During what was a very dark period in Michigan football history, the 2011 season brought some light to a struggling program. It was Brady Hoke’s first season as Michigan’s head man.
As a college football fanatic, there is simply nothing larger than ‘The Game’. Michigan vs Ohio State, the biggest rivalry in college football. Undoubtedly.
“One knee away…from being welcomed back to national relevance.”
This was the music to a Michigan fan’s ears. It had all unfolded within the final minute of the game at Michigan Stadium with the Wolverines leading 40-34, and Braxton Miller and Ohio State looking to convert on fourth down.
Ohio State dominated this rivalry since the turn of the century. Going into the 2011 meeting between these two schools, OSU had captured seven consecutive victories, and were looking to add Brady Hoke to the list of coaches that couldn’t beat the Buckeyes.
This was a down year for Ohio State. Facing NCAA sanctions thanks to former coach Jim Tressel, Ohio State was under control of interim head coach Luke Fickell, and they could not get the train rolling. They ended up finishing 6-6.
On the other hand, Michigan sported a 10-2 record that year, including the win vs Ohio State, which brought them back to “national relevance” for the time being.
Less than a minute to go in the fourth quarter, Braxton Miller ended the game for himself and the Buckeyes.
While the 2011 season truly meant nothing for the future of the football program, this game, along with the entirety of the season, shed some light on a crippled program. It brought faith back to the Michigan fanbase, and gave us a taste of what it’s like to win the biggest rivalry in college football.
It was something Michigan fans hadn’t had for quite a while.
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