COLUMBUS (AP) –Curtis Samuel swept in for a 15-yard touchdown after Ohio State barely converted a fourth-and-1 and the second-ranked Buckeyes beat No. 3 Michigan 30-27 in double overtime Saturday to win one of the greatest games in the history of one of college football’s greatest rivalries.
Facing fourth-and-1 from the 16, Ohio State coach Urban Meyer decided not to kick a potential game-tying field goal with a kicker who had already missed two short ones in regulation.
J.T. Barrett kept it on fourth down and slammed into the back of his blocker, A.J. Alexander, right at the line to gain. The first-down call stood up to video review.
“That was not a first down,” Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh said. “I’m bitterly disappointed with the officiating today.”
On the next play, Samuel, who had made a swerving, change-of-direction run to set up the fourth-and-1, found a lane and raced into the end zone to win it.
“Been a part of some crazy football games here,” Barrett said. “That one was No. 1.”
Harbaugh drew an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty earlier in the game after an offside call on Michigan. He also was angry about a pass interference call on Michigan during Ohio State’s game-tying drive late and a non-call on a would-be pass interference against the Buckeyes in OT.
The scarlet-clad crowd covered the field after the game. The first matchup to go to overtime in the 113-game history of the rivalry likely eliminated Michigan from the playoff race and could have locked up a spot for the Buckeyes.
The Buckeyes will have to wait until Penn State plays to find out if they will play for the Big Ten title. Still, they added to a resume that already impressed the College Football Playoff selection committee .
Michigan could end up in the Rose Bowl, but the biggest prizes are still eluding the Wolverines in their second year under coach Jim Harbaugh, who dropped to 0-2 against Meyer and the Buckeyes. Michigan has not won the Big Ten since 2004.
But if this is just the start of a new Ten Year War for Michigan and Ohio State, with Meyer and Harbaugh playing the roles of Woody Hayes and Bo Schembechler , there is much for to look forward to for college football fans.
Ohio State wiped out a 10-point third-quarter deficit and dominated the fourth quarter, but Tyler Durbin missed a 20-yard field goal to tie it with 7:01 remaining.
Barrett and the Buckeyes gave him another chance, this time from 23 yards with a second left in regulation and Durbin nailed it.
Barrett scored on a quarterback draw and Ohio State’s first possession of OT to give the Buckeyes the lead, but Michigan tied it on a 5-yard touchdown pass on fourth down from Wilton Speight to Amara Darboh.
Michigan: Speight returned after missing last week’s game with a left shoulder injury. In many ways, he was Michigan’s best offensive player, going 23 for 35 for 219 yards and two touchdown passes. He also made three critical turnovers, one interception Malik Hooker returned for a touchdown in the first half and another pick by Jerome Baker that set up Ohio State’s second touchdown to make it 17-14 with 1:06 left in the third quarter.
“It’s a bummer, you know, knowing I let the defense down,” Speight said.
Ohio State: Barrett will not go down as Ohio State’s greatest player, but no one will ever doubt his ability to come up with the big one the Buckeyes needed from him most. He struggled throwing until late in the game and finished 15 for 32 for 132 yards. He also ran for 125 desperately needed yards against a Michigan defense that took almost everything else away.
Michigan: The Wolverines will go to a New Year’s Six bowl. The question is whether it’s Rose or Orange.
Ohio State: Maybe Indianapolis next week against Wisconsin for the Big Ten title? Maybe in a playoff game on New Year’s Eve? Maybe in the Rose Bowl if the Buckeyes get squeezed out of the playoff? Stay tuned.