Ohio State-Michigan War Of Words Still Boils, And Neither Wants To Take The High Road

Ohio State coach Ryan Day has not gotten to hang that 100 on Michigan that he talked about two years ago.

COVID canceled that game.

Then Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh came close to hanging half a hundred on the Buckeyes in a 42-27 win last year that canceled his five-game losing streak as a head coach against Ohio State. That included four losses to former coach Urban Meyer and one to Day in 2019 (56-27) at Michigan.

The two coaches meet for the third time on Saturday (Noon, FOX) in the first undefeated pairing of the two teams since 2006. Both are 11-0 overall and 8-0 in the Big Ten. Winner reaches the Big Ten Championship Game on Dec. 3, and both could make the College Football Playoff.

After the 2021 game, then-Michigan offensive coordinator Josh Gattis called Ohio State a “finesse team.”

On Tuesday, Ohio State tight end Cade Stover was reminded of that comment and said, “I really don’t give a sh*t what anyone outside this program says about our toughness. We know what we’ve got.”

All righty, then.

Also after last year’s game, Harbaugh took the high road for a few miles, but he couldn’t quite resist the exit lane.

“It did,” he said when asked if all that had been said in recent years by Day and Meyer and the Michigan side over the years pushed his guys to victory.

“I mean, yeah, I know the things you’re probably thinking of are the same as I’m thinking of,” Harbaugh said.

Ryan Day Said Buckeyes Would Score 100 On Michigan In 2020

That would be Day’s 100 comment before the 2020 season after Harbaugh called him out on a coaches-only teleconference for impermissible on-field instruction when it was not allowed with players.

“Michigan better hope for a mercy rule this year because we are going to hang 100 on them,” Day told his team soon after that in a meeting, it has been confirmed.

And Harbaugh waited until after he finally beat Ohio State and to the last sentence of that postgame press conference.

Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh talks about abortion (Photo by G Fiume/Maryland Terrapins/Getty Images)
Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh lost his first five games to Ohio State from 2015-19 with the first four of those to then-coach Urban Meyer. (Getty Images)

“Let’s move on with humble hearts, take the high road,” he said, continuing with his above answer to the question about “all that had been said.” Then he said, “But, uh,” and paused before going on.

Jim Harbaugh’s Infamous ‘Third Base’ Quote

“But there’s definitely stuff that people said that spurred us on even more, sure,” he said, paused again, and then delivered the clincher. “Sometimes people that are standing on third base think they hit a triple, you know. But they didn’t. All right, thanks.”

Drop microphone.

That was a direct shot at Day, who inherited that triple, so to speak, when he replaced retiring coach Urban Meyer full time following the 2018 season. Day, who was Meyer’s offensive coordinator in 2017 and ’18, took over a team that Meyer had led to six seasons of 11 wins or more beginning in 2012 and to the national championship in 2014. Meyer was 83-9 overall and 54-4 in the Big Ten with three conference titles.

Day kept it going with a 13-1 season in 2019, winning the Big Ten at 9-0 and reaching the College Football Playoff. He won the Big Ten again and reached the CFP championship game in 2020 before a loss to Alabama and was 11-2 and 8-1 last year.


Harbaugh, on the other hand, inherited a Michigan program on the skids in 2017. The Wolverines were 5-7 and 3-5 in 2016 under Brady Hoke, who was 7-6 and 3-5 the previous year. Rich Rodriguez was 6-18 in the Big Ten from 2008-10 and had two losing seasons out of three. Harbaugh struggled early but is on the verge of his second straight Big Ten title and playoff berth.

On Tuesday, Day was asked again about Harbaugh’s third base comment.

“Yeah, I’m not going to talk about it right now,” he said. “Maybe there’s another time to hit on that.”

Or hit Harbaugh?

“There’s certain things you listen to. There’s certain things you don’t,” Day said.

Day and Stover really just want to get even from last year.

“You’re shaped by your past,” Day said. “We have scars from last year. It motivated us all over the last year.”

Will Ohio State Be Tough Enough This Time?

Day was also asked about the questions concerning his team’s toughness following the loss to Michigan last year.

“When you’re playing in a game like this, there’s always going to be back and forth, and things said,” he said. “You see things and read things, but there’s also a lot of it you try to ignore. But sometimes it matters who says it, too, and how much consideration you give it.”

Ryan Day Fined For Skipping ESPN Show, But Had Appropriate Excuse
Ohio State coach Ryan Day is 1-1 against Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh going into Saturday’s game between his No. 2 Buckeyes and the No. 3 Wolverines. (Getty Images)

Was he referring to Harbaugh, who was asked about the “toughness” and “finesse” issue.

“That wasn’t me,” Harbaugh said. “I didn’t.”

But he sure didn’t seem to mind the comment from Gattis, who is now Miami’s offensive coordinator.

“We certainly don’t get caught up in other people’s opinions,” Day said. “Any time you’re in a high-profile game with a lot of stuff going on, there’s a lot of things said. But there’s a time and a place to talk about that.”

In an alley, maybe?

“Not now,” Day said.

But it will be Saturday.

Written by Glenn Guilbeau

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