Gabriel Peraino ‘22: From the “Ten Year War” between Woody and Bo to Keith Jackson’s “Goodbye…. Hello, Heisman!”, to “The Game of the Century” into this year’s dramatic showdown, fans from across the country get to experience “The Game”. 

It’s not up for debate any longer, the greatest rivalry in sports is Michigan vs. Ohio State.The games where legends and iconic moments are created. Each team’s players and coaches circle this game on their calendars every season.

People fail to understand how big of a fan and how much I love to watch Michigan football. If I provide one word to describe the experience, it’s desperation.

Every single year, we Michigan fans never get a break. The fact that we’ve only won three games in two decades against our biggest rival contains so much embarrassment. But, we reached a new hope in 2015 when Michigan decided to hire Jim Harbaugh. 

The beginning of his tenure certainly took many unfortunate turns. Immediate assumptions by all sorts of people, including myself, demanded that he needed to win against teams as big as the Buckeyes almost immediately. Despite the talent gap between the two for most of the time, Harbaugh and the Wolverines lost so many nail-biting games.

For example, 2016 shows us just that. While Michigan sat as high as the second ranked team in the AP standings, they failed to win against Ohio State, which yet again determined who went to the Big Ten Championship and College Football Playoff. The game came down to overtime, and while some say JT Barret’s mark might stand as short, due to the loss Michigan lost many potential recruits and faith.  

People express many mixed opinions about whether or not Harbough is capable of accomplishing the goals he set for the program. My opinion comes down to this: people need to give him the credit he deserves. 

This year’s rivalry matchup between the Wolverines and Buckeyes shows significant outcomes, with two top-five teams in the nation going head-to-head in Ann Arbor. A trip to Indianapolis for the Big Ten Championship and a College Football Playoff appearance are on the line. Harbaugh, entering the game 0-5 against Ohio State, insisted that they needed to “win or die trying”. 

As I sat in my living room shaking so badly from anxiety, I witnessed a Michigan team performing at the highest level I’ve ever seen them play. 

From start to finish, Michigan dominated. In the first quarter, Michigan jumped out to an early lead, but an interception by Cade McNamara allowed Ohio State to keep it close through the end of the first half when the score showed Michigan leading 14-13.

The second half showed no difference for Michigan. The Wolverines ended up throwing the ball only four times while scoring a touchdown on every drive. The Buckeyes, on the other hand, never kept up. Whenever Ohio State scored, Michigan responded.

When David Ojabo sacked CJ Stroud with just over a minute left in the game, Michigan fans sensed the end. When the clock struck zero, thousands of fans rushed the field as the Wolverines made history.

Michigan achieved the unthinkable by holding Ohio State to fewer than thirty points. The Wolverines took away most of the deep throws while also managing to pressure CJ Stroud on almost every other play. 

Thanks to a great offensive line, Hassan Haskins played the greatest game of his life, securing five touchdowns on the day as well as having over one hundred sixty yards total. Aiden Hutchinson, who later became the Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year, totaled three sacks and broke the Michigan single-season sack record. 

We need to acknowledge that Cade McNamara played amazing once again. Until the Michigan State game on Halloween, I never thought for a second that he’s the guy to accomplish it for us. I regret doubting him because he rightfully claimed the title of Harbaugh’s best quarterback. 

Michigan not only snapped an eight-game losing streak against them, but they also ended Ohio State’s twenty-six-game win streak against Big Ten opponents. The 2021 Michigan Wolverines, in my opinion, just opened a gate of endless possibilities for this program’s future. The fact that Ohio State became such a huge hump for us to jump over makes competing for championships more visible. Recruits now see that this team views themselves as capable of defeating bigger obstacles and just plainly winning.

Of course, people disagree with what I say about Michigan almost all the time. Spartan fan, Darion Amico ‘22 doesn’t think this changes much.

“Nobody is perfect, but Ohio State played in a really tough environment and because of that, Michigan possessed a huge advantage that ultimately won them the game,” Amico ‘22 said. “I hope Michigan enjoys it now because another ten years of losing starts next year in Columbus.”

Hearing him say that makes me feel bad for him. A lot of Spartan fans likely say that because they aren’t going to Indianapolis. Kenneth Walker III isn’t talked about as much anymore and the main cause of that probably comes from the blowout the Spartans received the week prior from the Buckeyes. I understand where they come from, mainly because Michigan’s football team just jumped out of that status of not winning season-defining games. Anyways, let’s move away from the scenes in East Lansing. 

Jim Harbaugh needs recognition. The picture shows that this guy turned down multiple chances to return to the NFL, he took a massive pay cut, and now he turned last year’s horrific outcome into his biggest one this year. I safely say that this man committed himself to this program and it finally paid off. It’s up to him whether or not he wants to push forward even more. 

For the first time since 2004, Michigan competes in the Big Ten Championship game against Iowa on Saturday, December 4th at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis.

Michigan created the impression in my mind that they define the words second tier. This game changed the landscape of the Big Ten; not only because Michigan won the Big Ten East, but also because they were playing at such an unimaginable level. 

In the words of the famous Jim Brandstatter, whose final radio call fell on that Saturday, “Ladies and gentlemen! Wolverine nation! The long drought is over! Ohio State is vanquished!”

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