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For its revitalizing effect on a moribund Michigan program, that victory is widely considered the greatest in school history. It also served as the opening skirmish in the Ten-Year War. The stakes were consistently huge: Four times between 1970 and '75 both squads came into the game in the AP's Top 5.
Lording over the rivalry, burnishing their legends, were Hayes and Schembechler, once-and-future friends, each now serving as the other's b�te noire. An HBO documentary called The Rivalry details the cold war chill that characterized their dealings during this decade. Before the game Hayes would send an assistant coach to tell a Michigan assistant, "Would you please tell Coach Schembechler that I'm ready to meet him at the 50." This dialogue would then occur:
For a decade that was the extent of their back-and-forth. One year, during the Buckeyes' team meal on the eve of a game at Michigan, Hayes noticed that each of the young women serving the food was unusually attractive. He banished them, issuing orders that dinner be served by the cooks. Schembechler, Hayes suspected, had planted the comely young maidens to distract his warriors on the eve of battle.
Hayes's Vesuvian temper was on full display late in the 1971 game, when he tore up a set of down markers late in a 10-7 loss. Attempting to outstubborn his obstinate mentor a year later, Schembechler passed up a pair of easy field goals, only to be stopped on fourth-and-goal at the one on both possessions. The Wolverines lost 14-11.
"In '73, the year of the 10-10 tie, the Ohio State players came out of the tunnel and tore down the Michigan banner." The speaker is Jim Harbaugh, now the coach at Stanford, then the nine-year-old son of Schembechler assistant Jack Harbaugh. Recalling the sight of the Buckeyes' vandalism, Jim launched into a superb impersonation of Bob Ufer, the late Wolverines radio man: "They're tearing down Michigan's coveted M Club banner! They will meet a dastardly fate for this!"
In '74 Mike Lantry barely missed a 33-yard field goal with 16 seconds left, giving the Buckeyes a 12-10 win. For the third straight season the Wolverines won every game on their schedule...except The Game. Riding to the rescue was option quarterback Rick Leach, who led Michigan to victories over the Buckeyes in '76, '77 and '78. Those wins gave the mentee, Schembechler, a 5-4-1 record over his mentor in the Ten-Year War, which came to an abrupt end following the 1978 season. Hayes slugged a Clemson linebacker at the Gator Bowl and was fired the next day. Just like that, his career, and one of the most colorful chapters in college football history, came to a close.
THE RIVALRY SURVIVED. HARBAUGH QUARTERBACKED Michigan to victories in '85 and '86, incurring the wrath of Bo when he guaranteed victory in the latter game. But Harbaugh's teammates had his back—none more so than Jamie Morris, who rushed for 210 yards in a 26-24 Wolverines win. Playing out of his mind that afternoon was a junior linebacker for Ohio State named Chris Spielman, who had 29 tackles.
"What the Ohio State people don't tell you," says Morris, "is that as the game went on, he was makin' those tackles farther and farther down the field."