Michigan beats Buckeyes, 13-9
Published: Monday, August 3, 1998
Updated: Saturday, June 16, 2012 01:06
With a slip of a foot, the Buckeyes' undefeated season and national championship hopes came crashing down around them, losing to Michigan 13-9 in front of 94,676 in Ohio Stadium. On Michigan's second play from scrimmage in the second half, Wolverine wide receiver Tai Streets took a quick slant from quarterback Brian Griese. Junior cornerback Shawn Springs slipped and fell on the slippery Ohio Stadium turf, and 69 yards later, Michigan had trimmed the Buckeyes' lead to 9-7. 'Unfortunately, I think that long touchdown pass thrown on me gave them a lot of momentum,' Spring said. OSU coach John Cooper, whose Buckeye teams are now 1-7-1 against the Wolverines, said it was the only big play of the game for either offense. 'We were playing man coverage and they scored, and from that point on they were a different football team,' Cooper said. The Buckeyes (10-1, 7-1 in the Big Ten) dominated the first half in terms of total yards (220-62), but had only a 9-0 lead to show for it. The Buckeyes' best opportunity for a touchdown came late in the first quarter after a 34-yard run by junior tailback Pepe Pearson gave OSU a first down on the Michigan 2-yard line. Two consecutive runs up the middle netted a minus two yards for the Buckeyes. On third-and-goal, quarterback Joe Germaine's pass was too long for Dimitrious Stanley. The Buckeyes had to settle for a 21-yard field goal and an early 3-0 lead. After a 36-yard field goal from Jackson and some exchanged punts, OSU squandered another opportunity for a touchdown at the end of the first half, when the offense was stopped again at Michigan's 4-yard line. Another 21-yard Jackson field goal gave OSU its final points of the game. 'We played pretty well in the first half, although we should have scored some touchdowns when we settled for field goals,' Cooper said. 'At halftime I felt very good about our chances.' Michigan felt better about their chances in the second half; they allowed only 84 yards of offense and ran up 237 yards of their own. 'In the second half they just really stiffened up,' Germaine said. 'They just did a good job stopping the running game, and I just didn't hit some passes that we really needed.' The Wolverines took the lead for good on the last play of the third quarter, when Remy Hamilton's 43-yard field goal capped a 12-play, 51-yard drive. But Michigan's most important drive of the game came with 6:52 left. Michigan, starting at its own 12-yard line, ran the ball 11 consecutive times, eating up 67 yards and more than five and a half minutes off the clock. It set up a 39-yard Hamilton field goal and a final score of 13-9. On that drive, the OSU defense allowed Michigan tailback Chris Howard to gain 51 of his 109 yards. It was the first time the Buckeyes allowed a back to gain 100 yards rushing this season. 'In the second-half we wore them down a little bit,' said Michigan coach Lloyd Carr. 'That last drive was a thing of beauty.' The Buckeyes' attempt at a last-minute comeback fell short on the last play of the game, when Germaine's long pass was intercepted by Wolverine strong safety Marcus Ray at the Michigan 15. Springs said the Buckeyes will have the same attitude in the Rose Bowl as they would if they were undefeated, but the disappointment of losing another game to Michigan was evident from all of the Buckeyes. 'We got the Rose Bowl, and our goal after that was to win the national championship,' said senior linebacker Greg Bellisari. 'In effect, this takes us out of it. That's tough to take with all the hard work we put in. It's tough to swallow.'