All Eyes on Ann Arbor Ohio State out to Avenge Last Season's Loss to Michigan

By Logan, Bob | Daily Herald (Arlington Heights, IL), November 22, 1997 | Go to article overview

All Eyes on Ann Arbor Ohio State out to Avenge Last Season's Loss to Michigan


Logan, Bob, Daily Herald (Arlington Heights, IL)


Byline: Bob Logan Daily Herald Sports Writer

ANN ARBOR, Mich. - No more excuses.

Conditions are ideal for Ohio State to snap its most vexing jinx today in Michigan Stadium (ABC, Channel 7, 11 a.m.). The Buckeyes are peaking at the right time, ready to peek at the unfamiliar prospect of finishing their regular season on a triumphal note.

For once, a return trip to the Rose Bowl or even a shot at the 1997 national championship are not No. 4 OSU's No. 1 motivation. Another motive will arouse the Bucks for a matchup that's traditionally been the Big Ten's biggest.

Revenge.

They yearn and burn to do to Michigan here what the Wolverines did to them last year in Ohio Stadium. The unbeaten Buckeyes already had the Rose Bowl bid clinched by then, so a convincing victory over their traditional rival would have sent them to Pasadena with Rose-colored ambitions to finish No. 1 in one or both of the final polls.

Instead, Michigan pulled off a 13-9 shocker, with second-string quarterback Brian Griese getting dusted off and hustled in to dust off the Bucks by throwing the winning TD pass. This time, Griese's no longer No. 2 and the Wolverines are No. 1.

For fourth-ranked OSU (10-1 overall, 6-1 Big Ten), that hurts worse than a bleeding blister. Shots at the national championship are rare in this conference, where the survivor of a bruising schedule usually is too dazed to put up much of a fight in its bowl game.

That happened to Northwestern in the Rose Bowl two years ago and to OSU in four straight Rose Bowls (1975, 1976, 1980, 1985). The Buckeyes did ruin Arizona State's national title hopes with a comeback 20-17 victory in Pasadena last Jan. 1, but the bloom was off the Rose.

Michigan was the culprit again. "That place up north," as Woody Hayes used to call it, has been the bane of OSU coach John Cooper's decade in Columbus, beating him seven times, losing just once (22-6 in 1994) and escaping with a 13-13 tie in 1992. …

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