COLUMBUS, Ohio - The Ohio State Buckeyes (11-1, 7-1) have not looked back or slowed down in what is affectionately called The Game since the day that Jim Tressel assumed the duties as the head coach. Dan Herron tied a school record with an 89-yard rushing play and went for 175 yards on the ground while the Ohio State defense bent a couple of times early but never broke to Denard Robinson. The Buckeyes won the Big Ten for the sixth straight season and knocked off Michigan for the 9th time in 10 tries Saturday, 37-7.
"It's always the same feeling," Ohio State linebacker Ross Homan said. "Every time we beat Michigan, it's always a great feeling and a success."
With the win now the Buckeyes await their destiny and if a trip to the BCS is in the cards as a co-champion of the league. Michigan (7-5-, 3-5) on the other hand is bowl eligible but will head coach Rich Rodriguez figure into the plans moving forward?
Robinson accounted for 175 yards of total offense in the first half of the game but was held mostly in check the rest of the way as the Wolverines were forced to platoon quarterbacks between him and Tate Forcier. Michael Shaw had the lone points for Michigan with a one yard touchdown run in the 2nd quarter to close the Ohio State lead to three.
"They put in some schemes that we hadn't seen before and it took us a little while to adjust to them," offensive guard Bryant Browning said. "I thought as the game went on our offense was more effective."
That momentum was short lived when Jordan Hall took the ensuing kickoff back 85 yards to the house for his first career kickoff return touchdown and from that point forward the game was never in question.
"I don't know about a turning point but that was a critical point," Ohio State head coach Jim Tressel said. "(Michigan) worked very hard to get their touchdown and all of a sudden it took us 20 seconds to answer and Jordan Hall is a great football player."
The game will be remembered for a lot of different things including what many would like to call a wardrobe malfunction with the Buckeyes having gloves that shaped the block-O, but displaying that during the game twice cost Ohio State 30 yards in unsportsmanlike conduct calls. The first one was called on DeVier Posey after his 33 yard touchdown reception from Terrelle Pryor and then the second came after a 32 yard Herron touchdown run.
Herron tied a school record with the longest play from scrimmage in all of Ohio State football history with an 89 yard run from the Ohio State two yard line. The play actually went the length of the field but was called back on an iffy holding call against Ohio State receiver Dane Sanzenbacher. The record was set in 1942 by Gene Fekete against Pittsburgh and in an interesting twist the jerseys that Ohio State wore on Saturday were in honor of that aforementioned 1942 team.
"I didn't think it was a penalty but I don't make the calls," Sanzenbacher said.
Michigan was forced into tough field decisions during the game without strong play from the special teams. Regular punter/kickoff specialist Will Hagerup did not make the trip from Ann Arbor (Mich.) due to a violation of team rules. Michigan did not attempt a field goal on Saturday because of a 4-13 track record during the season when going for field goals.
"I'm mad," Rodriguez said after the game in the post game interview room. "I wish we would have played better and I expect better out of this team. I'm going to be angry for a while. It's going to sting for a bit but it's not something that we can go back and replay."
The Ohio State senior class was honored before the game with the traditional individual run through the 'tunnel of pride' and this senior class will have the honor of being able to say that they won the Big Ten every season while in Columbus as well as not having lost to Michigan either.
"I hope we leave a legacy of great leadership," Sanzenbacher said. "I feel that guys in this class held themselves accountable as well as held each other accountable. To be with these other five captains, it's an honor to be part of this class."