November 17, 2007


Something to get the juices flowing before The Game. If you've been there, you get it.

I have been admitting to friends this week that I don't have a good feeling about the Michigan game. Seems like all the emotional jazz is on the side of the Wolves. UM Head Coach Lloyd Carr is expected to be forced out step down after the game, win or lose. At least three of Michigan's best players....Henne, Hart, and Long are playing at Michigan in 2007 instead of the in the NFL for one reason only. They have not yet beaten Ohio State, making this the biggest game of their college careers. Michigan is desperate to erase the taint of their opening game loss to Appalachian St., anxious to beat Jim Tressel, and charged up to send their coach out a winner.

Then there's the matter of 110,000 people.

On the other sideline, it would be understandable if the Buckeyes were on an emotional down. Their perfect season and national title shot crashed and burned last weekend, at home, on Senior Day, to an Illinois team that was inspired, but significantly less talented than Michigan.

On the up side, the fact that both teams lost last week puts the pressure back onto Michigan and those seniors who are winless in OSU-Michigan games. The Buckeyes should be the looser bunch. I'm just not sure that will be enough on this day. After last week, my faith in Tressel has taken some lumps. If talent wins out over emotion.... and if the Bucks can grab the lead early.... and if Todd Boeckman throws to all the right colored jerseys, the Buckeyes can and should win.

But for some reason, my head says it'll be the Wolverines' day.

OK, Bucks. Prove me wrong.

UPDATE 11/17: Wow! This reverse psychology thing works out great, doesn't it? Seriously, I love being wrong about the emotional edge residing with Michigan. The Buckeyes took the crowd out of the game with a smothering defense and a second quarter lead, and never let them or the Wolverines back in it.

The dominance of the OSU defensive line was the story. Who knew the Wolves would have no answer for Cameron Heyward or Dexter Larimore or Todd Denlinger, much less for Vernon Gholston on this day. Gholston, the only player from Michigan on the OSU roster, had three sacks of Henne on the day. Mike "The Mouth" Hart was able to get only 44 yards in the biggest game of his life, all the while managing to enhance his rep as a trash-talking sore loser.

All-American UM tackle Jake Long was bull-rushed into his QB and then pancaked by the freshman Heyward, and was frustrated as Gholston blew by him on the outside all afternoon.

Tressel was maddeningly conservative with the second-half play-calling, making for some ugly football. He played offense like he couldn't wait to get his defense back out on the field. And why not? This is from Mark Rea's game story at

How stifling was the OSU defense? The Wolverines were held to just 91 yards of total offense, the first time totaling less than 100 yards since getting 97 against Purdue in October 1962. Michigan had only eight first downs, just two in the second half and both came on Ohio State pass interference penalties.

At, Stewart Mandel comments on the game, Carr's swan song, and Tressel's dominance.

Being wrong feels great.

Related: Jim Davidson's game photo gallery

O-Zone game story

Posted by dan at November 17, 2007 12:37 AM