Michigan Notebook: Buckeyes Knew What Was Coming on Final Play

By Kyle Rowland on November 30, 2013 at 9:00p

ANN ARBOR, Mich. – As Ohio State fans shook with nervous energy, a calm came over the sideline. All week, the third-ranked Buckeyes had prepared for Michigan’s two-point conversion plays and, now, with the most important play of the season arriving, cornerbacks coach Kerry Coombs told his players he knew what was coming.

He alerted Tyvis Powell that the Wolverines were going to motion triple stack and Michigan wide receiver Bo Dever would run an angle route. Those events took place shortly thereafter. And the final result of the Wolverine’s two-point conversion was a Powell interception. Thirty-two seconds later, the final scoreboard read: Ohio State 42, Michigan 41.

“I was taking a shower, talking to Kenny and that’s when it hit me," Powell said, with an infectious grin. “That was our season on the line. We had 12-0, the Gold Pants, the chances for a national championship, it kind of hit me, like, ‘I saved the season.’”

The redshirt freshman cornerback spent his first season as a verbal punching bag for Coombs. At practice, Coombs would routinely yell at Powell for his shoddy coverage and inability to complete drills in the fashion he wanted.

One year later, his name will be remembered for years to come in Columbus. Powell wasn’t surprised Michigan elected to go for the win – no one in the stadium was. But he was shocked that they decided to run a play the Buckeyes prepped for all week.

When the Buckeyes faced a similar do-or-die two-point conversion last season against Purdue, Tom Herman opted to go with the sure thing, a play Ohio State rarely used but knew would work to near 100 percent certainty.

It did. Michigan’s did not.

“He really threw the ball. I was thinking to myself, Coach Coombs is a genius,” Powell said.

Three players were ejected; two Buckeyes and a Wolverine. Urban Meyer was not amused by an in-game fight.

Golden Gloves

Detroit native Joe Louis captivated the nation in the 1930s with his championship boxing career. Columbus’ own Buster Douglas did it some 60 years later. On Saturday at Michigan Stadium, it was the Ohio State and Michigan football teams. 

Less than a minute into the second quarter, multiple punches were thrown and three players were ejected after some extracurricular activities following a Buckeye kick return.

Wolverine linebacker Royce Jenkins-Stone ripped Dontre Wilson’s helmet off, which prompted Wilson to throw punches at Michigan defensive back Delano Hill. Meanwhile, Marcus Hall came off the bench and threw punches at another Wolverine. The incident lasted almost a minute.

Jenkins-Stone, Wilson and Hall were all ejected. As Hall walked to the tunnel, he spiked his helmet and flipped the double-bird to the taunting crowd.

“I was disappointed in that,” Ohio State head coach Urban Meyer said of the melee. “I don’t know where that came from. We had a little chat about that and that’s not acceptable.”

What probably made hearts flutter in Columbus was the image of Braxton Miller in the middle of the fight. Senior center Corey Linsley said that’s why he and Hall sprinted onto the field. They don’t just protect the quarterback during plays.

“I feel a little responsibility for Marcus getting ejected because he saw me run out there, and I shouldn’t have done that no matter what,” he said. “I just can’t explain it in words. I couldn’t believe it. I was in total and utter shock. That shouldn’t happen in any game. I guess it’s a consequence of the emotion, but both teams are better than that.”

There’s some concern from Ohio State that Hall could face further punishment for his two-finger salute as he left the field.

“The conference office will wait until after the game for the officials’ written report, review the video and then take further action if needed,” Scott Chipman, the Big Ten’s commissioner for communications, said.

Whether the Big Ten acts or not on the matter remains to be seen. But Meyer said he will address the situation with Hall. Regardless, it’s an incident, no matter how infamous, that adds another incredible story to an historic rivalry.

“You don’t want anybody to fight,” junior linebacker Ryan Shazier said. “There are a lot of emotions going on both sides and a lot of guys are really hyped and things just happen. It’s not acceptable, but I am not surprised that it happened.”

Hyde Seeks Green Space

It could have been the 16-point spread, Ohio State’s 23-game win streak or Michigan’s lethargic play dating to October. There were many reasons why one thought the Buckeyes would win Saturday. However, the surest came from Ohio State’s 393 rushing.

Clichés fill the sports world but some are based in fact. Football games are won in the trenches is one truism. Ohio State and Michigan are one of many examples. The Buckeyes offensive line is as stout as any in the country; they’ve won 24 games in a row. Michigan had one of its worst lines in history in 2013; they lost five games. Simple, really.

The Game is a microcosm of the adage that winning the trenches equals a “W” on the schedule. Ohio State’s victory marked the 13th consecutive year that the team with more rushing yards won. Carlos Hyde’s 226 yards were the most ever by a Buckeye in the Michigan game.

“I want to give credit to my offensive line. They did a great job today. Great job,” Hyde said, excitedly and with emphasis.

His total came with what nearly became the ultimate blemish. Ohio State gained control of game in the second half and led 35-28 in the fourth quarter. Fighting for extra yards, Hyde fumbles on the Buckeyes’ own 41-yard line and a Wolverine defender came up with the ball. They would go on to tie the game.

Five minutes remained, and Ohio State never wavered – it fed its most productive offensive player. A six-play scoring drive featured four rushes from Hyde, including the game-winning touchdown.

“He runs the ball hard, you don’t have to worry about him, and he makes plays,” senior offensive lineman Andrew Norwell said. “We just do our job up front and we have good chemistry.”

Hyde is averaging eight yards per carry this season, owns two 200-yard rushing games and has scored a team-high 14 touchdowns. Time and again this season – Northwestern, Iowa, Michigan, etc. – the Buckeyes have been in need of instant offense and on each occasion they’ve turned to Hyde.

It’s a far cry from August, when his status on the team wasn’t even certain. A three-game suspension could have ended with Hyde being left off the team. Meyer gave him zero guarantees.

“Leadership. From where he grew from last year and that little incident he had, he just felt like he’s got to prove himself even more,” Meyer said.

But it’s not just Hyde who Meyer and Tom Herman instill their trust in. The five guys blocking for him are also called upon. As he’s wont to do with Hyde, Meyer too showers continuous praise on the O-line, a group he would take anywhere against any team.

“It means a lot,” senior offensive lineman Andrew Norwell said. “You do it for the guy next to you. You care about that guy next to you a lot and you trust that he’s going to do his job.”

It wasn’t just Hyde who delivered on Saturday. Miller also flashed his dynamic playmaking ability by rushing for 153 yards and three touchdowns. Hyde and Miller became the first Buckeye backfield duo to rush for 100 yards since Jim Otis (114) and Rudy Hubbard (103) in 1967.

“We play together. It’s not just one person or anything like that,” Hyde said. “It’s really like a brotherhood here and that shows. We stick together and we know that we going to come out with a win.”

Brotherhood or not, some of Hyde’s teammates and even a coach have felt his wrath. Running backs coach Stan Drayton took a shot from Hyde while the tailback was running at full speed during drills last year. It sent the coach to the turf roughly and quickly. A similar experience befell Linsley at the 2011 Nebraska game.

Linsley told a story that involved Hyde breaking his ribs simply from being run into by the back at full speed. When they say get of the tracks when they train is coming through, it’s to be taken literally for Hyde.

“He’s one tough, fast, big dude,” Linsley said.



Chief B1G Dump's picture

Ill take 1 point wins over dUMb anyday...but man that was too closw for comfort. I like that we toyed with them and gave them hope just to crush them again.
Weird game for sure. We have to regroup quickly and then handle Sparty. The dominoes have fallen and the seas have parted...we control our own destiny.

Nkohl13's picture

But... but... but... fire Coombs?

OSBuckeye222's picture

I'm glad they knew what was coming on the 2 pt conversion because it sure didn't seem like they knew at any other point in the game!... That said, I'm happy for the win and Go Buckeyes!!
I watched the video of the players celebrating Auburn's win over Alabama. I think the team will be extremely motivated this week. They know what they're playing for. I trust Meyer will have them ready.


PortlyOSUMan's picture

And so now Danny, Ohio State has a chance to play their way into the National Championship game.

mtgerken's picture

Technically they do, but you know ESPN will play it down and root for someone to jump us!

"Because I couldn't go for three!"


D. Anthony's picture

Glad he knew what was going to happen on that last play, because we seemed clueless on the other 81 plays their offense ran. Our D sucked bad today, yes we got the win and that was great, but the best day to fix a leaky roof is on a sunny day. We gotta get it fixed, fast !

D. Anthony

brandonbauer87's picture

I really like that analogy. +1. 

buckeyedude's picture

Is it safe to assume you're a roofer, D. Anthony?



D. Anthony's picture

Actually new home sales :)

D. Anthony

Hovenaut's picture

Good to hear the Ohio State defensive staff knew what was coming.....

(Please use the sarcasm filter on the above statement)

I keed, I keed....good details behind the big moments in Powell's INT and the fisticuffs from the first half. Thanks, Kyle.

What a day, I thought Thursday with the wife's family was chaotic....

I am not very smart, but I recognize that I am not very smart.

GoBucks10's picture

I sure hope the B1G Administrators look at the UM players which started the brawl in the first place.  Our guys shouldn't have retaliated in the way they did, but let's hope the B1G catches those who instigated even through the ref's didn't bother stopping that taunting.

"Because I couldn't go for three."  - Woody Hayes

buckeyedude's picture

I agree. OSU lost two players, when TTUN players instigated the whole thing, and they only had one ejection. Something stinks there.



D-Day0043's picture

They all ganged up on the smallest player on the team. Lol!

I am D-Day0043 and I approve this message.

ogama843's picture

Not to mention the blatant facemask that wasnt called by the refs moments before the melee.

Holy Buckeye!

Jabba the Hoke's picture

When he was tackled by his facemask, there were only 2 guys there. When he tried to stand up there were 6 guys that had closed in on him and didn't even give him a chance to move. After one of the six tried to twist his head off like a bottle top, he had little other recourse but to start throwing punches.

But don't worry, scUM will tell you all about how "classy" they are.

KLF Buckeye's picture

I appreciate you, Tyvis Powell. But let's try to avoid any more season-on-the-line moments this season.

mtgerken's picture

That one play made up for all the other blown plays throughout the game obviously. But still, did we really have to give so many passing yards up? It was like we had never seen a bubble screen before!

"Because I couldn't go for three!"


Urban Ohio's picture

Can we please wear our real Uniforms. They have Class.

Newcomerstown Trojans between Woody and Beaver.

ibuck's picture

If the Buckeyes wear their usual silver gray pants, are there more hurries, PBUs, sure tackles, sacks? Fewer TTUN passing yards? TDs?
Are white pants a jinx?

Our honor defend, we will fight to the end !

If you can't win your conference, just quietly accept your non-playoff bowl game.

FROMTHE18's picture

Still confused as to what the heck our defensive strategy was? Give them a ton of yards and points? We made Gardner look amazing, even when on one leg.

xrox's picture

"Brotherhood or not, some of Hyde's teammates and even a coach have felt his wrath."

Yes, and almost Braxton on Hyde's last touchdown. By damn, he was determined to get in that end zone. We're lucky Braxton is so shifty, otherwise Hyde may have spiked Braxton's upper torso before he realized he took more on the hand off than just the ball!

D-Day0043's picture

I'm glad he knew what was coming. I was sitting at home in my easy chair calling out 2/3 of of Michigan's plays before they happened, and I am a lazy boy coach not getting paid half a million a year. 

I am D-Day0043 and I approve this message.

tymackey's picture

Urban's playin chess; Brady's playin checkers.

"because we couldn't go for one" --Brady Hoke

Statutoryglory's picture

And Fickle is playing 12 yds off the wide outs on 3rd and 5.

avail31678's picture

Whaaaa?  We got out coached today yall.  Their offensive play calling was good, and they were blocking great.  This comment makes no sense and has no meaning when we should be annihilating a team who had NEGATIVE RUSHING YARDS two games in a row this year, yet almost lose.  

4thandinches's picture

I gave a lot of credit to Brady for going for 2 but why would you use a play that you have used before? I thought the play calling going for 2 was great until I read it was something they had run before. In that situation I would have a special play never seen before. 

I wasn't born a Buckeye but I became one as fast as I could. 

andretolstoy's picture

I'm not sure what you guys missed or didn't. There was plenty of blitzing, and we actually hurried Gardner, a lot. The punch line was that Gardner actually made plays while being hurried.
The dude is an athlete. I'm not saying he's the best QB in the Big Ten. But once in a while, athletes decide to make plays, consecutively.
We don't have the star talent on D this year that make the difference.
Not that any of this resonates with you betties. You're dead set on blaming this on schemes...
It is also worth noting that we sort of took ourselves out of offensive rhythm in the first quarter. This was Hyde's game from the get go. For some reason they stopped letting him run it down Michigan's throat and allowed them to gain confidence, with Braxton missing some open WR's. They remedied this, but by that time Michigan had "gardnered' (hehe) some steam.
We won. Let it go. But we need some defensive stars soon or it's going to be more of this ...

InvertMyVeer's picture

Gardner played the game of his life today and in the end it wasn't enough... The best part about being 24-0?

Football is complicated...

biggy84's picture

We don't have the star talent on D this year
I hope you are kidding. Look at the recruiting classes that have come in. Players are not being developed. D-line is the only unit playing decent. Gave up over 600 yards today! Second most in school history! The same team that was totally stopped by Iowa last week. Who could be happy with that?
The only reason the team isn't a shoe in for the NC game is the defense. This isn't the norm for tOSU. This defense has been shredded in almost every game this yr. No improvement, at all.

cinserious's picture

OSU's defensive line seemed about a step slow all game. Uncharacteristically they coudn't seem to get to the Qb like normal.

Life's daily struggle is choosing between saying F--ck-it, or soldiering on with your responsibilities.  

D-Day0043's picture

It's scheme, talent, and coaching. 
Many times we were in either the nickel 4-2-5 or 3-2-6 in the wrong situation. They had one corner lined up on 3 Wr's with one safety over the top - that's 3 Wr's on 2 DB's with a man unaccounted for. Who do you think is going to win? That is scheme.
Not squaring up on tackles, missing tackles, diving at feet, bad angles, and not having lane discipline is both on the players and coaching. The players either are not learning what the coaches are teaching, or the coaches aren't teaching proper fundamentals.

I am D-Day0043 and I approve this message.

andretolstoy's picture

So the idea is everyone is oblivious to bad schemes except for us on the forums? And that coaching incompetence is just one or two guys, while the HC looks through his fingers?
Schemes? Ok, I get it. But no matter what scheme you have out there - Gardner wasn't going to bust a 50 or 100 yard run. He was going to get garbage yardage, 8-9-10 yards if we over pursued, or missed tackles. He was gimpy, if you held the line you got him. To me, our defense plays like a bunch of Freshmen. Oh wait ....
I saw a lot of over pursuing, and missed tackling. And I guess there can be coaching problems there, but if your boys are missing tackles this late I find it hard to believe it's lack of coaching because I find it hard to believe that someone hadn't gone over it with them at this point. Heck, the water boys would have by now. Folks are to have us believe that Fickell, Withers, and Vrabel don't know how to teach a player how to tackle and that Meyer is just sort of ambivalent about it. Sorry, I can't believe that.
To me, if we're looking at coaching, the biggest complaint I have of the staff (the entire staff) is an overall lack of discipline, and this very unhealthy overzealousness to get too much right away. Oh, and there is this aire of "talk very loudly and carry a small stick" that just sort of annoys me. Yeah, we've backed things up with wins, but the attitude and big mouths just rub me the wrong way.

mtgerken's picture

Coombs is a genius, and a hell of a coach! Dontre is my new favorite player, love the intensity, he deserved to throw those punches after those scUM players horse collared him and shoved him around. Double bird salute was a little much, but I would have done the same. Embrace the hate

"Because I couldn't go for three!"


mtgerken's picture

Little bit surprised we didn't know how to defend the bubble screen, since that is all Devin Smith runs asides from his deep routes!

"Because I couldn't go for three!"


will0327's picture

Im sorry but with number 5 and 34 on our side ...."hell theres no question who will when" 
honestly i feel extremely confident with Braxton and Hyde they literally said NO today and put the team on their back. This team will be so focused this week yall dont understand think about it last year there was no light at the end of the tunnel ....now they can see that light and its fucking shining right now MSU is just another team in the way 


InvertMyVeer's picture

This game is going to be brutal -Grins- I can't wait

Football is complicated...

Seattle Linga's picture

It appears as though that whenever our defense plays porous we always seem to straighten it out by the next week. We will have to work real hard this week to correct a lot of mistakes.  

Dougger's picture

I was actually at the game and when they all went back out for the two-point conversion it hit me that we actually might lose. Kudos to Coombs for knowing what the play was. Yeah we gave up yards but they obviously played with a different style than what we've seen in the past several games. MSU is gonna dance with who brought them there, and our D will play better. 
Side note: past two games I've seen Roby wobbling around on the edge of the fields. At one point in The Game a ref went up to him, I'm sure to ask him if he was ok. I might be assuming but it looks like he's playing concussed

I like football