Thursday, November 15, 2007

Manningham far from being a favorite son in Ohio

AP Sports Writer

One of the things that amplifies the rancor in the Ohio State-Michigan rivalry, at least for Buckeyes fans, is that so many of Michigan's greatest players have migrated north.

Over the years, Michigan has invaded Ohio to snag standouts like Heisman Trophy winners Desmond Howard and Charles Woodson, as well as Thom Darden, Jim Mandich, Rob Lytle, Ricky Powers, Elvis Grbac, Dan Dierdorf, and Benny Friedman just to name a few.

It's one thing to battle your biggest rival. But it gets even more personal when your biggest rival used to be the kid down the street.

The latest native to be seen as a traitor by many Ohio State fans is Mario Manningham, a graduate of Warren G. Harding High School in Warren, Ohio.

In Saturday's showdown at The Big House, a lot of eyes - on both sides of the border - will be watching him. Manningham is in one of the best six-game stretches of his career, and that's saying a lot.

The junior leads the nation with a streak of six straight 100-yard receiving games and he has scored in each game, including a school-record 97-yard TD in last week's loss at Wisconsin.

``He's been unbelievable,'' Wolverines coach Lloyd Carr said. ``He's been sensational. He's a threat every time he touches the ball.''

Before a knee injury stunted Manningham last year, he had nine TDs in his first six games. He caught six TD passes in 2005 as a freshman.

``He did some great things as a true freshman,'' Carr said. ``A year ago, he really began to display the unique qualities as a receiver he possessed. He's got a great burst. He's tough, he loves the competitive part of it. In terms of all the things you want a wide receiver to do, he can do them.''

Except maybe wear his letter jacket in his hometown.

Source:; Photo Credit: Collegiate Images