COLUMBUS, Ohio (Ticker) -- Troy Smith and Ted Ginn Jr. were undaunted by the pressure of their first Michigan game.
Smith accounted for 386 yards and three touchdowns and the true freshman Ginn scored on an 82-yard punt return as Ohio State prevented the seventh-ranked Wolverines from clinching a Rose Bowl berth on its turf with a 37-21 victory over its Big Ten Conference archrival.
Michigan (9-2, 7-1 Big Ten), which already had clinched a share of the conference title, backed into a Rose Bowl berth when ninth-ranked Wisconsin lost at No. 17 Iowa, 30-7, later Saturday.
Ohio State held a 20-14 advantage early in the third quarter when Ginn, who was heavily recruited by Michigan, received a punt at the 18. He started to his right but noticed a mass of defenders and cut to his left, then used his track speed to break free down the left sideline, stunning the Wolverines.
"I had to try to make something real quick and I was just trying to find a hole to get vertical, as my coach told me to," Ginn said. "Once you see the touchdown, there's no point in making a move, you just use your speed and get to the end zone."
"We gave up too many big plays," Michigan coach Lloyd Carr said. "Ginn's punt return was a major turning point in the game."
It was the fourth punt-return touchdown and seventh score overall for Ginn, who amassed 210 all-purpose yards. He tied the NCAA record for touchdowns on punt returns in a single season.
"Just like Troy, Ginn is an amazing athlete," said Michigan cornerback Marlin Jackson, who hosted Ginn on his recruiting visit to Ann Arbor. "He has everything a team could ever want in a player. He has the ability to make people miss like you saw all year and today."
Smith, a sophomore who took over starting signal-calling duties from Justin Zwick midway through the season, had his way with the Wolverines. He passed for 241 yards and ran for 145, one shy of Cornelius Greene's school record for a quarterback, set vs. Wisconsin in 1974.
Late in the third quarter, Smith avoided a sack on 3rd-and-8 and ran 46 yards to the Michigan 18, setting up a 12-yard TD pass to Santonio Holmes that opened a 34-14 cushion.
The score capped a 10-play, 97-yard drive. In the second quarter, Smith ended a 12-play, 99-yard drive with a one-yard dive to tie the score, 14-14.
"That is why I say you have to give Ohio State credit," Carr said. "The way we have always tried to play defense at Michigan is if you have any kind of field position, the odds are you are going to stop them. We couldn't stop them. I think Ohio State played great today."
Chad Henne, the first Michigan freshman quarterback to start at Ohio Stadium, had a shaky performance, completing just 27-of-54 passes for 328 yards with two touchdowns and two interceptions. Less than a minute into the fourth quarter, Henne briefly had star receiver Braylon Edwards open in the end zone but waited too long before throwing into traffic, and Buckeyes defensive back Ashton Youboty intercepted him at the 1.
"Today was a learning experience for me," Henne said. "I felt I grew a lot from this game. I now understand fully what this rivalry is about. It is not about records or what team is having a better year, it is about who wants to win the most."
The Wolverines scored touchdowns on their first two possessions, taking a 14-7 lead on a one-yard run by true freshman Mike Hart with 6:03 left in the first quarter. But they were blanked until Henne found Edwards on a 38-yard pass down the left sideline with 10:56 to play that made it 34-21.
On its eight possessions between the scores, Michigan punted seven times - four times going three-and-out - and was intercepted once.
With 7 1/2 minutes left, Edwards - who had 11 catches for 172 yards - dropped a sure first-down pass on 4th-and-1 at the Michigan 29. It set up a 48-yard field goal by Mike Nugent, his third of the game, which capped the scoring.
After the game, hundreds of fans stormed the field to join in Ohio State's celebration.
"I'm pretty much at a loss of words right now because it's unbelievable," Smith said. "Coming off the field after the game I almost got my neck broke by a lot of the fans. You know, this means a lot to everybody. Sending our seniors out was probably the most important thing that we wanted to do and we were able to do that."
Ohio State coach Jim Tressel improved to 3-1 against Michigan. Tressel had to spend much of the week answering questions about NCAA violations alleged by former running back Maurice Clarett, who helped lead the team to the 2002 national championship.
"(Former Buckeyes coach Earle) Bruce tells us every year, if he wins the Ohio State-Michigan game, he can walk down the street in Columbus," Tressel said. "If he loses, he better walk the back alleys. So it's an important game."
The Buckeyes have posted back-to-back home wins over Michigan for the first time since 1982 and 1984. They recorded a 14-9 triumph here two years ago en route to their national title.
Ohio State (7-4, 4-4) outgained Michigan on the ground, 205-71, and limited Hart to just 61 yards on 18 carries. Hart entered the contest having rushed for at least 150 yards in a school-record four straight games.
Michigan, which had a 13-game conference winning streak snapped, actually held a 20-18 advantage in first downs but held the ball for just 25:44, including only 4:57 in the second quarter as the Buckeyes scored three times.