The Michigan Ultras stormed the field Sunday night after Michigan eked out a final-minute overtime victory over Ohio State.
Freshman defender Jack Brown launched a 60-yard free kick into the net through the shielded hands of Ohio State goalie Alex Ivanov to secure a 3-2 victory for the Wolverines.
After a similar heartbreaking loss in Columbus last year, Michigan (1-1 Big Ten, 3-5 overall) managed to get some revenge on the Buckeyes (0-2, 4-6-1), as both squads were still searching for their first conference win and hoping to move a step closer to the .500 mark.
Just like any other rivalry game between these two schools, the match inevitably started as a physical battle with hard fouls and frequent banter in the first 15 minutes.
Neither side was able to generate many quality scoring chances, as the teams constantly swapped possession throughout the first half. The lack of opportunities didn’t seem to faze the Wolverines, though.
“Sometimes you have to feel it out,” said Michigan coach Chaka Daley. “I think it was the nerves. In a rivalry game, everyone is so excited.”
Finally, in the 34th minute Michigan junior midfielder Ezekiel Harris found the back of the net with a powerful header off a corner kick from junior midfielder Fabio Pereira, for his first goal of the season.
“Both teams tried to settle in and once we finally did break through, I thought it was a good time for the goal,” Daley said.
Five minutes later, the Buckeyes had a set play of their own as senior Austin McAnena lined up behind the ball. His cross into Michigan’s 18-yard box found the foot of senior Chris Hegngi, who struck it home for the equalizing goal.
The half finished tied at one apiece, as the Buckeyes regained momentum.
But the Wolverines came out strong to start the second half, controlling possession in the offensive half and constructing several scoring opportunities.
“I just told them to stay the course,” Daley said. “It’s a major game. Everyone is excited and we had so much energy the entire game.”
In the 60th minute, Michigan’s effort to begin the second half fell short, as the Wolverines suffered an own goal as Harris accidentally kicked the ball in his own net and put the Buckeyes in front.
“On a long, precise throw in, you have to make sure that they don’t win it,” Daley said. “We won it but unfortunately it went off our guy and into the net.”
Directly off the ensuing kickoff, Michigan responded. Off a rebound inside the box, Pereira was there to rifle his team’s second goal into the bottom left corner of the net.
“We change the game after we get scored on,” Pereira said. “We can’t just go down on ourselves. I think the quick response was why we stuck with the game.”
The Wolverines and the Buckeyes exchanged fouls and yellow cards the rest of the half, but neither side had many chances.
Michigan controlled the final 20 minutes of the game, leading up to one of the crazier finishes in recent memory.
With less than a minute remaining in the second overtime period, Brown launched a ball toward the net. It went in, right through Ivanov’s hands.
It was just like last year, but the Wolverines were on the winning side of this extra time thriller. Brown found it difficult to explain the emotions surrounding the victory and his first-career goal.
“At least in my sports career this is probably the greatest feeling ever,” Brown said. “It can definitely turn our season around to come back and win like that.”
Correction appended: A previous version of this article incorrectly named freshman defender Jack Brown .