Ohio State and Michigan have a chance to add more lore to the rivalry

ANN ARBOR, Mich. (AP) — The highly anticipated game between No. 2 Ohio State and No. 3 Michigan with a lot at stake is almost here.

The Buckeyes and Wolverines will play for the Big Ten East title and a berth in the conference championship game, where one of them will be heavy favorite and a win away from reaching the college football playoffs.

If The Game goes as planned on Saturday in the Horseshoe, it will join a long list of memorable moments in a series that dates back to 1897.

Here’s a look back in chronological order at some of the best games in one of sports’ biggest rivalries over the past 50-plus years, according to AP Sports Writer Larry Lage.


In Bo Schembechler’s first practice game against Woody Hayes, the Michigan No. 12 beat the top-ranked Buckeyes 24-12 at home. Hayes lamented the defeat, saying the Schembechler-led Wolverines had beaten the best team he had ever had. The game was the start of what became known as the “Ten Year War”, with Bo defeating his mentor five times, losing four games and ending a famous game in a tie.


No. 1 Ohio State and No. 4 Michigan, both undefeated, fought in an instant classic for a 10-10 tie with enough drama to be the subject of a documentary, “Tiebreaker ”. The Wolverines looked like the better team that afternoon, but kicker Mike Lantry missed two field goals in the final two minutes. Big Ten athletic directors picked the Buckeyes, not Michigan — perhaps because quarterback Dennis Franklin was injured — to represent the Big Ten in the Rose Bowl at a time when the conference was only allowing only one team to be in a bowl. The Big Ten would later decide whether to allow more than one school to participate in the playoffs.


Ohio State fired coach Earle Bruce days before the game after a three-game losing streak dropped his team to 5-4-1. The unranked Buckeyes, wearing white headbands with Bruce’s name written on them, beat the unranked Wolverines 23-20 to drop them to 7-4. Bruce was 81-26-1 overall, including 5-4 against Michigan, but Ohio State let him go and brought John Cooper to campus in a move many Buckeyes would regret because he had gone 2-10-1 in The Game.


The game wasn’t closed that year as Michigan’s No. 4 routed Ohio State’s No. 18 31-3, but it produced a fan-favorite memory at the north of the state line and a nightmare for those in the south. Ohio native Desmond Howard returned a punt 93 yards for a touchdown and struck a famous pose from the statue of the Heisman Trophy he later won.


Like Howard, Charles Woodson crossed the border from Ohio to play for the Wolverines and ended up winning a Heisman Trophy in part because of a defining moment in The Game. Woodson returned a 78-yard punt for a score, sprinting to the same sideline — Ohio State’s — and into the same end zone that Howard did to help Michigan’s No. 1 beat No. 4 Ohio State 20-14 en route to a national championship.


Maurice Clarett, playing in The Game for the only time, helped the Ohio State No. 2 overtake the 12th-ranked Wolverines 14-9 en route to a national title. In the final game, Will Allen sealed the victory for the Buckeyes by intercepting John Navarre’s pass just outside the goal line. It was one of many victories in the rivalry for Ohio State coach Jim Tressel, who was 9-1 against the Wolverines before resigning in 2011 amid violations of the NCAA following a tattoo parlor scandal.


In Game 100 of the series, Michigan’s No. 5 beat Ohio State’s No. 4 35-21 at the end of a dominant run that seems like a distant memory. The Wolverines were 18-9-1 from 1976 to 2003 under Schembechler, Gary Moeller and Lloyd Carr.


A day after Schembechler’s death, The Game featured the highest-ranked teams in the country. No. 1 Ohio State beat No. 2 Michigan 42-39, building a 28-14 halftime lead and holding off the Wolverines after shooting within four points twice in the second half . Ohio State cut its lead to 11 with 5:38 remaining in an entertaining contest that wasn’t nearly as close as the final score.


No. 3 Ohio State held off the unranked Wolverines 42-41 when Tyvis Powell intercepted Devin Gardner’s 2-point conversion pass with 32 seconds left after Michigan coach Brady Hoke, a Ohioien, chose to go for the win instead of trying his luck in overtime. . Hoke disliked Ohio State so much that he didn’t say “state” when he mentioned school and didn’t remember wearing red.


The No. 2 Buckeyes beat No. 3 Michigan 30-27 in double overtime after barely converting a fourth and a pivot that likely still bothers coach Jim Harbaugh.

With the ball on Michigan 16, then-Ohio State coach Urban Meyer decided not to attempt a tying goal with a kicker who had already missed two courts in regulation time. JT Barrett kept the pigskin and ran into the back of his blocker, AJ Alexander, but the disputed spot stood after a video review. Ohio State quickly scored the game-winning touchdown.

“It wasn’t a first down,” Harbaugh said after the game. “I am bitterly disappointed with the refereeing today.”


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