“You want to play your best at the end of November,” Hoke says. “That’s what we are trying to do to have our best performance on Saturday. A great rivalry. It’s been talked about and it’s special. Unless you coached in it, or played in it, it’s hard to explain. The intensity in the this game is like no other you’ll play.”
Michigan (5-6, 3-4 Big Ten) has lost two straight and 11 of the last 13 match-ups versus No. 6 Ohio State (10-1, 7-0). As a reminder, U-M even has a countdown clock at their practice facility to remind them daily of their last victory over the Buckeyes. And while they are reminded daily of their rivals, they don’t prepare for OSU in every practice, Hoke says.
“Not every practice,” Hoke says. “We talk about it. It’s visually up here in this building all the time. We talk about it weekly. If not daily about the rivalry and the extent of it.”
Last year, U-M failed a 2-point conversion late, which was enough to let OSU escape Ann Arbor with a 42-41 victory. What was different about that game? Can Michigan duplicate that performance again?
“I think we took care of the ball better in that game,” Hoke says. “I think we had some explosive plays that were a big part of it. But from the standpoint of knowing the formula for it, believe me we’d like to have that every week. So I don’t know if you know the formula. Every team is different, every game is different. Even though it may be a common same opponent.”
With the win, OSU coach Urban Meyer improved his record to 2-0 against Hoke. And while they coach in the same conference, and recruit the same region, they are not exactly best friends.
“I don’t know if I have a whole lot of friends period,” Hoke says. “But you know -- we’re professional.”
Michigan plays at No. 6 Ohio State this Saturday at noon.