Game of the Year: Michigan vs. Ohio State
Posted by Mike on November 18, 2006
Today is a historic day on college football. Never before in this rivalry has been #1 vs. #2. Who am I rooting for? My cousin is an Ohio State fan. GO BLUE!
3:30 pm: The Buckeye band just performed Script Ohio in Columbus. I have to admit, their band is good.
3:34 pm: This place got crowded in a hurry in anticipation of this game. Even in Chapel Hill ther are strong constituents of each scholl, most notably this 60-year old guy in a Michigan shirt who’s smoking a cigar right next to me. If he puffs it too long, I might have to change my allegiance.
3:40 pm: There are many reasons I want Michigan to win. For a shot at the National Championship. For Bo. To rub it in my cousin’s face. But most of all, I want Michigan to win because of Maurice Clarett. Clarett was a promising young running back, perhaps the best Ohio State’s ever had. If not for him, they would not have won the 2002 Championship. Then he is under NCAA investigation for accepting gifts from boosters (he was in dire financial straits). Godd coaches would have defended him. I know Bobby Bowden, JoePa and Pete Carroll have always defended their players if they get in trouble. But Jim Tressel abandoned Clarett in his hour of need. Tressel ruined a young man’s life, and I can never forgive him for that.
3:45 pm: Michigan starts out well. QB Chad Henne completes a long pass to Mario Manningham.
3;49 pm: Mike Hart is a powerful runner. He broke two arm tackles for a nine yard gain. Impressive.
Henne completes another long pass, to the OSU 1.
3:51 pm: Touchdown! Mike Hart waltzes into the end zone. 7-0. Michigan.
3:55 pm: Michigan was impressive in its first drive. Henne was 4-4 for 67 yards. OSU has been slightly less impressive. They haven’t given the ball to Antonio Pittman yet.
4:05 pm: I stand corrected. Troy Smith has quite an arm, completing some nice passes down the field to get into scoring range.
4:08 pm: Touchdown! Troy Smith completes an easy pass on the right side to WR #8, I think his name is Hall. It’s now tied, 7-7.
4:12 pm: On third and long, Henne fires a bullet to Steve Breaston for the first down. I like his quick release.
4:16 pm: OSU forces a punt. Do you know what else pisses me off? Alumni saying they went to “THE Ohio State University”. The emphasize “THE” with such arrogance. It might be excusable if they went to “THE Harvard” or “THE Princeton”, but please. All reliable indicators say Michigan is the superior school anyway.
4:22 pm: OSU doesn’t seem to be moving the ball on their second possession either. The Buckeyes are forced to punt. So far, these two teams have been playing eerily even. It’s almost like the ghosts of Bo and Woody are controlling the game today.
4:25 pm: The quarter ends with Henne getting sacked. Michigan 7, OSU 7.
4:33 pm: Antonio Pittman has a huge run for the Buckeye touchdown. This guy can fly; he was able to break the line of scrimmage and outrun everyone else. OSU 14, Michigan 7.
It’s looking like USC will ultimately get to play the winner of this game for the title if they win out. I think it should be Rutgers or Arkansas, because they are both undefeated in their respective conferences. USC has already lost to Pac-10 opponent Oregon State.
4:40 pm: OSU force Michigan to punt, but a penalty gives the Wolverines a first down.
Bizarre ad alert: Nivea aftershve balm. I first saw the ad six months ago during Univision’s coverage of the World Cup in Spanish. I must tell you, watching soccer in Spanish is much more enjoyable. Five mothns later, here it is, on the TV, in English. Bizarre.
4:47 pm: Big play for the Buckeyes; #80 catches a pass at the 30, and runs all the way to midfield.
All the power went out on one side of the bar. I’m now on battery power.
4:49 pm: Touchdown Buckeyes! Troy Smith runs a great play action fake and throws it to an open Ted Ginn in the End zone. It’s now 21-7, Ohio State.
Bizarre ad alert: Show Me the Money on ABC: It’s Shat-Tastic!
4:53 pm: As big as this game is, I’m even more interested in Tar Heel games. I hope it isn’t too obvious.
Mike Hart busts a huge run to midfield. Michigan is finally getting something going again.
4:56 pm: On third down, OSU is called for pass interference. Someone behind me then says something I cannot repeat on this website.
4:58 pm: Touchdown Michigan! Henne completes a long pass to WR #16 (Arrington) for a 40 yard touchdown. It’s now 21-14, OSU. The level of play is so much higher than the UNC-NC State game that it’s almost demoralizing.
5:05 pm: OSU is again driving the ball well. I think the difference for the Buckeyes has been third down conversion. Last I checked, Michigan was 1 for 5 on third down, and OSU was 4 for 5.
UPDATE: Auburn 14, Alabama 9.
5:09 pm: Touchdown Buckeyes! Troy Smith completes another great pass, this time to Anthony Gonzalez. It’s now 28-14, OSU.
The half ends. Ohio State is just as good as advertised. I would like to see the adjustments the Wolverines make in the second half.
5:35 pm: I’ve returned home for the second half. The electric sockets at Shorty’s went out, and my battery is fried.
Ohio State goes 3-and-out and has to punt to open the second half.
5:40 pm: Mike Hart has a HUGE run on third and short to ultimately set up a touchdown for Michigan. 28-21, Ohio State.
5:45 pm: The Buckeyes get the ball back, and a Troy Smith pass is tipped and intercepted by a defensive end. Michigan now has great field position.
5:50 pm: Michigan is unable to take advantage of the turnover; they only manage a field goal. 28-24, Buckeyes.
5:56 pm: Ohio State responds immediately. Great blocking and great speed by Antonio Pittman lead to a 56 yard easy touchdown. 35-24, OSU.
What does an Ohio State player have to do for a buckeye sticker? Are players still motivated by getting stickers on their helmets? I think they are, because everyone on the team is playing well, and they all have their helmets at least 70% filled with stickers.
6:04 pm: Michigan is driving the ball again. Every yard against the Buckeyes has been a fight.
UPDATE: Auburn 22, Alabama 15.
6:06 pm: The Wolverines stall, and they’re just out of field goal range. They go for it on fourth down, and it falls short. Breaston slips on the sod, which I heard the Buckeyes replaced in October. I’m convinced it was strategy for this game.
It was a good idea to go for it on fourth down. However, I don’t like Henne’s throw short of the marker. You have to throw the ball beyond the first down line unless you’re sure the receiver can get the first down after the catch.
6:10 pm: Fortunately, Michigan’s failed 4th down doesn’t haunt them, as the defense forces a 3-and-out.
6:12 pm: Mike Hart is very tough to bring down. He just broke three tackles to get a nine yard gain.
Then, on third and 1, Michigan tries to surprise the defense with a deep pass. The gamble fails, as Henne throws a near interception. Michigan is forced to punt on fourth and 1. Normally I’m against this, but in this case if Michigan goes for it an fails, Ohio State has great field position and a chance to put this game away.
6:21 pm: At the start of the fourth quarter. Michigan runs a reverse…and it works! Steve Breaston runs down to the 1/2 yard line.
6:24 pm: Touchdown Michigan! Mike Hart cannot be stopped. That’s his third touchdown of the game. 35-31, OSU.
6:35 pm: Just as the Buckeyes are driving into field goal range, a bad snap is recovered by Michigan! The Wolverines now have the ball with a chance to take the lead.
6:40 pm: Michigan goes 3-and-out. Michigan is shooting themselves in the foot. It’s harder than I thought to blog two games back-to-back.
6:52 pm: The Wolverines continue to shoot themselves in the foot. First, a defender makes a late, out of bounds, helmet-to-helmet hit on Troy Smith, then they allow another wide open touchdown pass. The way the Buckeye defense is playing right now, I doubt Michigan can come back.
7:00 pm: Less than four minutes left, Michigan is driving. Henne is making good passes but he keeps throwing up the middle. Tick tick tick tick tick…
7:02 pm: Henne is sacked on third and long! OSU’s defense is really good today.
7:03 pm: Fourth down, Henne throws deep…interference! OSU interferes with Manningham, first down!
7:06 pm: Touchdown, Michigan! Henne throws to the Tight End, Ecker, and converts the two-point conversion to make it 42-39.
7:10 pm: Michigan tries the onside kick, and the Buckeyes recover.
7:15 pm: The game went final: Ohio State 42, Michigan 39. Troy Smith and Mike Hart had a great game, but ultimately the difference was the Ohio State defense, who stepped when they were needed most. I wasn’t convinced before, but I am now: These are the two best teams in college football. I think that if the game were played in Ann Arbor, it might have gone the other way. After seeing this game, I’m not entirely sure that Michigan doesn’t deserve a rematch in Glendale, AZ on January 8th.
This game was so close that the difference in the game was something most fans didn’t notice. Early in the fourth quarter, it was Ohio State leading 35-31. The center fumbled the snap and Michigan recovered with a chance to win the game. The defense held the Wolverines to 3-and-out. If Michigan scores a FG, It’s 42-42 and we’re still watching the game. A touchdown and it’s a Michigan victory. That possession won’t make the highlight reel, but that was the defensive stand that won the game for Ohio State.
These guys play so much better than UNC, I hate to say it.This was a game for the ages. I want a rematch!