Michigan vs Ohio State Football – Looking Back – 1996


The second installment of this year’s series looking back at the football rivalry between Michigan and Ohio State takes us back to 1996. On the morning of the game, I was driving up to Buffalo, N.Y. with my wife to watch the worst Jets team in history take on the Buffalo Bills. On the radio while we were driving, someone on the radio referred to The Game, and noted that Ohio State was the favorite. He added that he expected OSU fans to sing “Buckeye Battle Cry” many times after the end of the game.

That’s exactly when I knew Michigan was going to win.

Yes, that sounds corny. Call it what was defined in “Star Wars” as a “tremor in the force.” Sure, that sounds even cornier, but the fact is that I just had a sudden feeling that Michigan was going to win that day. By the time we checked into our hotel room in Hamburg, N.Y., the game was down to the final play, and sure enough, Marcus Ray intercepted a Joe Germaine pass and eventually came to a sliding halt. Man, those were the days!

In retrospect, when you watch the game on YouTube, Ohio State had the better of play in the first half, but the 9-0 half time margin was far from commanding. Then came the second half. Brian Griese entered the game, and the beginning of the Griese legend was about to take shape. Griese connected with Tai Streets on a post pattern that produced a touchdown, and it was evident that Michigan was determined to play the role of the less-than-cooperative underdog. Oddly enough, Michigan wound up losing to Alabama in the Outback Bowl. Still, in my mind, many of the seeds for that glorious 1997 season were planted on that day in Columbus, Ohio.

Thanks, as always, to ABC Sports and YouTube poster j bakkar. I own nothing and this blog and the attached video are strictly posted for the enjoyment of readers.

About Jeff Cummins

Jeff Cummins has written about football since 1998, including nine years with The Record of Hackensack, N.J. He frequently contributes feature stories to Touchdown Illustrated, an insert in the national college football game program, published by University Sports Publications, and he has also written the official pregame stories for the game programs of the Rose Bowl, the Cotton Bowl, the Sugar Bowl, the Gator Bowl, and the BCS National Championship game. He has written the preview story for the official program for the NHL Winter Classic at MIchigan Stadium, and numerous college basketball feature stories for College Hoops Illustrated, another game program insert published by University Sports Publications. In addition, he has written stories about theater, music, physical therapy, and newsletter marketing. He’s an avid Michigan football fan and long-time New York Jets season ticket holder, and he can be reached at jeffcummins@optonline.net.