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This Week at The Wolverine Den
Michigan at Ohio State
November 26, 2016 - 12:00 noon ET
The greatest rivalry in sports resumes on Saturday as Michigan and Ohio State meet for the 113th time. Michigan leads the all-time series 58-47-6. Great rivalries are created when the teams are evenly matched over time and the games decide championships. Since the start of the “Bo” era at Michigan in 1969, the two teams have played 47 times, with Michigan winning 21, Ohio State winning 23 (OSU vacated one win) and two games that ended in a tie. In those 47 games, the Big Ten Championship was on the line in 36 of those games. The teams have traded dominance in the recent past. OSU has won 13 of the last 15 games while Michigan won 11 of the previous 15 games (with one tie). This is indeed the greatest rivalry.
This year’s version of “The Game” is special. Both teams are 10-1 on the season and a win in this game will likely put the winner into the College Football Playoff. Ohio State is ranked #2. Michigan is ranked #3. Both teams have stellar defenses – Michigan leads the nation in Scoring Defense, Total Defense, 3rd Down Defense, Tackles for Loss and Passing Defense. The Wolverines surrender only 10.9 points per game. Ohio State is no slouch. They are among the top 10 in almost every defensive category.
The Wolverine Den Trivia
Michigan has already beaten Michigan State on the road this year. When was the last time Michigan beat both MSU and Ohio State on the road in the same season?
On offense, both teams are in the top 5 in scoring, averaging over 42 points per game. Ohio State is more run-oriented while Michigan has shown more balance. Even special teams are close. Ohio State has one of the nation’s best punters, while Michigan is the leader with 4 blocked punts on the season.
The game may come down to which marquee players will make the big plays. OSU’s JT Barrett is slick on the read option. RB Mike Weber is a tough runner and Curtis Samuel has lightning speed as both a runner and receiver. The Buckeyes offensive line is a little injured and that could help the Michigan D-Line control the running game. Then there is Jabrill Peppers. Michigan’s last two Heisman Trophy winners were difference-makers in the Ohio State game. Desmond Howard and Charles Woodson each returned punts for touchdowns that solidified Michigan victories. Can Peppers be that player? Everything comes out of the bag this week and don’t be surprised to see Jabrill in new formations running plays that we have not seen.
Michigan has lost its last 7 games in Ohio Stadium with the last win coming in 2000. But Jim Harbaugh knows how to win this game. He grew up understanding the importance of the rivalry and was 3-1 at Michigan against the Buckeyes. It looks like Wilton Speight will be back this week and that’s important in this game. We can win with John O’Korn, but it will take a herculean effort by the defense. With Speight, Michigan will be able to balance the offense and control the clock. OSU has struggled this year against teams that have played tough football on the line of scrimmage. This is where the game will be won – and Michigan has the players to do it. The Ohio State dominance in this series is over and Michigan will once again assume the mantle.
Michigan leads the all-time series 58-47-6
The Wolverines are a 6½ point underdog.
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
- 2011: Denard Robinson rushes for 170 yards and passes for 167 yards with 5 total TDs in the 40-34 Michigan victory
Great Games - Great Players
- Howard’s (1991) and Woodson’s (1997) 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