Ohio State hopes dramatic win over Michigan is enough to boost its CFP hopes – ESPN

 In Sports
COLUMBUS, Ohio — After Ohio State scored on the first possession of overtime against Michigan, Urban Meyer left his team huddle to tend to another task.

Meyer furiously pumped both his arms up in the air to each quadrant of Ohio Stadium, urging for more noise. Then he pointed to the student section in the end zone for another boost.

That’s the kind of day it was for Meyer and the No. 2 Buckeyes. They had to search for every possible edge to pull out a 30-27 double overtime win over a team that had pushed them around most of the afternoon.

When it finally ended on Curtis Samuel’s 15-yard touchdown run, Meyer fell face down onto the turf. Later, in his news conference, Meyer claimed he couldn’t remember many of the plays before Samuel’s touchdown run.

On the 10-year anniversary of the “Game of the Century” between these two rivals — a 42-39 victory by then-No. 1 Ohio State over then-No. 2 Michigan — we were treated to a worthy successor. It had a little bit of everything: controversial calls, a sideline meltdown by Jim Harbaugh, questionable coaching decisions and a comeback for the ages.

“I can’t wait to see that game when I’m like 35,” Buckeyes defensive end Jalyn Holmes said. “I can tell my kids I played in that game, and it made the rivalry back to what it used to be.”

Curtis Samuel provided the difference for Ohio State with his TD run in the second overtime. Greg Bartram/USA TODAY Sports

Ohio State trailed 17-7 midway through the third quarter and was lucky to be that close, given how little its offense had produced. Michigan looked ready to clear up the Big Ten’s College Football Playoff picture before its collapse complicated the selection committee’s deliberations.

The Buckeyes are 11-1 with victories over top 10 teams Oklahoma, Wisconsin and Michigan. But a road loss to Penn State proved fatal to their Big Ten title chances, as the No. 7 Nittany Lions beat Michigan State on Saturday to clinch the East Division. Penn State will play No. 6 Wisconsin in the league championship game next week in Indianapolis, with the winner staking a claim to a playoff bid.

Ohio State, meanwhile, will have to hope it has done enough to become the first non-champion to make the playoff field.

Meyer said “I don’t know” three times when asked whether his team deserved a playoff bid. Several of his players made their case for it.

“I think we’ve proven ourselves with our strength of schedule and how we played,” defensive end Sam Hubbard said. “It doesn’t really matter if we go to the Big Ten championship game. What we’ve done speaks for itself.”

“How can you keep us out, with our wins on the road against top-tier teams?” senior center Pat Elflein asked.

“I think we’re one of the four best teams,” quarterback J.T. Barrett said. “It’s up to the committee now.”

Ohio State owns an impeccable résumé. What the committee will have to weigh heavily is whether Meyer’s team still passes the eyeball test.

Consider that the Buckeyes squeaked past a 3-9 Michigan State team 17-16 last week. And for much of the game against Michigan, they again looked shaky offensively.

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