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COLUMBUS — Forget that one team was playing for a championship and the other was not. In Saturday's annual renewal of the Ohio State-Michigan rivalry, the bad blood was everywhere.
Tempers flared, play went on after the whistle, the penalties were mostly major ones, and if there weren't a few cheap shots, there were at least some very inexpensive ones.
“It was an emotional game for everyone,” Ohio State coach Jim Tressel said after watching his team defeat the Wolverines 37-7.
“There's no need for the extracurricular stuff after the plays,” Michigan coach Rich Rodriguez said.
There were several altercations that resulted in off-setting penalties, more than the usual amount of jawing in the trenches, and a couple of excessive celebration calls against the Buckeyes.
“Emotions were flying around. It's a heated rivalry, and it got a little chippy out there,” Ohio State tight end Jake Stoneburner said.
Ohio State senior Brian Rolle said the mood and the atmosphere out on the field was no different from the three previous Michigan games he took part in.
“There's always going to be pushing and shoving and holding in a game like this, but it's never dirty,” Rolle said. You expect everyone to compete in a game as big as Ohio State versus Michigan.”
OSU senior receiver Dane Sanzenbacher agreed with Rolle that nothing out of the ordinary took place, but the Toledo native added that he wished his team would have demonstrated more restraint.
“It's always like that in the Michigan game,” Sanzenbacher said. “We let ourselves get wrapped up in it, and we shouldn't have. There's a lot of things that shouldn't happen.”
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RECORD BREAKER: When Ohio State running back Dan “Boom” Herron broke loose from the Buckeyes' 2-yard line, shed a tackle, then burst into daylight on an apparent 98-yard touchdown run in the third quarter, he had apparently set an OSU record for the longest run from scrimmage.
The record stood for less than a minute, however, as a flag was thrown at the 9-yard line where Sanzenbacher was called for holding as he tried to keep the last Michigan defender away from Herron. The penalty turned Herron's play into an 89-yard run, which tied the OSU record.
“Sorry to Boom to steal his touchdown,” a repentant Sanzenbacher said after the game. “I was just trying to help clear the way for him to get into the end zone. I didn't think it was a penalty, but I don't make the calls. I wouldn't change what I did if I could do the play again, if that makes it any better.”
Herron had the third best rushing day against Michigan by any Buckeye. Herron finished with 175 yards rushing on 22 carries, averaging eight yards per carry. He did all of the damage in the second half, including an 89-yard run. In the game, Herron went over the 1,000 yard mark for the season, and over the 2,000 yard mark for his career.
CROWD CONTROL: An announced crowd of 105,491 witnessed Ohio State's 37-7 win over Michigan. That was the seventh-largest crowd in Ohio Stadium history, and the fourth-largest to see an Ohio State-Michigan game in Columbus.
BUCKEYE BITS: OSU's seventh straight win in the series has sliced into the edge for Michigan. The Wolverines now lead the series 57-44-6. … Quarterback Terrelle Pryor extended his school record to 21 games with at least 200 yards of total offense. He is 30-4 as OSU's starting quarterback. … OSU's DeVier Posey has caught at least one pass in 26 straight games, the longest such streak in the Big Ten. … Sanzenbacher has caught at least one pass in 18 consecutive games and the Buckeyes are 35-5 when he makes one or more catches. … The last time Michigan was held to as few as seven points was during the 2008 meeting with OSU, a game the Buckeyes won 42-7.
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