BY CHRIS ZADOROZNY, Staff Writer
For the first time in seven seasons, the Michigan Wolverines beat the Ohio State Buckeyes. It was a nervous, exciting, and emotional roller coaster type game that any many fans would die to be at.
This past Saturday at The Big House in Ann Arbor, Brady Hoke, in his first ever season as head coach at the University of Michigan, led the Wolverines to a dramatic win in the rivalry dubbed “The Game.”
For the first time in three years, Michigan had a quarterback that was better than the Buckeyes’. Junior quarterback Denard Robinson led the way for the Wolverines over true freshman Braxton Miller of the Buckeyes. Miller was the first true freshman to start for the Buckeyes in school history. Amid all the turmoil the Buckeyes endured over the past six months, they still tried to get on with their program and prepare themselves for their biggest game of the season.
Michigan had been preparing since Hoke was hired back in January, when he said this was the most important game on the schedule. “The Game” always has something to it. Something more.
This year saw coaching turmoil among Buckeye Nation. Interim Head Coach Luke Fickell, who took the job after former “sweater-vest” coach Jim Tressel resigned over allegations of selling memorabilia, is rumored to be out of a job since early last week. The assumed new head coach of the Buckeyes is former Florida Gators coach Urban Meyer, who got his start as a graduate assistant at Ohio State back in the late 80s.
The game was off to a great start for the Buckeyes, making things seem all too much the same for Michigan fans. Sophomore wide receiver Corey Brown caught a 54-yard pass for a touchdown on the sixth play of the game. The Michigan offense could not produce anything on their first possession and had to punt, but would soon score after stopping the Buckeye offense. With great field position, Robinson ran 41 yards into the end zone for a touchdown to tie the game at seven apiece after the PAT.
After that, the game started to get a little weird. The Michigan defense scored a safety (two points) after defensive end Mike Adams was called for a holding penalty in the end zone, giving Michigan a 9-7 lead. The Wolverines would then receive the ball back on a punt where they would capitalize with a 26-yard touchdown reception by wide receiver Junior Hemingway. It was 16-7 Michigan to end the first quarter.
Ohio State received the ball on a fourth down punt by Michigan to start the second quarter. Buckeye Kicker Drew Basil kicked a 45-yard field goal to cut the lead to 16-10. Robinson fumbled the ball on the following drive, resulting in a 19-yard touchdown run by Miller. The Buckeyes took the lead, 17-16, but it did not last long. Robinson would run six yards for a Wolverine touchdown to re-take the lead, 23-17.
Senior wide receiver DeVier Posey of the Buckeyes made his presence known on the field with a 43-yard touchdown reception. The Buckeyes again took the lead, 24-23, going into halftime.
At the start of the game, Michigan won the coin toss and deferred. It was a smart move considering they started the second half with the ball. It worked. Robinson found wide receiver Martavious Odoms for a 20-yard touchdown reception, taking almost six minutes off the clock. The Wolverines had the lead yet again, 30-24. Both the Michigan defense and Ohio State defense did their jobs, stopping the opposing offenses to end the third quarter with the same score.
Drew Basil kicked a 21-yard field goal to cut the lead to 30-27 in the fourth quarter. Robinson found tight end Kevin Koger for a four-yard touchdown reception on the following drive to lengthen the lead to 37-27, seemingly putting the game a touchdown and a field goal away for the Buckeyes.
Somehow, Ohio State kept climbing and never gave up. Running back Dan Herron made his mark on the game with a four-yard touchdown run, cutting the Michigan lead back to three points, 37-34, with about seven minutes to go.
On the following drive, Michigan took up over five minutes of clock time after kicker Brandon Gibbons kicked a 43-yard field goal to extend the lead to six points, 40-34. With two minutes to go, Braxton Miller needed to find a way to lead his team to a comeback win but could not. On a fourth down, with six yards to go, Miller’s pass was tipped and intercepted by cornerback Courtney Avery, sealing the first win in seven seasons.
Robinson led the way on both fronts, in passing and rushing yards. The win helped Michigan to its first 10-win season since 2006. They also secured their first 8-0 home record since The Big House opened.
The Wolverines are currently ranked 16 in the BCS polls. It has yet to be decided what bowl game the team will go to. Announcements will be made on December 2. Stay tuned for updates, and as always, Go Blue!