Ohio State Football 2011
Buckeyes Regular Season Ends with Loss to Foe
For the first time since 2003, the Ohio State Buckeyes walk off the field on Saturday having lost to their arch-rivals, the Michigan Wolverines, in "The Game" to end the regular season.
Denard Robinson was too much for the Buckeyes as the duel threat Wolverines signal caller darted with his feet and dazzled with his arm leading Michigan to a narrow 40-34 victory in the "Big House".
Robinson accounted for five touchdowns on the afternoon. He was 14-of-17 (completing 11 straight passes during one stretch) for 167 yards and three TD passes. The elusive QB also ran 26 times for 170 yards and two more scores.
But true freshman quarterback, Braxton Miller, sailed a pass over a wide open DeVier Posey's head on what could've been a go-ahead 76-yard touchdown with about a minute remaining.
The game ended when on fourth-down with 45 seconds remaining, Miller tried to squeeze a pass into tight coverage that got tipped and picked off by Michigan defensive back, Courtney Avery.
Although Miller wasn't able to come up big on the final drive, the Buckeyes first ever, true freshman quarterback to start in Ann Arbor had arguably his best game of the season.
Miller and the OSU passing game, which ranks third worst in nation in passing yards per game, were on the same page. Miller connected on 14-of-25 passes for 235 yards and two scores.
With the Michigan defense holding OSU running back, Boom Herron, to a mere 37 yards on 15 carries, Miller also had to carry the load in the run game as he scampered for 100 yards on 16 carries and a score.
The Buckeyes got off to a great start, scoring first on Miller's 54-yard pass to Corey Brown and holding Robinson to a three-and-out drive on Michigan's opening offensive possession.
Ohio State led twice more in the first half and had a 24-23 advantage at the break. After the Wolverines went ahead 30-24 on Robinson's 20-yard pass to Odoms to open the second half, Ohio State pulled within three points early in the fourth and again midway through the final quarter.
Michigan was forced to settle for a six-point lead with 1:59 left on Brendan Gibbons' career-long 43-yard field goal after two apparent TDs were negated by a video review and then penalties.
This set the stage for the Buckeyes final drive that resulted in the game-deciding turnover.
Following the turnover, Robinson got the final snap cleanly, took a quick knee and set off a long, loud, maize-and-blue celebration. The Big House was flooded with fans after the home team ended a drought that lasted more than 2,900 days.
With the victory, Michigan finishes the regular season with 10-2 overall record (6-2 Big Ten) and might even make it into a BCS bowl game for the first time since 2006.
As for the Buckeyes, their tumultuous season concludes in what became the program's worst season on the field since 1999.
The Buckeyes have already said they won't pass up the chance to go to a bowl game if the NCAA allows them to play in the postseason.
Regardless, reports point to Urban Meyer (a former Buckeye graduate assistant coach, and Ohio native, who led Florida to two national titles) taking over the program.
Nonetheless, Buckeye nation can begin to forget about this season and look ahead to a potentially promising future with Braxton Miller under center and Meyer (maybe) under the headset.
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