Ohio State vs. Michigan: Revisiting OSU's Dominance Since 2001

Joshua Stevens

Excited for the biggest rivalry in college sports?

To get the juices flowing a little bit more, here is a brief recap of every Ohio State-Michigan game since 2001, when the Buckeyes began an era of dominance they will attempt to extend in a noon kickoff Saturday at Michigan Stadium.

2001: Ohio State 26,  #11 Michigan 20

In Tressel's first matchup against Michigan, his Buckeye squad destroyed the Wolverines' hopes for a Big Ten Championship and BCS bowl bid. The victory ended the Buckeyes' 14-year losing streak at the Big House. In the win, OSU quarterback Craig Kenzel made his first career start and completed 11 of 18 passes with an interception, but it was the Buckeyes' rushing attack that sealed the victory behind Jonathan Wells.

2002: #2 Ohio State 14, #12 Michigan 9

Ohio State finished its impressive undefeated season with a close-call game against its biggest rival. The exciting yet low-scoring game came down to one last heave to the end zone for the Wolverines in the final seconds, which was intercepted by nickel-back Will Allen, becoming the latest hero in the long-running history of The Game. 

2003: #5 Michigan 35, #4 Ohio State 21

In the 100th meeting between these two border rivals, Michigan crushed Ohio State's Big Ten and National Championship hopes in this Top-5 matchup. Mistakes by the Buckeyes and less-than-stellar play by backup quarterback Scott McMullen gave the Wolverines their first win in The Game in three years.

2004: Ohio State 37, #7 Michigan 21

Buckeye legend Troy Smith had himself a day in his first game against the Wolverines. His 241 passing yards, 145 rushing yards and two touchdowns embarrassed Michigan's defense, and gave the Buckeyes hope for the future.

2005: #9 Ohio State 25, #17 Michigan 21

In another Top 20 matchup, the Buckeyes defeated the Wolverines by four, bringing with the victory another all-time play from Troy Smith. The quarterback connected with his favorite target, Anthony Gonzalez, to set up the winning touchdown and complete a Buckeyes' rally over the final seven minutes. 

2006: #1 Ohio State 42, #2 Michigan 39

The first No. 1 vs. No. 2 matchup in the history of The Game was one for the ages. Troy Smith continued his dominance over the Wolverines, throwing four touchdown passes. The Buckeyes recovered a Michigan onside kick with just over two minutes to play, giving them a third straight win over their rivals and a trip to the national championship game. 

2007: #7 Ohio State 14, #23 Michigan 3

Just one year after The Game had a combined 81 points, a total of 17 were scored in the Buckeyes' 14-3 win. Running back Chris "Beanie" Wells is the story here, finishing the game with 39 carries, 222 yards and one rose tucked between his teeth (the Buckeyes were playing for a Rose Bowl bid, but ended up in the BCS national championship game). Rain and a sloppy field caused frustrations for the Wolverines all game long, and Wells and the Buckeyes took advantage.

2008: #10 Ohio State 42, Michigan 7

2008's 42-7 win for the Buckeyes was the third-largest winning margin for any Buckeye team in The Game's history. After putting a scare into the 10th-ranked Buckeyes in the first half, the 3-9 Wolverines fell apart in the final 30 minutes. The two-headed monster of Beanie Wells and Dan Herron led the way for a team that would not earn a Rose Bowl bid, but would settle for a dominating performance against their biggest rival.

2009: #9 Ohio State 21, Michigan 10

Michigan quarterback Tate Forcier fumbled in the back of his own end zone, Ohio State defensive end Cameron Hayward jumped on it to start the scoring, and the Buckeyes won their sixth straight against the Wolverines. Buckeye quarterback Terrelle Pryor and running back Brandon Saine were key contributors as the Buckeyes continued their hot streak against The Team Up North.

2010: #12 Ohio State 37, Michigan 7

Tressel's final victory in his decade at OSU, although later vacated, resulted in another blowout win against the Wolverines. Michigan kept it close early on, but its 112th-rated defense simply could not over power the Buckeyes' offense. After Pryor connected with receiver Dane Sanzenbacher for the 10-0 lead, Michigan answered with an 80-yard touchdown drive. But it was all Buckeyes from there, as they cruised to the 30-point win and a trip to the Sugar Bowl. All 12 wins from 2010 were vacated in the wake of NCAA violations for improper benefits to student athletes.

2011: #15 Michigan 40, Ohio State 34

In the sea of red that has dominated the rivalry over the last several years, one yellow spot stands alone. Fifteenth-ranked Michigan won its first game in the rivalry since 2003, beating the unranked Buckeyes by six. Interim OSU coach Luke Fickle, quarterback Braxton Miller and the Buckeyes held their own, but could not get it done against Brady Hoke's Wolverines. Michigan quarterback Denard Robinson used his arms and his legs to torch the Buckeyes, leaving them with an eerie feeling after losing the rivalry game for the first time in eight years.

2012: #4 Ohio State 26, #20 Michigan 21

Enter: Urban Meyer, and Ohio State's recent dominance of Michigan begins. In Meyer's first year as head coach, the Buckeyes won a close game against a Top 20 Michigan squad that was looking to win two in a row in the rivalry for the first time since 1999-2000. Big names Braxton Miller, Carlos Hyde and Devin Smith helped the Buckeyes to a perfect 12-0 season, although they were banned from any championship or bowl game by NCAA sanctions from the Tressel era.

2013: #3 Ohio State 42, Michigan 41

In one of the craziest games in recent memory, Braxton Miller scored five total touchdowns, celebrating his 21st birthday and a win against the Wolverines. The game came down to a failed two-point conversion by Michigan for the win. And to add to the ever-present hatred of these two squads, a fight broke out in the second quarter, leading to several ejections, and Buckeye offensive lineman Marcus Hall giving his one-finger salute as he made his way to the tunnel.

2014: #6 Ohio State 42, Michigan 28

Ohio State won its third straight against their rivals in 2014, but questions came after quarterback J.T. Barrett was sidelined with a broken foot in the fourth quarter. Backup quarterback Cardale Jones entered and played well, but it was running back Ezekiel Elliot that gave the Wolverines fits. He finished with 121 rushing yards and two touchdowns. The Buckeyes picked up the win in Columbus, then went on to win the first College Football Playoff National Championship with Jones as the quarterback.

2015: #8 Ohio State 42, #12 Michigan 13

After a silent day for Ezekiel Elliot in the Buckeyes' loss to Michigan State the week before, the running back had a day against that other Michigan school. Elliott gained 215 yards and scored two touchdowns to help the Buckeyes to a convincing defeat of 12th-ranked Michigan in Jim Harbaugh's first season as the Wolverines head coach.

2016: #2 Ohio State 30, #3 Michigan 27 

Buckeye running back Curtis Samuel waltzed into the end zone, arms spread, as he scored the game winning touchdown against No. 3 Michigan in the second overtime. It was the first time the rivalry had gone to overtime and the result is an instant classic in the long-running history of The Game. 

2017: #9 Ohio State 31, Michigan 20

After J.T. Barrett went down in the third quarter, backup quarterback Dwayne Haskins entered for the Buckeyes, completing a third-down pass to Austin Mack. The drive ended with a J.K. Dobbins touchdown run, and coach Urban Meyer's streak against Jim Harbaugh and the Wolverines continued.

2018: #10 Ohio State 62, #4 Michigan 39

The Buckeyes entered the game as underdogs, then simply put up 62 points against the 4th-ranked Wolverines. Haskins threw for over 200 yards in the first half alone, and receiver Chris Olave had his breakout game, scoring twice and blocking a punt for another TD. The defense bent, but did not break, as a Jordan Fuller interception in the third quarter led to another scoring drive for the Buckeyes, who scored a record point total in The Game and the most points ever scored against Michigan in any regulation game. 

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