defense, as he weaved his way in and out for a 32-yard run. That play was followed by a 16-yard jet sweep by Philly Brown, where Carlos Hyde would continue having his way when running the ball, and get the Buckeyes to the 2-yard line. From there, Miller would hand off to Hyde for the Buckeyes, as they managed to take the lead to 42-35 and run the clock down to 2:20.
Devin Gardner and the Wolverines again drove down the field with relative ease, finding receivers on consecutive plays for first downs, before taking a sack by defensive end Joey Bosa. Forced to call a timeout with 50 seconds remaining, Michigan faced a 2nd and 17 where Justice Hayes would manage to haul in a 9-yard pass giving a more manageable 3rd and 8. With pressure in the face of Gardner, a screen play to Fitzgerald Toussaint for 29 yards would put the Wolverines at Ohio State's 2-yard line. With 35 seconds remaining, Gardner would calmly throw a touchdown Devin Funchess, to cut the lead to 42-41. As the offense prepared to go for two, Urban Meyer called a timeout to set up the defense.
In a move that will go down in Ohio State history, Tyvis Powell would end up jumping in front of Devin Gardner's pass and putting his soft hands around the football as the Buckeyes sideline erupted in celebration. With Michigan's onside kick attempt, Bradley Roby would leap into the air and immediately hit the ground and gave Ohio State possession. With the victory formation on the field, Ohio State fans cheered loudly, and when Braxton Miller took a knee, Urban Meyer and the Buckeyes finished off the regular season undefeated. For two straight regular seasons, Ohio State didn't lose a game, going 24-0 through the past two years. On December 7th, Ohio State will travel to Indianapolis to face Michigan State in the Big Ten Championship game.
Until then, the Buckeyes will relish in the fact of beating their arch rivals two straight years, and wrapping up a dream regular season.