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

chunkums

November 30th, 2013 at 5:51 PM ^

All I could think of after the game was this:

"Ah come on, Adrian, it's true. I was nobody. But that don't matter either, you know? 'Cause I was thinkin', it really don't matter if I lose this fight. It really don't matter if this guy opens my head, either. 'Cause all I wanna do is go the distance. Nobody's ever gone the distance with Creed, and if I can go that distance, you see, and that bell rings and I'm still standin', I'm gonna know for the first time in my life, see, that I weren't just another bum from the neighborhood."

UMForLife

November 30th, 2013 at 5:54 PM ^

I am one of the conspiracy theorists. I hated that fumble call. I felt there were enough calls against M. We are at home and we get slammed with calls. The fumble wasn't reviewed properly, but when we got the TO, it was reviewed for a while.

Morons. Just for that I wish we would have won.

With an injured secondary and hobbling DG, we have to go for 2. That was the right call.

So many seniors on the buckeyes and this is the best they got.

Got to win next year. Absolutely have to. Close the gap and demolish the sparty next year. First go and get a good OL and QB coach. We have the money...

FreddieMercuryHayes

November 30th, 2013 at 6:02 PM ^

Instant classic? Ridiculous. Absolutely not. This game is dead to me, as are all UM losses. I will never watch any highlights, nor any replays ever again. Just like the 2006 game. The only way it would be a classic is if UM won. The players put up one hell of a fight, but at the end of the day, UM lost. All that matters in the end.

UMForLife

November 30th, 2013 at 6:11 PM ^

I liked Hoke today. He gets it with OSU. He will not stop until we are competing in every game against OSU. I am convinced that he has the heart.

I sure hope he reconsiders his assistants on the offensive side.

paynetrain88

November 30th, 2013 at 6:14 PM ^

Great game. Great atmosphere.  Im very glad that all these genius analysts ate their words - especially on mgoblog.  On Ohio State week Brian mails in the UFR, we have an adorable puppies liveblog and there are 2 interviews with 11 warriors writers???  I get that this is a tough season, I get that we were 2 td underdogs against OSU, i get that mgoblog writers want to be comedic geniuses...but the game is deserves better.  Next year i hope mgoblog doesn't "mail it in" again no matter the spread.  My favorite team was fun to watch today as a 2 td underdog against the "great and powerful" ohio.  I saw the fear in their eyes.  Fuck the haters.

bo.mo.llo.ro.ho

December 1st, 2013 at 12:23 PM ^

I agree about mgoblog "mailing in" this past week. The post-Iowa podcast was an inane, self-loathing chucklefest where they sounded embarrassed to be associated with U of M. Good thing the team didn't and doesn't have the same mentality. Losing is bad, but far far better than quitting.

pjandy

December 1st, 2013 at 8:52 PM ^

That's true but the fact is I can count the number of times michigan has been fun to watch this year on my index finger. I think that's why people were feeling so down about prospects for the game. The biggest surprise is that it turned put to be a great game, and I'm glad for that!

pjandy

December 1st, 2013 at 8:52 PM ^

That's true but the fact is I can count the number of times michigan has been fun to watch this year on my index finger. I think that's why people were feeling so down about prospects for the game. The biggest surprise is that it turned put to be a great game, and I'm glad for that!

TickerTape

November 30th, 2013 at 6:29 PM ^

I must be the only Debbie Downer. I didn't know we were at the point were it was a "great game" because it was close. I remember when a win was the only thing that was acceptable.

I'm sure Ohio will go home and say "that was a great game" hell no they'll say the won, again..

Call me a dick, see how much sleep I lose over it.

Brimley

November 30th, 2013 at 6:42 PM ^

No, you're not being a dick. Your point is well-taken, and there a lot of others on the board tonight who agree. I'm taking more of a long game point of view (we're going to be good!) probably due to having sat through some rough seasons years ago while young guys get experience. But your disappointment is shared by the seniors who were actually on the field today. They don't care about next year. So your reaction fits theirs.

bo.mo.llo.ro.ho

December 1st, 2013 at 12:24 PM ^

What does calling a game "acceptable" or "unacceptable" do for you? What tangible difference does it make outside of your own happiness?

BTW don't have kids if you see sports as simply a sorting device to divide people into winners and losers. AJ McCarron and Nick Saban, for example, are losers, which is unacceptable.

itsgonnabealright

November 30th, 2013 at 6:31 PM ^

I think based on your responses you are an idiot.  You havn't hade made one single coherent sentence all night.  You too are a pussy that never played sports!  You are an embrassment to your entire family I'm sure.    

Magnum P.I.

November 30th, 2013 at 6:32 PM ^

Taking a step back, I guess this is good for the program relative to what we expected going in. It might help Hoke reclaim the narrative of progress and return to glory. Still seems like kind of a desperate angle after a season like this, but a bludgeoning today would have pretty much killed that narrative (it might already be dead after the last two and a half months). II think it helps the program to be in a nationally televised, good game like this one. 

west2

November 30th, 2013 at 6:40 PM ^

Yea-yea winning is everything, however lots of positive here I think. First, the freshmen were amazing on offense. The play calling was….I hate to admit it, but creative and unpredictable. I liked the spread formations in particular that Michigan used at times. Although I agree we should not be happy losing, this will go a long way to boost recruiting and let’s face it Michigan isn’t as bad as we thought and there is a lot of positive momentum that can be carried forward from this game. Look at the Gators, not going to be in a bowl and they got crushed by their biggest rival FSU, we aren’t in that situation. And bucky cannot be happy with this performance, the wolverines have likely knocked them out of the NC game if #1 & #2 remain undefeated. Great effort by Devin Gardner and Michigan!!

aplatypus

November 30th, 2013 at 6:40 PM ^

too many people who think they had more emotional investment to this game than the players and coaches did. If you can't be proud of the players you're supposed to cheer for after they played their best game of the year against a very good team that hasn't lost in 2 full seasons now... then shut the fuck up and keep to yourself. Call other people trolls and all that, but there is no reason not to be proud of the team for today's effort. Being angry and spiteful doesn't make you a better fan, it makes you a cliched asshole who puts too much into a football game probably to make up probably other things you lack in life. ffs there are some depressing people here.

jmblue

November 30th, 2013 at 6:53 PM ^

This feels a lot like the Rose Bowl game against Texas when we lost 38-37.  It's a loss, but you feel like the team gave everything it had and it just was one play away.  As a fan you can't ask for much more.

 

 

cHOKE517

November 30th, 2013 at 6:56 PM ^

All you on here babbling about moral victories, fail to recognize you went for it on 4th and 2 from the 14 in the 3rd quarter down only 7.  Would have won the game if you kick a FG, instead give OSU a 14 point lead after the ensuing drive.  Along with the fact your head coach pawned off the end of game play calling to players hahaha It's impressive though that your all content with it, cause Big Brother down the road would be pissed if we lost by a point not content.  

Enjoy the Moral Victory though, 

cHOKE

cHOKE517

November 30th, 2013 at 7:01 PM ^

You are all embarassing on here talking about how proud you are to be part of a loss, do you think any of the players would be saying how happy they are that they tried hard and lost?  Shows how far your program has fallen that the most positive you have been all year is getting beat at home by your biggest rival.  Big Brother down the road doesn't get excited about moral victories, but we sure are glad you are content with them.  Keep it up and State and OSU will keep owning you b&**^^

CR7

November 30th, 2013 at 7:03 PM ^

My biggest take away, and the thing that gives me the most hope, is that these kids ARE incredibly talented. No second guessing. In terms of talent, the two best teams they've played are ND and Ohio and they matched 'em both.

blue_n_VA

November 30th, 2013 at 7:05 PM ^

Think back to year 3 of Rodriguez and the 37-7 suckfest. We have been competitive all three years with Hoke, winning one. This being the youngest team and we were still very competitive against a veteran unit. I believe the future is very bright.

mGrowOld

November 30th, 2013 at 7:10 PM ^

Very very proud of the team. Sad we lost but simply cannot question effort or desire. We fell one play short an in the end that one play meant a loss instead of a win.

ca_prophet

November 30th, 2013 at 7:11 PM ^

Not the coaches, not the players. They played hard when there were reasons to mail it in and I'm proud to be a fan of this team and program.

I am of course unhappy with the result, but not nearly as unhappy as I thought I'd be. This game turned on a bunch of things and we were in it to the end. Kudos to Hoke for getting the team ready to give their all, and for making the right call to go for two (backup kicker, gimpy QB, etc.). I'm not even unhappy with the call - the rub/triangle concept is a go-to route for M, but Devin didn't have time and they defended well.

As for coaching changes, I am against them. I feel that we wouldn't get anyone better and that the young line is the cause of most of our woes.

Go Blue!

CoachParker6

November 30th, 2013 at 7:29 PM ^

How much of today was great game planning versus Ohio's inept road defense? I believe this is the 5th time on the road that they have given up over 30 points this year, some of those teams are in the bottom 50 in terms of national rank.

I think a combination of both existed today. I thought the screen game and passing on first down really allowed us to establish our running game bc ohio could not stack the box. I really liked that Al actually utilized the threat which really opened up the field bc ohio couldn't just key on gallon and funchess. I thought the use of the bubble screen allowed us to threaten the entire field which made ohio have to respect everything.

The offensive line played their best game since Notre Dame and actually did pretty good against the blitz most of the day.

I guess my biggest question is where the hell has this been all year, Al? You expect to get better as the year goes on. I would submit that ohio has better players then most of the teams we have played this year, so was it a one game epiphany? or is this what the offense is going to look like going forward?

Help lol

UMForLife

November 30th, 2013 at 7:32 PM ^

I am still pissed off about the last play, but cannot question the effort.

Next year--

1. New OL coach
2. QB coach
3. AB gone, if he doesn't call another good game in the bowl
4. Better Pass Rush
4. Better secondary coaching
6. Strength and Conditioning
7. Kicker
8. Better return game
9. Better blocking by RBs and TEs.
10. Tall WRs -- we have them. Need to coach them up.

I like our RBs and TEs offensive game, regardless of the negative rush yards. Future is bright for the Frosh.

I also like our LBs. They will be good next year.

We have 4 weeks before the bowl. Coach them up and let us go kick some SEC #3 or #4 or B12 #3.

If we develop the players well and AB improves the play calling, we have a chance to be in the playoff. If we can play hard and show our talent and win on the road. We need to play like this every game next year. I am sure everyone thinks it is not possible, but you proved us wrong today. Finish it next year, unlike today.

Go Blue!

DelhiGoBlue

November 30th, 2013 at 7:45 PM ^

Borges, and you fire Funk.  Then you hire a new OC and new OL coach, but who else are you going to fire so that you can hire a QB coach?  Fred Jackson might be leaving, so I guess you could do without a RB coach.  Is that your answer?

CarlisleWolverine

November 30th, 2013 at 9:36 PM ^

Record

Hoke 26-11

Rodriguez 15-22

Record vs. Ohio State

Hoke 1-1, with a win over Luke Fickell and the Buckeyes in 2011, and a 26-21 loss to Urban Meyer in 2012.

Rodriguez 0-3, by a combined score of 100-24.

Bowl appearances

Hoke Beat Virginia 23-20 in the Sugar Bowl after the 2011 season; Lost to South Carolina 33-28 in the Outback Bowl after the 2012 season.

Rodriguez Missed bowls his first two seasons, breaking Michigan’s string of 33 consecutive bowl appearances, then lost to Mississippi State 52-14, the worst bowl loss in Michigan history, in his final game.

Recruiting

UMForLife

December 1st, 2013 at 11:34 AM ^

Possibly. I know most of the colleges have their OC coach QB also. Unfortunately, our OC doesn't seem to develop DG. It is quite possible DG is the issue, but two QBs in a row shows more of a trend. It is also possible AB can only develop pro style QBs. If that is true, we suck it up and wait for 2015 and accept 2014 for what it is worth.

QB is the most important position. I know we say it is in the trenches in B1G, but I think it is the QB, just like NFL. I don't have the confidence in AB to develop DG. I sure hope to be proven wrong next season. DG has the skill to be even better. DG is way better, but needs someone who can help him between the ears. I sure hope that Hoke is working with him on the mental part of it. Hoke is a tough dude and he seems to know how to inspire.

Atrained

November 30th, 2013 at 7:55 PM ^

Like most of the other fans here, I'm extremely proud of the way the players went out today.  I was at the game, and even in a loss, had one of the most fun and thrilling times I've ever had at a game.

I'm still of course sad for the players.  Lewan, Gallon and the like had such a rough senior season, and it would've been nice to let them have the pure joy that would've resulted from winning this game.

Such is sports though.  Hopefully in the long run of their life they can look back  and be proud of their efforts.  For Gardner I simply hope he isn't crushed, I read a quote on ESPN saying that all he'll remember from the game is that he lost the game by throwing an interception at the end.  I hope he can keep his head up, stay resilient and come back strong for a great senior season.