Ohio State 42, Michigan 41

Submitted by Ace on November 30th, 2013 at 4:24 PM

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.


Bryan Fuller/MGoBlog

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.

Comments

bo.mo.llo.ro.ho

December 1st, 2013 at 11:09 AM ^

if it's just all about W's and L's. There are losses that help build programs to be better and there are losses that tear them apart. As long as they can tune out the portion of the fanbase that can't tell the difference, I think this is an example of the former. 

Maybe we should hire you to replace Hoke so you can build true men: "This is NOT a good day. NOT GOOD. Kids, you tried your best and you failed miserably. The lesson is: never try."

RobSk

November 30th, 2013 at 4:36 PM ^

Michigan just gave us proof positive that they've been giving far, far less than 100% effort this year. Only some really poor decisions and screwups lead us to lose to the number 3 team in the country, but we can't beat a complete piece of crap team like Nebraska? Or Iowa? Or even put up a fight against MSU?

The realization that they've been mailing it in the last month does not make me proud. :(

         Rob

RobSk

November 30th, 2013 at 4:40 PM ^

is I'm not a troll. I'm not interested in provoking a reaction. I'm frustrated as all get out that the team we saw today didn't show up in game after game this year, both players and coaches.

That's my honest reaction to this game as a Michigan fan for the last 35 years. I'm not calling for anybody to be fired or any silliness. But at some point, these guys have to learn to bring it in games that aren't "the Game".

Here's hoping we see this team in the bowl game.

       Rob

[email protected]

November 30th, 2013 at 4:45 PM ^

They played a team that should have destroyed them, and for one day, warts and all, out it all out there and played to the best of their ability. The

Coaches and players can be proud of this effort whatever else. They played with all the heart I expect of a Michigan team against massive odds and against a season of disappointment.

Hopefully they have proven something to themselves and it gives them fire for the bowl game and for next year.

Win or lose you can always be proud of a hard fought classic when you are a massive underdog. I feel better about this team, for today, than I have in months.

jmblue

November 30th, 2013 at 6:51 PM ^

Michigan just gave us proof positive that they've been giving far, far less than 100% effort this year.

Or maybe it's a young team with some personnel issues that lost some confidence earlier in the year and went through a rough patch, but kept its head up and finished the regular season with a good performance. You can choose your narrative.

jarnhestur

December 1st, 2013 at 8:08 AM ^

It's obvious that this coaching staff was mailing it for most of the year.  That's what's obvious.  How was Akron even close?  Or UCONN?  Gimme a break.

 

The coaches did a terrible job this year.  Absolutely terrible.  To give them a free pass is not fair to the current or next years team.

Changes need to happen.  A loss to OSU at home, no matter how delighted you are with this loss.

westwardwolverine

December 1st, 2013 at 9:56 AM ^

Dude. 

One thing I dislike after this game is people glossing over just how bad our offense was the previous four games. They were TERRIBLE. It wasn't a rough patch, it was literally the worst an offense has ever played here at Michigan. 

The fluctuation between Penn State to Indiana, MSU to OSU...that just doesn't strike me as a team with a few personnel issues. The O-Line couldn't block anyone for a month. Devin Gardner looked completely lost all of November. We were averaging less than a yard a carry. We lost a game to Iowa in which we gained 45 yards in the second half, almost all of it on one final drive. 

I mean, you're calling 1/3 of the entire season a rough patch? On top of the other rough patches like Akron/UConn and Penn State? There were somewhere between 4-7 debacles this year depending on how you feel about 9 points and 300 yards of offense against NW or 24/28 points against UConn/Akron. 

For me, youth just can't explain away the level we saw our offense fall. The OSU game doesn't make up for what happened prior, if anything it makes you seriously question how were unable to perform even the simplest tasks on that side of the ball for a thid of the season. 

jwfsouthpaw

December 1st, 2013 at 2:30 AM ^

Imagine this:  You are a young but talented employee at a busines of whatever character you choose.  Being young, you are inexperienced and not well schooled on the traits that breed long-term sucess at a high, consistent level.  Being talented, you are capable of that same success and show the occasional flash of brilliance that justified your initial employment.

You may not have personally witnessed this, but if not you will.

jarnhestur

December 2nd, 2013 at 9:35 AM ^

How about this:  I'm an employee that shows flashes of brilliance, but I'm consistently late for work, distracted when I'm here, and generally not paying attention.  Then, on the day of the big pitch to a prospective client, I do extremely well but we don't close the deal, possibily through no real fault of my own.

 

Does that 'loss' excuse an entire year of sub-par performance?

Wolverine In Iowa

November 30th, 2013 at 4:36 PM ^

Even losing, I feel like the team collectively shook something off their backs.  There were some individual errors, but these guys played their hearts out.  The reffing certainly helped OSU, but we had our chances.

jaspersail

November 30th, 2013 at 4:37 PM ^

Wish Michigan had kicked the onside kick deep. OSU had their 11 up at the line waiting for the squib with no one deep. A kick to the 20 would have been a race that Michigan likely wins, setting up a field goal try...

ish

November 30th, 2013 at 4:37 PM ^

Didn't realize Wilson was out. Kept wondering how Furman could play so poorly without getting pulled. I wonder if Ross and Wilson would've made a difference.

victoriaed90

November 30th, 2013 at 4:39 PM ^

Such a heartbreaking loss for our seniors and I am going to miss Dileo and Gallon so much! I could not be more proud of those guys, especially Devin. He worked so hard and I feel so bad for him.

This game pretty much cements that Borges is here to stay for at least another year though. That part kinda blows.

mtm

November 30th, 2013 at 4:44 PM ^

It's been a painful and disappointing season. I don't care so much about the record - the team just looked defeated most of the season, lucky to scrape out what wins they were able to get.

This game was different. They lost, but they lost playing well. That counts for a lot in my book.

Go Blue.