Saturday was easily one of the best days of the year for me and any Ohio State fan, at least in regards to the sports world. It's an annual game, but it's not every year that Michigan and Ohio State face off while they're both top 5 teams in the Nation. To make the stakes even higher than they already were, the new college football playoff system had these teams basically battling it out for a playoff spot. That's something we've never seen in this rivalry before. This game was special, was it the best game the rivalry has ever seen, debatable, I think 2006 tops this, but to each his own. Either way, November 26th, 2016, is a day every Buckeye and Wolverine fan will remember for a very long time.
Record breaking attendance of 110,045 people piled up into 'The Shoe', to watch 'The Game', in which THEE Ohio State Buckeyes would take on Michigan. Early in this game any Buckeye fan had to be nervous, Michigan's defense was killing us and their offense looked like it'd be able to do enough to get by. The defensive front of Michigan was pushing our offense line around with ease, our receivers couldn't get open, and when they did JT Barrett was passing inaccurately. Only reason I didn't lose complete faith, the Buckeye defense looked every bit as good as Michigans. They allowed a lot of short stuff to Wilton Speight making his numbers look better than they really were, but they completely took away Michigans ability to get any sort of run game going. Malik Hooker had the biggest play of the first half when he picked off Wilton Speight and returned it for 6. Ohio State took a 7-3 lead at that point and all momentum shifted our way. Michigan came back responded with a touchdown drive of their own taking the lead back along with the momentum right before halftime. Ohio State had no offense in the first half, Michigan's offense looked about as good as they could've been against this Ohio State defense, and we were only down 3 at half, that was a confidence booster for me.
Unfortunately, that confidence boost meant nothing after the events that were about to unfold, JT Barrett came out on the first drive of the second half and threw an interception to Jabril Peppers. Michigan got the ball all the way down to our one yard line and then made a sloppy lackadaisical football play that potentially cost them the game. Wilton Speight fumbles the snap from center, Ohio State falls on it, and the momementum is right back to the Buckeyes. Once again the momentum would be wasted as Ohio States offense couldn't seem to get anything going against one of the best defenses in college football. Urban Meyers, went with the ballsiest call of the year going for a fake punt deep in his own territory, ultimately the attempt failed. The punter would've gotten the first down but the one guy that could've got to him did by getting off his block with ease. Poor execution by the special teams, can't blame Meyers since the play should've worked, he can't block for the players too. Michigan scored a touchdown, only having to go 20 yards to do so since Ohio State gave them great field position after the failed fake punt. 17-7 was the score, all hope seemed lost for the Buckeyes, and that's when they finally came alive.
Down by 10 with about 20 minutes left in regulation, Ohio State's offense took the field. Once again the offense couldn't do shit and they had to punt. Michigan with a chance to now put the dagger in Ohio State with another touchdown drive, would they be able to do it though, fours years removed from their last victory in this rivalry. Nope, Speight would throw his second interception of the game giving Ohio State great field position, and all the momentum back. Michigan would follow that up with an offsides penalty and Jim Harbaugh would flip out getting himself an unsportsmanlike penalty, costing his team an additional 15 yards. Ohio State now had the ball inside the 5 to start their drive and two plays later they'd cap it off with a JT Barrett rushing touchdown. That's where the script flipped on this game, Michigan was in the drivers seat up until Harbaugh had his meltdown, then Meyers smelt the weakness of his opponent, and knew it was time to go for the kill. Ohio State's defense let up a total of 16 yards on Michigans last 3 drives, and Ohio States offense was finally becoming effective behind the legs of JT Barrett and Curtis Samuel, plus Michigans defense was beginning to tire from being on the field too much, advantage Ohio State. Michigan was bailed out big time Saturday by Ohio States kicker, he missed a chip shot in the first, and missed a chip shot to tie the game late in the fourth. He was on his way to becoming the most hated man in Ohio, thankfully for him he got a chance at redemption in the closing moments of regulation to send it to overtime, he'd redeem himself, and we'd be going to overtime to decide this one.
Once overtime rolled around I knew this was our game, we had all momentum, and Michigan already looked defeated. We got the ball first and two plays later we were up 7 points in overtime, with all the pressure now shifted to Michigan and their struggling offense. It was gut wrenching, the offense made you sweat it out, it came down to Michigans final play for them to get into the end zone to extend the game to double OT. Michigan got the ball first in the second OT, they got stuffed by the Ohio State defense, and were forced to take the field goal. Ohio State had a chance to win the game now, but it wouldn't come easy. 4th and 1 from the 20 yard line, Buckeyes decide to go for it, Barrett runs the ball off the left tackle, and gets tackled right on the first down marker, the closest I've ever seen a call. It could've gone either way, but ultimately Ohio State got the call, and a fresh set of downs. They'd only take one more play to get into the endzone, Curtis Samuels broke free on a running play, waltzed into the endzone, and for the 5th straight year Ohio State beat Michigan. What a feeling, what a game, and what a great time to be a Buckeye football fan. Crushing Michigans playoff hopes was the cherry on top to an already amazing win. Once again, it feels so good to know we own Michigan and Jim Harbaugh, 2-0 against Harbaugh, 14-2 since 2000, the Buckeyes own this rivalry.