2006 Michigan vs. Ohio State football game
|2006 Michigan vs. Ohio State
"Game of the Century"
|Date||November 18, 2006|
|Favorite||Ohio State by 7|
|Halftime show||The Ohio State University Marching Band|
|United States TV coverage|
|Announcers||Brent Musburger (play-by-play)
Kirk Herbstreit (color)
Bob Davie (color)
Bonnie Bernstein (sideline)
Lisa Salters (sideline)
The 2006 Michigan vs. Ohio State Game was a regular-season college football game between the unbeaten Michigan Wolverines (ranked No. 2 in the nation) and the unbeaten Ohio State Buckeyes (ranked No. 1 in the nation) on November 18, 2006, at Ohio Stadium in Columbus, Ohio. Called the "Game of the Century," this was the first time in the historic rivalry that both teams entered the matchup ranked No. 1 and No. 2 in the nation. In an offensive shootout, Ohio State won 42–39.
Michigan and Ohio State first faced each other in 1897, and have met annually since 1918. Considered by many the greatest rivalry in college sports, the rivalry has been the "de facto" Big Ten Conference championship game on 22 occasions, with the game affecting the determination of the championship an additional 27 times. Ohio State entered the 2006 season ranked No. 1, while Michigan was ranked No. 14 in the AP preseason poll. With both teams winning all of their regular season games prior to their matchup, Ohio State remained No. 1 in all major polls, while Michigan moved up to No. 2 in the polls.
Both Michigan and Ohio State scored on their first offensive possessions, while the Buckeyes would eventually go up 21–7 midway through the second quarter. The Buckeyes' took a 28–14 lead into halftime, with the Wolverines closing the gap in the third quarter, scoring on a Mike Hart touchdown run and a Garrett Rivas field goal. Ohio State would extend their lead again following an Antonio Pittman touchdown run, though Michigan would bring the game within four points on another Hart touchdown run. A Troy Smith pass to Brian Robiskie would extend the Buckeyes' lead to 42–31. A late touchdown and two-point conversion would not be enough for Michigan, as the Buckeyes' would go on to win the game 42–39.
Following the game, Ohio State claimed the Big Ten Championship outright for the first time since 1984, while claiming a berth in the BCS National Championship Game, while the Wolverines would accept a berth in the Rose Bowl. Troy Smith became the seventh Ohio State player to win the Heisman Trophy, while multiple players on both teams were recognized with conference and national awards. Michigan was defeated 32–18 by the USC Trojans in the Rose Bowl, while Ohio State was defeated 41–14 by the Florida Gators in the national championship game.
Michigan and Ohio State first faced each other in 1897, and have met annually since 1918. Coming into the game, Michigan held the all-time lead in the series 57–39–6, though Ohio State had won the previous two meetings. Called simply "The Game" by some, the rivalry is considered one of the greatest in college athletics. The rivalry was specifically intense during a period known as the Ten Year War from 1969 to 1978 when Woody Hayes of Ohio State and Bo Schembechler of Michigan coached opposing teams. This would be the first time since 1973 that both teams came into the rivalry game undefeated.
At the beginning of the season, both teams were ranked in the top fifteen. Following a victory over the then-second-ranked Texas on September 9, the Buckeyes' top rank was cemented. Michigan's victory over the then-second-ranked Notre Dame the following week on September 16, would bring them into the top ten at No. 6 in the AP poll. Both teams would go on to win their remaining games and enter the rivalry with Michigan, ranked No. 2 in the BCS standings, while Ohio State was ranked No. 1. This would be the first time in the BCS-era that the top-two-ranked teams would play each other in the regular season. Due to the No. 1 vs. No. 2 rankings against conference rivals and the hype that led up to the matchup, the game was referred to as the "Game of the Century."
In the preseason polls, Michigan opened the 2006 season ranked No. 14 in the AP Poll, while being ranked No. 15 in the Coaches' Poll. The Wolverines' opened the season against the Vanderbilt Commodores and defeated them 27–7. Following a 41–17 victory over Central Michigan, the No. 11 Wolverines traveled to Notre Dame Stadium to play the No. 2 Fighting Irish. Following a dominating performance on offense and defense, which included three interceptions of Irish quarterback Brady Quinn, the Wolverines defeated Notre Dame 47–21 and moved to No. 6 in the polls the following week. Michigan opened their conference schedule defeating the Wisconsin Badgers 27–13, and the Minnesota Golden Gophers in the Little Brown Jug game.
Michigan remained consistent at No. 6 in the polls and defeated their in-state rival Michigan State 31–13, holding the Spartans to just 60 rushing yards, while they themselves ran the ball for 211 yards. Following the victory, Michigan moved up to No. 4 in the AP Poll and No. 5 in the Coaches' Poll. The Wolverines then traveled to Beaver Stadium and defeated Penn State 17–10, moving up to No. 2 in the AP Poll and No. 3 in the Coaches'. After a 20–6 victory over Iowa and a 17–3 victory over Northwestern, the Wolverines moved to No. 2 in all major polls. Though a closer game than expected, Michigan finished off their non-conference schedule with a 34–26 victory over Ball State. Michigan's 34–3 win over Indiana would bring them to 11–0 on the season and keep them ranked No. 2 in all major polls. On November 17, legendary Michigan coach Bo Schembechler collapsed and was taken to the hospital, where he was later pronounced dead. Schembechler's death happened just one day before one of the biggest games in the rivalry, though he had not planned on attending the game.
Coming into the game with Ohio State, the Wolverines ranked twelfth in the nation in rushing offense, led by Mike Hart who had 1,373 yards and 11 touchdowns. Michigan quarterback Chad Henne compiled 1,932 passing yards, 18 touchdowns and seven interceptions, with Mario Manningham, Steve Breaston and Adrian Arrington leading the team in receptions. The Michigan defense ranked third in the nation, allowing only 231.4 yard per game, while also having the best rush defense, holding opponents to only 29.9 rushing yards per game and giving up only three rushing touchdowns.
In the preseason polls, Ohio State opened the 2006 season as the No. 1 ranked team in both the AP and Coaches' Poll. The Buckeyes' opened their season by defeating the Northern Illinois Huskies 35–12. Ohio State traveled to Darrell K Royal–Texas Memorial Stadium to play the second game of a home-and-home series with Texas, following the 25–22 defeat in 2005. Ohio State defeated the then-second-ranked Longhorns 24–7, remaining the No. 1 team in all major college football polls. Ohio State defeated the Cincinnati Bearcats 37–7 the following week, with Troy Smith throwing for 203 yards and two touchdowns.
Ohio State faced the No. 24 Penn State Nittany Lions in Columbus and defeated them 28–6 after scoring three touchdowns in the fourth quarter. The Buckeyes defeated the No. 13 Iowa Hawkeyes the following week 38–17 in Kinnick Stadium. Ohio State finished their non-conference schedule defeating Bowling Green 35–7 and then defeated Michigan State the next week in Spartan Stadium 38–7, with the Buckeyes defense controlling much of the game. Blowout victories over Indiana and Minnesota would be followed by a 17–10 victory over Illinois for the Illibuck trophy. A 54–10 victory over Northwestern the following week gave the Buckeyes an 11–0 record heading into the rivalry game, with their ranking remaining consistent at No. 1 in all major polls.
Quarterback Troy Smith entered the game against Michigan with 2,191 passing yards and 26 touchdown passes, while also leading the Heisman Trophy debate. Ted Ginn Jr. and Anthony Gonzalez led the Buckeyes in receiving yards with 677 and 673 yards, respectively. The Buckeyes rush defense had given up only 90.2 yards per games and three touchdowns, while they were tied for first in the nation with 21 interceptions. James Laurinaitis and Malcolm Jenkins led the team with five and four respectively.
After a long and successful season for both teams, the annual rivalry was set to play out at Ohio Stadium in Columbus on November 18. For the first time in the history of the rivalry, the two rivals faced off while holding the top two spots in the Bowl Championship Series rankings. Ohio State won the game 42–39 and became the outright Big Ten champion, earning the right to play for a national championship at the BCS National Championship Game in Glendale, Arizona.
The game began with the Michigan Wolverines driving down the field to open the scoring up. Mike Hart scored the opening touchdown in the first quarter giving Michigan the lead 7–0. Troy Smith and the Buckeyes answered with a 14-play drive, all plays were passes, ending up with a one-yard pass from Smith to Roy Hall. By the halfway point in the first quarter, the game was tied 7–7 with the possession going back to Michigan. After exchanging possessions with no scoring, Ohio State, after throwing for most of the game, broke the running attack open with at 52-yard touchdown by the up-and-coming Buckeye star Chris "Beanie" Wells. The second quarter also saw a 39-yard touchdown from Ted Ginn Jr. making the game score 21–7, with Ohio State running away from it. Michigan responded with an 8-yard passing touchdown from Adrian Arrington, and Ohio State responded with a touchdown by Anthony Gonzalez. After the first half of play, the Buckeyes were leading by a score of 28–14.
The second half began with Michigan roaring back into the game, scoring on their first two possessions. After a touchdown from Mike Hart and a field goal by Garrett Rivas, Michigan pulled within four points of Ohio State, 28–24. The last score of the quarter was on a 56-yard run from Antonio Pittman, giving the Buckeyes a 35–24 lead.
Michigan again came back with a Mike Hart touchdown to begin the 4th quarter and cut the Ohio State lead to 35-31. The Buckeyes struggled to move the ball on the following drive, and seemed to be about to give the ball back to the Wolverines, when a controversial helmet to helmet flag on Michigan linebacker Shawn Crable allowed Ohio State to keep the drive alive with an automatic first down.
The controversy arose from the fact that, had there been no penalty on the play, the Buckeyes would have been forced to punt on a fourth down with 15 yards to go, and Michigan would have resumed possession only down 4 points. Instead, the personal foul call gave Ohio State a first down at the Michigan 23-yard line. Three plays later, Smith threw a touchdown pass to WR Brian Robiskie to give the Buckeyes an 11-point lead.
Michigan quickly moved back down the field, scoring on a 16-yard pass to Tyler Ecker and a successful two-point conversion to pull within 3 points, but time expired before they could complete the comeback attempt. The No. 1 ranked Buckeyes would go on to win 42-39 over the No. 2 Wolverines, and, after 3 hours and 28 minutes of play, the Buckeyes claimed their second straight Big Ten title and a trip to the BCS National Championship game.
|3rd Down Conversions||4–13||6–11|
|Time of Possession||28:58||31:02|
The game was considered an offensive shootout, with both teams combining for 900 yards of total offense, and 81 total points. The Buckeyes' compiled 503 yards of total offense, compared to the Wolverines' 397 yards. Ohio State quarterback Troy Smith completed 29 of 41 passes for 316 passing yards. Smith's top receiver in the game was Ted Ginn Jr. who had 104 yards on 8 receptions, followed by Brian Robiskie with 89 yards on 7 receptions. Overall, Smith threw four touchdown passes and one interception.
Chad Henne entered the game as the Wolverines' starting quarterback. Henne completed 21 of 35 passes for 267 passing yards. Mario Manningham was the top receiver for Henne, who had 86 yards on 6 receptions, followed by Adrian Arrington who had 90 yards on five receptions. Overall, Henne threw two touchdown passes in the game.
In terms of rushing offense, Ohio State outgained Michigan 187 to 130 yards, led by Antonio Pittman who ran for 139 rushing yards on 18 carries. Michigan was led on the ground by Mike Hart, who carried the ball 23 times for 142 yards. Ohio State was led by Pittman's 139 rushing yards, and also saw freshman Chris Wells run for 56 yards, while Manningham rushed for 13 yards on 2 carries for the Wolverines'.
Defensively, David Harris led Michigan with ten total tackles in the game, followed by Terrance Taylor with seven. Alan Branch had one interception and Rondell Biggs accounted for the Wolverines' only quarterback sack of the game. For Ohio State, James Laurinaitis led the Buckeyes with nine total tackles in the game, followed by Antonio Smith with eight. Smith, Lawrence Wilson, Joel Penton and Jay Richardson all accounted for the four of Ohio State's quarterback sacks.
The Ohio State victory guaranteed the #1 ranked Buckeyes a slot in the 2007 BCS National Championship Game where they would face the SEC Champion, #2 Florida Gators. There was a great deal of controversy as to who should face Ohio State for the championship: USC, Florida, and Michigan all sat with one loss and voters initially kept Michigan at the number two spot. The following week USC leapfrogged Michigan into the number two spot after a win over Notre Dame. USC, however, was defeated a week later by rival UCLA, again igniting the debate as to whether Michigan or Florida was most deserving to play against Ohio State. Despite an impressive Florida victory in the SEC conference championship game against Arkansas, some media analysts agreed with the BCS computers that Michigan was the best one-loss team in the nation and deserved another shot at the Buckeyes. Voters, however, refused to keep Michigan at #2, because they felt it would be unfair to give Michigan a rematch when Florida also had one loss and won their conference. The decision by the human voters in both the Coaches Poll and Harris Poll proved to be the difference in the final BCS rankings, as Florida edged Michigan by an extremely small margin, sending the Wolverines to the 2007 Rose Bowl and preventing Michigan from backing into the National Championship game.
Ohio State, after being ranked the entire 2006 season #1 went into the 2007 BCS National Championship Game as a heavy favorite. However the Buckeyes would struggle to find their offense, and would be beaten soundly by the Florida Gators, 41–14. This result started a seven-year run in which the SEC has won every BCS Championship. Ironically, in 2011, under a similar circumstance, the voters sent Alabama to the Championship Game despite the fact the Crimson Tide lost to LSU in the regular season match up. But Alabama shut out the Tigers 21-0.
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