Cleat Geeks

The History of Trash Talk in The Rivalry

In the 111 meetings between Michigan and Ohio State, no individual matchup has overshadowed ‘The Game’. However, fireworks between certain parties are anything but few and far between. Let’s take a look at some of the best head-to-head matchups between the Scarlet and Maize.
Woody Hayes vs. Bo SchembechlerBoSchembechler
The two most iconic coaches in each school’s history oversaw the golden age of the rivalry. Dubbed ‘The Ten Year War’, the matchup featured both teams ranked 5th or better an impressive four times between 1970 and 1975. These two coaches are deservedly credited with ushering ‘The Game’ into the modern era.

However, animosity between the two did not run too deep due to Schembechler’s time working under Hayes at Ohio State. Hayes, a lifelong Ohioan, hated all things Michigan and even refused to call them by name. Schembechler, was born in Ohio, but loved that Michigan had become his program. Michigan may have bested Ohio State 5-4-1 during ‘The Ten Year War’, but Hayes created ripples for all of eternity with his 2-point attempt in the waning moments of a blowout victory because he “couldn’t go for three”.


David Boston vs. Charles WoodsonSIimageofOSUMichigan

Prior to their 1997 meeting, David Boston had a few choice words for Michigan cornerback Charles Woodson:

“I go against better cornerbacks than him every day in practice,” Boston mused.

Woodson caught a 37 yard pass to set up Michigan’s only offensive touchdown and returned a punt 78 yards for another Wolverine score in a 20-14 victory that sent the Wolverines toward a national title. After the game, Woodson fired back, “I was like a father out there, chastising his son for talking to the wrong people.”

While Boston had a productive year, Woodson went on to become the only defensive player to win the Heisman Trophy. The image of Woodson and Boston fighting still appears in previews for ‘The Game’ each fall.Smith-s-place-in-OSU-lore-secure
Chris Perry vs. Troy Smith
Prior to the 2006 matchup that pitted #1 Ohio State vs. #2 Michigan, former Michigan running back Chris Perry had this to say to the Dayton Daily News about ‘The Game’ and Buckeyes QB Troy Smith:

“It’s a blowout. Ain’t no ifs, ands or buts about it. Alan Branch is going to knock the stuffing out of – what’s his name – Troy Smith. You all set that Heisman talk up anyway. That’s some BS to begin with. He shouldn’t even win the Heisman.”

Smith finished a stellar 3-0 career versus Michigan that day by throwing for 314 yards and 4 touchdowns in a Buckeye victory. He went on to win the Heisman Trophy.


Jim Harbaugh vs. Jim Tressel
harbaughMichiganWhile these two never squared off against one another, each had quite the proclamation regarding the rivalry.J.TRESSEL-056-BEST-225x300

In 1986, Harbaugh led Michigan into Ohio Stadium with a Rose Bowl berth on the line. “I guarantee we’ll beat Ohio State and be in Pasadena New Year’s Day,” Harbaugh said. “People might not give us a snowball’s chance in hell to beat them in Columbus, but we’re going to.” Harbaugh delivered on his promise, leading the Wolverines to a 26-24 victory.

Fifteen years later, Tressel was introduced as the Buckeyes’ head football coach at halftime of a Michigan-Ohio State basketball game. The way he addressed the crowd will forever live in Buckeye lore: “You’ll be proud of our young people in the classroom, in the community and most especially … in 310 days in Ann Arbor, Michigan.” Tressel oversaw a 26-20 Ohio State triumph that November and went on to boast a 9-1 record over Michigan from 2001-2010.

Terry Glenn vs. Mike Hart
Similar to Harbaugh and Tressel, Glenn and Hart never faced off on the field. However, each had a penchant for allowing their words to get the best of them.

In 1995, Glenn told reporters prior to the game that, “Michigan is nothing.” The Wolverines would shock the undefeated Buckeyes that Saturday, and end any hopes Ohio State had of a national championship.

After the epic #1 vs. #2 battle in 2006, Michigan running back Mike Hart refused to give the Buckeyes their due. “I guarantee if we play, it would be a whole different game,” Hart said. “We should have got them the first time around. We didn’t. If it doesn’t happen, that’s our fault.”

Hart had his chance at a rematch a year later with a Rose Bowl trip on the line, but the senior managed just 44 yards rushing as Ohio State made it four straight wins versus Michigan.

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