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The Buckeye Watch: Michigan at Ohio State
By Tony Gerdeman

COLUMBUS — Did you guys see that Michigan game?!? That was crazy.

A record crowd of over 110,000 people were in Ohio Stadium for inarguably one of its greatest games ever. Ohio State defeated the Wolverines 30-27 in double overtime, never once needing a single call to go in their favor in order to get it done.

It was this fact which made Michigan head coach Jim Harbaugh so angry. How could his team lose cleanly to Ohio State without the Buckeyes ever receiving the benefit of a single official’s mistake? Normally for Michigan to lose, it has to be because of the refs, and when that wasn’t the case against the Buckeyes, I guess he just couldn’t contain his ire.

Anyway, I don’t want to make this about Jim Harbaugh and the refs, because only one of those two entities cost Michigan a win -- and it wasn’t the refs.

Let us begin.

9:05 Gameday sign: “It’s no coincidence that when you choke you turn blue.” As somebody points out to me, however, first you turn scarlet. That’s true, but if you’re really choking, that’s when the blue in you comes out.

9:24 It sounds like Wilton Speight is starting. I guess he’s not out for the season. He might be before the game is over, though.

11:00 LeBron was just escorted past me to a suite. So help me if the Cavs get in front of me for City Barbecue and get the last scoop.

11:17 Wilton Speight is throwing the ball in warmups. It doesn’t exactly look smooth, which is no different than when he’s 100% healthy.

11:44 Michigan’s band is getting booed. Hey, they’re trying!

11:57 Desmond Howard picks Michigan because he just can’t not. Lee Corso takes Ohio State.

12:10 Too cloudy to see the flyover we just had here.

12:11 Ohio State wins the toss and defers. No sense in waiting to find out if Wilton Speight is playing. The first play will be a screen.

12:12 The kickoff is a pooch away from Jabrill Peppers. They aren’t going to let him beat them. Smart move.

12:14 Second play from scrimmage and Peppers is already in at wildcat. He picks up six yards on second and five. I’m wondering how much of Speight we’re even going to see today.

12:15 False start on Michigan. The PA from the refs is super loud in the press box. If I start to lose my hearing, does that mean I’ll gradually start typing in all caps?

12:17 Third and three. There is some confusion on offense. Speight drops back, finds Jake Butt open and he drops it. He completely dropped it. Wow. Now they’ll punt from the OSU 46-yard line. Those are plays that have to be made. The punt is fair caught at the 7-yard line, and so begins the field position battle.

12:18 Butt dropped it is a huge play, but it still pins the OSU offense against a defense that believes it can’t be stopped.

12:21 OSU opens with four receivers on the right side. Now they shift over. Curtis Samuel gets the carry and he goes wide right for 14 yards, right to the area where the Michigan defense vacated after the shift. The checker match begins. It’s “match” in checkers, right? I’ve never called it that, but it makes it sound more sophisticated.

12:22 Slant to Noah Brown for 15 yards on Jourdan Lewis. If the Buckeyes can have success from this matchup, then they’re going to have a good afternoon.

12:23 Channing Stribling tackles Noah Brown before the ball is thrown and they call Michigan for holding. Jim Harbaugh can’t believe the call even though Brown was taken to the ground before the ball can get to him.

12:24 Buckeyes going hurry again. Weber motions into the backfield from the slot, they run an inverted veer and Barrett keeps it for 19 yards. The script is working once again, and again we see that Michigan doesn’t really care for the up-tempo stuff. This is where they can’t bog down, however.

12:26 And here they are at third-and-8 from the 19-yard line. Barrett drops back, nobody open and he takes off for no gain. He had time, but nobody was getting open. This is where the game will be won, in the red zone. Tyler Durbin comes on. He missed! Wide left. He hooked it.

12:27 Well, that’s pretty much the definition of two teams feeling each other out on the first drive. Both teams moved the ball and neither capitalized. Still, Ohio State has to feel good about the drive considering where it started, but they have to stay aggressive.

12:28 Field goals don’t win this game anyway. In fact, sometimes they lose it.

12:30 Speight throws a drag route to Jake Butt and Jerome Baker is there to drop it for a loss of two. I don’t think Michigan was expecting that. That’s impressive coverage from the Buckeye sophomore.

12:33 Third and seven. Rushmen in. Speight drops back. Throws to Darboh. There’s a collision and they’re calling it incidental contact, I guess. The replay shows Marshon Lattimore engaging Darboh and driving him into the ground. “Incidentally.” Oh good, now Harbaugh is getting expressive. Based on the fact that he didn’t think Noah Brown getting tackled was a penalty, I assume he’s running to the refs right now to thank them for actually getting a call correct. “Thank you for letting a defensive back tackle a receiver before the ball gets to him for once! I applaud your accurate and unbiased application of the rules as I understand them to be!” Michigan’s punt rolls dead at the 5-yard line as they continue to dominate field position.  

12:35 I just tweeted “Sometimes incidental contact can look...cidental, but that doesn't make it a penalty, guys.” It does not go over well with the Michigan fans.

12:38 Ohio State goes three and out. So much for that “staying aggressive” thing. If Cam Johnston wants that Ray Guy Award, he’ll need to win it today. He hits an ugly but effective punt that travels 52 yards and dies at the Michigan 37-yard line. The Wolverines again have the field position advantage.

12:40 Ohio State gets flagged for too many men on the field. It gets picked up when Urban Meyer tells the ref “Nuh uh.”

12:42 Speight finds Butt on the corner route for 22 yards down to the Ohio State 19-yard line. Is that on Damon Webb? No idea.

12:49 Third and goal from the 5-yard line. The Rushmen are in. Peppers is at quarterback in the loaded pistol. He keeps it and takes off to the left. Sam Hubbard trips him up and Malik Hooker is there to clean it up for a loss of five yards. Tremendous play by Hubbard because that might be six otherwise. The 28-yard field goal is good by Kenny Allen. Michigan leads it 3-0. Remember that tackle by Sam Hubbard. It may be the difference in this game.

12:54 Speed option pitch to Curtis Samuel for a loss of five because Ohio State just couldn’t help themselves. This play killed the drive. The Buckeyes go three and out. OSU punts and Michigan will start on their own 35-yard line.

12:58 Michigan already has two sacks. Should have three, if not for a miracle by Barrett to escape and throw an incompletion on third down a minute ago. Receivers aren’t getting open. Spread and shred. Mix in some QB runs. That’s all you need to do. Hurry up and throw quick passes. Where is Samuel in the slot?

1:02 The Wolverines go three and out for the first time this half. Chris Worley had nice coverage on Jake Butt. The linebackers have played very well today for the Buckeyes. Kenny Allen’s punt dies at the 4-yard line. They are winning the field position, but at some point they need to capitalize on it.

1:07 Safety Dymonte Thomas is on Curtis Samuel. They can exploit this. Play-action, it’s a slant to Samuel, but it’s too high to catch. If J.T. Barrett hits Samuel in the numbers, that might have gone 94 yards. You have to capitalize on those opportunities if you want to win this game. Heck, run it again.

1:10 Third and 15. Now linebacker Mike McCray is on Samuel and the pass is incomplete again. Couldn’t bring it in. That’s the matchup you want. Buckeyes had opportunities on that drive, but they didn’t capitalize on any of them. Johnston’s punt is fair caught at the Michigan 40-yard line.

1:15 Peppers is ground down for a gain of one. I keep waiting for something other than the obvious from him.

1:15 Third and seven. Michigan starts out in their “train” formation, with everybody in single file. There’s the snap and Jerome Baker runs a train of his own, right over Wilton Speight for the sack. And now the Buckeyes have the momentum. Kenny Allen’s punt travels 67 yards for a touchback. Wow.

1:19 Buckeyes go three and out and waste the possession. Whoops, hold on. Michigan’s Grant Perry runs into Cameron Johnston and the Buckeyes will get a first down out of it.

1:22 Never mind. The Buckeyes go three and out for the second time on this drive. Another wayward throw for Barrett, who is not having a very good day.

1:23 Cameron Johnston’s punt dies at the 5-yard line. A punting spectacular!

1:24 Raekwon McMillan comes up the middle on the blitz, forcing a bad throw and it’s intercepted by Malik Hooker and returned for a touchdown. The press box is shaking. First time I’ve ever experience that. The Shoe is going insane. See? That’s how you capitalize on field position. Easiest pick six of Hooker’s career. Buckeyes lead it 7-3.

1:26 Great return by Peppers, thought he was gone for a minute. Stayed alive long enough to  reverse field twice. Michigan again with great field position, starting this possession at their 45-yard line.

1:28 Raekwon Mcmillan already has nine tackles.

1:30 Just 1:04 left in the half. Speight finds Darboh at the 7-yard line for a 19-yard pickup. Webb was in coverage. How did that happen? Was he lined up in the slot? Michigan timeout.

1:37 Third and goal from the 1-yard line. Ten seconds to play. Fullback Khalid Hill gets it and takes it in for six. There’s a fight now. No flags. Michigan will go to the half with a 10-7 lead. Still six seconds to play. That drive was greatly helped by a 44-yard kickoff return

1:40 Enter halftime.

1:42 Halftime scores between these two teams since Urban Meyer’s arrival:

2016: MICH 10-7
2015: OSU 14-10
2014: 14-14
2013: 21-21
2012: MICH 21-20

In other words, you can’t tell anything from a halftime score in this game, other than Ohio State is still in it.

1:49 One of LeBron’s handlers just told a member of the media that the bathroom is full. In other words, LeBron is in the bathroom and he doesn’t want people taking a leak in his presence. How dare people even try! This is probably how I would be too, though. That would probably be one of my first decrees. “Nobody rids themselves of bodily waste in my presence. This is my new rule!” Of course, as I am declaring this, I’d probably have like four random dudes just squatting around me, and I’d have to be like, “Did you guys seriously not hear anything I just said? Eww...we are banning Mexican food in this village from now on!”

1:53 The good news for Buckeye fans is that the offense is incredibly balanced. The bad news is that the balance is just 41 yards rushing and 40 yards passing. J.T. Barrett is 5-for-11 passing and is leading the Buckeyes with 17 yards rushing seven carries. This is not yet winning football.

1:55 Raekwon McMillan has a dozen tackles, and it’s not because the Buckeyes just keep getting run on. He’s just making a bunch of plays.

1:59 Ohio State ran 29 plays in the first half with 11 minutes of time of possession. This game is over if those numbers repeat themselves in the second half.

2:01 Game on again. Let’s see what adjustments each team has made to stop a pair of offenses that have about one good drive between the both of them. Honestly, making adjustments at this point would be excessive.

2:04 Second down. Weber motions out. Barrett finds Marcus Baugh over the middle for 10 yards and an easy first down. Jabrill Peppers was in coverage. If the Buckeyes just give Barrett time, he can find receivers. Sometimes that’s too much to ask, however.

2:06 Play action. Barrett’s pass is tipped by Curtis Samuel and Jabrill Peppers intercepts it and is tackled. Peppers points his finger to the sky to let the world know how many interceptions he now has in his career. Samuel needs to catch that. To be honest, however, it’s not like this was a surprise. Buckeye fans have spent the last year making fun of the fact that he’s never had an interception, so they brought this on themselves.  

2:09 Second and goal from the 1-yard line. Speight fumbles it but gets back on it. Nope, the officials are pointing OSU’s way. Davon Hamilton comes out of their with the ball. Wow. The Buckeyes may have just dodged the ballgame bullet.

1.10 First down from the Michigan 2-yard line. Peppers spins for two yards. Barrett, rather. I’ve got Peppers on the brain. It’s like an amoeba that can eat a lot of different parts of your brain, but can’t really eat too much of any one area.

2:12 Barrett rolls right and throws incomplete to Noah Brown. Michigan has had safety Dymonte Thomas on a wide receiver all game long and the Buckeyes either aren’t getting open against him or they aren’t even trying. He’s Michigan’s worst starting pass defender and they’re not even looking his way.

2:13 Barrett finds Weber for three yards on third and 10. You’ve got some breathing room now for the punt. It’s a fake! Cam Johnston is three yards short. If Sam Hubbard holds that block that’s a first down. Wow. That took some balls. Meyer was looking for a momentum change. He may have just provided one.

2:17 Speight drops back and finds fullback Khalid Hill in the flats. He scores to make it 17-7 Michigan with 6:37 to play in the third quarter. It feels a bit unsurmountable at the moment.

2:26 Ohio State has to stay ahead of the chains from here on out. Timeout Ohio State? Urban Meyer isn’t happy. He’s confused. The refs called a timeout on OSU’s behalf because Corey Smith didn’t have his mouthpiece in. He’s a sixth-year senior. That’s pretty unacceptable.

2:30 Trips right with Baugh. Weber in. Drop back, and it’s batted down by Mike McCray. Earle Bruce lets out an “Oh man.” Baugh was open, but it was the son of one of Earle’s players who knocked the pass down.

2:31 Barrett keeps it on the read and picks up a first down before running out of bounds in front of Jabrill Peppers. Peppers is upset because he wanted a collision...against a player who is two inches taller and 20 pounds heavier than he is. Okay. We’ll keep that in mind.

2:33 Barrett misses a receiver breaking open over the middle and dumps it off to Weber in the flats for a loss of six yards. Earle is not happy. He almost sounds defeated. Buckeyes fail on third down as well. The punt is fair caught at the Michigan 12-yard line with 3:47 to play in the third quarter.

2:36 Third and six from the 16-yard line. Buckeyes have to make a play here just to get the crowd going. Screen, and it’s a big gain, but there’s a holding flag. Might be. Whoa. Facemask on Michigan. Buckeyes are holding on barely. Mason Cole with the flag on Marshon Lattimore. That’s a spot foul, so it’s third and nine, but they actually got the spot of the penalty wrong by four yards, so it should be third and nine.

2:39 I guess it doesn’t matter, as Grant Perry picks up 13 yards out of the slot. Ohio State dropped back into coverage. They showed blitz, but didn’t go through with it.

2:40 Dre’Mont Jones drops De’Veon Smith for a loss of four. Huge play, now they just need a pass rush.

2:40 Play action. Intercepted by Jerome Baker and returned inside the 15-yard line. Baker tucked the ball as he was about to get tackled. I guess that’s why they dropped back into coverage two snaps ago. The Silver Bullets are trying, man.

2:41 First down. Flags. Maurice Hurst jumped across the line, but he may have been drawn. They call it encroachment and Jim Harbaugh is pissed. He was out on the field by the numbers carrying on.

2:42 Whoa, flag on Harbaugh now. Unsportsmanlike conduct. If he gets one more of those does he get tossed? That moves the ball from the 8-yard line to the 4-yard line. Is this Michigan crumbling?

2:43 Barrett keeps it and gets to the 1-foot line. They’ll hurry here. Weber gets the carry and goes up and over for the touchdown. Michigan leads it 17-14 with 1:06 left in the quarter. The Buckeyes needed that answer. Now they have some momentum and an entire quarter to do something with it.

2:47 Karan Higdon picks up three yards on second and two. Earle is pleading with a higher power to “Stop them!” That’s the end of the third quarter. Michigan leads it 17-14.

2:48 Well, 15 minutes to go. This is pretty awesome.

2:54 Ohio State holds, Michigan punts. Buckeyes start out at their own 16-yard line. Ohio State now goes three and out. Cam Johnston’s punt is fair caught at the 38-yard line. Okay, so we’re doing the whole field position battle again, I take it?

3:04 Third and 10. The Rushmen come in. Gotta watch Grant Perry here in the slot. Speight is sacked by Nick Bosa, and he is fired up. Jalyn Holmes was right there too. Been waiting for those two to give the interior guys some trouble on passing downs. Now you’ve got the momentum again. Hey, I think Kyle Kalis how now given up sacks to both Bosa brothers. What a fun club to be a part of.

3:08 Michigan has 68 yards rushing.

3:09 Ohio State starts this possession on their own 37-yard line, which is by far their best starting field position of the afternoon. The first-down pass hits Parris Campbell in the hands and falls to the ground. On second down, it’s a QB draw and Barrett has a huge hole. He picks up 41 yards and completely flips the field in Ohio State’s favor.

3:10 Third and four. Barrett keeps it for three yards. They’re a foot shot. Timeout Ohio State. Now they’re reviewing it. If they change the spot of this ball for a first down, Jim Harbaugh might have to be sedated by professionals. The call stands.

3:14 Going for it. Weber picks up four yards and the Buckeyes have first and goal.

3:18 Weber picks up three yards, shoving Jourdan Lewis down to the ground in the process. Noah Brown just destroyed Dymonte Thomas. He’s down. Taco Charlton makes the tackle, but now he’s down hurt too.

3:21 Barrett picks up four yards on third and goal from the 6-yard line. You kick here, right? Yes. Meyer is kicking. Time to pack up and get down to the field. Whoa! He missed it! He missed it? Oh man. Just over seven minutes remaining. Holy crap. I hope that elevator downstairs is an express right now. Poor Tyler Durbin. This could be bad for him. I guess this means I have to keep taking notes.

3:24 I think I just heard a cheer after a third down for Michigan through the elevator walls. Damn this non-X-ray vision! They say X-ray vision gets passed down from the mother’s side.

3:25 Made it. There is now a game stoppage because the chains are tangled. Ugh. I hate when that happens. This has been a banner day for B1G officials. They can’t even keep chains with no actual loose ends from getting tangled.

3:26 Barrett is sacked again. Barrett picks up those lost yards on second down with a scramble. Under five minutes to play and this third and seven is the play of the game right now. Drops back...pass interference on Delano Hill on Curtis Samuel. He pulled him down before the ball got there. Time to move my vantage point.

3:30 Barrett fakes, now finds Samuel in the slot for about 15 yards. Buckeyes are now -- potentially -- in field goal territory at the Michigan 36-yard line.

3:31 Now the fans are booing Taco Charlton for laying down with cramps. They think he’s faking. It is very warm here today. It’s at least 43 degrees!

3:32 Second and six from the 32-yard line. Barrett is looking, looking. Takes off and picks up 10 yards and a first down. Have to get a whole lot closer to feel better about a field goal. They actually shouldn’t even be thinking about that right now.

3:34 Barrett rolls right and there’s a false start. And now you start thinking field goal. There’s 2:13 remaining on a running clock.

3:35 Botched play and Barrett is dropped for a loss of four yards.

3:36 I’m in the same corner where Ohio State beat Purdue in overtime with Kenny Guiton. If that does anything for you.

3:36 Barrett gets stopped on a draw for a loss of one and he’s not happy with the call. Now third and goal and they’re going to want to make sure they have good kicking position. Thirty seconds. Barrett finds Marcus Baugh on a slant down to the 5-yard line. Do you go? No chance, there goes Durbin onto the field. Urban Meyer calls a timeout with six seconds remaining.

3:37 I’ve moved to the same spot behind the goal posts where I was when Michigan State kicked their game-winning field goal last year. If that does anything for you.

3:38 Here we go. It’s good! I couldn’t see it until it got up in the air. Ohio State ties it 17-17 with one second to play. What a clutch drive by Barrett and the Buckeyes. This has been awesome.

3:39 Squib kick. Jourdan Lewis...whoa...he breaks out and has the edge. He is eventually brought down in OSU territory. Wow. Wow! That would have been a very, very painful loss for the Buckeyes. Now we go to overtime and I hope they’ll decide to come down to the north end zone where I am.

3:40 Overtime. I can’t believe this.

3:41 Crap. South end. Be back soon.

3:43 I’m around the 10-yard line. OSU is at the 25-yard line. Option pitch to Samuel who goes wide, cuts back and is down to the 7-yard line. Now hurrying up. Giving the play to the line. Barrett fakes the swing and takes off up the middle for the touchdown. Crowd is going crazy. This place is LOUD! J.T. Barrett is pumped. Buckeyes lead it 24-17 and now the defense can win it.

3:48 Michigan picks up a first down and nearly a touchdown on third and one. Now they have first and goal from the 7-yard line. Smith picks up two yards on first down. Second down is incomplete in the flats for Khalid Hill. Worked before. Not this time. Smith gets it again on third down and picks up one yard. Why are you running De’Veon Smith on third and goal from the 5-yard line? Why not just go straight to fourth down.

3:50 Here we go. Fourth and goal from the 5-yard line. Speight drops back...finds Amara Darboh for a sliding touchdown. Wow. They going for two here? Nope. Kicking. Buckeyes a little relieved about that, I bet. The extra point is good. The score is now 24-24. Double overtime. Now I have to sprint to the other end.

3:54 Great tackle by Jerome Baker on the jet sweep by Jehu Chesson. Baker has been great today.

3:56 Third and four. Speight throws a slant to Grant Perry, it’s incomplete. No flags? No flags. Gareon Conley was on him. Wrapped him with the right arm but it wasn’t called. That might be remembered. Kenny Allen drills the field goal to give Michigan the 27-24 lead.

3:57 First and 10. Barrett draw for five yards. Second down, Barrett is sacked for a loss of four yards. Third and nine. Gotta have something here. Holy hell...swing pass to Samuel...reverses field...re-reverses...re-re-reverses and picks up eight yards somehow and now Urban Meyer wants them to hurry up and go. Timeout Michigan. So much scribbling.

3:58 Samuel almost cost the Buckeyes the game and instead he maybe saved it...or simply got close enough to fool Meyer into going for it and ending the game right here on a stuffed fourth down.

4:00 Barrett keeps it. He’s got it. Whoa. Maybe. Yes, they say he reached it. It was close, but it looked good from here. I’m at the 2-yard line. It’s not by a lot. Now they’re reviewing. I’m not sure if the scoreboard is going to show it. Hard to overturn these measurements, but the ball has a known destination in that it had to get to the 15-yard line. They can overturn this with the right angle.

4:02 Here comes the announcement. Meyer is told they got it. Now they announce that it stands as called. First down.

Wednesday 4:17 Samuel went around the left end and he went untouched and the Buckeyes won it. Chaos and pandemonium ensued. You can watch it all right here.

Wednesday 4:18 Here's video of the stadium singing Neil Diamond's 'Sweet Caroline', but I don't know how long YouTube will leave it up considering it's somebody else's song. And before you ask, the guy with Urban Meyer is OSU staffer Ryan Stamper.

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