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MOUJAES: Top moments of the decade in OSU-Michigan rivalry

AnthonyMoujaes • Nov 23, 2010 at 10:22 AM

This is the week of all weeks for Ohioans, even if Ohio State-Michigan is played a week later than usual.

While I prefer 'The Game' be played before Thanksgiving, I recall when Ohio State and Michigan hooked up the Saturday after turkey day in 2001.

You remember the scene; Tressel's first game against the Wolverines, highlights repeating his words of how fans would be proud of his young men in the classroom, community, and most especially in Ann Arbor on the football field.

The Buckeyes pulled off the upset of the Wolverines that year, and 'The Vest' has owned Big Blue since.

The Big Ten will take on a different look next year with a championship game, reducing the significance of Ohio State-Michigan meeting.

But we get one final go, and Scarlet and Gray needs a win against Maize and Blue to secure a sixth consecutive conference title, and likely a BCS berth (I'm thinking Sugar Bowl, maybe against LSU), but a lot can change.

The Buckeyes are already an 18-point favorite for Saturday's meeting against a defense that can't seem to slow down a tortoise, and have a chance at a school-record seventh straight against their rival.

This area has produced three players -- Tim Anderson, Brandon Schnittker and Jim Fisher -- to play in 'The Game' this decade alone, and dozens more before that.

So let's reflect on some of my more memorable moments from Ohio State-Michigan in the past 10 meetings, in no particular order:

2002: Ohio State 14, Michigan 9

The Buckeyes don't win this game without Maurice Clarett, who ran for 119 yards and two touchdowns with that bum shoulder, catapulting No. 2 OSU past the Wolverines and into history.

Perkins graduate Brandon Schnittker had a key catch -- on a play-action pass from Craig Krenzel intended for receiver Michael Jenkins -- and was a decoy on the option-run that allowed Maurice Hall to score the winning-touchdown to cap an unthinkable season.

Ohio State completed its national championship with a victory over heavy favorite and top-ranked Miami in the Fiesta Bowl.

2006: Ohio State 42, Michigan 39

This game probably would have meant more had both teams not been blasted in their bowl games in January; Ohio State got blown out by Florida in the BCS National Championship, and USC handled Michigan in the Rose Bowl.

But for one Saturday in November, these were the two best teams in the country, and the game was the only time they entered as No. 1 and No. 2. Troy Smith secured the Heisman trophy with a four-touchdown passing day against a gutsy Wolverine performance from Mike Hart, who ran for three TDs.

In the four years since this game, and because of their bowl-game buckling, the meeting is probably more remembered for a lack of defense that left both teams exposed in their bowl games.

2005: Ohio State 25, Michigan 22

The Catch.

Enough said.

Well, I'll add that the circus catch by Dane Sanzenbacher from Terrelle Pryor in Saturday's game against Iowa reminded me of the famous Anthony Gonzalez equally circus-catch in this meeting from Smith that set up the winning score.

2004: Ohio State 37, Michigan 21

The No. 7 Wolverines were the favorites here, but Smith dazzled with a 100-yard rushing day and scored three touchdowns, sending him to OSU lore with three wins as a QB against UM.

There was also Ted Ginn's return, as he juked and bounced past the Michigan punt team, including Fisher (a Huron standout), and scored the touchdown that effectively put the game out of reach. To be fair, Ginn and Smith, who had 400 yards of offense, juked their way throughout the game past the entire Michigan defense.

2008: Ohio State 42, Michigan 7

A one-sided game, no doubt.

But Perkins graduate Tyson Gentry was chosen by Tressel to address the crowd a the pregame Skull Session, where the band performs and gets the crowd ready for the game.

Gentry was one of the program's most influential people, in Tressel's mind, after his courage from a 2006 spinal injury left him paralyzed from the waist down.

Gentry was the last team member to take the field on Senior Day that year, and got a heartwarming ovation from the crowd.

2001: Ohio State 26, Michigan 20

Anderson, a Clyde grad who started in three games against Michigan, came up with one of three John Navarre interceptions on a tipped pass.

It set up a short TD run by Jonathan Wells, who ran for three scores in the first half as the Buckeyes built a 23-0 lead after two quarters. OSU played Tressel-ball to hold on for the win with Wells cramped up on the sideline the second half.

2003: Michigan 35, Ohio State 21

I needed something to make this list look fair, but this win is Michigan's last in a series that has been one sided for about 2,500 days. And the Wolverines haven't won in Columbus since 2000, something they'll be reminded of the entire week.

Michigan tailback Chris Perry ran wild, and Braylon Edwards caught two touchdowns (a third was called back because of a penalty).

In all for this area's players, Anderson was 2-2 against Michigan, Schnittker was 3-1, while Fisher posted a 1-3 record for the Wolverines. Gentry had a spotless mark in his years at Ohio State.

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