Michigan savors Ohio State victory, turns focus to Big Ten title game
Ann Arbor — For Michigan quarterback Cade McNamara, beating Ohio State was the most memorable and meaningful moment of his career.
Now, McNamara and the Wolverines said they have to match the intensity with which they prepared for and played against the Buckeyes in the 42-27 victory last Saturday as they ready to play for the Big Ten championship against Iowa on Saturday in Indianapolis.
Michigan is 11-1, won the East Division title by beating OSU and has an opportunity to win its first Big Ten championship since 2004. Iowa (10-2) overcame a 15-point deficit last Friday to defeat Nebraska and then clinched the West title when Minnesota upset Wisconsin last Saturday
“Beating Ohio State is definitely one of, if not the pinnacle of my career,” McNamara said Monday during a Big Ten videoconference. “Just being a part of this team is an honor. For us to finally get over the hump, I guess you could say, of beating Ohio State, means so much not just to me but to the rest of these guys.
“As we continue going into this week of preparation, we’re going to watch the film today, and then as soon as today is over, that game is over as well. We’ll come back, and we’ll appreciate that game after the season, but for the time now, we’ve gotta beat the Hawkeyes and we’ve gotta take home a Big Ten championship, because there’s not one dude on this team that has a ring. Definitely not a Big Ten championship ring. That was one of our goals we wanted to achieve this season, now we have to go on and achieve the next one.”
Senior linebacker Josh Ross, a two-time captain, said it won’t be difficult to duplicate the focus the team had last week ahead of Ohio State and, really, all season. This is the 11th year of the Big Ten Championship Game and the first time Michigan is playing. If the Wolverines win, they surely will be among the four teams in the national championship playoff.
“We haven’t won a Big Ten championship since 2004,” Ross said. “This is huge for our program, this is huge for our team, you know what I’m saying, let’s get it, let’s ride. There’s nothing too much more need to be said. It’s a great opportunity in front of us and we’re ready to go get it.”