For what its worth, Michigan made the most of their time out on the field against the Buckeyes. Going into the 111th meeting of what has come to be known as “The Game”, the Buckeyes had already clinched the B1G East title, and earned themselves a trip to Indianapolis for the championship duel. But even still, this was the rivalry game, and both teams showed up to play on Saturday.
Ohio State started off the scoring in the first, with Michigan quick to answer with a touchdown of their own before the second quarter. The Wolverines would go on to to score again in the second, making it 14-7, only to have the Buckeyes close out the half with a touchdown of their own to even things up.
The game remained pretty consistent throughout the third and into the fourth, until OSU gained a two touchdown lead, that the Wolverines would only be able to close by one touchdown, allowing for a Buckeye victory of 42-28.
This was, for all intents and purposes, a great game of college ball to behold. It is something of a rarity to see two teams go into a matchup, playing for more than just a trophy, but playing for the love of the tradition. Michigan fought until the very end, but just could not keep pace with Ohio State as the game drew to a close.
However, most of the spotlight from Saturday’s contest comes from the sidelines and not the scoreboard.
Quarterback J.T. Barrett for Ohio State was injured during a tackle on the opening drive of the fourth quarter, suffering a broken ankle that will keep him off the field for the rest of the year. Barrett completed 13 of 21 passes for 176 yards and a touchdown, while also running for scores of 25 and 2 yards, gaming 89 yards on 15 carries.
The Heisman hopeful will go in for surgery today, and will miss the chance to represent Ohio State at the B1G Conference championship game in Indianapolis, leaving the fate of the offense up to third string quarterback Cardale Jones.
Perhaps one of the more touching moments from this tragic incident was when Michigan quarterback Devin Gardner was found at Barrett’s side, offering comfort and showing that sportsmanship knows no rivalry.
“You hate to see any player get hurt, especially a guy like him. A great guy, a hard worker. A guy who was called upon and he’s executed and done it humbly,” Gardner said.
Gardner had himself a nice day too, completing 22 of 32 passes for 233 yards and two touchdowns with an interception.
Another concern that will certainly be illuminated in the months to follow, is the job status of Wolverines head coach Brady Hoke. When Hoke was first brought on at Michigan in 2011, the Wolverines went 11-2, but his season they sit at a paltry 5-7. Whether or not Hoke will have a job next season remains to be seen, but meanwhile, he remains dedicated at his post.
The Game was also the scene of Senior Day, and marked the final occasion that many athletes would be making their final appearance at Ohio Stadium. One of these players was supposed to be lineman Kosta Karageorge.
Karageorge has been missing since Wednesday, and a missing persons flyer with his information was broadcast on the video board during the game.
So, while Ohio State scrambles to regroup from the absence of Barrett and Karageorge on the first team, their playoff hopes were kept alive and well; they now prepare to take on Wisconsin in the conference championship game on December 6. As for Michigan, they now have the offseason to look forward to, getting back to the Wolverines we knew in 2011 and probably finding a new coach to lead the way.
*Section Photo credit to Jamie Sabau, Getty Images; Featured Photo (above) credit to Associated Press