The 2009 Ohio State football team completed its regular season with a 21-10 victory in Ann Arbor against its archrivals. The Buckeyes had already clinched a trip to the Rose Bowl a week earlier but still earned their sixth straight win over the Wolverines and clinched their third outright Big Ten title in four years.
"I have been concentrating on the Michigan-Ohio State game," he said, "but (an outright championship) is nice, too."
It was not always pretty offensively for either side, but both teams did top the 300-yard mark in total offense with the Buckeyes outgaining Michigan 318-309. The difference was the one-two rushing punch of Dan "Boom" Herron and Brandon Saine. They combined for 180 yards (Herron with 96 and Saine with 84) and the Buckeyes ran for 251 yards against the Wolverines. Meanwhile, the OSU defense gave up some yardage but also caused five Michigan turnovers. Starting quarterback Tate Forcier threw four interceptions and also lost a fumble in the end zone for Ohio State's first touchdown.
"He's a young guy and he threw some balls he shouldn't have," Tressel said, "but he threw the football hard and they played hard. Our guys played hard as well, but turnovers and rushing will always be the key to this game."
The Buckeyes set the tone early when their defense scored the game's first points. After a Jon Thoma punt pinned Michigan at its own 7-yard line, Forcier lost control of the football near the goal line on a third-down play. OSU defensive end Cameron Heyward fell on the loose ball in the end zone for a Buckeye touchdown at the 10:44 mark of the first quarter.
The Wolverines had their first scoring attempt later in the first quarter when Forcier led the Wolverines to the OSU 7 before kicker Jason Olsnavage pushed his 24-yard field goal attempt outside the right upright. Olsnavage later redeemed himself, however, with a 46-yard field goal with 7:59 left before halftime to cut the deficit to 7-3.
Ohio State responded on its next possession with a six-play, 80-yard march that was capped with a 29-yard touchdown by Saine. That score, and an ensuing PAT by Devin Barclay, gave Ohio State a 14-3 lead it took into halftime.
Foricer gave fans at Michigan Stadium hope early in the third quarter when he tossed an 18-yard touchdown pass to Vincent Smith to make it 14-10. However, the Buckeyes answered yet again. The Buckeyes traveled 89 yards on 11 plays en route to another touchdown. Herron caught a screen pass from Pryor and went 12-yards for a touchdown that set the final score at 21-10 with 4:46 left in the third quarter.
The Wolverines dropped to 5-7 and finished below .500 for the second straight season – the first time U-M had done that since 1962-63. Rich Rodriguez also became the first Michigan head coach to lose his first two games in the Ohio State series.
"You've got to give (Ohio State) credit," Rodriguez said. "They made the plays, but it's unfortunate because our guys gave great effort. We had a lot of opportunities – we just didn't get it done. We had a lot of plays today that had Michigan beating Michigan."
Forcier completed 23 of 38 passes for 226 yards with a touchdown and four picks. Redshirt freshman Ray Roundtree was Michigan's leading receiver with game-high totals of nine receptions for 116 yards. Smith had 32 yards on eight carries to lead U-M's struggling rushing attack.
Pryor completed 9 of 17 passes for 67 yards, one touchdown and one interception. He carried 19 times for 74 yards. Sophomore DeVier Posey was the Buckeyes' leading receiver with five catches for 38 yards. Defensively, junior linebacker Ross Homan led Ohio State with a game-high 12 tackles. Senior safety Kurt Coleman snagged two of the Buckeyes' interceptions while junior defensive end Thaddeus Gibson and junior cornerback Devon Torrence each grabbed his first career pick.