Big Ten roundup: No. 4 Buckeyes complete 12-0 season with win over Michigan
COLUMBUS, Ohio — The only thing Urban Meyer lost during his first season at Ohio State was his cool — at the end of the last game.
Carlos Hyde ran for 146 yards and the fourth-ranked Buckeyes' defense shut out No. 20 Michigan in the second half to grab a bruising 26-21 win on Saturday, completing an improbable 12-0 season for the Buckeyes.
Meyer got emotional as the final seconds ticked off, embracing his players on the sideline at a raucous Ohio Stadium. Too emotional, he said later.
“I've got to keep a little more composure, I guess,” he said sheepishly. “I lost it there for a couple of minutes.”
Well, give the guy a break.
Almost no one — up to and including Meyer — expected such a rapid turnaround for the Buckeyes, who were just 6-7 last season. A month after Meyer took the job last November, they were socked with a bowl ban after this season — and still ran the table.
Ohio State (12-0, 8-0) is ineligible for a BCS national title but still has an outside shot at finishing No. 1 in the final Associated Press Top 25 if other contenders lose. Michigan (8-4, 6-2) will now await a minor bowl bid.
“At this point in time, Ohio State can go and play with anybody in America,” Meyer said.
Drew Basil matched his season output with four field goals and the defense did the rest, forcing three turnovers in the second half.
It was played before 105,899, the largest crowd ever to witness “The Game” in Columbus.
Meyer and his players were mobbed by thousands of fans who flooded the field after the Buckeyes' ninth victory in the last 11 years in the rivalry (the 2010 win was later vacated by the sanctions).
Now, about all Ohio State can hope for is that every other top team in the nation loses and loses badly. A team banned from the postseason has never finished No. 1 in the AP Top 25 poll.
Michigan State 26, Minnesota 10 — In Minneapolis, Le'Veon Bell rumbled for a career-high 266 yards and a fourth-quarter touchdown to put the game away, as Michigan State secured a spot in a bowl game.
Bell carried 35 times on a cold afternoon and Dan Conroy made four of his five field-goal attempts to help the Spartans (6-6, 3-5) wear down the Gophers (6-6, 2-6).
Northwestern 50, Illinois 14 — In Evanston, Ill., Venric Mark rushed for 127 yards and a touchdown as Northwestern (9-3, 5-3) improved its chances for a berth in a New Year's Day bowl game.
Illinois (2-10, 0-8), which has lost nine straight and 14 in a row in Big Ten play, committed four turnovers and eight penalties.
Purdue 56, Indiana 35 — In West Lafayette, Ind., Akeem Shavers broke open a close game with three scores during a 4½-minute span in the fourth quarter.
Robert Marve threw for a career-high 348 yards and four TDs in his final home game — a win that made the Boilermakers (6-6, 3-5) bowl eligible for the second straight year.
Indiana (4-8, 2-6) has now lost nine of the last 11 in this series.