One of the greatest rivalries in all of college sports is between the Ohio State University Buckeyes and University of Michigan Wolverines. For their respective states, November contains not one but two holidays – Thanksgiving and the annual Ohio State-Michigan football game.
But the rivalry is not limited to only the gridiron.
On April 13, the Buckeyes and Wolverines met in a grudge match of a different kind – on the lacrosse field.
The Buckeyes, ranked No. 11 in the nation, took on the Wolverines at Michigan Stadium in Ann Arbor. In the true rivalry spirit, the teams went at it in every phase of the game from the opening face-off to the final horn. In the end, the Buckeyes came out on top, 13–8.
“Our student athletes are very excited,” Ohio State coach Nick Myers said of the rivalry prior to the game. “It means a lot to the athletic department, the staff, and certainly Buckeye Nation.”
The mutual animosity between Ohio and Michigan is much older than most sports. It’s even older than Ohio State University.
Some trace it back 180 years, to 1835. That year, Ohio and Michigan laid conflicting claims to the area now occupied by the city of Toledo, Ohio. After a “war” of sorts (the only shots fired were in the air), President Andrew Jackson awarded the Toledo area to Ohio, and the Upper Peninsula to Michigan. Even as recently as 1973, Michigan legislators have argued that Toledo belongs in Michigan.
With that in mind, Ohio State-Michigan sporting events are more than mere competitions – they are matters of state pride.
“We all feel like we’re very fortunate to have the opportunity to play in a very special rivalry,” Michigan coach John Paul said after the game. Michigan and Ohio State’s lacrosse series began in 2012, when Michigan adopted varsity status. The Buckeyes are 4-0 against the Wolverines when it comes to men’s lacrosse.
While this pales in comparison to the football series, which dates back to 1897, the two lacrosse teams are slowly building a rivalry of their own.
“There’s a lot of history with [the Ohio State-Michigan] rivalry in terms of other sports,” said OSU defenseman Evan Mulchrone. “We look forward to the opportunity to play them again and create a rivalry in lacrosse.”
Photo: Ohio State (game), Patrick Andres (interview)