Tuesday, April 24, 2018
Sports

Buckeyes improve BCS title hopes

ANN ARBOR, Mich. — In the 110th matchup, Michigan went for the win.

But Ohio State stayed undefeated — and put itself in position to reach the BCS national title game.

Safety Tyvis Powell intercepted a two-point conversion with 32 seconds left as the No. 3 Buckeyes beat Michigan 42-41 Saturday.

"That's an instant classic," Ohio State coach Urban Meyer said.

And with No. 1 Alabama's 34-28 loss to Auburn, Ohio State likely will move up to No. 2 in the BCS standings. A win against Michigan State in the Big Ten title game could have the Buckeyes in Pasadena, Calif., on Jan. 6

But Ohio State was a few inches away from not having that chance. Devin Gardner threw a 2-yard touchdown pass to Devin Funchess to pull Michigan within 42-41.

"Coach (Brady Hoke) asked the seniors if we wanted to go for two," Michigan left tackle Taylor Lewan said. "And every one of us said, 'Yes.' "

Gardner tried to zip a pass to Drew Dileo into traffic near the goal line. But Powell came up with it, and the quarterback was left lying on the turf. Cornerback Roby Bradley recovered the onside kick to seal Ohio State's 24th straight victory.

The Wolverines, a 16½-point underdog, didn't wilt when Ohio State went up 35-21 late in the third. But they couldn't pull off what might have been the biggest upset in the series since Bo Schembechler's first Michigan team beat what Woody Hayes said was his best Ohio State squad in 1969.

"I threw an interception that cost us the win," said Gardner, who wore a protective boot on his left foot afterward. "That's what I will remember."

Both teams scored at least 41 points for the first time in the rivalry that dates to 1897. Braxton Miller ran for 153 yards and three touchdowns and threw for 133 and two scores for Ohio State. Carlos Hyde ran for 226 and a 1-yard score with 2:20 left to make it 42-35. Gardner was 32-of-45 for 451 yards and four touchdowns and ran for a touchdown.

"Coach Hayes was from a different generation," Meyer said. "He would have wanted a 10-9 game, but he would have wanted to see the two teams playing as hard as they can."

The teams exchanged pushes and punches during the second quarter after a Michigan kickoff.

Buckeyes starting right guard Marcus Hall and kick returner Dontre Wilson and Wolverines linebacker Royce Jenkins-Stone were ejected. Hall and Wilson appeared to throw punches. Jenkins-Stone tugged Wilson's helmet off and tossed it to the turf.

While walking off the field, Hall extended middle fingers to the Michigan crowd.

Any punishment could affect the Big Ten title game.

In an email to the Associated Press, Big Ten spokesman Scott Chipman wrote: "The conference office will wait … for the officials' written report, review the video and then take further action if needed."

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Published: 04/23/18