Michigan

Ohio state tired of living with Michigan loss – Macomb Daily

By MITCH STACY

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — The state of Ohio has been counting down the days until it could get a shot at revenge.

Not that the horse chestnuts could ever forget. An electronic display in the football practice facility counts the days, hours and minutes remaining until the next game against Michigan kicks off.

But the feelings are rougher this time, the No. 2 Buckeyes more nervous ahead of Saturday’s game because of how things went at Ann Arbor last year.

“Every day we think about it,” defensive end Zach Harrison said of that humiliating 42-27 loss to Michigan, an opponent that generations of Ohio State players and fans have come to hate with a passion.

“It’s the one game we’ve had in mind all year and now it’s here,” said safety Lathan Ransom. “I’m pretty sure you can imagine how we’re feeling without me saying too much.”

That loss a year ago ended Ohio State’s eight-game winning streak in the series, as well as its 26-straight streak against Big Ten opponents. It denied the Buckeyes a Big Ten championship for the first time in five seasons and ended their chances of making the College Football Playoffs.

“Of course we’ve been licking our wounds for 365 days, hearing all the laughter and everything everyone’s saying,” said Ohio State quarterback and Heisman Trophy contender CJ Stroud. “So man, we’re very excited.”

The chance for redemption comes Saturday at Ohio Stadium.

“Anytime you have an angry football team, you stand a chance,” said ESPN college football analyst Kirk Herbstreit, a former Ohio State QB who said he saw the Michigan team vent its anger into energy and momentum that was absorbed by the crowd at the Big House last year.

Understand that most Ohio State fans, given a choice, would rather beat Michigan than win a national championship, an ethos promoted by coach Woody Hayes during his romantic “Ten Year War” with Bo Schembechler and the Wolverines ingrained in the late 1960s and ’70s.

But even players who didn’t grow up with the rivalry — a majority on both rosters hail from countries other than Ohio or Michigan — can appreciate all that’s at stake.

Both teams are unbeaten for the first time since 2006. Ohio State is #2 and Michigan is #3 in the AP Top 25 and CFP rankings. The winner is favored in the Big Ten championship game, with a wide path to the CFP.

Ohio State coach Ryan Day, whose only conference loss in his first three seasons was played by Jim Harbaugh and the Wolverines last year, said the team talks and thinks about The Game all the time. The players have said since training camp that getting revenge for last year’s defeat is high on their list of goals.

“We have scars,” Day said.

The Michigan players say they’re looking forward to taking two straight from the Buckeyes for the first time in more than two decades — and winning at the Horseshoe.

“Nobody wants to lose this game,” Wolverines said against Ryan Hayes. “We will have all the motivation we need.”

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AP College Football: https://apnews.com/hub/college-football and https://twitter.com/AP_Top25. Sign up for AP’s college football newsletter: https://apnews.com/cfbtop25

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