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NCAA Game Summary - Ohio State at Michigan
(Saturday, November 21st)
Final Score: (9) Ohio State 21, Michigan 10
Ann Arbor, MI (Sports Network) - Daniel Herron ran for 96 yards and caught a touchdown pass, while Brandon Saine added 84 yards rushing with a score, as ninth-ranked Ohio State captured the outright Big Ten title with a 21-10 victory over arch-rival Michigan.
Terrelle Pryor threw a touchdown pass and contributed 74 yards rushing, as the Buckeyes racked up 251 yards on the ground in their sixth straight win over Michigan.
Ohio State (10-2, 7-1 Big Ten) won its final five games of the season to claim the outright conference title for the third time in the past four years. The Buckeyes, who have at least shared the last five Big Ten crowns, will head to the Rose Bowl on January 1.
"It was a hard-fought game like all these great rivalry games are," said Ohio State head coach Jim Tressel, who improved to 8-1 against Michigan. "Our kids stepped up and I thought they did a great job preparing. They did a nice job doing what they were called upon to do. It was a heck of a team effort."
Michigan (5-7, 1-7), meanwhile, ended its season with five straight losses and will sit home during bowl season for a second consecutive year after its second losing record in as many seasons under Rich Rodriguez. Following last year's 3-9 debacle, the Wolverines have lost at least seven games in consecutive seasons for the first time in the storied program's history.
Tate Forcier completed 23-of-38 passes for 226 yards with a touchdown, but was also picked off four times in defeat, and his fumble on the Wolverines' opening drive was recovered in the end zone by Ohio State for a touchdown.
Michigan last had two consecutive losing seasons in 1962 and '63, and has never suffered through three straight. Rodriguez, whose second year in Ann Arbor began with controversy surrounding player time limits for off-season workouts and in-season demands, may not be around for 2010, as his job security has been a topic of speculation.
"The guys coming back have got to get better," stated Rodriguez, unfazed by talk of his job. "We've got to have a great recruiting class. We're probably going to have some young guys play again next year and the year after that. Eventually, we will have more seniors and juniors than we do freshmen and sophomores."
The Wolverines opened the 2009 season with four straight wins, but a 26-20 overtime loss to Michigan State on October 3 sent the team spiraling. Their lone win after that contest was a 63-6 rout of FCS foe Delaware State.
Things did not start well for Michigan on Saturday. Pinned inside their own five-yard line following an Ohio State punt, the Wolverines' first possession ended in disaster. Forcier fumbled on the third snap and Cameron Heyward recovered in the end zone for an Ohio State touchdown.
Michigan put together a sustained drive midway through the first quarter, as a 21-yard pass from Forcier to Roy Roundtree on 3rd-and-5 helped set up a field goal try. However, Jason Olesnavage missed from 24 yards.
After a series of punts, Olesnavage drilled a 46-yard field goal midway through the second quarter to put the Wolverines on the board, but Ohio State answered with an 80-yard drive for a touchdown.
All six plays came on the ground. After Saine gave Ohio State its first third- down conversion with a three-yard run, Pryor found a seam in the left side of the Michigan defense and rumbled for 25 to set up Saine's 29-yard touchdown jaunt for a 14-3 advantage with 5:22 left in the half.
Forcier was intercepted on a deep pass on the next offensive play, but the Buckeyes were unable to convert the turnover. Michigan's final series of the first half began at its own 46, but went nowhere and the teams went to the locker room with the 11-point difference.
Michigan got the first break of the second half when Jonas Mouton picked off a Pryor pass. The Wolverines took full advantage and marched 49 yards on eight plays for a touchdown. Forcier scrambled on 3rd-and-5 from the 18 and found Vincent Smith for a touchdown.
The Buckeyes, however, responded with an 11-play, 89-yard drive for a score. Pryor keyed the set with runs of 13 and 12 yards, then drew the defense on 3rd-and-goal from the Michigan 12 and lofted a pass into the waiting arms of Herron for a touchdown to restore an 11-point lead.
Forcier was picked off three times in the fourth quarter -- twice to deny Michigan scoring chances. Early in the period, Kurt Coleman made a leaping interception of a deep pass at the five. Then, with a first down at the Ohio State six midway through the quarter, Forcier was picked off by Devon Torrence at the goal line. The next series also ended with an interception, as Thaddeus Gibson stepped in front of a Forcier pass near midfield with 3:34 left.
"We made a lot of plays today that had Michigan beating Michigan," Rodriguez noted. "You got to give them credit. They made the plays, but it's unfortunate because our guys gave great effort. We had a lot of opportunities; we just didn't get it done."
Pryor completed 9-of-17 passes for 67 yards with an interception...Roundtree finished with nine catches for 116 yards in defeat...Ohio State wore throwback uniforms, dating back to 1954...Michigan still leads the all-time series, 57-43-6...The last time Michigan went two straight years without a bowl appearance was a three-year run from 1972-74 -- all 10-win seasons...The Wolverines did have four straight non-winning seasons from 1934-37, posting a pair of 4-4 records with 1-7 marks.
11/21 16:31:56 ET
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