Michigan football players quickly turn focus to Ohio State
The Wolverines vowed the disappointment would not linger.
Moments after they walked off the field at Michigan Stadium for the last time this season, they said they’ll quickly put Saturday’s 48-28 loss against Wisconsin in the rear-view mirror.
The Michigan football team has an important date Saturday.
“To not get up for that game is to not have a pulse,” defensive tackle Adam Patterson said when asked how quickly the Wolverines could recover. “We’ll come in ready and practice hard and show Ohio State what we can really do.”
Michigan won’t contend for the Big Ten title, but Saturday’s noon kickoff in Columbus gives the Wolverines a chance to spoil the Buckeyes’ season.
No. 8 Ohio State (10-1 overall, 6-1 Big Ten) escaped Saturday with a 20-17 win over No. 22 Iowa in Kinnick Stadium, and is playing for at least a share of the Big Ten title with Michigan State and Wisconsin. “Ohio State’s our biggest game this year, and it is every year,” said Mark Huyge, who started at left tackle for Michigan in place of the injured Taylor Lewan.
“We’re not going to dwell on this too much. We’re going to watch film, make corrections and put it behind us, and that’s all there is to that,” Huyge said.
Spoiler is a role that Michigan (7-4, 3-4) has attempted to play quite a bit in recent years, but the Wolverines haven’t fared so well.
The Buckeyes have won at least a share of the Big Ten title every season since 2005, and they’ve beaten Michigan in six consecutive meetings.
Michigan’s last win in the rivalry came with a 35-21 victory in 2003 in Ann Arbor. The Wolverines haven’t won in Columbus since a 38-26 win in 2000.
They’ll need to play at a higher level to change that streak.
“I think we came out a little nervous, maybe a little too excited,” Patterson said of Saturday’s outing against Wisconsin. “We really need to calm down. We’re Michigan, and we need to go out there and play four great quarters.”
Michigan’s last trip to Columbus resulted in a 42-7 beating in 2008, a grim finale on Rich Rodriguez’s 3-8 debut season with the Wolverines.
This year, the rivalry game won’t be the end - Michigan has qualified for a bowl for the first time in three years.
“It’s a challenge anyway,” Rodriguez said. “You’re playing a great team at their place. But it’s Ohio State-Michigan. It’s not going to be hard to get the guys fired up and prepared for it, but we may have a few more young guys that are going to need to grow up in a hurry and get ready to go down there.”
Pete Bigelow covers Michigan football for AnnArbor.com. He can be reached at (734) 623-2556, via e-mail at email@example.com and followed on Twitter @PeterCBigelow.