|Ohio State's George has never gotten over his last meeting with Michigan|
|Written by Admin|
|Wednesday, 14 November 2007 10:29|
With No. 7 Ohio State set to renew acquaintances with its old rival to the North on Saturday, the subject of past, painful games always seems to arise for the former Ohio State tailback.
``Every year around this time, I'm reminded of that,'' he said this week while visiting Ohio State's practice facility. ``I don't get it the other 364 days a year. But, of course, you always think about it.''
The Buckeyes were unbeaten and ranked No. 2 heading to Ann Arbor, Mich., for their showdown on Nov. 25, 1995. They were loaded with talent, with massive offensive tackle Orlando Pace paving the way for George and quarterback Bobby Hoying, who had an array of top receivers including Terry Glenn.
On defense, Ohio State had current New England Patriots standout Mike Vrabel at end, with lockdown cornerback Shawn Springs the headliner in the secondary.
Meanwhile, the Wolverines had suffered through a long, hard slog of a season under a rookie coach named Lloyd Carr. They won their first five games to rise to No. 8 in the rankings, but then lost three of their first six in conference play to come into their game against the Buckeyes at 8-3.
``All we had to do was go in and beat Michigan, a team that underachieved most of the year,'' George said. ``They were talented but lost some key games. They had nothing to play for, other than to play the spoiler.''
But in this rivalry, that's enough.
In the span of 3 hours on a crisp afternoon in Ann Arbor, all that the Buckeyes had put together was torn down.
The pregame focus had been on George's bid for the Heisman. But an overlooked back with an almost unpronounceable name - even Carr called him ``Touchdown Tim'' - stole the whole show.
Tim Biakabutuka became only the second player in Michigan history to rush for more than 300 yards in a game, alternately sprinting and muscling for 313 yards to lead the Wolverines to a stunning 31-23 upset.
It remains the most yards ever gained against Ohio State in 118 years of football.
``Obviously, I'm incredibly disappointed,'' Ohio State coach John Cooper, who fell to 1-6-1 against Michigan, said after the game. ``I don't know if I've ever been so disappointed in my life.''
A freshman defensive back, Charles Woodson, who would go on to win the Heisman in 1997, had two interceptions in the game for the Wolverines. Woodson, by the way, was a former Mr. Football - in Ohio.
The upset gave No. 4 Northwestern - who the Buckeyes didn't play - the Big Ten championship. It was also the second straight time Ohio State had come into The Big House unbeaten and needing a victory for a Rose Bowl berth. In 1993, the Buckeyes were ranked fifth and were 9-0-1 but the Wolverines upset them 28-0, sending Wisconsin to the Rose Bowl.
``This is the best, ever,'' Biakabutuka said. ``Ohio State was No. 2 in the nation, and people thought Michigan wasn't Michigan anymore.''
George was a footnote in that game, barely touching the ball in the fourth quarter because the Buckeyes had to throw the ball to score quickly and come back.
Within a month, he won the Heisman, then was later drafted in the first round by the Houston Oilers, who would become the Tennessee Titans. He spent nine years in the NFL, rushing for more than 10,000 yards, scoring 68 touchdowns and making four Pro Bowls.
Yet he remains haunted by a college loss so long ago.
``It still hurts,'' he said. ``It's still something you think about. I've had some tough losses in my lifetime, and that's definitely one of the tougher losses I've had.''