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The 113th meeting between Ohio State and The Team Up North was one for the history books. A true instant classic, as it marked the first time that the two teams ever played into overtime. This one took two extra periods, in which the Buckeyes emerged as 30-27 winners. It marked their fifth straight over TTUN and the school’s 14th win over their arch nemesis since 2000.
Ohio State trailed by three at the half and by as many as 10 in the third quarter. Then the defense turned up the heat and forced mistake after mistake from the banged Wilton Speight and the rest of the Wolverine offense. Those mistakes then led to easy points.
Then, the offense started to come alive. J.T. Barrett began to throw the ball better as receivers got open and the ground game started to find some holes in the stingy Maize and Blue defense. Tyler Durbin nearly single handily cost them a chance at a win, but he came through as he hit his first field goal of the game with one second left in regulation. It was tale of two halves and the Scarlet and Gray dominated when it mattered most. When you perform in this game, you become legendary. You also get the most meaningful Pride Sticker of the season.
This man was at the head of it all and coached one hell of a game. This win marked his fifth straight over TTUN, improving his record to a perfect 5-0 against them. He made some gutsy and questionable decisions all game long, including attempting a fake punt deep in their own territory. A call that would’ve made him a genius if Sam Hubbard held onto his block on the edge for punter, Cameron Johnston. He also went for it two other times on fourth down and was successful. None bigger than Barrett’s conversion in the second overtime. Hopefully, you picked up that milk, coach. It’ll taste good after you slap a Pride Sticker on the fridge.
This one is a no-brainer. Mr. Everything scored the game-winner and forever cemented himself in the greatest rivalry in all of sports as a hero. What better way to walk-off the field at Ohio Stadium for the final time. He took a hand-off from Barrett, who was set up in the shotgun and ran to the left side where there was nothing but daylight and a celebration for the ages ahead of him. He finished with just seven carries for 54-yards and four catches for 32-yards. But, that play alone was enough to earn him this sticky award.
No, he didn’t play great or how he needed to in this one, but it was good enough. He showed fight, will and determination. The things you need from your leader in a game of this magnitude. The stats were not pretty. 15-of-22 for 124-yards passing. He ran for one more yard than he threw for, using his legs 30 times. He provided leadership and that did not go unheeded. If this was your last game in ‘The Shoe,’ thank you for the memories, J.T.
How could I pick just one guy from that side of the ball to honor? Three forced turnovers, a touchdown, two sacks, five tackles for a loss and stand after stand when it mattered the utmost.
Malik Hooker picked off his sixth pass of the year and took it back for a score. That marked the third time he has done so. This kid deserves the Defensive Player of the Year award in the Big Ten, as well as consideration for All-American and the Jim Thorpe Award.
Raekwon McMillan had a 16 tackle game, Jerome Baker had 15 and Chris Worley had 11. Dre’Mont Jones and Sam Hubbard also had great games up front, accompanied by Jalyn Holmes and Nick Bosa. Conley and Lattimore were good in coverage, as well. When this unit turns up the heat and gets after the quarterback, look out.
The 10th Unit was amazing. The record-setting crowd of 110,045 was loud all game long and made life difficult on the Wolverine offense. According to FanQuakes, Ohio Stadium measured similar to that of a 5.0 magnitude earthquake or higher five times. The loudest? When Curtis Samuel walked us off as winners in double overtime. That measured in at a whopping 5.79 magnitude on the Richter Scale. ‘The Shoe’ is, was and always will be the greatest venue in all of sports. The 100,000-plus that pack it every Saturday are the reason why.
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