2006 Michigan vs. Ohio State football game
|2006 Michigan vs. Ohio State
Game of the Century
|Date||November 18, 2006|
|United States TV coverage|
The 2006 Michigan vs. Ohio State Game was a regular season college football game between the unbeaten Michigan Wolverines (ranked #2 in the nation) and unbeaten Ohio State Buckeyes (ranked #1 in the nation). The game took place at Ohio Stadium in Columbus, Ohio on the campus of Ohio State University. This college football game was the first game of the 21st Century to be coined a Game of the Century. This game also marked the first time in the Michigan–Ohio State football rivalry that both teams came into a matchup undefeated and ranked #1 and #2 in the nation in the BCS polls. It was also the first and only time the 2 teams met at night (traditionally, the game is played at noon ET).
Prior to the 2006 college football season, the Ohio State Buckeyes defeated the Notre Dame Fighting Irish in the 2006 Fiesta Bowl, while the Michigan Wolverines lost to the Nebraska Cornhuskers in the 2005 Alamo Bowl. Ohio State came into the 2006 season ranked #1 in the nation after a promising end to the season by Heisman Trophy candidate Troy Smith. Michigan began the 2006 season ranked #15 with few people believing they would have a run at the national title.
On September 9, Ohio State defeated the Texas Longhorns, who were at the time ranked #2, 24–7 in Austin, Texas. This Texas loss set up a matchup between the then ranked #15 Wolverines and the #2 Notre Dame Fighting Irish on September 16. Michigan continued their undefeated season in an upset victory over Notre Dame 47–21, moving them up to #6 in the rankings.
Throughout the months of September and October, Michigan and Ohio State continued their undefeated seasons in Big Ten conference play. Games between the Wolverines and Wisconsin Badgers along with the Iowa Hawkeyes and Buckeyes brought national attention to the growing idea of an eventual undefeated game between the Buckeyes and Wolverines in late November.
On November 4, a close game with the Ball State Cardinals almost derailed the perfect season for the Wolverines, who were ranked #3 at the time. Ohio State also had a close game against their rivals, the Illinois Fighting Illini on November 4, in which they eventually won to keep their consistent streak of ten weeks remaining in the #1 position in the AP Poll. By November 11, the game was set. The Buckeyes defeated Northwestern 54–10 while Michigan was victorious over Indiana 34–3, meaning there would be an 11–0 Michigan Wolverines team ranked #2 vs. an 11–0 Ohio State Buckeyes team ranked #1 at Ohio Stadium in Columbus.
Death of Bo Schembechler
On November 16, Bo Schembechler delivered his annual address to the Michigan team on the Thursday before the game between Ohio State, this time a game titled "The Game of the Century". Though Bo was not feeling well and Lloyd Carr, the current Michigan coach, told the coach to stay home and rest, he came in and continued his tradition. According to The Detroit News: "Bo's speech was not about Ohio State, the Big Ten title or a national championship. The whole speech was about Tom Slade and how, if the players worked hard, listened to their coaches and stuck together as teammates, one day they might be as good a Michigan man as Slade. That was the goal at Michigan, not national championships." Schembechler finished by exhorting them to remember "the team, the team, the team!"
On November 17, Schembechler collapsed in a bathroom at WXYZ-TV just prior to the taping of Big Ten Ticket around 9:15 AM. He was taken to Providence Hospital in Southfield, Michigan where he was pronounced dead at 11:43 AM. At a press conference a few hours after his death, it was reported by his doctor, Dr. Kim Eagle of the University of Michigan Health System, that his death was from the terminal stage of heart disease, where the heart muscle itself does not respond to the pacemaker, a common cause of death for persons afflicted with severe heart disease.
Schembechler died the day before one of the biggest games in the history of the Michigan–Ohio State football rivalry. He was not planning to attend the November 18 game in Columbus, because his doctors had advised him that attending the game might be too much stress for his heart. Instead, Bo and his wife, Cathy, had packed the car and had planned to drive to suburban Dayton, Ohio to watch the game with his former Miami teammate and best friend, Bill Gunlock.
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, however 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 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 #1 ranked Buckeyes would go on to win 42-39 over the #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.
|MICH – Mike Hart 1-yard run (Garrett Rivas kick), 12:32||MICH 7–0|
|OSU – Roy Hall 1-yard pass from Troy Smith (Aaron Pettrey kick), 6:03||tie 7–7|
|OSU – Chris Wells 52-yard run (Aaron Pettrey kick), 12:29||OSU 14–7|
|OSU – Ted Ginn Jr. 39-yard pass from Troy Smith (Aaron Pettrey kick), 6:11||OSU 21–7|
|MICH – Adrian Arrington 37-yard pass from Chad Henne (Garrett Rivas kick), 2:33||OSU 21–14|
|OSU – Anthony Gonzalez 8-yard pass from Troy Smith (Aaron Pettrey kick), 0:20||OSU 28–14|
|MICH – Mike Hart 2-yard run (Garrett Rivas kick), 12:12||OSU 28–21|
|MICH – Garrett Rivas 39-yard field goal, 8:41||OSU 28–24|
|OSU – Antonio Pittman 56-yard run (Aaron Pettrey kick), 8:04||OSU 35–24|
|MICH – Mike Hart 1-yard run (Garrett Rivas kick), 14:41||OSU 35–31|
|OSU – Brian Robiskie 13-yard pass from Troy Smith (Aaron Pettrey kick), 5:38||OSU 42–31|
|MICH – Tyler Ecker 16-yard pass from Chad Henne (Steve Breaston pass from Chad Henne), 2:16||OSU 42–39|
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, a streak that has yet to end. 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.
- "Happens Every Year". The Washington Post. November 18, 2006. Retrieved 2007-08-22.
- "Ohio State 42, Michigan 39". abc7news.com. November 18, 2006. Retrieved 2007-08-22.
- Bacon, John (2007-11-17). "Bo's lasting lessons: A coach to the end". The Detroit News.
- "Report: Michigan legend Schembechler hospitalized again". ESPN. 2006-11-17. Retrieved 2009-09-09.