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Saturday marked the 108th meeting between the Michigan Wolverines and Ohio State Buckeyes. On this day, it was Michigan who found a way to come out on top with a 40-34 victory at home.
Michigan now leads the all-time series 58-44-6, but the Wolverines and their fans would not have known it coming into this match-up at The Big House in Ann Arbor. On the contrary, they felt particularly dominated by Ohio State in recent memory. Maybe it had to do with the fact that the Buckeyes were the ones who were doing all of the winning over the course of the last seven meetings.
Michigan was poised to put an end to the bullying, however. They entered the game ranked fifteenthin the BCS standings with a 9-2 record, whereas Ohio State, who is still suffering from the fallout from this past summer involving former head coach, Jim Tressel, along with several players, sat at just 6-5.
The Wolverines knew that this was their best opportunity in years, but the Buckeyes would not go down without a fight. Ohio State true freshman quarterback, Braxton Mille, came out firing, as he threw a 54 yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Corey Brown on the opening drive of the game. The play was the longest of the passing variety for the Buckeyes in all of 2011. In fact, the only two teams in the entire country to pass for less yardage than Ohio State were Army and Navy.
Michigan wanted to stop the bleeding right there, but went three and out on their first possession. However, they were able to force a three and out of their own, and senior quarterback, Denard Robinson, tied the game with a 41 yard touchdown run down the right sideline.
The following drive saw something for which Michigan fans had been waiting years. On third down from his own three yard line, Ohio State was flagged in the end zone on a Braxton Miller pass. The call was holding, which resulted in a safety against the Buckeyes. Michigan was awarded two points, which resulted in a 9-7 lead, their first lead against Ohio State since November 17, 2007.
The two programs went back and forth throughout the first half, and Ohio State led 24-23 going into the locker room. The Wolverines were in an excellent position and aimed to finish off the deal in the second half. They opened the second half with a 20 yard touchdown reception by wide receiver, Martavious Odoms, capping off a nearly six minute drive that gave them the lead.
Ohio State was unable to take full advantage of a fumble by Michigan’s punter, as they only scored a field goal after starting the drive at the Wolverines’ 32. The game grew more intense as the teams exchanged touchdowns on the next two possessions, making the score 37-34 Michigan late in the fourth quarter.
After beginning at his own 20 yard line, Robinson led his team down to the Ohio State goal line, when running back Fitzgerald Toussaint rushed for a touchdown that appeared to end the game. However, video review showed that his knee was down before crossing the plane, and Michigan had to try again on third and goal.
Robinson ran in a touchdown on the following play, but two penalties against Michigan backed them up a total of 25 yards, where they were unable to convert. They settled for a field goal and had to find a way to stop Braxton Miller, who ran for a total of 100 yards. The drive began at the Ohio State 20 with 1:59 remaining. Miller was able to convert on fourthand six to keep the drive alive, but missed a costly opportunity on the previous play with an overthrow of a wide open DeVier Posey down the left sideline.
Miller did all he could, but Michigan sealed the victory with an interception by Courtney Avery. Miller threw for 235 yards and two touchdowns, but was outdueled by Robinson in the end. In the final home game of his career, Robinson was spectacular. He had five touchdowns, two rushing and three passing, as he ran for 170 yards and threw for 167.
Michigan’s defensive end, Ryan Van Bergen, perfectly summed up what this day meant for his school, saying, “This game is more than a win. It’s bigger than that. It encompasses way more.”
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