Michigan's planted flag in Columbus a year in the making for Mike Sainristil


Last year, Mike Sainristil spent the entire season envisioning the fans rushing the field at The Big House after watching Michigan beat Ohio State, a dream that became a reality.

"This year," Sainristil said after the Wolverines made it two in a row against the Buckeyes with Saturday's 45-23 beatdown in Columbus, "I was thinking about planting the flag and speaking it into existence. Being able to do that feels great."

After he followed through by staking a Block 'M' flag into the Ohio State logo at the Horseshoe while surrounded by his teammates, Sainristil smiled and said, "I was thinking about that since January."

The senior cornerback played a big part in Michigan's win with seven tackles and two key pass breakups, including one that erased a touchdown. You wouldn't know he spent his first three seasons at Michigan as a wide receiver. On defense, Sainristil looks like a natural.

The entire team raised its game Saturday to not just beat the Buckeyes, but embarrass them. It was Michigan's most lopsided win against Ohio State since 1993 and tied for its most lopsided win in Columbus since a 22-0 shutout in 1976.

"Going into the fourth quarter, we had a quick defensive talk and looked over at their sideline. They were over there hanging their heads a little bit, so we knew, 'They’re vulnerable right now, let’s go out there and keep pouncing on them,'" Sainristil said.

And that's what they did, outscoring Ohio State 21-3 in the final frame to book their second straight trip to the Big Ten championship game and, most likely, to the College Football Playoff.

"We want to be the top team, we want to be the top dogs of the conference, we want to be a team that’s not looked at as, ‘Michigan doesn’t deserve to be in this place, that place,'" said Sainristill. "I was in the training room this week and saw an ESPN headline, 'Is Michigan capable of upsetting Ohio State?' To me, it was like, we’re one of the top four teams. They’re No. 2, we’re No. 3. Why is this even a question about an upset?

"Let’s go and prove them wrong."

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