COLUMBUS -- The second-ranked Ohio State Buckeyes struggled offensively for much of the day against the No. 3-ranked University of Michigan Wolverines, but when it counted, they buckled down and registered three touchdowns over the final 17 minutes of regulation and in two overtimes on the way to a 30-27 win.
The Buckeyes scored two touchdowns in the overtime periods, the second of which came after they held Michigan to a 37-yard field goal on its second possession in the extra session.
“We just weren't executing,” quarterback J.T. Barrett said. “Whether it was myself, the O-line, receivers, it was everybody played their part in that.
“The second half, defense was doing their job. We've gotta do ours. So let's go out there and do our part. We were doing everything we prepared for, so it was just really going out and executing that. And right now, I’ve been a part of some crazy football games here. That one's number one.”
One play after a review upheld a fourth-and-one conversion from Barrett, Ohio State went to junior halfback Curtis Samuel for the game-winning 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 touchdown run.
Although Barrett completed 15 of his 32 throws for 124 yards with an interception, he rushed 30 times for 125 yards with one touchdown, which came on the first possession of overtime. Barrett led the Buckeyes in attempts and rushing yards against the Wolverines.
“Honestly, when it's fourth and short, I feel like we can go for it every time,” Barrett said. “I know field position plays a part of it, but we're on their side of the 50, I'm really jacked about it, like ‘Let's go do that’ because that's what we do.
“We are in those situations countless times before the season starts and spring ball, and then, when it comes to the season, that's what we do. We take risks and we have a great offensive line to go out and get those first downs.”
And however it was done, at the end of the day, the Buckeyes defeated Michigan for the fifth straight time, making Urban Meyer the first Ohio State coach ever to start off 5-0 against the Wolverines and giving the redshirt seniors a fifth pair of “Gold Pants.”
“That's why you play the game of football, for moments like this,” Barrett said. “All the training we go through, all the workouts and yelling and screaming, I mean, this is why we play the game for moments like this against your rivals and a great atmosphere for college football and for your teammates.
“And I think that was just something that we shared right there, that let our seniors go out with a bang. Those guys got five gold pants. Five. Some people don't even get one, but the fact that they got five, that's truly a blessing, and I was just very thankful that I could be a part of this.”