Buckeyes Make One More Play Than Michigan to Win Instant Classic
By Rob Ogden
ANN ARBOR, Michigan - Michigan's offense made play after play to draw within one point of Ohio State. It couldn't make one more.
Tyvis Powell intercepted Devin Gardner's pass with seconds remaining and Ohio State (12-0, 8-0) defeated Michigan 42-41 to remain unbeaten and earn its second-consecutive win over its rival.
The Wolverines (7-5, 3-5) were attempting to take the lead on a two-point try following Devin Funchess' 2-yard touchdown catch with 32 seconds remaining.
Powell made the play, but deferred the credit to defensive backs coach Kerry Coombs, who Powell said identified the Wolverines' play during a timeout.
"He looked me straight in the eye and said, 'He's running angle route triple-stack,'" Powell said.
When the ball was thrown his way, Powell was ready.
"We practiced that play all week," he said. "We knew that would be their play for a two-point conversion.
"When I caught it, I was thinking 'Coach Coombs is a genius.' All I can do is thank the coaching staff."
As Powell fell to the ground with ball in hand, so too did Michigan's hopes of redeeming its otherwise-abysmal season by playing spoiler to its arch rival.
If not for the efforts of Braxton Miller and Carlos Hyde, the Wolverines might have done it.
Photo by Jim Davidson
The pair combined to rush for 379 yards and accounted for all six of the Buckeyes' touchdowns.
Hyde rushed for 226 yards — the most ever by an Ohio State running back against the Wolverines. He surpassed Beanie Wells' 2007 mark of 222.
Hyde also had a touchdown — the game-winner on a one-yard plunge with 2:20 remaining in the game.
"I knew it was gonna be tough. These games are always tough," Hyde said. "It means a lot, but the credit goes to the offensive line. Those guys go into history with me."
On a day when Miller wasn't his sharpest throwing the ball, the junior quarterback managed to rush for 153 yards on 16 carries and was responsible for five touchdowns.
Miller completed 6-of-15 passing attempts for 133 yards and two scores. It was a stat line Woody Hayes would have been pleased with.
Miller did it without two important pieces of the offense. Senior right guard Marcus Hall and freshman running back Dontre Wilson were ejected from the game for their part in a melee that broke out early in the second quarter.
Wilson threw a punch and watched the rest of his first Michigan game from the locker room. Hall flipped the double birds to the Michigan faithful as he was escorted up the tunnel.
"During that first half we were off our game," junior linebacker Ryan Shazier said. "We were doing too much talking and not enough playing."
Coach Urban Meyer had one word for the incident: "disappointing."
Without a key part of its offensive line, the Buckeyes stuck with Hyde, even after the senior fumbled in OSU territory after the Wolverines had pulled within seven points.
Following a Michigan touchdown that tied the game at 35 with just more than five minutes to play, Miller led the Buckeyes on a 6-play, 65 yard drive for the game-winning score.
Hyde dragged defenders down to the one-yard line before being tackled just short of the goal line.
With little more than two minutes remaining and second-and-goal from the one, Meyer considered draining the clock.
"I thought about taking a knee to milk some clock," he said. "I talked to (offensive coordinator) Tom Herman about it. I almost did it."
Down seven, Michigan moved the ball towards the end zone as easily as it had all day.
Gardner finished 32-of-45 for 451 yards and four touchdowns. He added another on the ground.
The Wolverines didn't hesitate in choosing to go for two following his final touchdown pass of the day.
Meyer said it was the correct call. He would have done the same. He called a timeout to give his guys a breath.
"We were blown out on defense," he said. "We had to give our guys a breath. Take a deep breath, go make a play."
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