The (red) story links, or the 'read more' graphic, will open new (pop-up) windows to the source of the article, audio or video, so you can read/hear/see the rest. If your browser is set to block pop-ups, please set it to always allow them from our site. You will not get any annoying advertising pop-ups, of any kind, generated by this site...ever.
* Meyer called the game an "instant classic." He said there's no doubt that the two wins over Michigan mean more than the 24-game winning streak.
* Meyer said they called the timeout prior to the two-point try to give the defense a quick breather. "We were blown out," he said.
* He said he would have gone for two if he was on the Michigan sideline. "Go win it right there," he said.
* Meyer said he was "real disappointed" when Carlos Hyde fumbled late in the second half to set up Michigan's tying score. He said he had warned Hyde that he was being too loose with the ball.
* He said he wasn't confident in Ohio State's ability to throw the ball Saturday. Said Michigan's secondary did a great job.
* Meyer said if there was a draft, he would take Carlos Hyde over any other running back in college football, but also said the running game starts with the offensive line.
* Meyer said he was disappointed with the second-quarter brawl, and added that he doesn't know where it came from.
* He said he doesn't expect any players to receiver any further suspensions.
* Meyer said they weren't getting the pressure up front that they normally get. He said Michigan quarterback Devin Gardner played an excellent game.
* Meyer said he thought about taking a knee to milk some clock when the Buckeyes had second-and-goal from the 1-yard-line with little more than two minutes remaining. He said he was very close to doing it.
* When asked about Marcus Hall flipping off the Michigan crowd, Meyer responded with one word: "Disappointed."
Tyvis Powell Updates
* Powell said they watched film all week on the play that Michigan ran on the two-point try.
* He said defensive backs coach Kerry Coombs told him what the play would be during the timeout. Powell identified the play as "angle right triple-stack."
* He said they knew Michigan would attempt one of two plays, the other being a speed option with Gardner.
* Powell said he was kind of shocked that they actually guessed the exact play and that the ball came right to him.
* He said Christian Bryant and Ryan Shazier gave half-time speeches to the defense after the lackluster first-half performance.
Ryan Shazier Updates
* Shazier said they were a little too hyped and emotional to start the game. He added that they were doing too much talking and not enough playing.
* Shazier said the defense started to settle down towards the end of the first half.
* He said the defense is pretty disappointed in its performance because they know they're better than they played Saturday.
* Shazier said the fight was unacceptable, but added that he wasn't surprised that it happened.
* He said that Michigan looked like a completely different team on Saturday than the one they watched on film. But he added that they expected that.
Carlos Hyde Updates
* Hyde said Ohio State's offense would have scored in overtime had it gotten to that point.
* He gave the credit for his successful day to the offensive line and said he has the best line in the country.
* Hyde said after Marcus Hall was ejected, he gave the offensive line a pep talk. "I told them 'Let's go. Let's pick it up,'" he said.
Jeff Heuerman Updates
* Heuerman said they knew it was going to be a tough game coming in. "It's a war every time we play this team," he said.
* He said he was a little nervous on the sideline when Michigan was attempting to take the lead on the two-point try, but added that deep down, he had confidence that the defense would stop them.
* Heuerman said they didn't play their style of football during the first half. He said they were doing too much jawing. "We got back to our kind of football and we smashed it down their mouths," he said.
Pat Elflein Updates
* Elflein said he wasn't nervous when he was thrown into the game following Hall's ejection.
* He said the preparation that they do every day in practice prepared him to play.
* Elflein said senior center Corey Linsley gave him some words of encouragement when he entered the game to help him focus.
Redshirt freshman DB Tyvis Powel stepped in front of two-point conversion pass to seal the Buckeyes' victory.
Powell said they watched film all week on the play that Michigan ran on the two-point try.
He said defensive backs coach Kerry Coombs told him what the play would be during the timeout. Powell identified the play as "angle right triple-stack.
TSUN fans were understandably stunned.
Powell Saw Biggest Play Of Career Coming November 30, 2013 Source: BuckeyeSports.com - As Tyvis Powell walked to the Ohio State football team’s bus after its 42-41 win vs. Michigan on Saturday, he clutched a regulation NCAA football in his hand.
Almost an hour after the game, he still wasn’t letting go of the biggest play of his Ohio State career.
The redshirt freshman intercepted Devin Gardner’s two-point conversion try with 32 seconds to play, allowing the Buckeyes to escape one of the wildest versions of The Game with a 42-41 victory on Saturday afternoon in Ann Arbor.
“When we were in there taking a shower, I was talking to Kenny (Guiton), and that’s when it clicked,” Powell said. “That was our season on the line. We had 12-0, the gold pants, chances for the national championship, and it just kind of hit me – wow, I kind of saved the season. All thanks to Coach Coombs.”
That’s right, there was a simple answer for why Powell was where he was on the play, jumping the outside-then-in angle route run by Drew Dileo on the right side of the field – he was there because cornerbacks coach Kerry Coombs told him to be there.
All the stories about 18-hour days for coaches seem to make sense when film study yields the result that the Buckeyes got on that play. Through his scouting, Coombs knew that the Wolverines would likely run one of two plays, and when the Wolverines moved Dileo into a three-wideout stack on the right side of the field before the snap, Powell knew exactly what was coming.
“Right before the play, Coach Meyer called a timeout and when we went over to the sideline, the last thing I remember is Coach Coombs like, ‘Tyvis, they’re going to motion into triple stack, and (Dileo) is going to run the angle route,’ ” Powell said. “And I was like, ‘Yeah, we watched that on film. That makes a lot of sense.’
“Me and Joshua (Perry) made a swap call, and Josh ended up going on the blitz. He got the pressure on him, (Gardner) threw the ball and I was able to listen to Coach Coombs and boom, there it was.”
To call Powell shocked that the play unfolded exactly as he expected would be an understatement.
“I was thinking to myself, ‘Coach Coombs is a genius,’ ” Powell said. “You know, it kind of shocked me. I was like, ‘He really threw that ball.’ It was just shocking to me that he really threw it. I guess they practice it and that’s their bread-and-butter play on two-point conversions. All week, that’s what we practiced at practice. That’s what they were going to do on two-point conversions.”
Making things even more interesting to the Ohio State contingent was the fact Michigan had run a similar play previously throughout the day. In fact, C.J. Barnett nearly turned one of Gardner’s earlier passes on the play into a turnover.
“I had dropped an interception on that same play,” Barnett said. “Tyvis, he knew it was coming and made a great play. We were well prepared. We were well prepared for that play.”
The pick is certainly one Powell will remember forever, and it might have introduced him to Ohio State fans. The Bedford, Ohio, native redshirted last year and has been the team’s No. 1 nickel back all season long, and he entered the game with 34 tackles and just one turnover, an interception late in the Iowa game that stunted a potential Hawkeyes comeback.
Now, he has a similar but even bigger play to his name, one that can’t be taken away.
Just like the ball he might still have in his hands.
“I had to tuck it,” he said. “I couldn’t let it go. It was like the most prized possession. I couldn’t let it go.”
After further review, melee might bring more penalties December 1, 2013 Source: Columbus Dispatch - Those who have played and coached in Ohio State-Michigan games always have talked about how cleanly The Game is played. But no one will be saying that about a second-quarter melee yesterday that left three players ejected.
Ejected were Ohio State freshman running back Dontre Wilson, who was in the midst of it all after being tackled on a kickoff return, and right guard Marcus Hall, who came onto the field with the offense and threw a punch at Michigan defensive end Keith Heitzman, a Hilliard Davidson graduate.
Hall also made an obscene gesture on each hand while leaving the field.
A Michigan player was ejected, too, linebacker Royce Jenkins-Stone, who ripped off Wilson’s helmet.
“I’m disappointed with that. I don’t know where that came from,” Ohio State coach Urban Meyer said. “We had a little chat about that. That’s unacceptable.”
Of Hall’s gesture, Meyer said, “I’ll take care of that.”
Several others were involved in the fracas, including Ohio State quarterback Braxton Miller, who said he stepped in to try to protect “the little guy” Wilson, and receiver Michael Thomas, who is being redshirted this season.
Big Ten spokesman Scott Chipman told The Dispatch via text message that there could be more punishment for those who were ejected, and perhaps for others who were not.
“The conference office will wait until after the game for the officials’ written report, review video and then take further action if needed,” Chipman wrote.
Michigan players said such things occur when old foes meet.
“It’s a rivalry game. Stuff’s going to happen,” senior tackle Taylor Lewan said. “There’s going to be punches thrown. It’s not necessary, but we don’t like each other, so stuff’s going to happen.”
Answering the call
Hall’s ejection put Pat Elflein into the game at right guard, but the redshirt freshman from Pickerington North said he wasn’t nervous.
“It was pretty overwhelming, but we prepare so well during practice,” Elflein said. “I was ready for the moment. I’m always ready. Every game, I’m always on the sideline, helmet strapped up, mouth guard in, because you never know when your number is going to be called. Today was my day.”
Ohio State’s offensive line is the foundation of the team, and it didn’t crack with Elflein in it. In fact, he made the key block on Carlos Hyde’s 1-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter.
“That was awesome,” he said. “I knew my number was called running that play.”...
With the victory, Ohio State extended its school record win streak to 24 games. The win streak is the longest in the country.
Ohio State has tied Boise State for the longest FBS winning streak in the last decade. The Broncos won 24 straight between 2009-10. That is the longest streak dating to the 34-game streak by Miami (Fla.) from 2000-02, which OSU snapped at the 2003 Fiesta Bowl.
Ohio State is now 4-3 in games to get to 12-0. The wins were in 2002 at Illinois (23-16 in overtime), 2006 against Michigan (42-39 in one-versus-two game) and 2012 against Michigan (26-21). The losses were in 1975 to UCLA in the Rose Bowl (23-10), 1979 to USC at Rose Bowl (17-16) and 1995 at Michigan (31-23).
It was over when... Michigan's late two-point conversion attempt crashed and burned as Devin Gardner was intercepted in the end zone.
Gameball goes to... Carlos Hyde. Ohio State's senior had his second 200-yard rushing game in three weeks. He finished with 226 yards and a touchdown. His 226 yards was his second 200-yard game of the season and the most EVER by a Buckeye against Michigan in series history... It surpassed the previous high set by Chris "Beanie" Wells in 2007. Carlos Hyde is the 1st Ohio State player with 2 games of 225+ rush yards in a season. Only other with 2 CAREER games is Archie Griffin. Hyde tallied his seventh-consecutive 100-yard rushing game and 13th of his career.
Braxton Miller and Denard Robinson are the only players to have a 50-yard pass TD and a 50-yard rush TD in a Big Ten game over the last 10 seasons. Both of those two did it in a game against Indiana...until Braxton did it again today.
Braxton Miller's 53-yard Rush TD in the 1st quarter was the longest run allowed by Michigan this season. The previous long was a 40-yard run by Michigan State's Jeremy Langford. For the second time in his career, Braxton Miller has a 50-yard TD pass and 50-yard TD rush in the same game (September 15, 2012 vs Cal: 55-yard TD rush, 72-yard TD pass) He tied his career high with three rushing touchdowns. He previously scored three times on the ground against UCF Sept. 8, 2012. With 153 yards on the ground, Miller tallied his third-consecutive and 13th career 100-yard rushing game.
Stat of the game... Ohio State abused Michigan on the ground. The Buckeyes finished with 241 more rushing yards than the Wolverines.
With Carlos Hyde and Braxton Miller each over 100 rush yds today... It's the 1st time Ohio State has had multiple 100-yd rushers against Michigan since 1967 (Jim Otis and Rudy Hubbard) and the 3rd time vs the Wolverines overall (also 1961). Each of the previous 2 games (1961 & 1967) came in wins at the Big House.
This is the 1st Ohio State-Michigan game where both teams scored 40+ points.
Ohio State head coach Urban Meyer is 34-3 in November games since 2003, his first season at Utah. This is the fourth team Meyer has led to an 12-0 start in his 12th year as a head coach. His 2004 Utah team finished 12-0, while his 2009 Florida team started 12-0. He also went 12-0 last year at OSU.
Urban dictionary His words: “Both offenses were kind of in the unstoppable mode.”
The definition: “Probably because both defenses were in the unwatchable mode.”
Ryan Shazier registered his third-consecutive double-digit tackle game with 14.
Star of the game Carlos Hyde recovered from a costly fumble to help power the winning drive, scoring from the 1-yard line for his only touchdown. He ran for 226 yards, an Ohio State record against Michigan, and stands at 1,290 yards for the season.
Turning point Michigan went for two points after scoring a touchdown with 32 seconds left. Ohio State nickel back Tyvis Powell knew what was coming and stepped in to intercept a Devin Gardner pass intended for Drew Dileo. Bradley Roby scooped the ensuing onside-kick attempt.
Repercussion Ohio State pushed its record winning streak to 24, completing two straight undefeated regular seasons. It’s still alive in the national title game picture, headed to Indianapolis where it will face Michigan State for the Big Ten title and at least a spot in the Rose Bowl.
In 10 meetings between Woody Hayes and Bo Schembechler... The teams averaged 24.3 points COMBINED per game. Michigan averaged 13.8 points, Ohio State 10.5 points. The highest scoring Ohio State-Michigan game between those two coaches was 36 points (24-12 in 1969). We had 42 points in the first half today.
The 83 combined points by Michigan and Ohio State are the 2nd-most in a Michigan-Ohio State game. Only one with more was in 1902, when Michigan won 86-0
Ohio State and Michigan combined for 42 points in the first half today. The most total points scored in a game during Woody Hayes and Bo Schembechler's "10-Year War" (1969-78) was 36 points, which came in the first meeting.
Following Devin Smith's 53-yd TD rec in the 1st qtr... Since 2011, Smith has 6 Rec of 50+ yds (5 TD)... All other Buckeyes have 4 such rec over that span combined (4 TD). Devin Smith's 53-yard touchdown reception in the first quarter marked the 18th touchdown catch of his career. Smith is averaging 39.6 yards per touchdown reception.
The 84-yard pass from Gardner to Gallon is the longest in the history of the OSU-Michigan game. It is also the eighth-longest play allowed in OSU history.
Just wondering: Was Brady Hoke a champ or a chump for choosing to go for two — and the win — instead of kicking an extra point that would have sent the game to overtime? Michigan players said their coach asked the seniors during the final timeout what they wanted to do, and every one said go for two, which is where Hoke was leaning anyway. Was that being cool or careless?
As heard from a Michigan fan (before the game): “If you’re Hoke, don’t you wear a headset just to make it look like you know what you’re doing?” Ouch.
Numbers for dummies 1926: The last time, and only time either team won by a single point in The Game. Michigan won that one, 17-16 in Columbus.
34-5-34-5-34-5: Seemingly, the Buckeyes’ play-calling plan, based on the jersey numbers of Carlos Hyde and Braxton Miller.
Tweethearts @vfd_popeye: OSU defense is operating like the obamacare website. It’s there but with little results.
One-liner: Who knew Ohio State lineman Marcus Hall likes to play Angry “Birds?”
Sources: ESPN, Bucknuts, Columbus Dispatch, OSU Official Site, Land-Grant Holy Land
Carlos Hyde Postgame
Tom Dienhart: This Michigan-OSU game was a 'classic' November 30, 2013 Source: BTN - There were 1,129 yards of combined offense; 83 points; a melee that saw three players ejected (Watch); a valiant comeback; a last-second touchdown; a gutsy two-point conversion call that failed (Watch) all wrapped in a 42-41 Ohio State win over Michigan that sucked the air out the Big House and left the 113,511 fans breathless.
“That was a classic game, I just want to congratulate our players,” said Urban Meyer. “Someone asked a question about what means more, our 24th win in a row or our second straight win against our rival. No question, it’s the second win against our rival. I want to give (Michigan) credit. They have great players and that was a battle. A great game, classic.”
Exhilarating. Enthralling. Exhausting. Entertaining. And, yes, a classic.
Most important of all, the win moved Ohio State to 12-0, pushing its winning streak to a mind-numbing 24 in a row. And coupled with Alabama’s loss at Auburn, the Buckeyes are poised to move into the No. 2 spot in the BCS standings and earn a spot in the title game with a win in the Big Ten title game...
This was the Buckeyes’ ninth win in the last 10 meetings in this oh-so-heated rivalry that’s known simply as “The Game.” In fact, the last time Ohio State lost to Michigan was on this field two years ago, a 40-34 victory for the Wolverines. Since then, it’s been all victory laps for OSU. And none have been more thrilling for the Buckeyes than this triumph...
Add it all up, and Ohio State ripped through Michigan for 393 yards rushing (8.5 ypc) en route to 526 total yards—and made one huge stop on that two-point conversion that had the Buckeye Nation on the edge of its seats. What would Woody Hayes and Bo Schembechler have thought of all of this offense?
“I think Coach Schembechler and Coach Hayes — the two coaches in the generation I was growing up — would’ve looked out and seen two teams playing as hard as they possibly can which is what this rivalry is all about,” said Meyer...
Buckeyes Survive In Ann Arbor November 30, 2013 Source: Bucknuts - They say Ohio State and Michigan don’t like each other. That was borne out when the two sides engaged in a full-out brawl during the second quarter of Saturday’s 110th renewal of their rivalry in Ann Arbor.
They say you can also throw out the records when these two teams meet.
That was borne out over four quarters as Michigan, coming in at a disappointing 7-4, took unbeaten Ohio State to the wire.
But the third-ranked Buckeyes kept their national championship dreams alive by rallying for an amazing 42-41 win on a sun-splashed Saturday afternoon before 113,511 at Michigan Stadium. OSU also completed back-to-back 12-0 regular seasons for the first time in school history and also extended their school-record and nation’s best winning streak to 24 straight games.
This was a back-and-forth offensive shootout. The Buckeyes surged ahead 35-21 late in the third quarter before Michigan came back to tie it with just over five minutes left. OSU went ahead 42-35 on a Carlos Hyde touchdown run. Michigan drove for a touchdown with 32 seconds left to cut the lead to 42-41...
The 110th game between Ohio State and Michigan might have been the most thrilling, a back-and-forth affair that came down to one final play.
The Wolverines went for the win -- and the Buckeyes stayed undefeated.
Tyvis Powell intercepted Devin Gardner's 2-point conversion pass with 32 seconds left and No. 3 Ohio State held on for a 42-41 victory against Michigan on Saturday as one of the greatest rivalries in sports added another memorable chapter to its storied history.
"That's an instant classic," Ohio State coach Urban Meyer said.
Gardner threw a 2-yard touchdown pass to Devin Funchess to make it 42-41, but instead of kicking for the tie and possibly pushing the game to overtime, Wolverines coach Brady Hoke asked his players if they wanted to go for it and got a unanimous response.
"We played the game to win," Hoke said.
Gardner tried to zip a pass to Drew Dileo into traffic near the goal line, but Powell came up with it and the quarterback was left lying on his back with his arms extended to his side, the back of his helmet resting on the cold turf.
"We felt like we could win the game right there," Gardner said, looking and sounding as saddened as any athlete after a setback.
Buckeyes cornerback Roby Bradley recovered the onside kick to seal Ohio State's 24th consecutive victory and keep its national championship hopes alive. And then thing got even better for the Buckeyes when Auburn beat Alabama later.
Meyer insisted the streak was not as significant as winning his second game in as many tries against Michigan.
"No question -- the win over our rival is better," he said.
Braxton Miller accounted for a career-high matching five touchdowns for Ohio State (12-0, 8-0) and Carlos Hyde ran for a 1-yard score with 2:20 left to make it 42-35.
The Buckeyes left Ann Arbor knowing they will play Michigan State in the Big Ten title game next Saturday in Indianapolis, needing to beat the Spartans -- and have No. 1 Alabama or No. 2 Florida State lose a game to have a chance to reach the BCS national championship game. No. 4 Auburn provided an assist by defeating the Crimson Tide by returning a missed field goal 100 yards on the final play for a 34-28 victory.
The Wolverines (7-5, 3-5) started strong as a 16 1-2-point underdog and didn't wilt when Ohio State went up 35-21 late in the third quarter, one drive after Gardner threw an incomplete pass on fourth-and-2 when Hoke opted against attempting a 31-yard field goal.
"They didn't let up at all," Miller said.
Michigan, though, couldn't make a pivotal play in a shootout that might've given it the biggest upset in the series since Bo Schembechler's first team at Michigan beat what Woody Hayes said was his best Buckeyes squad in 1969.
"I threw an interception that cost us the win," said Gardner, who limped into a news conference with a protective boot on his left foot. "That's what I will remember."
Miller ran for 153 yards and three TDs and threw for 133 yards and two scores. Hyde ran for 226 yards to help Ohio State win for the ninth time in 10 games against Michigan, but he fumbled in the fourth quarter to help Michigan tie the game for a fourth time with 5:01 left.
Both teams scored at least 41 points for the first time in their rivalry that dates to 1897.
"I have such great respect for this rivalry," Meyer said. "Coach Hayes was from a different generation. He would have wanted a 10-9 game, but he would have wanted to see the two teams playing as hard as they can."
Gardner was 32 of 45 for 451 yards and four TDs, connecting nine times for 175 yards and a score to Jeremy Gallon, and ran for a 1-yard TD that gave Michigan the first lead in the high-scoring game that went to halftime tied at 21. Gardner fumbled in the third quarter and Ohio State took advantage of the turnover on the ensuing drive with a Miller's go-ahead, 3-yard TD.
It was a slug fest -- literally for a few moments.
The teams exchanged pushes and some punches in the second quarter after a Michigan kickoff.
The Buckeyes lost starting right guard Marcus Hall and kick returner Dontre Wilson and the Wolverines lost backup linebacker Royce Jenkins-Stone to ejections. All three players were flagged for unsportsmanlike conduct and had to leave the field after a skirmish. Hall and Wilson appeared to throw punches. Jenkins-Stone tugged Wilson's helmet off and tossed it to the turf.\
"It was unacceptable," Meyer said.
While walking off the field and toward the tunnel, Hall put both arms into the air and flashed a familiar obscene gesture, extended middle fingers, to the Michigan crowd.
Punishment could potentially linger for Ohio State if both players are suspended for next week's Big Ten championship game.
"The conference office will wait until after the game for the officials' written report, review the video and then take further action if needed," Big Ten spokesman Scott Chipman wrote in an email to The Associated Press.
Ohio State vs Michigan (Nov 30, 2013) Source: OSU Official Site Scoring Summary, Team Statistics, Individual Statistics, Drive Chart, Defensive Statistics, Game Participation, Box Score, Play-by-Play, Play breakdown
Offense (4 leaves)
The Ohio State wagon train made another downhill run, with Braxton Miller (153 yards) holding the reins and Carlos Hyde (226 hard ones) serving as the lead pony yet again. Come and get it! The passing game was iffy at times, but the two big hits more than made up for the misses.
Defense (2 leaves)
In the spirit of the holidays, let’s think of OSU as cheap wrapping paper and the Michigan offense a hyperactive 3-year-old, eager to handle his gift. The Buckeyes were thoroughly shredded in allowing 603 yards, but they made a few plays to help OSU gain the lead, then a bigger one by Tyvis Powell to keep it.
Special teams (3 leaves)
A game that had a little bit of everything actually offered little in terms of special-teams play. Cameron Johnston’s first punt was downed at the UM 1, which might have meant something if Michigan hadn’t driven 99 yards, anyway.
Coaching (3 leaves)
The OSU boss-man’s handbook says you never look a gift horse in the mouth, especially in The Game and especially in A2. Yet the Buckeyes might feel better if their defense hadn’t been kicked around by a team that in recent weeks couldn’t knock over a sand castle. Attack!
Fun quotient (5 leaves)
As Marcus Hall might say, it was flippin’ awesome! All sorts of old-school descriptions apply — a white-knuckle slobber-knocker with a donnybrook, to boot. The stakes might not have been as high as, say, the 2006 classic, but the Big House was fully amped for 3 1/2 hours.
Opponent (4 leaves)
In black and white, it’s another UM loss in The Game — now 11 of the past 13 — but the Wolverines probably deserved a better fate, or at least a chance to win in overtime. Michigan owned the mental edge through most of the game, and Devin Gardner was superb.
Officiating (3 leaves)
A fast-paced rivalry game turned into a full-blown WWE smackdown when Dontre Wilson’s kickoff return erupted in fisticuffs. The refs did well to regain quick control, though it’s likely they could have sent more young toughs to the showers.
Braxton Miller was sacked on the first series, on as bad an opening drive as OSU has had all season. A shaky start got worse when right guard Marcus Hall was one of two Buckeyes kicked out during a fight at the outset of the second quarter. Hall gave Michigan fans the double salute as he left so he’s probably looking at an OSU suspension on top of that. Two holding calls on the same aborted second quarter drive wiped out big gains. That said, the Buckeyes finished with 526 yards total offense and outscored U-M 28-20 after the donnybrook. GRADE: b
Almost lost in Michigan’s offensive eruption was another potent OSU ground game. The Buckeyes tried to stop themselves (thanks for playing, Marcus Hall), but that didn’t even work. With redshirt freshman Pat Elflein taking over at right guard at the outset of the second quarter, Braxton Miller (16 carries, 153 yards) and Carlos Hyde (27 carries, 226 yards) again formed a devastating one-two punch. Hyde’s tremendous second effort in the fourth quarter saw him cough up the ball at his own 41, but he redeemed himself with some brutish runs on the decisive TD drive, breaking Beanie Wells’ single-game school rushing mark in this rivalry. GRADE: A
Devin Smith had a ball go right through his hands on what would have been a huge gain on the opening series. He atoned on the next drive with a 54-yard TD catch when it looked like Braxton Miller had overshot him. It was the same corner of the field where Miller barely overthrew DeVier Posey on what could have been game-winning deep ball here in 2011. Miller only completed 40 percent of his passes (6 of 15), but he accounted for five touchdowns (two passing), which could be good enough to thrust him back into the Heisman discussion. GRADE: C
It was supposed to be a total mismatch: An OSU defense that ranks second in the nation in sacks (36) vs. a young OL that had given up 19 sacks in a recent three-game stretch. It didn’t play out that way. OSU had three sacks, but mostly seemed to be a split-second late. Michael Bennett just missed getting to Devin Gardner on a 37-yard pass to TE Jake Butt, setting up U-M’s second TD. There wasn’t a hint of pressure when Gardner flipped a tying TD pass to Butt in the fourth quarter. GRADE: D
The back seven has had trouble defending the TE all season and it happened again here as 37-yard catch by Jake Butt set up Michigan’s second TD. Butt also caught a tying TD in fourth quarter as he and sidekick Devin Funchess combined for nine catches and two scores. Camren Williams struggled again, subbing for Curtis Grant, as the Buckeyes went with three LBs more than normal. Ryan Shazier had a quiet 14 tackles, but Josh Perry brought the heat on what at the time looked like the game’s biggest play, a 4th-and-2 gamble from the OSU 14 in the third quarter that resulted in an incomplete pass. The Buckeyes scored on the ensuing drive to go up 35-21, but the defense couldn’t hold the lead. GRADE: D
C.J. Barnett had tight coverage but was beaten on a 17-yard TD pass to Jeremy Gallon because he did not react to the pass. How many times have we seen the DBs play the receiver and not turn to look for the ball? Bradley Roby dropped an interception and the secondary never really had an answer for for QB Devin Gardner (451 yards passing, 4 TDs) or Jeremy Gallon (9 catches, 175 yards), who did a nice imitation of Wisconsin’s Jared Abbrederis. Pittsburgh Brown got beat deep by TE Devin Funchess, but ball was slightly overthrown on what could have been game-tying TD in fourth quarter. Wolverines scored anyway. It was that kind of day. GRADE: F
Who had Tyvis Powell as the Player of the Game in the office pool? An epic clash was decided by his pick on Michigan’s 2-point PAT attempt to win the game. Looking for fireworks on an OSU kickoff return? Be careful what you wish for. A second quarter return by Dontre Wilson, where he got his helmet ripped off, set off a fracas that got Wilson and Marcus Hall tossed, along with a U-M linebacker. Cameron Johnston’s first punt, downed on the half-yard line, was for naught thanks to Jeremy Gallon’s TD-paving, 84-yard catch and run. GRADE: A-
It’s going to be tougher for Urban Meyer to defend co-defensive coordinators Luke Fickell and Everett Withers after their unit reverted to old form. An 84-yard catch-and-run right off the bat by Michigan’s No. 1 threat. A failure to tee-off on U-M’s embattled OL. Yardage in huge chunks. Yes, it’s a rivalry game, and anything can happen, but this kind of defensive effort has happened way too often the last couple of years. It was almost historically bad, Michigan’s 603 yards the second-most ever allowed by OSU. Urban’s offense was formidable as usual. It had to be for the Buckeyes to survive. GRADE: D (for defense. A-minus for offense.)
Braxton Miller, QB: Yeah, you can knock Miller for only going 6/15 passing, but man, he's just entertaining as hell to watch run. Even when he's off when he's throwing the ball, he still came up with two HUGE throws for scores. And it seemed whenever the offense was going to stall and nosedive, Miller made a play.
Carlos Hyde, RB: The thunder in the thunder and lightning attack was a grown ass man in Ann Arbor on Saturday. Hyde has evolved into one of OSU's best backs in recent memory, and I would put this season up there with anything Beanie Wells did. I'm not talking entire career, but this is a single season tour de force, and his 226 yards rushing was as impressive a game as I've seen.
Jeff Heuerman, TE: On a day when passing yards were at a premium, Heuerman made the most of his opportunities, to include a beautiful 22 yard pass for a TD that putt he Buckeyes up by two touchdowns.
Devin Smith, WR: When Devin Smith got separation from the Michigan defensive back that was covering him on the third and long play in the first quarter and Miller uncorked it, I thought it was overthrown...just like in 2011. But somehow, Smith caught up to it, grabbed the ball, and scored. It was a huge play that kept the game from getting out of hand.
Pat Elflein, G: After the ejections of Dontre Wilson and Marcus Hall, OSU seemed to be on the verge of unraveling. With a key component of the offensive line out, there was a real opportunity for Michigan to take advantage of the situation and try and stop OSU's running game. But Elfein was money, and the OSU ground game kept humming along.
Dontre Wilson, middleweight: That was a bad, bad penalty, and it cost OSU a big part of their offensive gameplan. I get that emotions are running high and trash talk can get heated, but you can't let your emotions get the better of you. It was a stupid penalty that hurt the team.
Marcus Hall, sign language specialist: Again, just like Wilson, Hall hurt his team. But his sin was more unforgivable in that Hall is a senior, and he should've been helping get guys off the field, not mixing it up. Like former Buckeye and NFL Hall of Famer Cris Cater would say...C'MON, MAN!
Everyone on defense. Everyone: Speaking of unforgivable, what was that defensive shitshow? A team that couldn't run or pass for the better part of a month ran and threw their way up and down the field. OSU seemed to figure Michigan out for awhile when they pressured Devin Gardner, but inexplicably laid off again and let Gardner and the Michigan offense run wild. I can't think of any one player on defense that made an impact, and guys like Ryan Shazier and Joey Bosa were invisible for almost the entire 60 minutes.
Buy: 24-0. Teams don't win by 50 points every week, and sometimes they have to gut it out when they're not at their best. To lay an egg on defense while being unable to consistently throw the ball, yet still win...well, it might be ugly, but damn it, it's a win. Add to that it's a road game, it's your biggest rival, and this is, after their disappointing season, their Super Bowl. And Ohio State won, just like they have 23 other times in a row. Yes, this streak will end, but not today.
Sell: OSU getting left out of the national championship game if they beat MSU. If OSU beats MSU, they'll be in. You'll hear a ton of noise between now and then, but a one loss team isn't going to jump an undefeated one. But that said, OSU must take care of their business in Indianapolis next week. A one loss OSU team has no shot, but if they win next week, they're in.
Buy: Coop's debt paid off: With today's win, Ohio State is is 11-2 since 2001, one win better than the Cooper years. And this game, in many ways, was a fitting way to exorcise those demons. Because under Cooper, a superior OSU team walking in to the Big House would've walked out on the short end, but not this time, not today. OSU hung on, maintained their perfect season, and now has a chance to exorcise one more demon--losing to MSU in '98 that cost the Buckeyes a perfect season. Sleep well tonight, Coop.
OSU-Michigan Game For The Ages Source: CollegeFootballNews.com - In a game that showed the best of college football, one entered with nothing on the line while the the other came in with everything on it. What happened next will live on forever in the annals of the greatest rivalry of them all. And it came down to one play, a microcosm of both seasons. In the end, Ohio State remains unblemished.
They call it The Game, because it needs no introduction, and one day, they'll refer to this one as simply "109." For the 109th time, two of the old-world legends of college football from past, present, and probably future engaged in one for the ages, and once again, Ohio State came out on top.
It's never how you get there, rather, if you do...
This edition of one of the most storied rivalries in college football goes down in the annals and into the time capsule. It was an epic showdown, Exhibit A why records matter not in games of this magnitude and vitriol. It had everything, even a few early haymakers resulting in ejections.
No, the two-point attempt for the win didn’t work out for the Wolverines, but head coach Brady Hoke absolutely cannot be faulted for the decision at 42-41, with less than a minute in regulation. His defense was unlikely to hold up against Carlos Hyde and Braxton Miller in extra sessions, meaning Michigan’s best shot came down to winning a one-play game when Ohio State’s backs were against the wall. Right decision. Wrong execution.
Where was this Michigan offense over the last month? Devin Gardner was heroic on Saturday. Hyde and Miller were simply better, even brilliant at times. As the sport goes on an expedition in search of Heisman candidates, where might the two Buckeyes be if they didn’t miss one-quarter of the season back in September?
Ohio State didn’t look like one of the top three teams in the country today. Big whoop. The Buckeyes survived a classic with Michigan and remained unbeaten in the Urban Meyer era. Next stop Indianapolis...
Another classic Ohio State/Michigan game.
Shame, shame on the many writers and media-types that pegged this game as a blowout. Even more shocking is that some of them have been a part of this rivalry for years.
Truth is, there are many rivalry games that get the vanilla lip service about “throwing out the records” and “both teams will bring their best” and yadah, yadah, yadah, but you actually believe it with each edition of The Game. There have been many season in which the perceived lesser- talented squad has risen up, bowed its back, and spoiled the glorious dreams of its Darth Vadar -- looking to move on for bigger and better things.
And so it almost happened here. The Wolverines game out of the gate early with emotion, desire and heart and willed their way towards an early lead. And despite OSU seemingly taking control early in the fourth quarter, they just kept coming.
Until Devin Gardner fittingly through yet another interception in a year of bad-decisions on the gutsy call by Brady Hole to go for the two-point conversion and win.
But let’s not get on Gardner too much. The kid played through injury, made great decisions for most of the game, and was one of the main reasons why Michigan was in position in the first place to pull a shocker out by going 32 of 45 for 451 yards and 4 TDs through the air.
Had the Wolverines won, it would have lived in Michigan lore for eternity. But alas ...
For Ohio State, you of course are going to feel good about escaping any game against your arch-rival, most notably in the Big House, but for the Buckeyes to continue on the road towards national-title possibilities, things have to be shored up on the defensive side. There were too many blown-assignments, missed-tackles, and example after example of defenders unable to get off blocks to get in on the play.
So Michigan is left with the attainment of exactly zero goals. There is no division title to point to, no Big Ten title, and no win against “Ohio.” Ohio State on the other hand, must somehow regroup from this donnybrook, pick itself up, lick its wounds and limp into Indy against a Michigan State defense that will be just as physical -- if not more -- than what it went against today. To add to the uphill challenge, OSU may also be without the services of starting offensive-lineman Marcus Hall and big-play freshman running back Dontre Wilson because of the mosh-pit dust-up and ejection that occurred in the heat of the battle today.
The streak continues for OSU at 24-straight, but barely. Have you caught your breath yet?...
The Ohio State Buckeyes’ defense didn’t play well on Saturday afternoon against the Michigan Wolverines… except on the one play it absolutely had to make. Michigan had a chance to pull off one of the most memorable upsets in the history of The Game with one play, but the other side of the coin on endgame two-point conversions is that Ohio State had a chance to win on one play as well.
There should be no doubt about the matter: If you had told Michigan head coach Brady Hoke that his team would have had a chance to slay No. 3 and unbeaten Ohio State with one play from the Buckeye 3, he would have taken it. The prevailing mood surrounding this game from the Michigan side in the days before kickoff was that the Wolverines were about to be led to the slaughterhouse. Their offensive line had been obliterated the past month, and coordinator Al Borges’s offense had not been able to demonstrate any small shred of competence on third downs. Michigan’s offense had not offered any real indication that it could score even two touchdowns on sustained marches of at least 60 yards. Against Ohio State’s souped-up offense, with Braxton Miller and Carlos Hyde leading the way, Michigan’s offense figured to be good enough… to lose by 30 points.
One play for the win when down 42-41 with only 32 ticks left on the clock in the Big House? No rational human being would pass up that opportunity. Brady Hoke, though underachieving in his first three seasons at Michigan, is a rational man. The Game, 60 minutes in length, had been shortened to one play – one play to determine if Urban Meyer would run his record in Buckeye Nation to 24-0.
On a one-shot play from the 3, the best defensive approach is to guard the opposing team’s best possession receiver. For Michigan, that possession receiver is Drew Dileo. The Buckeyes crowded the area Dileo sought out just past the goal line, and they did so without sacrificing the ability to cover the entire width of the end zone. Michigan quarterback Devin Gardner – who covered himself in glory on this day, even in defeat – had to stick a tough throw into traffic, and he failed. Michigan gained a great deal of hope and encouragement heading into 2014, regardless of what one might say about moral victories.
Ohio State remained unbeaten.
Now, the Buckeyes can pursue their second straight perfect regular season in a sport where it’s awfully hard to avoid even one stumble per autumn.
Instant analysis: Ohio State 42, Michigan 41 Source: ESPN - 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 playing its best of the year and Michigan skidding faster and faster on a downward slope, it seemed the cliché wouldn’t hold true. But The Game lived up to its history and the Buckeyes won 42-41.
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 won Michigan the game 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: Ohio State ground game. The Buckeyes rushed for 395 yards Saturday, 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 accounted for three rushing 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 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 were 1,129 total yards of offense which produced a game that will be worth rewatching for years to come. It was exciting and emotional and full of big plays and momentum shifts.
Unsung heroes of the game: 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 in 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, but because of it Ohio State could go into next weekend’s Big Ten title game against Michigan State without Hall or backup H-back 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
Eddie George, watching the Ohio State-Michigan game in the green room at Fox studios with his kids, shows you he's every bit the fan you are. (via Eleven Warriors)
2. As several BCS experts noted Saturday night, an unbeaten school from a BCS conference has never finished behind a one-loss team in the standings. That would portend a Florida State-Ohio State matchup in the title game, should the teams win their conference championship affairs next week. Auburn probably gained more steam in the debate for the No. 2 BCS ranking by virtue of its surreal, walk-off win against top-ranked Alabama. Had the Tigers won a ho-hum game by 10-15 points, the highlights wouldn't be on repeat in people's homes. The improbable final play has drawn an immeasurable amount of additional attention to Auburn's feat, which can only aid the Tigers' cause.
3. Why is only Ohio State being pulled into the Auburn debate? Florida State's only quality win came against a Clemson team that now has two losses. That same Clemson team has only one impressive win, and its victim, Georgia, now has four losses. Should Ohio State top Michigan State on Saturday, that may end up being a victory of greater merit than anything Florida State can boast. Granted, the Seminoles stomped on Clemson, 51-14, so it could help the Buckeyes' case if they deliver their best performance of the season. Still, both teams have played relatively weak schedules, and there probably shouldn't be a huge disparity in the polls between the two. That said, I'd be shocked if Ohio State gets votes for the No. 1 spot in any poll, given the public perception following a one-point Big Ten win...
And Saturday in Ann Arbor, one more epic situation was added to the history books when Michigan coach Brady Hoke opted to go big or go home.
After a touchdown catch by Devin Funchess made it a 42-41 game, Hoke huddled with his seniors on the Michigan sideline following a Buckeye timeout and asked them if they wanted to go for the win or play for overtime.
The team wanted to win. Hoke listened. But, as has been the case more often than not this season, the cards just weren't in Michigan's favor.
Devin Gardner's two-point conversion pass was intercepted, giving the heavily-favored Buckeyes a thrilling 42-41 win and handing the Wolverines a heaping pile of heartbreak in their fifth loss of the year.
It was a gamble, and it failed. But if he had to do it over again, Hoke says he'd pull the trigger -- no question.
"We play the game to win," Hoke said in a matter of fact tone after Michigan's 42-41 loss to the Buckeyes. "I thought about it.
"And we did it."
They just didn't make it.
After hitting Funchess to pull within one, Gardner lined up in the shotgun on the two-point try and was looking to get slot receiver Drew Dileo 1-on-1 over the middle of the field to win the football game.
It's a play Gardner says the Wolverines work on routinely in practice, but on Saturday, it just didn't come through.
Ohio State safety Tyvis Powell picked off the pass in the end zone, Michigan did not recover the onside kick and the Buckeyes celebrated their 24th straight victory, making Buckeye coach Urban Meyer a perfect 24-0 in Columbus.
"We ran a two-point play we practice (a lot)," said an emotionally drained Gardner, who finished his day 32 of 45 for 451 yards and four touchdowns in defeat. "And it got intercepted."
Part of the reason why Hoke said he went for the two-point try instead of the extra point had to do with Michigan's defense.
Or, lack thereof.
After Gardner hit Jake Butt with 5:01 to play to tie the game at 35-all, the Buckeyes needed just 2:41 to rip off 65 yards in 6 plays -- all by way of the ground -- to go back in front.
Ohio State, as a team, rushed 46 times for 393 yards and four touchdowns. Running back Carlos Hyde ran 27 times for 226 yards and quarterback Braxton Miller carried it 16 times for 153 yards.
Michigan's fortunes in overtime might not have been rough. In fact, there's no guarantee Ohio State couldn't have taken the ensuing kickoff and made something happen with the final 32 seconds of regulation.
Hoke said he wasn't thinking about a possible two-point conversion until the final score was made, but when the time came, he didn't hesitate.
"We wanted to go win the football game," he said.
It's another one of those plays that will likely be talked about for a long, long time.
One play, with everything on the line.
Go big or go home?
Michigan opted for the former, but ended up with the latter. Still, even after a bitter defeat, there was zero sense of regret from Hoke or any of his players with the decision to give it a shot.
"I don't think there was one guy that said 'no,' " Michigan left tackle Taylor Lewan said. "Everyone said yes. We were behind our coach 100 percent."
Michigan Head Coach Brady Hoke
On Michigan's effort to get into a position where one play would have won it ... "We talked about it all week. We've got to play our best football. We also want to take the game into the fourth quarter. The fourth quarter we got it there and thought the kids played awfully hard the entire day, and in the fourth quarter we played even better."
On going for two points and if he thought about it during that last drive ... "No, like I said, we weren't doing a good job slowing them down. We wanted to go win the football game."
On the mental edge Michigan seemed to have ... "I would say that it started on Monday. The way they practiced Monday morning at 6 a.m., how they have competed, and they've done this all year. But this is a special game. I mean, it is the greatest rivalry there is in any sport. They know the importance of it. I liked their demeanor all week. I liked how they handled practice, how they were in watching tape. How they were trying to get better and know their opponent. So I was pleased with that and had a good feeling that they were going to play the way they did today."
On what he attributes quarterback Devin Gardner's improved play to ... "If I knew, we wouldn't have had some of the things that went on. You know, he's a kid. I think he's learning. I think he's learning how to be a Michigan quarterback. I think that's a daily thing. You know, he's beat up like everybody is, and that's when he was limping a little bit, and I said I don't want to see you limp. I said every guy out here could limp. We've got to go play, and he did that. I'm proud of him."
On what he takes from a game U-M was not given much hope to win ... "Well, I think there are a lot of positives and a lot of negatives you can take out of it. From a player standpoint, I think there are a lot of positives. But how guys did and how they performed, I think they learned maybe a little bit more about themselves. The negatives are when you don't execute, you don't protect -- we've got to still keep improving in all those areas."
On playing for 60 minutes as a team and if he feels U-M played as a team completely ... "I'd like to say yes and think we did. I think we played that way. But did we play well enough on defense against the run? No. Not even close. We complemented each other well. The offense responded, got us over some negatives."
On the play of the tight ends today ... "Some of it is planned, but there are also some things that we thought if Devin (Gardner) could continue to have a little bit more time, things would kind of come open a little bit. Jake (Butt) down the middle of the field; there wasn't anybody around him. But Devin made a little time, made a little space. So that's part of what happens. I think Jake Butt continued to grow, continued to get better. I was much more pleased with A.J. Williams' blocking today. I thought he really has made some steps in a year, let's put it that way. But, yeah, the tight ends are a big part of it. Now what's the function, tight end or wide receiver? He's a little bit of both."
Fifth-year Senior Offensive Tackle Taylor Lewan
On the team's effort today with everybody clicking ... "I think to be honest with you, we were the only ones that knew what was going to happen today. We knew we were going to take it to the fourth quarter. We were ready to fight. Everyone was fighting for each other. I'm proud of these guys."
On Coach Hoke's decision to go for two points at the end ... "Ohio State's head coach called timeout. We went over, and he asked us as seniors, 'Do you want to go for it?' and I don't think there was one guy that said no. Every single person said yes. We were behind the coaches 100 percent. We fight for them and our brothers."
On the play of rookies De'Veon Smith and Jake Butt ... "I was proud of them. I mean, it's a team sport. When a guy's number gets called, we have to step up. That's what we do every single time. My name was called as a freshman; you're expected to play at the Michigan level, not as a freshman. I'm proud of those guys. This team will be a Big Ten championship team before you know it."
On why he thought Michigan could hang with Ohio State today ... "Because we're Michigan. It doesn't matter what our record is. It doesn't matter what happened in the past few years. We're the winningest program in college football, and that's how it is. As long as coach is there, that's how it's going to be. I don't care about fair weather fans or the media or anything like that. All I care is about the people in that room. I could care a less if there were 110,000 Ohio State fans in there. This team knew what we were going to do today, and we knew we were going to fight."
On quarterback Devin Gardner's performance despite not looking like he is at 100 percent ... "None of us are a hundred percent. No one is a hundred percent in the 14th, 15th week of the season. No one's going to feel healthy. It's who wants to fight. Who is going to keep crawling, who is going to keep scratching even when you're knocked down a little bit. That's what these guys do. That's what they keep doing no matter what."
On the lasting impression everyone should take from this team today ... "I think the lasting impression you should take from Brady Hoke's team is these guys are going to fight no matter what. We're bred to fight. We'll fight, claw, scratch, get knocked down, but we'll keep moving forward no matter what. That is what it's all about. That is what this team is all about. We got knocked down a couple times this year, but we kept going no matter what. We could have easily rolled over and died against the No. 3 team in the country. We kept going, kept fighting, kept moving every time."
On the Michigan football program ... "This is the best program to be in. This is the most exciting program to be in. If you want to come to a place where there's family and you feel comfortable around everybody and you can bond with your best friends, there is no better place."
U-M Senior/Junior Linebacker Jake Ryan
On Coach Hoke's decision to go for two points at the end ... "It's a game. We want to win. I mean, that's what we were thinking. That's what Coach Hoke was thinking, and we're always going to stick with him."
On what made OSU so tough to stop in the second half ... "We had to definitely improve on our run game. I think that was one thing that stuck out. Carlos Hyde was a real good downhill runner, Braxton Miller, dual-threat quarterback, did really well both ways. I think that's one thing we just need to improve on."
On this being the seniors final home game ... "It's not how we wanted it to turn out. This one was for our seniors. But as Taylor (Lewan) said, this team is so close-knit and so together that every single person is like a brother. There is no better experience than playing here with these coaches. You have no idea what these coaches have turned this program into. It's unbelievable."
U-M Fifth-Year Wide Receiver Jeremy Gallon
On the team's spirited performance ... "All week in practice, we brought intensity that we had never seen before. We focused on every task that we had to focus on. We limited our mistakes and came out ready to play. Even in our walk-through this morning, everybody was ready to play. We were focused on playing our game and that's what we came out here to do."
On the big plays made by young players ... "They just understood what it was. It's Michigan versus Ohio (State). It's not even a game; it's a war. They understood that and they played to that level."
On the emotions of his last game at home ... "I was playing for my seniors, this guy (Devin Gardner) and Team 134 -- for everybody that came to support us. It was emotional for me because I wanted to win so badly. I wanted to play my best for these guys and I always play with a chip on my shoulder. I left everything out on the field. It was emotional for me and I'm sure everyone else felt and played the same way."
On approaching the single-season receiving record ... "I just want to play football and worry about my next game. I want to worry about the next game and do whatever I can to help my team come out with the win. The stats really don't matter to me. I just really love playing football. Whatever happens, happens."
U-M Senior/Junior Quarterback Devin Gardner
On the final play ... "Coach asked us if we wanted to go for it and everybody said yes. We ran a two-point play we've run in practice, and they got a jump on it and intercepted the ball."
On why the team wanted to go for two instead of taking their chances in overtime ... "We felt like we could win the game right there."
On what the team saw in film and practice that helped them with their game plan ... "We felt like we could take advantage of the outside -- with their corners and our receivers -- and that opened up the run game and vice versa, being able to run the ball opened up the pass game. That's what we saw, so we just went out and executed as best as we could."
On what can be learned about this team based on today's performance ... "What I've always known ... this is a team that fights and fights. We just came up short today."
U-M Senior Linebacker Cam Gordon
On his evaluation of his longtime friend and teammate Devin Gardner this year ... "He's done a tremendous job. Seeing him at practice and the enthusiasm that he brings and the way he is motivating guys and bringing guys along and how he performed today, I take my hat off to him. He did a great job today even though we didn't come out with the win. I feel like he really proved a lot of people wrong."
On Coach Hoke's post game message ... "It's always unacceptable to lose to Ohio (State), and I feel a lot of his emotions came from us as seniors and Coach Hoke really wants to send us out on a good note. He always stresses to play for our seniors."
On the mood in the locker room and what can be said about the team moving forward, especially offensively ... "(The future is) bright, both offensively and defensively. Offensively, I feel a lot of people didn't think they were going to perform the way they did and I really feel like they shocked a lot of people. The defense did, too. The mood in the locker room, of course it was emotional. Any time you have seniors with their last game played in the Big House it's going to be emotional but at the same time, no regrets."
Michigan's Taylor Lewan, Jake Ryan say the team was 'ready to fight' in game vs Ohio State
Two-Minute Drill: Updates from Urban Meyer's Call-In Show Novmber 28, 2013 Source: The Ozone - * Meyer compared this rivalry to others he has coached in, and he said he grew up with this rivalry, but has been part of the Notre Dame-USC rivalry, Notre Dame-Michigan, and also Bowling Green-Toledo, as well as many others. He said it's unique to college football and what separates it from professional football.
* Meyer said it's important for his assistant coaches to have ties to Ohio because it not only helps recruiting, but the coaches understand the Michigan rivalry.
* Meyer said he could see an extra pep in the step after the Indiana game because players were already getting excited for this game.
* Meyer said that Christian Bryant and C.J. Barnett are the ringleaders of the senior class and they haven't begun to wear out their welcome yet.
* Meyer said he has seen Taylor Decker mature as he's spent an entire season with four senior offensive linemen.
* He said that Braxton Miller has absolutely grown as a leader this year. He's become more of a vocal leader after being a leader by example previously, and it's not just on the field.
* Meyer on Carlos Hyde: “He's just about the best back in America.”
* Meyer said Michigan's defense is very well coached.
* On Michigan overall: “When they look good, they look really good.” He said they hate going against quarterbacks who can run around and extend plays.
* Meyer said that Josh Perry played very well at the mike linebacker last week and really helped out Ryan Shazier.
* Meyer said he nominated Michael Bennett for the All-Big Ten team.
* Meyer said Bradley Roby is listening to the coaches now, and not to the people on the outside, and that has been reflected in his play of late.
* Meyer said that “this time of year is really rugged” in terms of academics for the players. He said the players have to “stay on their game” with the books because of the competitive environment in the classrooms. He said these next two weeks will be all academics and all football. Meyer said they have a couple of guys who aren't where they want them to be academically speaking.
* Meyer said he's not sure how they're going to prepare for the B1G Championship Game because their focus has only been on Michigan.
1. Harass Gardner
Michigan quarterback Devin Gardner is capable of making plays with his arm and his legs. He also is capable of jaw-dropping mistakes. Give Gardner time in the pocket and he can do damage, but he has thrown 11 interceptions and has lost five fumbles. Gardner’s confidence looks shaken. It’s Ohio State’s job to make sure it stays that way.
2. Contain Gallon
Receiver Jeremy Gallon is Michigan’s best playmaker. He has 71 catches for 1,109 yards and eight touchdowns. Look for cornerback Bradley Roby to handle most of the man-to-man duties on Gallon when the Buckeyes cover that way. Roby struggled against Wisconsin’s Jared Abbrederis early in the season, but he has gotten back on track. This is the kind of challenge he covets.
3. Keep UM grounded
Ohio State will want to make Michigan one-dimensional on offense, which shouldn’t be that hard. The Wolverines are averaging only 3.2 yards per carry and less than a yard per run in their past four games. The Buckeyes need to make sure that futility continues, and there is every reason to think they can. Michael Bennett, Noah Spence and Joey Bosa are emerging stars, and the defensive line’s depth has gotten a boost from the return of Tommy Schutt.
4. Keep Hyde rolling
Coach Urban Meyer no longer has to hear about not having had a 1,000-yard rusher after Carlos Hyde broke that barrier last week. Now it’s crucial that Hyde’s success continues. Michigan has been solid against the run, yielding only 3.2 yards per carry. But the better teams on their schedule have had more success, and Ohio State is one of the better teams.
5. Establish the pass
The Buckeyes haven’t done much through the air the past two weeks, largely because the weather wasn’t conducive to it, because their run game has been so powerful and because their receivers have battled health issues. The weather in Ann Arbor today isn’t supposed to be that challenging, and it’s important for Braxton Miller to establish his arm as well as his legs.
Rushing to Judgment – If You Want to Win 'The Game', Then Run For It Novmber 27, 2013 Source: The Ozone - The first football cliché that a coach uses in his job is probably “Football is won in the trenches”, and for good reason. The line of scrimmage is everything – it is either immediate success or failure. Winning the line of scrimmage is sustenance. Without it, a team will starve and they will eventually fall away.
For programs that want to run the ball, winning the line of scrimmage is the only way to accomplish that goal. When it comes to the Ohio State – Michigan game, running the ball is just about all that matters.
Since 2001, the team that rushes for more yards in The Game is 12-0. You have to go all the way back to 2000 when the Buckeyes out-rushed the Wolverines 149-88, yet lost 38-26.
Since then, however, there have been no blips, no exceptions. The team that runs the best, wins the best.
When Jim Tressel's first team went to Ann Arbor, it was Jonathan Wells who set the tone by busting through the Michigan defensive line time and again. The Buckeyes' 137 yards rushing were only 20 more than the Wolverines', but it was enough. Wells rushed for 129 yards and three touchdowns on 25 carries in that game, leading the Buckeyes to a 26-20 win.
The next year, the rushing totals of the two teams were again very even. The Buckeyes had the edge 140 yards to 121, but it was Maurice Clarett's 119 yards and endless energy that put OSU over the top in their 14-9 win. Michigan's Chris Perry was held to 76 yards on 28 carries, which was well below his average...
Rushing to Judgment – If You Want to Win 'The Game' here are the pictures to prove it...
Source: Associated Press - The Wolverines will likely have to figure out a way to block standout LB Ryan Shazier to have any success on offense. And if that happens, it would be surprising. Michigan has struggled to protect Devin Gardner in the passing game and to open up holes in the running game. Shazier is one of the best linebackers in college football. The Butkus Award finalist leads the Big Ten with 108 tackles, 19.5 for losses and four forced fumbles.
Tony Gerdeman's Two Minute Drill on today's Big Ten teleconference Novmber 26, 2013 Source: The Ozone - * Meyer said that Carlos Hyde has handled his business this season and Stan Drayton has done a great job developing him as a player. He said the offensive line has come a long way because a lot of the players who are excelling now weren't even playing a couple of years ago. He credited Jack Mewhort and Ed Warinner both for the overall turnaround, but said each player on the line has bought in.
* Meyer said he doesn't need to bring out anything special for motivational purposes this week.
* Asked about having significant fan support on hand in Ann Arbor this week, Meyer said he has witnessed some things this year that he has not seen before when it comes to fan support, most notably at California.
* Meyer was asked if he was a Michigan State fan this week and he said he couldn't even tell you who Michigan State was playing. They'll worry about the Spartans after this game.
* Meyer said he hasn't watched Michigan's offense yet, but has a lot of respect for Devin Gardner. He saw the Indiana game where Gardner exploded and said it was as good of a performance as he's seen.
* Meyer said that Bradley Roby has played very well since the game against Wisconsin. “He's been very professional about his approach. Very impressed.”
* Meyer said the defensive line keeps getting better each week, which you would expect with a young group like this. “I think there's some future NFL players in that group.”
* Meyer said after the fact, rivalry games are fun. But in the process it's all a grind.
* Meyer said Armani Reeves practiced on Sunday, but they'll know more today. Philly Brown and Evan Spencer will have more known about them today. Meyer said they had minor injuries last week. Curtis Grant should be able to play, but they'll know more today.
Two-Minute Drill: Updates from Urban Meyer's Press Luncheon November 25, 2013 Source: The Ozone - Meyer said that he grew up disliking M*ch*gan at a very young age, and then later apologized for actually saying the word “Michigan”. “That's the way I was brought up.” ... Meyer said this week “does feel different” than other weeks...
Asked about M*ch*gan's struggles this season, Meyer said, “In teams that care about rivalries, it doesn't matter.”...
Meyer said that M*ch*gan's defense is very well coached. “Whatever issues the rival has, it has nothing to do with their defense.”...
Updates from Ryan Shazier, CJ Barnett, Michael Bennett & Jack Mewhort...
• Ohio State enters the game with the nation's longest win streak at 23 games -- a program record.
• The Buckeyes, who have won nine of the last 11 meetings with Michigan, are ranked No. 3 in the BCS rankings.
• Ohio State ranks sixth nationally in rushing defense (95.3 ypg).
• Ohio State is one of three FBS schools to not allow a 100-yard rusher in 2013 (Syracuse, Wisconsin).
• Ohio State leads the Big Ten and ranks third in the NCAA in scoring with 48.7 ppg.
• Ohio State also leads the Big Ten and ranks fifth in the NCAA in rushing with 314.7 ypg.
• Junior QB Braxton Miller became the third Buckeye in program history to record 7,000 total yards in a career with 334 yards at Illinois.
• Senior RB Carlos Hyde became the first RB under Urban Meyer to rush for 1,000 yards in a season. He has rushed for 938 yards and 13 TDs in his last six games and leads the Big Ten in rushing in B1G play with 146.1 ypg.
• Junior LB Ryan Shazier leads the Big Ten in TFL with 19.5. He has 36 tackles in his last two games with 16 at Illinois and 20 vs. Indiana.
• Head coach Urban Meyer is 33-3 in November games since 2003, his first season at Utah.
GAME GEAR Ohio State will unveil a fifth Nike “rivalry” uniform for the game. The look features white jerseys with large scarlet numbers on front, and on the shoulder pads. Names across the back are in all black. See the uniforms HERE
Injury Update Source: The Ozone - Cornerback Doran Grant, dealing with an undisclosed injury, practiced with the team Sunday, coach Urban Meyer said Tuesday. Grant left Saturday's game against Indiana because of the injury and was replaced by freshman Cam Burrows. Meyer reiterated that Grant should be good to go Saturday at Michigan.
Junior linebacker Curtis Grant missed his second-consecutive game because of an ankle injury, and his status for Saturday is still unclear, Meyer said. After Saturday's game, Meyer said Grant could have played if they needed him. Monday, he said he expects that Grant will be ready by Saturday. Meyer again stressed the need for Grant to be active, and added that they'll find out more during practice Tuesday.
Cornerback Armani Reeves, who missed Saturday's game with an undisclosed injury, should be ready by Saturday, Meyer said. Reeves practiced with the team Sunday and Meyer said he should be "fine."
Senior receiver Philly Brown was limited in action Saturday against Indiana, catching just one pass for zero yards. Dealing with an unspecified injury, Brown wasn't on punt return duty as he has been all season. After the game, quarterback Braxton Miller called the injury "minor." Meyer said Brown should be ready for Saturday, but added that they will know more as the week progresses.
Game Data: Ohio State at M*ch*gan November 27, 2013 Source: Bucknuts.com - Pertinent info, depth charts and a prediction as No. 3 Ohio State visit Ann Arbor Saturday (12 Noon, ABC). Ohio State is one win away from tying Boise State for the longest FBS winning streak in the last decade. The Broncos won 24 straight between 2009-10. That is the longest streak dating to the 34-game streak by Miami (Fla.) from 2000-02, which OSU snapped at the 2003 Fiesta Bowl. ...
OHIO STATE (11-0, 7-0) AT MICHIGAN (7-4, 3-4) – NOON ET, ABC Source: BTN - Why you should watch: It’s known simply as “The Game.” Ohio State is looking to punctuate a second 12-0 season in a row with a win. The last time the Buckeyes lost? It was in Ann Arbor in 2011. A victory also will keep Ohio State’s BCS title game hopes alive. The Wolverines have lost four of their last six games in a season that has been a disappointment. But, no doubt, a win vs. Ohio State would ease the pain for Michigan fans and give the team a boost heading into the postseason. The Wolverines have been on the short end of this series lately, dropping eight of the last nine.
Player on the spot: Ohio State RB Carlos Hyde. Yes, Braxton Miller is special. But Hyde really makes things go. The guy has been a workhorse down the stretch, carrying 138 times for 1,064 yards and 13 TDs. And he averages a robust 7.7 yards per carry. And remember: He has missed three games due to suspension and played briefly in two others. If Hyde can hammer a Michigan defense that is No. 5 overall (353.0 ypg) and No. 2 vs. the run (95.3 ypg), the Buckeye attack will be very difficult to stop. Know this: OSU’s offense is No. 1 in the league (530.9 ypg) and No. 1 in rushing (314.7 ypg).
Key matchup: Michigan offensive line vs. Ohio State defensive line. The issues for the Wolverine front are well-documented, as the interior of the line has really struggled. As a result, Michigan is No. 11 in the Big Ten in rushing (128.8 ypg). So, honestly, it really hasn’t mattered who has run the ball: Fitz Toussaint, Derrick Green … the holes just haven’t been there. Bad news: Ohio State is No. 2 in the Big Ten in rush defense (95.3 ypg).
Key number: The Wolverines have allowed 102 tackles for loss this season. That’s second-to-last nationally.
Week 14 - Ohio State at Michigan Source: CollegeFootballNews.com - Why Ohio State Might Win: The Wolverine offensive line has been an issue over the second half of the season, and now the Buckeyes should be able to tee off wherever needed. Michigan is 7-0 this season when it has scored a rushing touchdown, and 0-4 when it doesn’t. How many times has Ohio State allowed a rushing score? Four in 11 games. Linebacker Ryan Shazier and the Buckeye defensive front seven are giving up fewer than 100 rushing yards per game this season, and Michigan’s ground attack is struggling – to be nice. No one has allowed more tackles for loss than the Wolverines, and Ohio State’s defense has been camping out in opposing backfields. If the Wolverines are going to win, they have to get the passing game going in high gear, but it’s been wildly inconsistent. However …
Why Michigan Might Win: Devin Gardner has to keep pressing. The running attack isn’t going to fly when he’s not taking off, but he has the moxie and the experience to take the shots down the field needed to press the okay, but banged up Buckeye secondary. Northwestern was on fire against OSU, completing over 80% of the passes for 343 yards, and everyone but Purdue and Florida A&M have been able to connect on touchdown passes. On the other side, to beat the Buckeyes, Michigan has to hold up against the run and deal with the OSU power – not a problem. While the Wolverines have allowed nine rushing scores in the last six games, they haven’t been gouged allowing just 3.23 rushing yards per game.
Who To Watch Out For: Carlos Hyde continues to take control, averaging a ridiculous 7.7 yards per carry with six straight 100-yard games with 13 touchdowns over that span. Last year he took control against the Wolverines with 146 yards and a score on 25 carries, and he’ll be a workhorse this time around, too.
- Michigan tight end Devin Funchess belonged as a finalist for the Mackey award. Steady, he has made 43 catches on the season as a field stretcher with 686 yards and five scores. He only has one touchdown grab since coming up with two against Penn State, but he needs to be a key part of the puzzle as an outlet target for Gardner.
- He might not win the Butkus, but Ohio State’s Ryan Shazier might be the nation’s best linebacker this season with a team-leading 109 tackles making a whopping 20 against Indiana and 16 against Illinois the week before. Not just great against the run, he has been unstoppable in the backfield with 4.5 sacks and 11.5 tackles for loss over the last three games. Last year he registered just five tackles against the Wolverines, but he came up with a sack.
- Fitzgerald Toussaint made plenty of noise two years ago when he ran for 120 yards as the main part of the offense in Michigan’s close call loss, but he was out for last season’s game. This year, he hasn’t been able to get back on track, with a concussion a part of the problem. While he’s trying to get back into the swing of things, freshmen De’Veon Smith and Derrick Green have taken over adding a bit more pop to the attack. Green is the better of the two, but Smith showed flashes.
What Will Happen: Ohio State will close strong. Michigan’s offense will find a sign of life and won’t get stopped cold, but the power of the Buckeye offensive front, and the running of Braxton Miller and Carlos Hyde, will be enough to overcome a shaky day from the secondary.
Prediction: Ohio State 31 … Michigan 17
Line: Ohio State -14.5 o/u
College Football Week 14 Picks and Predictions Source: WhatIfSports -
Ohio State Buckeyes 69.3% @ _ichigan Wolverines 30.7% Boxscore: OSU 25 TSUN 18...The college football simulation engine generates detailed information for each game including each team's chances of winning (Win%) and the average points scored for both teams.
Michigan's football tradition means everything to those who have played, coached, cheered, lived, taught or breathed air on this campus.
That's reality. That's what you sign up for. You sign up to play in front of 110,000-plus fans. To hold the rope for everyone who came before you, and helped turn this program into the winningest team in college football history.
That's just part of the deal.
The team, the team, the team, right?
At Michigan, they tell you to play for the team. But in reality, "the team" isn't always just the 115 players standing in the locker room before any given game. At Michigan, like it or not, "the team" carries the weight of 134 years of football, of 42 Big Ten titles and 78 All-Americans.
And while Michigan will always have to play for that team, on Saturday against Ohio State, the 2013 version of the Wolverines need to play for this team -- and no one else.
Because, if you're going to be part of something that's truly bigger than yourself, you first need to get the 115 players occupy the six inches to the right or left of you to walk in unison.
And, barring a season-opening laugher against Central Michigan, this season, Michigan -- this team -- has yet to come together in unison for a full 60 minutes.
Against Notre Dame, the offense was on fire, but the defense struggled. Against Akron and Connecticut, the defense bailed out the offensive line. At Penn State, the offense and defense made plays, but special teams fell apart. Indiana was a defensive debacle and an offensive explosion.
Against Michigan State, Nebraska, Northwestern and Iowa, the defense did all it could, but the offense did next to nothing.
Never once since the season-opener has this team been on the same page, together, at the same time for an entire football game.
And, who knows? Maybe if all three parts of this particular team give their best overall game, the result will still be a loss. But at least we'll know. There won't be any more what ifs or, if only's or why not's.
Michigan and Ohio State is a game that's soaked in tradition and history, and it'll always be a part of the fabric that holds both programs together.
Asked this week if he had any former player or coach come speak to this football team, Michigan coach Brady Hoke said that no, he didn't. The one person -- he wouldn't say who -- he had in mind had a scheduling conflict.
Maybe that's not a bad thing. Maybe this team doesn't need any rah-rah speeches from someone who figured out what it means to play for that team.
This team, the 2013 team, the 134th team, needs to figure out how to play for each other -- and each other alone -- on Saturday. Once and for all.
Other keys to Saturday's game:
A big day needed from Devin Funchess
Iowa was physical with Devin Funchess last week, and Michigan's dynamic 6-foot-4 wide receiver/tight end hybrid did not respond.
He dropped passes. He didn't get open. He was a non-factor.
And, as a result, Jeremy Gallon wasn't free to do much either. If Funchess is making plays, it allows Gallon more room to make them as well. Which, in turn, releases some of the ever mounting pressure that seems to be building up inside Devin Gardner's helmet.
Funchess has to be a weapon in this game. He can't just be a threat. He has to be a weapon. Michigan has to be able to flip the field and open up some room inside, and it has a huge, physically imposing wide receiver who can do just that.
This has to be a grow up game for a lot of players on this team, and Funchess is no exception. You want to be a star? You leave your mark on a game like this.
Slowing Carlos Hyde
Braxton Miller has improved in just about every area this season, but the player who continues to wow me at Ohio State is Carlos Hyde.
This guy is a man. There's really no other way to say it.
Hyde is averaging more than 7 yards per carry, and when the Buckeyes need something to happen on offense, they look to their 6-foot, 242-pound running back to make it happen. He carried the ball 26 times for 146 yards in the Buckeyes' win over Michigan last season, but you got the sense he could have carried it 46 times if he needed to.
An incredibly gifted mix of power, speed and balance, Hyde coupled with Miller is a terror. But Miller, at least in the past, has made a few mistakes that have allowed teams to have a chance.
If you can somehow take away Hyde and put everything on Miller's shoulders, you might have a chance.
Now or never, offensive line
Michigan's offensive line has yet to answer the ever-ringing bell this season. The Wolverines have four losses this year, and in reality, it's hard to put the bulk of those defeats anywhere else but at the feet of Michigan's front five.
Specifically, its interior three.
Michigan is going back to the Erik Magnuson-Graham Glasgow-Kyle Kalis combination again this week. Glasgow has now made 11 starts as a college player. Kalis has made seven. Magnuson's made five.
They've seen the speed and power of college football up close all season. If they're going to prove they've grown at all this season, it has to be right now.
If Michigan cannot maintain anything remotely close to a decent time of possession in this game, it'll get blown off the field. Ohio State will score, score and score some more once Michigan's defense exhausts itself against poor field position.
The offensive line has to grow up and find a way.
Because, if not now, when?
I wrote this a couple of weeks ago, before the Northwestern game, that at some point -- football needed to start being fun again for Michigan.
It really hasn't gotten there yet. And maybe it won't. But if this group is ever going to get anything done again this season, it's going to have to cut loose and just play.
Devin Gardner looked petrified last week at Iowa, terrified that one mistake would completely unravel the football game. He was tight. The offensive line was tight. The running backs were tight. Al Borges was tight.
And as a result, the offense sputtered -- again.
This season's already been a completely underwhelming disappointment for Michigan, thanks in large part to a group that's routinely tried to overcompensate for routine errors rather than just walking out and playing through it.
Rivalry games are supposed to be fun. You're supposed to play with emotion and with reckless abandon in these games.
When the year began, I actually believed Michigan matched up better against Ohio State than it did Michigan State. I thought the Buckeyes were somewhat suspect on defense, and though they're a juggernaut on offense, they could be beaten.
But that was a long time ago. Before I saw Michigan's offense, specifically its offensive line, completely flounder. The Wolverines have no momentum. They've been on the mat for weeks. They're more than likely drained both emotionally and physically. Ohio State, meanwhile, is playing for a championship. This is business. And on Saturday, I expect the Buckeyes to take care of it.
Ohio State 34, Michigan 14
Before the season, some wondered if this would be the first of consecutive matchups between these two teams. The Buckeyes held up their end of the bargain, while the Wolverines are fortunate to already be bowl eligible. The two programs are just trending in the opposite direction right now.
Ohio State leads the Big Ten in sacks, which is bad news for Devin Gardner. Gardner is a warrior, but he isn't healthy, and he may not finish this game in one piece. Meanwhile, Michigan's defense has been trying to hold up the offense for the last month, and will finally break. Braxton Miller is the Big Ten's most dynamic player and Urban Meyer will unleash him Saturday.
Ohio State 38, Michigan 13
“Yeah, I do,” he said on today’s “Stoney and Bill” show on WXYT-FM (97.1). “Those kids are 10 points away, to be honest with you, from winning 10 games. That’s a block, a dropped ball, a missed kick, maybe a play call that could have gone differently or a tackle. Whatever it is. That’s the one thing that, talking to our players, that’s why the execution is so critical, and how you prepare every week to play your best football.”
Asked whether he is worried about the program dropping off, he didn’t hesitate.
“No,” he said. “I say that because I’m at practice every day; I see the young football team, in a lot of ways, how they’re coming to work every day, the things they’re doing in their preparation.”...
Once. And it was for 252 yards in a 63-14 win over Penn State.
Yet Miller, the Ohio State junior quarterback set to face Michigan on Saturday (Noon, TV: ABC), is, in the words of U-M defensive coordinator Greg Mattison, “By far the most complete quarterback that we’re going to face this year.”
That’s because the arm is only part of the equation.
Since returning from a sprained left knee that cost him almost three full early games, Miller has averaged 202.6 yards passing, 93.7 yards rushing, thrown for 17 touchdowns and rushed for five.
He will be, on the field and off, the center of Saturday’s attention. ABC cameras will follow his every step. Michigan defenders will chase them.
“Braxton Miller is a great football player,” Mattison said. “I’m very, very impressed with his development. He’s becoming a complete quarterback. He’s not only a tremendous athlete, but he’s got a very, very good arm and he’s making a lot of great decisions.”
Miller has thrown only four interceptions in 2013. His pass efficiency rating sits at 165.79. Always known as shifty speedster, he’s grown through his junior season into a balance of run and gun. He’s gained consistency.
After completing 58.3 percent of his passes last year, Miller’s completion percentage is now 67.7 -- ranking 13th nationally, ahead of Clemson’s Tajh Boyd, Northern Illinois’ Jordan Lynch, LSU’s Zach Mettenberger, Georgia’s Aaron Murray and Oregon’s Marcus Mariota.
Granted, those quarterbacks throw more often than Miller, but the numbers paint the picture of a smarter, sharper quarterback operating in a system (molded by Urban Meyer) highlighting his strengths.
“That’s why they are who they are,” Mattison said.
And they are the seventh-ranked offense in the country, averaging 530.9 yards and 48.7 points per game.
Miller’s improving arm only allows him to bait defenses even more. After posting a school-record 3,310 yards of total offense and finishing fifth in last year’s Heisman Trophy voting, he's that much better this season.
“He’s such a great athlete that when you try to pressure him, you better make sure that you’ve got every base covered,” Mattison said. “Because when he does break or when he does beat a guy with his athleticism, a lot of the time you’re running with wide receivers and there’s a pretty big field open.”
As much as attention given to Ohio State's attack centers on Miller, running back Carlos Hyde is just as valuable.
Despite being suspended for the first three games of the season, the senior has eclipsed 1,000 yards on the season. A ho-hum 18-rush, 117-yard, two-touchdown performance against Indiana last weekend gave him 1,064 yards and 13 touchdowns for the season.
“The best running back in the league,” Mattison said of Hyde, who averages 7.7 yards per carry.
“He’s a downhill, hard-nosed running back that can catch the ball, that can do it all,” he added.
This is nothing new. In Ohio State’s 26-21 win over Michigan a year ago, Miller completed 14-of-18 passes for 189 touchdowns and one touchdown, while Hyde carried the ball 26 times for 146 yards and a touchdown.
“They’ve got the running back. They’ve got the quarterback. That’s a pretty good start,” Mattison said.
• TE Devin Funchess’ 686 receiving yards in 2013 are the most all-time by a U-M tight end in a single season.
• WR Jeremy Gallon is the 10th U-M player to surpass 1,000 receiving yards in a season. The feat has only been accomplished 13 times in program history. Gallon has posted a reception in 37 straight
• CB Blake Countess leads the Big Ten with five interceptions.
• LB Frank Clark has collected a tackle-for-loss in six consecutive games.
• LT Taylor Lewan is only the ninth M*ch*gan offensive lineman to be a starter for four seasons for the Maize and Blue.