COLUMBUS -- Junior halfback Curtis Samuel wrote an impressive chapter in the 113-year history of the Ohio State-Michigan rivalry at Ohio Stadium Saturday afternoon.
One play after a review upheld a fourth-and-one conversion from junior quarterback J.T. Barrett, Ohio State went to Samuel for the game-winning 15-yard carry. After taking the ball from Barrett, Samuel hustled around left end, got past the first wave of defenders and sprinted into the end zone for the clinching score.
Samuel ended the day with 54 yards on seven carries, another 32 on four catches and the memorable touchdown run.
“On the last play, we ran a stretch to the left,” Ohio State coach Urban Meyer said. “It's a 20-man lead is the call, and Curtis scored.
“We motioned the tight end across, two backs in the backfield. We expected them to bring their defense and pressure and the left tackle, Jamarco, did a nice job sealing it. Tailback led Mike Weber, and Curtis scored, and we won.”
Samuel not only ran for the game-winning 15-yard touchdown, but also, kept alive the double-overtime drive with an impromptu play that turned a third-and-nine screen pass to the right of the formation into an eight-yard gain up the left sideline on the way to a 30-27 Buckeyes win over the Wolverines.
After catching the football, Samuel appeared to be bottled up by Michigan’s defense well behind the line of scrimmage, but after reversing field and getting key blocks, he scooted toward the sideline and nearly got a first down.
“I was worried we were going to be knocked out of field goal range and lose the game, but things happen,” Meyer said. “He's one of the best players I've ever been around, and it's good to see the ball in his hands near the end of a game.”
Quarterback J.T. Barrett added, “Man, I was trying to block somebody, but I ain't the best blocker. Yeah, I tried to block, but I think he went back like three times. I'm glad he's really good because everybody was trying to get a piece of somebody, but he just made everybody miss.”
Offensively, the second-ranked Buckeyes struggled for much of the day against Michigan, but from the latter part in the third quarter, and then, throughout the fourth and both overtimes, they scored three touchdowns to lock up their fifth straight victory over the third-ranked Wolverines.
“It was a screen and No. 5 came over the top,” Barrett said of Samuel’s second-last run against the Wolverines. “He scraped over the top, I guess he had Curtis in man. I thought we had a good look. That's why we ran the play -- or I continued to run the play. Then, he did a good job skirting over the top and Curtis did his thing.”