The Game couldn’t have bigger implications this year: Michigan and Ohio State are both 10-1 and the winner is headed to Indianapolis next weekend for the Big Ten title game and a chance to secure a playoff berth. This is the biggest game in Michigan Stadium in a long time.
“This is why I came back,” defensive end Aidan Hutchinson told the media Tuesday night. “For this team, and to beat Ohio State. This has been a focus of our’s since January. It’s crazy to think that now we’re in week 12 and we’re about to play them. If we win we’re going to the Big Ten Championship, if not, see ya later. There’s a lot riding on it, but I think guys in our locker room, we’re all bought in, we’re all ready to go.”
Hutchinson touched on the fact he thinks teams can get in their own head when they play Ohio State. The Buckeyes have been the class of the Big Ten for a long time now and have obviously had the Wolverine’s number as of late, but he doesn’t expect Michigan to let that affect them mentally.
“A lot of teams play them scared,” Hutchinson said. “They play them fearful, just looking back at some of the teams they’ve played. I think a lot of the guys understand, give it everything you’ve got, sell out, because this is the last time we’re stepping in the Big House this year, so I don’t think you’re going to be seeing a lot of scared or fearful play from us on Saturday.”
Senior Andrew Stueber got his first start against Ohio State back in 2018, which adds some extra significance to The Game for him. He also knows when you come to Michigan, this one matters most.
“It’s everything, it’s why you come to Michigan,” Stueber said. “For me personally, some people might remember that my first start was away at Ohio State in 2018, so this is kind of where I started my college career as a starter, so it means a lot to me. I have a lot riding on this game; I think everyone on the team does. It comes with the tradition, it comes with the legacies. Playing in this game is something we have circled every year. Personally, it’s a huge mark on the calendar for me and I’m excited to get out there and show what this team has done, how much we’ve improved, and yeah I can’t wait for it.
Michigan hasn’t beaten Ohio State since 2011. This is year seven for Jim Harbaugh, and it’s a top five showdown at home in the Big House. No one expected Michigan to be in this position when the season started, and here it is. No one expects Michigan to win this weekend. Can the Wolverines keep proving people wrong?