Ohio State 42, Michigan 41 Comment Count

Ace 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.



November 30th, 2013 at 11:47 PM ^

It's more sad if you ignore the effort given by the team today that played with osu step for step because one play failed. Which no one thought we would do. The game literally couldn't have been closer. It's not that losing is acceptable but leaving everything on the field is. The team did. It's not all black and white

The Geek

December 1st, 2013 at 12:06 AM ^

for a ~7 hour drive home with the family. I was reluctant to even watch the game, and started watching, predicting we'd be on our way at halftime (the humiliating loss to Alabama still too fresh). 

Absolutely watched every second, and what a terrific game. Maybe we're ~not~ that far off, after all?

I want to see the intensity we showed in the Ohio and ND games this season in every game next season. If this team and coaching staff can produce results like today, there's no reason we shouldn't compete for a B1G Championship. Consistency will be  the key on offense in 2014, and the young guys played great this afternoon.



RB's Mustache

December 1st, 2013 at 1:23 AM ^

If this blog was read by players, I'd understand the sentiment. But this is a blog for UM fans. What's happened that UM fans are happy with effort against Ohio? You either win or lose. It's worse they showed such effort because they could be a 1 loss team if they played that way against PSU, MSU, Nebraska and Iowa. Effort? With apologies to Iceman, "The plaque for the alternates is down in the ladies room."

Spaceman Spiff

December 1st, 2013 at 2:05 AM ^

I wonder: if the 2-point conversion had succeeded, would people still be complaining about the defense's performance or the perceived lack of offensive effort in previous games?

If for no other reason, it's important to remain positive for recruiting purposes. Recruits read the stuff that gets posted here, and negativity and dejectedness from the posters and MGoStaff does not serve the team well. Who would want to play for us when the fans just constantly bitch?

It's our job to support the team, win or lose, right?


December 1st, 2013 at 8:54 PM ^

Even ignoring 2011 (don't know why you would, but I'll play), the previous three year stretch was 15-22. Even then, I was optimistic about our future. Now, even more so. Context, man. 2008-2010 happened. This program didn't just pick up where the 2006 team left off.


December 1st, 2013 at 2:27 AM ^

After watching this team for 16 consecutive seasons (12 in the top row section 18 row 96, as a kid, and 4 as a Michigan student) I can honestly say I've never been more impressed with a Michigan team. They came out and played their hearts out. The 2011 Under the Lights win will forever be ingrained in my mind as a student, but so much more has happened before (and after) then.Would it have been nice to see them win? Especially after this season? Yes, it would've been awesome. But for the this god damned team to show up against such a big rival and play like that, it honestly made me choke up. I cannot understand it. Maybe its because I was there, as a 12 year old kid for the 2004 MSU game, and a year older for the 2005 Penn State win. And as a High School student when Michigan upset Wisconsin in 2008 and Notre Dame in 2009. Man, god, what nostalgia. I still have all those tickets saved in a box, and will forever keep them. And this is why I love Michigan. Despite the fact we lost, I will put the ticket to this game in my box. I will forever remember this game, and how Gardner played. This is the time we almost ended Ohio State's 23 game win streak despite everyone (admittedly, including myself) saying we'd lose. Buckeye fans might not remember it, but that is aside the point. This is Michigan. I love this team, and this game showed me why I love this (f*ing) team so much. I'm going to miss going to Michigan games next year, but as soon as I am able to get season tickets, I will keep going to these games as long as I can. Good post Ace.


December 1st, 2013 at 2:38 AM ^

in the loss today than in the win over Akron, despite the bottom line. Yet, after reading these comments, I realize this type of thinking makes me some sort of loser, and that my loser mentality somehow pervades the program and causes it to lose more, because fans of good teams say things like "losing is unacceptable." 

We would all be better off if we called Gallon and Dileo and Lewan a bunch of underachieving losers for only beating OSU once, and encouraged Hoke to do the same, before we demanded he be fired for being a loser.  


December 1st, 2013 at 8:23 AM ^

Brian any ideas for a column, he'll just mail it in, again.

I agree with you 100%.  That game yesterday choked me up and reminded me of a LL game I played in my youth.  Our team with a miserable record, playing the last game of the season against the best team, made a game of it at 3-4.  My parents said it was the best game they'd ever seen....it's taken 40 years but I understand what they meant.


December 1st, 2013 at 5:23 AM ^

everyone on the edge of their seats at the end of a game, that according to Ohio fans was supposed to be over in the 3rd quarter. Outstanding effort by the entire team, at least we are back to shouda, coulda, wouda. This team could have won just as easily as it lost and we all know had we won the team would have carried the coach off on their shoulders. Now lets move on to the bowl game and win one for next years momentum. 600 yds, really, Outstanding.Hail!


December 1st, 2013 at 7:44 AM ^

Proud today, not happy, proud. I was down on them for not kicking the FG earlier but I loved the 2 pt attempt.  We can be sure that we were the better team on the field yesterday. DG's fumble WASN'T A FUMBLE so that was crap, getting it wrong w/ replay was crazy. A lot of underclassmen made major contributions and we found out Borges only opens his playbook for the likes of ND and ohio...he should let them play like that every game. Go Blue!


December 1st, 2013 at 10:00 AM ^

That was a completely different approach to play calling. IDK if the OL finally gelled as much as I think ohio was not blitzing as often as other teams have against us.   I'm not complaining about the fumble because it wasn't one. I'm simply saying when you have replay and still get it wrong that sucks. I don't like bad calls period. If they go against us or our opponent they are still bad calls and they can change the momentum or outcome of a game very easily. I don't like winning like that as much as I don't like losing like that, obviously that's not why we lost I just expect the replay official to get it right and he didn't. 


December 1st, 2013 at 8:11 AM ^

Yeah, it sucks to lose. Yeah, I haaaaate that we've beaten them once in the past decade.

But leave all that aside. Michigan played out of their minds yesterday and turned the game into a one-play coin flip. A game that many pegged as a blowout, that VEGAS pegged as a blowout. The play didn't work, but there is something wrong if you have no pride for the team today. The loss sucks, I'm still upset...but I'm damn proud of the team and the coaches. Hoke should be able to beat these guys at least every other year going forward. Ohio won't always be THIS good...and I don't even think Ohio played poorly yesterday, and we still almost won.

Moral victories aren't as fun as real ones, but damnit after the past month of whining here I will take it.

Now...Beat Random Bowl Opponent!


December 1st, 2013 at 11:04 AM ^

I liked the call to go for 2, but the Ohio newspapers all have interviews with Tyvis Powell saying that they knew exactly which play Michigan was going to run.  This is at least the second time this year that I've heard an opponent's players saying that they knew ahead of time which play Michigan was going to run.  Does anyone know if there something to this - does Borges run the same plays from the same sets in the same situations to a greater extent than other OC's?


December 1st, 2013 at 12:43 PM ^

I suggest that any reasonably intelligent coaching staff will have a good idea of which play will be run.  Do you think that Michigan knew that Hyde would get the ball when it was third and short?  The key is stopping the play from being sucessful, not just knowing about it.  Perhaps, someone out there can remember Bubba Paris' s words on this subject.


December 1st, 2013 at 2:41 PM ^

Gorgeous calls a small set of plays in certain situations. He ran the same play on the goal line for a touchdown earlier in the game. On third and one first and 10 he runs the same place out of certain formations. Might be a different formation but it is the same play. Therefore his situational playcalling gets him in trouble when teams see the same situation twice in one game. That's how they know what is coming


December 1st, 2013 at 11:12 AM ^

that Drew Dileo was utilized more in the other games early on. I could definitely see the impact he had on this offense. I know he was hurt for the past few games but was under utlilized throughout the season.


The Dutchess

December 1st, 2013 at 12:10 PM ^

Borges ran the same gimmicky plays, throwback screens, fake screen HB dives, etc. he called all year, except that they got blown up all year by teams that actually had to scheme to beat us.  Those same terrible plays somehow worked yesterday.  I just think OSU didn't really game plan by watching other of our games, they just got up to play us and I think kind of overestimated us, that's all.  Borges calls that game vs. MSU and it gets us 10 points.


December 1st, 2013 at 1:20 PM ^

Couldn't disagree more with this assessment.  The reciever run plays, Screens against the grain, screens in general and plays out of the spread were all new.  I have watched every game this season and none of these plays were used in abundance previously.  Most of the offense through the middle part of the schedule featured pistol formation, play action, double tight end formations or max-protection formations on passing plays.  This was a great game plan and it didnt fall apart in the 2nd half either.   


December 1st, 2013 at 12:13 PM ^

It sucks to lose. I don't think Michigan ran a bunch of "new" plays in this game a la Carr vs. Florida with the passing spread. However, right from the get go it was clear that M was runnning all of their screens and counters to tendencies on roll outs etc. I'd agree that the O-line played much better. However, wth, was going on versus Penn St. with 9 billion runs into the line? What was happening with the constant deep routes and stack formations with long developing routes for weeks on end? I don't know, man.

Honestly, the players did execute much better yesterday. I don't think you can entirely discount that. However, the play book was also open and creative yesterday. Again, it wasn't a scheme change so much as giving people what they were clamoring for in terms of short throws and quick screens etc. Also, Dileo was under utilized this year and Norfleet or Hayes should have gotten more run.

I guess I'm still no the fire bandwagon because the team was so bad for so many games. If that was M's base offense going forward, I'd be fine with it .I think having some things to hang your hat on is what makes a team goodl. It's just that the Borges we've seen is constantly tinkering with things and game plans or running the same damn iso 30 times in one game.  If the plan is to screen, get quick guys in space, use misdirection and pass to set up the run, I'm in. However, based on past experience, I think it's safe to say that it's a blip rather than a trend. The trend was in the poor direction.

Again, the players executed better today, from Devin, who is the most important piece on down. But I also think they were put in better and  more creative situations. Given all the data points, it's still probably time to move on.


December 1st, 2013 at 1:06 PM ^

watch the replay but I think OSU burned their last TO prior to the attempt.  So just one play that doesn't stop the clock and they're out of time.  Could they have done a '94 Colorado, yep.  Could they have done regardless of a one or two point conversion.  Again, yes. 


December 1st, 2013 at 1:01 PM ^

Hey some great moments out there yesterday...how about the fight?  Gotta luv the passion of players, coaches and fans!!   How about the ejected bucky player giving a double one finger salute-yea such class!  Also, Meyer showing some frustration on the sidelines-thats always a good sign.  Finally, their RB (Hyde?) was doing his ain't I somethin' dance after a gain then promptly had the ball stripped away on the next play.  One thing I really like about these coaches is their demeaner-calm under fire unlike some of the screaming characters we are so used to seeing nowadays.   Also, I liked that the refs let them play and didnt turn the game on a bad call.  Another great game in a great rivalry. 


December 1st, 2013 at 1:06 PM ^

I came to Michigan for grad school in 2007, stayed for 3 years and fell in love with the school, Ann Arbor, the history, and UM hoops and football.  2007 was a bad year to become a fan... and it's been pretty dismall ever since, save last year's hoops run and 11-12' sugar bowl run.  

But, I have to say, yesterday was a moment to be proud.  I loved seeing our offensive line step up, Al Borges run a well thought through set of schemes, and Devin put his pain on the sidelines to represent our Blue.

It was a bummer of an outcome, and while I didn't love the specific play choice, I love that we went for it.  Had we won, it's at the top of the history books forever.  Had we went to OT, we wouldn't have had the chance to win.  Very disappointed in the season, but very proud of our boys yesterday! 

Go Blue forever!

Von D


December 1st, 2013 at 2:40 PM ^

I admit I was wrong. I posted this week and would tell anyone Michigan would score 3 or 6 maybe 13 tops and lose as Ohio scored 38 or 41 or so.

I was stunned watching Michigan score 6 TD as each one happeneed. I underestimated our ability to score.

As I watched, I felt Where has this team been? where was this the last five weeks? was it Borges "using the whole drawer of plays" was it just the supercharged Motivation Ohio week provides?  It was night and day better than MSU, Nebraska, Northwestern or Iowa. IT was similar to PSU. 

Though the team surprised me on offense, at no time during the game did i believe or think that we would actually win. Not up 21-14 in the 2nd. Not after erasing the 35-21 deficit.

I thought we should have played for OT by attempting a PAT. But i am not mad at Coach Hoke. I understand it. Gardner was hobbled, the QB running plays were not as much an option. GIbbons was out. Should a HC ask his seniors if they want to go for two? Players will say Go for 2 100% of the time. its the HC that should have a level head. It may have been a tacit admission that OSU would be hard to stop in OT and our best chance, our punchers chance was on that 2 PT conversion try. 

IF we had gotten the 2 PT, it would have been the biggest upset of 40 years. We had a shot. the play wasnt good but we had a shot.  I wonder if the option had worked. certainly if Gardner was healthy it would have been much more dangerous.

I feel no moral victory. i am glad we were not embarrassed as i expected to be. But its sad that our record in the last 10 games vs Ohio is so poor and its sad that most of us didnt expect to compete after watching Michigan play 11 games this year.