Battling Borens Compete For Buckeyes

Ohio State football players Justin and Zach Boren spent much of their childhoods competing against each other, but now focus their energies on helping the Buckeyes battle their foes. Read on to find out more about life with the Boren family and how Ohio State has become home for the brothers.

A brother vs. brother battle is one of the highlights of Saturday afternoon's game between Ohio State and Ohio University. OSU junior wide receiver DeVier Posey will face off against older brother Julian, a cornerback for the Bobcats.

The younger Posey has said he is excited about the opportunity to play against Julian, whom DeVier calls his best friend.

Conversely, Buckeye senior left guard Justin Boren and his younger brother Zach said if they were on different sides of the football, things would not be as cheerful. In fact, both might not make it to the final whistle.

"If that was my brother and I, we'd probably get thrown out of the game because we'd get into a fight or something," Justin said.

Added Zach: "Both of us would probably get thrown out of the game because the loser would not be happy with it and would end up doing something pretty dumb and the other one would retaliate every single time."

That type of reaction would not surprise those who know the Boren clan, a family that includes four hard-nosed football players: father Mike, a Michigan linebacker from 1980-83; oldest son Justin; middle son Zach and youngest son Jacoby, a junior at Pickerington (Ohio) Central. In a house full of testosterone, arguments and fights were commonplace. From fishing, to basketball games to seeing who can hold their breath the longest in the family pool, the Borens were always competing and oftentimes scuffling.

"It's interesting and very competitive," Justin said of the family dynamic. "We get into arguments all of the time about who is better at what. It gets pretty crazy. It's unbelievable how competitive we were growing up and we still are to this day."

The two Borens who suit up for Ohio State both have tough on-field personas but different attitudes. Justin, an affable person off the field, poses an intimidating figure on the gridiron. He also likes to let his play do the talking and avoids verbal confrontations with opponents. Zach, on the other hand, is not as big as his brother but makes up for his lack of size with athleticism and an ability to verbally spar with foes.

Zach's gift for gab was evident last weekend as the Buckeyes took on Miami (Fla.). The fullback could be seen at one point jawing with Hurricane defensive lineman Allen Bailey, a man that is four inches taller and 33 pounds heavier than the 6-0, 252-pound sophomore.

Justin said he had seen that aspect of his little brother's game as far back as when Justin was a senior and Zach was a freshman on Pickerington Central's varsity football team.

"I remember in high school I used to get on him, saying, ‘What are you doing? Stop doing that stuff,'" he said. "Zach loves talking trash, and everybody's different. Some guys enjoy doing that stuff, and some guys don't. I'd rather save my breath and be ready to go the next play than waste my energy."

Fortunately for Ohio State, Justin and Zach have taken their competitive fires to Columbus. Justin arrived at Ohio State in 2008 after transferring from Michigan, and Zach joined him as a true freshman a year later. The fact that former Wolverine and the former U-M fan ended up playing for the Buckeyes still surprises Zach.

"I was home one day and it hit me, ‘Dang. I play for Ohio State and not Michigan,' " Zach said. "But I love it here. Obviously when I was growing up my dad taught us to hate Ohio State, but now I love it. Justin loves it.

"We just call it home now."

Justin said the weird feelings about playing for Ohio State have long since passed.

"I love it here. I know Zach loves it here," he said. "I truly think everything's meant to be, and I couldn't be in a better place right now."

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