Observations on the loss to Ohio State, 3-14!

1-Lloyd Carr goes out of Ann Arbor on a sour note, and with a losing record against the Buckeyes. Jim Tressel has completely changed this series, and there is no denial about it. Luckily for Michigan fans, Carr will retire on Monday effective after the Capital One Bowl and spare the faithful more anti-depressant prescriptions. There is definitely a serious need for new leadership in our football program whether Carr remains as Associate Athletic Director and/or his assistant coaches are retained for two more years. Four wins in a row for the Buckeyes, and five of the past six years; this is shades of John Cooper and Bump Elliot. Carr's teams simply can't finish the season! He doesn't play enough players early in the season to get them ready for the end, and his starters are too beat up or injured to finish the season effectively. Every year it is the same story, we can't finish.

2-Henne was 11 of 34 for 68 yards, 4 sacks and was hurried into several poor passes and a victim of many drops. Offense had only 8 first downs, at least seven 3 and outs, 3 of 18 in 3rd and 4th down conversions, 91 yards of total offense with Ohio State piling on almost an 18 minute time of possession advantage. We were forced into 12 punts, and 2 field goal attempts. Vernon Gholston completely dominated and intimidated Captain Jake Long and Steve Schilling as did Sophomore Craig Heyward and Freshman Dexter Larimore. Our entire offensive line was beat from the start of the game to the end; they were outmuscled, outhustled against a quicker, faster Buckeye defensive line. The Buckeye defense had 11 tackles for loss. That is the most domination of a Buckeye defense on a Michigan offense since the early 1960s. This certainly demonstrates a superior strength & conditioning program on their part.

3-Their corners were superior to our receivers. Jenkins and Washington completely blanketed Manningham and Arrington, and intimidated them into several drops and almost picked off a few passes. Manningham has at least 4 drops, 5 catches for 34 yards while Arrington had 2 catches for 13 yards, and several drops. Butler had two holding calls, and 4 catches for 24 yards. Mathews had one catch for 5 yards, and 6 punt returns for 32 yards.

3-Hart had 44 yards on 18 carries, and no blocking led to him re-injuring his ankle. This shut him up in the second half from his first half and pre-game trash talk. The Buckeyes had 229 yards in net rushing compared to 15 from us.

4-Defense was completely run over by Beanie Wells; he had 220 yards on 39 carries and both of the game's TDs. Boeckman did not have to win the game because the defense did that for him; he completed 7 of 13 for 50 yards, 2 fumbles and one pick. He did not need to throw in the second half, and he only threw twice for no completions. That was a smart move on Tressel's part, he forced our defense to stop their running game, and our offense to beat them; we weren't up to it, and he didn't think we would be. The Buckeyes have 16 first downs, 277 yards of total offense, 7 of 18 in 3rd down conversions. Had someone said before the game that this would be all the Buckeyes would do offensively, I would have been confident of a win. If our defense could limit their offense to 14 points, and that type of production, we should win. Our defense did force 11 Buckeye punts, and one turnover; however, our offense couldn't convert any of these opportunities into points.

5-Mesko punted 12 times for a 48.53 yard average, and nailed 2 inside the 20. Lopata converted a 33 yard field goal, but missed a 48 yarder. The field position we have them the ball in the 2nd quarter at our 44 led to their only red zone until the last two minutes of the game. Mathews did a decent job on punt returns, and Doug Dutch did a nice job recovering Mathews fumble on the 4th quarter punt return.

6-Disappointment doesn't describe the bitter depression that most fans including myself feel. I can't remember this type of domination since Woody Hayes obliterated us in the early 1960s when Bump Elliot was coach and went 3-7 against the Bucks. Hopefully, Les Miles will take the job, and turn things around with recruits, strength & conditioning, a new offense and offensive coordinator, etc. The tables have turned, and it is now the Buckeyes who are poised, confident and composed when they play us.

7-It is certainly fitting that this senior group goes out with 4 losses in a row to the Buckeyes, one could see a void in leadership today. Manningham and Arrington can leave early if they want and go drop passes in the NFL if they can make some teams roster. They are both good receivers, but not nearly as good as they both think they are. Terrence Taylor is currently not NFL material, and it is ridiculous that his name is mentioned as a possibility to leaver early. Jamar Adams did take a bad cut on the TD run by Wells, but he also played a strong game with 12 tackles. Ezeh was blocked many times by their H-Back Johnson, but he still came up with 12 tackles; he has 3 more years as a starter and he's a solid player. Senior Linebackers, Shawn Crable and Chris Graham came up with 10 tackles each, and Tim Jamison had his best game with 9 tackles including 3 for loss. Engelmon had 7 tackles including several TD savers on Wells, and an interception. Defense was on the field two-thirds of the game, and we can't pin this loss on them.
Observations on the first half with Ohio State, 3-7!

1-Ohio State gets one red zone for 7 points; we get one for 3 points! We get a late turnover to the 35 after the 33 yard runback by Englemon, but can't convert.

2-Henne is only 8 of 19 for 47 yards, 2 sacks. Offense has only 5 first downs, 2 of 9 in 3rd down conversions, 77 yards of offense with Ohio State piles on an almost 7 minute time of possession advantage. We have been forced into 5 punts, and 2 field goal attempts. Manningham has 3 drops, 4 catches for 26 yards and Jenkins is blanketing him. Arrington has one catch for 5 yards. Butler has his usual holding call, and 2 catches for 11 yards. Mathews has one catch for 5 yards, and 3 punt returns for 18 yards.

3-Hart has 42 yards on 11 carries, and although he's looked good, we need a 100+ yard game from him and our weak offensive line that Gholston and Heyward are making look bad with 2 sacks.

4-Defense has not stopped Wells. Wells has 67 yards on 20 carries and the game's lone TD. Boeckman has completed 7 of 11 for 50 yards, 2 fumbles and one pick. We really need to come after him in the second half. The Buckeyes have 10 first downs, 110 yards of total offense, 4 of 7 in 3rd down conversions. Jamar Adams leads the defense with 8 tackles, Chris Graham has 6 and Shawn Crable has 5 including 2 for loss and a forced fumble. Greg Banks has replaced an injured Brandon Graham at end.

5-Special Teams have not helped us much! Lopata converts his 33 yard field goal, but misses a 48 yarder. Mesko has punted 5 times, and gave us momentum and field position with his downed punt at the 4; however, we don't take advantage of the field position at the 50 and go 3 and out. Punt and kickoff return teams have not helped us in the important field position battles with Buckeye starts at the 33, 27, Michigan 44 until we nailed them to the 4.

6-If we are to win this game, we must stop their rushing game and Wells. We are not currently doing that. We have also not taken advantage of 2 Buckeye fumbles, and pounced on them. We also need to get our offense going, and negate the time of possession advantage. We get the ball to start the second half, and we need to get a red zone and take the lead. We need the senior leadership, forced turnovers and the breaks in the second half to gain momentum.

Let me say first that I was very disappointed in the HBO Special documentary on the Michigan vs. Ohio State rivalry. I saw the one hour program slanted 65-35% towards Ohio State and their fans. The assertion presented in the documentary that the Ohio high school football players who have come to Michigan as being responsible for Michigan's success against Ohio State is absolutely ridiculous. In our society, a young man can vote and enlist in the military service at 18; he becomes a man and part of his maturity includes making choices, including choices for his future. When any young man with football talent reviews what is best for him and his future, and chooses a college to play for, he makes his choice and declares his loyalty. Part of the decision-making for any player who accepts a scholarship and plays for either Michigan or Ohio State is the motivation to play in this wonderful rivalry. Yes, I'd agree that there are many states who have better high school football talent that the state of Michigan; certainly, Texas, California, Florida, Pennsylvania and Ohio are amongst those. This game and rivalry isn't about high school football, it is about who the best team is in the Big Ten and in this rivalry in college football. Ohio State has also had many outstanding players who played high school football in Michigan, Jim Krenzel, Vernon Gholston and Pepper Johnson come to mind. It really doesn't matter what state or country a player is from, when they suit up in a Wolverine or Buckeye uniform, and play in this rivalry, it becomes a matter of which team wins and not where the individual players played in high school. The lines of loyalty are decided by the players no matter where they played high school football.
Undefeated Seasons Ruined by Arch-Rival Team Times
1969, 1973, 1993, 1995, 1996 Ohio State 5
1970, 1972, 1973, 1974, 2006 Michigan 5
Undefeated Conference Seasoned Ruined by Arch-Rival Team Times
1939, 1964, 1969, 1973, 1976, 1977, 1980, 1986, 1993, 1995, 1996 Ohio State 11
1968, 1970, 1972, 1973, 1974, 1975, 1982, 1998, 2004, 2006 Michigan 10

This is the greatest rivalry in all of sports in the United States. They have played every year since 1918, and the game was moved to the last Saturday of the season in 1935. Both teams have outstanding football programs and their fans are loyal and passionate in support. As a result of the talent and emphasis on excellence for both schools in football, it is a closely contested rivalry. Even though Michigan holds an advantage with 57 wins in 103 games; since 1918, the advantage is 45 wins and 40 losses with 4 ties. Michigan's record in Ohio Stadium is 21-21-1, and at the Big House is 21-16-3 since 1918. Every game from 1972-1981 determined the Big Ten representative in the Rose Bowl.
Decade Team Record Highlight
2000 Ohio State 5w-2L 2006 #1 vs. #2
1990 Michigan 7w-2L-1T
1980 Michigan 6w-4L
1970 Ohio State 5w-4L-1T Tie and Rose Bowl Vote
1960 Ohio State 7w-3L 50 points in 1968 and 1969 Revenge
1950 Tied 5w-5L Snow Bowl
1940 Michigan 6w-2L-2T
1930 Tied 5w-5L
1920 Michigan 6w-4L 1922 Ohio Stadium dedication game ruined, and 1927 Big House dedication game celebrated
1910 Michigan 3w-1L-1T
1900 Michigan 9w-0L-1T
1890 Michigan 1w-0L

On offense, Ohio State leads the conference in passing efficiency and best percentage in 3rd down conversions. Todd Boeckman has really had a great season, and is +12 (TD passes-Interceptions thrown); however, he has averaged one interception thrown per game. The fighting Illini picked him off three times. Still, he leads the conference in passing efficiency and is ranked #12 nationally. Certainly, part of our game plan is to reduce his efficiency and effectiveness, and force him into turnovers. The reason we've lost this game the past three years is simply we were unable to stop Troy Smith, and his ability to make big plays running and throwing in spread offense.

Heisman Trophy Winner Troy Smith's Statistics against Michigan in last 3 years
Year Total Offense Passing Yards TD Throws Completions Rushing Yards Rushing TDs Red Zones First Downs 3rd/4th Down Conversions Time of Possession
2006 503 316 4 29/41 12 0 3 24 6 of 12 29:51:00
2005 418 300 1 27/37 37 1 3 25 6 of 12 31:39:00
2004 448 241 2 13/23 145 1 4 18 8 of 18 34:16:00
Fortunately for us, Boeckman is no Troy Smith, and doesn't run a spread offense. Boeckman has three primary receivers, Junior Brian Robiskie, Sophomore Brian Hartline and Ray Small. Hartline and Small handle punt and kickoff returns as well, but they are no threat like Ted Ginn. Trent, Warren and Harrison will have the task of blanketing these three. The three average 10 catches and 160 yards per game. They underutilize their tight end, Jake Ballard, like us and he has 2 TDs; however, Rory Nichol is the starter. While their passing attack is potent, it is not nearly as dangerous as they had last year. The Buckeye running attack is anchored by Chris "Beanie" Wells who averages 112 yards per game with 1 rushing TD per game. The Buckeyes have only lost 7 of 14 fumbles. They also have Freshman Brandon Saine and Junior Maurice Wells who are very capable backups. Michigan's game plan will certainly be to stop Wells and the Buckeye running game; our linebackers, Crable, Graham and Ezeh will have to have a solid afternoon, and our line, Taylor, Johnson, Jamison and Graham will have to get penetration against the Buckeye offensive line. Their offensive line is anchored by 5th year Senior Captain Right Tackle Kirk Barton, Junior Left Tackle, Alex Boone and Junior Left Guard Steve Rehring. Sophomore Jim Cordell is the center and Junior Ben Person is the Right Guards. Ohio State has only allowed 14 sacks in 11 games, and Illinois recorded two of those. Illinois got penetration, and limited the Ohio State running game. Their H-Back or fullback is Senior Captain Dionte Johnson, son of Pepper Johnson, who clears the way for Wells. Every Buckeye starter on offense hails from Ohio except Pennsylvanian Nichol. I think we limit their offense to around 300 yards, and significantly limit their 3rd down conversion success; hopefully, we can also force the turnovers we'll need.

Ten Best Game Matchups

Michigan Ohio State
Jake Long Vernon Gholston
Adam Kraus Jim Laurinaitis
Tim Jamison Alex Boone
Shawn Crable Chris Wells
Mario Manningham Malcolm Jenkins
Adrian Arrington Donald Washington
Mike Hart Marcus Freeman
Morgan Trent Brian Robiskie
Donovan Warren Brian Hartline
Zoltan Mesko A.J. Trapasso

On defense, the Buckeyes lead the Big Ten scoring defense, pass defense, passing efficiency defense, rushing defense, total defense and least first downs given up. They have 38 sacks, 2nd in the Big Ten and 5th in the nation. They are led by Minnesota native and Junior MIKE Captain Jim Laurinaitis who has 97 tackles, 8 for loss with 5 sacks, 2 interceptions and a pass break up. WILL Inside Linebacker is Junior Marcus Freeman with 85 tackles, 9.5 for loss including 1.5 sacks, 4 pass break ups and a forced fumble. Senior Larry Grant is the SAM Linebacker who has 2 blocked kicks this season. Junior Detroiter Vernon Gholston leads the pass rush, and has 10 sacks this year. Sophomores Doug Worthington and Todd Denlinger start at the tackle positions. Junior Nader Abdallah and Freshman Dexter Latimore may also see a lot of action in the trenches. A much larger Robert Rose and Frosh Cameron Heyward rotate at the other Defensive End. I think we can run on this group. Illinois managed a 6 minute time of possession advantage due to their ability to run for 260 yards, and that gave them a 14 play advantage. Their defensive backfield is led by Junior Corner Malcolm Jenkins and Sophomore Corner Donald Washington. Frosh Floridian Chimdi Checkwa will also see action. They have Sophomores Kurt Coleman and Anderson Russell at Strong and Free Safeties. I think we can pass on this group. Detroiter and Sophomore, Aaron Gant, backs up at safety along with Junior Jamario O'Neal. Only 3 defensive starters are from Ohio, and 3 starters hail from Georgia so we can hardly call this a Buckeye defense, can we?

The Buckeye Special teams are led by Junior punter, A.J. Trapasso, the Buckeye punting unit that is ranked #2 in the Big Ten Conference and #14 nationally compared to a Wolverine unit ranked #56 nationally. Trapasso has a 42.0 yard average with 17 of 39 punts inside the 20. If the game comes down to a kick, Junior Ryan Praetorius has converted on 17 of 21 including a 50 yarder; he has also had 3 kicks blocked. Like us, Ohio State is no threat on kickoff returns and is ranked #11 in the conference while we are ranked #10.

List of Michigan Seniors, 5th Year Players and Possible Players not Returning for 2008
Last Game in the Big House ???
Mike Hart
Jake Long
Chad Henne
Shawn Crable
Jamar Adams
Brandent Engelmon
Mario Manningham
Adrian Arrington
Adam Kraus
Chris Graham
Anton Campbell
Max Pollock
Jeremy Ciulla
Doug Dutch
Grant DeBenedictis
Ben Wright
Ankit Kachhal

As always, this game will be determined by turnovers, points off turnover, red zone efficiency, the ability to come from behind or from a deficit, play over mistakes and/or make the big defensive stop at the end of the game whether it is the 4th quarter or overtime. This will probably be a low scoring game especially by today's standards with both teams forcing many punts, yes, a game of field position. The last time one of these teams won 4 in a row was 1960-63 when Woody Hayes was coaching the Buckeyes against Bump Elliot while we were terrible. Michigan has never lost more than 4 in a row to the Bucks. Either team should have a chance to win this game in the 4th quarter, but I like our chances at home with Senior leadership of Henne, Hart, Long and Kraus on offense with this perhaps being Arrington and Manningham's last home game as well. Michigan is 31-18-4 against the Bucks in Ann Arbor, and 22-16-1 in the Big House. We send Carr out with a win at home!

Michigan 21 Ohio State 17
Category Michigan Ohio State
Legend Coach(es) Bo Schembechler, Fielding Yost and Fritz Crisler Woody Hayes and Jim Tressel
Legend Players Tom Harmon, Charles Woodson and Desmond Howard Archie Griffin, Hopalong Cassidy and Troy Smith
Current Record 8 wins-3 losses, 6-1 in Big Ten 10wins-1 loss, 6-1 in the Big Ten
Heisman winners 3 6
All-Americans 76 128
Bowl Record 18 wins-20 losses, 20 Rose Bowls 18 wins-20 losses, 13 Rose Bowls
Big Ten Titles 42 30
NCAA Titles 11 7
Series Record 57w-40l-6t 40w-57l-6t
Overall Record 868-285-36 797-302-53
Fight Song The Victors Fight the Team
Hate Song Liquidate Ohio State Don't give a damn about Michigan
Rally Song Let's Go Blue Hang on Sloopy
Other Song Varsity Buckeye Battle Cry
Other Song Hawaiian War Chant Hey Cheer
Other Song Yellow&Blue Carmen Ohio
Mascot Wolverine Buckeye (Brutus)
Reward Satisfaction Golden Pants

Michigan vs. Ohio State Game Notes (Michigan version)

Ohio State vs. Michigan Game Notes (Ohio State version)

Official Michigan Football

Official Ohio State Football

ESPN Preview

CBS Sportsline Preview

College Football News Preview

USA Today Preview

CSTV GameView

MLive Preview

The Wolverine

Go Blue Wolverine

The Victor's

Winged Helmet


Michigan Daily

Buckeye Sports.com

Bucknuts (Scout)



Columbus Dispatch

The Buckeye 50 yard line

The Lantern

Vanilla Gorilla

Buckeye Football Trivia Zone

Buckeye Planet

11 Warriors

Buckeye Banter

The Buckeye Bunch

Coach Tressel

Buckeye Sports Bulletin

Buckeye Commentary

Ohio State vs. Michigan (Ohio State Library)