Ohio State quarterback Braxton Miller (5) runs the ball for a touchdown during the first quarter Saturday against Michigan at Michigan Stadium.
(Photo: Andrew Weber, USA TODAY Sports)
ANN ARBOR, Mich. - Ohio State nickelback Tyvis Powell intercepted a 2-point conversion pass attempt from Michigan's Devin Gardner with 32 seconds to play Saturday to save the Buckeyes' unbeaten season and keep them in contention for a BCS National Championship berth.
BOX SCORE: No. 3 Buckeyes 42, Michigan 41
Powell stepped in front of a pass intended for Michigan's Drew Dileo and was immediately tackled, but he clutched the ball in his arms, and Ohio State clinched a 42-41 victory.
Michigan had capped a 10-play drive moments earlier with a 2-yard pass from Gardner to wide receiver Devin Funchess. The Wolverines had gone 86 yards in two minutes to set up their final TD.
Prior to that, Ohio State's victory at Michigan Stadium boiled down to a very simple formula: Carlos Hyde left, Hyde right, Hyde up the middle. The senior running back ran for 226 yards and a touchdown on 27 carries, powering the No. 3-ranked Buckeyes past the Wolverines and keeping their unbeaten season and BCS championship hopes alive.
Hyde's 1-yard run with 2:20 left - his 27th carry of the day - finally put Ohio State ahead for good.
Ohio State (12-0, 8-0), which has won 24 consecutive games since Urban Meyer took over as coach last season, will play Michigan State in the Big Ten championship game next Saturday, hoping for a loss by either Alabama or Florida State.
As 113,511 watched at Michigan Stadium, the Wolverines gave a spirited effort. Michigan (7-5, 3-5 Big Ten) had lost three of its last four games entering the day, and needed a field goal on the last play of regulation to get to overtime against Northwestern (and then three overtimes to win it).
But helped by occasional trick plays called by offensive coordinator Al Borges, Gardner threw for 238 in the first half. His 21-yard pass to Jeremy Gallon gave the Wolverines a 21-14 lead early in the second quarter.
Behind Hyde and Braxton Miller, Ohio State tied it by halftime, then took control in the third quarter. Miller's 22-yard pass to Jeff Heuerman made it 35-21. But Michigan wasn't finished.
Gardner's 11-yard pass to Drew Dileo pulled Michigan within 35-28 with 11:15 left, and then Hyde was stripped by strong safety Thomas Gordon. Giving Michigan possession at the Buckeyes' 41 with 10:30 left. At that point, Hyde had 23 carries for 205 yards.
The Wolverines took advantage. It took 13 plays and 5:29, but Gardner hit tight end Jake Butt for a 2-yard touchdown, and it was all tied at 35 with 5:01 left.
But Ohio State needed only six plays to retake the lead. Again it was Miller and Hyde doing most of the damage. When Hyde bulled in from the 1 with 2:20 left, it was his 27th carry and his 226th yard, and it was enough to keep the Buckeyes perfect.
Hyde wasn't the only Buckeyes player who dominated on the ground. Miller rushed for 153 yards on 16 carries, with three of those carries going for touchdowns.
It wasn't an impressive performance for the Buckeyes' defense, though. Michigan, which had struggled offensively, totaled 603 yards.
In all, the game was tied four times and featured 1,129 yards of offense.