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Perhaps the renaming of a practice drill will be the spark Michigan needs to beat Ohio State.
By now, you probably know that Michigan hasn't beaten Ohio State in Jim Harbaugh's tenure. The Buckeyes have an eight-game win streak in series dating back to 2011 and have beaten Michigan in all five matchups coached by Jim Harbaugh.
With Ohio State's loss to Oregon on Saturday, Michigan now has a better record than the Buckeyes. That hasn't been happening a lot lately. Ohio State has been a perennial contender for the College Football Playoff while questions about Harbaugh's job status have become a perennial event for Michigan fans.
A win over the Buckeyes will go a long way to boosting the Harbaugh tenure at Michigan and maybe 2021 is the year that it could finally happen. The season-ending rivalry game is on Nov. 27 at Michigan Stadium and Michigan's players have been preparing for the game all season with a renamed 9-on-7 drill.
"We blast some music, [breathe in] smelling salts, everything — it’s a pretty physical period, and we love it," a grinning redshirt freshman left guard Trevor Keegan said.
"It’s always been a period that we’ve taken a lot of pride in," redshirt junior right guard Andrew Stueber added. "[The name change] kind of came along with the whole tradition of, ‘What are you doing to beat Ohio State every day,’ kind of taking that rivalry into focus every day is a big focus for us. I’m not exactly sure when that got named, but I’m happy it did, and it’s definitely brought a lot of energy and passion to that period."
It's worth noting for people who aren't totally familiar with the intricacies of the rivalry between the two teams that Ohio State coach Ryan Day has a drill named to inspire his players to beat Michigan. It was only a matter of time before Michigan reciprocated.
Hours after Ohio State lost to Oregon at home, Michigan beat Washington in an extremely convincing 31-10 win. Michigan ran the ball over 50 times for 363 yards and four touchdowns in the win as Washington dropped to 0-2 after a season-opening loss to FCS opponent Montana. The Wolverines are averaging nearly seven yards a carry through the first two games of the season; if UM hits that number against Ohio State, a win is pretty likely. And renaming that drill would have been very worth it.