Ohio State looking to match longest winning streak in Michigan series


The 115th football game between Ohio State and Michigan is set for Saturday in Columbus.

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Before the fourth-ranked Wolverines head south to take on the No. 10 Buckeyes, here are seven things to know about the history of college football’s most storied rivalry:

1. The Wolverines lead 58-50-6*

The series began with a 34-0 Michigan win in 1897, and the Wolverines dominated the series for nearly two decades.

The Buckeyes did not picking up their first win until 1919, but lately Ohio State has had the run of things. 

2. The Buckeyes have won six in a row and 15 of the last 17 meetings with the Wolverines.

What once looked like an insurmountable series lead for the Wolverines now appears more manageable for the Scarlet and Gray.

Ohio State’s success since the most recent turn of the century has the rivalry the closest it has been since Michigan’s 22-0 win in Ann Arbor in 1907 gave the Wolverines an 8-0-1 advantage in the series.

FLASHBACK: Buckeyes rally to win in Ann Arbor behind backup quarterback

Ohio State forged ties in 1900 and 1910 before finally prevailing 13-3 behind All-American halfback Chic Harley in 1919.

This weekend the Buckeyes will try to tie their longest winning streak in the series. They previously won seven in a row from 2004-10. Michigan’s longest winning streak in the series is nine games from 1901-09.

3. Throw out the records — until recently.

Upsets used to be a hallmark of this series, but Michigan’s on-and-off struggles over the last 15 years have put a dent in what used to be a reliable trend.

From 1993-2004, the lower-ranked team won eight times. Since 2005, the higher-ranked team is undefeated.

That has generally benefited Ohio State, but this time around the fourth-ranked Wolverines will enter the game as the favorites over No. 10 OSU.

4. The teams have split the games played in Columbus.

Ohio State is 27-27-2 when hosting the Wolverines.

Michigan beat Ohio State in the Ohio Stadium dedication game in 1922 and held a series lead in games played in the Horseshoe for many years.

Ohio State now enjoys a 26-21-1 advantage in the big stadium on the banks of the Olentangy River, where Michigan’s last win was a 38-26 decision in 2000.

5. Ohio State leads the series 43-36-4 since it was moved to the last game of the conference season.

Being the finale has played a major role in the development of the intensity of the series because something significant is on the line more often than not.

Since 1935, The Game has had the potential for major impact in the Big Ten standings 44 times.

This will be No. 45 as the winner will go to the Big Ten championship game and face Northwestern.

Twenty-two times from 1935-2010 (the year before the Big Ten instituted a championship game), 22 versions of The Game saw the two schools decide the Big Ten champion between themselves. The teams were 10-10-2 in those contests. 

6. Since Clifton native Woody Hayes became Ohio State’s head coach in 1951, the Buckeyes lead the series 38-27-2.

After struggling mightily in the early years of the series, the Buckeyes began making some traction in the 1930s and ’40s.

That started under coach Francis Schmidt and continued with Paul Brown, but the tide really began to turn in 1951.

That’s when the fiery Hayes became the field general of the Scarlet and Gray. He was 16-11-1 against the Wolverines, tying Michigan’s Fielding Yost for the most wins by a coach in the series.

7. Urban Meyer is 6-0 against Michigan as head coach of the Buckeyes.

With a win last season, Meyer snapped a tie with mentor Earle Bruce for third-most wins by an Ohio State coach against Michigan.

Bruce, who passed away earlier this year, was 5-4 against the Wolverines.

Jim Tressel (9-1) is the only man between Meyer and Hayes.

Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh is still looking for his first win against the Buckeyes, having lost dropped his first three tries since returning to the school where he was a star quarterback.

(*All numbers count an Ohio State win in 2010 that was vacated by the Buckeyes as part of NCAA sanctions. Ohio State officially recognizes the series as 58-49-6 while Michigan lists its record against the Buckeyes as 58-50-6.)



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