I know Rutgers is not Ohio State, even though their uniforms may look the same but nonetheless a win is a win, and when other Big Ten teams are losing, Michigan just needs to keep winning.
So, with that in mind…ONWARD–to your Champions!
OFFENSIVE CHAMPION – As I watched Jake Rudock warmup before the game from the sideline (thanks IMG & Carhartt [Ed. this coat is sweet!]), he looked tentative and tight and I wondered how healthy #15 would be come game time. Well, 337 passing yards later, it was pretty obvious how healthy he was. I’m not saying that Jake Rudock is Rick Leach, but he did throw for two TD’s and ran for another – much like the old Guts and Glue of the Maize and Blue did in his day. Rudock’s TD run into the north endzone corner reminded me of another touchdown that old #7 scored back in 1977 in the same endzone. It looked like this (something that I put together a few years ago):
DEFENSIVE CHAMPION – So many defensive guys played rock solid on Saturday, but Taco Charlton stood out in my mind. He may not have had the best game statistically (3 tackles and 1 sack) but he seemed disruptive throughout the game and I think that is why Rutgers had zero passing yards for most of the first half. If that D-Line is not getting to the QB, I think they are least getting into the MIND of the opposing team’s QB – just as good in my opinion!
SPECIAL TEAMS CHAMPION – Not saying that no one deserved mention but…the placekicker missed a field goal. The punter didn’t boot one until the 4th quarter. Rutgers returned a kickoff for a touchdown…so yeah – got some work to do here.
HEAD COACH – I wondered why Rudock and the offensive starters were still playing in the 4th quarter when the game was obviously not in doubt. Something must have happened, but what? Then I found out about what transpired in the tunnel at halftime. When your team gets called out like the Rutgers players did in the tunnel, coach Jim Harbaugh felt – like Kid Rock so aptly put it – SOMEBODY’S GOTTA FEEL THIS! So while other Michigan coaches may have taken a knee with the game no longer in question, coach Harbaugh took a knee to the head of Rutgers – and I soo dig that! You know why? CUZ SOMEBODY’S GOTTA FEEL THIS!!! GO BLUE!!
Because one side of my virtual helmet is full of stickers, it’s time to fill up the other side:
The last time Minnesota won the Little Brown Jug in Minneapolis, Marion Barber SENIOR was the running back for The Gophers. That was back in 1977, when Michigan was #1 in country and Jim Harbaugh was roaming the sidelines for the Wolverines – as one of the Michigan Coaches’ sons!
Like Wilton Speight said, maybe the Football Gods WERE smiling down on Michigan Saturday night. Speaking of #3, here are your LBJ Champions:
OFFENSIVE CHAMPION – Gotta give it to QB Wilton Speight. His first three completions in his career? WoW! He was obviously tight at first but it sounded like the old ball coach settled him down and stuck with him.
Sure enough, he delivered the goods in a BIG way – especially on that 2-point conversion pass. He has come a long way since the verbal tongue-lashing he received from Coach Harbaugh that we saw on the HBO Real Sports feature a few months ago.
DEFENSIVE CHAMPION – I haven’t seen a game end on a defensive stop since the 2012 OT Game against Northwestern when Kenny Demens made the pivotal play.
But this one felt a lot like the 1993 Michigan – Penn State Game at Happy Valley. Michigan stopped JoePa and the Nittany Lions 4 times at the goal line back then.
I thought The Gophers would QB Sneak it the play before, but it was obvious the Michigan D was waiting for them on the last play of the game. Incredible!
SPECIAL TEAMS CHAMPION – I’ve said it before that Jabrill Peppers makes a HUGE impact returning punts and last night was another example of that. I’m not sure I have ever seen a return man field so many punts, not just on the run, but at full speed! Just wish he hadn’t tried to truck the punter on that one kick because he would have had two TD’s the Woodson Way – one on Offense and one on Special Teams. Don’t worry – it’ll happen.
UNIFORM CHAMPION – Gotta give it to Jabrill for placing his helmet stickers BETWEEN the stripes on the back of his helmet! In all my years of following Michigan Football, I have NEVER seen a player put his stickers there.
It may have been considered sacred real estate on the helmet in the past, but I guess if anyone is going to do it, I got no problem with #5 putting his helmet stickers there. [Ed. Et tu, Dr. Sap! This can’t go on! ]
COACHES – From the entire Michigan Coaching Staff keeping this team’s collective heads up after the MSU heartbreaker, to Harbaugh coaching up Speight late in this game, to DJ Durkin’s Destroyers being ready for The Gophers on the goal line, this entire coaching staff deserves a helmet sticker for last night’s win. The old football saying, that sometimes you lose a game five times, but you gotta find a way to win it the 6th time, never rang more true than it did against Minnesota. Bob Ufer used to say that football was a “Game of Emotions,” and he was right. Jerry Kill and Minnesota played the “Emotion” card Saturday night, but Michigan pulled trump and played the “Never Say Die” Card. GO BLUE! It’s nice to have the Jug back in Ann Arbor!
– – – – – – – –
Like Peppers’ headgear, Sap’s virtual helmet is out of real estate and looking for new property!
I was a teenager when I heard the news and I sobbed like a baby. I just couldn’t believe it, but more importantly, I didn’t WANT to believe it.
Bob Ufer passed away 34 years ago today, and back then the significance of his passing was recognized and felt immediately by me and I’m sure, many other Michigan Football fans.
Michigan Football would never be the same I thought back then – and I was right. I knew I’d never hear, “Ten. Five. Four. Three. Two. One – TOUCHDOWN Anthony Carter!” To me, that was the end of the innocence for me and Michigan Football.
Ufe kept everything real, passionate and of course fun to listen to. Oh sure, there would be other people who would become the “Voice of Michigan Football,” but there was only one “Voice of Meeechegan Football.”
And just a I thought, the radio broadcasts were never the same. Other legendary voices called the games, but the kid in me still yearned for the days when I’d hear Ufer recite “The Bo Schembechler Scoreboard” before each game with the Old General himself.
Ufer gave the Michigan players nicknames. Rick Leach was the Guts and Glue of the Maize and Blue. John Wangler was Johnny Wingin’ Wangler. Anthony Carter was the Human Torpedo.
I get it – time moves one. Things change. It’s time to grow up. I have. I’m a husband and father now but I still miss listening to the guy that hooked me on Meeechegan Football.
So if you haven’t already, check out some classic Bob Ufer calls on my Dr. Sap YouTube Channel, or check out the latest videos I just uploaded.
Go Blue, and God Bless your cotton-pickin’ Maize and Blue Meeechegan Heart!
Fans & pundits grasp to find historical context at times like these, but no matter what you come up with doesn’t really help you explain or understand what’s going on. It’s head shaking. Michigan is destroying these teams. This game felt over when Michigan went up 14-0 just a few minutes in. It was certainly all but done at 21-0. Teams aren’t even getting decent looks at field goals right now.
All this said – State looks better than any of these teams we’ve crushed. Connor Cook is an outstanding QB. Despite this, at this point it’ll be a big let down if Michigan doesn’t win.
Sights and Sounds:
Opening Kickoffs – The last Wolverine to take the opening ball to the house was Coach Wheatley against Houston in 1992. Coincidentally the big board showed a few highlights from Tom Harmon’s performance at Cal in 1940 – and Old 98 took the first kickoff back in that game as well. Sadly #1000SSS didn’t show this highlight, Harmon’s TD run where the final “defender” was Harold Brennan, a drunk Cal fan:
• The last time U-M posted touchdowns on offense, defense and special teams was 2003 against Indiana. Steve Breaston scored on a 69-yard punt return, Jeremy LeSueur scored on a 60-yard interception for a touchdown, and Breaston scored another on a 20-yard pass from John Navarre. U-M won the game, 31-17.
Derek Jeter for Nerds. Word is that LeVar Burton has a junior daughter at U-M, and he was on prem Saturday. Below he spent a few minutes in the booth with Brandy and Dierdorf (left). The last officer on the Enterprise to visit Michigan Stadium was Patrick Stewart visit during the 2006 Ball State game:
Of course Captain Kirk did play for Bo….namely Kirk Lewis (below left), captain on Schembechler’s 1975-1976 squads. That’s the downtrodden Ron Burgundy on the right just in case you needed it right now:
Ufer Plaque: This used to sit right outside the press box on the main concourse:
After the renovation it disappeared and I wondered what happened to it. While I was tracking down Geordi LaForge, I spotted on the south wall inside the home radio booth (where Brandy and Dierdorf broadcast).
Uniform Timeline: No updates but I did notice in this shot, the block M thigh pad looks more pronounced and defined, but I’m thinking it’s just the angle, or shadows, or someone simply outlined the M with a Sharpie:
If you want 4 straight in the same season you have to go waaayy back, to 1931.
One Downside..of humiliating the Cats, we didn’t get to see another Fitz sarcastic spaz dance:
Pantone Deaf. Love these guys but the team colors are moving in the other direction, friends. Get it together in 2016 plz:
Dealing with Success: More wins = more painted jeans, bare chests, painted skulls and mock super heroes with blanket capes. Stadium and Main will look like Times Square in 3 weeks – mark my words. #harbaugheffect?
Decal Fiasco: Good god, we have 6 games (+ the results of a 38-0 shutout) yet to award and here’s Pep pregame bedazzled in helmet stickers:
The FIST OF ROMO. The great Sierra Romero flashing her softball title ring pregame:
Mood. BOOM – I guess we find out how good next week. For now:
Mudbowl – It went on despite lacking its traditional host, Sigma Alpha Epsilon. Mudbowl is a good thing – glad it went on. (HT: Geoff Voss for this photo)
Ace @ mgoblog – “The Wolverines allowed 168 yards; only 38 of those came on the ground against a Northwestern team that relied on its run game and its strong defense to win its first five games. One could easily argue the pass defense was even better than the rush defense. Jim Harbaugh said DJ Durkin called a “near-flawless game,” adding “A-plus-plus.” It would be much harder to argue that point.”
Hoover Street – “From the moment when Jehu Chesson found the seam and engaged the slipstream drive, this one was never in doubt. The profound joy of knowing that 7 points, the way the defense has been playing, might be enough to win the game, is exceptional. Just tremendous. That Michigan went on to run a meticulous series of offensive plays against a very very stout Northwestern defense, go up 21-0 at the end of the first quarter, add a logic and science defying Jourdan Lewis pick six late in the second quarter and then after a great halftime featuring the Alumni Band and, oh yeah, the New York Philharmonic’s brass section, (for what it’s worth, playing “Ode to Joy” might have been a little on the nose, but, nah, it’s all good.), it was time for classic “dull and boring football” in the second half, where all Michigan fans (and the Michigan defense) wanted to see was a preserved shutout. That a mostly full Big House was chanting “defense” with less than a minute to go in a game where Michigan had a 38 point lead, well, it reminded me of the good old days.”
Maize and Blue Nation – “I’m not saying Jehu Chesson’s opening kickoff return for a touchdown won this game, but it was the winning score. But seriously, John Baxter’s impact as special teams coach has been felt on the field just as much as Harbaugh’s or Durkin’s. O’Neill’s punts are pinpoint, coverage has been exceptional, and punt returns have become must-see TV thanks to Jabrill Peppers. Even his fair-catches are fun. It’s just a matter of time until Peppers brings one to the house and Michigan gets a punt block. Both have been close a few time this year.”
Below are a few of the more famous nicknames from Bob “THE UFE” Ufer:
* Don Lund (Ufer’s color commentary man) – Lundo * Jack Lane (Ufer’s stats man) – The Human Computer * Tom Ufer – Old #3 son * Bo Schembechler – Bo “George Patton” Schembechler, The General * Woody Hayes – Dr. Strange Hayes * Woody Hayes’s Buckeyes – Test Tubes * Earle Bruce – “Darth Vader” Bruce * Earle Bruce’s Buckeyes – Scarlet and Gray Stormtroopers * Dan Devine – Dreary Old Dan Devine * Michigan State – Jolly Green Giants * Dennis Franklin – Dennis “The Menace” Franklin * Ed Shuttlesworth – “Easy” Ed Shuttlesworth * Mike Lantry – Super Toe * Gil Chapman – The Jersey Jet * Gordon Bell – The Whirling Dervish * Rob Lytle – The Blonde Bullet, The Fremont Flash * Rick Leach – Ricky “The Peach” Leach, The Flint Phenom, The Guts and Glue of the Maize and Blue * Russell Davis – Russell “Hustle” Davis * Harlan Huckleby – Harlan “Huckleberry Finn” Huckleby * U-M’s 1978 Backfield – Huckleberry Finn deep and Tom Sawyer close * Thomas Seabron – Old Sea Dog * Mike Jolly – Butterknife, Bones * Chris Godfrey – “Manster” (half Man, half Monster) * Ron Simpkins – Boo Bear * Curtis Greer – Curtis “Harvey Martin” Greer * Roosevelt Smith – Roosevelt “Rosey” Smith * Bryan Virgil – Bryan “Ozzie” Virgil * Lawrence Reid – Lawrence “LP” Reid * John Wangler – Johnny “Winging” Wangler * Mel Owens – The Hulk * Mike Trgovac – Tiger Vac * Anthony Carter – Spider, Darter, Sparkplug, the Human Torpedo and of course just, “AC.” * Robert Thompson – Robert “Bubba Baker” Thompson * Butch Woolfolk – “My name is Butch, don’t call me Harold, Woolfolk!” * Steve Smith – Smitty
Ufer-isms And because you can’t have one without the other, here are a few common but classic phrases frequently uttered by ol’ Ufe:
* Referees – $100 an hour men * Michigan Stadium – The Hole that Yost dug, Crisler paid for and Canham carpeted * Michigan’s Tartan Turf – Canham’s Carpet * Ohio Stadium – The Snakepit * Ohio Stadium Crowd – 10,000 Michigan fans and 75,000 Truck Drivers * The Little Brown Jug – The Finest Piece of Football Crockery in America * Offensive Co-Ordinator Chuck Stobart’s Offense – Stobart’s Stallions * Jerry Hanlon’s O-Line – Hanlon’s Hustlers * Gary Moeller’s Offense – Moeller’s Marauders * Bill McCartney’s Defense – McCartney’s Monsters * Michigan Football – “Football is a religion and Saturday is the Holy Day of Obligation” * The CBs of Michigan Football – “Crisler, Benny, Bump and Bo” * Ali Haji-Shiekh – “the only Iranian I know who wears cowboy boots” * Out of the endzone kickoffs – “Aluminum Beer Cans – Non-Returnable” * “Closer than fuzz on a gnat’s eye “ * “Like a bat out of … you know where bats come from” * “Pickin’ ‘em up and layin’ ‘em down” * Two things you can always count on Ufer saying: football is a game of emotions, and games are always won or lost up front in the trenches.
An update to your U-M style guides: Those of us who love Bob Ufer have often tried to type out how Ufe, imitating Yost, liked to say Michigan. Until today I settled on “Meechigan”. I believe John U. Bacon goes with “Meeshegan”. I’ve seen many other variations here and there.
Well, thumbing through an old 1979 game program I found a piece published by Ufe as part of the 100 year anniversary of the football program and it appears as though Ufe went with “Meeehegan” with 3 (ok, technically 4) Es:
The bar was mercifully empty except for a tiny, longhaired, black leather jacket clad junkie looking guy and his much taller, Tina Louise looking girlfriend. That man was Iggy Pop. While the bartender retrieved the beers, I gushed all over my fellow Michigan expat.
“You’re Iggy Pop, man. I love your stuff. I’m from Michigan too,” I rambled on, sounding as moronic as the Pop is accused of being by some of his critics.
Iggy pointed to my t-shirt with the word Michigan splayed across my chest. “Meeschigan,” he said, holding his right arm in front of his slight chest in a 90-degree angle. “Meeschigan.”
After a minute or so of gushing and trying to open up a conversation with the man who’s music, with the Stooges anyway, was the soundtrack to much of my late adolescence and early adulthood, all I could get out of the guy was “Meeschigan.” As I turned to go back to the boys, I decided Iggy was either too burned out by the adulation of the years and hero worshiping kids like me or the critics were right. He was so sort of junkie savant. Either way, I was utterly confused by our meeting.
Chad and Josh had moved back towards the bar purely for matters of self-defense. The area in front of the stage had become one large, seething slam dance. I was grateful I didn’t have to navigate the flannel hipster clad rage to get the guys their beer so I didn’t mention my odd Iggy Pop encounter.
Half an hour later, AMC had gone through a series of ballads that failed to alter the weird, contained rage from the mosh pit. I felt a tug at my shirt and turned around. I looked down right at Iggy Pop.
“Meeschigan,” he said, his arm cocked at that 90-degree angle.
“Meeschigan,” I answered him, my arm at the same angle. He turned and walked out with his Ginger look alike on his arm.
All these years later, our quick meeting still confuses the hell out of me, even more so than his appearance on American Idol.
Steve “Dr. Sap” Sapardanis bids adieu to a painful 2014 with a final offering of decals to a handful of seniors.
But before that, did you catch ESPN’s GameDay on Saturday? It included a nice piece on the rivalry and the Michigan banner, including a short clip of the Buckeyes tearing down the coveted slice of canvas in ‘73 synchronized with Bob Ufer’s epic audio description of that dastardly deed. Guess who put that together and shipped it off to ESPN? That’s right..Dr. Sap himself! Here’s a low res version of the full clip Sap provided to our friends in Bristol:
Those painful dekes:
DEVIN GARDNER? – We watched a gutty and gutting end to New 98’s career on Saturday. In between the first pass/interception of the game and the fumble that gave OSU the clinching score, Gardner played his heart out and did all he could to help UM win. Problem is, he also helped OSU win. Take away those free 14 points and we have an even ballgame.
I don’t want to remember Gardner for his interception and fumble. I want to remember him for his courage for keeping UM in the game. I want to remember him for his compassion when he went over and consoled J.T. Barrett when he broke his ankle. Instead, I am reminded of a Demetrius Brown-like talent that was so good he made you cheer, and at other times he was so confounding he made you sneer. So…Devin Gardner?
JAKE RYAN? – Much like Gardner, I want to remember Ryan for leaving it all on the field Saturday. The image of him flying around, throwing his body all over the place to make the tackle was offset by two other images: whiffing on Barrett as Ryan’s surgically repaired knee couldn’t make that extra move to tackle the OSU QB as he ran for a first half score, and failing to wrap up Ezekiel Elliott on the clinching 4th and 1 touchdown late in the game. So…Jake Ryan?
SPECIAL TEAMS CHAMPION
WILL HAGERUP? – I don’t know. Dude was suspended three times and came back for this? He put one inside the 20-yard line and averaged over 40 yards on 4 punts. I can’t really give it to Norfleet for starting the game off like he did, so…Will Hagerup?
HELMET COLOR – After dealing with all the crap this season, I finally had enough of seeing the wrong shade of yellow on the M helmets! It was painfully obvious to me that it was not right the correct color and it’s time we got it right!
Maybe it was the culmination of everything that we had to deal with this year, including the all blue unis, but for some reason the color of the yellow on the Michigan helmets was painfully out of synch with the rest of the uniform. The shade of yellow/maize didn’t match the pants. It didn’t match the yellow trim on the jersey. Heck, it didn’t even match the yellow shoes worn by some of the Wolverines. Time for Riddell to get it right! If they can’t get it right, then they need someone to help get it right. Consider myself volunteered!
On this day in 1979…still gives me the chills. Via the great WolverineHistorian:
While it was somewhat of a self-fulfilling prophecy I suppose, I love that in all the madness Ufer recognized that play in the context of Michigan football history when he offers that it will be remembered for another 100 years (’79 of course was the 100th anniversary of the program). We can safely say that’s true of course, looking back 35 years later and it’s probably more to do with Ufer’s call than the play itself.
God bless your cotton pickin’ maize and blue fedora-covered ears, old Ufe returns Saturday!
Continuinganawesometradition, starting at 9am Saturday WTKA 1050AM will air another game from the Bob Ufer radio archives, this time the battle between the #11 ranked Michigan men and #16-ranked Michigan State at Spartan Stadium played on October 6, 1979.
A huge thanks to the great Dr. Sap, a few clips from the game for you:
So after weeks of ignoring those important in your life, tune in while you are making good with your spouse, friends, family or putting rake to leaf in the yard. Go Blue!
Stats, as you can see Braylon’s old man carried the load. [more stats here]