Ohio State 37, Michigan 21
-- Troy Smith barely got on the field for Ohio State earlier this season. After the Buckeyes' biggest game of the year, he had trouble getting off of it.
With former high school teammates Smith and Ted Ginn Jr. leading the way, the Buckeyes pushed their troubles into the background for at least a day with a stunning 37-21 upset of No. 7 Michigan on Saturday.
"I'm pretty much at a loss for words," said Smith, the quarterback who didn't play in three of the first five Ohio State games after being beaten out for the starting job in preseason. "It's unbelievable. Coming off the field, I nearly got my neck broken by fans."
Smith was swarmed by thousands of fans who flooded onto the field, dancing and singing and hugging -- some apparently a little too tightly.
He ran for 145 yards and Ginn set school and Big Ten records with his fourth touchdown on a punt return this season. The two left after the game to catch Glenville High School's playoff game. Both starred for the Tarblooders before choosing Ohio State.
The loss kept the Wolverines (9-2, 7-1) from clinching an outright Big Ten title, but they still earned the conference's spot in the Rose Bowl by virtue of Iowa's win over Wisconsin later Saturday. Michigan and Iowa tied for first place in the conference, but the Wolverines got the nod by virtue of their 30-17 win over the Hawkeyes on Sept. 25.
"When you win the championship, you don't have to apologize," Michigan Coach Lloyd Carr said. "You don't have to hang your head. Are we disappointed? You're damned right we are."
Ohio State's fourth season under Coach Jim Tressel has been a tough one. The Buckeyes started the Big Ten season with three straight losses and plummeted out of the rankings.
Then, two weeks ago, former Ohio State star Maurice Clarett accused Tressel, his staff and Buckeyes boosters of giving him and other players improper benefits. An NCAA investigation is about to begin.
But it's never a bad day in Columbus when Ohio State beats Michigan.
"This was important because it's Ohio State-Michigan," said Tressel, now 3-1 against the Buckeyes' arch rivals. "[Former Ohio State] Coach Earle Bruce always says that if the Ohio State coach wins against Michigan he can walk down the main streets of Columbus. If he loses, he'd better walk the back alleys. It's that important."
Smith had never run for more than 62 yards nor passed for more 192 since relieving the injured Justin Zwick in midseason. On a day where little went wrong for Ohio State (7-4, 4-4), he carried 18 times and came up just one yard short of tying a school record for yards rushing by a quarterback. He also completed 13 of 23 passes for 241 yards and two touchdowns without an interception or a sack.
Ginn gathered a punt at his 18 midway through the third quarter with the Buckeyes up 20-14. He broke a tackle and went into overdrive for an 82-yard touchdown. His fourth return for a score this year matched the NCAA mark.