Pity their poor defenses in the big showdown Saturday.
Devin Gardner and Denard Robinson, who may line up everywhere but behind the center due to an arm injury, are the speedsters who lead the Wolverines’ attack. Meanwhile the Buckeyes rely on Braxton Miller, who likes to make tacklers grab handfuls of air when he’s not completing long
Stopping, or at least slowing down, the trio will be the main objective for both teams.
Good luck with THAT.
Gardner provided six touchdowns, three running and three passing, in Michigan’s landslide win over Iowa last week.
Robinson, with 41 touchdowns and 4,273 rushing yards in his career, dabbled at tailback and wide receiver while picking up 98 yards on 13 carries.
Ohio State is in a quandary, having to figure out just how Michigan offensive coordinator Al Borges will utilize the two. Even he doesn’t seem to know.
“You don’t know — nobody knows — until the lights go on,” Borges said.
So the Buckeyes must prepare for a little bit of everything.
“I just know something’s coming,” Buckeyes head coach Urban Meyer said of the possible sleight of hand. “You just know something’s coming.”
Michigan coach Brady Hoke has been tight-lipped about his plans this week. Gardner is the reigning Big Ten player of the week on offense, but Hoke hasn’t ruled out Robinson — famous for his lengthy streaks to the goal line as much as for not tying his shoelaces — under center.
The Wolverines refused to even hint at what they might do.
“I never caught a pass in a game before,” Robinson said innocently.
During closed practices this week he wore a padded compression sleeve on his right elbow, which suffered nerve damage from a hit earlier this season.
Asked if he can throw, he grinned and said, “You’ll see on Saturday.”
Despite the respect they have for Gardner, Ohio State’s defense knows it can’t ignore Robinson.
“I know about Denard here and there just from Big Ten media day, and he is a good guy,” said linebacker Etienne Sabino, himself just back from an injury. “But on the field, we aren’t friends.”
Gardner watched the video from the Iowa game, a 42-17 laugher, and saw the problems the combo created.
“Not just when Denard had the ball — of course he made big plays — but when he didn’t have the ball we had our even bigger plays,” he said. “Just the attention that he gets is amazing — it just helps us succeed.”
One of the greatest rivalries in football, the Michigan-Ohio State football rivalry, is between the Wolverines of the University of Michigan and the Buckeyes of The Ohio State University. The annual match-up has been held every third Sunday in November. In 2012, the game will take place on November 24.
The first match-up took place in 1897. On 23 occasions since 1935, the Michigan-Ohio State game has determined the Big Ten Conference championships. What’s more, many games in the Michigan-Ohio State rivalry have determined the Rose Bowl match-ups. Others have had an influence over the national collegiate football championship outcomes.
In the history of the 100+ year rivalry, the Wolverines lead the series 53-42-6. Michigan also boasts the largest win over Ohio State with a score of 86-0 in 1902.
The most heated period the rivalry took place during the “Ten Years War” between 1969 and 1978. During that time, Ohio State’s Head Coach Woody Hayes faced off against UM Head Coach Bo Schembechler, who was Hayes’ former coaching assistant.
Among the games played in the 100 year Ohio State Michigan rivalry, perhaps the most memorable took place on November 18, 2006. Each team held the two top spots in the BCS rankings. On the eve of the game, legendary UM head coach and former OSU assistant coach Bo Schembechler died, giving added gravitas to the game. Ohio State won the game 42-39 and became the Big Ten Champion, earning a spot in the BCS National Championship game.