Ohio State came in 11-0 and ranked number 2 in the country and were in the national championship hunt. Led by eventual Heisman Trophy winner Eddie George, many thought OSU would roll over the Wolverines. But then they ran into Michigan and Tim Biakabutuka. Gaining 313 yards on 37 carries, Biakabutuka ran all over the Buckeye defense on his way to having only the second 300 yard rushing game in U of M history. He would later go on to set the Michigan single season rushing record with 1818 yards, in large part because of this game.
9.) 1972 Ohio State 14 Michigan 11 Ranked number 3, Michigan went into the game hoping to secure a Rose Bowl trip. The Buckeyes would have other ideas, as they were trying to end Michigan’s 21 game regular season winning streak. The Wolverines actually outgained the Buckeyes in the contest, but were unfortunately stopped on the goal line twice, and had a winning touchdown taken away from them late when officials ruled that Harry Banks never got in. OSU played astute defense all day and earned the trip to Pasadena, where they would be trounced by the USC Trojans 42-17.
8.) 1975 Ohio State 21 Michigan 14
Ohio State rolled into this game undefeated in Big 10 play, and were led on the ground by Archie Griffin who had broke 100 yards rushing in every game. Michigan came in with record that featured eight wins, no losses, and two ties coming in non-conference action. The Wolverines were also being led by a freshman quarterback by the name of Rick Leach. With three minutes left in a game defined by stout defense, both teams were tied at 14 and Michigan had just received the ball. But the freshman would falter against the OSU defense and was picked off on third down by Ray Griffin, who took the ball down to the three. OSU would punch it in from there and go on to victory and earn a trip to Pasadena. However, the number one ranked Buckeyes would lose to UCLA, which ruined their national championship dreams.
7.) 1986 Michigan 26 Ohio State 24
Entering the game, Michigan quarterback Jim Harbaugh publicly guaranteed a victory against the Buckeyes. Early on it looked like Ohio State would force the confident young player to eat his words as they took a 14-3 lead. However, the Wolverines would ride the back of workhorse runningback Jamie Morris, as he gained 210 yards and had two touchdowns. Late in the game, with Michigan holding a slight 26-24 lead, Ohio State sent out kicker Matt Frantz to win the game. The kick ultimately missed, and sent the Wolverines to the Rose Bowl, where they would lose to the Arizona State Sun Devils 22-15.
6.) 1968 Ohio State 50 Michigan 14
Many reading are probably wondering why such a blowout would be included in a top 10 list, but there is a method to the madness. Other than being famous for the famous Woody Hayes “Couldn’t go for three” quote, this was also the last time until 1990 that the game did not involve Bo Schembechler. The game featured the number one ranked team in the Buckeyes, and the number four ranked Wolverines. This was only a one score game at halftime as OSU was up 21-14; however the Buckeyes would rattle off 29 unanswered points to complete the thrashing. The embarrassment of this game would be all the motivation that Bo would need leading into his 1969 debut in the rivalry, setting up a great run of success.
5.) 1997 Michigan 20 Ohio State 14 Sealing a dream national championship season for the Wolverines, this game was almost as memorable for the Heisman-clinching punt return touchdown for Charles Woodson. Tempers flared in this rivalry game as OSU’s David Boston and Woodson got into a fistfight during play. Michigan took a 13-0 lead with the punt return, and added another touchdown in the third to go up 20-0. The Buckeyes would try and mount a comeback, scoring twice. But the Wolverine defense was just too stifling, and Michigan took the win. They would go onto to earn a share of the championship with Nebraska as they beat the Washington State Cougars in the Rose Bowl.
4.) 2006 Ohio State 42 Michigan 39
In the first matchup of number 1 vs. number 2 in the rival’s history, the game was overshadowed by the death of legendary Michigan coach Bo Schembechler just the day before. The team went in with heavy hearts, and consisted of a high scoring game in which Michigan would not lead following the first quarter. The Buckeyes were led by Heisman trophy winning quarterback Troy Smith as he had 316 yards in the air and added four touchdowns. OSU would go on to the BCS national championship against the Florida Gators, and lost 42-14.
3.) 1950 Michigan 9 Ohio State 3 In a game known as the “Snow Bowl” because of the frigid weather conditions, the Wolverines pulled off an upset in some of the worst playing conditions in football history. This was the ultimate field position game, as both teams combined for an incredible 45 punts, sometimes electing to kick it away on first down rather than try to handle the ball. Ohio State scored on a field goal, and Michigan was able to capitalize on a blocked kick that went through the endzone for a safety and a blocked punt recovered for a touchdown. The Wolverines went on to beat California in the 1951 Rose Bowl 14-6.
2.) 1973 Michigan 10 Ohio State 10
In a much anticipated matchup of number one OSU vs. number four Michigan, a lot was at stake for both teams. On the line was the Big 10 championship, a trip to Pasadena, and maybe even a national championship. Late in the game, Michigan’s Tom Drake picked off a Buckeye pass to set up a potential game-winning field goal by Mike Lantry. Unfortunately the kicked sailed wide right, and the game ended in a 10-10 tie. With both tying atop the conference leaderboard, the Big 10 decided to leave the decision up to a vote among the athletic directors as to who would best represent the conference in the Rose Bowl. The vote swung the way of the Buckeyes, sending the Michigan camp into an outrage. Conspiracy theories were developed, and letters to the editor by Michigan fans flooded into the newspapers. The most widely accepted reason for selecting the Buckeyes was that Michigan’s quarterback Dennis Franklin broke his collarbone in the Ohio State game. OSU would go on to beat the USC Trojans in the Rose Bowl 42-21.
1.) 1969 Michigan 24 Ohio State 12
In maybe the most widely known Michigan-Ohio State matchup, this game marked the first time Bo Schembechler would face his mentor Woody Hayes in what would become “The Ten Year War.” OSU came into the game as 14 point favorites and on a 22 game winning streak. Being the defending national champions, and after the 50-14 shellacking the year before, no one expected the Wolverines to pull off the upset. Michigan was 7-2 and ranked 12th in the nation coming in. Michigan was led by an inspired defense, and upset the previously thought to be “Team of the Century.” The Wolverines went on to play USC, and lost 10-3.