Brown Jug stays in Ann Arbor for 15th straight game
SALINE, MI OCT. 11, 2003 Even the biggest John Navarre supporters probably were secretly wishing that we’d get a look at freshman Matt Gutierrez at some point in the third quarter. It looked like things were out of hand and that this was Minnesota’s year. Navarre was missing receivers and the defense was giving up major rushing yards seemingly on every snap.
Down three touchdowns at the end of the third quarter, Navarre led the Blue back. With delicate passes and textbook footwork, he navigated the Wolverines down the field within incredible efficiency. Of course, we saw similar drives near the end of the Iowa and Oregon losses.
So remarkable was the rapid comeback is that despite a Minnesota touchdown negating a Michigan score (an inexcusable 52 yard run by Abdul-Khaliq on a third and short), when M had the ball for the last time, they actually had to slow down to milk the clock. They scored 31 in the last quarter without the benefit of an on sides kick. After the game, Coach Carr was interviewed in the tunnel and was giddy as a school boy. He was fortunate, because the wolves were coming out all week on local radio calling for his head.
Despite the win, there will be many things to criticize next week, starting with Lloyd Carr’s stubborn insistence on trying his ridiculous 7-3 punt formation one more time. Minnesota just missed snuffing it. After that, the fans will look for answers on how the defenses can give up 425 yards on the ground (to anyone, let alone Minnesota). One guy who will avoid the criticism is Navarre, who is responsible for this gift win. He did not waiver and finally finished a ranked team on the road.
Michigan’s win makes it 15 straight and 32 of 34 against the Gophers. One take: Dude, how big were jugs back then? If that is a “little” brown jug, I’d like to see a big one. Good lord – they have to haul that thing in on a cart!