The Wolverine

January 2024

The Wolverine: Covering University of Michigan Football and Sports

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22 THE WOLVERINE ❱ JANUARY 2024 BY JOHN BORTON J im Harbaugh himself said it, and not so very long ago: Michigan would beat Ohio State and win the Big Ten championship, "or die trying." The Wolverines are very much alive, thank you. Three beat-downs of the Buckeyes, three Big Ten titles and a third- consecutive invitation to the College Football Playoff — this year as the No. 1 squad — render Harbaugh's vow truer and more pain-free than ever. Michigan football put in the time, the sweat and the sacrifice to rise out of a morass of great- season-until-OSU campaigns, and cer- tainly well away from its 2020 nadir. Since that COVID-19 campaign thud- ded to a truncated finish, the Wolverines have roared to a 38-3 record, going 3-0 against the previously unbeatable Buck- eyes by a combined score of 117-74. Ryan Day's reported mocking vow to "hang 100" on Michigan has spun into a run- ning joke. Since those words were ut- tered, he's 0-3 against the Wolverines and must outshine his three-year av- erage output against Harbaugh's crew (24.7) next season to hang 100 (over four games). This year, Michigan's 30-24 victory featured all the recently familiar elements of U-M victory. A tight game at the half, the Wolverines pressing their advantage in the trenches and Har- baugh's squad — even without Harbaugh on the sidelines — making the big plays down the stretch. In other words, the old saying about the worm … the man in the block M ball cap knows it well. "The worm has turned," Harbaugh crowed, after U-M nailed down a third straight Big Ten championship with a 26-0 shutout of Iowa. "These are the guys. I mean, these Michigan football players, when you look back at the his- tory of Michigan football, wrote the book on getting the worm to turn. The worm is pretty slippery. That thing can start wig- gling back and forth and turning back on you. "The hook got put in it. The hook got put in the worm. They've written the book on how to do it." Hooking the Buckeyes proved the key element. Harbaugh, Chris Wormley, Jabrill Pep- THREE THREE AND AND COUNTING COUNTING Michigan Takes A Classic, 30-24, And Confirms Upper Hand Against The Buckeyes

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