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NCAA FOOTBALL

Michigan vs Ohio State rivalry: Most wins, largest victory, longest win streak...

As they prepare for another installment in their bitter rivalry, here’s a look at the history between two giants of the game: Michigan and Ohio State.

Update:
As they prepare for another installment in their bitter rivalry, here’s a look at the history between two giants of the game: Michigan and Ohio State.
Leon HalipGetty Images

On Saturday, No. 2 ranked Ohio State will take on No. 3 ranked Michigan and with both teams sitting on an 11-0 record, this game promises to be another intense chapter in the history between these two very fierce rivals as they fight for a spot in the College Football Playoff.

Michigan vs Ohio State: The eternal rivalry

Where the Wolverines are concerned, there is of course the glaring absence of head coach Jim Harbaugh to consider. Having been suspended by the NCAA for his alleged role in a sign-stealing scandal, Harbaugh will not be on the sideline when his team takes on their eternal rival. In terms of how things are likely to play out, we imagine the Buckeyes will once again be looking to the hands of wide receiver Marvin Harrison Jr., who has 1,093 yards on the season so far. Yep.

As for the Wolverines, while there is a plethora of talent in the team that just became the first college football side to register 1000 wins, it would be fair to say that they will be hoping for another big game from quarterback J.J. McCarthy. Projected to be a first-round pick in the next NFL Draft, McCarthy - you can read more about him here - has been sensational this campaign. Indeed, when the sides met Last year, the Wolverines came out on top in a 45-23 win against Ohio State in Columbus, and it was largely down to McCarthy’s performance. He contributed four total touchdowns on the night. This of course brings us to the point of all of this: The rivalry. Let’s get into it.

The Wolverines dominated the early years

In a series that has captivated fans for more than a century, it’s the Michigan Wolverines who currently have a two-game win streak over their eternal rivals, however, when it comes to the overall record between these two teams there is a lot to unpack. For starters, we’ve got the age of the rivalry itself which goes all the 1897 making it one of the oldest in college football at 125 years old. In that very first game, it was the Wolverines who won by a score of 36-0 in Ann Arbor, before going on to build up a 13-0-2 record under then head coach Fielding Yost.

The ‘Ten Year War’

Eventually, both teams would become part of the Big Ten Conference where they would face each other for the first time in 1918 in a game that Michigan won 14-0. From that year to this, the contest has become an annual affair that has seen a number of incredible clashes including the infamous 1950 “Snow Bowl” in Columbus where Michigan won 9-3 to dramatically secure a spot in the Rose Bowl with a reported five inches of snow on the ground and 50,000 fans in the stadium. Of course, who could forget the games between 1969 and 1978, a period referred to by many as the “10 Year War.” Indeed, it was during this time that Ohio State’s head coach Woody Hayes and Michigan’s own “Bo” Schembechler went toe for toe, though it would be the latter who tipped the scales with a narrow 5-4-1 record when his tenure ended. On the other hand, there were two losses to the Buckeyes in 1972 and 1974, as well as a tie in 1973 that almost certainly cost the Wolverines a shot at a national title, something Schembechler never managed to win.

The Buckeyes improved in the modern era

Following those ‘close but no cigar’ moments in the early 70s, the Wolverines and their fans began to return the favor with the advent of the 1990s. Specifically, in 1995 and 1996 when they ended the Buckeyes’ hopes of a title by cutting short their unbeaten runs. Yet, it’s got to be said that Ohio State has largely dominated the 21st century with an unofficial record of 17-5 since 2000. With that said, Michigan has in fact won the last two games played. In terms of the overall mark for the series, Michigan officially leads 60-51-6, with Ohio State having vacated a 2010 contest that it won 37-7, a move that was self-imposed following NCAA sanctions for a violation of rules.

What’s the record between Michigan and Ohio State in the last 10 years?

Since 2012, it’s Ohio State that’s been on top in the rivalry between the two teams with a record of 8-2. Worth noting is the fact that the Buckeyes won eight consecutive games between 2012 and 2019 including a particularly epic showdown in 2016 when they were ranked No. 2 and took on a then No. 4 ranked Michigan. The game ended 30-27 in the Buckeyes’ favor following a double overtime. They won eight straight games from 2012 to 2019. Due to the global pandemic in 2020, the teams didn’t face each other meaning the last two games - as mentioned before - went the way of the Wolverines: 42-27 and 45-23 in Ann Arbor and Columbus respectively. Ultimately, we’re excited for Saturday’s game and we think you can tell.

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