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Back across enemy lines: Boren returns to Ann Arbor to face former teammates

Once a Buckeye, always a Buckeye. Once a Wolverine, always a Wolverine. Many college football fans would say the two should never mix.

Junior offensive lineman Justin Boren might have something to say about that.

Boren transferred to OSU following his sophomore season at Michigan.

Although it was viewed as a blasphemy by Michigan players, Boren’s transfer should not be a major shock to OSU fans. Boren attended high school in Pickerington, Ohio, and he seriously considered attending OSU straight out of high school.

“I was real interested in Ohio State [in high school]. When I was getting recruited, [OSU and Michigan were] really close and I always had the utmost respect for [OSU] and it was a real hard decision, but I’m real glad I’m here now,” Boren said.

The rivalry did not factor into Boren’s decision to transfer. His departure was because of the new offensive system and “lack of family values” that coach Rich Rodriguez brought with him in his first season at Michigan, he said.

Boren said that he was not adapting well to the hurry-up style offense that Rodriguez runs.

Boren would have been the senior-most lineman on Michigan his junior year and could have helped coach Rodriguez establish his new offense, but what was Michigan’s loss was OSU’s gain.

Boren has started all but one game this season for OSU and has gained a lot of respect from coach Jim Tressel and fellow players.

“I knew Justin coming out of high school, coming from the same recruiting class,” said fellow junior offensive lineman Bryant Browning. “I knew he was a good offensive lineman, he was a hard worker and he was going to come over and do the best he could to help the team.”

This weekend will be Boren’s first game against Michigan and his first visit back to the Big House since the transfer. There is no telling what the Michigan fans could do or how it could affect Boren.

“I’m sure [the game] will be difficult in some ways because he has great feelings for both teams that are going to be on the field, and a lot of great memories up in The Big House with his dad and himself and all the rest, but his focus will be on what can he do to help his team,” Tressel said.

Boren’s teammates are trying to be sympathetic to his situation, amid all the rush and hype around the Michigan game.

“I’m sure he’s got a ton of emotions going around, seeing as he’s been a part of the game on the other side,” junior receiver Dane Sanzenbacher said.

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