Michigan football leaves recent struggles against Ohio State behind

History isn’t a burden for this Michigan team.

U-M heads to Columbus on Saturday carrying the program burden of 11 losses in the past 12 meetings, no wins overall since 2011, no wins at Ohio Stadium since 2000 and no Big Ten titles since 2004.

There are many historical reasons for the Wolverines to be motivated.

But coach Jim Harbaugh has his players focus each week as its own entity, and they’ve learned to absorb that, rising to 10-1 and No. 3 in the College Football Playoff rankings.

Considering previous teams is far from their minds.

“It’s not as important to win this game for what’s been going on in the past, the past 11-12 whatever years,” co-captain Jake Butt said Monday. “Really, we need to win this game for what we have right in front of us right now. That’s all we’re focused on. We have an unbelievable opportunity to go on the road and compete against a really good team. We know everything’s on the line, our whole entire season’s on the line. We need to win the game for that reason.”

Harbaugh was asked repeatedly about the larger rivalry, especially considering he has lived it, from his 1986 guarantee, beating the Buckeyes in Columbus and watching some of the 1970s matchups up close.

But he wasn’t interested in picking a favorite memory.

“I don’t look at it as a pie chart, that was my favorite, this was my less favorite,” Harbaugh said. “Each game, each opportunity, each chance for your team to show what they’ve got. I’ve got seven kids (one due in February) and love each one 100%. I don’t break them up into pie charts.”ege Football Playoff rankings.

(2016 © Detroit Free Press)


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