Ohio State nips Michigan in 2 OT battle of No. 2 & 3 teams

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Michigan junior Jabrill Peppers played on offense, defense and special teams during Saturday’s game at Ohio State. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)

COLUMBUS, Ohio — No. 2 Ohio State rallied past third-ranked Michigan 30-27 in two overtimes in a match-up of 10-1 combatants Saturday afternoon in front of a record crowd of 110,045 at Ohio Stadium.

This marked the 113th renewal of college football’s greatest rivalry. Michigan leads the series 58-48-6. The 2010 Ohio State victory was vacated and does not count in the series record.

The Buckeyes entered this year’s contest as 6 1/2-point favorites.

On Saturday, both schools started off tight, as Michigan took the opening kickoff and a Wolverine drive stalled, and then Ohio State’s Tyler Durbin missed a short field goal attempt. The pair then traded possessions until the end of the opening quarter.

Michigan got on the scoreboard first thanks to a drive engineered by quarterback Wilton Speight, who returned after being injured in the team’s loss at Iowa two weeks ago. The Wolverines took a 3-0 lead when Kenny Allen booted a 28-yard field goal with 13:31 showing on the clock in the second stanza.

Ohio State finally scored when Malik Hooker intercepted a Speight pass and returned it 16 yards for a touchdown and a 7-3 Buckeye advantage with 4:03 to go in the first half. It was Hooker’s third pick six so far this season — a Buckeye record.

Michigan regained control at 10-7 with just 6 seconds remaining until intermission on 263-pound fullback Khalid Hill’s 1-yard touchdown rumble, set up by a kickoff return to near midfield by the Wolverines’ Jabrill Peppers after Ohio State’s TD.

Early in the third period, Speight fumbled the ball away on the Ohio State 2-yard line, and the Buckeyes soon thereafter attempted a fake punt that came up short and gave Michigan the ball at the 22. Speight then connected with Hill on an 8-yard scoring strike for a 17-7 bulge at the 6:37 juncture of the third.

That margin stood until 1:06 left in the third quarter when an Ohio State interception led to Mike Weber’s 1-yard touchdown dive, cutting the gap to 17-14.

The finale saw more defensive dominance until the midway point, when Durbin missed another field goal attempt, this time wide to the left from 20 yards away with 7:01 to go in the game.

With time winding down in the final frame, Ohio State put together another sustained drive. This time Durbin converted a 23-yard field goal with 1 second remaining in regulation to knot the score at 17 and send the game into overtime.

In the first overtime, Ohio State had the first possession and quickly took a 24-17 lead on a 7-yard scoring scamper by quarterback J.T. Barrett.

Michigan’s first overtime possession saw Speight hit Amara Darboh with a 3-yard touchdown pass on fourth down, retying the score at 24-all.

In the second OT, the Wolverines got the ball first and went up 27-24 on a 36-yard field goal by Allen.

Needing a touchdown to win, Ohio State then scored the winner on a 15-yard run by Curtis Samuel.

Michigan dipped to 10-2 overall,  7-2 in the Big Ten and 5-1 in the Big Ten East Division to close out its regular season.

Ohio State improved to 11-1 overall, 8-1 against Big Ten opposition and 5-1 in the Big Ten East to conclude the Buckeyes’ regular season.

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