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Posts Tagged ‘Charles Woodson’

Back to the way it was: Ohio State-Michigan feels like it used to

Tuesday, November 20th, 2012


On November 18, 2006, Michigan and Ohio State squared off in Columbus, both undefeated. Two titans with an unrivaled history found themselves in what was dubbed by the national media “The Game of the Century.” The Big Ten title and a spot in the BCS National Championship game were at stake. The game went back and forth like a heavyweight fight, but in the end, the scoresheet went in Ohio State’s favor.

The day before, the great patriarch of Michigan football, Bo Schembechler, had passed away, and along with him metaphorically went the program. Michigan went to Pasadena on New Years Day and got thumped by USC.

Bo's passing shook the rivalry and the Michigan program

Bo’s understudy, Lloyd Carr, decided to stick around for one more year. After all, he had a senior, fourth-year starting quarterback and running back, the eventual first overall NFL Draft pick at left guard, and a talented receiving corps. Who could blame him for giving it one last go-around? But a shocking loss to Appalachian State started the season, followed by a humiliating drubbing by Oregon and the Michigan program that had spent most of the previous season looking unbeatable had now lost four straight. The program that had seemed unshakeable for over 40 years was now suddenly lost without its figurehead.

The Wolverines rebounded with eight straight wins before dropping the final two to Wisconsin and Ohio State. In Carr’s swan song, Michigan faced a heavily favored Florida squad coached by Urban Meyer who relied heavily on his star quarterback. Carr pulled out all the tricks in the bag, using an offense almost foreign to the Michigan faithful and beat Meyer’s Gators.

Carr’s retirement a year after Bo’s passing signaled the end of Michigan football as we knew it and college football’s greatest rivalry suffered along with it. Ohio State beat Michigan by a combined score of 100-24 over the three years that followed while Michigan was guided by an outsider who many felt never truly understood the importance of the rivalry.

And so it was only fitting that it would take a Bo disciple to right the ship. Brady Hoke immediately returned the program to what it was like under Bo and followed in Bo’s footsteps by beating Ohio State in his first season. It ended Ohio State’s seven game winning streak over Michigan, but the Buckeyes were going through some troubles of their own. The great tattoo scandal sent Jim Tressel packing and left the Bucks headless last season, but led the man who was on the losing end of the final game of the old Michigan era to become the new head man in Columbus.

All he has done in his rookie season is not lose a game. Despite being ineligible for the postseason, OSU is ranked fourth in the AP poll and could conceivably be crowned national champions by the writers upon season’s end. Michigan faced a much tougher non-conference schedule which eliminated any national title hopes, but still holds hopes of a Big Ten title. And that’s just the way it should be: title hopes on the line, dreams either made or dashed.

Tim Biakabutuka's record performance ruined OSU's perfect season in 1995 (Larry E. Wright)

It’s the way it was so often throughout the past few decades. Something was always on the line, and more often than not, it was that way for both teams. The season-ending battle truly was the one game season.

Six times in the past 19 matchups, at least one of the two has entered The Game undefeated. Saturday marks the seventh and Michigan will be looking to do what it has done three times since 1993: hand the Buckeyes their first loss.

In 1993, OSU entered with a 9-0-1 record, it’s only non-win a 14-14 tie at Wisconsin. Michigan was just 6-4 with losses to Notre Dame, Michigan State, Illinois, and Wisconsin. The Wolverines played spoiler with a resounding 28-0 win in what Ohio State head coach John Cooper called “by far the most embarrassing game I’ve been associated with in college football.” Tyrone Wheatley gashed the Buckeyes for 105 yards and Todd Collins played an efficient game. The defense picked off the Buckeyes four times and Michigan ended Ohio State’s 16-game unbeaten streak and hopes of an outright Big Ten title and handed the Bucks their first shutout since 1982.

Two years later, in 1995, Ohio State visited Ann Arbor with a 11-0 record and a No. 2 national ranking. Michigan was just 8-3. A Buckeye win would give them the Big Ten title and likely a national championship pending the Rose Bowl result. But yet again, Michigan played spoiler. Prior to the game, Ohio State receiver Terry Glenn mouthed off to the media that Michigan was nobody. But when the teams took to the field, Tshimanga Biakabutuka rushed for 313 yards, the most an Ohio State defense had ever given up to a single back as Michigan soared to a 31-23 victory. Once again, Cooper issued a strong statement, saying, “I don’t know if I’ve ever been as disappointed in my life as I am right now.”

Charles Woodson helped keep Michigan's perfect season intact against OSU in 1997

The following season, Michigan traveled to Columbus to face yet another unbeaten and second-ranked Ohio State squad. Michigan was 17-point underdogs and this time, Cooper kept his players from speaking to the media in order to prevent any bulletin board material. But Michigan didn’t need it. Ohio State jumped out to a 9-0 halftime lead, but wouldn’t score again. Michigan had to turn to Brian Griese due to an injury to starter Scott Dreisbach and he threw a 68-yard touchdown to Tai Streets. Kicker Remy Hamilton added a pair of field goals to give Michigan the 13-9 win. Following the game, it was Michigan cornerback Charles Woodson who did the talking, saying, “It was a great victory, to be able to look those people in the eye and say, ‘this is why I didn’t go to Ohio State’. I wanted to win at Michigan.”

In 1997, it was Michigan that carried the undefeated season into The Game. At 10-0 and ranked first in the nation, Michigan hosted the 9-1, fourth-ranked Buckeyes. The Big Ten title was on the line – either Michigan won it outright or the two shared it – and for Michigan, the national title was at stake. Michigan prevailed 20-14 on the heels of a great all-around performance by Woodson and advanced to the Rose Bowl where the Wolverines beat Washington State and captured the national title.

In 2002, Ohio State once again brought an unblemished record into the matchup. At 12-0, and ranked second, Ohio State needed a win to capture the Big Ten and advance to the BCS National Championship game. Michigan was 9-2 with losses to Notre Dame and Iowa. The Buckeyes held on, intercepting a John Navarre pass near the end zone to win 14-9 and eventually won the national title.

This Saturday, the rivalry has the ferver it did back then. Michigan needs a win and a Nebraska loss to advance to the Big Ten championship game. Ohio State needs a win to complete an undefeated season. The only thing holding the game back from receiving all of the national spotlight is the sanctions Ohio State is currently facing, keeping the Buckeyes from being able to win the Big Ten and play for the national title. But on the field, the two teams will battle it out just like the good old days and Michigan will hope to ruin Ohio State’s dream season for the fourth time in the last 20 years.

The man who has resurrected Michigan’s program with the Bo-like approach now faces off with the man who has transformed the Buckeye program. It has all the makings of a new “ten-year war” like the one Bo and Woody Hayes once fought with both programs at the top of their games. Most importantly, the game matters again. It’s back to the way it was.

National Debate: 15 years later, Michigan and Nebraska still lay claim to a championship season

Wednesday, October 24th, 2012


[Ed: This was originally published in our Michigan football season preview guide In the Huddle by Lindy's Sports. With Michigan set to visit Nebraska for the first time in over 100 years and this being the 15-year anniversary of the shared national title, I thought it would be appropriate to post for those who didn't read the preview mag. Before the season, I had the opportunity to speak with both Brady Hoke and Tom Osborne about it.]

Brian Griese led Michigan to a national title in Lloyd Carr's third season

It’s hard to believe 15 years have passed since Michigan stood atop the college football mountain and surveyed the landscape as national champions. In the 14 seasons that followed, controversy has surrounded the BCS nearly ever year, and all indications point towards some sort of playoff within the next couple of years. But for those who either have short memories or are too young to remember, the glorious season of 1997 also ended in controversy.

While Charles Woodson and Brian Griese celebrated the Associated Press title following a Rose Bowl win over Washington State, Nebraska claimed a title of its own, from the ESPN/USA Today coaches’ poll. Both teams officially share the national title from that season and both argue that their own is more deserving, but who is the rightful owner of the crown?

“That’s a great question and one that will never be answered, unfortunately,” said Brady Hoke, who was an assistant on Lloyd Carr’s staff at the time. “But at the same time, I think we had a pretty good football team that year.”

The coach on the other side of the equation, Tom Osborne, wanted a matchup between the two and was disappointed to have had to face Tennessee in the Orange Bowl.

“The team that we wanted to play was Michigan,” said Osborne. “Because of the Rose Bowl tie-up we were not able to do that, and that was unfortunate. So we went down and played Tennessee. We played the best we could and couldn’t control the votes, but we would have very much liked to have played Michigan.”

Both teams had impressive seasons and it’s hard to dream about going back in time and playing a game between the two without salivating. However, many Michigan fans believe the writers crowned the most deserving team while coaches gave the nod to Nebraska to honor retiring head coach Tom Osborne who had also won national titles in 1994 and ‘95.

This play kept Nebraska alive for a share of the title

“I could see maybe that type of sentiment if we had never won one,” said Osborne. “I don’t know that somebody would vote for a national champion because you’re retiring. Maybe somebody did, I don’t know, but since we had won some national championships recently, I would somewhat discount that thought.”

Nebraska fans argue that the Cornhuskers’ decisive 42-17 Orange Bowl victory over No. 2 Tennessee was more impressive than Michigan’s 21-16 win over Washington State, and it’s hard to dispute that fact. But if one looks back to the fateful November Saturday, dubbed “Judgment Day” by ESPN, one sees the discrepancy from the other angle. Nebraska fell from the No. 1 spot thanks to a miracle touchdown that helped the Big Red beat unranked Missouri in overtime, while Michigan captured a dominating 34-8 road win over then-No. 2 Penn State.

The win catapulted Michigan to the No. 1 spot and dropped Nebraska to fourth as Florida State and Penn State leapfrogged the ‘Huskers.

Nebraska’s miraculous win was disputed at the time because receiver Shevin Wiggins kicked the ball up into the air, keeping it alive after it had been broken up, and it fell right into the arms of a diving Matt Davidson. Critics argued that it should have been ruled an illegal kick penalty. It wasn’t and it became the symbolic play of the season for Nebraska.

“It’s just one of those things that happens,” said Osborne of the play. “If you’re going to go out and win them all in the course of a season, normally you can point to one or two or three plays that if the ball had bounced differently or somebody had picked off a pass, you wouldn’t have won.”

Michigan, meanwhile, didn’t face any controversy in rolling through its competition. Although Michigan piled up 34 points on Penn State, the Wolverines weren’t known for their offense that season. The calling card was the defense, which allowed more than 16 points just once all season, in a 28-24 win over 15th-ranked Iowa. That was Michigan’s closest game of the year, having to overcome a 21-7 halftime deficit, then score with 2:55 remaining to take the lead. Linebacker Sam Sword ended the game with a red zone interception with 31 seconds remaining.

Legendary Nebraska coach Tom Osborne discounts any notion that Nebraska was given a share of the title as a tribute to him

Against an 0-2 Notre Dame squad in Week 3, Michigan needed 14 third quarter points to grab the lead and then relied on its defense to stop the Irish despite three fourth quarter turnovers. The Wolverines won 21-14.

In the second to last weekend of the season, Michigan faced a tough trap game in Madison but won 26-16, setting up a showdown with fourth-ranked Ohio State the following week. In that game, Michigan took a 13-0 halftime lead thanks to a 37-yard reception by Charles Woodson to set up the first touchdown and then a 78-yard punt return touchdown by Woodson.

In the third quarter, Woodson picked off Ohio State quarterback Stanley Jackson in the end zone and fellow cornerback Andrew Weathers returned an interception 43 yards to give Michigan a 20-0 lead. Ohio State scored a pair of touchdowns, but Michigan’s defense held on. The performance solidified the Heisman Trophy for Woodson, which he won over Tennessee quarterback Peyton Manning, who was shut down by Nebraska in the Orange Bowl.

While Michigan’s defense was king in ’97, Nebraska relied on its offense. The Cornhuskers scored 35 or more points in 10 of 13 games and scored more than 50 five times.

Just like Michigan played a pair of close games, Nebraska had a couple of dicey moments during its run. The aforementioned overtime win over Missouri was the closest, but Nebraska also had to hold on to beat a Colorado team that finished the season with a losing record of 5-6.

Heading into the bowl games, Michigan had 69 of 70 first place votes in the AP Poll and 46 of 62 in the Coaches, a solid majority in both. Following the bowl games, Nebraska made up a few votes in the AP (51.5 to 18.5) but it was the Coaches poll that saw the biggest shift. Nebraska captured 32 of the first place votes to Michigan’s 30.

Brady Hoke was an assistant on Michigan's title-winning squad

Michigan faced six ranked teams throughout the season, four of which finished the season ranked. Nebraska played four ranked teams, and five that finished the season in the top 25. Another Michigan opponent, Michigan State, fell from the final rankings following a bowl loss to Washington, a Nebraska opponent.

The combined final record of opponents was 75-69 (Michigan) and 77-74 (Nebraska), so the difference is negligible. The Cornhuskers had an extra game due to the Big 12 Championship game.

As for common opponents, each team played Colorado and Baylor. Michigan beat Colorado 27-3 in the season opener while Nebraska held on to beat the Buffaloes 27-24. Michigan beat Baylor 38-3 while Nebraska beat the Bears 49-21.

“We felt we played a tough schedule, and Michigan felt they played a tough schedule,” said Osborne. “They won them all, we won them all. We felt we played a very difficult opponent in the bowl game. I’m sure they felt they played a very difficult opponent. We did win convincingly over a very strong Tennessee team, but votes fall where they may and I don’t have any problem one way or another.”

As you can see, determining which team is the rightful national champion is impossible without the two battling it out on the field. Unfortunately, the debate will live on and the two teams will continue the budding rivalry as Big Ten Legends division foes. And that’s just fine with Hoke who judges the success of his seasons on winning Big Ten titles.

“That’s so much out of our hands. I don’t know if there was any feeling besides we were proud that we went undefeated and went out and won the Rose Bowl.”

Around the League – Week 7

Thursday, October 27th, 2011


Michigan has a great tradition of sending players to the National Football League. While the pace has fallen off over the past few years, there are still plenty of former Wolverines in the League. Each week during the season, we will provide an update on how former Michigan Men fared that week.

Tom BradyPatriots QB

Charles Woodson celebrates one of two interceptions against the Vikings. He leads the NFL with 5 (photo by Andy King, AP)

Last game: Bye week
Season totals: 160-of-237 (67.5%) for 2,163 yards (3rd in NFL), 16 TDs (1st), 8 INTs
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Chad HenneDolphins QB

Last game: DNP – Our for season (shoulder)
Season totals: 64-of-112 (57.1%) for 868 yards, 4 TDs, 4 INTs

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LaMarr WoodleySteelers OLB
Last game: 7 tackles, 2 sacks, 2 tackles-for-loss
Season totals: 34 tackles, 7 sacks (5th in NFL), 5.5 tackles-for-loss, 2 passes defended, 1 INT
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Mario Manningham - Giants WR
Last game:  Bye week
Season totals: 18 catches for 227 yards (45.4 ypg)
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Braylon Edwards49ers WR
Last game: DNP – out for season (knee)
Season totals: 4 catches for 48 yards (24 ypg)
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Charles WoodsonPackers DB
Last game: 4 tackles, 2 INT, 3 passes defended
Season totals: 26 tackles, 5 INT (1st in NFL), 7 passes defended, 1 fumble recovery, 1 TD
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Steve BreastonChiefs WR
Last game: 5 catches for 64 yards
Season totals: 19 catches for 293 yards (48.8 ypg), 2 TDs

The Rams lost 34-7 to the Cowboys, but James Hall sacked Tony Romo (photo by Brandon Wade, AP)

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Jason Avant - Eagles WR

Last game: Bye week
Season totals: 26 catches for 338 yards (56.3 ypg)
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Tim JamisonTexans DE

Last game: Did not record a stat
Season totals: 5 tackles, 1 pass defended, 1 forced fumble, 1 fumble recovery
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Leon Hall Bengals DB
Last game: Bye week
Season totals: 19 tackles, 4 passes defended, 1 INT, 1 fumble recovery
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Morgan TrentBengals DB
Last game: Bye week
Season totals: 6 tackles
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David Harris - Jets LB
Last game: 3 tackles
Season totals: 36 tackles, 2 sacks, 2 tackles-for-loss, 3 passes defended, 1 INT, 1 TD
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Zoltan MeskoPatriots P
Last game: Bye week
Season totals: 18 punts for 825 yards (45.8 avg), 8 inside 20
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James HallRams DE
Last game: 3 tackles, 1 sack, 1 tackle-for-loss
Season totals: 21 tackles, 2 sacks, 2 tackle-for-loss, 1 pass defended
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Larry FooteSteelers LB
Last game: 3 tackles
Season totals: 22 tackles, 1 sack, 1 tackle-for-loss
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Jay FeelyCardinals K
Last game: 0-for-0 FGs, 2-for-2 XPs
Season totals: 4-for-7 FGs (Long 51), 14-for-14 XPs

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Alan BranchSeahawks DT
Last game: 1 tackle
Season totals: 15 tackles, 1 sack
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Adrian ArringtonSaints WR
Last game: DNP
Season totals: 1 catch for 14 yards (4.7 ypg)
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Brandon GrahamEagles DE
On PUP list with knee injury. Expected to return this week

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Ryan MundySteelers S
Last game: 1 tackle
Season totals: 13 tackles

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Prescott BurgessRavens LB
Last game: 2 tackles
Season totals: 2 tackles

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Stevie BrownColts DB
Last game: Did not record a stat
Season totals: 5 tackles

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Jeff BackusLions OT
Starter
__________________________________

Steve HutchinsonVikings OG
Starter
__________________________________

Jonathan Goodwin49ers OG
Starter
__________________________________

David BaasGiants C
Starter
__________________________________

Jake LongDolphins OT
Starter
__________________________________

Jonas MoutonChargers LB
On injured reserve
__________________________________

Stephen SchillingChargers OT
DNP (On practice squad)
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Donovan WarrenLions DB
DNP (On practice squad)
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Brandon MinorBroncos RB
DNP (On injured reserve)

Around the League – Week 5

Wednesday, October 12th, 2011


[Ed: We missed last week's Around the League, so the season totals will include that week's stats, but the "Last game" stats will just be this past weekend's stats].

Michigan has a great tradition of sending players to the National Football League. While the pace has fallen off over the past few years, there are still plenty of former Wolverines in the League. Each week during the season, we will provide an update on how former Michigan Men fared that week.

Tom BradyPatriots QB

LaMarr Woodley celebrates a sack of Matt Hasselbeck. He also had a half sack and an interception in the Steelers' 38-17 win over the Titans (photo by Justin K. Aller, Getty Images)

Last game: Completed 24-of-33 passes for 321 yards, 1 TD, 1 INT
Season totals: 133-of-196 (67.9%) for 1,874 yards (1st in NFL), 14 TDs (1st), 6 INTs
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Chad HenneDolphins QB

Last game: DNP – Our for season (shoulder)

Season totals: 64-of-112 (57.1%) for 868 yards, 4 TDs, 4 INTs
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LaMarr WoodleySteelers OLB
Last game: 5 tackles, 1.5 sacks, 2 passes defended, 1 INT
Season totals: 19 tackles, 3 sacks, 3.5 tackles-for-loss, 2 passes defended, 1 INT
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Mario Manningham - Giants WR
Last game: 5 catches for 56 yards
Season totals: 13 catches for 171 yards (42.8 ypg)
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Braylon Edwards49ers WR
Last game: DNP – out for season (knee)
Season totals: 4 catches for 48 yards (24 ypg)
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Charles WoodsonPackers DB
Last game: 4 tackles
Season totals: 18 tackles, 3 INT (T-1st), 4 passes defended, 1 fumble recovery, 1 TD
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Steve BreastonChiefs WR
Last game: 4 catches for 50 yards, 2 TDs
Season totals: 14 catches for 229 yards (45.8 ypg), 2 TDs
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Jason Avant - Eagles WR

Last game: 9 catches for 139 yards
Season totals: 23 catches for 310 yards (62 ypg)
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Tim JamisonTexans DE

Steve Breaston celebrates a touchdown. He caught his first two TDs of the season on Sunday (photo by John Sommers II, Getty Images)

Last game: DNP
Season totals: 3 tackles, 1 pass defended
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Leon Hall Bengals DB
Last game: 1 tackle
Season totals: 14 tackles, 2 passes defended, 1 fumble recovery
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Morgan TrentBengals DB
Last game: Did not record a stat
Season totals: 6 tackles
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David Harris - Jets LB
Last game: 9 tackles, 1 sack
Season totals: 31 tackles, 2 sacks, 2 tackles-for-loss, 2 passes defended, 1 INT, 1 TD
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Zoltan MeskoPatriots P
Last game: 4 punts for 205 yards (51.3 avg), 1 inside 20
Season totals: 16 punts for 729 yards (45.6 avg), 7 inside 20
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James HallRams DE
Last game: Bye week
Season totals: 12 tackles, 1 sack, 2 tackle-for-loss, 1 pass defended
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Larry FooteSteelers LB
Last game: 1 tackle
Season totals: 14 tackles, 1 sack, 1 tackle-for-loss
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Jay FeelyCardinals K
Last game: 1-for-1 FGs, 1-for-1 XPs
Season totals: 4-for-7 FGs (Long 51), 12-for-12 XPs

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Alan BranchSeahawks DT
Last game: 3 tackles, 1 sack
Season totals: 14 tackles, 1 sack
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Adrian ArringtonSaints WR
Last game: DNP
Season totals: 1 catch for 14 yards (4.7 ypg)
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Brandon GrahamEagles DE
On PUP list with knee injury. Expected to return in Week 7
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Jeff BackusLions OT
Starter
__________________________________

Steve HutchinsonVikings OG
Starter
__________________________________

Jonathan Goodwin49ers OG
Starter
__________________________________

David BaasGiants C
Starter
__________________________________

Jake LongDolphins OT
Starter
__________________________________

Jonas MoutonChargers LB
On injured reserve
__________________________________

Stephen SchillingChargers OT
DNP (On practice squad)
__________________________________

Donovan WarrenLions DB
DNP (On practice squad)
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Brandon MinorBroncos RB
DNP (On injured reserve)

Around the League – Week 2

Thursday, September 22nd, 2011


Michigan has a great tradition of sending players to the National Football League. While the pace has fallen off over the past few years, there are still plenty of former Wolverines in the League. Each week during the season, we will provide an update on how former Michigan Men fared that week.

Woodson had a monster game against Carolina, picking off two passes and recovering a fumble (Photo by Streeter Lecka, Getty Images)

Tom BradyPatriots QB
Last game: Completed 31-of-40 passes for 423 yards, 3 TDs
Season totals: 63-of-88 for 940 yards, 7 TDs, 1 INT
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Chad HenneDolphins QB
Last game: Completed 12-of-30 passes for 170 yards, 1 TD, 1 INT; Rushed 3 times for 26 yards

Season totals: 42-of-79 (53.2%) for 586 yards, 3 TDs, 2 INTs
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LaMarr WoodleySteelers OLB
Last game: 3 tackles, .5 sack, 1 tackle-for-loss
Season totals: 6 tackles, 1.5 sacks, 2 tackles-for-loss, 1 pass defended
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Mario Manningham - Giants WR
Last game: 3 catches for 56 yards
Season totals: 7 catches for 105 yards (52.5/game)
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Braylon Edwards49ers WR
Last game: 1 catch for 21 yards
Season totals: 4 catches for 48 yards (24/game)
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Charles WoodsonPackers DB
Last game: 5 tackles, 2 INT, 1 fumble recovery
Season totals: 7 tackles, 2 INT, 3 passes defended, 1 fumble recovery
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Steve BreastonChiefs WR
Last game: 1 catch for 7 yards
Season totals: 3 catches for 33 yards (16.5/game)
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Jason Avant - Eagles WR

Tom Brady leads all NFL quarterbacks with 940 passing yards through two games (photo by Jim Rogash, Getty Images)

Last game: 1 catch for 29 yards
Season totals: 4 catches for 69 yards
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Tim JamisonTexans DE
Last game: Did not record a stat
Season totals: 1 assisted tackle
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Leon Hall Bengals DB
Last game: 1 fumble recovery
Season totals: 2 tackles, 2 passes defended, 1 fumble recovery
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Morgan TrentBengals DB
Last game: Did not record a stat
Season totals: Has not recorded a stat
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David Harris - Jets LB
Last game: 4 tackles, 1 pass defended
Season totals: 11 tackles, 1 pass defended
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Zoltan MeskoPatriots P
Last game: 2 punts for 85 yards (42.5 avg), 1 inside 20
Season totals: 6 punts for 237 yards (39.5 avg), 1 touchback, 2 inside 20
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James HallRams DE
Last game: 4 tackles, 1 sack, 1 tackle-for-loss
Season totals: 6 tackles, 1 sack, 2 tackle-for-loss, 1 pass defended
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Larry FooteSteelers LB
Last game: 4 tackles, 1 sack, 1 tackle-for-loss
Season totals: 6 tackles, 1 sack, 1 tackle-for-loss
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Jay FeelyCardinals K
Last game: 0-for-0 FGs, 3-for-3 XPs
Season totals: 0-for-1 FGs, 7-for-7 XPs

Larry Foote had a solid game in helping the Steelers shut out the Seahawks (Photo by Gene J. Puskar, AP)

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Alan BranchSeahawks DT
Last game: 4 tackles
Season totals: 5 tackles
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Adrian ArringtonSaints WR
Last game: 1 catch for 14 yards
Season totals: 1 catch for 14 yards (7/game)
__________________________________

Brandon GrahamEagles DE
On PUP list with knee injury. Expected to return in Week 7
__________________________________

Jeff BackusLions OT
Starter
__________________________________

Steve HutchinsonVikings OG
Starter
__________________________________

Jonathan Goodwin49ers OG
Starter
__________________________________

David BaasGiants C
Starter
__________________________________

Jake LongDolphins OT
Starter
__________________________________

Jonas MoutonChargers LB
On injured reserve
__________________________________

Stephen SchillingChargers OT
DNP (On practice squad)
__________________________________

Donovan WarrenLions DB
DNP (On practice squad)
__________________________________

Brandon MinorBroncos RB
DNP (On injured reserve)

Around the League – Week 1

Friday, September 16th, 2011


Michigan has a great tradition of sending players to the National Football League. While the pace has fallen off over the past few years, there are still plenty of former Wolverines in the League. Each week during the season, we will provide an update on how former Michigan Men fared that week.

Tom BradyPatriots QB – Completed 32-of-48 passes for 517 yards, 4 TDs, 1 INT

Tom Brady was the main Michigan alum standout in Week 1. His 517 yards passing is a Patriots record and he combined with fellow Michigan alum Chad Henne to set an NFL record for most combined passing yards in a game

Chad HenneDolphins QB – Completed 30-of-49 passes for 416 yards, 2 TDs, 1 INT; Rushed 7 times for 59 yards, 1 TD

LaMarr WoodleySteelers OLB – 3 tackles, 1 sack, 1 tackle-for-loss, 1 PBU

Mario Manningham - Giants WR – 4 catches for 49 yards

Braylon Edwards49ers WR - 3 catches for 27 yards

Charles WoodsonPackers DB – 2 tackles, 1 PBU

Steve BreastonChiefs WR – 2 catches for 26 yards

Jason Avant - Eagles WR – 3 catches for 40 yards

Tim JamisonTexans DE – 1 assisted tackle

Leon Hall -Bengals DB – 2 tackles, 2 PBU

Morgan TrentBengals DB – Did not record a stat

David Harris - Jets LB – 7 tackles

Zoltan MeskoPatriots P - 4 punts for 152 yards (38.0 avg), 1 touchback, 1 inside 20

James HallRams DE – 2 tackles, 1 tackle-for-loss, 1 PBU

Larry FooteSteelers LB – 2 tackles

Jay FeelyCardinals K - 0-for-1 FGs, 4-for-4 XPs

Alan BranchSeahawks DT – 1 tackle

Brandon GrahamEagles DE – On PUP list with knee injury. Expected to return in Week 7

Jeff BackusLions OT - Started

Steve HutchinsonVikings OG – Started

Jonathan Goodwin – 49ers OG – Started

David BaasGiants C – Started

Jake LongDolphins OT – Started

Jonas MoutonChargers LB – DNP

Adrian ArringtonSaints WR – DNP

Stephen SchillingChargers OT – DNP (On practice squad)

Donovan WarrenLions DB – DNP (On practice squad)

Brandon MinorBroncos RB - DNP (On injured reserve)

GROWING GAINS: How I grew to hate Ohio State

Tuesday, November 23rd, 2010


One week in mid-November makes us obsess a little bit more than all the others: Ohio State week, or Buckeye week, or Hate week. Whatever you want to call it, we spend more time during the week longing for Saturday to come, more time ragging on our family, friends, and coworkers who have the unfortunate quality of being Ohio State fans, and more time telling “a Michigan fan and Ohio State fan walked into a bar…” jokes.

So I’ll spend a little more time this week writing about all things Michigan and Ohio State related. Thank goodness for Thanksgiving making this a two-day work week! I’ll publish an article every day this week, the schedule as follows:

Monday: Wisconsin recap and Ohio State preview

Tuesday: What The Game means to me

Wednesday: Why Michigan has a chance on Saturday

Thursday: What I’m thankful for this season

Friday: Michigan-Ohio State game preview

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Michigan-Ohio State week is upon us and I find myself reflecting on what it means to me. Every Michigan fan has their own stories about how they grew to love the Maize and Blue and how the rivalry was ingrained into them as a sort of religion. But while each person’s story is different, we all share a common bond: a hatred of Ohio State.

For me, it comes from having grown up in Ohio. I became a Michigan fan because my mom, class of ’81, and grandfather, class of ’51, were Michigan grads and my parents took me to the Rose Bowl in 1983 when I was a month and a half old. Of course I was too young to know what was going on, but something captured me and brought me to the good side.

My parents moved from Arizona to Ohio when I was two years old, ensuring that I would grow up surrounded by Buckeyes.

The 1995 game in which Tim Biakabatuka gashed Ohio State for 313 yard was my first UM-OSU game

As a very young kid, before I knew what the game of football was, let alone who Bo Schembechler was, my first stuffed animal was a little yellow bear which I named “Mazie.” I took the thing everywhere I went.

Becoming a Michigan fan must have been exciting for my mom, but a sad reality for my dad, an Ohio State fan from a family of Buckeyes. For his first child, a son nonetheless, to become a Michigan fan, must have been hard, but he didn’t try to push me towards the Buckeyes. Or if he did, I didn’t know it.

As long ago as I can remember, my parents took me, and eventually, my younger brother and sisters, on an annual trip to Ann Arbor. It was where my parents had met, my dad having moved there for work after college, and my mom, three years younger than he, a student at Michigan.

I remember, as young as three, spinning the cube on campus or avoiding the “M” in the Diag. As the years progressed, and the annual fall pilgrimage continued, the memories grew fonder. The dinners at The Cottage Inn, the trips to the MDen, the walks across campus, and of course, football Saturdays.

My first trip to the Big House was for the 1995 Michigan-Ohio State game. It was my dad, my grandpa, and me, and we witnessed Tim Biakabatuka run for 313 yards against a formidable Buckeye defense, leading Michigan to a 31-23 upset win. If there was any question up until that point as to whether or not I was a Michigan fan, “Touchdown” Tim removed all doubt from my then-13-year old mind.

On many of those trips to Ann Arbor, if Michigan was away for the weekend, we would venture into the Big House and walk down to the field. Those days, the gates were open and no one stopped us from throwing the football around, acting out Desmond Howard-like catches in the endzone, kicking field goals, and pretending to be a Michigan Wolverine.

I remember walking into Crisler Arena and standing in the tunnel watching the basketball team practice. One time, an older gentleman approached me and struck up a conversation. About what, I don’t recall, but what I do remember is realizing that this man was none other than Bo Schembechler, the Michigan legend who led the Wolverines for 20 years and, along with OSU coach Woody Hayes, made the rivalry what it is today.

I was there in 2001 when Ohio State ended its 14-year losing streak in the Big House

Another time, while watching basketball practice, the head coach walked over to us and in my young, star-struck awe, I mistakenly called him George Fisher. He was, of course, Steve Fisher, the coach who guided Michigan to a National Championship in 1989 and hauled in the best recruiting class in college basketball history, the Fab Five.

In addition to the yearly trips to Ann Arbor, I also went with my dad to an Ohio State road game every year. He made it one of his goals to visit every Big Ten stadium, and since I was his oldest kid, he took me along. Of course, I always wore my maize and blue, which didn’t sit well with the Buckeye fans. One year in Indiana, while walking down the steps to our seats, an adult Ohio State fan reached out and knocked my hat off. Granted, it wasn’t as bad as the Cleveland Browns fan tackling the eight-year-old Jets fan a couple weeks ago, but still, who does that to a kid? As if I needed any more reasons not to be a Buckeye, that was it.

I remember, in 1997, sitting in an Ann Arbor sports bar watching the “Judgment Day” game between Michigan and Penn State. It would all but wrap up a Rose Bowl berth and I insisted on buying a rose to clench between my teeth like Charles Woodson as we walked around campus that afternoon.

It was a great year to enter high school, with Michigan coming off a National Championship. I was one of just a handful (if that) of Michigan fans in the school, an hour west of Columbus. All of my friends were Buckeyes and they always let me know it.

My birthday is Nov. 17, so that makes the Michigan-Ohio State game that much bigger every year. I came to expect my locker getting decorated in scarlet and grey each year while I was in class. At the time, I didn’t mind because I knew that when the following Monday rolled around, I would be the one with the bragging rights once again. It was the same sort of pride that Ohio State fans must have right now.

On the morning announcements, they would blast Ohio State’s fight song or “Hang on Sloopy” each day leading up to the game, but then on the Monday after, I would persuade them to play “The Victors,” much to the dismay of 99 percent of the student body.

My freshman year of college, I found a girl who had a friend at Michigan that sold me two tickets to the 2001 Michigan-Ohio State game for $100. I took my dad and we sat in the Michigan student section and I suffered my first heartbreak in the Big House as Ohio State broke out to a 23-0 lead and Michigan lost despite a furious comeback.

In 2006, I bought tickets on Craigslist from an Ohio State fan for The Game, which was dubbed “the Game of the Century,” between No. 1 Ohio State and No. 2 Michigan. Both were undefeated and the winner was headed to the BCS National Championship. I couldn’t find just a single ticket, so I bought two, knowing that I had no one to go with. My dad wanted to watch the game at home and my Michigan friends didn’t have the money to pay for a ticket at the time.

I was right there in the student section for the 2006 "Game of the Century"

When I met the guy in a coffee shop in Columbus, I wore an Ohio State hat, the one and only time I’ll ever do that, because he was adamant that he sell the tickets to a Buckeye fan. Sucker.

I stayed with a friend on campus and we tailgated with some friends the morning of the game, but they went back to their apartment to watch the game. I was heading into the Horseshoe alone, clad in maize and blue, with seats in the OSU alumni section.

I befriended a Michigan fan on my way into the stadium, who happened to have tickets in Michigan’s student section. Once we got through the gates, he let me borrow his ticket to get me into the section so I was among friends in hostile territory. I ended up four rows from the field in the corner of the endzone.

Unfortunately, the game didn’t end well, and I was left to walk back across campus, a lone wolf in enemy clothing. By some miracle, I didn’t get hit with one of the many full cans of beer that were chucked my way from fraternity rooftops. And thanks to Buckeye drunkenness, I was able to get away from the brahs that tried to chase after me.

Each of those experiences only cemented why I’m a Michigan fan and why I dislike Ohio State. While I love my family and friends who happen to be diseased enough to be Buckeye fans, I hate the school and want nothing more than to see them lose.

This year takes on added significance for me since it’s being played over Thanksgiving weekend. I’ll be with my mom’s side of the family in Tennessee, my mom being the only one of which who is a Michigan fan. The rest are Ohio State grads. It will be my first time actually watching The Game with them and a win by the boys in blue would make for the perfect Thanksgiving.

My first child is on the way in March. It’s a girl, and I know I’ll have the same battle as my parents did to bring her up as a Michigan fan. My wife is a Notre Dame fan, so she’ll try to sabotage her fandom, but I’m thankful for my mom doing that to me, so if that’s what happens, then so be it as long as my dad doesn’t get revenge and turn her into a Buckeye.

I’m sure you have stories just like these, stories of how you became a Michigan fan and how your hatred for Ohio State grew. So while we probably don’t know each other, we’ll be family on Saturday as Michigan goes for an upset that could turn a lot of young kids into Michigan men (and women).

Go Blue!

The Top Individual Performances In the Michigan-Ohio State Rivalry

Thursday, November 19th, 2009


Michigan and Ohio State square off on Saturday for the 106th time in college football’s greatest rivalry.

*Charles Woodson's punt return against Ohio State helped Michigan secure the Big Ten title and trip to the Rose bowl, photo by Damian Strohmeyer/Sports Illustrated/Getty Images

*Charles Woodson's punt return against Ohio State helped Michigan secure the Big Ten title and trip to the Rose bowl, photo by Damian Strohmeyer/Sports Illustrated/Getty Images

Ohio State has already wrapped up at least a share of the Big Ten title and a trip to Pasadena for the Rose Bowl.

Michigan leads the all-time series 57-42-6, but enters this week’s matchup needing a win to extend its season through the holidays and take some heat off head coach Rich Rodriguez.

Will someone step up with a historic performance to lead Michigan past the 10th-ranked Buckeyes?

Or will a Buckeye deliver an all-time great showing to capture a sixth consecutive victory over Michigan and send Michigan to its second straight losing season?

There have certainly been some performances for the ages in the past 105 meetings, so we’ll take a look at the top individual performances in its storied history.

Bear in mind that this is the top performances in the Michigan-Ohio State game, not necessarily the best players on each team or the best performances for each team against another team.

This list will go position by position and take into account game implications and past history in addition to pure stats.

Make sure to read all the way through to see who is most likely have a breakout performance this Saturday.

Michigan Quarterback – Jim Harbaugh
*Jim Harbaugh

*Jim Harbaugh

Harbaugh completed 16-of-19 passes for 230 yards and three touchdowns in Michigan’s 27-17 win over Ohio State in 1985.

Ohio State had won three of the last four meetings and five of the last seven.

Michigan entered the game 8-1-1 and had just drubbed Minnesota 48-7.

Ohio State came in 8-2 and ranked 12th in the nation.

After sitting out the previous season’s matchup with an injury, Harbaugh would lead Michigan to two straight victories over the Buckeyes, earning first-team All-American honors.

Ohio State Quarterback – Troy Smith
*Troy Smith, photo taken from foxnews.com

*Troy Smith, photo taken from foxnews.com

While there have been many great quarterbacks at Ohio State, perhaps none have turned in a better performance against Michigan than Troy Smith.

In the game dubbed, “The Game of the Century,” Ohio State and Michigan ranked first and second in the nation entering the Horseshoe.

Smith proved unstoppable, completing 29-of-41 passes for 316 yards and four touchdowns in leading Ohio State to the 42-39 victory.

The win sent Ohio State to the BCS National Championship game against Florida, while Michigan was relegated to the Rose Bowl against USC.

Additionally, the performance wrapped up the Heisman Trophy for Smith.

Michigan Running Back – Tshimanga Biakabutuka
*Tim Biakabutuka, photo taken from thewolverineblog.com

*Tim Biakabutuka, photo taken from thewolverineblog.com

Tshimanga Biakabutuka, nicknamed “Touchdown Tim,” recorded one of the best all-time performances in the rivalry in 1995.

Ohio State entered the meeting undefeated and ranked No. 2 in the nation.

Michigan came in 18th with a record of 8-3, hoping to knock off the Buckeyes.

Biakabutuka gashed the Ohio State defense for 313 yards on 37 attempts, out-doing eventual Heisman Trophy winner Eddie George and leading Michigan to the 31-23 upset.

His 313 yards are the second most in a single game in Michigan history (behind Ron Johnson’s 347 yards against Wisconsin in 1968) and helped Biakabutuka secure the school’s single season rushing record.

He went on to become the eighth overall pick in the 2006 NFL Draft and spent six seasons with the Carolina Panthers.

Ohio State Running Back – Bob Ferguson
*Bob Ferguson

*Bob Ferguson

In 1961, Ferguson rushed for 151 yards and four touchdowns to lead Ohio State to a 50-20 win over Michigan, and helping Ohio State win the national championship.

The win was Ohio State’s 400th victory all-time and the second of four straight over Michigan.

Ferguson finished second in the Heisman Trophy race that season, behind Syracuse running back Ernie Davis.

Michigan Halfback – Tom Harmon
*Tom Harmon

*Tom Harmon

Michigan’s first Heisman Trophy winner, Tom Harmon, produced an all-around performance for the ages against Ohio State in 1940.

“Old 98,” as he is known, rushed for 139 yards and two touchdowns, completed 11-of-12 passes for 151 yards and two touchdowns, kicked four extra points, intercepted three passes (and ran one back for a touchdown), and booted three punts for an average of 50 yards per punt.

The performance led Michigan to a 40-0 drubbing of Ohio State.

After his playing career, he became a pilot in the Army Air Corps, where he earned a Purple Heart and a Silver Star.

Ohio State Fullback – Jim Otis
*Jim Otis

*Jim Otis

Jim Otis is widely regarded as one of the top 50 Ohio State players of all time.

In 1968, for what some regard as the greatest team of all time, Otis led Ohio State to a 50-14 win over Michigan. He rushed 34 times for 143 yards and four touchdowns in the game, the final of which set up a two-point attempt. After the game, when asked why, Ohio State head coach Woody Hayes replied, “Because I couldn’t go for three.”

Otis’ four touchdowns gave him the school’s single-season rushing touchdowns record of 16, which has since been eclipsed.

Michigan Wide Receiver – Marquise Walker
*Marquise Walker

*Marquise Walker

In 2001, Marquise Walker had the best receiving day for a Michigan receiver against Ohio State.

Although Ohio State won the game 26-20 in Jim Tressell’s first season as head coach, Walker was unstoppable, catching 15 passes for 160 yards and two touchdowns.

His 15 receptions were enough to pass Anthony Carter on the career receptions list, although that record would be broken by Braylon Edwards in 2004.

The performance helped Walker earn first-team All-America honors in his senior season and was John Gruden’s first draft pick at the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2002.

Ohio State Wide Receiver -David Boston
*David Boston

*David Boston

David Boston is one of the most prolific receivers in Ohio State history, but turned in a fantastic performance in 1998.

A year after being humbled by Michigan cornerback Charles Woodson, Boston got revenge with 10 catches for 217 yards and two touchdowns.

Boston responded after the game saying, “There were some things said last year after the game, that one of their players was chastising me or something. I didn’t really understand the message there. But today, I just went out and proved that I’m human.”

His performance led Ohio State to a 31-16 win over the defending National Champions.

Boston was drafted eighth overall by the Arizona Cardinals in the 1999 NFL Draft and spent eight seasons in the NFL.

Michigan Tight End – Eric Kattus
*Eric Kattus

*Eric Kattus

While Michigan has never really had a great performance by a tight end against Ohio State, Eric Kattus claims the spot.

In 1985, he helped Jim Harbaugh beat Ohio State 27-17 after dropping three of the past four and five of the past seven to the Buckeyes.

Kattus, a Cincinnati, Ohio native, caught six passes for 83 yards and a touchdown in the game, one of the best performances of his career.

Ohio State Tight End -Bruce Janowski
*Bruce Jankowski, photo by Sports Illustrated

*Bruce Jankowski, photo by Sports Illustrated

A year after Michigan upset undefeated Ohio State in Bo Schembechler’s first season at Michigan, Ohio State was looking for revenge.

Both teams entered the match-up undefeated, but Ohio State tight end Bruce Jankowski helped that cause. His 26-yard touchdown pass gave Ohio State the lead, and it never trailed, beating Michigan 20-9.

Michigan Defensive Lineman – Glen Steele
*Glen Steele

*Glen Steele

Defensive end Glen Steele was the leader of Michigan’s front seven, helping the Wolverines win the National Championship in 1997.

Against Ohio State that year, Steele recorded five tackles (three for loss), two sacks, and a fumble recovery.

The constant pressure on Ohio State quarterbacks Stanley Jackson and Joe Germaine helped Michigan win the game 20-14, and secure a spot in the Rose Bowl against Washington State.

Steele earned first-team All-America honors that season and played six seasons in the NFL for the Cincinnati Benglas. His 24 career sacks rank third on Michigan’s career list.

Ohio State Defensive Lineman -Vernon Gholston
*Vernon Gholston

*Vernon Gholston

Vernon Gholston terrorized Michigan quarterback Chad Henne in 2007, racking up five tackles (four for loss) and three sacks.

Michigan’s offensive line, including the first overall pick in the 2008 NFL Draft, Jake Long, couldn’t stop Gholston as he was always in the backfield.

His four tackles for loss are an Ohio State single game record.

Ohio State won the game 14-3, earning another trip to the BCS National Championship game.

Gholston now plays for the New York Jets.

Michigan Linebacker – Ron Simpkins
*Ron Simpkins

*Ron Simpkins

Ron Simpkins recorded 20 total tackles (15 solo) in Michigan’s 14-6 win over No. 4 Ohio State in 1977 to help the Wolverines capture the Big Ten title.

Just a sophomore at the time, Simpkins recorded the third-most tackles in a single game in Michigan history at the time.

Simpkins would finish his career as Michigan’s all-time leading tackler, with 516, and played seven seasons in the NFL with the Cincinnati Bengals.

Ohio State Linebacker -Chris Spielman
*Chris Spielman

*Chris Spielman

One of the greatest linebackers ever to play for Ohio State, Chris Spielman was a one man wrecking crew in 1986.

Although Michigan won the game 26-24, it was at the fault of Spielman, who recorded a school record 29 tackles.

Ohio State entered the contest 7-0 and ranked seventh in the nation. Michigan came in 6-1, needing a win to share the Big Ten title.

Ohio State missed a field goal with 1:08 to play to spoil Spielman’s career day.

Spielman went on to enjoy 12 seasons in the NFL with the Detroit Lions, Buffalo Bills, and Cleveland Browns.

Michigan Defensive Back – Charles Woodson
*Charles Woodson

*Charles Woodson, photo by Damian Strohmeyer/Sports Illustrated/Getty Images

Charles Woodson became the first primarily defensive player to win the Heisman Trophy in 1997, and his performance in the Ohio State game that year helped cement the trophy over Tennessee quarterback Peyton Manning.

Woodson intercepted a pass, caught a 37-yard pass to set up Michigan’s only offensive touchdown of the game, and returned a punt 78 yards for a touchdown.

He also held Ohio State receiver David Boston in check, allowing just three passes for 68 yards and a touchdown.

Woodson also picked off two passes against No. 2 Ohio State in his freshman season in 1995.

He became the fourth overall pick of the Oakland Raiders in 1998 and has 41 career interceptions (seven returned for touchdowns).

Ohio State Defensive Back – Mike Doss
*Mike Doss, photo taken from ncaafootball.com

*Mike Doss, photo taken from ncaafootball.com

Mike Doss proved pivotal in Ohio State’s 26-20 win over Michigan in 2001 during Jim Tressel’s first season as head coach.

Doss picked off a pass and ran it 36 yards to the Michigan four to set up Ohio State’s first touchdown.

In the fourth quarter, Doss intercepted another John Navarre pass to set up a field goal.

The interceptions were critical in helping Ohio State win its first game in Ann Arbor in 14 years.

Michigan Defensive Back – Barry Pierson
*Barry Pierson

*Barry Pierson

Michigan defensive back Barry Pearson helped Michigan capture one of the biggest upsets of all time in the Michigan-Ohio State rivalry.

In Bo Schembechler’s first season as Michigan head coach, the Wolverines entered the 1969 meeting ranked 12th in the nation.

Ohio State came in undefeated and ranked first in the nation.

Pierson picked off three passes in the game and also returned a punt 60 yards to the Ohio State three-yard line to set up a Michigan touchdown.

His performance helped Michigan upset what many believe to be the greatest college football team of all time.

Ohio State Defensive Back – Chic Harley
*Chic Harley

*Chic Harley

In 1919 Chic Harley returned from World War I, where he served as an Army pilot, to pick off four passes in Ohio State’s 13-3 win over Michigan.

It was Ohio State’s first ever win over the Wolverines, and Harley’s four picks (still a school single game record) helped lead the way.

He earned first-team All-America honors that season and also played halfback, punter, and kicker.

His number 47 was retired by Ohio State five years ago.

Michigan Punter – Chuck Ortmann
*Chuck Ortmann

*Chuck Ortmann

Chuck Ortmann may not have been the best punter to ever wear the maize and blue, but he holds Michigan’s career single game punting records thanks to Mother Nature.

The 1950 “Snow Bowl” between Michigan and Ohio State was played in the worst blizzard in 37 years to hit Columbus.

Ortmann punted 24 times for 723 yards, helping Michigan win the game 9-3.

Ohio State Punter – Vic Janowicz
*Vic Janowicz

*Vic Janowicz

Ohio State punter Vic Janowicz also gets credit for Ohio State’s career single-game punting records thanks to the blizzard of 1950.

In the “Snow Bowl,” Janowicz booted 21 punts for 685 yards and scored Ohio State’s only three points of the game on a field goal.

After the game, Janowicz said, “It was like a nightmare. My hands were numb and blue. I had no feeling in them and I don’t know how I hung onto the ball. It was terrible. You knew what you wanted to do, but you couldn’t do it.”

In addition to punter, Janowicz served as Ohio State’s halfback, kicker, and safety, and won the Heisman Trophy that season.

Michigan Kicker – J.D. Carlson
*J.D. Carlson

*J.D. Carlson

There have been many great Michigan-Ohio State games, but only one has ended as a result of a Michigan field goal.

In 1990, 15th-ranked Michigan needed a win over 19th-ranked Ohio State to secure a share of the Big Ten championship.

Late in the game, tied 13-13, Michigan kicker J.D. Carlson missed a short field goal attempt that would have put Michigan ahead.

But after getting the ball back, Carlson got a chance for redemption, and nailed it with no time remaining to give Michigan a 16-13 win.

Bouncing back from the miss to win the game changed Carlson’s life.

“I will forever be prepared for the rest of my life because I have experienced some of the biggest swings in emotion in a short period of time,” Carlson said of the game. “Not much fazes me now.”

Carlson holds Michigan’s single game field goal record, as well as the highest career PAT percentage record.

Ohio State Kicker – Tom Klaban
*No pictures of Tom Klaban were available

*No pictures of Tom Klaban were available

In 1974, Michigan and Ohio State entered the annual showdown ranked third and fourth in the nation, respectively.

The game proved to be all about the kickers as Michigan kicker Mike Lantry missed a field goal that would have won the game as time expired, but it was Ohio State kicker Tom Klaban who stole the show.

Klaban booted four field goals to account for all of Ohio State’s points in the 12-10 victory, the only time Ohio State has beaten Michigan without scoring a touchdown. The win sent Ohio State to a Rose Bowl battle with USC.

Most Likely Michigan Breakout Performer
*Brandon Graham, photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

*Brandon Graham, photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

For Michigan to win the game on Saturday, it will need a great performance from its defense. The defense has been much of the reason for Michigan’s second half collapse this season.

One player who has stood out all season is defensive end Brandon Graham. The senior had perhaps the best game of his career last week against Wisconsin, recording 11 tackles (five for loss), two sacks, and a forced fumble.

Last season, Graham had three tackles (two for loss) and a sack against Ohio State.

If Michigan wins on Saturday, expect a big day from Graham in the Ohio State backfield.

Other possible breakout performers: Michigan running backs Brandon Minor or Carlos Brown, Michigan receiver Roy Roundtree

Most Likely Ohio State Breakout Performer
*Terrelle Pryor, photo taken from uweekly.com

*Terrelle Pryor, photo taken from uweekly.com

Every great quarterback has a career defining game that cements his spot in team lore. For Ohio State sophomore quarterback Terrelle Pryor, this Saturday could be that game.

Pryor received much criticism from Buckeye fans early in the season after losses to USC and Purdue, but has played much better in the second half.

A great showing against Michigan, who hasn’t shown it can stop a mobile quarterback, or anybody for that matter, could sell even the most incredulous of Buckeye fans on his abilities.

If Pryor makes the same mistakes he did against Purdue, Michigan has a shot, but if Pryor uses his legs effectively and makes the throws he needs to, he has a great shot at being 2-0 against Michigan.

Other possible breakout performers: Ohio State receiver DeVier Posey, defensive back Kurt Coleman