Michigan wide receiver Roman Wilson celebrates with acting head coach Sherrone Moore after catching a touchdown pass Saturday against Ohio State. Michigan won, 30-24. David Dermer/Associated Press

ANN ARBOR, Mich. — With more than two years’ of excellence being questioned and their coach banned from the Big House, J.J. McCarthy, Blake Corum and No. 2 Michigan stared down Ohio State again and earned a victory that will go down as one of the biggest in the history of college football’s winningest program.

Rod Moore’s interception in Michigan territory with 25 seconds left sealed a 30-24 win for the Wolverines on Saturday, running their winning streak over the Buckeyes to three games while staying unbeaten as Coach Jim Harbaugh serves out a suspension.

McCarthy, a third-year quarterback who could leave Michigan having never lost to Ohio State, said Harbaugh’s message to the Wolverines on Friday night echoed his old coach, the late Bo Schembechler:

“The whole mantra: the team, the team, the team,” McCarthy said. He said Harbaugh told them: “We are that team.”

Moore’s pick set off a celebration on the home team’s sideline. McCarthy took a knee, Michigan fans poured over the brick walls onto the field, and the Wolverines (12-0, 9-0 Big Ten) were off to their third straight Big Ten title game.

In a season of high expectations that now has a championship-or-bust feel, Michigan is a victory away from a third consecutive College Football Playoff appearance.


For Coach Ryan Day and the Buckeyes (11-1, 8-1), it’s another year of lamenting a loss in the most important game on the schedule for Ohio State and wondering what has happened to the program that spent a decade and a half dominating Michigan.

Day is now 1-3 against the Wolverines. Before he took over from Urban Meyer, Ohio State had won seven straight and 14 of 15 against Michigan.

“We’re all disappointed,” Day said. “We know what this game means to so many people. To come up short is crushing.”

McCarthy was 16 of 20 for 148 yards and a touchdown.

“In critical situations, I’m going to put the ball in your hands,” offensive coordinator Sherrone Moore said he told McCarthy before the game.

The 119th Ohio State-Michigan game was guaranteed to be memorable even before it kicked off. With Michigan being investigated by the NCAA for allegations of in-person scouting and sign stealing and Harbaugh finishing a three-game suspension imposed by the Big Ten, the circumstances around The Game were historically unprecedented.


“There’s a lot of thoughts and things that I would love to say, but all I know is this team is as good as any team in the country and they prove it every week,” said Sherrone Moore, filling in for Harbaugh for the fourth time this season.

The sign-stealing scandal has caused fans all over the Big Ten, especially in Columbus, Ohio, to call into question Michigan’s resurgence under Harbaugh the past two years.

“No one cried. No one whined,” Corum said. “The job has to get done no matter what.”

The only sign of Harbaugh was on the pregame videoboard montage. Moore seemed to make all the right moves.

Michigan went 3 for 3 on fourth downs, implemented its backup quarterback for a couple of plays to gain 22 yards on the ground, and executed a halfback pass to set up a fourth-quarter field goal that put Michigan up 10.

After Ohio State cut the lead to 27-24 with 8:05 left on a 14-yard pass from Kyle McCord to All-American Marvin Harrison Jr., Michigan proceeded to drain seven minutes off the clock, and James Turner kicked a 37-yard field goal to make it 30-24 with 1:05 remaining.


“We’ve got to get off the field,” Day said.

McCord, Harrison and the Buckeyes had 1 minute to go 81 yards with no timeouts. They made it to the Michigan 37 before McCord’s second interception of the day on a wobbly pass toward Harrison closed it out.

As expected with two of the best defenses in the country, it took a while for the offenses to get rolling.

Will Johnson picked off McCord deep in Ohio State territory to set up a fourth-and-inches touchdown dive by Corum. Michigan converted two more fourth-and-shorts on a drive that ended with McCarthy threading a needle to Roman Wilson from 22 yards out.

The Buckeyes weren’t sure Wilson held on, but the call was confirmed by video review.

Badly needing a response, down 14-3 in the second quarter, Ohio State marched 73 yards and McCord hit Emeka Egbuka for a 3-yard score.


It went to the half that way after Day passed on fourth-and-2 from the Michigan 34 with less than a minute left in the second quarter and elected to try a 52-yard field goal that went wide left as time expired.

After Michigan opened the second half with a 50-yard field goal by Turner, Ohio State asserted itself with a 75-yard drive, finishing it off with eight straight runs and a tying 3-yard touchdown by TreVeyon Henderson.

McCord was 18 of 30 for 271 yards.

Then it was Michigan’s turn for a long drive that Corum capped with a 22-yard touchdown, his school-record 22nd of the season.

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