The most wonderful week of the year is finally here! There’s nothing quite like Michigan Week. The week leading up to The Game got even better after the Big Ten expanded and the most anticipated game of the year is now just a couple days after Thanksgiving. It’s hard to beat stuffing your face with all the Thanksgiving delicacies and then just a few days later taking in the best rivalry in sports.
The last two decades have been extremely kind to Ohio State, with the Buckeyes posting a 17-3 record against the Wolverines since 2000. During that span, there has been a meeting where the teams were the top two ranked teams in the country, a game that went to double overtime, and a number of Ohio State blowouts.
Certain editions of The Game stick with some people more than others. Obviously the 2007 meeting will be a favorite just because of what was at stake, as well as how entertaining the football game was. Others might have a favorite battle between the Buckeyes and Wolverines because they were in attendance in either Columbus or Ann Arbor. It’s impossible to have a wrong answer to your favorite Ohio State-Michigan game, as long as it was a year that ended up with a Buckeye victory.
Today’s question: What was your favorite Ohio State-Michigan game?
We’d love to hear your choices. Either respond to us on Twitter at @Landgrant33 or leave your choice in the comments.
Brett’s answer: 2005: Ohio State 25, Michigan 21
Even though are years like 2002 and 2007 which saw undefeated Ohio State clinch a spot in the national title game with victories over Michigan, my favorite battle between the Buckeyes and Wolverines was a year in which Ohio State entered The Game with two losses. 2005 was the first year that I was a student at Ohio State. While I thought I had an idea of just how crazy everything surrounding the rivalry was, it goes to a whole new level when you actually experience it.
Since the 2005 game was in Ann Arbor, I ended up watching the game at a friend’s that was having a party. Nothing like tapping kegs at eight in the morning, so you can already tell what condition I was in by the time kickoff rolled around. I just remember that it seemed like time was moving way too slow, and it felt like noon would never come.
Things got off to a good start, with the Buckeyes taking a 12-7 lead into halftime. Then Michigan took control in the third quarter, and with just under eight minutes left in the game the Wolverines had a 21-12 lead. Even though the Buckeyes were down, I didn’t give up hope. My faith was rewarded because Troy Smith responded with a touchdown pass to Santonio Holmes just a little over a minute later, cutting Michigan’s lead to 21-19.
The Buckeyes got the ball back with 4 minutes to go after Michigan cowardly punted from Ohio State’s 35-yard-line. The Buckeyes would make the Wolverines pay, using a 12-play, 88-yard drive to take a 25-21 lead on a four-yard Antonio Pittman touchdown run with 24 seconds left. The biggest play of the drive was an incredible catch by Anthony Gonzalez that put the football at Michigan’s four-yard line to setup the Pittman touchdown.
I know there are a lot of Ohio State fans that lived through the John Cooper years when the rivalry was heavily in Michigan’s favor. I’m just glad I have been living in Columbus while Jim Tressel, Urban Meyer, and Ryan Day have led the Buckeyes against Michigan. There is a spark in the rivalry this year with both teams ranked in the top-10, and hopefully this year’s contest can live up to the hype. Go Bucks!
Meredith’s answer: 2016: Ohio State 30, Michigan 27
My favorite iteration of The Game has to be 2016, when No. 2 Ohio State faced off against No. 3 Michigan, ultimately bringing home a 30-27 win. It had everything we could hope for as Ohio State fans, right down to a bitter Jim Harbaugh in the post-game press conference.
But, as we all know (and as replay confirmed), the spot was good.
2016 was shockingly the first overtime game in the history of the rivalry, which added even more intrigue. Despite Michigan leading by 10 points late, the Buckeyes came back in front of a raucous home crowd to bring things even at 17-all at the end of regulation.
Then there was the play. Ohio State had the ball down three after Michigan kicked a field goal in the second overtime period. That’s when the Buckeyes converted a controversial 4th-and-1 on the back of JT Barrett — a terrifying decision made after Ohio State’s kicker had missed two short field goals earlier in the game (though, to Tyler Durbin’s credit, he made the kick when it counted to tie the game at the end of regulation). The very next play, Curtis Samuel swept for a 15-yard touchdown run, sealing the victory for Ohio State.
The major downside of this game was that it was not one where the victor controlled its own destiny in the Big Ten. Ohio State needed help from Penn State that they would not get to earn a spot in the Big Ten Championship (though the Buckeyes would ultimately make the College Football Playoff).
One of the reasons the memory of this game is so fond is one that’s become salient in the last week. As fun as it was to be able to tune out of Ohio State’s game by halftime (or the end of the first quarter) when things were well in-hand against Michigan State, it was exciting in 2016 to have a nailbiter to the very end — one that went to two overtime periods. It had all the drama we could have dreamed of.