Cooper's decision to start quarterback Joe Germaine in place of Stanley Jackson proved similarly questionable. Before Saturday, Jackson had started every game this season for the Buckeyes while sharing playing time with Germaine, but he had played poorly the past three weeks. Jackson might still have seen substantial minutes against Michigan, but in the second quarter he misfired on two critical passes. "We had some receivers open, but he didn't get the ball to them," Cooper said in explaining his decision to keep Jackson on the bench for all but two series. But Germaine, a transfer who was playing in his first Michigan-Ohio State game, had his own problems. Woodson and the rest of the Michigan secondary limited him to 12 completions in 31 attempts for 148 yards.
In the final minutes the Buckeyes seemed helpless while Michigan drove methodically downfield to seal its victory. As Hamilton's 39-yard field goal with 1:19 remaining sailed through the uprights, several Ohio State starters sat on the bench, towels over their heads, unable to look.
When it was over, several Wolverines stood outside their locker room, trying to explain their hold on Ohio State. Woodson, ever the opportunist, sensed a chance to get a head start on next year. "I don't think it's a mental block," he said with a sly smile. "I just think we're a better team."