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ANN ARBOR Thanksgiving is one of the most anticipated days of the year for most, a day to return home and spend time with family after a year-long slate of hard work.
For Michigan linebacker Shawn Crable and the rest of the Wolverines who had to
return home to Ohio the last three years after losing to the Buckeyes, though, the holidays must have been rough.
Crable, a native of Massillon, made just one solo tackle in the 42-39 loss at Ohio State last year.
You re playing against guys you played against in high school, senior safety Jamar Adams said of Crable. Then you go home to that same atmosphere. I know he wants to win that game.
You don t want to lose to everybody and hear back about how you should have went to Ohio State.
Adams, an outsider in the rivalry growing up in Charlotte, said even his family has had a difficult time the past three years with the Wolverines losing streak to their rivals.
Any time you lose a ball game, sometimes your family doesn t know how to deal with it, Adams said. They don t know whether to talk about it or leave the issue alone. I m more the guy that likes to leave the issue alone, so any family members that want to talk about it, they have a hard time dealing with me.
LONG vs. GHOLSTON: It s not Ali vs. Frazier, but Ohio State defensive end Vernon Gholston going head to head with Michigan left tackle Jake Long should be one of the marquee position battles this year in the rivalry.
Gholston is tied for third in the Big Ten with 10 sacks and leads Ohio State with 10.5 tackles for a loss.
Long was named the Big Ten offensive lineman of the year in 2006 and this season is a finalist for the Rotary Lombardi Award, given to the nation s best lineman each year.
Vernon Gholston is a great end, one of the best ends in the league, if not the best, Long said.
He s a strong, physical, and a fast guy.
STOPPING BEANIE: Michigan has seen its fair share of great Ohio State running backs recently, and this year will be no different.
Chris Beanie Wells is averaging 112.8 yards per game this season and is third in the conference with 1,241 rushing yards.
He s a big, physical back, senior defensive tackle Will Johnson said. He s running behind a big line. He s got great feet, great vision. He knows when to cut back.
The Wolverines run defense has allowed an average of 211.5 yards per game on the ground in the last two weeks, so stopping Wells will be a point of emphasis.
Any time you have a great running back like that, it s up to everybody on the defense to stop him, senior safety Brandent Englemon said. You have to get 11 guys to the ball, hitting him every play, every chance we get.
D UP: If Michigan is forced to go without quarterback Chad Henne or running back Mike Hart for portions of today s game, Adams said the defense said it is prepared to shoulder the burden of keeping the Wolverines in the game.
Here at Michigan, we believe defense wins championships regardless of what the offensive situation is, Adams said.
We always want to go out there and play a game that allows Michigan to win the football game. As long as we hold them to less points than we have a chance to win the game, and that s the only thing we focus on.