Archdeacon: Northmont grad Moore revels in second straight win over Ohio State

Michigan sophomore 2-0 vs. Buckeyes

COLUMBUS – For the first time all afternoon, he seemed lost on the field.

Michigan had just stunned Ohio State, 45-23, Saturday at Ohio Stadium and now, what was left of the sold-out, mostly red-clad crowd of 106,787 stood in numbed silence as the Buckeyes players trudged off the field with OSU’s worst home loss to the Wolverines in 46 years.

The Michigan players began their celebration, some dropping to the ground at midfield to plant a victory kiss in the middle of the big Block O painted there, while others planted a Michigan falg there.

Some hugged and danced, took selfies and many finally ran to the closed end zone, where the small contingent of Michigan fans had congregated and the players commandeered a large flag to wave.

ExplorePHOTOS: Ohio State vs. Michigan

Rod Moore, the Wolverines sophomore defensive back from Northmont High School, had stood in the middle of the field at first and didn’t move, as if he were figuring out just how he would put an exclamation mark on the game, which, he later admitted, was “the biggest win” of his life.

When he finally joined the end-zone crowd, he was able to give a voice to the victory:

“Coming home and takin’ over the crib, this feels great! I loved coming in here and doing what I do and making the best plays I can for our team.

“Being from here, this is just so personal. They didn’t recruit me when I was in in high school.”

He looked up into the upper reaches of the Horseshoe and opened his hands: “Y’all shoulda recruited me. I was in your backyard. You didn’t want me, but it don’t even matter now.

“You see what’s happening here now.”

The Wolverines last won at Ohio Stadium in 2000. Tom Brady was their quarterback.

The 19-year-old Moore wasn’t born yet.

All he knows is that he’s been at Michigan for two seasons, has started both games against OSU – and 15 of the 23 games he’s played in overall – and has never lost to the Buckeyes. The Wolverines won by 18 last season in Ann Arbor and now they roughed up the No. 2 Bucks by 22.

Ohio State was led Saturday by quarterback C.J. Stroud, a Heisman front-runner who did throw two touchdown passes – his 36th and 37th of the season – in the first half.

But in the second half the Wolverines stymied Stroud and the rest of the OSU offense, allowing only a 27-yard field goal by Noah Ruggles.

Moore broke up two of Stroud’s passes, added a tackle for a loss and finished with five tackles.

Last year as a freshman – playing with a torn labrum that he said he been taped, braced and barely numbed by Ibuprofen – he had his career best game with nine tackles against the Buckeyes.

“There’s just something about the Ohio State game,” he said. “I look at it as money on the floor and you gotta go get that money.”

Although he downplays it now, the Ohio State snub stuck in his craw. He was named All-Ohio first team as a senior and got offers from Michigan, Notre Dame and Kentucky.

“You’d think Ohio State would have realized what they would have had in him,” said Bobby Moore, Rod’s old brother as he stood outside the Wolverines locker room afterward with his wife, Tiara, and some friends.

“I mean they had already gotten two great players from Northmont who played the same position — Kurt Coleman and C.J. Barnett.”

Credit: Michael Cooper

Credit: Michael Cooper

As he stood inside the visitor’s locker room, Moore said his decision to come to Michigan was now reaffirmed like never before:

“I knew when I signed the papers it felt good, especially with the academics. That sets you up for life if something should happen on the field and you can’t go any more with football.”

And now this was the other side of it.

“Did you hear how loud it was in here?” he asked. “Coach (Jim) Harbaugh said it all when he came in here and said, ‘We did what we had to do today.’”

At his post-game press conference, Harbaugh said time and again how proud he was of his team and how it stepped up on the big-time stage.

Wide receiver Cornelius Johnson, who finished with 175 yards receiving and had dramatic 69- and 75-yard TD catches in the second quarter, talked about that stage they had just commandeered:

“We had to embrace it. You’ve got thousands of people in red screaming their hate words at you. You’ve just got to look at your boys and say, ‘What we got? Let’s go!’ We did that the whole game.”

Moore said he loved the atmosphere: “We fed off of it. It gave us energy, especially when they booed us. It stirs you up, like when our fans cheer us at home.”

The No. 3 Wolverines are now 12-0 and will play in the Big Ten championship game next weekend in Indianapolis.

Meanwhile at the Ohio State post-game press conference, some of the Buckeyes players continued with the program’s refusal to refer to Michigan by name, instead calling it “the team up north.”

“They’re going to have to say it,” Moore said. “Especially after the past two years. We’ve won the games. Today we beat them by 20. Look at the scoreboard, what’s it say,

“The team up north?

“No, it says Michigan.

“We’re the Michigan Wolverines.”

About the Author