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Published: Sunday, 12/1/2013 - Updated: 7 months ago

WOLVERINES NOTEBOOK

Players back 2-point decision

Hoke leaned on seniors to decide how game would end

BY RACHEL LENZI
BLADE SPORTS WRITER
Michigan tight end Jake Butt lands in the end zone for a touchdown as Ohio State players Joshua Perry, left, and Corey Brown defend during the fourth quarter. Butt had five catches for 85 yards. Michigan tight end Jake Butt lands in the end zone for a touchdown as Ohio State players Joshua Perry, left, and Corey Brown defend during the fourth quarter. Butt had five catches for 85 yards.
BLADE/ANDY MORRISON Enlarge

ANN ARBOR — Taylor Lewan clearly recalled the moment. With his team down by a point and with the chance to go either for the win or for the tie, Michigan coach Brady Hoke begged one question of his team.

"He asked us, asked the seniors, 'do you want to go for it?' ” Michigan’s left tackle said. “I don't think there was one guy that said no. Every single person said yes."

PHOTO GALLERY: Click here to view images from 'The Game'

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With pride, bragging rights, and a chance to salvage a season on the line Saturday at Michigan Stadium, the answer was a consensus. The Wolverines chose to attempt a two-point conversion after Devin Funchess’ two-yard touchdown catch brought them within a point of the Buckeyes with 32 seconds left in the fourth quarter.

"When we scored that touchdown, I was happy,” Michigan receiver Jeremy Gallon said. “When we made the decision to go for two, I was fine with that. It was up to us to execute.”

The Wolverines went for the win instead of opting for overtime, which would have likely prolonged the emotional roller coaster between the historic rivals. What was left to lose?

Only the ball. Ohio State cornerback Tyvis Powell leaped in the line of Michigan receiver Drew Dileo, who sprinted to a bottom corner of the block “G” in the end zone.

Michigan’s Jeremy Gallon, right, scores against Ohio State while the Buckeyes’ C.J. Barnett is beaten for the score. Gallon caught a pass in his 38th consecutive game, tying a program record. Michigan’s Jeremy Gallon, right, scores against Ohio State while the Buckeyes’ C.J. Barnett is beaten for the score. Gallon caught a pass in his 38th consecutive game, tying a program record.
BLADE/ANDY MORRISON Enlarge

Instead of grabbing Devin Gardner’s 3-yard conversion pass, Dileo wrapped himself around Powell, who intercepted Gardner and ultimately clinched the 42-41 win for the Buckeyes, who recovered Matt Wile’s onside kick and ran out the clock.

“Me, personally, I was all for it,” Michigan linebacker Cam Gordon said of going for two. “I have no regrets for what we did. You play this game to win. Especially Ohio. You play it to win.

“The decision that we made, I’m sure a lot of other guys feel the same way.”

ANOTHER RECORD FOR GALLON: Gallon caught his first pass during Michigan’s first drive, the 38th straight game in which he’s caught a pass. Gallon tied a record set by Braylon Edwards.

Gallon’s 84-yard catch was the first of nine on Saturday for the fifth-year senior. Gallon led all receivers with 175 yards and a touchdown.

IN THE BOOT: Gardner wore a walking boot on his left foot during the postgame press conference but he did not elaborate on the nature of his injury.

“I got hurt in the game,” said Gardner, who finished 32-for-45 passing for 451 yards and four touchdowns.

“He’s a kid,” Hoke said. “He’s learning how to be a Michigan quarterback. That’s a daily thing. He’s beat up like everybody is.”

WINTER CLASSIC: Michigan Stadium will host another marquee event within a month in the Winter Classic, the NHL’s annual outdoor stadium game.

The Toronto Maple Leafs and Detroit Red Wings will play in the annual New Year’s Day game in the Big House, and an NHL spokesperson said in an email to The Blade that NHL personnel will take over Michigan Stadium in early December to begin construction of the outdoor rink that will host the game.

Michigan was originally scheduled to host the outdoor game on Jan. 1, 2013, but it was postponed to 2014 because of the NHL lockout that abbreviated the 2012-2013 season.

HBO has begun filming the Maple Leafs and the Red Wings for the premiere of the series “24/​7: Road to the NHL Winter Classic,” which will debut at 10 p.m. on Dec. 14.

The Winter Classic is one of six NHL games to be played in baseball or football stadiums in the United States and Canada this season, including Anaheim vs. Los Angeles on Jan. 25 at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles and New Jersey vs. the New York Rangers Jan. 26 at Yankee Stadium in New York City.



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