Michigan determined to not let Ohio State spoil its season
Nov. 15, 2004
SportsLine.com wire reports
ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- Hate.
That's the word Chad Henne used to describe the Michigan-Ohio State rivalry, and it's a description his coach probably wishes his freshman quarterback had avoided.
"It's the biggest tradition in college football," Henne said. "They hate us and we hate them."
Michigan coach Lloyd Carr said because Henne hasn't played the Buckeyes yet, he doesn't really understand.
"Hate, I guarantee is not part of this rivalry," Carr said Monday. "And I think when he's through he would not characterize it that way. They probably have guys that say the same thing.
"I think if you're at Michigan, you hate to lose to Ohio State. And I think if you're at Ohio State, you hate to lose to Michigan. I think that's what Chad Henne meant, so print it that way."
Carr then smiled and laughed in a rare moment of levity during a week when a lot is at stake for No. 7 Michigan.
If the Wolverines (9-1, 7-0 Big Ten) win at Ohio State on Saturday, they will repeat as outright conference champions and will play in a second straight Rose Bowl.
If the Buckeyes (6-4, 3-4) win, they'll end a disappointing season with a satisfying victory.
"For them to spoil the season for us, it has to be a big motivator for them," senior running back Kevin Dudley said.
An Ohio State win would also drop Michigan into a first-place tie and possibly a second-tier bowl in Florida.
Unless the postseason game is a part of the Bowl Championship Series, namely the Rose Bowl in California, the Wolverines want no part of it.
"We don't want to go back down to Florida," Marlin Jackson said. "We want to go to Pasadena."
Michigan controls its postseason fate because it got the help it needed when previously unbeaten Wisconsin lost at Michigan State on Saturday.
After the Wolverines beat Northwestern 42-20 - their seventh straight win this season and 13th Big Ten victory in a row - many of them huddled around televisions to root for their instate rivals.
"I was going crazy," linebacker Roy Manning said. "It's probably one of the only times I was rooting for Michigan State."
At least one former Buckeye - Jim Massey - will be pulling against his school because he has two younger brothers - Patrick and Mike - on Michigan's team.
"He definitely roots for us," said defensive tackle Patrick Massey, a Brecksville, Ohio, native. "He's a family guy. He's got a lot of pride in his school; he loves Ohio State; loves the program; he's a huge fan of coach (Jim Tressel). But he puts that all aside and roots for his brothers and wants us to be successful."
The Wolverines don't expect to hear Jim Massey or any other Michigan fan cheering Saturday at the Horseshoe.
"Going into a stadium where there are 90,000 people cheering for you to lose, it sends chills through your body," Dudley said. "Running out there, everybody is booing you. Going out there and trying to prove that you're the better team, it's nice."