Buckeye Watch -- Michigan
By Tony Gerdeman
I believe Braveheart said it best, “All streaks die, but not all streaks truly live.” Well, I don't need to tell you this, but Ohio State's streak of seven games without losing to Michigan lived a full and healthy life, and was survived by many, many happy children.
There should be only pleasant memories. Remember everything that The Streak did for you. It shut up your neighbors, your coworkers, your spouse (whom you inexplicably married despite laws against such things), and it shut up the collective Michigan fanbase around the world. For this alone we shouldn't mourn this loss, but instead celebrate the life of the greatest streak that we have ever known, and likely the greatest streak that we will EVER know.
Even on its death bed, The Streak would not go quietly. A hushed, meager voice called for Michigan, motioning for it to come forward. Michigan bent down and put its ear to The Streak's mouth, “Toussaint's knee was down”, it whispered.
But alas, The Streak was too weak to finish as strongly as it needed to. But its life was long, and the lamentations of many a Michigan woman was heard over the years. It was a good life. It was the best life.
Let's all raise a glass to The Streak. The best friend an Ohio State fan ever had, and more importantly, the worst enemy a Michigan fan ever set their crust-strewn yellow eyes upon.
You will be missed, but you and your lessons will not be forgotten. You have taught us everything you know. We will carry the lessons on and pass them down to generations. We will never see another like you, and yet we will always see you in all the streaks to come.
The past has been your lasting gift, and the future is how we will pay it forward.
10:08 I'm feeling pretty good about today. Maybe that's because of everything else going on around the program, I'm not sure. Maybe it's because I'm destroying this steak burrito from Sonic (Dear Sonic, you can hit the email button above if you want to send me gift certificates).
10:33 This game has put itself on a platter for Michigan. If they can't win this one, then they should just quit football altogether and get their grifting careers started.
10:40 It has been 2,926 days since Michigan last beat Ohio State. How does a 29-26 win for the Buckeyes sound right about now?
10:49 If Michigan wins today, their players will experience something they've never felt before--the respect of their families.
11:25 Andrew Sweat is not in uniform today. I heard earlier this morning that he's dealing with an elbow injury beyond just his concussion. I wasn't expecting him to play this week because of the concussion, but it looks like he was preparing to. Would have liked to have seen Sweat at mike and Ryan Shazier next to him at the will.
11:30 The longest 30 minutes of the year has just begun.
11:48 I hope the Buckeyes know how to defend the wildcat this week, because they'll be seeing it a ton with Denard Robinson. And the play-action off of the QB draw could be devastating.
11:54 Bo Jackson picks Michigan. Lee Corso picks Michigan. Kirk Herbstreit picks Michigan. I picked Michigan. Could all four of us be right? I don't see how.
11:58 Please hurry, time.
11:59 There have been rumors all morning that Jim Tressel talked to the team. If that's true, and the Buckeyes win, another legend will have been born.
12:02 Hey, the fans have yellow pom poms. Is there a place to attach their keys?
12:05 Braxton Miller is the first true freshman Buckeye quarterback to start at Michigan. This sounds promising.
12:06 I bet Urban Meyer is nervous right now.
12:08 Brady Hoke is worried that his team will be too excited to win early on. Don't worry, that excitement won't last long.
12:09 Michigan won the toss and has deferred. Well, let's get that excitement out of them early. This is actually a perfect situation for the Wolverines right now.
12:10 The kickoff is a touchback. It was just mentioned that Braxton Miller has “just three picks” this season. What's with the bad juju even before the first snap? The Buckeyes come out in the pistol. I like it. Miller drops back and finds Devier Posey on the comeback for five yards. Nice and easy.
12:12 Third and four. Three wide. Jake Stoneburner is in the slot. Miller drops back and finds Jordan Hall in the flats for the first down. Quick passes? Imagine the unimaginable. To dream...the impossible dream. To fight...the unbeatable foe. (That being the forward pass, of course.)
12:13 Quarterback draw, and there's lots of room. Miller picks up 15 yards out to the 47-yard line. He's so much better at this than Terrelle Pryor.
12:14 Play-action bootleg. He's going deep...PHILLY BROWN TOUCHDOWN!! He was wide open. Just like Gonzo in 2004! Wow, they left him wide open. It was beautiful. Both defenders stayed with Devier and Philly kept running. Buckeyes lead it 7-0. Actually, since he doesn't like the name "Philly", after that touchdown, we should no longer call him such. Nice catch, Corey. Weird, I almost miss the 10-0 deficit. I had grown so accustomed to it.
12:16 Well, now it's up to the defense. I don't know how I feel about that.
12:17 Huge third down. Shotgun. Quick slant to Martavious Odoms and Travis Howard breaks it up! He got there early and for once Howard wasn't called for pass interference. He should have been. Michigan punts.
12:19 Another touchdown here might get Michigan thinking that things haven't changed at all.
12:24 So much for my plan, the Buckeyes go three and out. You'd think they'd listen to me just once. Ben Buchanan's punt is fair caught at the Ohio State 47-yard line. The field position battle has been turned.
12:25 Michigan comes out in the shotgun. Bradley Roby comes on the blitz and Denard Robinson keeps it on the read option and he is gone for the touchdown. Looks like he also read the blitz and went inside and froze Etienne Sabino in the hole. The rout is on. I knew he would have a long run because he hasn't had one in a month. Michigan ties it 7-7. That was his longest carry of the Big Ten season. How expected.
12:26 I'm already tired of the “eating” thing they're doing. Michigan can't do anything without it being obnoxious. Just look at their ridiculous helmets. Hmm...maybe they're pretending to eat the free bowl of soup that they got with their helmets?
12:29 Miller is going deep again, and he missed an open Corey Brown on Blake Countess. If the safeties aren't going to help, the Buckeyes have to keep going deep. Make Michigan pay for not respecting the deep game.
12:30 Braxton picks up ten yards on the speed option, but it's coming back because Zach Boren got called for holding. That's a drive killer, and a field position killer.
12:31 Now a false start will move the ball back to the Ohio State five-yard line. Just take a safety here.
12:33 Third and 27. Play-action (why not?) and Miller is going deep again, but it's broken up by Countess. I like the downfield stuff. That was pass interference. There's a flag down. Holding on Mike Adams. In the endzone. Safety. The famed “Block O” is letting the Buckeyes down today. Michigan leads it 9-7.
12:35 Here comes the safety kick from Ben Buchanan. Jeremy Gallon returns it to the 49-yard line of Michigan. Curtis Grant and Rod Smith get into it with some Wolverines. They will not go down quietly.
12:41 Shotgun. Roll out leads to a quick out to Roy Roundtree for eight yards and a first down. The defense looks like it has no chance to stop this offense right now without a turnover. Fortunately, this IS Michigan, so a turnover is a distinct possibility.
12:42 Play-action. Robinson throws down the middle and hits Junior Hemingway for a touchdown on a pass that wasn't even intended for him. Of course. That was the rare jump ball that was caught by the Wolverine that wasn't supposed to catch it. Michigan leads it 16-7. Sabino blitzed but let up when he saw a blocker waiting for him.
12:43 Time for Ohio State to start burning the clock. It's the only way to protect their defense.
12:46 Kickoff. Jordan Hall fumbles it high into the air, but Devier Posey makes his best catch of the year, snatching it at its highest point. Get it together people!
12:50 The Buckeyes go three and out. The plan is not coming together. Fortunately Buchanan's punt goes out of bounds at the seven-yard line. At least the field position is back. For now.
12:50 Give goes to Fitzgerald Toussaint for two yards. Storm Klein was there. Not sure why Robinson doesn't run it more. He's the key to this entire game.
12:51 Robinson keeps it and fumbles! I think Michigan recovered. It will be a gain of two yards. Orhian Johnson on the hit. Another football on the ground that Ohio State misses. It feels like they haven't recovered a fumble in a month.
12:54 Third and seven. Kevin Koger goes in motion. Roll out to his side. There's nothing open and John Simon brings Robinson down for the sack. Now the field position is on the other foot—provided Jordan Hall doesn't fumble said foot. That's the end of the first quarter. Michigan leads it 16-7.
12:55 Michigan now punts into the wind and barring something terrible, the Buckeyes will be playing with a short field. Maybe a play-action after some established running will be the answer. Can't waste this position.
12:58 Michigan fans are so happy. It's disgusting. The terrorists have won. Hagerup's punt is fair caught at the Buckeye 45-yard line. Very nice punt. More pushing and shoving. Dominic Clarke just killed the field position with a personal foul. There's been a few of those this year. What a waste.
1:01 Third and seven. Miller runs up to the line and let's his blockers know something. He takes the snap and immediately hits a hole and breaks into Michigan territory. That was a late read by Miller who likely changed the play from a delay to an immediate run. He followed Brewster and zipped right through and picked up 20 yards.
1:05 Second and five. The give is to Boom, but Jordan Kovacs came on the blitz and dropped him for a loss of two. They know second down is a running down because Jim Bollman wants third and short. They haven't gotten anything on second down.
1:06 Third and seven. Play-action and Miller is going downfield and misses a wide open Posey on the corner route. He was overthrown. Countess has been beaten a few times today. Have to keep attacking him.
1:06 That leaves a huge kick from 45 yards away for Drew Basil. Nailed it! Michigan leads it 16-10. Clutch kick from Basil.
1:11 Play-action. Denard scrambles and Storm Klein was held on the scramble. Robinson picks up five. Refs missed the hold badly. Actually, they saw it, they just chose not to call it.
1:12 Third and two. Quarterback draw and Robinson picks up three yards and fumbled again! The ref is pointing Ohio State's way. It's tough to say though. Can't tell if he was down. Uh oh, Ryan Shazier is hurt and grabbing his left leg. Ohio State recovers the fumble, but might lose Shazier. I don't know if I'll take that trade. It's definitely a fumble. They can't afford to lose Shazier. He needs to be helped off. He limps off. Now who comes in? Tony Jackson? Sweat is out there to meet him. Nate Oliver? Moeller and Sabino and Klein going all game now? What a terrible turn.
1:14 Hey, lost in all of this is that it's Ohio State's ball at the Michigan 31-yard line. Braxton Miller drops back and picks up eight yards on the scramble. Don't be afraid to do that, especially if you can't complete a pass downfield. Don't need a turnover down here.
1:15 Now back to the pistol. Speed option right, and Miller goes with the counter to the left and adds a ridiculous juke and turns it all into an believable touchdown. He is amazing. He is simply amazing. 17-16 Ohio State with 7:51 to play in the half. Miller loves the counter. Defenses hate it.
1:17 What an answer by this Ohio State team.
1:21 Shazier is back in. Gotta play through pain against Michigan. It's just what you do.
1:23 Trap play to Toussaint and he is going to pick up about 50 yards. It was a huge run, but he was never going to score because he's simply not fast enough. Great vision and blocking though. Shazier lost his footing and Barnett couldn't get to him. I can excuse Shazier. Michigan first down at the Ohio State 16-yard line.
1:29 Second and goal from the six-yard line. Shotgun. Robinson keeps it and goes into the endzone untouched. Will they go for two? Doesn't look like it. Good call on Hoke's part. There's 3:16 to play. Michigan leads it 23-17.
1:30 There was nobody in the middle of the field on that play to stop Denard. I don't even know what took Robinson so long to make that read. Where is the middle of the defense?
1:33 Miller throws a quick first-down pass to Posey in the flats and he picks up nine yards. I like it. We have only been asking for this since 2001. Way to save it for just the right moment.
1:36 Third and five. Three wide. Miller drops back and flips it to Hall in the flats. Great spot. We'll have to measure. 1:28 to play. Here we go with the measurement. First down! Huge.
1:37 Let's go. Speed it up. Brady Hoke is going to challenge the spot. The silliest of all challenges. Especially on a sideline play. Hope you didn't need that challenge for later.
1:39 The ruling stands. Hello common sense. Goodbye challenge.
1:40 Miller brings the offense to the line of scrimmage in the I-formation. He drops back, steps up into the pocket and finds Devier Posey for the 43-yard touchdown! He just stepped into it and flipped it like Terrelle Pryor used to do. That was easy. But there's too much time left. 1:21 to play. Buckeyes lead it 24-23. This is a pretty fun game, isn't it? Just keep going deep. Michigan is begging you to do it. Keep giving them what they want. What a beautiful throw.
1:41 Braxton Miller is on pace for Troy Smith today.
1:45 Brady Hoke chooses to run the clock out. Thank you, sir. Ohio State goes into the half with the 24-23 lead. Amazing.
1:46 Brady Hoke just said they're giving Miller too much time to throw the ball. They are going to blitz him like crazy in the second half. And I have to assume the open receivers downfield won't be so open...though it should allow for some more sizable runs from everybody. Bollman has to have his offense ready for it.
1:47 Michigan has outscored opponents 190-77 in the second half this season.
1:50 Ohio State had a great start against Nebraska, and then relaxed. The key here is that there is no room to relax.
1:52 Troy Smith had 328 total yards and four touchdowns against Michigan in 2006. He had 337 yards and two touchdowns against them in 2005. In 2004 he had 386 and three touchdowns. Braxton Miller has 186 total yards and three touchdowns. He better get to work to catch 2004 Troy.
1:59 The good thing is that Michigan will take the ball to start the second half, so Ohio State will get to take the wind in the fourth quarter. The Wolverines scored 16 points with the wind and only seven against it.
2:07 Alright. It's game time. Let's get this thing over with quicklike.
2:09 Ryan Shazier is playing on one leg. I bet he still runs a 4.7.
2:10 Toussaint picks up three or four yards on the carry. Shazier is trying to rip the ball out. He's got one leg and two arms. Uh oh. Orhian Johnson is now down and hurt. He's been one of the best guys on defense today. They can't lose him with Christian Bryant already out. Johnson was taken out by Storm Klein rolling up on him. Zach Domicone now in I'm guessing? Yep. Will they attack him right away? I would.
2:18 Second and four. Tyler Moeller comes on the blitz right into the speed option, forcing a bad pitch from Robinson to Odoms. Roby tackles Odoms for an eight-yard loss. Perfect time for the blitz. Huge call on second down.
2:19 Third and eleven. Robinson drops back. Looks deep. Three-man rush. Unbelievable. He finds Odoms in between four Buckeyes and they all watch him run the last four yards into the endzone. A ridiculous result. More miscommunication, I presume. 30-24 Michigan with 9:05 to play in the third. Odoms couldn't believe nobody hit him. Was then like, "Oh, hey, it's the endzone. Don't mind if I do."
2:25 Third and eight. Miller again runs up to his offensive line. Takes the snap and immediately hits the line of scrimmage and picks up nine yards. I love the non-hesitating QB draw. But watch the fumble, please.
2:28 Chris Spielman is asking for a three-step drop from the I-formation. Thank you, Chris, but asking for stuff that would work is frowned upon around here.
2:28 Third and seven. The delayed draw picks up three yards and makes it fourth and five from the 36-yard line. May as well go for it here. I'd rather do that than kick a 53-yard field goal. They're punting? Even until the end, Tresselball reigns. Or reins.
2:29 The punt goes out of bounds at the nine-yard line. Not bad. Now do something with it to justify giving the ball up.
2:33 Robinson keeps it on the zone read and picks up 22 yards. And the punt is now officially a bad decision. Tresselball without Jim Tressel is like peanut butter without jelly. Cereal without milk. Hardcastle without McCormick.
2:35 Third and three. You gotta come get Robinson. Shotgun. Blitz. He's going downfield and it's incomplete to Kelvin Grady. They didn't come close to getting him, but they made him throw it, which is just as good. They occupied the open areas and didn't allow the scramble. Time to punt.
2:36 Hagerup drops the snap and he's taken down at the 32-yard line!! He just dropped it. Not a great year for Hagerup. Moeller was there to take him down. Don't blow this.
2:37 Don't go backwards here. Boom Herron bounces it and picks up five yards. Good gain on first down, means they don't have to run it on second. (Just don't get sacked.)
2:37 Play-action. Miller takes off down the sideline all the way to the five-yard line. And all of Buckeye Nation was yelling for Braxton to hold onto the ball. J.T. Floyd tracked him down and was swiping, but Miller held on. Poor Desmond Morgan had no chance.
2:38 We have reached the end of the third quarter. Michigan leads it 30-24. The Game comes down to the fourth quarter. For real this time, not for fake like over the past decade or so.
2:41 First and goal. Speed option left for two yards. Burn 14:53 off the clock on this drive please.
2:43 Third and goal. Play-action, Miller scrambles and is sacked at the four-yard line. Field goal time. I'm actually okay with this call. Couldn't afford to get stopped four times and get nothing from it.
2:44 Basil hits the 21-yard field goal. Michigan leads it 30-27. The Wolverines dodged a bullet...actually, it just passed clean through a fleshy part of the body. Like the jowl. Now it's in the defense's hands to keep this a one-possession game.
2:48 Denard Robinson is 11-13 passing. I wonder if Michigan fans will still be clamoring for him to move to a new position so that Devin Gardner can finally take over.
2:49 Robinson rolls out and finds a wide open Junior Hemingway at the 47-yard line. Zach Domicone took a wide turn in coverage. Michigan looking downfield, Ohio State not.
2:51 Facemask on Shazier. He pulled Toussaint's head off. Millions of Americans suddenly wish they were Ryan Shazier. The defense has to make sure they hold Michigan to a field goal here.
2:52 Gotta hand it to Michigan today for playing a completely clean game and not holding once. Very nicely done.
2:56 Third and one at the five-yard line. The Buckeyes run an eleventh defender out onto the field. What an idea! Robinson keeps it on the rollout and hits a wide open Koger for the touchdown. Michigan leads it 37-27 and the comeback is in serious doubt.
2:59 Miller drops back and finds Jake Stoneburner over the middle for 36 yards with Kenny Demens in coverage. How has this not been more of a thing today? It's criminal. Seriously, charges should be filed. Would it qualify for a citizen's arrest?
3:00 Shotgun. Miller drops back and throws a beautiful screen to Hall, who has some blockers. He picks up 17 yards down to the 27-yard line. Perfect time to call it, which absolutely shocks me.
3:01 Play-action. Speed option throw back to Fragel inside the ten and there will be half the distance on the late hit by Jordan Kovacs to get it inside the five with 7:22 to play. Bolls, too little, too late. Bollman: “Fine, I'll use the tight ends just to show you how worthless they are. I'll expect an apology after...hey, alright!”
3:02 First and goal. Boom touchdown with 7:14 to play!! Right up the gut. No denying. Michigan is now up 37-34. How's that for an answer? 1:18 off the clock. And now it's time for the defense to make their case for a ride home.
3:07 Please get Urban Meyer off of the screen. He is not in this game and he has nothing to do with this game. Robinson drops back and finds Drew Dileo down the field at the 50-yard line. I can't believe UM is still firing. It's actually pretty impressive and gives you a glimpse at coaches who aren't just going to sit on a lead and burn clock.
3:09 Shotgun. Split backs. Roundtree leaves the backfield and goes in motion. Luke Fickell immediately calls a timeout. There's still over five minutes to play yet. Losing that timeout will only hurt if you blow the opportunities that follow.
3:14 Second and eight at the 15-yard line with 3:40 to play. Robinson keeps it and gets inside the five. The Buckeyes just can't get into the middle of that offensive line. Orhian Johnson is down again. Robinson has 25 carries for 171 yards today. That was very predictable, actually.
3:15 The “Beat Ohio!” chant rings around the stadium.
3:16 Ohio State isn't worrying themselves with the pass right now. They can't afford to. They'll just have to trust that Michigan wont cheat and try to throw in this situation.
3:17 Second and goal from the four. Touchdown Toussaint with 2:37 to play. Gives Buckeyes enough time to score and go for an onside kick instead of letting this broken down defense try to do what it is they do. Wait...he was down? It's close. I still think he's in.
3:22 Wow. They're calling him down at the one-foot line. Wow. I don't believe that at all. Michigan will run this clock to about the two-minute mark.
3:23 Second and goal. Robinson rolls out, but there's a penalty flag. Whoa. Give me a clip. Give me a clip. This won't be on Michigan because that's unpossible today. Two fouls. Holding on Michigan. Then a personal foul on Michigan after the play. OMG!!! Wow. Wow. Wow.
3:24 Third and goal from the 26-yard line with 2:12 to play and the clock is stopped. Shotgun. Roundtree in motion. Robinson throws it up and incomplete to Roundtree out of bounds with 2:04 to play. I have no more words, but I promise you that I will find some if need be, however.
3:25 Brendan Gibbons has a tough field goal from 42 yards out here. Got it. Michigan leads it 40-34 with 1:59 to play. The field goal almost feels like an afterthought. Stopping the touchdown was the big story.
3:26 This is how legends become legends.
3:28 Ohio State has 80 yards to go and 1:59 in which to do it. They've done it faster. One timeout. Can't screw around though. Empty. Five wide. No blitz. Going down the middle for Brown, but it's incomplete. Demens was on Philly, but there were safeties there as well. If that pass had been accurate, it probably would have been intercepted, or Brown would have been decapitated.
3:28 Second and ten. Miller runs up to tell his line something. Michigan is expecting the quick draw, and they hold him to a four-yard gain. They backed out of the blitz and waited for him. Timeout Ohio State. They call a timeout to make sure this third down is a good call, and the fourth down after that. Allows you to calm the quarterback down as well.
3:29 Third and six. Play-action. He's looking deep. OH! NO! He had Posey wide open and couldn't hit him. That was the game winner. That would have lived forever. Brax, come on.
3:30 Fourth and six. Shotgun. Miller takes off and leaps for the first down. Maybe. Good spot. He leapt for it. 1:31 to play. Amazing. Let's go. There are more shots to take.
3:31 First down. Miller gets sacked for a loss of two. 1:15 and running...hurry.
3:31 Second down. Quick pass to Devin Smith for six yards. Under a minute.
3:32 Third and six. You spike it on third and six? What? WHAT!?!? Wow. I can't believe that. The downs have to get played above all else. Wow.
3:32 Fourth and six. Miller drops back, fires it to Devin Smith and it bounces off of his hands and is intercepted. Michigan wins.
3:33 This is not Braxton Miller's loss.
3:34 Michigan wins 40-34. Brady Hoke gets a Gatorade bath. The Wolverines just did some stupid dance. Great game. Unfortunate ending.
3:37 Spiking the ball on third down? I don't understand that. That will make for some interesting discussions in the post game.
3:38 I know Michigan fans are thrilled with this win, but they can't like the thoughts of playing Braxton Miller for three more years. Nor the coach he will be playing for.
3:39 That would've been an all-time painful loss for Michigan. That's what hurts the most.
3:40 But hey, if you can't celebrate a win over the losingest Ohio State team in a dozen years, when CAN you celebrate?
3:59 I don't have much more in me. I'm gonna call it a day. Oh, but make sure you don't come see my band “Third Down Spike” tonight. We suck.
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