Everything was on the line. A shot at a Big Ten title. A BCS berth. An outside shot at a return to the BCS title game. And most of all, pride was on the line as the Ohio State Buckeyes traveled to Ann Arbor for the biggest game of the year ... the biggest game of every year.
The Buckeyes did what they have been doing all year. They played solid defense, they ran the ball well, and they won the time of possession. That was enough.
However, one critical mistake could have turned this game around. With a 10-3 lead late in the second quarter, the Buckeyes drove deep into Wolverine territory, and were looking to score with under a minute in the half. However, Boom Herron would fumble on his way into the end zone, dropping the ball on the one-foot line. Junior linebacker Jonas Mouton would scoop up the fumble for the Wolverines, and rumble 39 yards before being tackled from behind by Terrelle Pryor. QB Nick Sheridan would hit a couple of big passes to take Wolverines into the end zone for the first time, tying the game at 10. The 14 point swing is the kind of thing that changes the momentum of any game, and with the Wolverines getting the ball back after the break, they had a real chance to take a lead, and perhaps break the Buckeyes' spirit.
But the combination of Buckeye defense and the legs of Brandon Saine (who came in for the injured Boom Herron early in the third quarter) were the difference. Saine ruched for 130 yards and three scores, every bit of it in the second half, and the Buckeye D got a couple of late interceptions, sealing the win and ensuring a successful season for the visiting team.
Buckeyes win. 364 days until we do it all over again.