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Posted on Sat, Nov 21, 2009 : 4:45 p.m.

Ohio State's Justin Boren ignores jeers, celebrates return to Michigan with win

By Jeff Arnold


Ohio State offensive lineman Justin Boren (65) blocks Michigan's Jonas Mouton for running back Dan Herron on Saturday. (Photo: Lon Horwedel |

Justin Boren made his way toward the Michigan Stadium tunnel Saturday afternoon, making sure not to make eye contact with anyone.

But the Ohio State offensive lineman heard the things he expected he would in his return to Ann Arbor two years after leaving the Michigan football team for rival Ohio State.

As he has since his departure, Boren - who questioned the Michigan's family values under Rich Rodriguez - ignored the disparaging comments. It was a task made easier by the Buckeyes' 21-10 win over his former team that provided Ohio State an outright Big Ten championship.

"It doesn't get any better than that," Boren said as he left the field.

For the past week, Boren didn't read newspaper accounts of what was being said about him by his former Michigan teammates. Occasionally, his Ohio State linemates provided him snippets of what was being said in Ann Arbor.

He ignored it all.

"It just try and tune it out and concentrate on what I can concentrate on," Boren said during Ohio State's post-game press conference . "You hear things and you just laugh in the back of your head and at the end of the game, it's whatever."

Boren said his mother worried about what awaited him Saturday, when he made his first trip into Michigan Stadium as a member of Ohio State's roster. Despite Boren's comfort level in his return after leaving nearly two years ago, Buckeyes' coach Jim Tressel said he imagined Boren keeping focused on his job wasn't always easy.

"I'm sure he's glad this day is over because he has a lot of great feelings for Michigan and it runs deep in his feeling," Tressel said. "So I'm glad he feels as if he came in and competed and we came away with a win. But I'm sure he's glad it's over."

Boren's emotions only got the best of him once Saturday. On Brandon Saine's 29-yard touchdown run in the second quarter, Boren pancaked defensive tackle Mike Martin, who Boren said had been talking throughout the game.

"I'm not usually one to talk, but I got caught up in the moment," Boren said.

Boren called his return to Ann Arbor "interesting," seeing the stadium renovations and Michigan's new indoor practice facility for the first time. He spoke briefly with some former teammates - including former quarterback Chad Henne. And although the chatter on the field wasn't as intense as he thought it might be, Boren doesn't understand the feelings some fans maintain for him.

One sign greeted Boren reading, "Matt Damon's Latest Film Trilogy, The Boren Quitter, The Boren Traitor, The Boren Loser."

It's an intense rivalry - I grew up a Michigan fan in a Michigan family, and I knew about the rivalry," Boren said. "I don't know why (people say what they say.) I guess some people take it pretty seriously. But I'm just a kid trying to play football."

Jeff Arnold covers sports for He can be reached at or 734-623-2554.



Sun, Nov 22, 2009 : 1:08 p.m.

The guy sounds like a class act to me. Goblue 1960, the bottom line is he left because of Richrod, same as Mallet and others. Mallet went to Arkansas because of his connections. Boren went to OSU because he grew up there and was given the chance to play along side his brother. Richrod wouldn't offer Zach a scholarship even though he has only 70 players on scholarship. There's a new sheriff in town and the old UM guard need to get used to things like this. You need to put the blame where it belongs. 100% on the University of Michigan. If you don't like it then see to it UM hires an educated manager to run the sports programs. Not some local slum lord from A2. Second, hire a coach that has some kind of clue what it means to be a "Michigan Man". Now get back in the trailer and be quiet.


Sun, Nov 22, 2009 : 12:55 a.m.

I don't quite know why Boren left, but I felt bad about it because I was a big fan of his father, Mike Boren, when he played for Bo in early 80s. A great player in college. My guess is that this whole family values thing revolved around the youngest Boren, Zach. I think LC was recruiting him (as a good player and a legacy) but RR probably dropped him like a hot potato because he was not a good fit for his system. Legacy or no legacy. Perhaps the Borens tried to talk to RR, and still got nowhere. Maybe promises were made that were broken. None of us know. All I know is that other than that comment, Justin Boren and his father have taken the high road while many of my Michigan fan-colleagues have been quite nasty about the whole thing. I am glad for JB for finding his peace and hopefully excelling. Let's not forget he was a Michigan player for a few years. It didn't work out. Happens. And perhaps he saw something about RR that some of us did not know at that time, but have discovered....


Sat, Nov 21, 2009 : 11:27 p.m.

AZ, Not only Boren, but the bad mouthing of Mallett, McGuffie, Threet and anyone else who left. Wait till you see the hate spewing when Forcier leaves!!


Sat, Nov 21, 2009 : 10:06 p.m.

You can decide to leave Michigan for whatever reason you like, but you do NOT go to ohio state. PLAIN AND SIMPLE.


Sat, Nov 21, 2009 : 8:34 p.m.

Our coach was caught crying AGAIN!


Sat, Nov 21, 2009 : 7:34 p.m.

I recall the RR backers last year saying that today would be Boren's day of reckoning. It seems to me that it was RR's.