By the end of the season, redshirt sophomore quarterback Nick Sheridan will have likely played a key role in two road rivalry games.
The first was in relief at Notre Dame, where he struggled in the rain as the Fighting Irish jumped to a 35-17 win.
The second will probably be this Saturday.
Rodriguez said at Monday’s press conference that redshirt freshman quarterback Steven Threet is “doubtful” for Ohio State with a slightly separated shoulder, and he will be evaluated within the next two days. Though Rodriguez originally said after Saturday’s game against Northwestern that Threet had a head or knee injury, he confirmed Monday that those reports were inaccurate.
Sheridan was 8-of-29 for just 61 yards in Saturday’s 21-14 loss and has played in seven of the team’s 11 games.
Family matters: Most of the players at Monday’s press conference had a story to tell about growing up with the Michigan-Ohio State rivalry — and some of the best came from out-of-staters.
Junior wide receiver Greg Mathews watched some Michigan-Ohio State games while growing up in California.
But even on the West Coast, Mathews was surrounded by Buckeye fans. His mother is a Columbus native and his grandmother was a nurse at Ohio State for 30 years.
Mathews, who graduated from high school in Florida, said he didn’t pay attention to the game until he was about seven years old, watching former Michigan running back Tim Biakabutuka play.
“He was just running up and down the field,” Mathews said of the 1995 game, in which Biakabutuka ran for 313 yards. “That’s when I said I like Michigan. That’s when I learned most about the rivalry. … I always kind of like to go against my parents, so that’s how I got into Michigan, because they were Ohio State fans.”
Fifth-year senior tight end Mike Massey, a Cleveland native, is the second in his family to cross state lines. Mike’s oldest brother, Jim, played for Ohio State. But his middle brother, Pat, was a defensive tackle at Michigan from 2001 to 2005 and served as a captain of the Wolverines. When Pat was at Michigan, the Wolverines defeated the Buckeyes just once, in 2003. Mike, like every member of Michigan’s roster, has yet to record a win over Ohio State.
“I don’t really leave the house that much, especially the past four years,” Mike said. “(Pat) knows what it’s all about — going home and not beating Ohio State. … They give me a hard time. I hear a lot about it.”
Michigan has 11 players from Ohio on the roster, including senior strong safety Brandon Harrison, redshirt junior punter Zoltan Mesko, freshman tight end Kevin Koger and freshman running back Michael Shaw.
Injury report: Rodriguez said freshman running back Sam McGuffie had a death in the family and may miss the Ohio State game. McGuffie didn’t play last Saturday because he said he was “too banged up to play.” Rodriguez said after the game McGuffie had a knee injury.
Junior running back Brandon Minor, who also missed the Northwestern game with an assortment of injuries, didn’t miss a beat when asked if he would be healthy enough to play against Ohio State.
“This Saturday?” Minor asked. “I’m playing, regardless.”
Notes: After having game captains this season, permanent captains will be announced Thursday and will serve as game captains against Ohio State. The team voted Sunday. … Brandon Harrison will move back to strong safety Saturday after playing nickel back against Northwestern.