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No. 9 Ohio State closes out Michigan without J.T. Barrett

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Barrett exits early in OSU's win over Michigan (1:36)

Ohio State overcomes an early 14-0 deficit and an injury to J.T. Barrett to defeat Michigan 31-20. (1:36)

ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- For the first time in the 120-year history of "The Game," Ohio State rallied from a 14-point deficit to win, beating Michigan 31-20. The Buckeyes were able to do so by mounting a comeback behind backup quarterback Dwayne Haskins for most of the second half.

Senior quarterback J.T. Barrett injured his knee before the game and came out after a run in the third quarter. Haskins didn't miss a beat, leading an 11-play, 78-yard drive to put Ohio State ahead 21-20 in the third quarter. Haskins finished the day throwing for 94 yards on six completions, and his unwavering performance kept the Buckeyes' playoff hopes alive.

At 10-2 and currently ranked No. 9 in the College Football Playoff rankings, the Buckeyes have an opportunity to play their way into the playoff if they can pull off a victory over No. 5 Wisconsin in the Big Ten championship game next Saturday in Indianapolis.

That possibility was kept within reach by the back-and-forth battle that took place in Ann Arbor and a comeback that was drawn out over the second half. Those playoff hopes looked as though they were fading early in the game as the Wolverines held Ohio State to minus-6 yards of offense in the first quarter.

Michigan took a 14-0 lead in the second quarter on a 2-yard Khalid Hill rush and a 3-yard catch by tight end Sean McKeon. The Buckeyes then started to pick it up on offense, though, and scored 14 unanswered points to tie the score at 14 before halftime on a touchdown run and pass by Barrett. The Buckeyes gained 350 yards in the game.

Karan Higdon put Michigan ahead again on a 2-yard touchdown run, but Ohio State's Denzel Ward blocked the extra point attempt. Barrett was injured on a scramble on the Buckeyes' next drive, but Haskins led the Buckeyes down the field, completing a 27-yard third-down pass to Austin Mack and gaining 22 yards on a scramble as the Buckeyes took the lead for good after a J.K. Dobbins 1-yard touchdown run.

The game was seemingly never out of reach for Michigan (8-4), a double-digit underdog, but the offense couldn't finish in the second half. Michigan quarterback John O'Korn completed 17 of his 32 attempts for 195 yards, but he made some crucial mistakes.

O'Korn overthrew two wide-open receivers in the first half that would have extended drives, something that has plagued O'Korn the entire season. He threw a costly interception in the fourth quarter that put the game away for Ohio State.

The win keeps Ohio State coach Urban Meyer undefeated against Michigan, as he is 6-0 against the Buckeyes' archrival. The Wolverines have only three wins over the Buckeyes since 2000, and one in the past 14 years.

Neither O'Korn nor Barrett finished their final rivalry game the way they had hoped -- O'Korn with a loss and Barrett with an injury -- but Barrett and his team still have the opportunity to play for more.

To add to what lies ahead, the Buckeyes have seen this scene play out before, with Barrett suffering an injury against Michigan in 2014 and the backup quarterback stepping in and not missing a beat. That season, Cardale Jones came in to replace Barrett, then a redshirt freshman, and helped lead the Buckeyes to the national championship. Barrett's status is unknown for the Wisconsin game.

But this victory, with Haskins at the helm, helped give Ohio State the possibility to recreate that magic.