COLUMBUS, Ohio - For Ohio State, the thrill of beating rival Michigan was tempered by an injury to star quarterback J.T. Barrett.
Ezekiel Elliott scored untouched on a 44-yard run on fourth-and-1 with 4:58 left to help Ohio State, which lost Barrett early in the fourth quarter to a leg injury, beat the Wolverines 42-28 on Saturday.
With no postseason, the only thing left to be decided for Michigan (5-7, 3-5 Big Ten) is the future of coach Brady Hoke. Interim AD Jim Hackett will make the call on whether the coach stays or goes.
Barrett threw for one TD and ran for two before his right leg crumpled underneath him when he was tackled on a run.
Cardale Jones came in for the Buckeyes (11-1, 8-0, CFP No. 6) to lead the drive that culminated in Elliott's long run. Darron Lee returned a fumble 33 yards for a touchdown to add to the lead.
Many in a crowd of 108,610 rushed the field after the final seconds ticked off. State highway patrol officers encircled the goalposts to prevent anyone from tearing them down after the 111th meeting of the rivals.
Hoke's job status has been in question as the Wolverines have sagged since his 11-2 start at Michigan in 2011. The Wolverines have gone 8-5, 7-6 and 5-7 to give him a 31-20 record.
Before the game, walk-on defensive lineman Kosta Karageorge, who has been missing since earlier in the week, was recognized along with 23 other Buckeyes scheduled to appear at their final game in Ohio Stadium. A police poster showing Karageorge, with the word MISSING stamped across it in vivid color, was shown on the large video board at the south end of the field.
Barrett, a Heisman Trophy contender, completed 13 of 21 passes for 176 yards and a touchdown and also ran for scores of 25 and 2 yards while gaining 89 yards on 15 carries.
On second-and-1 at the Ohio State 33 on the first play of the fourth quarter and with the Buckeyes leading 28-21, he got twisted at the line and his right leg bent back beneath him at an odd angle. As he was on the field, and after he was helped onto a cart with a temporary air cast on his leg, he was greeted by teammates and Michigan quarterback Devin Gardner.
Cardale Jones, a seldom-used sophomore, took over. The Buckeyes punted but the defense stiffened against a much-maligned Michigan offense playing one of its best games of the season.
The next time the Buckeyes had the ball, they took over at their own 20. They ended up facing a fourth-and-1 at the Michigan 44. After a timeout, Elliott, who had 75 yards on 15 carries, took a handoff from Jones and surged through a big hole at left tackle with 4:58 left. The touchdown gave the Buckeyes breathing room at 35-21.
They got more moments later when defensive end Joey Bosa stripped the ball from Gardner and linebacker Darron Lee picked it up and ran the remaining 33 yards to make it 42-21 with 3:58 left.
The Wolverines added a late score on a 3-yard pass from Gardner, who ended up 22 of 32 for 233 yards and two scores with an interception to Freddy Canteen.
Tied at the half, the Buckeyes took the second-half kickoff and wasted little time.
Barrett's spiral to Devin Smith on a post pattern was good for 52 yards. From the Michigan 2, Barrett won a footrace to the corner for the touchdown.
Michigan then went 75 yards to tie it again. On third-and-6 at the Ohio State 29, Gardner was sacked and fumbled and Ohio State's Curtis Grant recovered.
However, Buckeyes defensive end Bosa was flagged for being offside. After converting the short first down, Gardner pitched to Johnson who threw the ball back to his quarterback for an 18-yard gain to the 4. Johnson then took it in from there.
The Buckeyes resorted to their running game for big gains of their next possession, tossing in a 22-yard Barrett-to-Nick Vannett pass. Aided by a pass-interference call in the end zone, the Buckeyes retook the lead on Elliott's 2-yard score late in the third.