On a perfect day for football in late November, “The Game” was ready to be played.
#8 Ohio State vs. #10 Michigan.
This was the most hyped up game between the two schools since 2006. But the hype wasn’t because they were both ranked. It wasn’t because it could’ve determined who won the Big 10 East. It wasn’t because of the comments made by Ezekiel Elliott last week.
It was because of the two coaches.
It wasn’t typical Michigan vs. Ohio State. It was Jim Harbaugh vs. Urban Meyer. At least that’s what most media outlets portrayed it as. A portrayal that didn’t really make Harbaugh look bad, but it made Meyer look like Coach of the Year again in the Big 10.
Losing 42-13 doesn’t make Harbaugh look terrible. Sure, the score is ugly, but when you think about what he has had to do in his first year as head coach of a mostly Brady Hoke recruited team, this loss is trumped by that.
Harbaugh utilized the weapons Hoke left him and made them his own. Jake Butt is one of the best tight ends in the country, Amara Darboh and Jehu Chesson looked like stud receivers all year, and Jabrill Peppers is…no need to really say much here.
Also, props to Harbaugh for getting Jake Rudock to play this season at UM. If Shane Morris started every game, Michigan would’ve lost at least two more games, those two probably being at Minnesota and at Indiana. Rudock kept the Wolverines in every game, minus the first game at Utah, and was a competitor week in and week out.
Now, it hurts me to do this but I must give props to Ohio State and Urban Meyer. Overcoming a tough loss at home against Michigan State is hard, but they managed to do it. At halftime the game was 14-10. Close, right? Well, the Buckeyes limited Michigan’s offense to three points in the second half. As for Ohio State’s offense, they worked the read option all day and used it to perfection. J.T. Barrett only threw the ball 15 times, but had nine completions for 113 yards and a touchdown. On the defensive side of the ball, they had pressure on Rudock for most of the day and eventually knocked him out of the game. Winning by 29 on the road at Michigan Stadium isn’t easy to do. Kudos to Urban Meyer and company for being able to stick together as a team and fight hard against their true rival.
Now we wait to see where Michigan ends up in the bowl season. My guess is the Citrus Bowl for UM, while Ohio State could be Pasadena bound. Hopefully Rudock is healthy enough to play in whatever bowl Michigan goes to.
Michigan exceeded my expectations this year. I predicted they would go 6-6 before the season started. I made that prediction as a precaution, and boy am I glad I was wrong. On behalf of all Michigan fans, thank you Michigan football for an amazing first season with Jim Harbaugh. Hopefully there are many more of these to come. It was truly a blast.
Where do you think Michigan goes come bowl season? Sound off in the comments or tweet at me @von_lozon so we can discuss!