I will remember losing.
Ohio State 42, Michigan 41
The lasting image of this game will be Devin Gardner, injured, spent, and devastated, flat on his back after his pass on the potential game-winning two-point conversion found Buckeye instead of Wolverine.
It's a shame, really, as Gardner gave one of great performances in the history of The Game today, leading a Michigan offensive explosion beyond anybody's wildest predictions. Gardner threw for 451 yards and four touchdowns, rushed for 34 yards and another score (above, Upchurch), and did all this despite clearly playing at less than 100%. The trio of running backs combined for 137 yards and another score on 24 carries; Al Borges, the offensive line, and the skill position players all had their best performances in over a month—603 total yards against the 13th-ranked defense in the country.
After Gardner lobbed a two-yard jump ball to Devin Funchess to make the score 42-41, Brady Hoke asked his seniors if they wanted to go for two and the win; Taylor Lewan said after the game that, to a man, the answer was yes. In a game that calls for cliché, they left it all on the field.
The Buckeyes did too, of course. The Michigan defense simply couldn't find a way to stop Braxton Miller (153 yards and three rushing TDs) and Carlos Hyde (226 yards and a score on 27 carries) on the ground; when OSU went to the air, they didn't hit often—Miller finished just 6/15 on the day—but when they did it went big, as Miller's six completions went for 133 yards and two more touchdowns. Missing safety Jarrod Wilson and weakside LB James Ross, not to mention focusing heavily on stopping the run, the defense repeatedly allowed big plays over the middle. By the time the Buckeyes got the ball with five minutes left and the game knotted at 35, the defense looked gassed and played like it, ceding a one-yard scoring plunge by Hyde to cap a six-play, 65-yard drive that featured exclusively runs.
Gardner was masterful in the two-minute drill, finding Funchess, then Drew Dileo twice, then Joe Reynolds, Justice Hayes, and Toussaint to move the Wolverines 82 yards before netting the final two and six points on the lob to Funchess. Michigan tried to free up a receiver on a rub route on the two-point conversion; the Buckeyes had it covered, though, and Gardner's hopeful throw landed in the arms of Tyvis Powell.
Michigan didn't just give Ohio State a fight—quite literally, in a couple instances (above, Fuller)—they played their part in an instant classic. Devin Gardner might've ended the game on his back; I'll remember all the times he got up before that, and what he did while he was standing, above all else.
Your dad fucked you up good, didn't he?
First time over here, and first time commenting.
I just want to say that the team I saw up there in Ann Arbor was a different team than we have seen all year...and that is a good thing. It is good for the rivalry and good for college football.
Despite a few snarky things on both sides of the fence that occured,, I want to say "thank you" to you as fans. Even though we pretty much "hate" each other, it is a respectful hate, and hopefully, with improvement next year (and I'm sure it will happen) for your team, these two teams will reestablish the strength of the Big Ten, as it should be.
I really DO hope you go out in your bowl game and decimate whoever you play, because again, this is good for all of us.
I lived in Pontiac for five years (bible college at Midwestern Baptist) and made many friends from north of the border, and I believe as we go forward into the dawn of the playoff, that you will return to prominence and represent the conference as in days of old.
As much as I fear a return to "normalcy" in the rivalry, it is coming. Of that I am sure.
Get boned, buckeye.
I'm kidding. Your sentiment is welcome. We respect/hate you in equal parts.
I wasn't really kidding, though.
Interesting stuff. I knew we would go for two and told the people around me as much before we scored. Its the way Coach Hoke works. I also disagreed with it. And when we failed, I honestly, for the first time, doubted if Hoke was the right guy. I HATE when coaches go for it in these situations, because it seems like a case of the coach trying to win the game with some genius call instead of letting the players - who put in a damn good 59 minutes of offense - decide the game.
At our post-game tailgate, I told my friends that I think that was a bad decision. They all disagreed. My comment was that it was a coach putting his ego in front of the feelings of the seniors who will never get to play in that stadium again. I was seriously pissed.
Then, as we leave, I'm listening on the radio about how Coach Hoke asked the seniors what they wanted to do. What an asshole I was. Why would I doubt the guy that I know pretty well. He's a great coach, and like he said in his intro, it'll never be about Brady Hoke. He is a great coach. The decision was fine (although I don't know if I'll ever change my philosophical stance, too risk averse). We're gonna win a lot of games with Brady Hoke. He is a great coach.
Like you I generally hate going for two in those situations. I'm not exactly risk-averse, but I'm risk-conscious and the odds don't usually favor it.
But yesterday not only was I sure, throughout the drive, that they would go for two, I was also hoping for it. Because, for once, I think it was the better play. The game in overtime is reduced to a red-zone competition. Not having your short FG kicker in a red-zone competition is bad news. And the defense was getting gashed. And Gardner was limping badly. I didn't like the overtime odds at all.
And I think the decision was already made when Hoke turned to the seniors. He KNOWS what they're going to say. There's no way in hell any group of players ever says "no, coach, we want to kick."
But asking them is a great psychological ploy. He's got their buy-in. They're pumped, they want it and they got it.
"Feelings ball" gets a bad rap around here. But I think Hoke sensed from his players that emotionally and physically the odds would never be better than that moment. And I think he was right.
The only thing that gave me pause was that taking the game into OT would perhaps have made OSU look bad--they needed OT to beat a struggling Michigan team. That being said, I think Hoke did the right thing. The goal is to win the game.
OSU fans were QUIET after this game. Because they know their ass was just handed to them. Guess what? The fear I saw in their eyes will remain with me. They know the run is over.
I wonder how many of you are Walmart Wolverines. I saw way too much red yesterday and most of that was people who used to come to games because they're used to winning without sacrifice. Nothing worthwhile is easy. And nothing good is achieved in an instant.
Yesterday was the foundation we lay the rebuilding of the program upon. Solid. Built with the blood of Warriors. No instant gratification. Just solid resolve.
Next year I will seat my ass in those seats I have been sitting in for 40 years. The f****** Millennials who sold their seats to the Ohio State Buckeyes can kiss my ass. I would rather have the 70,000 faithful come to the game than see what I saw yesterday. You people who sold your seats are no fan of Michigan please stay away. Sit in front of your Xbox and play with yourself but do not come to Michigan anymore.Those kids,who gave their best, deserve your best, and you did not give it.
I have nothing but contempt for you naysayers and when we win championships, you have no place here. Hate the coaches and the AD, that's fine, but sell your place skip the game go play with yourself that's unacceptable.
By the way: shut the fuck up.
we will stay off your lawn. Also, when did playing with oneself become wrong? You seem to have a major problem with people touching themselves. Might want to talk to someone about that.
I agree with everything Chorkman said. Also, I'm a Millennial and I do not miss games and have never sold my tickets. I'm sure I'm not the only one. Plz stop bullying our demographic and by demographic of course I mean people who play with themselves. And Millennials.
Now The Game is over and I had a couple of days to think about it, I wondered what will happen if we fire our OC and OL coach. Would the commits consider it a sign of weakness and commit somewhere else? May be. But here is my wish list.
1. I hope DB looks at the complete body of work and looks at the predictable calls of AB. I am not an expert in play calling, but when I can predict and I read the same from most of the fans, AB is not good.
2. Will someone make a list of all the important bad calls we made in the last 3 years? We should post it and send a link to DB. I hope DB puts in the time to review the full body of work.
3. I think it is better to fire now rather than the off season. It gives the new OC plenty of time before the bowl game and we won't lose those precious time with AB.
4. OL sucked pretty much all year. Commits could be a problem here, but there is no better time to do something like this.
5. We should announce the hiring along with the firing. No leaking. That should help with the commits and little less drama.
6. We need to reassure Hoke's job during the firing of OC. That should stabilize the fan base and the commits.
7. I will miss AB's interactions with Heiko during press conference. AB sounds like a good guy. I am sure Heiko can develop good rapport with the new coordinator though.
8. New coordinator skills -- Plenty of experience, has a proven record in another big conference, knows man ball, has shown tendency to use the personnel in proper way, does not hate spread or bubble screen.
9. Make the new OC the highest paid rather than the 3rd highest paid.
10. OL coach -- Preferably with experience from a big conference, especially with teams that boasts big OL. I don't see Hoke going away from that.
11. Reevaluate the Strength and Conditioning coach. OSU and MSU made us look silly....
That is my wish list. But I have a feeling nothing is going to change.
I believe in miracles. May be this it will come true? Just may be...
#8 Who would this new person be? Coordinators like that just aren't available. Seems like the jury is still out on Hoke, so what awesome OC would want to move now knowing that they might be swept up in house cleaning in a few years?
I always preached that you if you play hard and play smart, that's all that anyone can ask of you. That's what I saw for almost all of the game from both the players and coaches. So, I applaud a very well played game.
Again, while I think we were all please at Saturday's performance, I think no one can be satisified, because it further exemplifies the question: Where has this team been all season? Where has this intensity, focus and heart been all year?? Whether you place the responsibility on the players or coaches, changes must be made. Without prejudice or malice, changes must be made and it must start on the offensive side of the ball. I think all of us wish the seniors good luck in their fitire endeavors, and their contributions will not be forgotten.
Brady's got some big decisions ahead...let's get to it.......HAIL!
I still have a big concern with Borges, although he did cal a good game Sat. I agree with the comments that say are we just settling for a close game. I am also concerned if our whole season was a set-up for this game, not wanting to show everything and save it for OSU. There needs to be more creativity in this Offense. The D is a whole different story i have been down on the D for some time now. I could see it and some bad calls. Bottom line is we need some more speed on D. Guys cannot get off blocks D-line and LBs are just not that good.
... But im tired of coming up short guys. I understand theres some good to be taken from this game. Jobs were saved, lineman actually blocked, and Gardner was spotless. But its just time that we all stop giving slack and start jumping the gap. Whether we kept the game close or not, Ohio clearly was a machine. Theyre offense was unstoppable and more efficient. Yea we had like 600 total yards but it seemed like we barely made the plays that kept drives alive. I just want to get back to the days where we have a bread and butter. Something we can fall on when all else fails... (i.e. Ohios Run Game). We brought great effort and maybe two or three open field tackles could have won us the game, but its still a loss in my book.
First game I enjoyed watching since notre dame. Loss hurts. But I don't think there is anyway those kids can keep their head down! In spite of so many writing them off(not unwarranted) they played a hell of a game. Haven't smiled so much in a michigan game in quite a while. A glimpse of what's to come? Who knows, because why can't we do this consistently? But there is a time and place for that. Now is a time to revel in the fact that our team basically played a full football game against a real opponent.