IN the battle of Big 10 giants and football cliches today, the team that made fewer mistakes, Michigan, defeated the team that made more, Ohio State.
The final score was 14-6, and the Bukeyes, who gamble less than a Baptist preacher, were victims of their own bumbling.
The victory gave Michigan a tie with Ohio State in the Big 10 and assured the Woverines a spot in the Rose Bowl on Jan 2. Both team ended with 7-1 conference records, but Michigan is expected to get the nod from the league for winning today.
Ohio State accepted an invitation to play in the Sugar Bowl against Alabama.
Michigan stopped Ohio State drives at this own 12 and 11 (twice) and eight (twice) yard kines both by forcing Buckeye fumbles, and playing strong defense.
Also, Ohio State fumbled the ball away at its 16, leading to Michigan's second touchdown.
Ohio State errors finally got the best of its veteran coach, Woody Hayes, after quarterback Rod Gerald fumbled away the Buckeyes' last chance on the Wolverines' eight-yard line late in the game.
Hayes, realizing his agony was being televised to millions via ABC, struck a network cameraman charged.
"He took a whack at me," Mike Freedman said. Hayes has been involved in similar incidents during his 27 years at Ohio Staet.
Ohio State has started that ill-fated drive on its 10-yard line with 8:10 to play and had marched to a firist down at the Michigan eight with 4:04 left.
Gerald, the gifted Ohio State quarterback who had given the Wolverines fits all afternoon, started an option play to his right. He put the ball into his fullback's stomach and as the Michigan defense closed in, took the ball out and w as getting ready to pitch to tailback Ron Springs. Then Michigan's John Anderson stuck him.
The ball bounded loose and Ron Simpkins pounced on it for Michigan at the 18-yard line with 3:58left.
According to witnesses, Hayes, overcome with emotion, noticed Freedman with his camera on Hayes.
"He tried to hit in the groin and I blocked him with my elbow," Freedman said. "I've had some adventures before, but nothing like this. Woody was showing how unhappy he was at the time. I had to show (cover) that. He just lost his temper."
The fumble recovery wasn't Simpkins' only big play of the day. The 220-pound sophomore linebacker made 15 solo tackles and assisted on five.
To exemplify how Michigan's defense stiffened in close, Ohio State ran seven plays from inside the 15-yard line, netting a minus 23 yards.
"They played us pretty straight until we got close to the goal line, then they started stunting," said Gerald. "I still can't understand why we couldn't score when we were down so close."
An NCAA regular-season record crowd of 106,024 crammed into Michigan Stadium and saw Ohio State fail to score a touchdown for the first time since losing to Michigan, 22-0, last year.
It was hardly Grald's fault. He completed 13 of 16 passes for 144 yards and was not intercepted. He also ran for 98 yards, but incurred 45 in losses.
Gerald was at his best on Ohio State's first possession. The Buckeyes controlled the ball forthe first 7:41 of the quarter and drove from their 23 to the Michigan 12 before settling for a 29-yard field goal by Vlade Jamakievski.
On their second possession, Gerald took the Buckeyes 52 yards to the Michigan eight before they bogged down and missed a field goal.
On those two drives, Gerald rushed for 61 yards in 10 carries and was two for two passing.
The Wolverines eventually got his number, however.
"There's no way you can simulate a Gerald in practice," Michigan coach Bo Schembechler said. "It took us a quarter to get used to him and his quickness. We just gave him too much rope early."
After his first quarter, Michigan did a decent job of containing Gerald's running but not his passing.
That was fine with Schembechler.
"Gerald's legs (not his arm) are the most dangerous part of him," Schembechler said.
Fifth-ranked Michigan finally scored with 1:20 left in the half on a one-yard run by tailback Roosevelt Smith. That culminated a 46-yard drive following an Ohio State punt.
Michigan got its other touchdown early in the third period after an Ohio State fumble.
From his 16, Springs tried to run a simple off-tackle drive, but, as he hit the line, the ball popped loose and Simpkins caught it at the Ohio State 20.
Four plays later, quarterback Rick Leach rolled to his left, faked a pitch and fell into the end zone.
Ohio State, ranked fourth, still had its chances. The Buckeyes took the ensuing kickoff and drove, almost at will, to the Michigan 11-yard line before the Wolverines once again stiffened. On the next three plays, they threw Gerald for losses of two and 13 yards and Jeff Logan for a one-yard lose.
Janakievski finally kicked a 44-yard field goal. It looked like Ohio State would be back into things when Smith fumbled away the ball to the Buckeyes three plays later at Michigan's 31-yard line.
Rheww [LINE ILLEGIBLE] 22. The Buckeyes usually run from a fullhouse backfield in that situation.
Fullback Paul Campbell was thrown and Janskievski missed a 42-yard field goal.
On its next possession, Ohio State was faced with a fourth and one at the Michigan 11. Again the ball went to Campbell. This time Simpkins read the play, darted in behind pulling guard Mike Lang and stopped Campbell for no gain.
Hayes said today's game "was by far the best game we ever played and lost. They (the Wolverines) didn't really move the ball on our defense and I wouldn't say their offense was particularly devastating."
"But we won," Schembechler countered. "They got the statistics, but we got the points and that's what this game is all about."
After the game, Minnesota accepted an invitation to play Maryland in the Hall of Fame Dec. 22. It will be the third bowl appearance for the Gophers, who played in two Rose Bowls and lost both. An NCAA probation of men's sports at Minnesota was lifted a month ago.
The Gophers, who knocked off No. 1 Michigan, 16-0, midway through the season, finished at 7-4, 4-4 in the Big 10.