Michigan out to 'ruin' Ohio State's season

Angelique S. Chengelis
The Detroit News

Ann Arbor — Michigan has lost five straight to Ohio State and 12 of the last 13 meetings, so beating the Buckeyes on Saturday would be a meaningful step in the rivalry for the Wolverines.

It also would mean potentially spoiling the Buckeyes’ shot at a berth in the four-team College Football Playoff. Ohio State is 9-2 overall, 7-1 in the Big Ten and will play Wisconsin in the Big Ten championship.

Michigan (8-3, 5-3 Big Ten) hosts Ohio State at Michigan Stadium on Saturday. The Wolverines last won the rivalry game in 2011 in Ann Arbor.

“It would mean a lot to me,” safety Tyree Kinnel, an Ohio native, said of beating the Buckeyes. “For our team coming off a loss to Wisconsin and Big Ten’s not in the picture, playoff not really in the picture, but they have that in the picture, so we want to take everything away from them.

“We want to beat them. We want to ruin their season. We want to go into bowl prep with a great win and confidence for our bowl game.”

Kinnel said ruining the Buckeyes’ postseason hopes isn’t exactly a rallying cry.

“We definitely want to win for us,” Kinnel said. “But we know that’s at stake that if they have one more loss they’re pretty much going to be out of the playoff picture regardless of what happens in the Big Ten championship game. That would be nice for us, definitely.”

For the Wolverines, a win would be the ultimate, especially for seniors who have never beaten Ohio State. But bumping the Buckeyes from a potential playoff spot would be the added bonus of the win.

“Definitely motivates you just to have that opportunity to kind of disrupt someone else’s season while just making yours better,” senior defensive tackle Maurice Hurst said. “Coming off a loss (at Wisconsin), that’s the first thing you want to do is get that taste out of your mouth and get a win. What a time to get a win than this game.”

That opportunity is clearly something the Michigan players are relishing.

“That’s even better,” running back Karan Higdon said Monday. “Not only do we want to beat our arch rival, but we can spoil their season and possibly knock them out of the playoffs.”

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Defensive end Chase Winovich, however, thinks this game is all about Michigan improving to nine wins with a shot at 10 in the bowl game.

“I don’t know about spoiling Ohio State,” Winovich said. “It’s greater than that. At this point, it’s just for us.”

Bottom line, the Wolverines finally want to get a win against the Buckeyes.

“I respect everything they do,” Kinnel said. “They’re a great university, great school, they’ve got great players over there, they’ve got great coaches. The respect is always there, but Saturday when we go play, we want to beat them just as bad as they want to beat us. You said it right -- we don’t like them, they don’t like us, but the respect is definitely there.”