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Josh Ross addresses 2020 rumors that Michigan ducked Ohio State: ‘It’s B.S. to be honest with you’

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ANN ARBOR, Mich. — A year ago around this time, though Michigan football held a Monday press conference in anticipation of facing Ohio State, it didn’t take long before The Game became a casualty of COVID-19.

The week before, the Wolverines had to pull out of the Maryland home game due to an influx of COVID-related infections around the team, and the same thing happened the following week. There were rumors circling on both sides. The real story was that Michigan was so decimated, it essentially would be fielding its scout team against Ohio State’s starters. But that didn’t stop speculation in and around Columbus that Michigan could have played, but chose not to so that it didn’t get blown off the field by a Buckeyes team that eventually played in the 2020 national championship game.

On Monday, with the rivalry being renewed after an uncharacteristic year off, Michigan linebacker Josh Ross was asked and answered about the rumor-mongering that the Wolverines were avoiding playing their hated rival in 2020.

“It’s B.S. to be honest with you,” Ross said. “That’s the game we always have circled on our calendar, always want to play. And as a Michigan Wolverine, that’s a game you would die for. Honestly, B.S., and it honestly doesn’t matter. This year is what matters and now is what matters.”

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There’s a certain fuel and added motivation that’s impacting this team now that it both had a bad year last year and since it was unable to have its shot against Ohio State. But it isn’t staying in the forefront of these players’ minds.

Instead, just like the focus has been on each game each week, the focus is on this year, not last year.

“Not playing last year sucked, to be honest with you,” Ross said. “It wasn’t good not playing last year. But at the end of the day, it’s now – the time is now. And last year is last year and all that’s over. It’s about right now.”

That said, how did it feel for Ross and the players when they had to sit at home instead of playing in The Game? Some of his teammates hadn’t known until that week that they had suited up against Ohio State for the last time in 2019, which caused some annoyances, to be sure.

But for Ross and these players, they intend to do whatever they can to have a good showing after having been blown out for two-straight years before the one-season hiatus. And with that in mind, they don’t want to just talk about beating Ohio State — they intend to actually do it on Saturday.

“It definitely was frustration, for sure,” Ross said. “We want to play that game – we always want to play that game. That’s a game that’s always circled on the calendar for us as players, as coaches, and as a program. But, at the end of the day, last year’s over, that’s done. And to be honest, as players, we’re tired of talking – we’re ready to just do it. We’re ready to have a great week of preparation going into this week – attack it, have great days leading to this game, and have a great game.”

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