Still, Marshon Lattimore didn't want to lose.
The Cleveland Glenville product and future Ohio State Buckeye – as in he'll report to Columbus tomorrow – was named Ohio's offensive MVP after making eight catches for 99 yards, but he wasn't in the best of moods after Michigan's all-stars beat Ohio's by a 27-14 score Saturday afternoon in the first Ohio-Michigan Border Classic.
"I'm never happy when we lose," Lattimore said afterward. "I could have played better. The team could've played better, but I'm never happy when we lose."
And when Lattimore gets to play in the more celebrated version of the interstate rivalry when the Maize and Blue meets the Scarlet and Gray, he expects a different result in Columbus than he got under sunny skies Saturday in Findlay's Donnell Stadium.
"We're getting the W in November," he said.
There was a bit of Ohio State-Michigan flavor to the contest, as former OSU head coach Earle Bruce served as Ohio's honorary captain and former Michigan quarterback John Wangler was the Wolverine State's. Ohio even wore red while Michigan donned blue uniforms.
Wangler's son, Jared, a University of Michigan-bound linebacker, had five tackles in a sack to help a stifling and physical Michigan defense that harassed Ohio quarterback Grant Sherman (a Kenton product and Toledo-bound signal caller) all day. Michigan-bound Ohio linebacker Noah Furbush, a fellow Kenton product, added six tackles but left the game with an injury midway through.
On the Ohio side, three players are Columbus bound after spending their prep careers at Cleveland Glenville. While Lattimore starred despite two fumbles – one on a failed hook and ladder late in the game – Erick Smith played cornerback and took away one side of the field from Michigan all day, while future OSU track athlete Davon Anderson ran for a 28-yard TD.
In the end, though, two TD runs early in the second half helped Michigan pull away and earn bragging rights in the inaugural contest, though many of the top players in each state did not take part.
"I thought both teams represented themselves well," said Ohio coach Mike Fell of Lima Senior. "With only a couple of days of practice, it was a good, physical, hard-hitting game. I thought both teams played hard. Both teams tackled well. Unfortunately, we just didn't get it done."
Ohio took an early 7-0 lead by scoring the first touchdown ever in the contest. Lattimore – who said OSU head coach Urban Meyer told him he might play on offense in addition to defense with the Buckeyes, a la Chris Gamble – helped make it possible with a 9-yard catch in traffic on fourth-and-8, and one play later, Sherman hooked up with wide-open Marcus Whitfield (Massillon Washington, Toledo signee) on a 40-yard touchdown bomb.
But Michigan responded with 24 consecutive points, and it could have honestly been more as the Wolverine State had a field goal blocked and a fourth-down failure inside the Ohio 10 after Lattimore's fumbled bubble screen during the opening half.
The Michiganders tied the score on third-and-goal from the 7 in the second quarter when Rutgers-bound quarterback Giovanni Rescigno evaded the rush and beat the Ohio defense to the front right pylon. Buffalo-bound DB Ryan Williamson of Cincinnati Colerain broke up a late first-half Michigan attempt at a TD pass but Michigan added a field goal on the final play of the half to take a 10-7 lead to the locker room.
Things quickly got worse for the Buckeye State after halftime as Michigan scored on each of its first two possessions. First, Central Michigan-bound running back Devon Spaulding ran through the line and outraced Smith to the end zone for a 60-yard touchdown run, and Eastern Michigan's Ian Erikson added a 10-yard TD scamper on Michigan's next possession.
Anderson – who is bound for a track scholarship at Ohio State after winning the state 110-meter hurdles race last weekend – used his speed to motor away from the Michigan defense on a 28-yard TD run with a minute left in the third quarter, just one play after a 52-yard bomb from Sherman to Tiffin-bound Charles Holland (Columbus West), but that was it for the Buckeye State.
A 29-yard field goal by Michigan made it 27-14 with 7:43 to go. Ohio tried to rebound, picking up 40 yards on one play on a 25-yard fourth-down pass to Lattimore and an accompanying facemask call, but Holland was ruled out of bounds when it appeared he had made a spectacular TD catch on the next play and the Buckeye State eventually turned the ball over on downs.
Williamson picked up an interception on the next play but Sherman tossed a deep pick on ensuing possession, and Ohio was unable to threaten again.