Grade the Wolverines: Rate Michigan's performance against Ohio State
Denard Robinson accounted for all five touchdowns (three passing, two rushing) and had one of his best days in a Michigan uniform. He completed 14-of-17 passes for 167 yards -- with no interceptions -- and rushed 26 times for 170 yards. It wasn’t a one-man show. Fitz Toussaint ran for 120 yards, giving the Wolverines a pair of 1,000-yard rushers for the first time since 1975. Junior Hemingway, Kevin Koger and Martavious Odoms caught touchdown passes. Robinson connected with seven different receivers.
Braxton Miller had a coming-out party of sorts against the Wolverines. Michigan limited senior running back Dan Herron to 37 yards on 15 carries and dared the freshman quarterback to beat them — and he nearly did. Miller threw for a career-high 235 yards and two touchdowns and rushed for 100 yards and another score. But after allowing Ohio State to march down the field (80 yards in 5 plays) to pull within 37-34 with 7:09 left to play, the Buckeyes went nowhere on their final drive, trailing 40-34, after a Ryan Van Bergen sack and Courtney Avery interception. “We let the offense down once,” Van Bergen said. “It wasn’t going to happen again.”
The bad: A bobbled snap by punter Will Hagerup set up a short scoring drive for Ohio State late in the third quarter. The good: A career-long 43-yard field goal by Brendan Gibbons provided the game’s final points with 1:59 left. The mundane: Hagerup averaged 47.5 yards on two punts and Matt Wile had four touchbacks on seven kickoffs. Both teams’ return games were kept under wraps.
Ohio State, a team that averaged 24.2 points (84th-best in the nation) figured out a way to put up 34 against Greg Mattison’s defensive unit, which was allowing just 16.2 (8th-best in the nation). Score one for the Buckeyes there, but note that Al Borges’ offense scored 40 points against an Ohio State defense that allowed just 19.0 per game (14th-best in the nation). A potentially overlooked coaching moment: While the rest of the team returned to the locker room after pre-game warmups, Brady Hoke remained on the field to hug and pose for photographs with every senior player and their families.
The Buckeyes may have run up-and-down the field a little more than Michigan fans hoped, but the bottom line remains: A 40-34 win in The Game ends a seven-game losing against Ohio State, pushes the Wolverines' record to 10-2 and potentially sends them to a BCS game in January. If you predicted those three things in August, you should be living in Las Vegas.