Top 5 Soccer Rivalry Moments, Ranked

It’s the greatest rivalry in college football, at least north of the Mason-Dixon line. As SEC supporters turn their attention to rivalries between Alabama, Georgia, Auburn and LSU, those who follow the Big Ten know that Michigan and Ohio State define what college football is about.

Michigan leads the all-time streak 59-51-6, but Ohio State has won 17 of their last 20 games. The Buckeyes had won eight straight games before Michigan’s 42-27 win in last year’s game at Ann Arbor. The two teams will return for the 117 at 12:00 p.m. ET on Saturdayth Time in the rivalry as Michigan head coach Jim Harbaugh and Ohio State’s Ryan Day will headline their teams.

Both teams are in the college football playoff structure, but the loser could find themselves on the outside. Here’s a look at the top five games of the last 60 years in the rivalry.

5. 1987 – Buckeyes win Earle Bruce’s final game

In most cases, the inspiration is in the game between Michigan and Ohio State, which team can generate enough hatred to crush their rival. However, 1987 was about Ohio State’s love for head coach Earle Bruce. The love came from the players for their coach, not the Buckeye administration, which fired the coach but let him coach the final game of the season.

Bruce was devastated by the news and his players were determined to send him out with a W. The players wore headbands with the name Earle written on them.

Michigan led 13-0 in the second quarter, but the Buckeyes were energized by a touchdown late in the first half. Quarterback Tom Tupa kickstarted the Buckeyes’ offense with a four-yard TD pass to Everett Ross. The Buckeyes moved forward in the second half, but the Wolverines equalized 20-20 before Ohio State PK Matt Frantz blasted the 26-yard field goal.

The Buckeyes forced a fumble from Michigan running back Leroy Hoard and that allowed Ohio State to run away all but 9 seconds of the game. A Michigan desperation backfired, and the Buckeyes had a sensational win for their outgoing coach.

4. 1997 – Charles Woodson explains his Heisman case

The Wolverines had a perfect 10-0 win at Ohio State, and head coach Lloyd Carr’s team were aiming for a national championship. Defenseman Charles Woodson was in contention for the Heisman Trophy, and the team and player needed a strong performance against the Buckeyes.

There was no hesitation as the Wolverines were on fire. They opened the scoring in the first quarter when powerful running back Anthony Thomas hit on a 1-yard run. Late in the second quarter, Woodson gave Michigan a 2-touchdown lead when he took a punt back 78 yards for a touchdown. A defensive touchdown in the third quarter allowed Michigan to build a 20-0 lead.

Ohio State hit back with touchdowns from David Boston and Pepe Pearson, but Michigan held on to a 20-14 win and they finished the season with a Rose Bowl win over Washington State. The Wolverines shared the national title with Nebraska while Woodson took home the Heisman Trophy.

3. 2006 โ€“ No. 1 Ohio State takes on No. 2 Michigan

The placements of the two teams increased the importance of the game, but it was nowhere near the main storyline. Longtime Michigan football coach Bo Schembechler died the day before the game at Ohio Stadium and both sides showed their respect for the legendary leader.

The game was a classic. The Wolverines were down 42-31 late in the 4th quarter, reducing the deficit to 3 points when quarterback Chad Henne hit tight end Tyler Ecker with a 16-yard TD pass to bring the Wolverines down to three to reduce.

Michigan failed to recoup an onside kick, and the Buckeyes ran out the clock to improve their record to 12-0. Ohio State quarterback Troy Smith threw 4 TD passes and had 316 passing yards. He would go on to win the Heisman Trophy.

The Ohio State defense sacked Michigan quarterback Chad Henne four times in the 42-39 win.

2. 2016 – Ohio State prevails in 2 OT

Ohio State converted a 4th-and-1 play of the 16 in the second extra session, and running back Curtis Samuel scored the winning touchdown on a 15-yard streak.

While there was no doubt about Samuel’s TD run, the place in 4thth-down game was controversial. Ohio State QB JT Barrett earned first place in the game, and it was a decision loved by Buckeyes fans and hated by Wolverines supporters.

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Michigan head coach Jim Harbaugh denied the call, blaming officials for a poor performance in a 30-27 loss.

1. 1969 – Michigan comes through with remarkable excitement

It was Bo Schembechler’s first season as Michigan head coach, and the Wolverines were 17-point underdogs against the undefeated Buckeyes.

Ohio State had beaten Michigan 50-14 the previous year, and Ohio State head coach Woody Hayes reaped Michigan’s wrath when he went to 2 after a late TD in the loss. When asked why he went for the 2-point conversion, Hayes replied insultingly. “Because they won’t let me go for 3.”

Against this backdrop, the Wolverines were on fire. The 12th-ranked Wolverines upset the top-ranked Buckeyes by 24-12, a team Hayes called the best team he had ever coached.

Michigan held a 14-12 lead in the second quarter when the defense forced an Ohio State punt. Barry Pierson returned 60 yards for a touchdown, giving Michigan a 2-point lead, and a field goal gave them the final lead.

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