COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) – The Ohio State-Michigan rivalry divides states and even divides families. Perhaps the most well-known family in the rivalry is the Borens from Pickerington.
Dad Mike played at Michigan while his sons Zach and Jacoby became captains at Ohio State. Then there’s the oldest son, Justin, who owns a truly unique status in rivalry history.
“This game is going to be crazy this year,” Justin Borens said. “I think emotions on both sides are through the roof and it’s going to be interesting. It’s going to be a heck of a game.”
He would know; after starring in high school at Pickerington, Justin took an offer from Michigan over an offer from Ohio State.
“It was definitely interesting,” he said. “Like, when I played at Michigan, I wouldn’t say I didn’t have a hatred for Ohio State because I almost came to Ohio State out of high school, so I had respect for Ohio State.”
When coach Rich Rodriguez took over the Wolverines, Boren decided to make a change, transferring to Ohio State, becoming the second man in history to suit up on both sides of the rivalry.
On Nov. 21, 2009, Justin Boren returned to Ann Arbor, donning the scarlet and gray.
“I don’t know if I want to call it hatred, but they definitely, it wasn’t, you know, it was different,” he said. “It was very different.”
The Buckeyes won that game 21-10.
Flash forward to 2023; Boren’s a proud alumnus and no game means more to him than the one against his former home, especially considering current events.
“I see some of the footage from the game last year down here and what they were doing on the Michigan sidelines,” Justin Boren said. “I mean, it’s crazy to think, like, it’s definitely a competitive advantage, what they’re accused of doing.
“With or without that, there’s going to be a lot of emotion, right?” he added. “Like, we’ve lost the past two years. We haven’t had that happen in I don’t know how long. So, these guys are going to be ready to go up there and the emotions are going to be super high.”