"Hail to the Victors" echoed through the Big House on November 26, 2011 as the Michigan Wolverines finally ended the almost 3000-day drought against a battered Ohio State Buckeyes team. Fans have been waiting since 2003 for the maize and blue to finally put down the scarlet and gray. Michigan seniors didn't want to graduate having lost every game to both of their rivals. And they didn't have to.
For the first time in several years, the Michigan-OSU game was a true rivalry game. As the commentators kept saying, it was "punch and counter-punch." Michigan deferred to the second half and the Buckeyes scored a touchdown on their opening drive. Instead of allowing that to set the tone for the game, Michigan instead answered with their own. Ohio State penalties included one in the endzone that gave Michigan a safety.
The Buckeyes were up by one point at the half, causing some Ohio State fans to automatically assume, based on history, that meant they would win the game. Michigan fans chose to count on those beautiful halftime adjustments that the Wolverines usually make to help them win the game. It worked, ending with Michigan's Courtney Avery intercepting Ohio State's final pass in the last minute of the game.
Denard Robinson played one of those games that showed why Michigan fans like him so much. He spent a lot of time using his legs to make important plays. He also showed that he can pass at times, with 14 of 17 completed. He was responsible for two rushing touchdowns. It would have been three, but the last one was negated by two penalties on his offense. Those two penalties late in the fourth quarter made up only two-thirds of the Wolverines' penalties for the entire game. Ohio State had that many in one drive, alone. I have seen some Ohio State fans commenting on other articles and on social networking sites that the penalties handed out by the refs are what actually won the game for Michigan. But those penalties were obviously caused by improper conduct by Buckeyes fans. I never heard anyone point out anything that the Wolverines did that should have warranted a penalty but did not get one.
Michigan's defense had a harder time controlling Ohio State's freshman quarterback Braxton Miller, who is also a dual-threat a la Denard Robinson. He threw two touchdown passes and ran in one himself. He is going to be a problem in the future. But as the Michigan defense continues to improve, they will be prepared to take him on.
Ohio State's Dan "Boom" Herron and DeVier Posey, usually major threats on the field, didn't play quite as well as they have in the past. Their suspensions as discipline for breaking NCAA rules seemed to hamper their efforts.
Michigan's Fitzgerald Toussaint got 120 rushing yards during the game, pushing him to over 1000 for the season. He and Robinson both are over 1000 for the season. Next year, Toussaint is going to be even more of a threat to the opposition.
The Michigan Wolverines 40-34 win over the Ohio State Buckeyes is going to be a sweet taste to savor during the off-season. It feels like the rivalry is finally back, and we look forward to next year's match-up!
Andrea Coventry grew up in the heart of the Michigan-Ohio State rivalry, in Toledo, OH. She has been a Michigan fan since elementary school.
Broadcast of the Michigan-Ohio State game on ABC at 1 p.m. EST on 11-26-11
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