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This Week at The Wolverine Den
Ohio @ Michigan
November 30, 2013 - 12 noon ET
Michigan vs. Ohio State is the greatest rivalry in sports. It’s a rivalry borne on the usual stakes of the game and an underlying respect. While the fans of the respective teams can elevate this rivalry to disturbing heights, the players are usually respectful of the other team. It is always a hard-fought game, but rarely do you see flagrant fouls or misconduct on the field. Don’t get me wrong, they “don’t give a damn about the whole state of Michigan” and “O-how-I-hate-Ohio-State.”
The teams have played on the last day of the Big Ten season ever since 1935 and 43 of those games have decided the Big Ten Championship.
Manhattan Chicken Chowder
Freezer Clean Out!
The series is filled with upsets and ruined seasons. Ohio beat undefeated Michigan teams in 1970, 1972, 1974, 1975 and 2006. Michigan beat undefeated Ohio teams in 1969, 1993, 1995, and 1996. Since the start of the Bo era, the series is tied 21-21-2. Ohio has won 10 of the last 12 while Michigan was 10-2-1 in the preceding period.
Ohio has recovered from the scandal of the Tressel-Pryor-Clarett era. They now have Urban Meyer and have not lost since he became their coach at the start of the 2012 season. The Buckeyes have clinched the Leaders Division in the Big Ten and will play Michigan State in the Big Ten Championship game next week. Should Alabama or Florida State stumble, Ohio could be in the BCS National Championship game.
But first, they have to beat Michigan.
The Wolverines come into the game having lost 3 of their last 4 games. The Michigan offense is struggling while the defense has been asked to shoulder the burden. It has been a season of promise that has turned into disappointment. But Michigan has come into the final game of the season with similar accomplishments and responded in “The Game.” The 1993 Michigan team was 6-4 headed into the Ohio game. That team dominated the undefeated Buckeyes 28-0. The 1995 Michigan team came into the game having lost 2 of their final 3 games, yet they turned back the undefeated Buckeyes 31-23. Again in 1996, Michigan had lost 2 straight before beating undefeated Ohio 13-9 in Columbus.
The Ohio offense is primarily a running attack that uses some play action and a mid-level passing game. The Buckeyes lead the Big Ten (5th nationally) with 315 rushing yards per game. Carlos Hyde has rushed for over 1000 yards with 13 TDs, even though he was suspended for three games. But the offense really revolves around Braxton Miller. Miller leads the Big Ten in total offense (Devin Gardner is 2nd) and in pass efficiency. He is elusive and extends plays with his feet. Ohio is 3rd in the nation in scoring, averaging 48.7 points per game.
The Wolverine Den Trivia
Who was the last Michigan player to be undefeated for his career against Ohio?
The Buckeye defense revolves around linebacker Ryan Shazier. He leads the Big Ten in tackles, tackles-for-loss and forced fumbles and is a strong candidate for the conference’s defensive player of the year. DE Noah Spence leads a young defensive line. The secondary features Bradley Roby and C.J. Barnett. The Buckeye defense has given up 30 or more points three times this year but still ranks 12th in the nation in Total Defense. Ohio ranks 2nd in the nation in sacks with 36 while Michigan ranks 110th in sacks allowed – not a good combination.
It is Senior Day in Ann Arbor. Those Michigan Men that are playing their last game in the Big House are: Jeremy Gallon, Brendan Gibbons, Cam Gordon, Thomas Gordon, Jareth Glanda, Erik Gunderson, Taylor Lewan, Jor Reynolds, Michael Schofield, Fitzgerald Toussaint, Quinton Washington, Courtney Avery, Jibreel Black, Drew Dileo, Dylan Esterline, Jeremy Jackson and Kristian Mateus.
On paper, it looks like an impossible task Ohio has won 23 straight games and seemingly have every advantage. But don’t count out the Wolverines. This team has underperformed in 2013. But they have pointed to this game as the most important game on the schedule. In rivalry games, especially this rivalry, it is a one-game season. Michigan will play their best game of the year on Saturday.
Michigan leads the all-time series 58-45-6.
The Wolverines are a 14˝ 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 Players & Great Plays
- 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 1987
- 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