Michigan Quarterback J.J. McCarthy: “All We Know is Beating Ohio State”

By Kevin Harrish on February 28, 2022 at 7:05 am
J.J. McCarthy
Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

Michigan is still reveling in its victory.

The Wolverines snapped a 10-year drought against Ohio State this season, beating the Buckeyes in The Game for the first time since the 2011 season.

The result was a departure from the Ohio State dominance we'd seen over most of the past two decades. Until this fall, Michigan had beaten the Buckeyes just twice since Jim Tressel took over at Ohio State in 2001.

And recently, the games hadn't been particularly close, either. The Buckeyes had won each of the past two games by three or more touchdowns, and they were favored by 30 points in 2020 before the game was canceled due to a COVID-19 outbreak at Michigan.

But Michigan quarterback J.J. McCarthy and many of the younger Wolverine players don't necessarily see it that way.

“For us, the whole 10-year stretch of us not winning – that's all we know is beating Ohio State right now,” McCarthy told Sports Illustrated. “So we're going to keep that going.”

“ALL WE KNOW IS BEATING OHIO STATE RIGHT NOW.”– Michigan quarterback J.J. McCarthy

It seems odd, given Ohio State's dominance in the rivalry up until this season, but it's technically the truth. With Michigan's win in 2021 and the canceled game in 2020, the majority of the Wolverine roster has never experienced a loss to Ohio State. And the ones who were around back in 2019 likely weren't on the field.

Likewise, there are few Buckeyes on Ohio State's roster who have experienced a win in The Game. Of the 91 scholarship players on Ohio State's current roster, 68 of them have never beaten Michigan. And of the 23 current players who do have a pair of Gold Pants, only 10 of them actually played a snap in a win over the Wolverines, and none of them started.

It would be more than a stretch to say that Michigan has taken control of the rivalry after winning just one game in a span of 10 years, but this marks the first time in over two decades that Ohio State has gone consecutive years without earning a pair of Gold Pants.

The Buckeyes will be looking to change that in November. And McCarthy's quote is already serving as motivation.

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