(Saturday, November 22nd)
Final Score: (10) Ohio State 42, Michigan 7
Columbus, OH (Sports Network) - Chris "Beanie" Wells ran for 134 yards with a touchdown and Dan Herron added 80 yards on the ground with a pair of scores, as 10th-ranked Ohio State dominated the second half in a 42-7 victory over Michigan and claimed a share of the Big Ten title.
Terrelle Pryor threw for 120 yards and a pair of touchdowns for the Buckeyes (10-2, 7-1 Big Ten), who outscored Michigan 28-0 in the final 30 minutes and earned a share of the conference title for the fourth straight year. Ohio State tied Penn State atop the Big Ten standings, but the Nittany Lions will earn a Rose Bowl bid -- unless they somehow finish in the top two of the BCS standings -- based on the 13-6 win at the Horseshoe in October.
The Buckeyes rolled up 416 total yards to 198 for Michigan and beat the Wolverines for the fifth straight year. It's the longest winning streak for Ohio State over Michigan in the history of the storied rivalry.
"It's hard to believe because it's just so difficult," said Ohio State head coach Jim Tressel of the winning streak against the Wolverines. Tressel improved to 7-1 all-time against Michigan.
Michigan (3-9, 2-6) suffered its biggest loss to Ohio State since a 50-14 setback in 1968 -- the year before Bo Schembechler's arrival in Ann Arbor. The Wolverines ended a disastrous first season under Rich Rodriguez with seven losses in their last eight games.
"It's disappointing to not be as successful as we would have liked with our record, but there is no panic with it being the first year," stated Rodriguez. "We have a lot of things to overcome, and I am confident that the work we do Sunday through Friday will show up on Saturdays soon."
Brandon Minor ran for 67 yards and a touchdown on 14 carries for Michigan, while Nick Sheridan threw for just 87 yards while completing only 8-of-24 passes. The Wolverines were unable to sustain drives throughout the game, converting on third down just once in 17 opportunities.
Ohio State carried a 14-7 lead into the second half, then scored 28 unanswered points to blow it open.
After the Buckeyes started from their own nine following a Michigan punt on the first series of the third quarter, it took them just two plays to increase their advantage. Wells ran for 42 yards on the first play and Herron followed with a 49-yard run for a touchdown to make it 21-7.
"The turning point was when they punted us down to the nine and then two plays later we scored," remarked Tressel. "That was huge. A big run by Beanie, and then a big run by Herron. That really made a difference."
Michigan's next possession also ended in a punt from Ohio State territory and an 80-yard return by Ray Small set up a first down for the Buckeyes at the Michigan eight-yard line. Pryor hit Brian Robiskie in the end zone on the next play for a 28-7 cushion.
A 35-yard pass from Pryor to Dane Sanzenbacher on the next Buckeye possession was followed by a 19-yard run by Herron to the Michigan two-yard line on the final play of the third quarter. After an incomplete pass that appeared to be a tipped ball for an interception on the first play of the fourth, Herron scored on the following play to increase the Ohio State margin to 28 points.
The Wolverines fumbled the ensuing kickoff and Todd Boeckman, benched in favor of Pryor early in the season, threw an 18-yard touchdown pass to Brian Hartline to make it 42-7.
Hartline finished with just two catches, but both went for touchdowns. Pryor completed only 5-of-13 passes with an interception, while Boeckman - a senior captain -- connected on each of his three throws.
Michigan got the first big break of the game when Stevie Brown picked off Pryor's second pass of the game and returned it 34 yards to the Ohio State 13. However, the Wolverines went nowhere and K.C. Lopata missed a 35-yard field goal attempt.
The Buckeyes then were unable to take advantage of a fumbled punt, recovering at the Michigan 48. The Wolverine defense quickly forced a punt.
Ohio State finally broke through and took a 7-0 lead on a 59-yard touchdown run by Wells. He broke through a hole on the right side of the line and wasn't touched until reaching the end zone with 3:57 to play in the first period.
Michigan went three-and-out for the fourth time and Ohio State followed with another long touchdown play. Pryor went to the air for this one, hitting Hartline behind the Michigan secondary for a 53-yard score to increase the lead to 14-0 just under two minutes into the second quarter.
Another Wolverine series ended after three plays, but the Buckeyes gave them life soon after. Facing 4th-and-3 from the Michigan 35, Pryor threw incomplete and the Wolverines followed with their first sustained march.
Twice, Michigan had to convert a fourth-down play to keep it moving. Sheridan ran for two yards on 4th-and-1 early in the series and a 32-yard run by Minor gave the Wolverines a first down at the Ohio State one-yard line. The Buckeye defense stopped Minor twice for losses, then held him a yard short of the goal line on third down, but could not do so again, as Minor bulled his way into the end zone to put the Wolverines on the board with 2:51 left in the half.
The Wolverines got the ball back with just over a minute to play and a 21-yard pass moved the ball to the Ohio State 45, but that was as far they got before punting in the closing seconds.
"The missed opportunities are a big thing we've dealt with all year," Rodriguez added. "We had great field position in the beginning of the game, but we are not good enough to win ball games without taking advantage of those opportunities."
Wells, who ran just 15 times, notched his seventh 100-yard game of the season and the 16th of his career...The Wolverines still lead the all-time series, 57-42-6.
11/22 18:56:41 ET