The Ohio State Buckeyes may not get to play in a bowl game this season, but they can take solace in their undefeated record after a scintillating 26-21 victory over the Michigan Wolverines on Saturday.
Ohio State was led by running back Carlos Hyde and a defense that caused four Michigan turnovers. Hyde rushed for 146 yards and a touchdown on 26 carries in a game that felt like two completely different halves of football.
For those who like high-scoring football, the first half was perfect, as both offenses soared down the field with ease.
Ohio State's opening drive started with a beautiful 52-yard bomb from Braxton Miller to Devin Smith, which led to a short Hyde touchdown.
Not to be outdone, the Wolverines came firing right back with a 75-yard touchdown pass from Devin Gardner to Roy Roundtree. That brought the score to a standstill at 7-7 until the Buckeyes nailed a field goal toward the end of the quarter.
The scoring assault continued throughout the remainder of the half, and the second period was witness to the play of the day from Michigan's Denard Robinson. The thrilling senior broke off an amazing 67-yard run that even left the Ohio State faithful in awe.
Robinson's touchdown put the Wolverines ahead 21-17, and they went into the half ahead by a point. But unfortunately for Michigan, that ended up being their final score of the day.
In the second half, the offensive brilliance completely came to a standstill. Both defenses made strong adjustments and came firing out of the gate, and the only scores were two field goals by Drew Basil.
For the Buckeyes, the win is huge, but it undoubtedly rings a little hollow. Urban Meyer's first season in Columbus was one for the ages, but there will be no national championship opportunity due to NCAA sanctions.
Nonetheless, Saturday was a day for celebration for the Buckeyes.
If you're looking for some controversy on Saturday, it came in the form of Ohio State celebrating former head coach Jim Tressel and the 2002 national championship team at halftime. If you remember, it's NCAA transgressions in Tressel's tenure that are keeping the Buckeyes from bowl eligibility this season.
Bleacher Report's Twitter feed had a great picture of the celebration, which included carrying Tressel off the field:
Jim Tressel gets carried off the field by the 2002 national championship team. The Ohio State crowd cheers. twitter.com/BleacherReport…— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) November 24, 2012
Back on the field, Denard Robinson's great game led ESPN Stats & Information to drop some knowledge about the Wolverines quarterback's brilliance on the ground:
Denard Robinson now tied with Pat White with the most games with 100 Rush Yds & Rush TD as a QB since 2004 (16). #MICHvsOSU— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) November 24, 2012
While he wound up staying in the game, Braxton Miller took a pretty big hit early in the first half. The Michigan Daily's Stephen J. Nesbitt saw the hit and wondered whether or not the Ohio State quarterback still knew where he was:
Frank Clark just sent Braxton Miller into the future. Or back in time. I'm not really sure. And neither is Braxton.— Stephen J. Nesbitt (@stephenjnesbitt) November 24, 2012
When Carlos Hyde got a critical first down to finish the game, he got in a little ribbing of Robinson via a celebration. Mark Schwab of 92.3 The Fan in Cleveland seems to think he'll get enjoyment out of that for years to come:
Seriously, I might laugh for years about Carlos Hyde mocking Denard's stupid spoon trick. What a ridiculous celebration.— Mark Schwab (@MarkSchwab) November 24, 2012
Meanwhile, Buckeye Nation's Twitter feed likely echoes the sentiments of many Ohio State faithful with an endorsement for Urban Meyer as coach of the year:
Coach of the year!!! Urban Meyer. Thanks coach. Go Buckeyes!— BuckeyeNation (@BuckeyeNation) November 24, 2012