The fourth installment of the series looking back at the Michigan-Ohio State game takes us back 20 years to the 1995 game. Michigan hadn’t played particularly well prior to the game, while Ohio State had churned through its schedule with 11 wins. Buckeye running back Eddie George was on his way to win the Heisman Trophy, and the Buckeyes were just two wins from a perfect season and a probable national championship. After years of frustration at the hands of the Wolverines, confidence was running high at Ohio State. Maybe that confidence was just a little too high.
Ohio State wide receiver Terry Glenn was really feeling the confidence leading up to the annual game with Michigan. Glenn had been a tremendous story in his own right, starting as a walk-on and earning a scholarship, Glenn was named to the All-America team in 1995, a season when he was legitimately dominant. Unfortunately for Glenn, he was a little too candid about his confidence leading up to the Michigan game, and said that Ohio State should beat Michigan rather handily. Naturally, those comments came back to haunt him. Naturally, the boast brought out the competitor in the Michigan football team, and running back Tshimanga “Touchdown Tim” Biakabutuka ran for 313 yards, routinely dragging Ohio State defenders for anywhere from 5-10 yards, while the Michigan defense largely kept George under wraps. As for Glenn, he was matched up with Michigan freshman Charles Woodson, and Ohio State quarterback Bobby Hoying chose to test the freshman on several occasions. Initially, Ohio State got the best of Woodson, but that didn’t last very long. In all, Woodson intercepted two passes, the last one largely sealing the Michigan victory.
More than any one play, the game seemed to turn on Glenn’s comment earlier in the week. On paper, the Buckeyes entered the game with a great team, but that comment whipped the Wolverines into frenzy, and it showed in their effort. Every block was finished just a little bit more, running backs kept churning their legs just a little bit more and breaking tackles, cornerbacks worked just a little bit harder at covering receivers, defensive players swarmed to the ball and helped out on tackles. In the end, Michigan just outplayed Ohio State all game, even though the Buckeyes had their moments and actually had some chances late in the game. The outcome ruined Ohio State’s shot at a national championship, as the Buckeyes went out to California and topped Arizona State in the Rose Bowl for a triumph that would have won the national championship had Ohio State beaten Michigan. For the Wolverines, the victory salvaged an otherwise bland season, though it was a season that had dramatic victories in the beginning (an 18-17 win over Boston College on the final play) and in the final regular season game. It also established the fact that Charles Woodson would be a player to watch for the next few years.
Many thanks to ABC Sports, as well as youtube posters j bakker and WolverineHistorian. I do own any content and I do not profit from this in any way. Everything here is done strictly for your enjoyment.