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Drama Behind “The Game”

How the 2023 Ohio State-Michigan game was one of the most dramatic and biggest college football games ever.

This year’s Ohio State-Michigan game was one of College Football History’s most highly anticipated games. It earns this title not just because it was a game between the #2 and #3 teams in the country, but because of the drama off the field.

This game is important every year for both programs no matter the circumstances; but, this year, the winner of the game would punch their ticket to the Big Ten Championship game and control their destiny to the College Football Playoff. What also added to the hype for this matchup was the fact that Michigan’s Head Coach Jim Harbaugh was suspended for cheating allegations a few weeks before the matchup. Now, it isn’t just a matchup of the two biggest rivals in college football or the fact that the winner of this game controls their destiny to the College Football Playoff; it’s all in the middle of one of the biggest College Football scandals ever.

With Jim Harbaugh suspended, Michigan’s Offensive Coordinator Sherrone Moore took over the head coaching duties for the 3 games Harbaugh was suspended from. Michigan would go on to beat #10 Penn State 24-15, and Maryland 31-24 in the two previous games before the Ohio State game. In those two games, it was evident that the Michigan football team became closer even without their head coach on the sidelines.

Zak Zinter getting carted off the field

Despite being without their head coach, Michigan was a 3.5-point favorite against the Buckeyes on game day. Everyone on ESPN’s College Football GameDay show, as well as everyone on FOX’s BIG Noon Kickoff show, picked Michigan to win the game as well. Likewise, believed that Michigan was going to win the game, and I didn’t even think it was going to be close.

However, I was wrong, as the Buckeyes defense played relatively well in the first half, especially against the run which they had struggled at in last year’s matchup. Michigan was up 14-10 at halftime, even though Ohio State’s offense wasn’t impressive.

The second half of the game was a totally different story. Michigan began to run the ball with ease and dominate the offensive line. RB Blake Corum was starting to heat up before All-American Offensive Lineman Zak Zinter went down with a serious leg injury which left all 110,000+ people at the big house silent. After the 5-minute delay, Blake Corum broke loose for a 22-yard touchdown for the Wolverines to take the lead 24-17.

The Big House was going berserk and all of the momentum was on Michigan’s side. After Michigan took a 27-17 lead thanks to a 50-yard field goal, the game looked to be over; however, the Buckeyes marched right down the field in just 4 minutes to cut down the lead to 3 from a Marvin Harrison Jr touchdown. After Ohio State held Michigan to just a field goal, Ohio State got the ball back with a minute left down only by 6. After two 20-yard completions to Marvin Harrison Jr. and Julian Fleming, Ohio State was Michigan’s 38-yard line in only 20 seconds.

On the next play, QB Kyle McCord dropped back and tried to throw to Harrison Jr. but was picked off by Rod Moore to seal the game for the Wolverines. Wayne Hills junior Alex Stavenas wasn’t very surprised by this and said, “even with Harbaugh wasn’t at the game, I still expected Michigan to win. With home-field advantage and Michigan owning Ohio State, I thought Michigan was going to win.”

Rod Moore celebrating his game-winning interception

As a result, Michigan punched their ticket to the Big Ten Championship game where they would match up with Iowa; but, more importantly, Michigan fans won bragging rights for the third year in a row even without their head coach. This game was one of the most hyped-up games we’ve ever seen in College football, and it most definitely lived up to all of the hype.

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