Rivalry roots deep for Boren


Jim Naveau

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COLUMBUS – No one owns the Ohio State-Michigan rivalry, but the Boren family has had a long-term lease in it.

Ohio State senior center Jacoby Boren is part of a family tradition that stretches back to 1980 when his dad, Mike, was a freshman football player at Michigan.

All three of Mike and Hope Boren’s sons have played in the rivalry – Justin started his career at Michigan and transferred to Ohio State after the 2007 season, Zach played four years at Ohio State from 2009-2012 and Jacoby has played four seasons, the last two as a starter.

When it was suggested to Jacoby Boren earlier this week that Saturday’s Ohio State-Michigan game was the end of an era, he corrected the questioner.

“Hopefully, I’m not the last. Hopefully, we’ve got another generation coming through,” he said.

“That’s humbling to see my dad, Justin and Zach play in this game and be in kind of the same footsteps and know we’ve had a great opportunity. Not many people get to play in this game and we’ve had four people in my family play in it.

“It’s a great experience. It’s the best rivalry game around and I’m just thankful to be part of it,” he said.

Mike Boren was a tackling machine as an inside linebacker for Michigan in 1981 and 1982 before a knee injury ended his football career four games into his senior season in 1983. He had 15 tackles against Ohio State in 1981 and 18 in 1982.

He was a Columbus Eastmoor graduate who wasn’t offered a scholarship by Ohio State who took the Michigan-Ohio State rivalry very seriously even after he was finished playing.

“He always takes it seriously. It wasn’t real relaxed. He always gets into the game,” Jacoby Boren said.

But once Justin Boren transferred from Michigan to Ohio State after Rich Rodriguez was hired, the Boren family’s allegiance swung from maize and blue to scarlet and gray.

“My parents are all about us and they put their kids above everything, so it was pretty easy for him. When we flipped he was going to flip over with us too,” Jacoby Boren said.

NOTES:

BIG DAY FOR HARBAUGH: Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh says when he was younger the day of the Michigan-Ohio State game might have been the biggest day of the year.

“It was even better than Christmas when I was growing up here in Ann Arbor,” Harbaugh said on the Big Ten coaches teleconference.

The first time he saw Ohio State and Michigan play, he was in the south end zone of Michigan Stadium when the teams played to a 10-10 tie in 1973.

“I’ve watched the game every year since 1973. Wherever I’ve been, it’s been, ‘What time is the Michigan-Ohio State game on?’ I’m going to watch it,” he said.

PEPPERS ADDS SPICE: Michigan has used standout redshirt freshman safety Jabrill Peppers on offense and defense and as a kick returner.

Harbaugh said Peppers has played nine different positions this season – cornerback, safety, nickel back, running back, quarterback, wide receiver, slot receiver, punt returner and kickoff returner.

“I can think of five different positions he would be really good at,” Harbaugh said.

GETTING OVER IT: Ohio State coach Urban Meyer said on the coaches teleconference that putting last Saturday’s loss to Michigan State behind them would be big for the Buckeyes this Saturday at Michigan.

“It’s got to go forward and it’s got to go forward fast,” he said. “They (Michigan State) hit a couple plays on us, not many. And we didn’t hit enough. Sunday was a big day for getting it out of our system.”

Reach Jim Naveau at 567-242-0414 or on Twitter at @Lima_Naveau.

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