Michigan's Two-Point Conversion Attempt Against Ohio State: Taking a Closer Look

Tom Logan@ThomasDLoganCorrespondent IDecember 2, 2013

Michigan's two-point conversion attempt culminated in a Buckeye celebration.
Michigan's two-point conversion attempt culminated in a Buckeye celebration.Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

Following Devin Gardner's touchdown pass to Devin Funchess that pulled Michigan to within one with 32 seconds remaining, Brady Hoke gathered his most tenured players and had a simple question for them. 

"Seniors, do you want to go for it?" The answer was a resounding yes, as CBS Detroit reported. 

It was a storyline compelling enough to be the subject of a book. What followed, however, was a two-point conversion attempt in which Gardner forced his throw into double coverage and was intercepted by Ohio State's Tyvis Powell. 

Let's take a closer look at the play that decided the outcome of the game. 

When the Wolverine offense initially lined up for the attempt, Urban Meyer called timeout. Presumably, Meyer wanted to see the formation that the offense presented in order to make any necessary adjustments prior to the play.

Following the timeout, the offense lined in the same formation but motioned receiver Drew Dileo from the left side of the line to the right prior the the snap, forming a stacked trips-right look. Cornerback Brandon Roby stayed put on the left side of the line, showing Gardner that the Buckeyes were in a two-deep zone coverage. 

Judging by Gardner's quick look to Dileo, who ran a hook route to the front of the end zone, Dileo was Gardner's first read. Funchess, who was the lead receiver in the three-man stack, ran to the back of the end zone, where the inside safety picked him up.

This was after Powell stuck to his assignment and let Funchess go, staying inside and jumping in front of Gardner's pass to make the interception. When Gardner released the ball, Dileo was bracketed on both sides by Powell on the left and cornerback Doran Grant on the right. 

Had Powell followed Funchess, who had just beaten the Buckeyes on a jump ball minutes earlier, Gardner would have had space on the inside to connect with Dileo. 

While Gardner's mobility was limited after tweaking his knee in the third quarter, the offensive line was holding its blocks and had created a comfortable pocket for him. Had he taken a few steps forward and rolled to his right, he would have likely had Gallon, who had run an out route, open in the corner of the end zone. Obviously, this is an easy thing to second guess. 

Despite giving up 603 total yards to the Wolverines, credit the Buckeyes defense for a critical stop that keeps Ohio State's BCS National Championship hopes alive.