Michigan went for the victory — and Ohio State stayed undefeated.
Tyvis Powell intercepted Devin Gardner's pass as the Wolverines went for a go-ahead 2-point conversion with 32 seconds left and No. 3 Ohio State held on for a 42-41 victory Saturday in one the most thrilling games in the history of the storied Big Ten rivalry.
Gardner threw a 2-yard touchdown pass to Devin Funchess to make it 42-41, but instead of kicking for the tie, Wolverines coach Brady Hoke went for the lead with his offense.
"We played the game to win," Hoke said.
Gardner tried to zip a pass into traffic near the goal line, but Powell came up with it. Buckeyes cornerback Roby Bradley recovered the onside kick to seal Ohio State's 24th consecutive victory and keep its national championship hopes alive.
Braxton Miller accounted for five touchdowns for Ohio State (12-0, 8-0) and Carlos Hyde ran for a 1-yard score with 2:20 left to make it 42-35.
The Wolverines (7-5, 3-5) started strong as a 16 1-2-point underdog and didn't wilt when Ohio State went up 35-21 late in the third quarter.
Michigan, though, couldn't make a pivotal play that might've given it the biggest upset in the series since Bo Schembechler's first team at Michigan beat what Woody Hayes said was his best Buckeyes squad.
Miller and Hyde had a lot to do with Ohio State staying undefeated for at least another week. The Buckeyes play Michigan State in the Big Ten title game next Saturday in Indianapolis, and need a loss by No. 1 Alabama or No. 2 Florida State to have a chance to reach the BCS national championship game.
Miller ran for 153 yards and three TDs and threw for 133 yards and two scores, Hyde ran for 226 yards to help Ohio State win for the ninth time in 10 games against Michigan.
Both teams scored at least 41 points for the first time in their 110th meeting in a rivalry that dates to 1897.
Gardner was 32 of 45 for 451 yards and four TDs, connecting nine times for 175 yards and a score to Jeremy Gallon, and ran for a 1-yard TD that gave Michigan the first lead in the shootout that went to halftime tied at 21.
It was a slug fest — literally for a few moments.
The teams exchanged pushes and a couple of punches in the second quarter after a Michigan kickoff.
The Buckeyes lost starting right guard Marcus Hall and kick returner Dontre Wilson and the Wolverines lost backup linebacker Royce Jenkins-Stone to ejections. All three players were flagged for unsportsmanlike conduct and had to leave the field after a skirmish. Hall and Wilson appeared to throw punches. Jenkins-Stone tugged Wilson's helmet off and tossed it to the turf.
While walking off the field and toward the tunnel, Hall put both arms into the air and flashed a familiar obscene gesture, extended middle fingers, to the Michigan crowd.
Punishment could potentially linger for Ohio State if both players are suspended for next week's Big Ten championship game.
"The conference office will wait until after the game for the officials' written report, review the video and then take further action if needed," Big Ten spokesman Scott Chipman wrote in an email to The Associated Press.