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Harbaugh ‘suspicious’ as OSU fans infiltrate UM practice

Angelique S. Chengelis
The Detroit News
Ohio State fans watch Michigan's practice in Rome on Thursday.

Rome — File this under the most unique thing ever at Michigan football practice.

Four Ohio State fans decked out in in full Buckeyes regalia made the two-hour drive from Naples to watch the Wolverines’ first practice in Italy at Largo Giulio Onesti. They will hold two more practices before players either head back to home or head off to their study-abroad programs.

“We’ve only sent four or five videos to Urban,” Alicia Sexton, a military teacher based in Naples and an OSU alum, said jokingly, referring to Ohio State coach Urban Meyer after practice Thursday.

Sexton said they came in peace and like what Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh has done.

“We love the Big Ten,” Sexton said. “We really are appreciative to Jim Harbaugh. We love that the rivalry is back, and it makes watching the game in November fun. Harbaugh has definitely brought the rivalry back.”

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After practice, Harbaugh jokingly made the gesture with his two fingers pointing to his eyes and then to the OSU fans.

“I’ve still got my eyes on those guys,” he said laughing. “Still a little suspicious.”

Sexton said they definitely had “gotten looks” from the players.

Offensive lineman Mason Cole certainly noticed the Buckeye infiltrators.

“Yeah, I don’t know how they got in,” he said, smiling. “We’ll let it slide.”

Sexton said she has lived in Naples the past year and was stationed in Turkey the previous five years. The group that attended Michigan’s practice are college football fans, she said, and miss seeing college football. She hasn’t been to an Ohio State game since 2008.

Asked why they would come to watch their rival practice, she offered a simple answer.

“Why not?” Sexton said. “It’s college football we missed.”