Jonathon Cooper is a senior defensive end at Ohio State. He had appeared in only three games this season, despite being one of the most talented players on the roster.

Why?

Injuries.

He was faced with a unique situation entering The Game this past weekend. Seeing as though he had only played in three games this season, he had the ability to play in one more game — bringing his total to four — while still being able to take a redshirt so that he could potentially play another full season at Ohio State.

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Cooper decided that he wanted to do that. He wanted to play in one more game this season so that he would have 2020 available to him. Which game did he want to use his final eligibility on?

Michigan.

Here’s Cooper as to why he thought The Game would be the best option — as opposed to the Big Ten Championship Game or a potential College Football Playoff game:

It’s Michigan. Should there be any other explanation? It’s been said before, and it crazily rings true: If Ohio State wins only one game all year, but it’s against Michigan, it is happy.

If it goes 11-1 but loses to Michigan? That’s a failure for the Buckeyes.

That’s how much The Game means. Right or wrong, that’s how much the rivalry means. That’s the mindset in Columbus. And on Saturday, when the Buckeyes trounced the Wolverines in Ann Arbor 56-27, Cooper’s decision made that point abundantly clear.

The Game against Michigan just means more.