Tuesday, August 31, 2010

M-Uconn Prediction

M 24
UConn 28

My Favorite Michigan Player This Year

My favorite Michigan players this year (based on things that have nothing to do with football) are:

#28 Matthew Cavanaugh S
#5 Vladimir Emilien S
#5 Tate Forcier QB

Game-by-Game Predictions

UConn L
at Notre Dame L
Mass W
Bowling Green W
at Indiana L
Michigan State W
Iowa W
at Penn State L
Illinois W
at Purdue W
Wisconsin L
at Ohio State L

I know there are lot of (what appear to be) upsets. This is just what my gut, and my guessing brain, feels/thinks will happen


With 36 rankings, M has dropped to #69. Right below Minnesota. Oof.

Conference Champion Predictions - mostly wild guesses

ACC - Georgia Tech (over Clemson)
Big East - Cincinnati
Big Ten - Wisconsin
Big Twelve - Oklahoma (over Missouri)
C-USA - Houston (over UCF)
Mid American - CMU (over Ohio)
Mountain West - TCU
Pacific 10 - Stanford
SEC - Florida (over Auburn)
Sun Belt - Troy
WAC - Boise St

BCS MNC - Florida (over Boise St)

The All-time cup ends up with Oregon St (via Alabama - Arkansas - Tex A&M - Mizzou - Oklahoma - OK State - Oregon St in the Holiday Bowl)

Countdown to kickoff - day 4

October 15, 2005

Michigan 27 - Penn State 25

Undefeated Penn State came in to Michigan Stadium to take on the 3-3 Wolverines. Michigan had just found a way to lose to Minnesota, while to Gophers were playing for overtime. The Nittany Lions were ready to end 8 years of frustration against Michigan.

My cousin Mary Ann and her husband Kent had come to the game. Kent was on crutches from what we would later find out was a broken hip. But he hobbled the 9 blocks to the game.

The defenses were the story early. Michigan broke through for 10 2nd quarter points to lead at the half. PSU finally added a field goal just before the end of the 3rd to cut the lead to 10-3. The 4th quarter was very unlike the rest of the game.

Early in the 4th Penn State tied it up on a 3rd down Michael Robinson QB draw (I remember screaming to watch for just that!). On the next snap - Michigan gave up the lead. Chad Henne scrambled for good yardage and as he was being wrapped up - the ball ended up in Alan Zemaitis's hands - he ran it in 35 yards for the score. Henne sure seemed down to me, but the call stood. The PAT only made it worse. The Lions kicker, Kevin Kelly ended up with the ball and ran it in for 2 points. In 20 seconds M went from up 7 to down 8. The fans around us were booing lustily. Although I had been negative - especially with the obvious QB draw TD - I chose to reverse cheer. Whatever the idiots in front of us complained about - I cheered for. Michigan had played pretty well, and although this would become "the year of infinite pain" it wasn't going to be today.

Henne lead a beautiful drive back down the field culminating in a perfectly thrown ball to Mario Manningham for the TD. Mike Hart ran in the 2-point conversion to re-tie the game at 18 with 9:32 left.

Michigan's defense held and the offense produced a long Garrett Rivas field goal putting M back on top 21-18 with under 4 minutes left. Marcus Ray picked off a Robinson pass, but M couldn't do anything with it and Penn State was left with 2:46 on the clock and 81 yards to go.

This time the defense just couldn't stop Penn State and Robinson. His totally unsurprising QB draw put PSU back in front with under a minute left. Things looked bleak. Here's a tip to JoPa - don't kick it to Steve Breaston...

Michigan drove down to the 10. They faced a 4th and 4 with only one of Lloyd Carr's two seconds remaining. Henne found Manningham wide open and insanity reigned!

Mary Ann and Kent enjoyed the outcome very much as well. Someone was nice enough to switch seats so that Kent had a spot right behind a tunnel to be able to spread out a little. Although, IIRC this is the game where Mary Ann had to call someone a "fat ass" to keep enough room on the benches for both she and Kent. When they finally made it back to our place in the darkness, we got to enjoy another great Michigan win (and Penn State's only loss)!

Monday, August 30, 2010

M Blogs

I decided to put all of the M blogs to my feedreader because the way I had them set up before (on a Google Home page) I only read the ones on the top of the page, and missed entire blogs. This way, I will miss many many posts, but I will get much better idea of which blogs I like and are worth reading. There are about 30-35 blogs, plus some comments have rss feeds also.

A few days after I put all of them on, I went out of town for 4 days with no internet access. So when I returned there were 193 M football blogs (that doesn't count MGoBlog which will stay with my regular feeds so I never miss it). I doubt if any of those posts will be read, as there were about 110 of my regular feeds that I have to weed through.

Of the M football feeds I have read, though, there are a couple of trends that aren't surprising, but are definitely annoying.

1) Unreasonable optism: I think the most popular record predicted for M in these blogs (by the authors and the commenters) is 8-4, with many more saying 9-3 than anything below 8-4.
2) Not unlike the commenters on MGoBlog, there are opinions that are considered gospel, and if disputes that opinion all other posters (and the author sometimes) gets all over them. An example is that Toussaint was picked as the started running back or the #2 by an entire panel (5 or 6 people) on one blog. I hadn't seen him any higher than #3 on anyone else's list or MGoBLue.com or pretty much anywhere. Either they know something I don't, or they are stupid sheep.

Overall, I'm sure I will miss about 70-80% of all posts once the season is going and I am here on weekends (other than on gamedays). But that will still be better than missing entire blogs for the entire season.

Official Season Prediction (record)

My official prediction for M this season:

6-6, lose the bowl game.

(game by game provided later)

Countdown to Kickoff - day 5

September 12, 2009

Michigan 38 - Notre Dame 34

I think the majority of the reason I hope Tate Forcier is the main QB for Michigan in 2010, is because of his performance in this game. He seemed to be channeling the best M QB performances. The read and fake and run up the middle for the long TD lead to one of the largest roars I've ever heard in the Big House. Then he topped that with the last drive to win the game. I don't know if it was injury, better defense, or his own limitations that slowed him the rest of the season, but for those first 4 weeks of 2009, Forcier seemed like he was destined for big things.

The stadium never looked better. I think this was the best job they've ever done with a Maize Out. The Student Block M was very nice as well.

Brandon Minor put M on the board with a TD plunge. ND answered with a field goal (after a correct out-of-bounds call took a TD off the board). It appeared the 1st quarter would end 7-3 when Darryl Stonum took the kick off back the distance to make it 14-3 Michigan. The Irish scored the next 17 points to take a 20-14 lead late in the half. The fans were starting to get restless. On a 4th and 11, Forcier scrambled and found Greg (jiMpossible'ssonpossesive) Mathews for the first down, moving the ball close enough for a field goal before the half.

The momentum seemed to carry over into the second half, Michigan drove the length of the field, but got stopped on 3rd and goal. When Jason Olesnavage missed the field goal, the drive came up empty. The Irish turned it right back to Michigan on a fumble. Forcier found Kevin Koger who stretched into the endzone to put M back in front.
Early in the 4th Forcier made the aforementioned TD run on 4th and 3 from the Irish 31. Unfortunately just as the last time M had an 11 point lead, the Irish answered with 14 straight points to go back in front 34-31 with just over 5 minutes left.

When M punted with 3:12 left, I remember thinking they were unlikely to get the ball back. After M stopped the 1st down run, the Irish threw 2 incomplete passes. Their punt (and the incomplete passes) left M with 2 timeouts, 57 yards and 2:13 on the clock. What I remember most about the drive was how calm Forcier seemed during the whole thing. Fans around us were screaming that M was taking too long between plays, they needed to save more time etc. At the time I thought it was perfect. If M didn't score they wouldn't be able to stop the clock anyway, so take your time, make sure it is right...
A pair of back to back catches - first by Martavious Odoms then by LaTerryal Savoy gave M a first down and goal at the 5 with 22 seconds left.
On first down Forcier had a ridiculous scramble that ended up with ball hitting Savoy in the hands in the endzone. An Irish defender did just enough to deflect or distract to cause his to drop it.
Then this happened! The clock ran out as the Irish attempted a late rush and Michigan escaped with a great victory!

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Countdown to Kickoff - day 6

January 1, 1998

Michigan 21 - Washington State 16

With M undefeated and ranked #1, the only reason I was able to get tickets was because students were guaranteed tickets. I made travel plans to fly to Vegas and then drive to Pasadena for the game. Then I found out I needed to pick up student tickets the day before I would have landed in Las Vegas. So travel plans changed to fly to Reno a few days earlier. The Northwest rep on the phone told me it was only like 300 miles from Reno to LA. She must have meant by plane. Driving was ridiculous, that included driving through mountain passes in the winter. One gas station attendant told me I would need tire chains - I was not buying chains for my rented Geo Metro...

Finally made it for the game. Charles Woodson was key again. M was trailing 7-0 in the 2nd when Woodson picked off a Ryan Leaf pass right in front of me in the endzone.

Midway through the 2nd Brian Griese hit Tai Streets for the first of his 3 TD passes. Midway through the 3rd Leaf connected on a TD pass, but James Hall blocked the PAT keeping M within 6 points at 13-7. On the ensuing drive Griese and Streets struck again, the PAT put M up 14-13.

Early in the 4th Griese finished his hat trick this time hitting Jerame Tuman for the 21-13 lead. After a field goal made it 21-16, M was trying to close out the game on the ground. Griese may have been at his best on this drive. He converted the first long third down on a scramble. A few more first downs ran the clock, but a pooch punt out of field goal formation left the Cougars 90+ yards away with about 0:30 left. A bomb (on a should have been offensive interference call) got WSU to mid field. A hook-and-lateral moved it down inside the 30, but without timeouts, the Cougars couldn't spike the ball in time to get another play off. Sitting in the Michigan section in a victorious - National Championship winning Rose Bowl is an experience I can't explain. No one wanted to leave. Finally, they made the MMB pack up and that got people moving. It is Great to be a Michigan Wolverine!

Countdown to Kickoff - Catch-up days 9 - 7

Day 9

November 3, 2007

Michigan 28 - MSU 24

This was the 100th M-MSU match-up. We had great seats from my cousin Barry (who was up in the President's box). Michigan looked good early, then the defense began to fail. The Spartan ground game dominated from late in the 3rd to most of the 4th quarter. The Spartans lead 24-14 midway through the 4th. When Chad Henne hobbled off - it looked like it would be MSUs day. Ryan Mallet couldn't avoid the pressure and couldn't hold on to the ball, but somehow Mike Hart picked up the loose ball and ran for a first down.
Henne immediately came back in and a few plays later cut the lead to 24-21 hitting Greg Mathews with a perfect throw. The defense held again and M took over with about 4 minutes and 65 yards to go. With M on the edge of tying field goal range facing a long 3rd down, Henne went deep to Mario Manningham to retake the lead. The change in Spartan Stadium was dramatic. Hoot and I were almost embarrassed for the Spartan fans around us. They went from taunting to tearing... MSU got into Michigan territory before turning it over on downs - another great comeback for Henne and the Wolverines.

Day 8

January 1, 2000

Michigan 35 - Alabama 34

Twice Alabama had 14 point leads, twice Tom Brady led Michigan back to tie the score. David Terrell had perhaps his beast game at Michigan. An Anthony Thomas goal line fumble prevented M taking the lead and left the score tied at 28 early in the 4th. Hayden Epstein's attempt to win the game in regulation ended in a blocked field goal. Michigan had dominated the 4th quarter, but scored no points. Michigan's first overtime game would be on the first day of the 2000s (but not the first day of the new millennium (people always get that wrong). Their first OT possession lasted exactly on play as Brady hit Shawn Thompson on a crossing pattern, Thompson broke free and carried it into the endzone. Epstein's PAT made it 35-28. M's defense was twice as good it took two plays for Alabama to get their six points, but...

Day 7

November 23, 1985

Michigan 27 - OSU 17

Jim Harbaugh was so good in this game - three TD passes and over 200 yards in the air (remember Bo was the coach!) First he found Gerald White after bobbling the snap to tie the game at 10 (love the post TD tissue paper in the clip). Then he scrambled to find Eric Kattus in the back of the endzone putting M up 20-10. After Chris Carter cut the lead back to 20-17, Harbaugh never saw the result of his 77-yard scoring strike to John Kolesar (and the live shot didn't show the TV audience much either). Mark Messner and Mike Hammerstein finished off the Buckeyes from there on out. We "rushed" the field after the game. jiMpossible managed to get near the downed goalpost when the security started hitting it with their night sticks - I think his head still rings today. I think there may have been some of the best waves in Michigan Stadium after that last TD pass.

Countdown to Kickoff - Catch-up days 12-10

Day 12

August 31, 2002

Michigan 31 - Washington 29

A back and forth game on HOT August afternoon - I think someone behind us got carried out on a stretcher. Michigan had missed 3 field goals on the day, including a 27 yard attempt with under 2 minutes to go. Michigan's Defense held, giving the Wolverines the ball back with under a minute to go. Two players made their biggest contributions to Michigan football history in that last minute. Tyrece Butler jumped on a Braylon Edwards fumble to keep M in possession. Then, Phil Brabbs (whose house I walk by everyday on the way to work) nailed a 44 yard field goal as time expired. This is the first game I remember when the team jumped into the stands to celebrate with the students.

Day 11

August 26, 1995

Michigan 18 - Virginia 17

The only non-home game I've ever been to in Michigan Stadium. Because it was the "Pigskin Classic" one endzone was painted "Virginia" - Michigan was horrible in the first half. I fully expected Brian Griese to come in for Scott Dreisbach to start the second half. Michigan trailed 7-0 at the half (it should have been worse) and 17-0 early in the 4th quarter. When Michigan finally did get on the scoreboard, the missed the PAT keeping the score at 17-6. Half-way through the quarter, Michigan scored again, but the 2-point conversion failed leaving the score 17-12. Dreisbach led the final drive down into the red zone. Tyrone Butterfield is famous for not catching the 3rd down pass that would have ended the game. Then on 4th down Dreisback hit Mercury Hayes for Lloyd Carr's first victory and Michigan's greatest statistical comeback (at the time).

Day 10

November 22, 1997

Michigan 20 - OSU 14

Michigan had knocked off undefeated OSU 3 of the past 4 seasons. Now the Buckeyes were trying to return the favor. With Michigan leading 7-0, Charles Woodson took a punt back Desmond Howard style to give M a 13-0 lead. Rob Swett made a great hustle play when the PAT was blocked. Andy Katzenmoyer was more than half way to bringing it all the way back for 2 points, when Swett finally chased him down.
Early in the 2nd half, the Buckeyes finally mounted a drive - Woodson jumped in front of a pass in the endzone ending their drive. Their second drive ended in even a worse interception as Clarence Weathers took one all the way back for a score making it 20-0. The defense allowed a little comeback making the final 20-14.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Countdown to kickoff- hold

I can't seem to get into my games list, so looks like no game flashback today

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Countdown to kickoff day 13

November 20, 1999

Michigan 31 - Penn St 27

To me this is a classic Tom Brady game. M had to make a furious comeback late to win the game.

I had scalped PSU student section tickets. This was before Paternoville was a big deal, but you were still seated in order of entry. That meant I was in the second row, surrounded by Nittany Lion fans.

Brady and David Terrell were big in the comeback IIRC. PSU actually played LaVar Arrington on Terrell man-to-man late in the game. He was somewhat successful.

I remember Brady faking an injury so Henson could come in for a throw back to the QB play. I don't think it worked.

Seems like Brady lead two 4th quarter TD drives to put M back in front. IIRC one ended in a Brady QB sneak and the other a pass to Marcus Knight (I can't seem to get youtube to work out here).

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Soonest M Cup Date

The soonest M can get back the College Football All-Time Cup (CFACP) is 10/09/10. Here is how...

09/11/10 PSU beats Alabama
10/02/10 Iowa beats PSU
10/09/10 Michigan beats Iowa

With the PSU being the best chance for Alabama to lose in the non-conference, if PSU doesn't win that game, M will likely not have another chance until the bowl, or beyond.

Countdown to kickoff day 14

January 2, 1989

Michigan 22- USC 14

I had been to the Rose Bowl following the 1986 season. Michigan fell apart in the second half and lost to Arizona State (noise!). I was hoping for a better result this time around. I flew out with the Movalson's from Escanaba to Green Bay to LAX. My original flight plan fell through and I was able to tag along with them somehow. I stayed with my sister Ann in Lancaster she was very pregnant with Sarah (born 1/16/89), so I went to the game with her husband Jim.

I think I got the tickets through jiMpossible (he was a student manager for the football team from 1987-1989 - I'm surprised you didn't know that...) So we were seated amongst the players families etc.

With Michael Taylor out for the game - injured in the rain against Minnesota - Demetrius Brown was back under center. USC took advantage early, they lead 14-3 at the half. To add insult to injury, the USC fans pelted the Michigan Marching Band with commemorative seat cushions as they walked around the field after their half-time show was complete.

In the second half, Leroy Hoard took over. He ended up the MVP.

With Michigan holding on to a 22-14 lead Rodney Peers tried to mount a tying drive, but the Michigan defense held and we got to celebrate the victory in the Arroyo Secco.

Outside the stadium Jim& I could not find the car on the golf course for about an hour.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Countdown to kickoff - vacation

So I'm on vacation for the next week. I'm trying to work it out so that I'll be able to update my countdown from long range, but I might be Internet deprived while away.

If I am able to update, the game descriptions/memories will probably be shorter (I'm sure you're very disappointed). You'll have to do more homework on your own if you want YouTube clips etc.

Or maybe jimPossible will add some comments helping to add information to the game memories.

If I'm not able to update, there will be quite a memory dump on August 29th

Countdown to Kickoff - 15 days

October 19, 1985

Michigan 10 - Iowa 12

After Michigan had beaten Michigan State the week before (see countdown - day 34 http://apogee2.blogspot.com/2010/08/countdown-to-kickoff-34-days.html), jiMpossible, WACDave and I decided we should try to head to Iowas City the next weekend to see our now #2 Wolverines take on #1 Iowa.

WACDave knew some people at Iowa so we had two tickets, we just needed to pick up a 3rd. We drove out Friday after class and tracked down WACDave's friends. We weaseled our way into staying the night on the floor in WACDave's friends apartment. After the long drive as we went to sleep we enjoyed the cool breeze coming in the balcony screen. It got really cold that night, so cold that none of us dared get out from under our sleeping bags to close the door. It must have been 50 degrees in the apartment when we woke up to a cold rainy Iowa City morning.

We got to the stadium early to look for the 3rd ticket. I think the 3 of us spent just over $100 TOTAL on tickets for the #1-#2 match-up - times have changed! When it came time to go in, WACDave and I used the tickets from his friends - student tickets and jiMpossible used the 3rd ticket. Now the student tickets for the season were all on one ticket and you had to show a second document as a student to get in. We had the second document, unfortunately, mine was for a female - and the usher would let me in because obviously I wasn't she. I was in full panic mode - driving 8 hours to be stuck standing outside Kinnick Stadium while the game went on.... I went to a second gate, they didn't even look at the names and I was in. Crisis averted.

the 3 of us crammed into the 2 student seats we had in the endzone. A couple memories of the crowd. Michigan had a long kickoff return at one point and when the 3 of us stood up to cheer it became obvious we were the enemy. I think WACDave got shoved by someone - but it ended there. There was also an older Iowa fan sitting near us that kept standing up, slapping his palm with the back of his other hand screaming "Where the hell is the tight end over the middle?"

Iowa dominated the game statistically, but not on the scoreboard. Michigan's D was able to keep the Hawkeyes out of the endzone. Michigan scored the games only TD on a play I've still never really seen. Jim Harbaugh hit Gerald White on a broken play shovel pass at the far endzone putting M up 7-6 at the half. A trade of FGs gave M a 10-9 lead early in the 4th. Rob Houghtlin missed his first attempt to put Iowa back into the lead on their next drive, but he missed badly.

Michigan trying to close out the game on the ground had a 3rd and short. Jamie Morris got knocked backwards (which was different because he really did almost always manage for fall forward) by Larry Station. Iowa got the ball back. Michigan had several chances to end their hopes. Chuck Long converted several 3rd downs to keep the drive alive. Brad Cochran - Michigan's All-American cornerback - let a game sealing interception bounce off his fingers. Finally, the Hawkeyes got the ball down to Michigan's 12 giving Houghtlin a chance at redemption. After several time outs - he nailed it as time expired. Hawkeye fans poured onto the field and we meandered back to the car.

I had never been to a Michigan loss before. We spent Saturday night at my sister Sue's in Chicago (not too far from Rob Houghtlin's hometown) before making the rest of the trip home Sunday. WACDave's clutch failed somewhere on the way back - the car kept popping out of 5th gear.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Countdown to Kickoff - 16 days

September 16, 2006

Michigan 47, Notre Dame 21

Both teams entered undefeated. Notre Dame was ranked #2 in the country, Michigan was #11. Notre Dame has picked apart a decent Penn State team the week before and were favored against the Wolverines.

I got us tickets through some scalper site online. The asterisk next to one of the seat numbers made me a little nervous. I was worried, they were handicapped seating or something like that, but it turns out it meant it was an aisle seat.

The Irish tried to set the tone right off the bat, Brady Quinn went deep to Jeff Samardzija, but Morgan Trent (Trent Morgan?) broke it up. After an offside penalty Quinn went to the air again. This time he found Prescott Burgess, who took it back for a Michigan TD.

A few minutes later Chad Henne's pass was intercepted an taken back inside the Michigan 5, leading to the first ND TD, and the game was quickly tied at 7.

Late in the quarter Henne found Mario Manningham wide open for the second M TD. The teams traded special teams errors, but it was more costly for the Irish. Michigan's PAT failed, leaving the score 13-7. Then ND fumbled the kick off, giving the Wolverines the deep in ND territory. Mike Hart cashed it in, and Michigan lead 20-7 going into the 2nd quarter.

Early in the 2nd, Henne found Manningham again putting Michigan up 27-7. But Henne and Mannningham weren't done. A third TD pass put Michigan up 34-7 late in the half. The stadium was stunned. Even confident Michigan fans, couldn't have expected this thrashing. When the Irish cut right through Michigan's defense for a quick score right before the half, I admit to thinking, "That was too easy, they're going to come back in the 2nd half and it is going to be an embarrassing result." That was not the case.

Michigan's defense was just too strong for the Irish. Burgess almost had his second interception return for a TD, but was tackled inside the 5. Michigan settled for a Rivas field goal 37-14.

After that the M defense just began teeing off on Quinn. Michigan Left South Bend with a dominating 47-21 victory, and the Michigan fans left Notre Dame Stadium, like few visiting fans get to...

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Countdown to Kickoff - 17 days

November 4, 2000

Michigan 51 - Northwestern 54

Michigan scoring 50+ points against Northwestern is not all that uncommon. I've seen it two other times. I never would have imagined it wouldn't be enough to win.

This game featured so much offense, I won't even waste the time going through all the scoring. Michigan had no answer for the spread offense. The two teams combines for 1189 yards of total offense. Drew Henson threw for 312 yards and 4 TDs - 3 to David Terrell. Anthony Thomas finished with 199 yards and 3 TDs on the ground. The Wildcats had similar numbers, Zak Kustok, had 322 yards threw the air and matched his 2 passing TDs with 2 more on the ground. Damien Anderson ran for 268 yards and 2 more TDs.

Ultimately the game came down to the final 2 minutes. Michigan was clinging to a 51-46 lead. It was 4th and goal for the Wildcats. Northwestern had just had a TD called back on an illegal man down field call moving the ball back to the 12. Kustok had an uncovered Anderson circling out of the backfield. But Michigan got some pressure on Kustok and he had to throw a high looping pass. No one was within 5 yards of Anderson, but he had to make an over the head/shoulder catch and he couldn't make the catch. My seats were like 5 rows up on the sideline in that corner of the endzone, so that all happened right in front of me.

Incomplete - Michigan just needed to run out the clock, and since there had been very few stops all day, Michigan's hopes were high. On a 2nd and 3, Anthony Thomas sealed the game as he broke through the line, if he had just taken a knee immediately after crossing TVs yellow first down line, Michigan wins. But, just like Anderson, he dropped the ball.
With 0:20 left the Wildcats made Michigan pay for their mistake. A successful 2-point conversion made it 54-51. Henson was able to get Michigan into position to attempt a 57 yard field goal to try to send the game to OT. Hayden Epstein had the leg, he had made a 52 yarder earlier. The snap went through John Navarre's hands right into Epstein's. He completed a pass to Evan Coleman but there was not one last miracle.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Wingless Helmets

Again, I don't want to be all "I hate everything RR does", but I don't like the idea of having M helmets with the wings. I get his point of requiring them to earn his wings, but I guess if they were recruitable, as players and as people, they deserve to wear wings. If they aren't worthy of going on the field, then bench them or kick them off the team.

For the first time ever, I read portions of the Bacon / Bo book. And the more I read, the more I though "RR doesn't do that". It makes me uncomfortable the more I see that RR's philosophy is different than Bo's. I should be 63, not 43.

Countdown to Kickoff - 18 days

November 25, 1995

Michigan 31 - OSU 23

Like the 1993 game, OSU came in without a loss, this time they were 11-0 and ranked #2 in the land. 18th ranked Michigan was 8-3 and was playing only for pride.
Eddie George was the leading candidate for the Heisman Trophy. Michigan's defense had let them down against Northwestern, MSU and Penn State, when late stops could have won the games.
The stadium was full of Buckeye fans with roses in their hands chanting "Eddie! Eddie!" awaiting what they thought would be a dominating OSU win.
It was obvious, Michigan had them right where they wanted them.
Michigan's defense and Tim Biakabutuka were the story of the first half. The defense held the Buckeyes to 3 field goals, while Biakabututka was nearing 200 yards. But M had managed only 10 points on a short pass to Clarence Williams and a Remy Hamilton field goal (he also had a miss)
With OSU's last field goal coming in the closing seconds, we wondered if they had gained the momentum. If they had, freshman Charles Woodson got it back early in the 2nd half, picking off a Bobby Hoying pass. Biakabutuka's running brought M down inside the 10. Brian Griese plunged into the endzone ot give M at 17-9 lead early in the 3rd.
Eddie George cut the score to 17-15 on a short TD dive late in the 4th. The two-point attempt failed, keeping M in the lead.
Biakabututka kept punishing the vaunted OSU defense. Clarence Williams took a third down pitch and scored his second TD of the day. Putting M up by 9 with 13 minutes left. Michigan struck again, with Touchdown Tim finally getting to put the icing on the drive. With 6 minutes to go Michigan had their biggest lead at 31-15.
OSU kept fighting, a Hoying TD pass and successful 2-point attempt cut the lead to 8 with more than 6 minutes still remaining. Michigan ran some clock, but couldn't close it out. Hoying hit Rickey Dudley at M's 34 yard line with just over a minute to go, it was getting pretty scary.
Charles Woodson - again made a great play for the ball over Terry Glenn on the next play and Michigan had stunned the Buckeyes again.
When it was over Biakabutuka rushed for 313 yards, second only Ron Johnson's 347 yard effort against Wisconsin in 1968. The only "Eddie" chants at the end of the game were Wolverine fans mocking their Buckeye visitors.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Ticket mistake

Nice work by the Alabama Ticket Department

Countdown to Kickoff - 19 days

September 27, 2008

Michigan 27 - Wisconsin 25

Not much to celebrate about the 2008 Michigan football team. They finished 3-9, but probably should have been 2-10.
In this the 500th game at Michigan Stadium, Wisconsin hit the 4th field goal of the half with about 10 seconds left. Michigan went to the locker room trailing 19-0. I don't think I've ever heard the Wolverines booed quite so lustily as they were heading to the locker room.

The only pluses you could take out of the first half was that the defense had been able to keep Wisconsin out of the endzone on 4 of their 5 scores. Two turnovers also helped keep the Badgers within 3 scores. That was no easy feat, as Michigan had 5 first half turnovers and netted only 21 yards of offense.

Finally Michigan got on board late in the 3rd quarter as Steven Threet hit Kevin Koger on a 26 yard scoring pass. Early in the 4th Brandon Minor broke a long TD run to cut the Badger lead to 19-14. After a touchback on the kickoff, John Thompson took a deflected Wisconsin pass and rumbled into the endzone giving Michigan the lead.
Michigan tried a two-point attempt to get up by 3 points, but failed, leaving the score Michigan 20-Wisconsin 19. The defense held again and then perhaps the most surprising play of the day. Steven Threet kept an option fake and ran(?) for 58 yards down inside the Badgers 20.
Sam McGuffie took it in from the 3 a few plays later. With just over 5 minutes left, Michigan held a surprising 27-19 lead. In those last 5 minutes, the Badgers almost made turned the amazing comeback into overtime.
With about 2 minutes to go, Wisconsin was inside the Michigan 10. Brandon Graham ended this drive when his sack Alan Evridge knocked the ball loose. Terrance Taylor pounced on the loose ball and M dodged the bullet. But the offense couldn't close it out.
Wisconsin got the ball back at their own 36 with 1:19 remaining. Michigan wouldn't stop them this time. Evridge his David Galreath for the score with 13 seconds left. A 2-point conversion would tie the score and it looked like they had, but an illegal formation penalty negated the 2 points, forcing a second tying attempt for the Badgers.
Evridge's pass sailed high and after a failed onside kick the Wolverines took a knee and secured perhaps the most unlikely win in the 500 games played at Michigan Stadium.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Countdown to Kickoff - 20 days

October 18, 1986

Michigan 20 - Iowa 17

Michigan, Iowa and field goals... for a few years in the eighties and early nineties their meetings always seemed to come down to field goals.
The 1986 match-up had both squads coming in at 5-0. Michigan was ranked #4 and Iowa #8. Since their #1-#2 match-up the previous season (you're likely to read about this game here in the coming days), this was quite an anticipated match-up.
The defenses were the story in the first half. Iowa limited Michigan to a 53 yard Mike Gillette field goals while adding 10 points of their own.
Michigan finally got in the endzone early in the second half on a Jim Harbaugh to Gerald White pass. Then after stopping the Hawkeyes again, White scored on the ground - for the first rushing TD against Iowa on the season - giving M their first lead at 17-10.
Mark Vlasic hit Robert Smith to tie it back at 17 in the 4th. With just under 2 minutes left and Iowa driving for a potential field goal attempt, Andy Moeller pounced on an errant pitch giving Michigan the ball back near midfield. A mix of runs and passes got M close enough for Gillette's 34 yard field goal winner as time expired.
The 1986 season was really a year of field goals for Michigan. Besides this game Michigan had 3 others that came down to last second field goal attempts. Notre Dame and OSU missed potential game winning field goals, Minnesota unfortunately hit theirs.


With 20 reporting, M is #65. A smale climb last posting.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Countdown to Kickoff - 21 days

October 6, 1993

Michigan 21 - Penn State 13

This was the first meeting between Michigan and Penn State. According to Beano Cook, the Nittany Lions were going to come in to the Big1T1en and dominate. Up to this point, so far-so good. PSU was 5-0 and ranked #7. But they were about to face the meat of their schedule, I assume they were going to show the "former" conference powers who the new king was. They would face Michigan and then OSU in their 6th and 7th games (both, of course, preceded with a bye week.)
Michigan was 3-2 and coming off a bad loss to MSU. It was also Penn State's 1000th game overall. Michigan was not given much of a chance.
My dad had gotten the tickets, this was actually the meeting of his 1940 Freshman of Prescott House reunion. One of his classmates was a professor and was able to get 20+ tickets to this really historic game - pretty impressive, really.
Michigan missed an early field goal, then PSU took over. a short field goal and then a long TD pass put the Nittany Lions up 10-0 early in the 2nd quarter. Special teams made the first play for Michigan. Derrick Alexander returned a short punt 48 yards to paydirt to get the Wolverines on the board. The scores held to half time.
In the 3rd - Elozovic missed another field goal, but Penn St was offside giving Michigan a first down. Later in he drive Todd Collins hit Mercury Hayes on a fade to put M up 14-10.
Late in the quarter, PSU had a first and goal from the 1, right in front of us.
Michigan's offense couldn't get too far and the short field led to a PSU field goal - making it 14-13, Michigan. On the next possession Tyrone Wheatley's took over, driving the Wolverines down to inside the 10. The final score came on a flat pass to Che Foster, giving M the 21-13 lead.
Peoples ended PSU last hope with an interception in the last minute.

Friday, August 13, 2010

About Turner's departure

As Jon Falk says, "They come and they go, Hobbes. They come and they go."

Countdown to Kickoff - 22 days

October 22, 1983

Michigan 16 - Iowa 13

Another homecoming game with my parents. Much like the first game I attended, this game was played in the rain. My mom even decided to stay and watch the game at the hotel rather than sit in the rain. So I went to the game with my dad and cousin Barry.

Both teams came in at 5-1 (M lost at Washington, Iowa lost at Illinois). Michigan was ranked #10, Iowa #12. The teams had split the previous two meetings. Iowa was really in the heart of Hayden Fry's best seasons.

At some point during the game the MMB initiated the first wave in Michigan Stadium history. Unfortunately, M was on offense and needed to take a timeout because they couldn't hear the signals.

It was mostly a battle of field goals. Michigan's Bob Bergeron was 2 of 3 early to put the Wolverines up 6-0. Iowa's Tom Nichol answered with a school record 56 yarder.
Rick Rogers scored the games first TD on an option pitch from Steve Smith late in the 3rd to put M up 13-3.
Early in the 4th the Hawkeyes mounted a long drive but when Chuck Long's 3rd down pass was just short of Ronnie Harmon in the endzone, they were settling for another field goal. But they weren't - the holder pulled the ball up rolled to the right and hit a receiver in the back of the endzone - the PAT made it 13-10.
Gerald White bobbled and then fumbled the ensuing kickoff - giving the Hawkeyes a great chance to take the lead early in the 4th. But they settled for another field goal, tying it at 13.
With 1:41 left - Rodney Lyles recovered a fumble at Michigan's 28 yard line. A mix of draws (it was Bo coaching after all) and a 25 yard screen pass to Rogers put Michigan inside the Hawkeye 29 with 12 seconds left. Bergeron came on for a 45 yard attempt.

With 8 seconds Michigan kicked off through the endzone for a touchback. I remember my dad and Barry discussing if this was the right idea. No time came off the clock. What is more likely two plays to go 80 yards or a long kickoff return? When Tony Gant Picked off Long's last pass, the choice was moot.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Countdown to Kickoff - 23 days

September 4, 1999

Michigan 26 - Notre Dame 22

#7 Michigan was playing their opening game, with #16 Notre Dame coming in after defeating Kansas in the Eddie Robinson Classic. That had been an excuse for the late 80's Wolverine woes against the Irish, as you know a team makes its biggest improvement between the 1st and 2nd games.
Tom Brady and Drew Henson were fighting for Michigan's starting QB job, Lloyd Carr had decided to start Brady, but play Henson in the second quarter because he famously, "Liked them both."
This game was really a microcosm of many Michigan games this season. Michigan started slowly, Henson's 2nd quarter didn't help the first half continuity, then Michigan got it going late and hopefully held on for the win.
Michigan could only manage 3 field goals in the first half (Brady 2 - Henson 1) - bonus points if you remembered Jeff Del Verne was Michigan's kicker. A late TD gave the Irish a 14-9 lead at the half.
Michigan(with Brady playing the rest of the game) started the second half with a strong drive ending with Anthony Thomas scoring on a short run. After a stop, they had to settle for another field goal to take a 19-14 lead late in the 3rd.
The defenses held until Notre Dame scored with just under 5 minutes left. Michigan's D completely lost the ND tight end who caught the safety valve pass and walked 10 yards into the end zone. The Irish opted to go for 2 to get up by a field goal. They were successful, but Bobby Brown was flagged for unsportsmanlike conduct for posing for the camera after the conversion. This gave Michigan a shorter field to work with. A late hit along the sidelines on a tight end screen added another 15 yards to Michigan's drive. Michigan got down inside the 5 with 3 minutes to go - but failed to score on their first two Thomas runs. On 3rd and goal Thomas was hit right at the goal line, but stretched the ball across the line (at least according to the officials). Del Verne put Michigan up 4 with the PAT, 1:38 remained on the clock.

The Irish had enough time to score but made horrible use of the clock (they would make the same mistakes later in the season against Purdue), the Irish receiver stopped near the Michigan 10 yard line, but short of the first down, kept the clock running. They couldn't clock it in time and Michigan escaped with the 26-22 victory.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Countdown to Kickoff - 24 days

January 1, 2003

Michigan 38 -Florida 30

Michigan came in 9-3 with a close loss at Notre Dame, a bad homecoming loss to Iowa and a close loss to eventual MNC OSU. Florida was a disappointing 8-4, and the noose was tightening over Ron Zook's neck. (Zook played in the first college game I ever attended. He was a Miami Redskin in the 44-21 defeat of Western Michigan on November 8, 1975).
When it was announced M would play in Tampa, we hemmed and hawed about going. We finally decided we would fly into Jacksonville, stay with my sister and family and then drive down to Tampa on gameday. Unfortunately by that time the Michigan allotment of tickets had sold out. And, apparently Florida fans were interested as well, so no tickets were available on the bowl website.
We still went through with the travel plans and figured we'd be able to buy tickets easily on gameday. We did eventually find a pair of tickets that were somewhat reasonable for Melissa and I, but nothing in the price range the Braggs were interested in. So they were nice enough to watch the game in a Tampa pub, while we went to the game.
Chris Perry was dominant in the game 4 rushing TDs. John Navarre was steady, hitting Ron Bellamy for a TD just before the half to keep the momentum Michigan's way.
The NFL stadium was mostly Gator fans - getting their drink on on an 11am Kickoff.
The 2 most memorable plays were Florida TE Ben Troupe hurdling a Michigan defender to avoid a tackle and the Gators final chance - a reverse flea flicker that ended up in the hands of Victor Hobson.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Comment #2

The other thing I want to mention has to do with woolfolk’s comments. I’m not talking about the comments he made about Forcier, but rather the comments that he pays attention during films rather than listening to his ipod or texting or whatever he said he used to do. I don’t like being one of those guys who finds a bad thing to say about RR whenever something is mentioned about the team, but this comment startled me. I know times are different, but I’m pretty convinced Bo would have made sure there were no ipod’s or cell phones on in the classroom, and maybe not even on in the building (which would result in a group of guys standing just outside the door texting, I’m sure). It took Mark Messner (I believe) as a guest to comment that he didn’t like the players using their headphones when getting off the bus for RR to change his rules (but I still have seen them with headphones on when going from bus to locker room, so maybe that really didn’t change). I admit I am an old fuddy-duddy about some things, but that comment by woolfolk really does reinforce the difference between Bo and RR. Woolfolk may have brought his device in during the Carr era, too, of course, but Lloyd has given me evidence that he is a Michigan Man as I want the M coach to be. Rr hasn’t done that yet.

Comment #1

With Denard Robinson becoming more and more a possibility of being a starter or significant player, and being cautious that forcier could be injury prone and actually miss games due to injury, the main concern I have about Robinson isn’t whether he can make the plays (run and pass), though that will always be there until he produces during a game when it matters. Rather, the primary thing I wonder is whether Drob, as a running qb, is fit enough to play an entire game and still be effective at the end of the game. Hopefully, Tate will play well enough to either play the entire game, or will spot Drob enough to keep them both fresh.


With 17 reporting, M is #69. B10 is #6. With H/A adjustments, predicts M to go 5-7. Without H/A, M loses to MSU and it is 4-8.

Countdown to Kickoff - 25 days

October 9, 2004
Michigan 27 - Minnesota 24

There aren't too many times in my lifetime that Minnesota and Michigan faced off with the Gophers being the higher ranked team. In this 2004 match-up the Gophers were 5-0 and ranked 13th, Michigan was 4-1 and ranked 14th.
It was the first homecoming game after we moved into our house near the stadium. I think we had 15 people sleep here Friday night. And there must have been 50+ people here after the game since my Dad had gotten tickets for his sisters and some of their families for the first time.
Luckily all those people had something good to cheer about.
Michigan dominated all but the last 40 seconds of the first quarter. Trailing 10-0 Minnesota's Lawrence Maroney went 80 yards up the middle to put the Gophers within 3.
Michigan answered right back with a TD pass from Henne to Braylon.
After that the Gophers scored 17 straight points, taking over the middle third of the game and a 24-17 lead early in the 4th.
Henne, Edwards and Hart brought M back down the field, but a 6 minute drive stalled for a short Rivas field goal, Minnesota 24, Michigan 20 with about 8 minutes left.
Michigan's last hope started 87 yards away with just over 3 minutes on the clock. It didn't take long, with just under 2 minutes left, Henne hit Tyler Ecker on a short crossing pattern he broke free on the corner and turned it up for a 30 yard TD catch and run. The PAT gave M a 27-24 lead. The defense held and Michigan sneaked away with a tight victory on their way to a conference championship. Henne was so calm and cool on those last scoring drives, remember he was a freshman in 2004. Michigan had several close games during his run at QB. I believe Michigan won the majority of those because he was the better quarterback, not necessarily because M was the better team.

Prediction Video

This vid is 9 minutes, but it shows what is going to happen. Once you see it, you won't need to watch any of the games.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Predictions for the Season (except wins/losses)

  1. The defense will be in the top 5 in all major categories (yards/game, rushing yds/game, passing yds/game, takeaways, scoring defense) but will give up enough big plays for people to complain about it.
  2. The QB controversy will last most of the year and we haven't heard the last of the players' anti-Tate sentiment. Which leads to...
  3. This will be Forcier's last year for Michigan. He will transfer after the season, regardless of who the coach will be.
  4. There will be at least 2 players who start the first game (on offense or defense) who won't even be on the team by the time M plays OSU.
  5. Gardner will not redshirt.
  6. M will not crack the Top 25 all season.
  7. Molk will have more postseason honors than Schilling.

You heard it here first. Well, some of it.

Countdown to Kickoff - 26 days

October 20, 1993
Michigan 28 - OSU 0

John Cooper had an outstanding record at OSU, but the 2-10-1 record against Michigan is what eventually did him in. The first few years of the rivalry, Michigan was expected to win and the bucks couldn't pull the upset. The 1992 game ended in a tie that OSU President Gordon Gee called the "One of the greatest wins in OSU history."
In 1993, these roles had reversed. OSU came in 10-0-1, and ranked #5. Michigan's string of five straight conference titles was definitely gone, M was unranked at 6-4.
I sat with Matt Byron and his brother at this game. I'm pretty sure his brother came just to rub in an OSU victory over his little brother's Wolverines. His outlook changed quickly, as M dominated the game from start to finish.
Michigan's defense dominated the Buckeyes QBs - Bobby Hoying and Brett Powers into multiple sacks and 4 interceptions. Todd Collins hit Mercury Hayes for an early TD, Hayes made a great adjustment to the ball while it was in the air and finished with a diving over the shoulder catch.
Michigan scored 3 other TDs on the day, Ed Davis and Jon Ritchie on the ground and Che Foster caught Collins's second TD pass.
Just complete Michigan domination on this day. The Michigan victory sent Wisconsin to the Rose Bowl and the Buckeyes to the Holiday Bowl. This win took much of the pain off of a disappointing season.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Countdown to Kickoff - 27 days

January 1, 2005
Michigan 37 - Texas 38

We had also gone out to the Rose Bowl the year before, this time we decided to stay in Las Vegas and drive in and out of Pasadena for the game. New Years Eve in Vegas is quite a party, when you add that 2005 marked the city's centennial, it made it even bigger.
The entire strip was full of people watching the fireworks show off of all the major casinos. I've never been so overwhelmed by a crowd. When the show ended - everyone was just trying to get back to their casino - so people packed together wanting to go in both directions means no one moves. I could see over the top of the throng of people that if we could just get to the middle of Las Vegas Blvd, the crowd thinned out enough that people were moving, but we were essentially pinned to the wall of the Bellagio Lake. I truly thought someone was going to get crushed right there on the strip. It must have taken us an hour to get to a spot where we could move freely. All that time left us very little time to sleep before driving into LA in the early morning.
We made the long drive in and got a decent parking spot near what I assumed would be an exit, more on that later. Melissa took a nap and I checked out the ESPN Gameday set until we were ready to go in to the Bowl at the Arroyo Seco.
Oh the game was memorable too.
You know that probably not quite as true as we think it is line that Michigan has always had trouble with mobile quarterbacks? If you're in that camp this game is likely exhibit A in your argument. Michigan had no answer for Vince Young, and yet they had opportunities to win this game.
Freshman Chad Henne threw 4 TD passes, 3 to Braylon Edwards and 1 to Steve Breaston. If not for Young's heroics Henne or Breaston probably would have been the game MVP. Every time Texas scored (well almost) they had to to kick it back to Michigan and Breaston seemed to be bringing the kicks back into Texas's side of the field.
The score went back and forth most of the way:
Texas 7-0 on a Young TD run
Tied at 7 Henne to Edwards
Texas 14-7 Young TD pass
Late in the half Michigan tied it on another Henne to Edwards pass
Young started where he left off with a 60 yard TD run to make it 21-14, Texas
Michigan answered with 17 straight points, 2 Henne TD passes and a Rivas field goal making it M 31-Texas 21 going to the 4th quarter.
That last field goal was really a harbinger - Michigan started "settling for field goals", Texas - or really Vince Young - kept getting touchdowns.
The first trade of scores left it M 34 - Texas 28. The next Young TD run (his 4th) made it 35-34 Texas. Michigan got another great Breaston return and mounted another scoring drive. On third and shortish Henne's pass for Edwards was high forcing another field goal attempt. Rivas hit the field goal and M went back up 37-35 with about 3 minutes left. WAY TOO MUCH TIME.
Young moved Texas for their winning kick. Dusty Magnum's 37 yarder as time expired was the final score. But even that had drama, Ernest Shazor actually partially deflected the kick that then went right between the arms of Prescott Burgess. (photos from mgoblog)
We slowly made our way back to the car and found that that exit I'd hoped for was still closed. There were two posts with chains blocking it. After waiting in non-moving traffic for about 10 minutes, I got out of the car and lifted the posts out of the holes, drove over the chains and got us on the road. Driving back to Vegas after 2+ hours sleep a long drive in a long emotional game, was a challenge. We were running on:
We somehow made it back to New York New York and eventually I cashed in my winning bet ($20 on Michigan to cover the spread - yahoo...) For many reasons January 1 2005 is one of the longest days of my life.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Countdown to Kickoff - 28 days

First our new intro

September 24, 1994
Michigan 26 - Colorado 27

Not every game on this list is a happy ending. I don't seem to have any memorabilia from this game - no ticket stub, no program, maybe I wanted to forget?

The game was really a series of changing momentum. The 7th ranked Buffaloes lead early. Kordell Stewart hit Michael Westbrook midway through the 2nd quarter to take a 14-3 lead. Then the 4th ranked Wolverines started to mount a comeback. Tim Biakabutuka scored late in the half, but a 2-point conversion attempt failed (d'oh - did Moeller's teams ever have a failed 2-point attempt not prove extremely costly?) leaving M down 14-9.

IIRC, Stewart even had a Hail Mary attempt to close out the first half - Michigan got immediate pressure and I think Chuck Winters intercepted (or maybe Stewart was sacked - anyone out there know for sure?)

Michigan dominated the 3rd quarter, building the lead to 26-14. In the 4th, Colorado had a potential scoring drive end in a touchback fumble through the endzone giving Michigan the ball back, with a 12 point lead and only about 5 minutes remaining. A quick - timeout eating - three-and-out gave the ball back to CU with under 4 minutes left. The Wolverine defense didn't put up much resistance, and CU cut the lead to 5 with about 2:30 left.

When Mercury Hayes recovered the on-side kick attempt, again it seemed Michigan would take this game. Another three-and-out gave the Buffaloes the ball back 85 yards from victory with only 15 seconds left. Stewart hit Westbrook, moving the ball out to the 36 as he got out of bounds. Six seconds left, sixty-four yards away, what could go wrong?

In my mined this was the beginning of the end for Gary Moeller as M's coach. They would lose three more games in 1994, giving Penn State their toughest game of the season, a horrible effort against Wisconsin, and a fiasco in Columbus. Of course whatever happened at the restaurant in Southfield was the final nail in the coffin for Moeller, this game probably completed most of the woodwork.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Countdown to Kickoff - 29 days

October 14, 1989
Michigan 10 - MSU 7

"The toughest team won." Losing to his arch-rival in a close game had to irk George Perles, having Bo tell the press Michigan won because they were the tougher team, must have driven him crazy.

This was my third trip to see Michigan play at Spartan Stadium. My cousin Barry got the tickets this year and my parents came down to the game too. I rember riding to the game with Barry and his brother Jim and getting a sweet parking spot right near the stadium. We must have gone to the traditional family party after the game, but I don't remember...

Michigan was 3-1 with their only loss to Raghib Ismail. While the Spartans were 2-2, coming off of losses to Notre Dame and Miami and a close victory over Iowa, just as they had been before beating Michigan in 1987. The 1987 game with Demetrius Brown's 7 interceptions, will not be discussed in this countdown series!

Elvis Grbac was still starting for the injured Michael Taylor, He threw an early interception that would lead to a Spartan field goal attempt. One of the kick-blocking safeties - Wellborne/Murray blocked it. Michigan moved down the field finally facing a 4th and goal from the 2. Leroy Hoard punched it in to put M up 7-0. JD Carlson made it 10-0 midway through the second quarter.

MSU finally mounted a drive late in the 3rd leaving them with 4th and goal from the 1 as the teams switched ends to start the 4th quarter. Then Wellborne stuffed Blake Ezor at the goal line to keep the Spartans out.

The Spartans finally scored with about 5 minutes remaining to make it 10-7. Michigan moved to midfield but had to punt it back to MSU. If I remember correctly, this drive included some interesting "momentum stopped in-bounds" calls along the Michigan sideline that burned clock and MSU's timeouts. Finally a 4th down Enos pass was picked off to seal the victory.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Countdown to Kickoff - 30 days

October 18, 1997
Michigan 28 - Iowa 24

I've seen some great Michigan teams in my lifetime. In the Bo years they couldn't seem to win the Bowl game or would find a way to lose to Purdue or Minnesota when they greatly out-talented them. The 1980 and 1988 teams lost close early heartbreaks then went on winning streaks and at the end of the year, were as good as any team in the country.

The one team that managed to avoid losing (or tying - I see you 1992) any games was of course the 1997 National Champions. Although they had close match-ups with OSU and in the Rose Bowl, I would argue the game they came closest to losing was this game against Iowa.
The first half was really about Iowa's big plays. They had a 50+ yard TD run for the first score and interception return down to the one leading to their second TD. The play that probably should have ended Michigan's perfect season was Tim Dwight's punt return for a TD on the final play of the half (as I remember it, Iowa had two returners back!) making the halftime score 21-7. It could have been even worse - Marcus Ray intercepted a pass at the 1 yard line thwarting an earlier score. This was the first time I remember real boos for the team as they left the field at the half.

Michigan scored early in the third and Griese scored late in the quarter on a 4th down dive to tie the score. But Dwight struck again, taking the kickoff back into M territory - leading to a field goal and Iowa leading 24-21 going into the 4th.

Late in the 4th Michigan faced a 3rd and long, Griese was hurried and threw short toward Jerame Tuman. Had he been allowed the catch the ball he would have been well short of the first down. Unfortunately for the Hawkeyes, he was interfered with before he had a chance - automatic first down.

The drive continued down a 3rd and goal with under 3 minutes left. Griese was flushed again but found Tuman, unmolested this time, in the endzone for to give Michigan their first lead.

As great as the 1997 defense was, they didn't shut the door immediately. Iowa drove down into Michigan territory before Sam Sword intercepted to finally close out the victory.

From the 1997 season most people remember the Woodson interception at MSU, the thumping Michigan gave Penn State in Happy Valley, Woodson again vs. the Buckeyes, and the finale at the Rose Bowl. But, in my mind none of those games mean as much if Michigan doesn't find a way to pull out this victory against the Hawkeyes.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Countdown to Kickoff - 31 days

October 13, 1990
Michigan 27 - MSU 28

I was living at 921 S. Main one block from the stadium. My brother-in-law Andy had tickets to the game as well, with some of his co-workers. We played a touch football game in the apartment parking lot before the game. If you've ever seen one of our family football games there are always a few questionable plays that bend the rules. This one included a few of the classics - the off-the-building catch, the throw it to a tailgater who didn't appear to be playing, but the play I remember most Andy's friend made a tough catch spun upfield right into the rear end of a Volvo station wagon. He hit it so hard it set off the alarm. That play is stuck in my memory, most people associate the real game on this day with one other particular play.

Michigan came into this game ranked number 1 in the country. I hadn't seem M play as the #1 team since the first game I'd attended in 1976. Michigan was 3-1 (has there been a #1 ranked team with a loss that early since?) and MSU was a disappointing 1-2-1. Both teams had lost tight games to Notre Dame. This was Gary Moeller's first game against the Spartans as M's head coach.

Michigan just couldn't stop the MSU ground game. Enos scrambled well and Hickson and Duckett ripped through M's defense. But the game still ended up coming down to one play. MSU scored with about 2 minutes to go to go up 28-21. Elvis Grbac lead M down the field and hit Derrick Alexander for a TD with 0:06 left. Moeller made a fateful decision to go for two. Desmond Howard made a quick inside move on Eddie Brown. He was going to be wide open for the 2 points. Brown tripped him, Howard still had the ball in his hands but he dropped it when he hit the ground. There was no interference call to save Michigan on this day. Most people think this was the last play, but Michigan actually executed a perfect onside kick. Grbac had one last throw but it didn't connect.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Countdown to Kickoff - 32 days

September 14, 1985
Michigan 20 - Notre Dame 12

This was my first game as a college student, my first game game without the "safety" of my family. Again, I don't remember too much about the actual game. Michigan was coming off their worst season since the year I was born. They had finished 6-6 in 1984, and there were real questions out there about whether Bo had lost it.

They came in unranked for probably the first time in Bo's coaching career at Michigan. Jim Harbaugh was back healthy again, his broke arm was partially to blame for the poor 1984 season. There were some questions about Notre Dame too. Gerry Faust had not impressed and was starting what would be his last season as the Irish coach. But they were ranked 13th coming in.

I had only ever been to homecoming games, I had never seen the opponents band. I didn't realize that Temptation and Hawaiian War Chant weren't part of every halftime show.

I think my friendship with jiMpossible was solidified during this game. We knew more about Michigan Football than the rest of our gang. Too bad he hasn't increased his knowledge since :-)

Michigan's defense held when it mattered, holding the Irish to 4 field goals. With the victory, M started a path towards one of Bo's best seasons.

Michigan's season starts in 32 days, they're coming off the two worst seasons in my lifetime. If they don;t turn it around this year, I think there is a chance the QB from 1985, may be coming back...

Monday, August 2, 2010

Countdown to Kickoff - 33 days

November 25, 1989, Michigan 28 - OSU 18

The first two posts in this series were just that, firsts. This game turned out to be a last. The last game I attended with Bo Schembechler as head coach.

Michigan came in 9-1 ranked #3; the Buckeyes were 7-2-1 and ranked #20. Michigan's ground game carried the day, in true Bo fashion. Hoard, Bunch and Jefferson all scored on the ground added to a Bunch TD catch from Michael Taylor.

It was 14-12 Michigan in when a 4th quarter (M was ahead 14-0) Todd Plate interception (not sure who Frye was throwing to) followed by a 40 yard Hoard run gave M some momentum for a quick score. OSU marched back down and scored again. The PAT was blocked by Tripp Wellborne, keeping the score at a field goal. Vada Murray had blocked a FG earlier, was there ever a better pair for blocking placekicks at Michigan?

With 3 minutes left and still a 3 point game, Plate picks off his second Frye pass near midfield. This leads to the final classic Bo, fullback dive for the final home TD of his coaching career.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Countdown to Kickoff - 34 days

October 12, 1985, Michigan 31 - MSU 0

You'll remember that my 35th game was the first Michigan game I attended. The 34th game is the first time I watched Michigan away from Michigan Stadium.

Michigan came into the game ranked #3 in the country, MSU was 2-2, but had just lost a 35-31 heart-breaker to eventual conference champ Iowa. Lorenzo White had a great game against the Hawkeyes and was a Heisman Trophy candidate. The Spartans had won the year before. That was the game were Jim Harbaugh broke his arm - leading to Michigan finishing with a 6-6 record.

My Uncle Lefty had long worked for the MSU athletic department. At this time he ran the chain gang - moving the down marker and chains etc. He was nice enough to get me a field pass for this match-up. I think my Uncle Jim was actually moving the orange pylon that helped the players tell where the first down line was. I sat in the north endzone on a folding chair. All 4 Michigan TDs were scored right in front of me - two Eric Kattus TD catches, a blocked punt rumbled into the endzone and a late Phil Webb TD run.

Sitting that low, you can definitely hear the the hatred the Spartan faithful have for the Wolverines. You can't hear the Michigan band even though they're right in front of you.

Michigan's defense was dominant on that day. With this shut out they still hadn't allowed a TD in the season (and wouldn't until 2 weeks later). Messner, Hammerstein and the gang stopped White and the Spartan running game and their passing game had no chance.

Not the most exciting outcome, but the experience of being on the field in such a heated rivalry, made this one of my top games.