“The Game” was on the line, as Michigan head coach Brady Hoke decided to go for two, rather than to tie the game and take it- most likely- into overtime.
Gardner continued to look right before making a decision and throwing a strike to his receiver behind the goal-line.
Tyvis Powell, the freshman defensive back from Beford, Ohio, jumped in front of the pass, let it enter quickly into his arms and fell straight to the floor as he became, right then and there, an instant Buckeye hero.
With his teammates jumping in celebration on the sideline and those on the field pounding on his shoulder pads as he lay on the ground, the Buckeyes had all but done it.
Only 32 seconds remained in the game as Bradley Roby recovered an onside kick attempt and Braxton Miller kneeled into the turf, giving the Buckeyes their 24th consecutive victory in what will certainly be remembered as one of the most prolific battles between Ohio State and Michigan in the history of the rivalry.
Before that sequence of events, however, the game was a massive tidal wave, momentum shifting furiously from one end to another.
Michigan started with momentum, as the Wolverines took the ball in for a 99-yard score on their opening drive, thanks in large part to an 84-yard screen pass to receiver Jeremy Gallon.
Ohio State countered with a 53-yard pass from Braxton Miller to Devin Smith, tying the game and leveling out the one-sided momentum.
Another series of screen passes and creative play-calls for Michigan gave them the 14-7 lead as Fitzgerald Touissant barreled his way into the end-zone with a 4-yard touchdown run.
Braxton Miller then broke another big play for the Buckeyes, running for 55 yards and into the end-zone to tie the game at 14-14. Then, the momentum began to swing directly into the direction of the home team.
Michigan took a 21-14 lead very early in the second quarter and threatened to push that lead to 28-14 as the Buckeye offense stalled for the large majority of the second quarter. After a huge Ohio State stopped, the Michigan momentum swung entirely back into Ohio State’s favor going into the half as the Buckeyes drove right down the field with just over a minute left and Braxton Miller tied the game with a 21-yard touchdown run.
Tied at 21-21 at the half, the Buckeyes took over the third quarter and threatened to blow the game open, this time in their favor. Braxton Miller rushed for his third touchdown of the game to give Ohio State a 28-21 lead and then connected with Jeff Heuerman for a 22-yard touchdown pass to put the Buckeyes up 35-21.
Michigan, however, was not done yet. In fact, they weren’t even close.
With the momentum entirely shifted to Michigan’s side, Ohio State brought it back, using running back Carlos Hyde to score the go-ahead touchdown with just 2:20 seconds left in the game.
Michigan had one last drive left in them and executed it perfectly.
The Wolverines marched their way down the field and scored on a Devin Funchess goal-line fade to set up the aforementioned one-play game, one-play season as they chose to go for two.
Overall, Michigan’s offense was spectacular from the get-go on Saturday afternoon, finishing with 603 yards of total offense, 451 of which came thanks to Devin Gardner’s best passing day as a Michigan Wolverine.
Gardner finished with 32 completions for 451 yards and four touchdowns through the air, while rushing for another score early in the game.
While five Michigan rushers only finished with 150 yards, the receiving group picked up the slack, as five receivers finished with more than 40 yards and four receivers finished with a touchdown. The best receiver, however, was Gallon, who caught nine passes for 175 yards and a touchdown, including the 84-yard screen on the first drive of the game.
The Buckeye defense did not play particularly well and, again, relied on the offense to bring back the win.
Carlos Hyde was absolutely dominant yet again for the Buckeyes, as he rushed for 226 yards and a touchdown on 27 attempts for an average of 8.4 yards-per-carry. He did have a costly fumble that allowed Michigan to get back into the game, but ultimately, Hyde was best when he absolutely needed to be as the Buckeyes drove down the field with just over five minutes left in the game.
Braxton Miller only completed six of his 15 pass attempts on Saturday, finishing with 133 yards and two touchdowns, but was also unbelievably good on the ground.
On 16 carries, Miller rushed for 153 yards and three touchdowns, good for five total scores on the day.
As this was “The Game”, fights were to be expected, but none so big as the fight that broke out after a Dontre Wilson kick return. Wilson, who was taken to the ground rather violently, threw punches at a few Wolverine players, as did senior offensive lineman Marcus Hall. The bench-clearing brawl resulted in the ejections of both Wilson and Hall, but only one took noticeable exception to the ruling.
Hall, upon his departure from the game, threw his helmet down, kicked over the bench and finally, and most notably, made obscene gestures at the Michigan crowd as a walked into the locker room. While the move was certainly one that will garner him tremendous punishment from head coach Urban Meyer, Hall and his gesture will forever, in one way another, be a part of Ohio State-Michigan lore.