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This Week at The Wolverine Den
Ohio State @ Michigan
November 28, 2015 - 12:00 p.m. ET
In 1969, Bo Schembechler’s first year as the Michigan head coach, Ohio State came into the final game of the season riding a 22 game winning streak. The Buckeyes had won the National Championship the year before Bo’s arrival in Ann Arbor and were ranked #1. Michigan beat the Buckeyes that year 24-12 and marked the revitalization of the rivalry. This year, Jim Harbaugh is hired as the Michigan head coach and the defending National Champions are Ohio State. They had a 26-game winning streak stopped last week (but you see the parallels). This is the greatest rivalry in sports because the game has had such high stakes. It has been the final game of the season since 1935 and has decided the Big Ten Champion in 43 of those games.
The series is filled with upsets and ruined seasons. Ohio State beat undefeated Michigan teams in 1970, 1972, 1974, 1975 and 2006. Michigan beat undefeated Ohio St teams in 1969, 1993, 1995, and 1996. Since 1976, the series is tied 19-19-1. Since 1921, the series is tied 45-45-4. Ohio State has won 10 of the last 12 games while Michigan was 10-2-1 prior to that.
TWD Chili (TWD Staff)
Chicken Chili (Steve B.)
Other Chili (NEED)
Corn Bread (TWD Staff)
Salad Verte Dijon (Catherine)
Snacks (TWD Staff)
7-Layer Dip (Scott/Amy)
Pizza Bread (Scott/Amy)
Burgers/Hot Dogs (TWD Staff)
The 2015 Buckeyes started the season as the unanimous #1 ranked team. They returned most of their starters from last year’s National Championship team and looked to have a schedule that would put them in position to defend their title. But something happened along the way. While undefeated until this past week, the Buckeyes have truly underperformed this year. They struggled against “easy” opponents and continued with off the field issues. The quarterback controversy has affected the offense and neither has been able to make the offense like it was to end last season. JT Barrett is the starter but he is nowhere near the juggernaut of 2014. Cardale Jones is not expected to play this week and has made it clear that he will be entering the NFL draft and not returning to OSU for his senior season. At running back, Ezekiel Elliott leads the conference in rushing and had his 15-game streak of rushing for over 100 yards snapped last week. He then went on a rant after the game about how the play calling cost OSU the game. Classy. The offensive line is big and experienced. The receiving corps includes Michael Thomas, Jalin Marshall and Braxton Miller. This should be a better offense than their stats prove.
The Wolverine Den Trivia
How many consecutive Michigan vs. Ohio State games has The Wolverine Den staff attended?
The Buckeye defense has really kept the team undefeated this year (until last week). Joey Bosa is probably the top defensive player in the country. Adolphus Washington is a beast on the D line. LB Raekwon McMillan is 3rd in the BIG in tackles. Eli Apple is a rising star at corner. The Buckeyes have actually given up less points than Michigan this year (14.0 points per game compared to Michigan’s 14.9) Jalin Marshall is a dangerous punt returner. But kicker Jack Willoughby has missed all three of his attempts over 40 yards.
The Michigan – Ohio State game is always a one game season. But the rivalry is so intense because of the long history and the stakes of the outcome. This year, the winner still has a chance to play in the Big Ten Championship game, still has (an outside) chance to make the College Football Playoff, and the winner will definitely play in a major bowl game. It’s also the first year of Jim Harbaugh vs. Urban Meyer. Look for a low scoring game where the defenses are not budging. Michigan’s offense has been better in recent weeks, especially from the arm of Jake Rudock. But without a threat of a running game, the Michigan offense will be hard pressed to carry the load. OSU had 132 total yards last week against Michigan St. It’s hard to imagine that they won’t try to open it up. Forcing a turnover or big plays on special teams could be the difference. Interestingly, Michigan averages 35 less yards of offense than Ohio St and gives up 35 less yards on defense. Ohio St has been about “me”. Michigan has been around “The Team.” I think we all know who wins.
Michigan leads the all-time series 58-47-6.
The game is a pick'em.
Great Moments in Wolverines - Buckeyes History
- 1950: In the famous “Snow Bowl”, Michigan punted 24 times, OSU 21 times. Michigan won 9-3 on a blocked punt returned for a TD.
- 1969: The start of the Bo-era at Michigan that rekindled the rivalry. Michigan intercepted 6 Rex Kern passes and beat the so-called “team of the century” 24-12.
- 1971: Billy Taylor’s 21 yard run with two minutes left capped a perfect season and a 10-7 win.
- 1973: A classic battle that ended in a 10-10 tie on a controversial missed FG by Mike Lantry in the final seconds.
- 1976: Michigan shuts out the Buckeyes in Ohio Stadium. Michigan had no yards passing in the game.
- 1986: Michigan comes back from a 14-3 deficit to win 26-24 and back up Jim Harbaugh’s “guaranteed” victory.
- 1988: John Kolasar returns a kickoff in the final two minutes 59 yards, then catches the winning 41 yard touchdown on the next play to give Michigan a 34-31 victory.
- 1991: Michigan dominates OSU behind Desmond Howard’s Heisman pose.
- 1993: Michigan shuts out the Buckeyes to deny them a Rose Bowl.
- 1995: Michigan beat the undefeated OSU behind 2 interceptions from Freshman Charles Woodson and 313 yards rushing from Tshimanga Biakabutuka.
- 1996: Michigan beat the undefeated OSU (again) and denied them their first national championship since 1968.
- 1997: Michigan wins with a Woodson punt return and an Andre Weathers interception return on their way to the national championship.
- 2000: Drew Henson had his best game in a Michigan uniform with 303 yards passing and 3 TDs plus the game clinching TD on a 4th down run in the last minute of the game.
- 2003: Braylon Edwards had 131 yards receiving and 2 TDs while Chris Perry had 154 yards rushing and 2 TDs as Michigan won the 100th game in the series. It was also the largest crowd ever at 112,118 fans in the Big House – record that stood until the 2010 stadium expansion.
Great Plays - Great Players
- Howard’s and Woodson’s famous punt returns.
- Tom Curtis’ interception to seal the victory in 1969.
- Steve Smith to Triando Markray for a 67-yd TD in 1983.
- Harbaugh to John Kolasar for a 77-yd TD in 1985.
- Demetrius Brown to Greg McMurtry for a 57 yd TD and 41 yards to Kolasar in 1988.
- Biakabutuka’s 313 yards rushing in 1995.
- Leroy Hoard’s 158 and Tony Boles’ 103 yards in 1988.
- Ron Simpkins had 20 tackles in the 1977 game.
- Trent Zenkewicz had 4 sacks in the 1994 game.
- JD Carlson’s game-winning 37 yard FG to win the 1990 game.
- Jamie Morris’ 210 yards rushing in 1986.
- Anthony Carter’s 2 catches for 125 yards as a freshman in 1979.
- Julius Curry’s 50-yard interception return for a TD to put away the 2000 game.
- Braylon finished his Michigan career with three 100-yard receiving games against OSU.