Michigan forced three second-half turnovers and Tom Brady

Associated Press Published:

Michigan forced three second-half turnovers and Tom Brady threw two touchdown passes as the No. 10 Wolverines rallied to beat the Buckeyes 24-17 Saturday.

The Buckeyes (6-6, 3-5) won't play in a bowl for the first time since 1988, John Cooper's first year as coach. A team must have a winning record to qualify for postseason play.

"Going to a bowl game is something you expect when you come to Ohio State," Buckeyes' defensive end Rodney Bailey said. "I can't even really conceive it right now."

The victory gave Michigan (9-2, 6-2 Big Ten) an excellent chance of landing a berth in a Bowl Championship Series game, perhaps in the Orange or Fiesta bowls.

"You've got to give a lot of credit to those (Ohio State) guys," Brady said. "It took us a lot of time and our defense sure stepped it up to give our offense an opportunity to score. We capitalized on some their mistakes and we were just fortunate enough to win."

Ohio State outgained Michigan 368 yards to 252, but the Buckeyes drew 13 penalties for 115 yards in losses. The Buckeyes finished with six losses for the first time since going 4-6 in 1988.

"Hopefully, none of us at Ohio State will ever have to go through a year like this again," said Cooper, who fell to 2-9-1 against the Wolverines, including 0-6 in Michigan Stadium.

Brady, who led the Wolverines' comeback win last week at Penn State, completed 17 of 27 passes for 150 yards, including an 8-yard touchdown to Shawn Thompson and a 10-yarder to Marquise Walker.

"I never had the feeling we were going to lose," Brady said. "I knew that whatever it was going to take, we were going to come back."

Anthony Thomas rushed 31 times for 111 yards, including a 1-yard TD run for Michigan. It was the fifth straight 100-yard game for Thomas and his seventh of the season.

Steve Bellisari completed 8 of 20 passes for 84 yards and two touchdowns for Ohio State, but also tossed two costly interceptions.

A fumble recovery by Cato June in the fourth quarter set up a 77-yard, 10-play drive that gave Michigan its first lead of the game, 24-17, with 5:01 remaining. Brady, who was 5-of-6 for 51 yards in the drive, finished it off with the touchdown pass to Walker.

It was the third Ohio State turnover that the Wolverines converted into points in the second half.

The Wolverines tied it 17-17 in the third quarter on the strength of their defense, turning two interceptions into a field goal and a touchdown, plus forcing Ohio State into a missed field goal attempt.

"We wanted a big game," Michigan linebacker Ian Gold said. "That's exactly what happened. We knew coming in that Ohio State would be like a caged animal."

DeWayne Patmon's 32-yard return following an interception on the fourth snap of the third quarter gave Michigan the ball at the Buckeyes' 23. But three snaps resulted in minus-2 yards and the Wolverines settled for Hayden Epstein's 42-yard field goal.

Ken-Yon Rambo returned the ensuing kickoff 53 yards and later caught a 21-yard, fourth-down pass from Michael Wiley to set up a 27-yard field goal by Dan Stultz, restoring Ohio State's seven-point lead.

Jonathan Wells, who appeared to step out of bounds near the Ohio State 40, was credited with a 76-yard run to the Michigan 6. But the Wolverines defense held and Ohio State was left with a one-TD lead after Stoltz missed a 30-yard field goal with 3:34 left in the third quarter.

Then the game began to slip away from the Buckeyes, a team that had been wracked by dissension in losses to Michigan State and Illinois.

The Wolverines, on the first snap following Gold's 17-yard interception return, tied it 17-17 on Brady's touchdown pass to Thompson with 37 seconds left in the third quarter.

"We got after it today," Gold said. "We had a tenacity about us."

The Wolverines came out flat in the first half and the Buckeyes, unranked for the first time since 1994, made them pay.

Wiley, who rushed 22 times for 92 yards, broke loose for a 26-yard gain to the Michigan 6 as the Buckeyes went 51 yards in seven plays on their second possession of the game. Bellisari, who escaped potential sacks for gains of 9 and 3 yards during the drive, flipped a short pass to Kevin Houser for the touchdown and a 7-0 lead.

Brady completed 5-of-5 for 56 yards early in the second quarter as Michigan put together a 70-yard, 11-play drive. Thomas' touchdown run tied it 7-7.

But the Buckeyes responded with an impressive 80-yard, 11-play drive to regain the lead, 14-7, with 3:44 left in the second quarter. Fullback Jamar Martin had runs of 21 and 14 yards in the drive and finished it off by catching a 1-yard scoring flip from Bellisari.

"We had people going after it and laying it on the line," Wiley said. "That helped us a whole lot. Had we played like that all year, who knows what we could've done."

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