COLUMBUS - With four minutes left in the third quarter, it was safe for Jim Tressel to pick up his cell phone and place a call to the jeweler.
The Ohio State coach knew then that he needed a bunch of tiny gold football pants - the same order he placed last year ... and the year before ... and the two years before that.
By that point in yesterday's game, Ohio State had secured a fifth straight victory over rival Michigan, a 42-7 victory that secured a fourth consecutive Big Ten championship.
And true to the tradition that began here 75 years ago, every Buckeyes player and coach who took part can expect to receive an engraved gold charm to remember the event.
"We can walk around with four pairs of gold pants - one for every year we've been here - and that's something really special for this group of seniors," defensive back Malcolm Jenkins said.
"When you play at Ohio State, there's always a lot on the line, but those gold pants mean everything because of what they stand for - a win over Michigan.
We can always say we beat that team up north every time we played them."
OSU vs. UM football game
The No. 10 Buckeyes (10-2, 7-1 Big Ten) pulled away from a 14-7 halftime advantage and buried the Wolverines (3-9, 2-6) with big plays. It is OSU's first five-game winning streak over UM in the more than 100 years of the rivalry, allowing the Buckeyes to share the Big Ten title with Penn State.
"It hurts being in the program and never beating them once," Michigan senior defensive end Tim Jamison said.
Tressel beat Michigan for the seventh time in his eight seasons as coach at Ohio State. The 35-point margin of victory is the third-largest win by the Buckeyes in the series and the biggest since the 50-14 rout in 1968.
But it was the streak against UM that had Tressel shaking his head.
"It's hard to believe, because that's so difficult," Tressel said.
The Buckeyes didn't start well. On the fourth play of the game, freshman quarterback Terrelle Pryor threw a pass toward the Michigan sideline that got picked off by Stevie Brown and returned to the OSU 13-yard line. The Wolverines went five yards the wrong way in four plays, and K.C. Lopata missed a 35-yard field goal attempt.
"The missed opportunities are a big thing we've dealt with all year," Michigan coach Rich Rodriguez said. "We are not good enough to win ball games without taking advantage of those opportunities."
Ohio State squandered a prime scoring opportunity about five minutes into the game when Michigan's Martavious Odoms tried to field a punt with his fingertips and fumbled near midfield. Marcus Freeman recovered and set the Buckeyes up at their 49, but Pryor took a sack, had an incomplete pass and gained just two yards on a running play.
Late in the first quarter Dexter Larimore busted up the middle and sacked Michigan quarterback Nick Sheridan for a 10-yard loss, and Ohio State took over at its 41 after Michigan punted from inside the 20.
Michigan had held OSU running back Chris "Beanie" Wells to 15 yards on seven carries to that point, but on first down Wells got through the first wave of defenders and then turned on the jets on a 59-yard touchdown run. The Buckeyes led 7-0 when the first quarter ended.
"It took us some time to get rolling, but once we did things started clicking for us," OSU wide receiver Brian Hartline said. "We broke some big plays, and those sent their defense reeling back. When we get those big pops like that from the running backs, it really takes the stress off the offense."
Ohio State drove to near midfield on the first series of the second period, then Pryor found Hartline deep over the middle for a 53-yard TD pass and a 14-0 lead.
UM made it 14-7 at the half with a 14-play TD drive that had tailback Brandon Minor scoring from one yard on fourth down.
The Buckeyes started to pour it on in the third quarter, going 91 yards in two plays. Wells got them out of a deep hole by busting loose for a 42-yard gain, and Daniel "Boom" Herron went 49 yards for a TD and a 21-7 lead.
"We just kept punching at them," Pryor said.
Before the third quarter ended OSU extended the lead to 28-7 after Ray Small fielded a punt in traffic at the Buckeyes' 12-yard line, surged past the first wave of defenders, and slipped down the sideline 80 yards to the Michigan 8.
On the next play, Pryor fired a strike to Brian Robiskie for a touchdown.
As the third quarter neared its close, Pryor scrambled away from the Michigan rush and found sophomore Dane Sanzenbacher on a 35-yard pass play to move deep into Michigan territory.
Herron picked up a 19-yard gain to the 2-yard line, and scored two plays later in the first minute of the final period for a 35-7 advantage. Michigan's Boubacar Cissoko fumbled the ensuing kickoff, and Shaun Lane recovered for the Buckeyes at the Michigan 22.
Senior QB Todd Boeckman entered the game and hit Hartline with an 18-yard TD pass to finish the scoring.
"You never expect to win that way, by that much," said Ohio State kicker Ryan Pretorius, who was perfect on six extra-point kicks. "This is the greatest rivalry in the world for a reason, and they came at us with guns blazing.
"Eventually, our guys made too many big plays and we prevailed, and the day produced another great win over Michigan, and another great memory for this group of seniors."
Contact Matt Markey at:email@example.com