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Ohio State Football Star Motivated By Loss To Michigan

Michigan head coach Jim Harbaugh celebrates his win over Ohio State.

ANN ARBOR, MI - NOVEMBER 27: Michigan Wolverines head coach Jim Harbaugh and his staff celebrate a 4th down stop with less than one minute left in the game to seal The Michigan Wolverines 42-27 victory over the Ohio State Buckeyes game on Saturday November 27, 2021 at Michigan Stadium in Ann Arbor, MI. (Photo by Steven King/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

For the first time in a decade, Ohio State fell short to Michigan in their annual Big Ten showdown.

The Wolverines snapped an eight-game losing streak with a decisive 45-27 victory at Ann Arbor last November. The triumph vaulted Michigan into the College Football Playoff instead of the Buckeyes as conference champions.

Ohio State star Jaxon Smith-Njigba is out for redemption this season.

Per Barkley Truax of On3 Sports, the wide receiver said he's used the loss as fuel to improve this season.

“When your season is over so to speak, you look back and ask why and what you could have done wrong. That’s a game where we can pull a lot of things from,” Smith-Njigba said. “You just see the scoreboard and that’s motivation. You don’t really need too much, but we’re going to talk about it, we’re going to speak on it and grow off that and hopefully come back with a different outcome.”

Smith-Njgiba did his part during the rivalry clash, collecting 11 catches for 127 receiving yards.

He certainly bounced back from losing The Game. In Ohio State's next matchup, he registered 347 yards and three touchdowns in a thrilling 48-45 Rose Bowl victory over Utah.

Based on that performance, it looks like the extra motivation quickly paid dividends. 

Now that Chris Olave and Garrett Wilson both entered the NFL as first-round picks, Smith-Njgiba could have a huge season as Heisman hopeful C.J. Stroud's top target. While they can't look too far ahead, Smith-Njgiba likely isn't the only Buckeye picturing payback when hosting Michigan on Nov. 26.