ANN ARBOR, Mich. (AP) — Denard Robinson took the snap, took a knee and set off a long, loud, maize-and-blue celebration in the Big House.
Robinson accounted for five touchdowns, helping 17th-ranked Michigan beat Ohio State 40-34 on Saturday and snap a school-record seven-game losing streak against the Wolverines’ archrival.
"This game is more than a win," defensive end Ryan Van Bergen said. "It’s bigger than that. It encompasses way more."
Michigan (10-2, 6-2 Big Ten) was forced to settle for a six-point lead with 1:59 left on Brendan Gibbons’ career-long 43-yard field goal after two apparent TDs were negated by a video review and then penalties.
The Buckeyes (6-6, 3-5) had a chance to win the game on their final drive, but freshman Braxton Miller sailed a pass over Deviser Posey’s head on what could’ve been a 76-yard TD and threw a loss-sealing interception to Courtney Avery.
Michigan finally won a game in the storied series because it had a better quarterback than Ohio State, for a change.
Robinson was 14 of 17 — completing 11 straight passes during one stretch — for 167 yards with TD passes to Kevin Koger, Junior Hemingway and Martavious Odoms. He ran 26 times for 170 yards and two more scores and lost a fumble.
Miller was 14 of 25 for 235 yards with TD passes to Posey and Corey Brown. He ran 16 times for 100 yards and a score.
The Wolverines also had more success creating holes for their featured running back.
Fitzgerald Toussaint had 120 yards rushing, but didn’t score because video review overturned his apparent TD late in the game. He was ruled down before getting in the end zone. Robinson then had a TD run negated by a holding penalty — and yet another flag after the play pushed Michigan back to the Ohio State 26, forcing Gibbons to make the longest field goal of his career to force the Buckeyes to score a TD to win.
"There wasn’t a doubt in my mind," Michigan coach Brady Hoke said.
Ohio State’s Dan Herron was held to 37 yards rushing and a TD on 15 carries, but the Wolverines had trouble slowing down Miller just as they had previously with Troy Smith, who started Ohio State’s winning streak in 2004, and Terrelle Pryor who extended it with last year’s win.
Pryor, though, wasn’t around to win again in The Game. He left Ohio State in the wake of being caught up in a cash-for-Buckeyes memorabilia scandal that resulted in coach Jim Tressel’s departure and several other players serving multiple-game suspensions in what became the program’s worst season on the field since 1999.
The Buckeyes have already said they won’t pass up the chance to go to a bowl game — if the NCAA allows them to play in the postseason.
Regardless, former Florida coach Urban Meyer is widely expected to take over the program.
Former Ohio State running back and 1995 Heisman Trophy winner Eddie George said the fact that Meyer wasn’t in Ann Arbor with his ESPN crew was another obvious sign that he’s the next coach of the Buckeyes.
"I think it’s pretty much set in stone," George told The Associated Press on Saturday morning at Michigan Stadium, where he was working as an analyst. "There are rumors already about what he’s signing for and who’s coaching with him. After this game, the chatter is obviously going to get even louder and I think we’ll know something definitely by Monday."
Michigan, meanwhile, might be in a BCS bowl game for the first time since 2006 under first-year coach Hoke, who took many of Rich Rodriguez’s players and helped them perform much better this season.
Michigan Stadium’s field was filled with fans after the Wolverines finally beat the Buckeyes, ending a drought that lasted more than 2,900 days as the players were reminded each day they stepped into Schembechler Hall.
The public-address announcer tried in vain to get the field cleared for the bands, but they stayed in a cluster around the block ‘M’ at midfield and were sprinkled throughout the rest of the field as they soaked up the moment. About 20 minutes later, Michigan’s band finally was able to take the field.