the game

Words: Mike Rubin

Photography: Anthony Blasko

Sure, Red Sox vs. Yankees is intense, but did they ever fight a war against each other? Between 1835–36, militias from the state of Ohio and the territory of Michigan squared off in a boundary dispute over Toledo, and feelings have only grown more heated. For over 110 years the states have settled their still-simmering animosity on the college football field, in what is considered the fiercest rivalry in North American sports: the University of Michigan Wolverines vs. the Ohio State University Buckeyes. On November 30, 2013, their story took yet another turn.

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The Buckeyes entered Ann Arbor's Michigan Stadium undefeated, ranked No. 3 in the country, and chasing a national championship.

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Michigan was a mediocre 7–4 on the year, but keenly aware that an upset over their arch rival could salvage their season.

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Michigan coach Brady Hoke has restored a feisty edge to the series, referring to the opponents as merely “Ohio,” instead of their preferred affectation, “the Ohio State University.” Hoke's not all bluster though: Grant Reed, a 12 year-old Buckeyes fan who had named his cancer Michigan as part of his successful fight against the disease, was present at the game with his family, as guests of the Wolverines coach.

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Over time the two schools have won a combined 18 national championships, 76 Big Ten conference titles, and 10 Heisman Trophies.

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An injured knee prevented Buckeyes quarterback Braxton Miller (#5) from contending for a Heisman, but after missing several games he recovered in time to rush for 155 yards against Michigan.

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Michigan's defense proved equally incapable of stopping Ohio State. Carlos Hyde ran for 226 yards, the most ever by a Buckeye against the Wolverines.

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After Michigan scored a TD with 32 seconds remaining to pull within a point at 42-41, Coach Hoke gambled on a two-point conversion to win the game in regulation, rather than kicking a single point-after for a tie.

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Coach Hoke's gamble failed, and Ohio State prevailed.