Michigan fans savor first Ohio State win of Harbaugh era

Carol Thompson
The Detroit News

Ann Arbor — The Game was not what most expected — fans in Michigan and Ohio overwhelmingly placed their wagers on the Buckeyes annihilating their longtime rival.

But it was not to be as Michigan delivered a 42-27, victory, advancing to the Big Ten Championship Game with an 11-1 record.

“It was the game of the decade,” said Austin Gibbs, a Michigan fan who called it for the Wolverines with a minute left on the clock.

Gibbs, of Toledo, watched the game under a tent in Ann Arbor with friends whose loyalties were divided. Although an Ohioan, Gibbs said he chose to support Michigan years ago so he could root for the underdog and stake out some independence among his Ohio State-supporting relatives.

“It means a lot for Jim Harbaugh’s career,” the 25-year-old said of Saturday’s game. “I have personally never watched them win [over Ohio State]. I was too young.”

Austin Gibbs, right, gathered with friends under a tent, celebrates Michigan's win Saturday.

Saturday’s win was a long time coming, said Kevin Ob of Northville. He said it felt like 1997, when Michigan had an undefeated season.

“It’s just good to get a win against Ohio State,” he said. “They have dominated us for so long.”

Ob watched from the stadium, but returned to a patch of turf along Stadium Boulevard to celebrate with his friends.

After his wedding day and the births of his two children, Saturday was the fourth best day of Steve Sisler’s life, he said after joining Ob around a fire.

“It’s the biggest game I’ve ever been to,” said Sisler, of Trenton, who attends a few games every season. “ The best win I’ve ever seen.”

The voice of Jim Brandstatter played over the radio as the Goodman family celebrated under a tent. They are longtime, diehard fans who know the value of bragging rights that come from a Michigan win over Ohio State.

The game was “a big hurdle overcome,” said John Goodman, of Cleveland, a UM alum. He has been attending games since he was a kid and said his dad bought him season tickets when he was “hours old.”

But Michigan games are about more than football for the family, said Christine Goodman Held, Goodman’s sister, of Saline.

“Football happens after family time,” she said. “It’s how we get together.”

“We are super happy,” she added. “Go Blue.”

Some Ohio State fans remained in reasonably good spirits as they walked from the stadium Saturday.

“Well, wait until next year,” said Arnie Edwards.

Edwards attended the game with his son, Jim Edwards, and grandson, Jimmy Edwards. All three live in St. Louis, Missouri.

While “bummed” about the outcome, Jimmy said he still had fun. It was the first time the trio had attended The Game together.

"And that’s all that matters,” he said.

ckthompson@detroitnews.com