COLUMBUS — Redshirt sophomore Nick Sheridan didn’t enter Michigan’s matchup with Ohio State on Saturday with very much experience. It was just the fourth start of his career.
But the Buckeyes’ starting quarterback, true freshman Terrelle Pryor, wasn’t a veteran either.
In the 105th installment of the Michigan-Ohio State rivalry, inexperience shone through for both quarterbacks, but especially Sheridan.
“He missed some things he should have made,” Michigan quarterbacks coach Rod Smith said. “He made a couple throws we liked. Obviously, we didn’t make enough of them.”
That might have been an understatement. Sheridan was just 8-for-24 passing, good for only 87 yards.
Sheridan especially struggled under pressure from the Ohio State defensive line. Though he was sacked just twice, he threw inaccurately on the run throughout the game.
Freshman Justin Feagin came in for a series late in the third quarter when Sheridan suffered a sprained ankle. Sheridan said the injury bothered him for the rest of the game, but he didn’t miss another series.
Pryor didn’t play the entire game either, but it wasn’t because he was injured. His replacement, fifth-year senior Todd Boeckman, came in because it was his final home game.
For the most part, Michigan’s defense bottled Pryor up on the run. The true freshman went just 5-for-13 for 120 yards, two touchdowns and one interception. He was held for negative yardage on the ground, including Michigan’s three sacks.
“The game plan was to make sure he doesn’t leave the pocket,” Michigan fifth-year senior defensive end Tim Jamison said. “He broke out, of course, he’s a great athlete.”
A not-so friendly meeting: As Michigan was leaving the field following pregame warm-ups, the team ran by the Buckeyes.
Instead of looking straight ahead and running to the locker room, the teams started exchanging words. The squads came together on the south side of midfield as staff members and game officials tried to separate them. No punches were thrown and officials did not call any penalties.
“I think just the emotions, guys start talking and all that, so that shouldn’t happen,” Michigan coach Rich Rodriguez said. “I told the guys that it’s not a trash talking or talking contest, it’s a football contest.”
The teams had a similar altercation when the Buckeyes gathered near midfield before last year’s game in Ann Arbor.
Jackson expects McGuffie to return: Rumors flew around the Michigan football blogosphere this week that freshman running back and YouTube sensation Sam McGuffie was preparing to transfer after the season.
Those rumors were fueled by McGuffie’s decision not to play against Northwestern last week.
But McGuffie’s coach would be surprised to see McGuffie anywhere other than Ann Arbor next semester.
“Yes, I expect him to be back,” Michigan running backs coach Fred Jackson said. “Most definitely, I expect him to be back.”
Jackson said he hasn’t asked McGuffie about his intentions directly, but would expect any of his players to tell him if they were about to transfer.
McGuffie missed the week leading up to the Ohio State game to attend a funeral in his home state of Texas. He returned one kickoff for 13 yards and was hit hard on the play. McGuffie did not return to the game.
The first departures: Regardless of whether McGuffie stays, the attrition has already begun.
Wide receiver Zion Babb was dismissed from the team (last Sunday) and Rodriguez announced Wednesday that defensive tackle Jason Kates is no longer with the team.
Sophomore safety Artis Chambers is still listed on the team’s official roster, but he is not expected to be with the team next year.
Chambers’ facebook.com status last week said he “is officially no longer a Wolverine,” and he was not on the dress list for the Ohio State game.
Schilling’s knee: Redshirt sophomore offensive tackle Steve Schilling missed the game after injuring his right knee in practice last week.
Schilling made the trip to Columbus but did not dress for the game. He watched from sidelines wearing warm-ups, and used crutches to walk off the field after the game.
Schilling said he should only need one or two weeks of treatment to fully recover.