INDIANAPOLIS — Ohio State players walk with swagger at the NFL combine these days, especially when they brush up alongside their old rivals from Michigan.
The Buckeyes have beaten the Wolverines six consecutive times, including a 31-20 victory last year at Ann Arbor. None of the 11 Ohio State players at the combine have lost to Michigan. The Buckeyes’ dominance has moved from a talking point among the competitors to simply a look.
“I never lost to them, so I don’t have a problem with them,” Ohio State defensive lineman Jalyn Holmes said. “They’ve probably got a problem with me, though.
“That’s a great rivalry. I feel like that’s the best rivalry in college football. To say that I never lost to them, I don’t know what it feels like. I guess a guy from Michigan here, I just see him, I don’t even have to say nothing he already knows what it is. I never beat Ohio State. It’s cool.”
It doesn’t matter which side of the ball, how long they’ve competed against one another or what impact they’ve made in that rivalry game, beating Michigan matters to the Buckeyes above all other rivalry games.
“I’m really glad we didn’t lose against those guys,” Ohio State quarterback J.T. Barrett said. “That rivalry is always going to be there. I don’t think that fire ever burns out that we have between those guys, not just teams but fans. To say I was a part of teams that didn’t lose means a lot to me.”
“I trained around a bunch of Michigan guys. We have bragging rights,” Ohio State defensive end Sam Hubbard said. “I never lost a game to them. I don’t really feel bad for the program that they’ve got angst or whatever. I know our guys are back at winter workouts thinking about beating them next year. Hopefully, we can continue in that.”
As for Michigan center Mason Cole, the losing streak doesn’t detract from the game’s importance.
“That rivalry will never lose anything,” Cole said. “It’ll always be, in my opinion, the best rivalry in college sports. I don’t think there’s anything like that game.”