Wolverines Suffer One-Point Defeat to No. 3 Buckeyes
The University of Michigan football team scored six offensive touchdowns and had a chance to take the lead with 32 seconds remaining in the game, but the Maize and Blue's two-point conversion failed, and Ohio State (No. 3 AP, No. 3 USA Today) escaped with a 42-41 win on Saturday afternoon (Nov. 30) in front of 113,511 fans in Michigan Stadium.
After 14 straight points from the Wolverines, Ohio State went ahead, 42-35, with 2:20 left on a one-yard touchdown run from Carlos Hyde.
Michigan followed with an 11-play, 84-yard drive to cut the Buckeye lead to one. Completions to sophomore Devin Funchess (Farmington Hills, Mich./Harrison) (14 yards) and senior Drew Dileo (Greenwell Springs, La./Parkview Baptist) (13 yards) put Michigan at its own 43. An 11-yard completion to Dileo followed by a 13-yard catch from fifth-year senior Joe Reynolds (Rochester, Mich./Rochester Adams) gave Michigan the ball on Ohio State's 33. The Wolverines called timeout with 50 seconds left after a Gardner sack. On 3rd-and-8, senior/junior Devin Gardner (Detroit, Mich./Inkster) completed a pass to fifth-year senior Fitzgerald Toussaint (Youngstown, Ohio/Liberty) for 29 yards to the OSU two. Gardner connected again with Funchess for a two-yard touchdown on the very next play as the Maize and Blue trailed 42-41 with 32 seconds left. On the two-point conversion attempt, Gardner's pass to Dileo was intercepted. Michigan tried an onside kick, which was recovered by the Buckeyes, who kneeled down to ice it.
Gardner went 32-of-45 for 451 yards, the second-highest mark in program history, and four touchdowns. He also ran for a touchdown and helped the Maize and Blue rack up 603 total yards of offense. Fifth-year senior Jeremy Gallon (Apopka, Fla./Apopka) tallied 175 receiving yards on nine catches, while freshman Jake Butt (Pickerington, Ohio/Pickerington) caught five passes for 85 yards and a touchdown. On the ground, freshman De'Veon Smith (Warren, Ohio/Howland) ran for 57 yards on seven carries, while Toussaint joined Gardner with a rushing touchdown.
Both teams scored a pair of touchdowns in a 28-point first quarter. After the Wolverines forced the Buckeyes to punt on their first drive, the Maize and Blue executed a five-play, 99-yard drive to take a 7-0 lead. Gardner hit Gallon on a bubble screen for an 84-yard reception down to the OSU two-yard line. Two plays later, Gardner sneaked into the end zone with 9:24 left in the first quarter to give the Wolverines the early advantage. Ohio State answered on its next drive as Braxton Miller hit Devin Smith on a 53-yard touchdown pass with 5:08 left in the first.
Michigan retook the lead with 2:11 left in the first on a seven-play, 70-yard touchdown drive that took 2:57. Gardner first hit Butt for a 37-yard pass to the Buckeye 22. Three plays later, Toussaint scored on a four-yard run, giving the Maize and Blue the 14-7 lead. However, Ohio State knotted the score at 14 on a 53-yard Miller quarterback rush for a touchdown.
The Wolverines scored for the third straight drive when a 17-yard touchdown pass to Gallon capped a four-play, 78-yard march to start the second quarter. Funchess hurdled an OSU defender on a 22-yard pass on the play before the score.
The next two Ohio State drives ended in an interception by sophomore Blake Countess (Owings Mills, Md./Our Lady of Good Counsel) and a punt, but the Buckeyes knotted the game at 21-all just before halftime. Miller ended a seven-play, 91-yard drive with a 21-yard touchdown run with 1:03 left.
Michigan and Ohio State each went three and out on its first drive of the second half. The Wolverines had a 20-yard strike from Gardner to Dileo on their next drive, but a Gardner fumble at the OSU 45-yard line turned the ball over to the Buckeyes. Ohio State went 55 yards on five plays, capped by a three-yard scamper from Miller, his third rushing touchdown of the game, to give the Buckeyes a 28-21 advantage with 6:59 left in the third quarter. Michigan drove down the field on its next possession with the help of a 38-yard run by Smith, but the drive stalled at the Ohio State 14 as Gardner's pass to Dileo on 4th-and-two fell incomplete.
Ohio State extended its lead to 35-21 with 1:05 left in the third on a six-play, 86-yard drive after the U-M turnover on downs. The score came when Miller connected with Jeff Heuerman from 22 yards out.
The Maize and Blue struck on the next drive, as Gardner's 11-yard pass to Dileo in the end zone capped an 11-play, 83-yard drive that took 4:50. Michigan then forced a fumble on the Buckeyes' next drive, and junior Desmond Morgan (Holland, Mich./West Ottawa) covered it, giving the Wolverines possession on the Ohio State 41 with 10:30 remaining in the game.
The Wolverines capitalized on the Ohio State miscue. After Gardner scampered for 14 yards to the Buckeye 26, the Wolverines got it to the OSU 12 after a 16-yard pass from Gardner to Gallon. Michigan then converted on a 4th-and-2 from the Ohio State four on a three-yard Gardner sneak. Three plays later, Gardner connected with Butt for a two-yard touchdown pass, tying the game at 35 with 5:01 left.
The Wolverines amassed 31 first downs in the game, forced a pair of Buckeye turnovers and were led on defense by a trio of players with six tackles.
Miller accounted for five of Ohio State's six touchdowns (three rushing, two passing) and was 6-of-15 in the air for 133 yards and had 153 rushing yards. Hyde ran for 226 yards and a touchdown on 27 carries.