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OHIO STATE vs. MICHIGAN
2009 Ohio State Vs Michigan Football High Def Highlights
Here’s what Tressel had to say about the play calling for Michigan, and going forward: QUESTION: Did you get more conservative as the game went on, with a lead? ANSWER: "Seldom have we been accused of being conservative..." (laughter from the press. Tressel smirks.)
"We probably did, but as we’ve said to you many times, we feel as if our No. 1 task on offense is to make sure our defense is in the best position they can be, and we don’t want to put them in poor condition. And Michigan was doing a good job; they were gambling a little bit, they were sitting on things (pressing on OSU’s receivers). And probably if we could’ve lined up and thrown deep four times, we might have hit one or two. But we didn’t feel as if we wanted to stop the clock and be second-and-10 or whatever."
"So yeah, we probably got conservative, but we understand that we won the Big Ten championship and we just had a great win over our rival, but we’ve got a long way to go to be as good as we want to be on all sides of the ball. Now we’ve got to get better throwing the ball if we’re going to have a chance to compete on January 1, and part of it is we have to call passes, I understand that (MORE PRESS SNICKERS), but we’ve got to get better at it, as well."
On the incorrect play that student manager Matt Esselstein wrote on the dry-erase board, that ended in a 29-yard TD run by Brandon Saine: "We were all messed up and it ended up working, so maybe (Esselstein) could end up being our offensive coordinator sometime down the line someday." (Source: Columbus Dispatch)
Buckeyes take sixth straight from Wolverines, capture outright Big Ten title November 21, 2009 Source: ESPN - "Tate Forcier threw four interceptions and fumbled in his end zone, and No. 9 Ohio State took advantage to beat Michigan 21-10 Saturday for its sixth straight win in the series. The Buckeyes (10-2, 7-1) clinched an outright Big Ten championship and will play in the Rose Bowl with a five-game winning streak...Michigan has endured consecutive losing years for the first time since the 1962-63 seasons.
Forcier's first turnover came on his first drive, a fumble that Cameron Heyward recovered to give Ohio State a 7-0 lead. The freshman threw three interceptions in the fourth quarter, ruining Michigan's chances to come back in a game it trailed 14-10 in the third.
Terrelle Pryor wasn't spectacular, but didn't make many mistakes and made a key throw after Michigan pulled within four points. He perfectly lofted a screen pass to Dan Heron, whose 12-yard touchdown gave the Buckeyes a 21-10 lead. That proved to be enough to beat Michigan, which played perhaps one of its best games of the season but still had nothing to show for it. Jim Tressel, meanwhile, extended Ohio State's longest winning streak in the suddenly lopsided series and matched the best run in the rivalry since Michigan won six in a row in the 1920s.
Pryor finished 9 of 17 for 67 yards with a TD and an interception, off a deflection. He also ran for 74 yards, while Herron had 96 yards rushing and that TD catch...Ohio State's Kurt Coleman made two interceptions, the second coming after a video review at the Buckeyes 6 early in the fourth quarter. Forcier threw his third interception on the ensuing drive, making an ill-advised pass that cornerback Devon Torrence caught in the end zone with 8 minutes left.
Perhaps fittingly, the Wolverines were flagged for having five men in the backfield on their final snap and the Buckeyes ran out the clock, much to the delight of thousands of their fans who were at the Big House.
Instant Analysis - Ohio State 21 ... Michigan 10 November 21, 2009 Source: College Football News - Pete Fiutak: Take a good look, Ohio State fans. Take a good, long look at the utter disaster that is the transition period at Michigan, and then hit your knees and thank whatever it is you pray to that Jim Tressel keeps on cranking out great team after great team. Dog how boring the Buckeyes are all you want, but do you know what’s really boring? Complaints about losing on a regular basis. The team turned more and more to the running game over the second half of the season, regularly cranking out over 200 yards per game now, while the defense has been its typical dominant and productive self...Ohio State is going to the Rose Bowl, it’s the outright Big Ten champion, and it has a sixth straight win over Michigan. No, Ohio State, you’re not going to the BCS Championship, but enjoy the moment and enjoy what’s happening now. Ask Michigan what the other side is like.
Richard Cirminiello: I believe in Rodriguez as a head coach...However, now that he’s presided over one of the worst two-year stretches in school history, how do you avoid being critical?...Assuming Rodriguez is back on the sidelines in 2010, the pressure to succeed is going to be insurmountable. Forget bowl eligibility this time around. He better be the catalyst for a quantum leap to eight or nine wins or else there’ll be no 2011...Coach Rod owns one-third of the Wolverines’ six-game losing streak to Ohio State, adding to a very contentious situation in Ann Arbor.
Matt Zemek: 1) It’s circular and twisted, but it’s true: See Jim Tressel not coach Terrelle Pryor well. See Terrelle Pryor commit a turnover that gets cashed into points for the other team. See Jim Tressel pull in the reins on Pryor. See Ohio State play conservatively. See Ohio State not make any more turnovers. See Ohio State’s defense dominate. See Ohio State beat Michigan. See Ohio State win the Big Ten outright. Tressel does need a new offensive coordinator and a better overall (and perhaps differently delegated) approach to play calling...The logic of Tressel is sound and unimpeachable; it’s the quarterback coaching which should merit scrutiny and cause concern...2) Rich Rodriguez needs to come up with a finite plan at quarterback in 2010...Michigan doesn’t have to go 10-2 next year, but if we’re sitting here in 12 months and the Maize and Blue are outside the bowl game candy store, RichRod’s experiment in Ann Arbor should be terminated..."
"You’re going to laugh, but on Saine’s touchdown the student manager put the wrong wristband number on the board," Tressel said. "That was not the play we called. He called that." - Misdirection mistake works out November 21, 2009 Source: Columbus Dispatch - "Brandon Saine made the run and Jim Cordle the key block on a 29-yard touchdown play for Ohio State in the second quarter against Michigan yesterday. But credit should also go to Matt Esselstein.
Esselstein is an aeronautical and astronautical engineering major who is also a student manager for the Buckeyes. His job is to write the number of the play on a whiteboard and flash it to the offense once the formation has been relayed.
With the Buckeyes leading 7-3 and deployed in the shotgun with three receivers to the right and Saine next to quarterback Terrelle Pryor, they were supposed to run a rollout pass-run option to the right. But coach Jim Tressel said Esselstein had the wrong number on his play sheet and wrote a "3" on the board. That called for a counter handoff to Saine, who was to start right, then cut back across the formation after taking the ball from Pryor. "I knew it (was the wrong play for the formation), but I thought, 'This could work,'" Pryor said.
As the Wolverines flowed to OSU's right, Saine slashed left through a hole created by Cordle and steamed to the end zone. The Buckeyes, with 251 rushing yards, topped 200 for the fifth straight game and the eighth time this season, a record under Tressel. Saine's touchdown looked the easiest. "Luckily, the two plays that we called were so similar that it didn't really matter," said Saine, who finished with 84 on 12 carries. Daniel Herron had 96 yards and scored on a 12-yard screen pass. Pryor rushed for 74 yards on 19 carries.Things didn't always go according to plan, but sometimes that can be a good thing.
"It turned into a great play," Pryor said of Saine's touchdown. "We might use it again."..."
OSU's win no surprise November 21, 2009 Source: Akron Beacon Journal - "...Asked what it means to win six in a row against the Buckeyes' fiercest rival, Tressel said: ''It means we have to come back another year. It doesn't mean anything, because in 2010, I'll be petrified. That's the way [we coaches] live.'' I know that Tressel is right. Adopting a cavalier attitude about Michigan's aptitude for football could backfire at any time. Keep in mind that before Tressel arrived on campus, Ohio State lost 10 out of 13 to the Wolverines. There are still tiny bits of dead skin lying in the corners of Ohio Stadium from all the handwringing that marked John Cooper's years as coach.
Still, beating Michigan has become the norm for the Buckeyes. It is expected. Because the Wolverines' program has fallen into disarray the past two seasons, Ohio State fans have dropped the word upset from their vocabulary. Tressel tried to minimize the vast talent gap between the teams and never mind that the Buckeyes won by only 11 points. ''Michigan went out and played their hearts out, so did the Buckeyes,'' he said. ''We weren't comfortable until about a minute to go in the game.'' Coaches aren't comfortable until they see the final score in the newspaper the next day, but Tressel had every reason to believe his team would win..."
Buckeyes Run Past Wolverines November 21, 2009 Source: Sports Network - "Daniel Herron ran for 96 yards and caught a touchdown pass, while Brandon Saine added 84 yards rushing with a score, as ninth-ranked Ohio State captured the outright Big Ten title with a 21-10 victory over arch-rival Michigan. Terrelle Pryor threw a touchdown pass and contributed 74 yards rushing, as the Buckeyes racked up 251 yards on the ground in their sixth straight win over Michigan.
Ohio State (10-2, 7-1 Big Ten) won its final five games of the season to claim the outright conference title for the third time in the past four years. The Buckeyes, who have at least shared the last five Big Ten crowns, will head to the Rose Bowl on January 1.
Michigan (5-7, 1-7), meanwhile, ended its season with five straight losses and will sit home during bowl season for a second consecutive year after its second losing record in as many seasons under Rich Rodriguez. Following last year's 3-9 debacle, the Wolverines have lost at least seven games in consecutive seasons for the first time in the storied program's history.
Tate Forcier completed 23-of-38 passes for 226 yards with a touchdown, but was also picked off four times in defeat, and his fumble on the Wolverines' opening drive was recovered in the end zone by Ohio State for a touchdown.
IT WAS OVER WHEN: Thaddeus Gibson intercepted Denard Robinson with just under five minutes remaining with the Buckeyes leading 21-10.
THE PLAYS: Pryor's screen pass to 'Boom' Herron' for a TD and Devon Torrence's interception of Tate Forcier in the end zone with 8:09 left.
GAMEBALL GOES TO: The Buckeyes defense. Cameron Heyward's fumble recovery for the first touchdown set the tone; Brian Rolle, Ross Homan and company stuffed the run; and the four interceptions stalled a couple of Michigan comeback drives.
THE MISMATCH: Brandon Saine's 29-yard TD run in the second quarter vs. air. The Buckeyes ran the wrong play out of that three-receiver set, but when Saine got to the corner on the counter, he saw nothing but green.
THE STRATEGY: Just like two years ago when the run game was rolling and the defense was rocking, Ohio State stuck to the ground most of the second half, throwing just five passes.
THE REPERCUSSION: Michigan doesn't go bowling for the second straight season. Ohio State already was headed to the Rose, but now it is the outright Big Ten champion and for the first time it has six straight wins in The Game.
THE BIG HIT: It was hard to miss, really: Etienne Sabino's hit on Michigan kick returner Daryl Stonum. It came on the kickoff following the Buckeyes' leap to a 14-3 lead in the second quarter. The head-on collision rocked the Big House, and it knocked Sabino slightly silly. He spent the rest of the game on the bench but reportedly was fine afterward.
INTERCEPTION THAT MATTERED MOST: Devon Torrence's pick when Forcier was aiming for the end zone that might have done the most to seal the Ohio State victory.
SIGN IN THE STANDS: Michigan fan held a sign that read: Matt Damon's Latest Film Trilogy, The Boren Quitter, The Boren Traitor, The Boren Loser.
JUSTIN BOREN SAID IT: "It's awesome. I love Ohio State. I loved it since day one. I wish I had three more years here."
WHAT'S HOT?: Ohio State's run defense (83.42-yard average), No. 1 in the Big Ten and No. 5 in the nation. Why Michigan ran 31 times (80 net yards) instead of passing on almost every down -- despite throwing four interceptions -- is puzzling, especially considering the health of the Michigan backs. With linebackers Brian Rolle, Ross Homan and Austin Spitler roaming behind the gap-dominating front four, the Wolverines were stuffed. Purdue beat the Buckeyes and Iowa took them to overtime primarily by throwing. True, Southern California's biggest play was a draw, but even run-based Navy had to launch its alert fighters to make the opener a game to remember.
WHAT'S NOT HOT?: The OSU passing game, but mainly because it was pushed to the back burner. This can't be coincidence -- Terrelle Pryor threw 17 passes in each of the last three games. For the sweep of November, the Buckeyes turned to their running game, rushing for 228 yards in the win at Penn State, 229 in the win over Iowa, and 251 in the win at Michigan.
LAST IN THE BIG TEN: The 2009 Michigan team joins the 1917, 1934, 1936 and 1962 editions as the only Michigan teams to finish last in the Big Ten.
THE STAT: The Buckeyes beat the Wolverines for the sixth consecutive game, the longest streak since 1922-27 for Michigan.
THE STAT II: Ohio State gained five turnovers, Michigan one. In The Game, that's almost always the stat that matters.
THE STAT III: Ohio State scored its sixth straight win over Michigan on Saturday, matching the second-longest streak in the series' history.
THE STAT VI: The Buckeyes have totaled eight team rushing performances for at least 200 yards this season - the most in the Jim Tressel era.
THE STAT VII: Brandon Saine went over 1,000 career rushing yards. He finished with 84 yards on 12 carries, including a 29-yard TD run in the second quarter - his fourth of the season and seventh of his career.
THE STAT VIII: Ohio State is now 8-2 this decade against the Wolverines after going just 2-7-1 in the 1990's.
THE STAT IX: Michigan has scored just 20 points in the last three games against the Buckeyes.
NOTEWORTHY: Defensive lineman Cameron Heyward recorded his first career touchdown when he recovered a Tate Forcier fumble in the end zone at the 10:44 mark of the first quarter.
NOTEWORTHY II: Juniors Devon Torrence and Thaddeus Gibson both picked off their first career interceptions in the fourth quarter.
WHAT WENT RIGHT?: The Buckeyes' offensive line play. First, one must understand that the days of consistently crushing defensive fronts are long gone. Modern defenses are resilient, fast-learning and risk-taking, meaning one player such as Michigan's Brandon Graham or Iowa's Adrian Clayborn can blow up a play all by himself. That said, the beleaguered and banged-up OSU offensive line persevered and launched backs when it mattered most. Call it the November rush to the Big Ten championship.
COACH TRESSEL SAID IT: "When you're undefeated in November, good things are going to happen over the holidays."
COACH TRESSEL SAID IT II: ''We probably could have thrown a little more.''
COACH HEACOCK, DEFENSIVE COORDINATOR, SAID IT: "I'm real proud of the guys. They wanted to go out there and show what they can do and they've done that all year. I'm proud of the group. Coming into the season we lost some [big] names and they kept battling every game and they played hard."
TERRELLE PRYOR SAID IT: "I'm at Ohio State. I'm not really worried about that. I'm glad I'm on this side." - responding to his decision to go to Ohio State and not Michigan, his record as a starting QB and the rivalry
JIM CORDLE SAID IT: "It felt like almost a home game at the beginning of the game, there was so much red out there. They had OH-IO going. It was great."
COACH TRESSEL SAID IT III: "It has a chance. Had we not won, they'd be burned." - on the throwback uniforms and whether we might see them again.
KURT COLEMAN SAID IT: "Let's leave them undefeated," - on the throwback uniforms
THROWBACK SHOES: The Nike shoes that came with OSU's throwback unis were only discarded by one Buckeye Saturday. Some players had expressed concern over wearing the new gear for the final game. Offensive lineman Mike Brewster, who has been battling ankle problems, stuck with his tried and true black Nikes for the game.
COACH RODRIGUEZ SAID IT: "I'm tired of being humbled. We'll beat Ohio State when we're better than them. It's as simple as that."
TATE FORCIER, UM FR QB, SAID IT: "I lost that game. We're gonna come back a a new team. I'm not going to let this happen again." - in a text message to the Associated Press about an hour after the game.
ZOLTAN MESKO, UM SR P, SAID IT: "Ohio State is not that good of a team. We beat ourselves today."
WORST TIMING: Michigan athletic director Bill Martin announced that embattled head football coach Rich Rodriguez is not going anywhere. "He will be our coach next year," Martin told media. "You're asking me today if he's going to be our coach. There's no if, ands or buts about it. He is our coach and he has my full support. He'll be there next year. No question about it." Martin will not be at Michigan at this time next year. The athletic director is retiring Sept. 4, 2010, though Martin said Michigan administration supports him in backing Rodriguez
NUMBERS FOR DUMMIES: 8: Jim Tressel is now 8-1 against Michigan.
NUMBERS FOR DUMMIES II: 2: Rodriguez became the first Michigan coach to lose to Ohio State in his first 2 games.
NUMBERS FOR DUMMIES III: 9: Ohio State punts/Pryor completions
NUMBERS FOR DUMMIES IV: 27-2: Tressel (8-1), men's basketball coach Thad Matta (9-1) and women's basketball coach Jim Foster (10-0) against Michigan
NUMBERS FOR DUMMIES V: 1: Pink buckeye leaf on each Ohio State helmet in honor of Stefanie Spielman, who died Thursday after a long fight with breast cancer
NUMBERS FOR DUMMIES VI: 1962-63: Last time Michigan posted consecutive losing seasons
NUMBERS FOR DUMMIES VII: 13: With today's loss, Rich Rodriguez now has 13 Big Ten losses in two years at Michigan, the same number Tressel has totaled in nine seasons at Ohio State. Seven of Tressel's losses came in two seasons, 2001 and 2004.
THE VIEW: How the team sees it: The '54 team could have beaten these guys.
How the pollsters will see it: Good thing we don't have to keep an eye on the Buckeyes, because they put us to sleep.
How Buckeye Nation will see it: We're tired of these mid-November bye weeks.
TRANSLATING TRESS: What he said: "Everyone was mentioning Michigan's record, and we were saying, 'Well, this is the Ohio State-Michigan game.'"
What he meant: "Records don't matter in this one. We beat them regardless."
ONE-LINER: Tress is close to turning this rivalry into "The Ten-Year Bore."
AS HEARD ON TV: A more touching moment occurred when Sean McDonough choked up when addressing the death of Stefanie Spielman. He wasn't the only one with a lump in his throat.
AS APPEARING ON OSU FAN SIGN: Rodriguez we love you!
WORTH THE TRIP: Apparently so, considering at least 12,000 Ohio State fans got raspy in renovated Michigan Stadium.
PREGAME BUZZ: The Buckeyes' "throwback" uniforms generated more chatter than The Game, mostly because Meeshigan's program has been mothballed. The retro look survived a scare -- imagine the stink if OSU had lost -- and it was Jim Tressel who made the final fashion statement. His V-neck sweater vest obviously stands for Victory.
JUST WONDERING: Even after 21 starts at quarterback, do the Buckeyes really know what they have in Terrelle Pryor?
THE $63 QUESTION: Tough economy or not, the history-minded fan would have been willing to dig even deeper into the pocket -- $75 or more -- to catch a glimpse of the Buckeyes earning their first Rose Bowl trip since 1996. Not to mention the 60-degree temperatures were worth $25 alone.
Tweethearts: Look on the bright side Michigan fans, at least you have .. OK it's pretty bad for you.
(Sources: ESPN/Cleveland Plain Dealer/Columbus Dispatch/The Ozonw/The Webmaster)
Catch that?: It was hard to miss, really: Etienne Sabino's hit on Michigan kick returner Daryl Stonum. It came on the kickoff following the Buckeyes' leap to a 14-3 lead in the second quarter. The head-on collision rocked the Big House, and it knocked Sabino slightly silly. He spent the rest of the game on the bench but reportedly was fine afterward. (Source: Columbus Dispatch)
Source: Columbus Dispatch
Team Statistics (Final) Ohio State vs Michigan (Nov 21, 2009 at Ann Arbor, MI)
NET YARDS RUSHING
Average Per Rush
Yards Gained Rushing
Yards Lost Rushing
NET YARDS PASSING
Average Per Attempt
Average Per Completion
TOTAL OFFENSE YARDS
Total offense plays
Average Gain Per Play
Average Yards Per Punt
Net Yards Per Punt
Average Yards Per Kickoff
Net Yards Per Kickoff
Punt returns: Number-Yards-TD
Average Per Return
Kickoff returns: Number-Yds-TD
Average Per Return
Fumble Returns: Number-Yds-TD
4 of 15
6 of 18
0 of 1
0 of 1
Sacks By: Number-Yards
Big Ten helmet stickers: Week 12: Ohio State's defense: I could probably give helmet stickers to five Buckeyes defenders, but I need to spread the wealth a bit. Ohio State's defense forced five turnovers, converting one for a touchdown, in its 21-10 victory against Michigan. Individual standouts included safeties Kurt Coleman and Jermale Hines, cornerback Devon Torrence, defensive end Cameron Heyward and linebackers Brian Rolle, Ross Homan and John Simon.
What we learned in the Big Ten: Week 12: 1. Opportunity knocks for Buckeyes defense: You can take shots at Jim Tressel's play-calling or the fact Terrelle Pryor isn't a Heisman Trophy candidate by now. Or, you can admire what has happened with the Buckeyes defense this season. A unit that lost several national award winners has gotten even better this fall, and Saturday's five-takeaway triumph against Michigan means Ohio State leads the nation in turnovers forced with 33. Ohio State's offense isn't always a masterpiece, but it's awfully fun to watch Kurt Coleman, Brian Rolle, Ross Homan, Cameron Heyward and the rest of the Buckeyes' defenders. Source: ESPN
There were two critical plays selected this week as 'plays of the game.'
TheBuckeyes lead had just been cut to 14-10 after Forcier hit running back Vincent Smith for a 18-yard touchdown pass. After the kickoff, the Buckeyes started a drive that began on the OSU 11 with 10:05 remaining in the 3rd quarter. The Buckeyes drove the length of the field and to the Michigan 2 and had a 1st and goal. Herron then lost two yards rushing and Pryor was sacked for an 8 yard loss by Graham. Ohio State was facing 3rd and goal from the 12. Pryor then connected with Herron for the TD.
The touchdown came on a screen, which a retreating Pryor lofted over a leaping Michigan lineman, Bryan Van Bergen. Herron caught it at the 12 raced untouched to the end zone, pushing the OSU lead back to 21-10 at 4:46 of the third. The middle-screen play was called by Doc Tressel against an 8-man rush by the Wolverines. "I saw the blitz coming and I was like cMan, I don't know if this going to work,'" said Pryor, who didn't see his head coach calling for a timeout in the background. "The defensive end made a great play, he read it and he started backing up. I was like ‘What am I going to do? I can't take off because I have a guy blitzing from the blind side. I was like ‘I'm going to throw it up," so I threw it a little high trying to get it over the top of the guy that dropped and Boom Herron and the line made a great play on that play."
On the play Tressel worried OSU did not have time to get the ball snapped and strode at least 10 yards onto the field to try to call timeout. The officials did not notice, and Herron took the pass to the end zone to cap an 89-yard drive and give Ohio State breathing room. "Thank goodness they didn't see me," Tressel said
Below is a diagram and explanation of the play from the Cleveland Plain Dealer:
Devon Torrence's interception, one of four by the Buckeyes, was probably the most critical. With OSU leading 21-10, Michigan, with hopes pf a 4th quarter comeback, had driven to the Buckeye's six yard line. With UM facing a 2nd and 5, Tate Forcier, chased by the Bucks' Thad Gibson, tried to throw back to his left toward Junior Hemingway in the end zone.
Torrence, who provided outstanding coverage in the secondary all game long, played the ball perfectly and leaped up to intercept the pass, fending off Hemingway for the ball with 8:09 left in the game.
Torrence said he saw Forcier begin to scramble when in trouble and saw the freshman quarterback looking toward the corner of the field, at receiver Junior Hemingway. "I kind of baited him," Torrence said.
"That quarterback, he is a real shifty guy," said Torrence, the minor-league property of the Houston Astros. "He looked back and saw the receiver, but I don't think he saw me." Torrence's interception helped spoil the Wolverines' fourth-quarter comeback dreams.
Forcier, who committed all five Wolverines turnovers in the game, was not available for postgame interviews.
Heyward was right on time-Defense started scoring by recovering Forcier fumble: Cameron Heyward wasn't being modest: He really was just in the right place at the right time. But he -- and Ohio State -- will take it. The defensive lineman scored the first touchdown of a 21-10 victory over Michigan yesterday when he recovered quarterback Tate Forcier's fumble in the end zone. The play started from the Michigan 10-yard line. Forcier was flushed from the pocket and simply dropped the ball as he took a step forward.
"Thad (Gibson) forced the pressure, and (Forcier) dropped the ball, and I'm just happy to be there," Heyward said. "I didn't touch him. I was bobbling the ball a little bit, but I was able to keep it under me." The first touchdown of Heyward's three-year college career gave the Buckeyes a 7-0 lead less than five minutes into the game. (Source: Columbus Dispatch)
Tim May, in the Columbus Dispatch's Inside the Beat, writes: "What they have in Pryor is a sophomore starting quarterback who now has two Big Ten championships hanging from his belt. No QB in OSU history can boast of that kind of start. They have someone who, during the course of this season, suddenly stopped making careless, huge mistakes. If anything, he -- and they -- got a little too cautious at times during the November sweep. But he also delivered some big plays, mainly with his feet for third-down conversions, and a few with his arm, like the perfectly flipped screen pass to Daniel "Boom" Herron for the third touchdown at Michigan. Whether he will be the passing quarterback Troy Smith turned out to be remains to be seen. That did not emerge from Smith until midway through his junior season. As for the rifle reference, Pryor has fired some really nice bullets at times this season when he was sure of his target. You have to figure that will only improve."
ESPN.com's Big Ten players of the week: DEFENSE -- Ohio State S Kurt Coleman: Coleman strengthened his case for Big Ten defensive player of the year honors with two interceptions, both in Ohio State territory, to go along with two pass breakups in the Buckeyes' 21-10 win at Michigan. Honorable mentions go to Ohio State linebacker Brian Rolle, Purdue safety Torri Williams, Iowa linebacker Troy Johnson, Michigan defensive end Brandon Graham, Michigan State linebacker Greg Jones and Penn State linebacker Navorro Bowman. (Source: ESPN)
5 Answers: Ohio State at Michigan November 22, 2009 Source: BuckeyeSports.com - "For the 106th version of The Game, we took a close look at the play of Michigan's star defensive end, wondered about Ohio State big plays, special teams and turnovers for both teams. See how those topics played out in the last weekly installment of Five Answers...1. Can Ohio State contain Brandon Graham?: The Michigan senior defensive end made a strong case for Big Ten defensive player of the year honors in his final college game. He was nearly unblockable and finished with a sack and three other tackles for loss among his six total stops. He nearly turned the Buckeyes back by himself after they earned a first-and-goal at the 2-yard line in the third quarter. Graham threw Dan Herron for a 2-yard loss on first down then sacked Terrelle Pryor eight yards behind the line of scrimmage to set up a crucial third-and-goal from the 12...
2. Who will make plays for the Buckeye offense?: Ohio State’s longest play from scrimmage was Brandon Saine’s 29-yard yard touchdown run in the second quarter that put the Buckeyes ahead 14-3. That was the closest thing to a home run Ohio State hit, although Pryor missed a pair of long throws that could have broken the game open...Michigan’s ability to limit big plays was a major difference between the 21-10 game this turned out to be and the 42-7 blowout of 2008 when Ohio State hit a pair of long touchdown passes, had two long touchdown runs and saw another score set up by an 80-yard punt return.
3. Who will win the special teams battle?: Ohio State’s Jon Thoma’s first punt was downed at the Michigan 7, and later in the first quarter he boomed a 54-yarder that forced the Wolverines to start at their own 17 after a loss of a yard on the return, but he was not consistent after that. Three times he had boots of 35 yards or less that gave Michigan the ball at midfield or in Wolverine territory...Thoma apparently felt bad enough about his day to post an apology to his teammates on his Twitter page, but the guess here is they will have forgiven him by the time they are measured for their Big Ten championship rings.
4. Can Michigan gets its spread offense into gear?: Eight of Michigan’s 15 possessions did not yield any first downs, but the Wolverines were able to get in gear a few times. They never established much of a running game, but they made some hay with their short and quick passing game. Quarterback Tate Forcier was 23 of 38 passing, but his one touchdown toss was easily trumped by four interceptions, including one in the red zone that snuffed out the Wolverines’ last serious scoring threat...
5. Will turnovers affect the outcome?: By taking advantage of five Wolverine turnovers, Ohio State wiped out almost every good thing Michigan accomplished. Forcier set the tone for the day by dropping the ball without being hit in the end zone on Michigan’s first drive. Ohio State’s Cameron Heyward jumped on the ball for a touchdown. "To me that’s probably one of the biggest plays of the game, if not the biggest," Spitler said. "Momentum is so big in this game and we got it right off the bat."..."
Last Quarter Warrior: "...One of the players who stood out as the game wound down was freshman defensive tackle John Simon. Simon seemed to live in the Michigan backfield in the final stages of the game and made two crucial tackles, one a sack of U of M quarterback Denard Robinson on Michigan's last possession of the game. "John's been a good player," said OSU defensive coordinator and defensive line coach Jim Heacock. "He's gotten better and better all year. He's got good speed. We needed him in that fourth quarter with his speed."
Simon's play late in the game was critical. The OSU defensive coaching staff felt as if the pass rush was not what it should have been early in the game and called for the defensive line to step it up. Simon was one of the players who answered that call. "We called on the front in the second half, we said we needed to get four-man pressure because we needed to do a little bit better job covering," said Heacock. "It's a difficult offense, there's no question. They do it all," said Heacock..."
(Source: The Ozone)
10 Things We Learned from a Sixth Straight Win over Michigan November 21, 2009 Source: The Ozone - "10. Brandon Graham is a first-round NFL talent...The Buckeyes specifically game-planned to stop Michigan's one explosive defensive player and even that couldn't keep Graham from making four big stops in the backfield, including an 8-yard sack on Pryor...
9. Losing Ryan Mallett set Michigan back three years, minimum. No offense to Tate Forcier – who despite his five turnovers, showed some glimpses of ability against the Buckeye defense – but it's interesting to think what this game might have been like with Ryan Mallett under center running Lloyd Carr's offense...
8. Justin Boren made the right decision. Are there still people out there who think Boren would have been better off staying at Michigan? Really? His new set of Gold Pants, Big Championship ring and date with the Rose Bowl on New Year's Day say different...Boren went out and had one of his best games ever in his return to the Big House, including a pancake block against defensive tackle Mike Martin on Brandon Saine's long touchdown run.
7. ...the offensive line is playing at another level. It wasn't just Boren who turned in a fine day against the Wolverines Saturday. Count left tackle Jim Cordle as another lineman who had one of the best games of his career against Michigan as the same five guys played nearly every snap of the game. They couldn't contain Graham the entire day, but they managed to limit the damage while neutralizing the rest of Michigan's defense. With 251 yards on the ground, the Buckeyes have now rushed for at least 220 yards in each of the last five games, and Jim Bollman's group is playing at its highest level since 2006 pre-title game...
7. Aint no party like a Big House party. Buckeye fans have celebrated victory in a number of stadiums over the years – including of course their own – but there just seems to be something extra special about partying at the Big House. After the game ended, captain Kurt Coleman led the charge into the OSU section, doing his best Lambeau Leap impression into the south stands. The band struck up 7 Nation Army and the players stuck roses between their teeth in a celebration that mirrored the one that took place here two years ago. In fact, this current group of fifth-year seniors has been around for three straight wins in Michigan Stadium, but none of them featured as much scarlet in the stands as the one Saturday.
6. Kurt Coleman will be missed...While Doug Worthington, Todd Denlinger and Lawrence Wilson have anchored one of the best defensive fronts in the country, the player OSU will miss the most next year is safety Kurt Coleman.,, (he) had two more picks Saturday – giving him five for the season and nine for his career – and nearly had one or two more...
5. Devon Torrence could fill that role. He isn't an all-star just yet, but look for cornerback Devon Torrence to make that kind of a jump heading into next season...He is big and fast and always seems to be around the football. Unlike most corners, Torrence doesn't shy away from contact...
4. Ross Homan proves he fits the mold of great OSU linebackers...but this kid has turned into one heck of a football player... He had 12 more tackles Saturday, giving him 96 for the season, including a team-high 49 solo stops...
3. Jon Thoma is the most inconsistent punter of the Tressel era...this guy has one of the most widely erratic legs on the planet...He also had punts of 28 and 31 yards, not to mention a 35-yarder in the fourth quarter that gave the Wolverines the ball at midfield. He excels at pinning teams close to their end zone, but it's gotten to the point where Tressel might need to get Ben Buchanan ready for the long punts in the bowl game.
2. Jim Tressel doesn't mind being lucky if means beating Michigan. Just moments after beating Michigan for the sixth straight year to win the outright Big Ten title, OSU coach Jim Tressel was asked about the play call on the counter-read play to Saine that went for a 29-yard touchdown in the second quarter: "You're going to laugh, but the first one, Saine's touchdown, the student intern, student manager, put the wrong wrist band number on the board, so that was not the play we called. He called that," Tressel said with a smile.
1.Terrelle Pryor is becoming a winner...after 21 starts, Pryor is starting to look more like another former Buckeye quarterback: Craig Krenzel...Pryor has become much more of a game-manager who can step up and make big plays with his leg when the game is on the line. Both he and Tressel have always said winning is what matters most, and Pryor is getting a chance to prove that as a sophomore..."
Five Things: Michigan November 23, 2009 Source: Eleven Warriors - "Key Drives Control Momentum
While the year’s version of the The Game never quite turned into the runaway we thought it might, the Buckeyes were able to put together TD drives when they mattered most...
Pryor’s Mental Game Takes Some Strides: ...I feel good about the strides he’s making from a mental standpoint. It wasn’t long ago that myself and many of the faithful were openly wondering if he was capable of grasping the mental complexities of playing QB at an elite level. Obviously, he’s still got a ways to go but you can’t argue the progression we’ve seen in recent weeks. Yesterday, he built on that growth showcasing an improved ability to realize every play can’t successful as evidenced by his willingness to throw the ball away when receivers weren’t open and no scrambling lanes presented themselves...Of course, the other story illustrating Pryor’s (hopefully) mental emergence was his handling of the read option. He appeared poised...
Stefanie: ...To see the "SS" stickers on the helmets and the signs in the stands shows just how close the Buckeye Nation truly is and for that I think we’re all grateful we’re a part of it. RIP Stefanie. Your work and lasting impression will carry on.
Big Plays Not Without Luck: In case you missed it, Tressel was way out of the field trying to call timeout just before the snap producing Pryor’s majestic screen pass to Boom for six...The karma Gods also dialed up the misdirection counter Saine took 29 yards to the house giving the Bucks a 14-3 lead. Apparently, the wrong play was signaled in by a student manager but it worked to perfection as Saine raced untouched to the end zone. Priceless.
Defense Takes Advantage of Mis-Tates: Judging from the lack of blitzing and what looked like a pretty vanilla defensive scheme overall, it appeared Heacock and company were content with slowing the run while forcing Tate Forcier to avoid mistakes in a bend but don’t break approach that yielded 5 turnovers. The blueprint allowed Forcier to throw for 226 yards but his 4 INT and unforced fumble in the endzone killed any chances for an unlikely upset. The Buckeyes were particularly tough in the red zone allowing one TD in three UM trips inside the OSU 20. The Buckeyes would record just two sacks on the day but with Tressel focused on winning the turnover and rushing game battles, the Bullets held the Wolverines to 80 yards rushing (2.6 per) and held a +4 in turnover margin. Game. Set. Match..."
By the Numbers - Michigan November 24, 2009 Source: The Ozone - Jeff Amey writes: "...I saw a team that took a quarter to adjust to what the defense was doing, then took control of the game and pounded to more than 270 yards of rushing. I saw a team that could've passed the ball downfield whenever they wanted to against the coverages they were getting, but chose not to. I saw a team that did just enough to win the game, and it really wasn't all that much. I saw a team go up by two scores, then run clock, because they knew that the other team couldn't get back into it, and if they tried, they'd just answer with another score. The reality is that it was close because Jim Tressel chose not to blow them out...
...Quarterback...B+ The interception hurt, and led to Michigan's only touchdown, but the good decisions he made the rest of the game make up for it. The screen pass touchdown he threw in the third quarter was a thing of beauty. The two missed long balls would've been icing on the cake.
Running Backs...A- The Wolverines knew what was coming and couldn't stop it after the Buckeyes adjusted. The backs combined for 31 carries for 180 yards and a TD. That kind of production will win a lot of games.
Receivers...B Nearly an incomplete again, but the blocking was important, and the rollout/play action game helped move the chains early in the game.
Offensive Line...A- Brandon Graham caused some problems, but he is a great player. Other than that, the offensive line controlled the line of scrimmage all game long...Offensive Coaching/Gameplan...B+...Defensive Coaching/Gameplan...B...Special Teams...C+..."
Doug Lesmerises' report card for OSU-Penn State November 21, 2009 Source: Cleveland Plain Dealer - "A- -- Ohio State's defense: Michigan gained 309 yards, below its average, though Penn State, Michigan State and Wisconsin all held the Wolverines to fewer yards in Big Ten play. But the four interceptions among the five turnovers forced by the Buckeyes were twice as many as Michigan had thrown in any previous game. In fact, the Wolverines had thrown just three interceptions in their previous five games...
B+ -- DeVier Posey's understanding: The Buckeyes' No. 1 receiver had another quiet day after catching just two passes for 17 yards last week against Iowa. The Buckeyes threw on six of their first eight plays, then started leaning on the run again. So Posey finished with five catches for 38 yards, as Terrelle Pryor completed only nine of 17 passes for 67 yards, with one touchdown and two interceptions...The Buckeyes did take two deep shots down the field Saturday and had a step on Michigan defenders, but Pryor overthrew both.
B -- Jim Tressel's self-awareness: Tressel received some criticism last week after Iowa forced overtime when the Buckeyes grew very conservative in the second half...Saturday, Ohio State was conservative as well, and again, the Buckeyes won..."Seldom have we been accused of being conservative," Tressel joked, before admitting to the second-half approach. "We probably did [get conservative], but as we've said to you many times, we feel as if our number one task on offense is to make sure our defense is in the best position they can be. We probably got conservative, but we understand that we won the Big Ten championship and we just had a big win over our rivals, but we have a long way to go to be as good as we want to be."
C -- Michigan's fans: They got on Justin Boren, who transferred from Michigan, and Pryor, who chose Ohio State over Michigan, but otherwise allowed themselves to be shouted down by Ohio State cheers at times. Their frustration is obvious and understandable -- There was a group of fans holding up a sign thanking Rodriguez, but they were Ohio State fans. Still, veteran observers of many Ohio Sate-Michigan games believed Saturday was the least-crowded they'd ever seen Michigan Stadium, though the attendance was announced at 110,922. Flecks of scarlet were everywhere...
The Bottom Line November 21, 2009 Source: Columbus Dispatch - "Offense (3 leaves): Les Miserables will decry this as generous, and a 67-yard passing effort largely was an affront to modern football. But the effort was easily redeemed by the 1-2-3 ground game. Daniel Herron, Terrelle Pryor and Brandon Saine weren't always at their best, but 254 combined yards were good enough.
Defense (4 leaves): This was no '08 blowout, which violated terms of the Geneva Conventions, but the D made its share of stands. The five turnovers stand out, though it's fair to say some were less forced than awarded. The Buckeyes delivered the licks all day, and Brian Rolle was the foreman. Sore Wolverines today.
Special teams (3 leaves): Better than last week, no doubt, but there remains room for special-teams growth. The busy bee was Jon Thoma, who punted better (38.6 average, three inside the 20) but left a couple of goodies back at the hotel. At the end of the day, they helped more than hurt, and that's OK.
Coaching (3 leaves): You say you want an evolution, but it's no secret that many hard-cores will accept the white-toast approach as long as it keeps churning out Big Ten titles (five straight now) and Michigan wins (this makes six in a row and eight of nine). November success in January would be a start.
Fun quotient (3 leaves): The game was a sloppy mess of unkept promises, so the juice was in the scene. To that end, there was more red than ever in the Big House, enough to start their own O-H, I-O in the fourth quarter. Soon thereafter, you could see the scarlet expand as the blue and yellow shirts headed for the exits.
Opponent (2 leaves): Victors? Valiant? Hail no. M is for Mess now that a 4-0 start has Morphed into a no-bowl-for-you 5-7 Meltdown. QB Tate Forcier has some fire in his belly, but he also has far too much Nuke LaLoosh in his noggin. Best guess: RichRod survives for another year. Does anyone smell a lucky seven?
Officiating (3 leaves): Other than the blatant miss of Kurt Coleman's second interception, quite properly overturned by replay, the officials did a swell job. (Their best work: maintaining a barrier between the two teams during warm-ups, establishing control early.) Good thing for Tress the refs ignored his timeout plea. ..."
Michigan winless skid against Buckeyes to reach at least 2,562 days November 22, 2009 Source: Cleveland Plain Dealer & SI.com - "... it's been 2,192 days since Michigan's football team defeated Ohio State. Thanks to Ohio State's 21-10 win over the Wolverines on Saturday in Ann Arbor, that number is assured to grow to at least 2,562 days, to at least next Nov. 27, when the Buckeyes host Michigan. Early prospects for that game have to favor Ohio State...because, as Stewart Mandel writes for Sports Illustrated's SI.com, the Buckeyes seem to have a decided advantage over Michigan these days.
Writes Mandel: ...It must be hard for Michigan fans to pick the most excruciating element of Ohio State's win Saturday in Ann Arbor, its sixth straight Wolverines conquest. Was it: A) That a sea of red could be seen throughout the Big House every time ABC panned to its aerial shot? B) That quarterback Tate Forcier, the one-time freshman savior, committed five turnovers, including a fumble in the end zone that set up Ohio State's first touchdown? C) That Michigan's much-maligned defense actually played one of its best games of the season, yet the Wolverines still lost? D) That Saturday's final 21-10 score meant the Wolverines actually covered the spread?
The Wolverines' state of flux has allowed their arch-rival to expand what was already a significant gap between the two programs. Remember, many Michigan fans soured on Lloyd Carr due in large part to his 1-6 record against Jim Tressel. On Saturday, Tressel's Buckeyes won for the eighth time in nine meetings with That Team Up North and captured their third outright Big Ten title in four years.
Ohio State Coaches, Players Honor Spielman: Ohio State football players and coaches paid a special tribute to Stefanie Spielman during their annual clash against Michigan on Saturday. Spielman, the wife of ex-Buckeye Chris Spielman, died Thursday after an 11-year battle with breast cancer.
A sticker, with Spielman's initials and a pink Buckeye leaf, was placed on each player's helmet. Coach Jim Tressel wore the sticker on his signature sweater vest, 10TV's Dan Fronczak reported.
Players and coaches said that her loss was a great one. "We talked going into the game that the toughest team wins in this game," Tressel said. "If we could be half as tough as Stefanie, we'd have a chance." "I feel bad for Mr. Spielman but I'm sure he knows he has God on his side," said junior linebacker Brian Rolle. "He's a very religious guy. I know that she's in a better place. She had a long fight."
Tressel said he and the team discussed the impact Stefanie Spielman had on both the Columbus and Ohio State communities. "When we get back home and have a chance to reflect a little bit, we need to send some love the Spielman's way," Tressel said. "We’ve always said the toughest team wins in this game and if we were half as tough as Stefanie, we had a chance," said Tressel. (Source: 10TVnews)
Going Home:: "OSU offensive lineman Justin Boren began his career at the University of Michigan but when former Head Coach Lloyd Carr resigned, Boren decided to return to his home state of Ohio and play for the Buckeyes. He has no regrets about his decision. "I love Ohio State. I've loved it since day one. I wish I had three more years here," said Boren after the Michigan game. It was Boren's first visit to Michigan Stadium since his transfer, and as you might expect, his welcome was not exactly warm at times. "There wasn't too much of it on the field, but there was quite a bit coming from the fans," said Boren. "I don't think I can repeat a lot of what was being said."
Boren said he was able to block most of that stuff, but other Buckeyes heard it too. "There were two fans behind our bench that kept going at him, but from the players, there wasn’t any trash talking until one guy from Michigan at the very end that said some words to him," said fellow offensive lineman Jim Cordle. Boren had heard some things before the game, but wasn't intimidated in the least. "I knew there was going to be talking, but I wasn't worried about my safety. I had 70 guys who were going to back me up," he said referring to the OSU travel squad..."
(Source: The Ozone)
Rodriguez spoils image with spoiled display in defeat November 22, 2009 Source: CBSSports.com - Gregg Doyel writes: "-Michigan's Rich Rodriguez is not who I thought he was. And that's a shame, because I thought he was smart and arrogant and talented and defiant. Taken individually, not all of those qualities are positive -- but as a whole, they come together to form one heck of an impressive college football coach. Urban Meyer has those qualities. Brian Kelly has them. Bob Stoops. Pete Carroll.
Rich Rodriguez? He's not who I thought he was, because on Saturday after getting spanked 21-10 by Ohio State he showed some more of his qualities, qualities I didn't know he had. And whether you take them individually or as a whole, they're bad qualities. He was sniveling. He was finger-pointing. He was not the man Michigan hired from West Virginia. He was not a Michigan Man at all, unless the new era of Michigan Man is more Bill Frieder, less Lloyd Carr...
But have no fear. After the loss Saturday to Ohio State, Rodriguez knew exactly where the blame should go. At Lloyd Carr. And at the media. These weren't exactly subtle shots, either..."
LSU's Miles, Michigan's Rodriguez being exposed to harsh realities November 23, 2009 Source: SI.com - "...With a 21-10 loss to Ohio State, Rodriguez completed his second straight losing season at Michigan, an indignity Big Blue followers have not suffered since 1962-63. Between his ugly divorce from West Virginia, an NCAA investigation into allegations he violated practice limits and a 3-13 Big Ten record to date, Rodriguez's reputation as an offensive guru suddenly seems like ancient history. Now, to most, he's a man in over his head and begging for sympathy regarding his rebuilding project...."
On the game ... "We made a lot of plays today that had Michigan beating Michigan. You got to give them credit. They made the plays, but it's unfortunate because our guys gave great effort. We had a lot of opportunities; we just didn't get it done."
On Michigan's defense ... "I thought they played a good enough football game. We gave them seven points on the first fumble. The defense hung in there all day. They got decent field position for the offense. They got a turnover, but offensively we got a rhythm at times and then just when we were rolling we'd have a [bad] play, so it cost us."..."
Wolverines have plenty of blame to go around November 23, 2009 Source: Detroit News - "..."If we're not in a bowl game, we're all going to be ticked," Michigan coach Rich Rodriguez said in late July during the Big Ten kickoff meetings. But for a second straight season, there will be no postseason game for the Wolverines, and it's a pretty safe assumption that there are lots of people, including players, coaches and fans, who are ticked. Michigan's 21-10 loss to Ohio State Saturday completed a streak of seven straight losses in Big Ten play as it finished 5-7, 1-7 in the conference, and the game highlighted all of the reasons why Michigan has struggled this season. For Rodriguez, who has been head coach for two seasons, his record with the Wolverines is now 8-16. And so, another long offseason for the Michigan football team begins, void of the 15 always meaningful bowl practices that help identify and improve the players of the future ..."
Shawn Windsor: 3 U-M football questions November 22, 2009 Source: Detroit free Press - "Michigan looked good on offense most of the game and almost outgained Ohio State in total yardage. Was this a game U-M could have won?...Which players should the Wolverines build around for next season?...Which is more surprising -- last season's 3-9 mark or this season's 5-7? And which Bowl-less season was worse?..."
Opposite sideline November 21, 2009 Source: Columbus Dispatch - "Drawing board: Michigan needed a balanced offense to keep Ohio State off-stride, and it couldn't manage to do that. The Wolverines averaged only 2.6 yards on their 31 carries, with a long of 17. Michigan was hurt by the absence of injured Brandon Minor, its most experienced and physical running back.
The Buckeyes battle the Wolverines this Saturday in one of the biggest rivalries in sports. Palestra.net's Jackie Bardosi has the story from Columbus, Ohio.
"Katie Witham reports from Columbus and Shireen Saski reports from Ann Arbor to get you ready for the big Ohio State/Michigan showdown." (Source: Big Ten Network)
"I'm not worried about overconfidence because we've got enough guys that have played in this game that they know better than that. So if there's any inkling of overconfidence, it will get knocked out of their throwback uniforms on the first play."
- Jim Tressel when asked about the team possibly being overconfident for Saturday's game.
Up next: The Game. Michigan. That's what the schedule says anyway. But the Wolverines (5-6, 1-6) are reeling again in the second year under coach Rich Rodriguez. Their 45-24 loss at Wisconsin was their sixth straight in the Big Ten. A loss to OSU and they will sit out the bowl season for a second straight year and have back-to-back losing seasons for the first time since 1962 and '63. Though the spread offense is improved with freshman QB Tate Forcier, the defense has gone backward. In a nutshell, Michigan leads the Big Ten in scoring (31.6-point average) and is ninth in scoring defense (28.1). This week's challenge: The Buckeyes must treat it like The Game, regardless. These are desperate times for the team up north, and a win over Ohio State would be just the tonic. (Source: Columbus Dispatch)
Four Downs: Doug Lesmerises take on what to watch when the ball is snapped November 20, 2009 Source: Cleveland Plain Dealer - "First down, Brandon Graham, Michigan defensive end: Last week, the Buckeyes were battling Iowa's Adrian Clayborn, a player OSU tackle Jim Cordle called "Cam Heyward and Thaddeus Gibson rolled into one," ...Graham might be Clayborn, Gibson and Heyward then. Ranked No. 24 on ESPN analyst Mel Kiper Jr's draft board, he could be the first Big Ten player chosen in next year's NFL Draft...
Second down, Kurt Coleman, Ohio State safety: The senior safety has a variety of jobs against Michigan's zone-read offense. The Buckeyes have faced fewer spread teams than they did a year ago, with some teams actually backing away from spread tendencies this season...Coleman is Ohio State's third-leading tackler, behind linebackers Ross Homan and Brian Rolle, averaging six stops per game. When the Wolverines run their zone-read options, he needs to be ready for quarterback Tate Forcier to run, hand off to a running back or throw a quick bubble screen to the outside...
Third down, Carlos Brown, Michigan running back: Running back Brandon Minor, the one Wolverine who some thought could really scare the Buckeyes on offense, is out today with a shoulder injury...Instead, the Buckeyes will party with Brown (480 yards, 5.9 yard average), who should lead a running back group that also includes Vincent Smith (244, 6.1), Michael Shaw (178, 5.1) and Kevin Grady (80, 8.0). Overall, Michigan is averaging 4.7 yards per carry, the same as Ohio State. The Buckeyes have 2,136 rushing yards on 459 carries, while Michigan has 2,154 on 463 carries. Different styles, remarkably similar stats.
Fourth down, Devin Barclay, Ohio State kicker: Jim Tressel thought Ohio State's special teams play, including the punting of Jon Thoma, was a little shaky last week...But everyone wants to know more about Devin Barclay, right?...Ohio State's 26-year-old backup kicker hit the game-winning field goal against Iowa last week at a time when some of his teammates may not have even known his name...He may not be a flash in the pan. Aaron Pettrey, the injured kicker Barclay replaced, and punter Jon Thoma are both seniors. The Buckeyes have one kicker on scholarship in redshirt freshman Ben Buchanan, who will end up focusing on either kicking or punting. The Buckeyes also have kicker Drew Basil in the next recruiting class..."
Five Key Factors November 20, 2009 Source: Columbus Dispatch - "1) DON’T GET CUTE: ...Ohio State finally has found some consistency in the running game, racking up four straight games of 228 yards or more. The Buckeyes have risen to 22nd in the nation in rushing. Michigan comes in ranked 84th against the run. After last week’s conservative play-calling, OSU fans would like to see coach Jim Tressel air it out a bit. But his mantra is to win by the surest possible way, and this week, that’s by land.
2) SECOND-HALF SWOON: If OSU leads at halftime, that might be more than half the battle. Michigan has outscored teams by 76 points in the first half and been outscored by 41 in the second...Tate Forcier, is one factor: In the second half of games, he has completed a lower percentage of passes for fewer yards and with more interceptions than in the first half....
3) CORDLE VS. GRAHAM: A key matchup to watch is Ohio State LT Jim Cordle against Michigan DE Brandon Graham... Graham is the only real impact player on a bad Wolverines defense...is the most likely player to harass QB Terrelle Pryor and force bad decisions...
4) THOMA VS. ZOLTAN: ...the punting matchup. Michigan’s Zoltan Mesko is sixth nationally in average (44.7 yards). If he can consistently pin OSU deep, it could further limit the options for an already cautious offense. For OSU, Jon Thoma had an off week last week. Michigan’s offense is dangerous, and another poor effort could lead to short fields and a point total the Buckeyes aren’t used to overcoming.
5) SMELLING THE ROSES?: Of course, the Buckeyes say they’re not overlooking Michigan...are they starting to take wins in this series for granted?...The 1996 season provides a cautionary tale, when the Buckeyes already had a Rose Bowl bid clinched and were upset by the Wolverines...."
On the edge: Dispatch beat writers Ken Gordon and Tim May predict which team has the edge in this week's game. See if you agree..."
"Both teams have a lot to play for. We want to go into the bowl game on a roll and they need a win to be bowl eligible. And it’s the Ohio State-Michigan game. That’s all the motivation both sides need." - senior safety Kurt Coleman
"They’re a lot better than last year...their offense is explosive. Forcier plays like a veteran – I’ve been impressed with him. They actually have two good quarterbacks that can run and pass. And they have a stable of good running backs." - senior defensive lineman Lawrence Wilson
Hurricane Earle: Once again, as he has in each of his nine seasons at Ohio State, Tressel invited former OSU coach Earle Bruce to address the team on the Sunday of Michigan week. Cordle gave the following account: "This year he came in and he was kind of somber. The hurricane hadn't boiled up quite yet. He brought in some roses, and he was like, 'I grow roses, and a rose is a rose is a rose is a rose, a win is a win is a win is a win.' And then he threw the roses, and he was like, 'You have to forget about it for a week. You're judged by this game.' " "Obviously, he energized us and got us going and made us forget the Rose Bowl for a week and made us remember what this game means," Cordle said. Asked if he enjoys giving the annual talks, Bruce said, "I always like to talk to young people and talk about football. I don't know what good I do." (Source: Columbus Dispatch)
Jim Tressel: "It's an exciting week. Our guys can feel the excitement on the campus and in the community. It's the reason many of them chose to go to Ohio State or to go to Michigan was so they could be a part of this game for four or five years and it's just a little bit different feeling. It's a hard one to explain unless you've been there." After Saturday's overtime win against Iowa, Tressel said his players could enjoy the win until midnight: "When the clock strikes 12, we know what week it is," he said, "and that's exciting."
Rich Rodriguez: "Just because I did not coach here before, I did not play here, I'm not from the state of Michigan, doesn't mean I don't understand the rivalry," "I understand it as well as any coach can understand it. I've only [coached] in it in one game. Trust me, I understand the importance of the rivalry."
Big Ten Teleconference-November 17, 2009- Source: Big Ten Network
Ohio State takes Big Ten-best all-time winning percentage into Michigan game November 17, 2009 Source: Cleveland Plain Dealer - "Ohio State not only enters Saturday's game against Michigan as the 2009 Big Ten football champion, but also as the school with the best all-time record in the league. For conference games, Ohio State moved in front of Michigan with its 2008 victory over the Wolverines, edging in front by a razor-thin 0.72283 to 0.72282 advantage over the play of more than 600 games for each school. Since then, the Buckeyes have widened the gap, on the strength of their fifth straight Big Ten title while Michigan has struggled this season. Then on Saturday with its victory over Iowa, Ohio State moved in front in another category: best winning percentage for all games while a member of the Big Ten..."
Key matchup Ohio State QB Terrelle Pryor vs. Michigan DE Brandon Graham. Pryor, who considered attending Michigan after it hired Rodriguez, has thrown three touchdowns and run for two scores without throwing an interception in his last three games. Graham, who leads the nation with 21 tackles for losses, is Michigan's best hope to force Pryor into mistakes.
Pryor showing less flash, but OSU picking up more wins November 20, 2009 Source: Canton Repository - "As a young quarterback develops, there are subtle, often unseen, signs of progress. Little that Terrelle Pryor does goes without being noticed. Few, however, recognized what Ohio State’s sophomore quarterback did late in last week’s win against Iowa. Ohio State senior offensive lineman Jim Cordle did. "He saved my butt," Cordle said. Early in the fourth quarter of a 10-10 game, the Buckeyes faced a third-and-10 from the Iowa 30. If they didn’t convert, OSU likely would have punted and tried to play field position. Pryor took a snap out of the shotgun and immediately headed for a huge hole off left tackle where Cordle was. "That wasn’t designed," Cordle said. "We had a shallow (pass) to our tight end called. That play right there shows how far Terrelle has come."
What Pryor took advantage of was something he promised Cordle he would do. Iowa defensive end Adrian Clayborn usually took a wide angle off the edge to Pryor, which created a hole so long as Cordle pushed Clayborn far enough outside. On the third play of the fourth quarter, when it was too late for Iowa to make an adjustment, Pryor made his move. Instead of throwing a short pass, he ran for 19 yards to the Iowa 11. On the next play, Daniel Herron scored the go-ahead touchdown. "Since the Purdue game, you can really see his development," Cordle said. "That play was big time."
That play also was an indication of how much progress Pryor has made since Ohio State’s season came crashing to a thud with a loss at Purdue. Had Pryor followed the script against Iowa, he’d have thrown the ball. Instead, he made the play that helped his team most. Michigan’s struggling defense could be the thing Pryor needs. He has been steady and taken care of the football in wins against Penn State and Iowa. Saturday in Ann Arbor, Pryor will face a defense that’s giving up 31 points a game and nearly 200 yards rushing and passing each week..."
• This is the 106th meeting between the schools in football; Michigan leads the series 57-42-6, though Ohio State has won the last five.
• Tressel and the Buckeyes go for their 8th win in 9 years; the previous 8 wins against Michigan took 26 years.
• Last Meeting: The Buckeyes won 42-7, in Columbus in 2008
• Ohio State has won a school-record five straight for the longest streak since Michigan won six in a row in the 1920s.
• Since 1951, the Buckeyes hold a 30-26-2 lead, including victories in seven of the eight games during the Jim Tressel era. Ohio State has won the last five meetings with Michigan.
• Since the 'The Game' was moved to end of season, only one time has a team with a losing record defeated a team with a winning record. In 1951, 3-5 Michigan beat 4-2-2 Ohio State 7-0 in Woody Hayes' first season.
• Record in Ann Arbor: Michigan leads, 30-19-4.
• Selected as the greatest rivalry in all of sport by ESPN.com in 1999, Ohio State and Michigan will meet for the 92nd straight year on the gridiron.
• The two programs have played every year since 1918, a streak that ranks 10th in FBS (Division I-A) for the longest uninterrupted series.
ROSE BOWL BOUND:
• OSU has accepted a bid to the 2010 Rose Bowl. It is the team's first Rose Bowl appearance since 1996. This is Tressel's first Rose Bowl appearance since he was an assistant at OSU 25 years ago.
• "A lot of thrills come with having this job, but there's nothing quite like going to the Rose Bowl." - Woody Hayes
BIG TEN RECORD:
• Ohio State’s all-time Big Ten record now stands at 456-190-28 – the best percentage of any Big Ten school.
• OSU has taken the lead nationally by heading to their eighth BCS bowl in the 12-year history of the BCS. Ohio State entered the season tied with USC and Oklahoma, but neither the Trojans nor Sooners are headed to a BCS game this season.
Player To Watch:
• Ohio State: G Justin Boren will be play in the Big House for the first time since earning Michigan letters in 2006 and '07. He transferred to Ohio State, parting with a shot that "family values have eroded" in the transition from Lloyd Carr to Rodriguez.
• Ohio State has totaled seven team rushing performances for at least 200 yards this season, tying for the most in the Tressel era.
• The winner of the rushing battle is 8-0 in the game since 2000.
THE RUN STOPPERS:
• Ranked fourth nationally in rushing defense, the Buckeyes are giving up just 83.7 yards per game on the ground this season, allowing just 2.7 yards per rush. OSU’s opponents have scored only six rushing touchdowns in 11 games.
• During a three-game span, Ohio State allowed
just 13, 82 and 18 yards rushing vs. Toledo,
Illinois and Indiana, an average of only
• Ohio State has allowed 136 points through 11 games this season, an average of 12.3 per game. The record for the fewest points allowed in a season in the Tressel era is 166, both in 2006 and 2007.
• 'The Game' decided by 3 points or less: Buckeyes lead 6-5-6.
• 'The Game' decided by 7 points or less: Buckeyes lead 17-16-6.
BEST WINNING PCT. AWAY FROM HOME:
• Since 2003 the Buckeyes are 6th best in the nation @ .711 with a 27-11 record; texas is 1st and USC 2nd.
4th CAPTAIN & HONORARY CAPTAIN:
• Ray Small, senior wide receiver, will be the 4th captain.
• Archie Griffin, OSU great & two-time Heisman Trophy Winner, will be the honorary captain.
• Sean McDonough (P-by-P) and Matt Millen (analyst) in the booth and Holly Rowe on the sidelines.
MICHIGAN AT A GLANCE:
• The Wolverines are 5-6 (1-6 Big Ten) and are looking for one more win to become bowl eligible.
UM started the season 4-0, but have lost 6-of-7 since, including a 45-24 loss at Wisconsin Saturday.
• Last season, the 3-9 Wolverines missed a bowl game for the first time in 33 years.
SERIES VS OSU:
• The Buckeyes are the most common opponent for the Wolverines, trailed closely by Michigan
State (102 games).
• This is the first time an unranked Michigan team is hosting a ranked Ohio State team since 1993. That year Michigan defeated 5th-ranked Ohio State, 28-0.
• A loss by the Wolverines would set a program record for Big Ten losses in a single season with seven and Michigan would have consecutive seasons with at least seven losses for the first time in school history.
• Extend Big Ten losing streak to seven, the longest since 10 game slide from 1935-37
• Have season end with five game losing streak, which has only happened once in 1934.
Player To Watch:
• Michigan: WR Roy Roundtree, the 6-0 senior from Trotwood OH, has emerged as a go-to option for QB Tate Forcier, making 21 catches for 274 yards and two TDs in the last three games.
• After averaging more than 200 yards rushing per game, the Wolverines were held to just 71 rushing yards in the loss to Wisconsin.
• According to Rodriguez, RB Brandon Minor is out for Saturday's game.
WOLVERINES 1st & 2nd:
• Michigan leads the Big Ten in scoring in all games played with 31.2 ppg. They rank second in rushing with 195.8 ypg, just ahead of Ohio State’s 194.2.
• Michigan is 11th - last - in the Big Ten in scoring defense (35 ppg), rushing defense (196.6 ypg), total defense (444.3 ypg.), turnover margin (-9), pass efficiency defense, time of possession, red zone defense and red zone offense.
MICHIGAN IN NOVEMBER:
• U-M has compiled an impressive 298-121-20 all-time record in November.
• The Wolverines have a 1-5 mark in the 11th month of the year under Rich Rodriguez.
• Michigan is ninth in the Big Ten and 84th nationally in scoring defense (28.1 avg.).
• Michigan is ninth in the Big Ten in red zone defense, allowing 37 scores in 42 trips inside the 20-yard line (23 TDs, 14 FG).
• Michigan is sixth in the Big Ten and 56th in the NCAA in opponent third-down conversion percentage (38.1 pct.).
• U-M’s tackles for loss are tied for 23rd in the nation with 7.00 per contest.
• The Wolverines have forced 15 turnovers by the opposition (10 interceptions, 5 fumbles) -9th-best in the conference.
• Senior Brandon Graham ranks fourth nationally with 1.9 TFL’s per game. His 21 TFLs this season are
the most of any player in the country.
• Donovan Warren has recorded 50 or more stops three straight seasons. Tied for third in the Big Ten
and tied for 29th nationally with 10 PBUs. Leads the Big Ten in interceptions during conference play; collected interceptions in four of the six league games.
• Rich Rodriguez is in his second year at Michigan with an overall record of 8-15 and 113-77-2 overall as a head coach.
• Rodriguez in the Big Ten has compiled a 3-12 record in conference games.
• Rodriguez has a 13-18 career mark against top 25 squads but has claimed victories in five of his last nine games.
Updates: Thursday, Tressel called quarterback Terrelle Pryor 100 percent healthy for this week’s game during his final press conference of the week. While Pryor’s injured ankle should be much better after carrying the ball a total of 13 times in the two games against Penn State and Iowa (after carrying it 110 times in the first nine games), it’s hard to believe a player could all of a sudden be 100 percent healthy after playing two of the most physical defenses on the schedule.
Tackle Mike Adams could have played last week, but Tressel said Jim Cordle was doing well against Adrian Clayborn, and he didn't see the point of throwing Adams in there.
Also, tackle J.B. Shugarts played more than Tressel expected last week, and should start this week. With Marcus Hall getting the start at right tackle, Shugarts came off the bench against Iowa. "I would think the fact that Shugarts probably had 50 plays would lead you to think that he would probably go. Now, this is Monday and we don't know – haven't been out there yet, but if the game were today, I would expect it to be Shugarts." The coach thinks that Shugarts will start the Michigan game and Hall will be used as a reserve. Thursday Update: Sophomore J.B. Shugarts will be back in the starting lineup at right tackle this week with senior Jim Cordle a the left tackle spot, but and Mike Adams will also be available to play on the left side with freshman Marcus Hall backing up Shugarts on the right side.
Defensive tackle Dexter Larimore, who played about 7-10 plays last week, should be ready for more action this week, Tressel said.
"Dexter Larimore played seven, eight, nine, 10 plays, I’m not really sure. You’d hope he’s even better this week. But one thing is getting healthy; the other thing is being ready to get in the fray. We could sure use Dexter being at his top level."
Tressel said Monday he expects the ankles of both Terrelle Pryor and Boom Herron to be ready to go for the big game.
(Sources: Columbus Dispatch/The Ozone/Bucknuts.com)
STILL NEEDS WORK: For all the adulation poured upon Ohio State's defense, it sure does kick away a lot of games in the fourth quarter. Last year it allowed Wisconsin and Texas to score huge touchdowns late in games. It happened again this year against USC and again vs. Iowa. The Buckeyes held a 14-point lead in the fourth quarter, but watched it evaporate on a kickoff return for a touchdown -- which the defense can't control -- and an eight-play, 70-yard drive to tie the game in the final minutes. Before this defense can truly be considered elite, it needs to learn how to close out teams in the fourth quarter -- not let them get back in the game. (Source: Columbus Dispatch)
Tressel: Special teams 'unsettling': Touchdown on kickoff by Hawkeyes, poor punts draw coach's attention...Tressel detests losing the special teams competitions, especially this late in the season. "It's very unsettling," Tressel said. "We call them the special units and we couldn't say that after that game. We didn't win the punt game. We didn't win the kickoff-cover game..."
OSU kicker thrust into rose-hued spotlight November 21, 2009 Source: Dayton Daily Newsr - "He’s the guy who saved the Ohio State season — the player who kicked the Buckeyes past Iowa a week ago and into both a berth in the Rose Bowl and at least a share of the Big Ten title. And yet there’s not a more unlikely hero than Devin Barclay. At 26, he is the oldest Buckeye, but he’s also the player with the least football experience on the team. A month ago, only the most ardent of OSU fans even knew his name.
A walk-on kicker, he has no scholarship and until recently didn’t even have his own jersey number. He wore No 12, same as star receiver Dane Sanzenbacher. It wasn’t a concern of the Bucks though. Aaron Pettrey was their veteran kicker. Barclay was the unheralded back-up and not about to get on the field. An All-America soccer player in high school, he had turned pro at 17 and played Major League Soccer for five seasons, the last two with the Columbus Crew...
Although his number was changed to 23 when he became the starter, the equipment guys forgot to pack the new jersey for the Iowa game. So in the dressing room before the kickoff, they ripped his name patch off the old No. 12 shirt and sewed it — "kind of sketchily," he laughed — to the back of another No. 23 they found. Then all of a sudden the game is in overtime and Barclay said his pal Pettrey pulled him aside: "He said, ‘You’re gonna have a chance to be a hero, get yourself ready.’ As I was kicking into the net, he was in my ear, carrying on normal conversation, relaxing me."
After making the 39-yarder to win the game, the stunned Barclay pulled off his helmet and began running around like a soccer player who’d just scored a goal. Teammates mobbed him, fans poured onto the field, roses seemed to be everywhere. Later he’d get a text message from a soccer buddy who watched the game in Slovenia...On campus this week, students told him he was their hero.
But the wildest thing happened out there on the field right after the game. As he was mobbed, somebody pulled of his name tag and kept it as a souvenir. Devin Barclay was nameless again — but this time for a gloriously different reason..."
A couple of days ago, Devin Barclay — Ohio State’s new and quite unlikely kicker, a guy who first had a career playing soccer for U.S., national teams and then five years as a pro — made a great point about the fanatical OSU and Michigan football rivalry. "I know Ohio State and Michigan hate each other, but I think it’s more from a sense of competition," said Barclay, who may have gone to high school in Maryland, but he knows enough about this scrap to distinguish it from other forms of "hate" he’s seen in his sports career. "I’ve played qualifying matches in Mexico and I’ve seen how American players get treated there," he said. "I’ve witnessed what they think of us and they REALLY don’t like us. Fans are not afraid to say anything and some of it would be really offensive to people here..."
SURPRISE STARTER?: Michigan coach Rich Rodriguez was asked Wednesday if Tate Forcier or Denard Robinson would be starting at QB for the Wolverines. "Tate more than likely," he said. "But it's still only Wednesday. We'll wait until Saturday. But they're both going to play. I'm proud of both of them. Denard's a true freshman and has only been here since August, but I think he's made remarkable progress." (Source: Associated Press)
"If I have to spend 10 hours this week watching film, I'm going to do that. We're going to get the seniors to a bowl game. We're going to come out and do what we need to do to beat Ohio State."
- UM quarterback Tate Forcier looking ahead to 'The Game' after UM's loss to Wisconsin on Saturday
Michigan's quarterback play improved from last season November 18, 2009 Source: Cleveland Plain Dealer - "There's one thing about Michigan that's undoubtedly better than a year ago, and that's the quarterback play, which is now in the hands of freshman Tate Forcier, with freshman Denard Robinson also taking snaps. "Their quarterback is a lot better," OSU defensive lineman Doug Worthington said. "The quarterback brings a lot more speed and is very versatile, a good athlete, a good player. The offense is pretty similar to last year, but they're clicking a lot better because they have him as an extra running guy."...While Forcier has battled injuries and freshman mistakes, throwing three touchdowns against three interceptions in his past six games, he and Robinson certainly pose more of a threat than the Buckeyes saw in the first season of Wolverines coach Rich Rodriguez.
"When you have a dual threat like they do in Forcier and Robinson, they can both run and throw the ball, it's difficult to stop," Ohio State linebacker Austin Spitler said. "When you play two quarterbacks, it's hard sometimes to get a feel for them. You have the Forcier kid in there, next thing you know you'll have the Robinson kid, who's maybe a little bit better athlete. It's hard to get the feel of the game when they're rolling people like that. They have so many threats on offense." But they probably won't have all of them. Michigan's leading rusher, Brandon Minor, is doubtful for the game with a shoulder injury, Rodriguez told reporters in Michigan on Wednesday...Carlos Brown, who has run for 480 yards and averaged 5.9 yards per game, is feeling better after battling knee problems and should move to the front of the tailback rotation.
But with Ohio State's run defense, the best chance for Michigan to make big plays lies with its quarterbacks. "We have to have our eyes on a swivel," Buckeyes senior safety Kurt Coleman said. "We can't let anyone get past us and we always have to be conscious of coming up and making a play on Tate scrambling."..."
Forciers have history of playing at multiple schools: David Biderman wrote: "Rumors swirled last week that University of Michigan freshman quarterback Tate Forcier was considering transferring. Fans shouldn't be shocked. Mr. Forcier transferred to a charter high school from a private school after his freshman year, then played for a third school because the charter school didn’t have a team. His older brother Jason played at two high schools and two colleges. Brother Chris went to three high schools and transferred this year to Furman from UCLA." Forcier has told the Free Press he does not plan to transfer. (Sources: Wall Street Journal & Detroit Free Press)
Buckeyes' Saine, Herron save best for last November 19, 2009 Source: ESPN - "...Could the Buckeyes win the Big Ten without a bell cow in the backfield? The answer arrived last Saturday at Ohio Stadium. Saine and Herron turned in their best performances of the season in the biggest game of the season. The two backs combined for 200 rush yards and three touchdowns against a stout Iowa defense as Ohio State rode a run-heavy offense to a 27-24 overtime victory. "Those are two tough kids and the seniors mean a lot to those two," Tressel said after the game. "They were not going to let those seniors down."
Ohio State didn't hide its intentions on offense from the get-go. Tressel didn't want to throw downfield against an Iowa defense that ranks second nationally in interceptions (19). So the Buckeyes ran the ball a season-high 51 times, with 43 attempts going to either Saine or Herron. Ohio State's offensive line, which, like Saine and Herron, has drawn plenty of criticism this season, imposed its will against the Iowa defensive front. "Boom [Herron] and Brandon were running the ball," quarterback Terrelle Pryor told reporters. "We really didn't need to pass." The two backs accounted for almost all of Ohio State's big plays on offense...But when Ohio State needed to lean on the run game, both backs stepped up. "They both learned their way as they backed up Beanie over the years," Tressel said. "They waited their turn and kept trying to improve along the way, and they're playing good football." ..."
Little has gone right for Michigan defense November 18, 2009 Source: Columbus Dispatch - "For a program with as rich a tradition for stout defense as Michigan, the numbers are staggering. The Wolverines are yielding 443 yards per Big Ten game. They are surrendering 35 points per game in the conference. In the past 10 games, Michigan opponents have scored 37 of 40 times they've reached the red zone. Not once has Michigan forced a turnover inside its 20-yard line. "There's no question defensively, particularly the last several ballgames, we've not played well and given up some big plays," Wolverines coach Rich Rodriguez said. "That's been disappointing."
Against Wisconsin last week, Michigan switched from its standard 3-4 to a 4-4 in hopes of slowing the Badgers' run game. Didn't work. Wisconsin ran for 229 yards. At least it was better than the 377 rushing yards that Illinois ran up two weeks earlier. Not that the pass defense is any better. In the past four weeks, Michigan has given up 11 touchdown passes. Purdue threw for 367 yards against the Wolverines. "We're still constantly evaluating," Rodriguez said. "We made some changes. We're still searching for that right combination."
Defensive tackle Ryan Van Bergen said allowing big plays has been the most persistent problem. "We're getting close, but there are still fundamental errors we're making, technical errors," he said. "You can't give up 40-something points and expect the offense to pull us out of it. Especially against Ohio State, with a good offense, we have to do better this week."..."
2009 Big Ten Conference Team & Individual Statistics Through games of NOVEMBER 15, 2009
Last Time Out... November 17, 2009 Source: BuckeyeSports.com - "The 106th edition of The Game is finally here. Michigan will be looking for revenge this weekend when the Buckeyes travel to the Big House. Take a look back at Ohio State's 2008 shellacking of the Wolverines in this edition of "Last Time Out..."
This Date In Buckeye History November 21, 2009 Source: BuckeyeSports.com - "Every day in the late summer and fall has its moments in Ohio State football history, and Nov. 21 is no different. The Buckeyes are 11-4-1 on this date, which includes an emotional victory in Earle Bruce's final game as head coach. Take a trip back through the Buckeye Sports Bulletin archives (and beyond) in this edition of "This Date In Buckeye History."...1998: No. 7 Ohio State 31, Michigan 16 – The Buckeyes showed they had moved past their upset loss to Michigan State two weeks earlier by capping winning their 28th Big Ten championship with a win over their archrivals..."
40 years ago: Former Michigan coach Bo Schembechler began his career with the Wolverines in 1969. The Wolverines upset Woody Hayes' defending national champion and undefeated Buckeyes, who had a 22 game winning streak, 24-12. The win was the first blow in what would become known as the "Ten Year War" between Hayes and Schembechler and is considered one of the greatest upsets in college football history. Referencing this game, the Detroit News had this: Bo's triumph in 1969 should inspire 2009 Wolverines.
Tressel's legacy defined by Michigan week November 16, 2009 Source: ESPN - "Jim Tressel may go on to win another national championship at Ohio State. He'll likely win more BCS bowl games and more Big Ten titles. When he's finished coaching, he might enter politics or open his own sweater vest manufacturing company. But when we look back on Tressel's place in college football history, he will always be remembered for this week. Michigan week. No one does it better...
You can knock Tressel for his three-game losing streak in BCS bowls, his consecutive double-digit losses in the national title game, his management of quarterback Terrelle Pryor or his conservative play-calling. On those topics, swing away. But when it comes to the Ohio State-Michigan game, Tressel is king. He boasts a 7-1 mark against Michigan, including wins in each of the last five games. He has beaten Michigan when Ohio State is the better team (2008, 2007, 2005, 2002) and even when Michigan might be the superior squad (2001, 2004). He beat Michigan in the most hyped regular-season game in recent years, the No. 1 vs. No. 2 matchup in 2006 at Ohio Stadium.
Under Head Coach Jim Tressel, Ohio State has beaten Michigan in all but one game. Read the game-day stories by clicking on the score:
Every year the Ohio State football team beats Michigan, Buckeye players and coaches receive a miniature gold charm depicting football pants, but what do the players do with their gold pants? Palestra.net's Jackie Bardosi went in search of answers.
Woody vs. Bo: Take a trip down memory lane with this multimedia presentation that highlights the Ohio State-Michigan rivalry during the years that Woody Hayes and Bo Schembechler were at the helms of the Buckeyes and Wolverines. Our timeline features photos from the era, along with video clips from the 1982 retrospective The Ten Year War: Woody vs. Bo. (Source: Columbus Dispatch)
U-M, OSU game moved back -- starting next year: Beginning next season, the Michigan-Ohio State game will move to the first Saturday after Thanksgiving. They will play Nov. 27 at Ohio Stadium next season, Nov. 26 in 2011 at Michigan Stadium and Nov. 24 at Ohio State in 2012. "I'm kind of an old-timer ... I've always thought the Big Ten had a great advantage in the fact their kids go home for an extended Thanksgiving vacation," Ohio State coach Jim Tressel said Tuesday during a teleconference. "To have a chance to be with your family over Thanksgiving, I've always felt was a real positive thing for our kids. "The decision was made to move it back (and) I'm not sure I was a proponent of that." Michigan coach Rich Rodriguez said he's not sure playing the game after Thanksgiving is the best scenario, but one complaint he's had this season is not having a weekend off. "I do like the fact we'll have an opportunity to have an open date," he said. "I think that's the biggest benefit of moving the schedule back another week." (Source: Detroit News)
Big Ten coaches mixed on schedule move: ...Beginning next season...the league shifts its final week of the regular season - a rivalry week for most teams - to Thanksgiving weekend. Bret Bielema, whose team will be around Madison next week preparing for a Dec. 5 game at Hawaii, is among coaches who support the change. "I had been a Big Ten guy all my life until I went to Kansas State and found myself preparing a team to play in the Big 12 Championship game," Bielema said. "People were talking about our program for two extra weeks. It was great exposure, we won the game, and it propelled us into the Fiesta Bowl. There were a lot of benefits."
Illinois coach Ron Zook, whose team has nonconference games at Cincinnati on Nov. 27 and against Fresno State on Dec. 5, sees an opportunity for greater exposure for the Big Ten. "It's a time of year when the weather in the north begins to get cold and people watch more TV," Zook said. "There are a lot of games played after Thanksgiving across the country, and we're missing out on that exposure."
Some coaches aren't sold on the idea just yet. The traditionalist in Ohio State coach Jim Tressel prefers the Buckeyes renew their annual rivalry with Michigan on the Saturday before Thanksgiving. He isn't quite ready to warm up to the idea of league teams playing trophy games for Floyd of Rosedale or the Old Oaken Bucket after Thanksgiving. "I guess I'm kind of an old-timer that way. I've always felt one of the great advantages the Big Ten always had was in the fact that kids could go home for an extended Thanksgiving weekend with their families," Tressel said. "I'm not a big proponent, but I'll play when they tell us we play."
Michigan coach Rich Rodriguez likes one byproduct of the change. Teams have an in-season bye week as a result of the extended schedule. "The opportunities for an open date are good," Rodriguez said. "That can be beneficial in a number of ways for our teams. If we cannot start the season earlier, this is the next-best alternative." (Source: Quad-City Times)
Reasons to get excited for The Game November 20, 2009 Source: ESPN - "Ohio State-Michigan doesn't matter. That's the general sentiment around the country this week...I say let them thumb their noses at The Game. You and I know better. The Game always matters. Here are (six) reasons why:..."
The Game not the same? November 17, 2009 Source: Columbus Dispatch - "Not long ago, Michigan players and fans were talking in the past tense about the age-old rivalry with Ohio State. After a string of seven wins against two losses, Michigan coach Gary Moeller in 1992 declared the Buckeyes no longer worthy of being called his team's nemesis. The title, he said, belonged to in-state foe Michigan State. Fans and players repeated the line throughout the decade as Michigan, led by Moeller and successor Lloyd Carr, piled up victories -- seven wins (and a tie) in the 1990s -- like cordwood. Fast-forward to 2009 -- and, wow, how times have changed. The Buckeyes have been in command since 2001, winning seven of eight against that team up north -- including the past five. With Michigan last in the Big Ten and facing the dismal prospect of a second straight losing season under head coach Rich Rodriguez, woe to the Wolverines. "I'll bet you they see us as rivals now," crowed former All-American tailback Archie Griffin, whose OSU teams went 3-0-1 against Michigan from 1972 to '75. As much as Buckeye fans might savor the current streak, though, such dominance isn't necessarily good for The Game..."
Even with national buzz missing, Michigan-Ohio State still has meaning November 19, 2009 Source: ESPN - "...No matter what the records, Ohio State and Michigan always has some juice. It's never just another game on the schedule. This is the 40th anniversary of perhaps the most memorable upset in series history, when Bo Schembechler made his rivalry debut and upset the undefeated, top-ranked Buckeyes. I'm just saying. Then again, those Wolverines came in having allowed 13 points in three games since Halloween. These Wolverines have allowed nearly 10 times that many since Halloween arrived..."
Heisman Trophy winners Archie Griffin and Desmond Howard reflect on both sides of the Michigan-Ohio State rivalry November 19, 2009 Source: The Michigan Daily - "Archie Griffin: Ohio State Buckeyes running back, 1972-75...In his four years, Ohio State had a 40-5-1 record, including a 3-0-1 record over Michigan: The Michigan Daily: In four years, what was your most memorable Michigan-Ohio State game moment? Griffin: Probably the last one we played at Michigan, 1975, because we were tied for the Big Ten and Michigan had to beat us in order to go to the Rose Bowl. … And they were beating us — they were beating us pretty good. I think they were ahead 14-7 with four minutes to go...We went out there and started moving the football. Scored a touchdown, tied it up 14-14. Michigan probably got a little desperate because a tie would have kept us in the Rose Bowl, and they started passing the football and threw an interception to my younger brother, (Ohio State cornerback) Ray (Griffin). And Ray took it down to about the 4- or 5-yard line and we took it over again for another touchdown and we ended up winning the game 21-14.
Desmond Howard: Michigan wide receiver, 1989-91...In his three years, Michigan had a 29-7 record, including a 3-0 record against Ohio State: The Michigan Daily: In four years, what was your most memorable Michigan-Ohio State game moment? Howard: Well, we never lost to Ohio State. I don’t know what it tastes like to lose to the Buckeyes. I’ve never had any other feeling but happiness after playing Ohio State. I guess the biggest moment for me was taking the punt return back for the touchdown and striking the Heisman pose..."
Big Problems in the Big House November 20, 2009 Source: New York Times - "...Michigan has fallen on hard times. As General Motors has declared bankruptcy and unemployment has soared, the Wolverines have suffered a football recession. "It does seem to be the perfect storm," Bob Forman, the former executive director of the U-M Alumni Association, said of the football turbulence. "Whether we have the patience to weather this storm, we’ll have to see." Michigan (5-6, 1-6 Big Ten) has dropped six consecutive games in the conference and has lost its last five meetings with Ohio State. If the Buckeyes (9-2, 6-1) win Saturday, Michigan could finish last in the league and out of the postseason bowl picture with its first two consecutive losing seasons since 1962 and 1963. Behind the scenes, the problems are equally serious..."
Ohio St OL Boren twice considered a traitor November 17, 2009 Source: Sporting News - "COLUMBUS, Ohio -- In these parts, people don't change sides easily. You're either born a Michigan fan or your bassinet has scarlet and gray trim. That's why, in the days leading up to No. 9 Ohio State at Michigan on Saturday, there is so much talk about the curious case of Justin Boren. Boren is from Ohio and starts at left guard for the Buckeyes. But he used to play for the Wolverines. Ohio State coach Jim Tressel did not permit Boren to speak with reporters this week. But many of his teammates, current and former, had a lot to say...Once seen as a traitor by Ohio State fans, now Boren is a favorite son. Once a starter for the Wolverines, he's now seen as Benedict Arnold in shoulder pads by Michigan faithful. "He came to the good side, and here he is," Cordle said with a grin..."
Buckeyes still marvel at the maize and scarlet path taken by OSU lineman Justin Boren November 19, 2009 Source: Cleveland Plain Dealer - "Nearly two years after his departure, Justin Boren remains a household name around Ann Arbor. Drop the Ohio State offensive lineman's name in conversation to any of his former Michigan teammates and the emotions range from apathy to anger. The fact Boren left the program isn't as big of a deal as where he landed to his ex-teammates. As they prepare to face Boren and his Buckeyes on Saturday (Noon, ABC), they have extra motivation knowing Boren will be part of this year's edition of the annual grudge match. Their message to Boren: We'll be ready..."
Michigan football players ready for former teammate Justin Boren November 17, 2009 Source: AnnArbor.com - "Nearly two years after his departure, Justin Boren remains a household name around Ann Arbor. Drop the Ohio State offensive lineman's name in conversation to any of his former Michigan teammates and the emotions range from apathy to anger. The fact Boren left the program isn't as big of a deal as where he landed to his ex-teammates. As they prepare to face Boren and his Buckeyes on Saturday (Noon, ABC), they have extra motivation knowing Boren will be part of this year's edition of the annual grudge match. Their message to Boren: We'll be ready..."
Boren Defection Adds Spice to Otherwise Bland Michigan Week November 18, 2009 Source: The Ozone - "In a year where the Buckeyes are favored by two touchdowns on the road and the only real thing victory would do for Michigan is secure them certain and impending doom against Central Michigan in the former Motor City Bowl now Little Caesars Pizza Bowl, it's the story of Justin Boren that has spiced up an on otherwise bland Michigan week. A kid from Columbus who originally snubbed the hometown Buckeyes to follow his father's footsteps to Ann Arbor to play for Lloyd Carr, Boren burned the Wolverines and new Head Coach Rich Rodriguez not just once but twice...Boren left the program before playing his first game under Rodriguez, citing an erosion of family values...he pulled the ultimate stunner by choosing to play for the school's bitter archrival...OSU linebacker Austin Spitler said he feels Saturday will be the first time this season where quarterback Terrelle Pryor isn't the most targeted player on the team, but Boren won't be alone as he takes on Graham and Michigan defensive line. "They probably will come after him, but guys like Jimmy (Cordle) and (Mike) Brewster and Big B (Bryant Browning), they're not going to let too many things happen to Boren, so I'm not really worried about (him)," OSU defensive tackle Doug Worthington said..."
Justin Boren's actions at Ohio State deserve jeers from U-M fans November 18, 2009 Source: Detroit Free Press - Jamie Samuelsen writes: "How do you think fans should treat Justin Boren on Saturday? I doubt this will get quite the same attention Brett Favre got when he returned to Lambeau Field, but in a way, it should. Like we talked about two weeks ago when the fans were booing Matthew Stafford at Ford Field, I’m not too big on advising fans what they should say and to whom they should say it. They buy the tickets and they have the right to – within reason – "express" their opinion. But if you’re asking, I’ll say this. I always like to follow the Golden Rule – do unto others as you’d have them do unto you.
So if you use that theory to react to Boren’s behavior – then treat him like dirt. It’s one thing to transfer. We’ve all been in situations that we look to get out of -- jobs, schools, blind dates, marriages or bad video games. So I hold no ill will to Boren for leaving. Michigan football changed. He didn’t like the change. So he left. I don’t even hold any ill will towards him for going to Michigan’s arch-rival. Ohio State is a great program. He had a chance to play for a football factory and maybe contend for a national title. Good for him. But buddy, take the high road on the way out of town. Instead, he chose to trash the program and trash the new coaching staff..."
But enough about dining habits. We have to talk football, and I'm actually here to say something nice about the neighbors who live beneath us. I'm happy to congratulate the Buckeyes on winning a fifth consecutive Big Ten title, a truly remarkable achievement against mediocre competition, similar to being named Ohio State valedictorian.
That's no knock whatsoever on the Sweater Vest's Buckeyes, who clearly have figured out how to win lots of games against slow, pudgy teams. The Wolverines used to do the same thing, then got bored (or arrogant, or foolish) and decided to go in an entirely different direction, one that did not involve tackling.
So once again, The Game looks like a mismatch, with the 9-2 Buckeyes planning to treat the 5-6 Wolverines like possum, run 'em over and pick 'em clean. Ohio State has won five straight in the rivalry, but before its fans are forced to use the other hand to count, I have a warning: There's nothing more dangerous than a wounded Wolverine. (Except, perhaps, an inebriated Buckeye with a box of matches.)..."
Gameday+ November 20, 2009 Source: Columbus Dispatch - "BuckeyeXtra.com delivers all you need to know about the Buckeyes’ upcoming game. Click here for everything from the top story, play of the week: Ohio State spotlight: : Kurt Coleman, Play of the Week: Wildcat Formation, Game Predictions, including one from Leon Hall, Bengals cornerback and former Michigan player, & more"
Ohio State vs. Michigan Preview November 19, 2009 Source: The Ozone - "Tony Gerdeman's preview of the OSU vs. Michigan game...Overall, the Wolverines are averaging 195.8 yards rushing per game, which is second in the conference...Against this Ohio State front seven, they will face a defense that is strong enough up front to get penetration and fast enough out wide to get to the edges. It has been four games since the Buckeyes have allowed 100 yards rushing to a team...Forcier is a terrific passer on the move, so expect him to roll out most of the game. The constant movement of the pocket may eliminate one side of the field, but it will keep the play going long enough for receivers to find some openings. Whenever back-up quarterback Denard Robinson comes into the game, he will be expected to run--because that’s what he’s always done. But this week is a bit different than all of the other weeks. There is nothing to hold back this week. Don’t be surprised if we see a few passes from Robinson on Saturday, though mostly of the safe variety..."
Game of the Week: Ohio State (9-2) at Michigan (5-6) November 4, 2009 Source: College Football News - "...Why Ohio State might win:...Ohio State has a better defense, doesn’t make mistakes, and has a running game that’s starting to hit its stride. The gameplan will be conservative, the defense will keep Michigan from jumping out to a lead of any significance, the Wolverine mistakes will come...Since Michigan has to run to win, and it won’t be able to, that means Tate Forcier is going to have to make things happen through the air... he’ll also make a slew of errors...Michigan is 102nd in the nation in turnover margin giving away 11 picks and 12 fumbles and is sure to give it away at least three times...Why Michigan might win...Michigan has a better passing game than you think...The Wolverines are averaging 195.6 passing yards per game and 195.8 on the ground, and there will be enough of a balance to keep the Buckeyes from teeing off on the ground attack. Defensively, the line is just good enough at getting into the backfield that there should be several problems for Terrelle Pryor whenever he tries to scramble...The Wolverines have to get an early lead and force Pryor to start throwing...CFN Prediction: Ohio State 24 … Michigan 13 ... "
Preview: #10 Ohio State at Michigan November 20, 2009 Source: Eleven Warriors - "...if the line is on, both Boom and Zoom have proven in recent weeks that they are: capable of carrying heavy loads and breaking off long runs when they have a window. Tressel has been running the wildcat Buckwild, and always to the right with Herron over the past handful of weeks, so you can bet he’ll have something different in store when the team lines up in that look. For Pryor, it needs to be more of the same that we’ve seen the last four weeks. He (and Tressel/Bollman) were hammered by some for not throwing downfield against the Hawkeyes, but it really takes a herculean effort to hate on a 14 of 17 afternoon. In his toughest stretch of conference play, he’s made smart decisions and, more importantly to Tressel, he’s taken care of the ball..."
2009 Michigan Wolverines Game Preview November 19, 2009 Source: Buckeye Planet - Analysis and more, including: "...Wide Receivers: This is another veteran group with some experience that could help the Wolverines stay competitive on Saturday. All 4 of these players bring something a little different to the table, and collectively this is a pretty decent group. Of the 8 passes Michigan completed in last season's game, Odoms caught 5 (for 37 yards) and had a carry for 8 yards...Ohio product Roy Roundtree appears to be the most explosive of the bunch, as his speed and agility can create matchup problems for opposing secondaries. After barely playing at all in the first 8 games, he has started the past 3 and has blown out of the gate in all of them. The past 3 weeks, he has 4 catches for 92 yards against Illinois, 10 for 126 yards and a TD against Purdue, and 7 for 56 yards and a TD against Wisconsin. He gets open all over the field and has quickly established himself as the most dangerous receiver for the Wolverines...Michigan Offensive Preview...Defensive Preview..Special Teams Preview..."
Ohio State-Michigan scouting report November 18, 2009 Source: Tribune Chronicle - "...Just minutes after beating the Hawkeyes, the Buckeyes talked of avoiding a letdown in Ann Arbor. And why not? The game may not have significant BCS or conference implications, but it's still The Game...Position by position analysis: •QUARTERBACKS: Michigan - Freshman Tate Forcier (142-of-243, 1,824 yards, 12 TDs, 6 INTs) has started every game, but fellow freshman Denard Robinson (12-27-185 yards, 2 TDs, 4 INTs) has played in every game, and Rodriguez said both will play against the Buckeyes. Ohio State - Two weeks ago, Pryor (135-of-241, 1,761 yards, 15 TDs, 9 INTs) got to play in Happy Valley against Penn State, which recruited him hard. Now, he gets his first chance to play in Ann Arbor against Michigan, which also was one of the finalists in the recruiting chase. EDGE: Buckeyes...• PREDICTION: Sure, the Buckeyes are going to Pasadena win or lose, but don't expect a letdown. ... Ohio State, 33-13..."
Ohio St.-Michigan Preview November 18, 2009 Source: ESPNU - "Ohio State has secured its spot in the Rose Bowl. Michigan needs one more win just to become bowl eligible. Not exactly the stuff "The Game" has been made of in the past. The Buckeyes have won five straight in the series...For years, the annual showdown between rivals Ohio State and Michigan has been called "The Game." Maybe this year it should be referred to as The "Just Another" Game...Usually the Ohio State-Michigan game is the ultimate winner-take-all contest in the Big Ten. Focus has never been a problem. It has been simple: See rival, beat rival, celebrate. But this year, the Buckeyes have accomplished so much already -- and the Wolverines have struggled so much -- it's not surprising that the focus might not be there. "We've worked so hard for this and I'm so relieved," Coleman said in the din of the postgame celebration. "I think we still have some unfinished business up in Michigan, but right now we're on top of the world. (This week) we've got to get back to work and get ready for Michigan." For once that might be hard to do..."
ESPN.com's Adam Rittenberg writes: "Ohio State 30, Michigan 17: The Wolverines will keep this close for a while, and Ohio State doesn't have the passing attack to truly exploit Michigan's defense. Terrelle Pryor eventually hits on a few deep throws and the Buckeyes stuff the run in the second half, as they win their sixth straight in the rivalry and eliminate Michigan from the bowl picture. "
Weekend Forecast: Ohio State vs. Michigan November 20, 2009 Source: BuckeyeGrove.com - "Noon: Is it wrong that this doesn't feel like an Ohio State/Michigan week? Of course the banners are around the WHAC and members of the board have been extra chippy with the rivalry game at hand. But I just can't escape this feeling that the 2009 edition of the game has as much heat as in years past...Ultimately my fear of past games gets trumped by my knowledge of the talent gap between these two teams and that during the Jim Tressel era the Buckeyes have always shown up for this game with something to prove...Ohio State 31 Michigan 13
Wasserman: Just like it was last season, this year's version of "The Game" looks to be headed toward another blowout, but I am going to emulate Lee Corso when I say, "Not so fast my friend." Though I don't think Ohio State will lose this game, I am calling for it to be a little closer then most would probably expect, and here's why...Given the game is in Ann Arbor and quarterback Tate Forcier and Brandon Graham had some not so pleasant comments, this team is going to be fired up. They may even score on their first possession, and all it takes is a quick little strike to keep things interesting...Ohio State 28 Michigan 22
Snow: When it comes to this game, it has pretty much been a one sided butt whoopin in recent years. Quite simply Ohio State has dominated Michigan...This game does have a little bit of a trap scenario for Ohio State...About a month ago this looked like it could be a game. Tate Forcier was playing well, and the Michigan defense was doing enough to keep the team in the game. However recently the wheels have completely fallen off...Ohio State 27 Michigan 13
McLachlan: Michigan week is a special time of the year...What worries me for Ohio State is how motivated they will be entering this game. I believe he will be back next year but Rodriguez needs this win to quiet his growing naysayers. His offense could give the Buckeyes defense trouble...Halftime score will be tight but the Wolverines defense will crumble again. Ohio State 34 Michigan 20..."
One of the greatest rivalries in all of sports will take place this weekend as the Ohio State Buckeyes take on the Michigan Wolverines. Jason Horowitz and Spencer Tillman preview this explosive matchup.
College Football Preview | Michigan vs. Ohio State November 12, 2009 Source: The Bleacher Report - ".Michigan's Passing Attack vs. Ohio State's Secondary...Advantage: Ohio State...Michigan's Running game vs. Ohio State's Front Seven...Advantage: Even...Ohio State's Passing Attack vs. Michigan's Secondary...Advantage: Ohio State...Ohio State's Running Game vs. Michigan's Front Seven...Advantage: Ohio State...Bottom Line...It's never easy to predict what will happen in a rivalry game, but the recent trends speak for themselves. The Wolverines come in as losers of six straight games against FBS opponents, and ride a five year losing streak against the Buckeyes. Michigan will need to eliminate turnovers and come up with a few takeaways in order to have a chance in this one. If the Buckeyes get out to an early lead, it'll be goodnight sweetheart time, but I'm sure the Wolverine Seniors will be fired up for their final game in "The Big House"..."
Keys to victory for Michigan, Ohio State football teams November 20, 2009 Source: AnnArbor.com - "3 keys for Michigan: Replace Minor - Brandon Minor... Control tempo...Field goals, not touchdowns...3 keys for Ohio State: No turnovers - Ohio State is the better team and should win, but giving the ball away is always a recipe for disaster...Pryor engagement - Terrelle Pryor wants to be a complete quarterback, we all understand that. And in time maybe he’ll be a decent passer. But his most deadly weapon now is his legs, and Ohio State can’t forget that. Remember what Juice Williams did to Michigan’s defense the last two years? Pryor is better...Crowd control - It's not happy time in Ann Arbor right now with Michigan on the brink of its second straight losing season and vultures circling over Rich Rodriguez's head. But this is senior day, it is a rivalry game and Michigan's magical 1969 team is back in town. The last thing Ohio State needs is to give the reeling Wolverines momentum. A couple of early touchdowns, on the other hand, and the Buckeyes could be on the verge of another 42-7 beatdown..."
"There's nobody that's really far and away better than anyone we've individually seen out there. They are a good defense, but I think we're capable of handling them." - fifth-year senior center David Moosman
"We'll see him Saturday. Our front four can get the job done. Boren's got to prove he's still got it. He was good here, but isn't as good there because it's O-State. Family values thing was just an excuse for Boren because he wanted to leave." - senior DE Brandon Graham on Justin Boren
Mark Snyder's 3 keys for Michigan November 21, 2009 Source: Detroit Free Press - "Win turnover battle:
Ohio State is plus-eight in turnover margin during the Big Ten season, second-best in the conference. The Buckeyes' main vulnerability in its only conference loss, to Purdue, was quarterback Terrelle Pryor's four turnovers. Michigan is last in turnovers forced during the conference season, though, with only nine. And U-M quarterback Tate Forcier has struggled holding onto the ball in the season's second half.
Stop OSU on third down: Michigan's continuing problem is its third-down defense. U-M's 38% allowed isn't terrible, but the timing seems to be atrocious, and often big plays are a result. If U-M can make it one game with few missed assignments or missed tackles, the offense might have a chance to help win the game. Ohio State was 8-for-17 on third down last week against Iowa and is at 47% over the past month.
Keep a second-half offensive rhythm: If U-M's offense could keep its second-half feet -- averaging fewer than five points after halftime the past month is devastating -- there's a chance to stay in the game against the Buckeyes' average offense. But it'll take consistency and staying on the field, because OSU surrenders few big plays and has allowed only four touchdowns in the past three games combined..."
Michigan's longest losing streaks vs. one opponent:
1. Minnesota, nine games, 1934-42
2. Cornell, seven games, 1889-94
3. Ohio State, five games, 2004-present 4. Purdue, five games, 1962-66
5. Army, five games, 1945-54
Rich Rodriguez doesn't regret position changes despite Michigan's problems at safety November 19, 2009 Source: AnnArbor.com - "Safety has been Michigan’s biggest problem on defense this year. Stevie Brown moved from safety to linebacker last offseason, and Troy Woolfolk from safety to cornerback this fall. Any regrets about the position changes? "No," Michigan coach Rich Rodriguez said. "We talked about Woolfolk quite a bit. We had some, I don’t want to say issues, but we had some concerns at corner and so it was kind of like, ‘OK, which way do we go and where are getting attacked at?’ So I think that move has been pretty good. "And even with Stevie’s move, now with the type of offenses we play all the time in a sense he’s playing kind of a nickel safety position anyway."..."
Michigan names captains, injury report November 19, 2009 Source: ESPN - "Michigan players have selected defensive end Brandon Graham, left tackle Mark Ortmann, linebacker Stevie Brown and punter Zoltan Mesko as captains for the 2009 season, head coach Rich Rodriguez announced Thursday. Rodriguez had previously named captains for each game this fall...Rodriguez said in a statement. "They, and our other seniors, will lead us into Michigan Stadium Saturday to play the greatest rivalry game in college football."...The team also issued its official injury report for the Ohio State game. OUT: C David Molk, knee, RB Brandon Minor, shoulder; DOUBTFUL (25 percent chance of playing): S Mike Williams, ankle; PROBABLE (75 percent chance of playing): WR Martavious Odoms, knee...
U-M's Graham wants to go out with a bang November 19, 2009 Source: ESPN - "...Graham has not only been a pillar of toughness for Michigan this fall, he's been quite possibly the Big Ten's best player. For a minute, forget about Michigan's 5-6 record and its mostly miserable performance on defense. Graham has been absolutely unstoppable at defensive end, and he's got the numbers to back it up...Graham relayed his wishes to his younger teammates during a players-only meeting earlier this week..."It was just, ‘Lay it out on the line. This is our last go-round,'" Graham said. "'This is our way out. You’ll have to wait 300-and-something days until this game. Right now, leave a mark on [Ohio State] for a whole year until that next game because we beat them.’ "A lot of people were into it. They were ready." ..."
Michigan football team's seniors call players-only meeting for Ohio State November 19, 2009 Source: AnnArbor.com - "Michigan seniors Brandon Graham and Mark Ortmann called a players-only meeting before practice Monday. The topic: "Just explain to (underclassmen) if they don’t know already how serious this is and what it can do for this program heading into next year," Graham said...Graham said a win Saturday would give Michigan momentum heading into 2010. Besides a feel-good ending, the Wolverines would get 15 extra bowl practices, essentially a second spring practice for their young nucleus..."
Rodriguez era at Michigan has been full of blues November 18, 2009 Source: Associated Press - "Michigan coach Rich Rodriguez was handed a blue button with "Beat Ohio State" in maize letters when he was introduced as the new leader of college football's winningest program. Rodriguez said earlier this week he has kept the button on his desk. After being asked about the button later by a visitor to his office, Rodriguez had to do some searching. He found it tucked under some paper in the top drawer of the desk. "I put it in there one day when I got mad," Rodriguez said. It would be tough to figure out what day that was because there's been a lot of reasons for him to be angry during his two tumultuous seasons in Ann Arbor. The Wolverines started 4-0 this season, earning a spot on the cover of Sports Illustrated, and Rodriguez was hailed for the turnaround after losing a school-record nine games last year..."
Michigan's Rich Rodriguez can overcome rough start November 17, 2009 Source: Cleveland Plain Dealer - "It's not that Rich Rodriguez is losing, it's that he's losing at Michigan. Starting a tenure at a school with two losing seasons, which Rodriguez would do if Ohio State beats the 5-6 Wolverines on Saturday, is practically commonplace. It's just not how it's done in college football's greatest rivalry. Neither Michigan nor Ohio State has ever seen a coach open his career with two losing seasons. Jim Tressel, you might remember, was on his way to winning a national championship in his second year with the Buckeyes. But among BCS conference coaches with more than two years on the job, 15 of 50 coaches started with two losing seasons and survived until season three. For that reason, and for the millions Michigan paid to buy Rodriguez out of his West Virginia contract and get him to Ann Arbor, he'll almost certainly be back for a third run at Ohio State next year. Even the anonymous creator of FireRRod.com believes he'll return, writing in an e-mail Tuesday that "unfortunately Rich Rod will most likely get one more year in Michigan."...Rodriguez, 8-15 with the Wolverines, will suffer his second consecutive losing season to start his tenure at Michigan if Ohio State wins Saturday. But he would not be alone. Of the 66 BCS schools, 16 have coaches in either their first or second seasons. Of the other 50 current coaches, 15, or 30 percent, started at their current schools with two straight losing seasons, including big-name coaches like Virginia Tech's Frank Beamer, Iowa's Kirk Ferentz, Kansas State's Bill Snyder and Stanford's Jim Harbaugh."
UM-OSU rivalry not lost on Rodriguez, OK? November 17, 2009 Source: ESPN - "You could hear the frustration in Rich Rodriguez's voice Monday when he once again had to reiterate the obvious. Michigan-Ohio State is a big deal. Um, yeah. "Just because I did not coach here before, I did not play here, I'm not from the state of Michigan, doesn't mean I don't understand the rivalry," Rodriguez said. "I understand it as well as any coach can understand it. I've only [coached] in it in one game. Trust me, I understand the importance of the rivalry."
The fact that Rodriguez has to keep defending himself on this issue is ridiculous, and it perpetuates the argument that Michigan will always be skeptical of anyone outside the fraternity. Yes, Rodriguez has changed some time-honored traditions (the way captains are picked, etc.) at Michigan. There's a different feeling around the program, one that many don't like. But he's not stupid or blind to the obvious. He knows Ohio State isn't just another game. Rodriguez has repeatedly told the story of having a "Beat Ohio State" button slipped inside his coat pocket before his introductory news conference as Michigan's head coach in December 2007. How many more times do people need to hear it?..."
Wolverines say they're ready for OSU November 17, 2009 Source: The Wolverine.com - "Michigan hasn't beaten Ohio State in five years, and many believe the streak will extend to six on Saturday. But the U-M players who showed up at Monday's press conference remain confident -- even after six straight Big Ten losses -- that they can win. It's a week for doing, not talking, fifth-year senior center David Moosman said, and he and his teammates plan to prepare as though the Rose Bowl is still on the line. "We've got to beat them on Monday, and we've got to beat them on Tuesday and Wednesday and [the rest of the week]," said Moosman. "Preparation is the key. We definitely know what we're capable of, and we've definitely seen greatness out there. We have to do it for 60 minutes."...Notching a sixth win and becoming bowl eligible is one of Saturday's goals, but that won't be the primary motivation, said Moosman. "It's Ohio State. It's the last game of the year. It's everything," he said. "We haven't beaten them in five years ... I'd say that's unfinished business. "I see what they have and I've seen what we've got. I think it matches up."..."
Michigan-Ohio State rivalry gets new twist November 16, 2009 Source: Detroit Free Press - "There is never an ideal way to enter Ohio State week, but this has to be one of the worst. Michigan's football program is at a modern low point, as losses mount, the coach is under scrutiny and dissension bubbles. The fact that there is a positive motivational tool left -- a win sends the Wolverines to a bowl -- is a thrilling bonus. Yet that might be the lone bright light in the current mess...On a team loaded with underclassmen, learning the rivalry, which will get a big reminder by the 1969 team's Ann Arbor reunion this weekend, is a process. "They know about it," Forcier said. "Pretty much all the freshmen know about it hearing everybody else talk about it. But our guys are hungry. The best thing about us is we're young." That might be the best thing for the future but not for this week. For now, it's scary..."
Voted Bo Schembechler Most Valuable Player of the 2008 team. Only player nationally to rank in the top 10 in tackles for loss
two straight years (‘08 and ‘09). His 21 TFLs this season are the most of any player in the country. Became the second Wolverine
to collect back-to-back 20 TFL seasons (Mark Messner accomplished the feat in 1987 and 1988). Fourth nationally in TFLs per contest (1.91 avg.). Tied for 24th nationally in sacks (8.5; 0.77 avg.); registered at least one sack in six of last seven games. Has at least one TFL in nine of past 10 games and 20 of his past 23 games dating back to 2008. Blocked two punts this season and returned another for a touchdown. Second in all-time sacks (27.5) and third in tackles for loss (51) in Michigan history.
The true freshman from San Diego had struggled in recent weeks, but turned in a solid performance against Wisconsin by completing 20-of-26 passes for 188 yards and two touchdowns. The Wolverines need Forcier at his beat in the season-ending showdown with Ohio State. Thrown 12 touchdowns to six interceptions this season. Set career high with 257 passing yards at Illinois, completing 13-of-23 passes. Ranks 4th in the Big ten in passing efficiency at 132.8. He has completed 58.4% of his passes for 1824 yards.
#3 Stevie Brown POSITION: LB
Three-year letterman ... played in 38 consecutive career games ... started 13 games at safety. He leads the defense with
73 tackles and eight tackles for loss; has one sack, three pass PBUs, one interception and one forced fumble. Switched from safety to strongside linebacker (hybrid position) this season. Set career high with nine tackles vs. Indiana, Michigan
State, Purdue and Wisconsin.