Urban Meyer called it “an instant classic.” Brady Hoke said “We played the game to win.” In the end, it was Hoke’s call to go for the win in regulation rather than send The Game into overtime that proved decisive in Ohio State’s 42-41 victory Saturday in Ann Arbor. Buckeye safety Tyvis Powell stepped in front of Devin Gardner’s pass on a two-point conversion attempt at the goal line with 30 seconds to play, his interception preserving a perfect 12-0 regular season for the Buckeyes, and their 9th win in the last 10 meetings with their rivals to the north.
Ohio State had secured a berth in the Big Ten title game even before this one kicked off, but as usual, emotions were running high, and a 2nd quarter brawl marred the spectacle, resulting in the ejections of two OSU players and one from Michigan. Freshman back Dontre Wilson and senior guard Marcus Hall threw punches in the melee, and backup Wolverines linebacker Royce Jenkins-Stone was tossed for ripping off Wilson’s helmet, among other violations.
When the last-minute onsides kick attempt by the Wolverines failed, and victory was assured, the Buckeyes knew their hopes for a shot at the national championship were still alive. Three hours later, when No. 1 Alabama fell to Auburn, the erstwhile No. 3 Buckeyes found themselves in the driver’s seat for a berth in the January 6th title game. After all the angst about multiple unbeatens and who’s jumping whom, the moral of the story turns out to be...win all your games, and the rest will take care of itself.