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11/30/2013 8:44 PM EST
No. 3 Ohio State holds on to beat Michigan 42-41
OHIO ST 42, MICHIGAN 41

By LARRY LAGE
AP Sports Writer

ANN ARBOR, Mich. (AP) -- The 110th game between Ohio State and
Michigan might have been the most thrilling, a back-and-forth
affair that came down to one final play.

The Wolverines went for the win - and the Buckeyes stayed
undefeated.

Tyvis Powell intercepted Devin Gardner's 2-point conversion pass
with 32 seconds left and No. 3 Ohio State held on for a 42-41
victory against Michigan on Saturday as one of the greatest
rivalries in sports added another memorable chapter to its
storied history.

"That's an instant classic," Ohio State coach Urban Meyer said.

Gardner threw a 2-yard touchdown pass to Devin Funchess to make
it 42-41, but instead of kicking for the tie and possibly
pushing the game to overtime, Wolverines coach Brady Hoke asked
his players if they wanted to go for it and got a unanimous
response.

"We played the game to win," Hoke said.

Gardner tried to zip a pass to Drew Dileo into traffic near the
goal line, but Powell came up with it and the quarterback was
left lying on his back with his arms extended to his side, the
back of his helmet resting on the cold turf.

"We felt like we could win the game right there," Gardner said,
looking and sounding as saddened as any athlete after a setback.

Buckeyes cornerback Roby Bradley recovered the onside kick to
seal Ohio State's 24th consecutive victory and keep its national
championship hopes alive. And then thing got even better for the
Buckeyes when Auburn beat Alabama later.

Meyer insisted the streak was not as significant as winning his
second game in as many tries against Michigan.

"No question - the win over our rival is better," he said.

Braxton Miller accounted for a career-high matching five
touchdowns for Ohio State (12-0, 8-0) and Carlos Hyde ran for a
1-yard score with 2:20 left to make it 42-35.

The Buckeyes left Ann Arbor knowing they will play Michigan
State in the Big Ten title game next Saturday in Indianapolis,
needing to beat the Spartans - and have No. 1 Alabama or No. 2
Florida State lose a game to have a chance to reach the BCS
national championship game. No. 4 Auburn provided an assist by
defeating the Crimson Tide by returning a missed field goal 100
yards on the final play for a 34-28 victory.

The Wolverines (7-5, 3-5) started strong as a 16 1-2-point
underdog and didn't wilt when Ohio State went up 35-21 late in
the third quarter, one drive after Gardner threw an incomplete
pass on fourth-and-2 when Hoke opted against attempting a
31-yard field goal.

"They didn't let up at all," Miller said.

Michigan, though, couldn't make a pivotal play in a shootout
that might've given it the biggest upset in the series since Bo
Schembechler's first team at Michigan beat what Woody Hayes said
was his best Buckeyes squad in 1969.

"I threw an interception that cost us the win," said Gardner,
who limped into a news conference with a protective boot on his
left foot. "That's what I will remember."

Miller ran for 153 yards and three TDs and threw for 133 yards
and two scores. Hyde ran for 226 yards to help Ohio State win
for the ninth time in 10 games against Michigan, but he fumbled
in the fourth quarter to help Michigan tie the game for a fourth
time with 5:01 left.

Both teams scored at least 41 points for the first time in their
rivalry that dates to 1897.

"I have such great respect for this rivalry," Meyer said. "Coach
Hayes was from a different generation. He would have wanted a
10-9 game, but he would have wanted to see the two teams playing
as hard as they can."

Gardner was 32 of 45 for 451 yards and four TDs, connecting nine
times for 175 yards and a score to Jeremy Gallon, and ran for a
1-yard TD that gave Michigan the first lead in the high-scoring
game that went to halftime tied at 21. Gardner fumbled in the
third quarter and Ohio State took advantage of the turnover on
the ensuing drive with a Miller's go-ahead, 3-yard TD.

It was a slug fest - literally for a few moments.

The teams exchanged pushes and some punches in the second
quarter after a Michigan kickoff.

The Buckeyes lost starting right guard Marcus Hall and kick
returner Dontre Wilson and the Wolverines lost backup linebacker
Royce Jenkins-Stone to ejections. All three players were flagged
for unsportsmanlike conduct and had to leave the field after a
skirmish. Hall and Wilson appeared to throw punches.
Jenkins-Stone tugged Wilson's helmet off and tossed it to the
turf.

"It was unacceptable," Meyer said.

While walking off the field and toward the tunnel, Hall put both
arms into the air and flashed a familiar obscene gesture,
extended middle fingers, to the Michigan crowd.

Punishment could potentially linger for Ohio State if both
players are suspended for next week's Big Ten championship game.

"The conference office will wait until after the game for the
officials' written report, review the video and then take
further action if needed," Big Ten spokesman Scott Chipman wrote
in an email to The Associated Press.

---

Follow Larry Lage on Twitter: http://twitter.com/larrylage

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