The Ohio State Buckeyes beat the Michigan Wolverines, 42-41, in a back and forth game played before 113,511 fans in Ann Arbor on Saturday to stay undefeated at 12-0 on the 2013 college football season. The game might have gone into overtime, but U-M head coach Brady Hoke opted to go for a two-point conversion rather than an extra point following a Devin Funchess touchdown catch in the contest's final minute.
The Buckeyes came into the annual season-ending contest versus its archrival ranked No. 3 in the country, but the Wolverines showed no signs of being intimidated. U-M stopped OSU on its first drive and then marched 99 yards on its opening possession when it notched the game's initial points on a Devin Gardner 1-yard touchdown plunge.
Each team scored three TDs in the first half, which ended with the score tied at 21-21. In the third quarter, it appeared that Ohio State would begin to dominate the matchup, as it scored a pair of unanswered touchdowns to go up, 35-21. Even so, Michigan fought its way back from that deficit on TD passes from Gardner to wide receiver Drew Dileo and tight end Jake Butt. The Buckeyes then regained the lead on a 1-yard score from running back Carlos Hyde with just 2:20 left in the fourth quarter. The Wolverines matched that touchdown when Funchess grabbed a 2-yard pass from Gardner with 32 seconds remaining.
Hoke kept the U-M offense on the field to try for a go-ahead two-point conversion, perhaps due to the fact that kicker Brendan Gibbons was injured. Punter Matt Wile, who also handles kickoffs and longer field goal tries, would have been forced to tackle all placekicking duties in overtime, in which field goal attempts are common. However, Gardner's pass to Dileo was intercepted, and the ensuing onside kick also failed, which let Ohio State run out the clock and capture the win.
The Buckeyes will take on the Michigan State Spartans in the Big Ten Championship Game next Saturday, Dec. 7 at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis. Next Sunday, the Wolverines -- who fell to 7-5 overall and 3-5 in the conference with today's loss -- will find out where they will play in a postseason bowl game.