Ohio State (13-0, 8-0 Big Ten) clinched a share of the Big Ten title with Iowa and – more importantly – a spot in the BCS national championship game at the Fiesta Bowl against defending champion Miami (Fla.).
OSU trailed for much of the game before scoring the go-ahead touchdown on a 4-yard run by Maurice Hall with 4:55 left. The Buckeyes then created two Michigan turnovers in the final three minutes to seal the victory.
"We knew it would be a battle," OSU head coach Jim Tressel said in the Nov. 30, 2002, edition of BSB. "Michigan played hard and physical, like every Ohio State and Michigan team does in this game. We knew if we kept at it and got a touchdown there, we would have a good chance to win the game."
The Wolverines got to the OSU 30 or beyond twice in the second half but failed to score in the final 30 minutes.
"I thought it was a great football game," said Michigan coach Lloyd Carr. "Ohio State did what it had to do to find a way to win. I'm very proud of how our team fought. I thought they played as hard as they possibly could have.
"But we settled for three field goals and Ohio State had two touchdowns."
Junior quarterback Craig Krenzel and freshman tailback Maurice Clarett led the Buckeyes to victory. Clarett returned after missing all or part of the last four games with a shoulder injury. He finished with 119 yards on 20 carries and a touchdown. Krenzel hit on 10 of 14 passes for 124 yards. Michael Jenkins caught four passes for 51 yards.
Michigan opened the scoring with a 36-yard field goal by Adam Finley with 8:35 left in the first quarter. The Buckeyes answered with a Clarett touchdown run of 2-yards late in the opening quarter.
The Wolverines took a 9-7 lead on a pair of Finley field goals in the second quarter. He booted a 35-yard FG with 10:56 left in the first half and a 22-yard kick with 16 seconds left before the break.
There was no scoring in the third quarter. Ohio State took the lead and set the final score with Hall's late TD on an option pitch from Krenzel. It was the first option run the Buckeyes ran all year.
"We went over it in practice and we thought it might be a good play for us," Hall said. "We run another similar play out of that formation and in that same situation, but we did something different today."
A Michigan fumble ended a promising drive with 2:02 left at the Ohio State 30-yard line. The Buckeyes then ended the game with another big defensive stand. The Wolverines took over at their own 20 with 58 seconds remaining and drove to the OSU 24 with 7 seconds left.
Navarre threw out of the end zone incomplete, leaving just one tick on the clock. U-M's final play was a mix-up, but Navarre threw deep down the left side to Braylon Edwards. OSU's Will Allen played the ball perfectly and cut in front of the receiver to make the interception.
Allen's pick touched off a massive on-field celebration that lasted for over half an hour as thousands of OSU fans stormed the field. Of course, Ohio State fans know that the 2002 season ended with a double-overtime victory over Miami (Fla.) in the Fiesta Bowl, giving the Buckeyes their first national championship since 1968.
1996 – No. 21 Michigan 13, No. 2 Ohio State 9: The headline of the Nov. 30, 1996, edition of BSB said it all.
"Michigan Again, Naturally"
Needing a win over the archrival Wolverines to secure Ohio State's first undefeated regular season since 1979 and a trip to the Rose Bowl, the Buckeyes (10-1, 7-1 Big Ten) had a perfect season spoiled by Michigan for the third time in four years.
"It's an awful feeling," OSU senior fullback Matt Calhoun said. "I had hoped I would never have to feel it again and here I am, feeling it again."
The Buckeyes made too many mistakes to earn the victory. They drove inside the U-M 5-yard line twice during the first half but settled for field goals, giving OSU a 9-0 halftime lead on Josh Jackson boots of 21, 36 and 21 yards. Later, Michigan scored on a 69-yard touchdown pass from Brian Griese to Tai Streets – aided in large part when Shawn Springs slipped on coverage.
Michigan tacked on a 43-yard field goal by Remy Hamilton at the end of the third period and another from 39 yards out with 1:19 remaining in the game.
"We didn't put the ball in the end zone, and that was pretty much it," Ohio State offensive tackle Orlando Pace said. "We had opportunities to win the football game. We just didn't win it, and that happens."
The offense was out of sync throughout the game, especially at quarterback. Joe Germaine earned the start for the first time all season and rotated with fellow QB Stanley Jackson for the first few series. Jackson had started the previous games with Germaine entering in relief.
Neither QB played well vs. the Wolverines. Germaine completed 12 of 31 passes for 148 yards and an interception, while Jackson completed 1 of 4 passes for 9 yards. Pepe Pearson led the rushing attack for OSU with 117 yards on 30 carries, while Dimitrious Stanley caught six passes for 95 yards. Defensively, Andy Katzenmoyer and Damon Moore each had 11 tackles.
The Buckeyes recovered from the loss with a Rose Bowl victory over Arizona State.
1991 – No. 4 Michigan 31, No. 18 Ohio State 3: For the fourth straight season, the Wolverines beat the Buckeyes – this time in Ann Arbor.
Cooper was given a three-year contract extension less than 24 hours before the game, but it did not provide any boost to the visitors. Eventual Heisman Trophy winner Desmond Howard, a Cleveland native, accounted for 213 all-purpose yards to lead Michigan. That included a 93-yard punt return for a touchdown – after which he struck his now-famous Heisman pose in the end zone.
The 28-point margin of victory was Michigan's largest in the rivalry since beating the Buckeyes 58-6 in 1946.
"They came out from the get-go and got after us and they never let up," OSU sophomore linebacker Jason Simmons said in the Nov. 30, 1991, edition of BSB.
Despite the lopsided final score, Ohio State's defense limited U-M to 323 yards offensively – about 130 below its season average coming into the game. But Ohio State's struggles on offense, including two costly first-half turnovers, and Howard's punt return for a score helped Michigan cruise to victory.
"We got beat by a good team," Cooper said. "Michigan is every bit as good as advertised. You have to give them a lot of credit. I thought their defense really played as exceptional ball game. Offensively, we didn't get anything going. … Unfortunately, we didn't get any points on the scoreboard when we needed them."
Through the early portions of the second quarter, the game was close. Michigan led 7-0 after the first quarter on a 1-yard touchdown run by Burnie Legette. OSU's Tim Williams cut the deficit to 7-3 on a 50-yard field goal with 12:32 left before halftime.
Michigan took command from there, thanks in large part to 17 second-quarter points after the Williams field goal. Jesse Johnson rushed for a 1-yard TD, J.D. Carlson booted a 37-yard field goal and Howard returned a punt 93 yards to the end zone. The Wolverines then closed the scoring late in the third quarter with a 5-yard touchdown run by Tyrone Wheatley.
"I don't think it's an understatement to say that we are extremely disappointed," Cooper said. "Michigan was every bit as good as advertised. But, when you give a good football team the opportunities we gave them and make the mistakes we made, that makes it awful tough to beat them."
Kent Graham completed 5 of 14 passes for 42 yards, and backup Kirk Herbstreit had a little more success by completing 8 of 11 passes for 82 yards. Snow struggled in leading the ground game, finishing with 54 yards on 24 carries. Snow was also the quarterbacks' top target, catching four passes for 33 yards. On defense, Steve Tovar had nine tackles. Mark Williams recovered a fumble.
The Buckeyes finished the season with a loss to Syracuse in the Hall of Fame Bowl.
1985 – No. 6 Michigan 27, No. 12 Ohio State 17: In Ann Arbor, Michigan quarterback Jim Harbaugh led the Wolverines past the Buckeyes.
"Michigan got the big plays when they needed them," Ohio State head coach Earle Bruce said in the Nov. 30, 1985, edition of BSB. "They converted all the downs that they needed and we made a lot of mistakes on offense."
Ohio State (8-3, 5-3 Big Ten) built a 10-3 lead in the second quarter before Michigan rallied for the win. The Buckeyes got a 48-yard field goal by Rich Spangler and a 2-yard touchdown run by Keith Byars to build a seven-point lead with 8:41 left before halftime. That lead did not make it to the break, as Michigan tied the game before the end of the second quarter on a 4-yard touchdown pass from Harbaugh to Gerald White.
Michigan outscored the Buckeyes 17-7 after halftime. Harbaugh tossed a pair of touchdown passes, a 5-yard strike to tight end Eric Kattus in the third quarter and a 77-yard connection with John Kolesar in the fourth. Patrick Moons added a 38-yard field goal in between. Ohio State's final score came early in the fourth quarter on a 36-yard touchdown reception by Cris Carter from Jim Karsatos.
Karsatos completed 17 of 31 passes for 179 yards with a TD and interception, while Carter caught five passes for 90 yards. Byars rushed 12 times for 35 yards. Harbaugh led U-M by completing 16 of 19 passes for 230 yards with three touchdowns and no interceptions.
Ohio State concluded the season with a loss to BYU in the Citrus Bowl.
1974 – No. 4 Ohio State 12, No. 3 Michigan 10: The kicking game proved to be the difference as Ohio State (10-1, 7-1 Big Ten) earned a share of the Big Ten title by knocking off previously unbeaten Michigan at Ohio Stadium. Michigan took a 10-0 lead in the first quarter, but the Buckeyes slowly chipped away at the deficit from there. Tom Klaban kicked three second-quarter field goals of 47, 25 and 43 yards, respectively, to make it 10-9 Michigan at halftime. He then added a fourth boot, this time from 45 yards, early in the third quarter to put OSU ahead for good. Michigan had a chance to earn the win late on a 33-yard field goal attempt by Mike Lantry. It sailed wide left. With Michigan and Ohio State tied, a vote of the conference athletic directors determined who would represent the Big Ten in the Rose Bowl. The Buckeyes won the vote and dropped an 18-17 decision to USC.
1968 – No. 2 Ohio State 50, No. 4 Michigan 14: With the Big Ten title and a berth in the Rose Bowl on the line, the Buckeyes (9-0, 7-0 Big Ten) rallied from an early 7-0 deficit to beat the visiting Wolverines. Ohio State led 21-14 at halftime before blitzing U-M by outscoring the Wolverines 29-0 in the second half. The 50 points were OSU's most against Michigan, and fullback Jim Otis again led the attack by rushing for 143 yards and four touchdowns. Otis and company went on to earn a national championship in January by taking a 27-16 victory over USC in the Rose Bowl. The Buckeyes completed their fourth undefeated/untied season.
1957 – No. 3 Ohio State 31, No. 19 Michigan 14: Fullback Bob White, fresh off leading OSU to a league-clinching victory against Iowa, rushed for 163 yards on 30 carries to lead the Buckeyes (8-1, 7-0 Big Ten) to a road win in Ann Arbor. Ohio State trailed 14-10 at halftime before rallying to crush U-M. Dick LeBeau rushed for a pair of touchdowns.
1946 – No. 8 Michigan 58, Ohio State 6: Ohio State ended the season with a thud vs. visiting Michigan. The Buckeyes (4-3-2, 2-3-1 Big Ten) narrowly avoided a shutout in the fourth quarter when they scored on a Bill Doolittle to Rodney Swinehard 63-yard touchdown pass with 59 seconds remaining. Michigan outgained OSU 509-155. Buckeye head coach Paul Bixler resigned during the offseason.
1940 – No. 7 Michigan 40, Ohio State 0: In the final game of Francis Schmidt's tenure, the visiting Wolverines embarrassed the Buckeyes (4-4, 3-3 Big Ten) at Ohio Stadium. Schmidt resigned in December and Paul Brown took over as head coach in 1941.
1935 – Ohio State 38, Michigan 0: The Buckeyes earned a share of the Big Ten title by blasting their host archrivals. Ohio State (7-1, 5-0 Big Ten) scored six touchdowns in the win, providing OSU's largest margin of victory in the historic rivalry.
1929 – Illinois 27, Ohio State 0: Ohio State closed the season with a loss to the visiting Fighting Illini. Illinois shut out OSU for the third straight season and dropped the Buckeyes to 4-3-1 (2-2-1 Big Ten).
1918 – Wisconsin 14, Ohio State 3: The Buckeyes fell to 3-2 (0-2 Big Ten) with a home loss to the Badgers.
1912 – Ohio State 36, Ohio Wesleyan 6: OSU traveled to Delaware and returned to Columbus with a win over the Battling Bishops. The Buckeyes (6-2) would close the season five days later with a 35-20 loss to visiting Michigan State.
1907 – Ohio State 23, Heidelberg 0: The Buckeyes improved to 6-2-1 by blanking the Student Princes. OSU ended the season with a win on Thanksgiving – a 16-0 triumph over Ohio Wesleyan.
1901 – Indiana 18, Ohio State 6: In the first meeting between the Buckeyes and Hoosiers, Indiana left University Field with a victory. The Buckeyes fell to 4-3-1 and ended the season on Thanksgiving with a 11-6 win over Kenyon.
1895 – Marietta 24, Ohio State 0: Ohio State improved to 3-4-2 with a road win at Marietta. The Buckeyes closed the season five days later with a Thanksgiving Day win over Kenyon in Columbus.