Steve, Craig, Tim, and Steve B welcome you to The Wolverine Den! For a preview of the next game, see below. For a look back (and to see the incriminating pictures), choose a game on the Last Week menu. If you plan on attending a tailgate at The Den for the first time, see the blog menu for Den Law and the house rules to many of the usual tailgate "activities". Click on Buy Gear for TWD shirt! See you on Saturday.
This Week at The Wolverine Den
Michigan at Ohio State
November 24, 2018 - 12:00 p.m. ET
32 years ago, a young, brash Jim Harbaugh guaranteed victory over Ohio State for Michigan to win the Big Ten Championship and earn the trip to the Rose Bowl. The greatest rivalry in sports resumes on Saturday as Michigan and Ohio State meet for the 115th time. During this week’s Monday press conference, reporters asked Michigan running back Karan Higdon if he had a similar guarantee for this year’s game. Higdon paused and then backed his teammates and coaches by offering that same guarantee. 32 years ago, Harbaugh made good on that guarantee with a 26-24 win (after trailing at halftime 14-3). Can Higdon do the same? 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 49 times, with Michigan winning 21, Ohio State winning 25 and two games that ended in a tie (plus a vacated win by OSU in 2010). The Big Ten Championship was on the line in 37 of those 49 games. The teams have traded dominance in the recent past. OSU has won 13 of the last 14 games while Michigan won 11 of the previous 15 games (with one tie). This is indeed a great rivalry.
This year’s version of “The Game” is again for the Big Ten East Division Championship. The winner plays next week against Northwestern and will have a very real chance at making the College Football Playoff. The loser will probably go to the Rose Bowl. Both teams are 10-1 on the season with Michigan ranked 4th and Ohio State ranked 10th. Michigan has the #1 defense in the nation and Ohio State has one of the best offenses in the country.
The Wolverine Den Trivia
Karan Higdon has 8 games this year over 100 yards rushing. The Michigan record for a season is 10 games over 100 yards. Who holds that record?
Ohio State’s offense has historically been a read option attack under Urban Meyer. But this year’s QB is Dwayne Haskins – a pocket passer. Haskins has completed 69.3% of his throws for 335 yards per game and 36 TDs – all Ohio State records. His receiving tandem of Parris Campbell and KJ Hill have combined for 1463 yards and 18 TDs this year. While the rushing attack has slipped, the running backs – JK Dobbins and Mike Weber - have combined for 1626 yards on the season. The Buckeyes average 542 yards per game, which leads the Big Ten. This will be the biggest test for the nation’s #1 defense.
On defense, Ohio State has allowed over 30 points in four games this year, including 49 points to Purdue and 51 last week to Maryland. They have given up nearly 400 yards per game. They are led by LB Malik Harrison and S Jordan Fuller. Joey Bosa, the likely #1 overall pick in next year’s NFL draft, was injured earlier in the season and decided to focus on the draft rather than return to the Buckeyes.
For Michigan to win, the strength of the Michigan team, the defense, will need to stop the Buckeyes while the Wolverine offense will need to control the ball and score in the red zone. The Michigan offense has steadily improved this year and will be able to move the ball against this sputtering Ohio State defense. Many are predicting a high scoring affair (the over/under is 56½) but this looks more to me like a game of field position and turnovers. This plays right into the hands of the Wolverines since the only way Ohio State wins is to try and outscore us – and that Michigan defense will have no part of a shootout. As is often the case in this game, you will see plays and formations that have not been run all season but have been saved for this game.
ESPN’s GameDay will be at the game – the 3rd time this year that GameDay has visited the Michigan game. Did you know that Kirk Herbstreit was 0-3-1 against Michigan while Desmond Howard was 3-0 against Ohio State?
Michigan leads the all-time series 58-49-6.
The Wolverines are a 4 point road favorite – the first time that Ohio State has not been favored in 51 games – and the first time Michigan has been favored at Ohio Stadium since 2004 where the Wolverines have not won since 2000. Time is up on that stat. Higdon’s guarantee will be fulfilled.
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 Plays and 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.