ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- What a game.
The saying goes that records and statistics can go out the window when Michigan and Ohio State get together at the end of November. But coming into this matchup with No. 3 Ohio State on a roll and Michigan skidding faster and faster on a downward slope, it seemed the cliche wouldn’t hold true. However, The Game lived up to its history and the Buckeyes won 42-41 in the teams' 110th meeting.
It was over when: Ohio State safety Tyvis Powell picked off Devin Gardner at the goal line on the Wolverines’ two-point conversion with 32 seconds remaining. The completion could have given the Michigan the victory and stopped Ohio State's perfect season, but Powell’s play sealed it for the Buckeyes (12-0, 8-0 Big Ten).
Game ball goes to: The Ohio State ground game. The Buckeyes rushed for 395 yards, breaking a team record for rushing yards against Michigan of 312 yards, set in 1961. The Wolverines just didn’t have an answer for Braxton Miller and Carlos Hyde. Miller rushed for three touchdowns and 153 yards on 16 carries (9.6 yards per carry) and Hyde rushed for what turned out to be the game-winning touchdown and 226 yards on 27 carries (8.4 yards per carry).
Honorable mention goes to Gardner, who, despite being on the wrong side of the scoreboard, put together one heck of a game. He led the Wolverines from being down two touchdowns to start the fourth quarter and an impressive two-minute drill at the end of the game that could have brought Michigan (7-5, 3-5) a stunning upset.
Stat of the game: 1,129 total yards. Numbers don't always tell the whole story, but between the Buckeyes and the Wolverines, there was plenty of offense in a game that will be worth rewatching for years to come. It was exciting, emotional and full of big plays and momentum shifts.
Unsung heroes of the game: The Ohio State offensive line. With a run game that amasses 395 yards, clearly some big guys are doing the work to make those holes for Hyde and Miller. Even without starting offensive guard Marcus Hall, who was ejected after a first-half brawl, the Buckeyes didn’t miss a beat and handled Michigan defensive coordinator Greg Mattison’s blitzes well all game, only allowing two sacks.
What it means: The Big Ten will look at the first-half scuffle, and because of it Ohio State could go into next weekend’s Big Ten title game against Michigan State without Hall or backup H-back and return specialist Dontre Wilson. The Buckeyes were still effective in the running game and Pat Elflein stepped in well for Hall. For Michigan, despite the loss, the game gives the Wolverines a bit of a boost of momentum and energy. They finished the regular season losing five of their final seven games, but they definitely peaked (and peaked much higher than anyone anticipated) in their biggest game of the regular season. It’s definitely something to build on as the Wolverines get ready for a bowl game.