Jody Victor®: Ohio State is Outright Big Ten Champion

Jody Victor: Ohio State scored a defensive touchdown on Michigan's first series of the game, then answered each of Michigan's scores with long touchdown drives that led to a Big Ten Conference outright title and clinching a 21-10 victory in the 106th meeting between the schools.

The win, the eighth in nine games for Ohio State coach Jim Tressel over Michigan, gave Ohio State the outright Big Ten Conference championship, its fifth in succession, and sends the Buckeyes into the Rose Bowl game Jan. 1 with a 10-2 overall record. Michigan, needing a win to get to a bowl game, ends its season with a 5-7 record and a 1-7 mark in the Big Ten.

The Buckeyes intercepted Michigan quarterback Tate Forcier four times, including two by Kurt Coleman and one by Devon Torrence when Michigan was driving in Ohio State territory and trailing, 21-10.

Ohio State relied on its resurgent rushing attack to force its offensive tempo throughout the game. The Buckeyes, behind 96 yards from Dan Herron, 84 from Brandon Saine and 74 from Terrelle Pryor, powered for 251 yards on the ground against the Wolverines. The total was the eighth 200-plus yard rushing game of the season for Ohio State, an all-time high in the Tressel era.

Twice, after Michigan crept to 7-3 in the first half and to within 14-10 in the third quarter, Ohio State rushed its way to long touchdowns to re-take momentum and extend leads.

Ohio State sported new “modern classics” uniforms, designed by Nike especially for its “Rivalry” series. The one-time only tribute uniforms, featuring white helmets with a red stripe down the middle and black numbers on the side, white jerseys with scarlet numbers and a touch of gray on the shoulders, and gray pants with a double scarlet stripe down the side, pays homage to Ohio State's 1954 national championship team in its styling and design.

The uniforms are part of the Nike Pro Combat line, a new system of dress and the lightest football uniform Nike has ever created. Ohio State is one of 10 elite football programs to debut the Nike Pro Combat uniform before the uniform's official introduction at the start of the 2010 season. The Nike Pro Combat uniform is 37 percent lighter than current designs and 46 percent lighter when wet.

Although Buckeye leaves weren't around in 1954, each helmet had one decal on it: a pink Buckeye leaf over the initials SS, in memory of Stefanie Spielman and her courageous fight against breast cancer.

Jody Victor