Ohio St falls 40-34, first loss to Mich since ’03
After all the losses, turmoil and speculation about the future,
Ohio State could cling to one last vestige of a joyous era.
The Buckeyes entered Michigan Stadium with seven consecutive
victories over their biggest rivals, hoping another win over the
Wolverines would give them reason to rejoice amid a frustrating
Instead, Denard Robinson and Michigan snapped a streak Ohio
State had cherished as much as any accomplishment.
Robinson accounted for five touchdowns, helping the 17th-ranked
Wolverines beat Ohio State 40-34 on Saturday for their first win in
the storied rivalry since 2003. The Buckeyes trailed by 10 midway
through the fourth quarter, but nearly stunned their hosts with a
late rally before a last-minute interception sealed their fate.
”It’s a weird feeling,” Ohio State wide receiver DeVier Posey
said. ”We’re not really used to it.”
The Buckeyes (6-6, 3-5 Big Ten) came in as underdogs following a
tumultuous year. Coach Jim Tressel left in May – his downfall
coming when it was learned he knew that several of his players had
accepted cash and tattoos from a tattoo parlor, the focus of a
federal drug-trafficking investigation. Ohio State is awaiting NCAA
penalties stemming from several violations.
Star quarterback Terrelle Pryor, initially suspended for five
games for receiving benefits in violation of NCAA bylaws, left for
the NFL. Interim coach Luke Fickell took over and tried to guide
the Buckeyes through an up-and-down season, but now his future is
uncertain – numerous reports have said former Florida coach Urban
Meyer is on his way to taking over at Ohio State.
Fickell avoided talking about his future after the game.
”Out of respect for the Ohio State-Michigan rivalry, I wasn’t
going to think about it and wasn’t going to talk about it,” he
After multiple questions about his status, the emotional coach
pounded the table while trying to change the subject.
”Like I said, it’s about the Ohio State-Michigan game,” he
said. ”It’s been about that since last Sunday. It’s going to be
about that always.”
Center Mike Brewster said after the game that Tressel addressed
the team Friday.
”To be able to see him again, I think it definitely got us
pumped, up,” he said. ”It was an honor.”
The Buckeyes were ready when they took the field, taking an
early lead when freshman Braxton Miller found a wide open Corey
Brown for a 54-yard touchdown. Miller threw for 235 yards and two
touchdowns, and he also ran for 100 yards and a TD.
But Ohio State couldn’t contain Robinson, who went 14 of 17 for
167 yards and three touchdowns, while also running for 170 yards
and two TDs.
Robinson’s 4-yard scoring pass to Kevin Koger gave Michigan
(10-2, 6-2) its biggest lead of the game at 37-27 with 8:32 to
play, but the Buckeyes needed only 1:23 to drive the other way for
Dan Herron’s 4-yard touchdown run.
Michigan was forced to settle for a six-point lead with 1:59
left on Brendan Gibbons’ career-long 43-yard field goal after two
touchdowns were negated by a video review and then penalties. That
gave the Buckeyes a chance to win it on their final drive.
Miller threw deep for Posey down the left sideline, and for a
moment it looked like Ohio State’s No. 8 was going to score a long
touchdown to give the Buckeyes victory No. 8 in row over
But the ball was overthrown.
”I thought he had it,” Miller said.
After converting one fourth down with an acrobatic run, Miller
spiked the ball later in the drive, bringing up fourth-and-6.
Courtney Avery’s interception gave the Wolverines the victory and a
possible bid to a BCS bowl in Brady Hoke’s first season as their
”I got the best job in the world,” Hoke said.
Michigan ended a drought against Ohio State that lasted more
than 2,900 days. Now it’s the Buckeyes who are trying to recover.
They’ve said they wouldn’t pass up the chance to go to a bowl game
– if the NCAA allows them to play in the postseason – but the
long-term question is who will be coaching them next year.
”If I was on the Board of Trustees, I would give you that
answer, but I don’t know,” Posey said. ”I love Coach Fickell.
He’s a great guy, he’s a great coach and he’s a great leader. I
can’t make that call. All I know is I love playing for the
Former Ohio State running back and 1995 Heisman Trophy winner
Eddie George is expecting a change, saying the fact that Meyer
wasn’t in Ann Arbor with his ESPN crew was an obvious sign that
he’s the next coach of the Buckeyes.
”I think it’s a move they feel like they have to make,” George
told The Associated Press on Saturday morning at Michigan Stadium,
where he was working as an analyst. ”He certainly is the biggest
name out there and his resume speaks for itself. If you’re going to
go after somebody, you want to go after the biggest fish in the
pond and he’s that guy.”