Nov. 11, 2006
(AP) - The game everybody's been waiting - and waiting and waiting - for is finally a reality.
No. 1 Ohio State against No. 2 Michigan next Saturday in Columbus for a spot in the BCS national title game.
The Big Ten rivals will meet in a 1 vs. 2 matchup for the first time, and it will mark the first time there are two 1-2 games in the same regular season. Earlier, the top-ranked Buckeyes played at No. 2 Texas.
If the Buckeyes beat Michigan, they'll become the first team to play in three 1 vs. 2 matchups in a single season when they play for the national championship on Jan. 8 in Glendale, Ariz.
The anticipation for Ohio State-Michigan has been building for more than a month as they marched through the soft parts of their schedules. The Buckeyes and Wolverines had easy times improving to 11-0 Saturday.
Troy Smith threw a season-high four touchdown passes and the Buckeyes tuned up with a 54-10 victory at Northwestern.
The 54 points were the most for Ohio State since a 72-0 victory over Pittsburgh on Sept. 21, 1996, and the defense played a major role in that.
The Buckeyes converted four turnovers and a blocked punt into touchdowns en route to a 33-10 halftime lead and their 18th consecutive victory - the nation's longest winning streak.
Smith threw for 185 yards while completing 12-of-19 with one interception. Antonio Pittman ran for 80 yards and a touchdown on 19 carries, and freshman Chris Wells ran for a season-high 99 and a touchdown. Brian Hartline caught two touchdown passes.
Meanwhile, in Bloomington, Ind., Steve Breaston scored on an 83-yard punt return and a 62-yard reception and Mike Hart added a touchdown run to lead the Wolverines to a 34-3 rout of Indiana.
Michigan has won 15 of its last 16 regular-season games. The only blip is a not-so-easily forgotten 25-21 loss to the Buckeyes last year.
Unlike last week against Ball State, the Wolverines never gave their opponent a chance.
The offense easily picked apart Indiana's defense. Chad Henne was 11-of-15 for 159 yards and two touchdown passes to support Michigan's typically stout defense. The Wolverines allowed only 131 total yards, including 26 on the ground.
The last team to play in two 1 vs. 2 games was Florida State in the 1993 season. The Seminoles were No. 1 when they lost to Notre Dame 31-24 on Nov. 13, and were No. 1 again when they beat Nebraska 18-16 in the Orange Bowl to win the national championship.
The last time two teams from the same conference played in a 1-2 game was 1987, when Oklahoma and Nebraska did it.