11. October 2015 · Comments Off on Wildcat Goose Egg Champions | Dr. Sap’s Decals · Categories: 2015 · Tags: , , , , , ,

Guest post by Steve “Dr. Sap” Sapardanis

I was there at Michigan Stadium when this last happened.  

When Michigan last rolled out three straight shutouts, I had the same reaction in 1980 as I did on Saturday – “Wow!  Didn’t see that coming!!”Granted, 35 years ago the Wolverines stymied some pretty good QB’s, with one of them being the all-time leading passer in NCAA history, but as the old hockey saying goes, “They don’t ask how – they just ask how many.”  So true and so impressive.   Even more impressive are this week’s Champions:

SPECIAL TEAMS CHAMPION – Typically the Special Teams Champion gets also-ran, ho-hum coverage – not anymore!  I’ve played on enough teams and watched enough football to realize that the truly great teams end up getting contributions from different players each week.  Saturday against Northwestern was a classic example.  In recent weeks I have mentioned how the defense may have set the tone early in the game with an INT, or how the offense may have set the tone by dominating and driving for an early score.  Well, Jehu Chesson sent a message that hasn’t been sent since Tyrone Wheatley returned the opening kickoff for a touchdown against Houston in 1992.  We’ve all seen how masterful Coach Baxter has been with these Special Teams in the first six games.  They are starting to look quite special indeed.

DEFENSIVE CHAMPION – Like I said, three straight shutouts is three straight shutouts – even if they have been against freshman QB’s.  Nonetheless, like Chris Speilman said a couple of weeks ago, the Big Ten has been put on notice – this team and this defense is for real.  Jourdan Lewis‘s pick-six was an unbelievable play and just the defensive exclamation point needed to remind Northwestern that there was not going to be any overtime in this year’s game. 

OFFENSIVE CHAMPION – There was a reason Joe Kerridge ran for 34 yards on a fullback dive play.  There was a reason nine Wolverines carried the ball for over 200 yards.  There was a reason Jake Rudock went 17 of 23 for 179 yards passing.  The offensive line imposed their will on the Wildcats, but more importantly they played with a quiet confidence and swagger that we haven’t seen from a Michigan o-Line in a loooong time. 

UNIFORM CHAMPION – I do like those maize and blue gloves worn by most of the defense on Saturday.  Could that be the reason Northwestern missed their field goal early in the game?  You have to admit, they do catch your eye.  Wonder if that’s what the Wildcat kicker was looking at when his kick went awry?  Think about it – those gloves preserved the shutout and the shutout streak!  OK, maybe not. 

Decals dealt out in previous weeks:

    • Utah: Jake Butt, Jabrill Peppers, Blake O’Neill, (Uniform: White Road Uniforms), John Kryk
    • Oregon State:  De’Veon Smith, Chris Wormley, Delano Hill, The Coaching Staff
    • UNLV:  Ty Issac, Channing Stribling, Blake O’Neill
    • BYU: Jake Rudock, Defensive Line, Jabrill Peppers, (Uniform: Properly Hiked up White Socks), Amara Darboh
    • Maryland: Drake Johnson, Desmond Morgan, Kenny Allen, (Uniform: Blue lyrca leggings).
    • Northwestern:

Sap’s virtual helmet for those keeping score (it’s starting to look like Peppers!):

sap helmet

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12. September 2014 · Comments Off on Grabbing Glory from the Brink | TWIMFbH (1980) · Categories: 2014 · Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

1980 Michigan Nortwestern

I’m not going to lie, I think a little bit of Paul from Toledo rubbed off on me for this week’s edition of This Week in Michigan Football History:

You can catch all of the This Week in Michigan Football History clips here…And don’t forget to catch it live Saturday on the KeyBank Countdown to kick-off on WTKA 1050AM or inside the Bud Light Victors Lounge starting at 11:30am.


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Plenty to dole out, take it away Sap:

Adidas: 1 decal for bringing back the white socks on the road with a little block M on them a la Tom Harmon and the boys back in 1939!  (Editor’s note:  Might have to take this decal away.  There’s obviously something wrong with the 2011 away jerseys, causing some of players to switch to last year’s model!   Get that fixed, Beaverton) 
Dhani Jones: 1 decal for Rocking The Bowtie before, during and after the game! Hey, Dhani, how about a Bowtie with U-M helmet decals on it?   Dr. Sap would make the switch to a bowtie if that were the case – GUARANTEED!!
Greg Mattison: 1 decal for 2nd half shutout of Wildcats – Very Bill McCartney-esque!
Denard Robinson: 5 decals – 9-yard TD pass to Watson in 1st QTR; 25-yard TD pass to Gallon in 2nd QTR; 2-yard TD run in 3rd QTR minus one shoe; 5-yard TD run in 4th QTR, +1 editor’s pick for running up to the crowd on the final score.
Defense: 3 decals for each member of unit – 4th down stop in 2nd QTR; 4th down stop in 4th QTR; pitching a shutout in 2nd Half.
Desmond Morgan:  +1, editor’s choice, for flying over the NW offense line in an attempt to sack Persa.
Jordan Kovacs: 3 decals – TFL on 4th down stop in 2nd QTR; Pontiac Game Changing Play in 4th QTR (ripping Persa’s helmet off on Safety Blitz!); Goalline tackle at end of game preserving 2nd half shutout.
Thomas Gordon: 2 decals for Forced Fumble/Strip and Fumble Recovery on same play – outstanding!
Vincent Smith: 2 decals, editor’s choice, for the 2 solo tackles on the NW interception return.  Little man is tough.  And he mixed it up a bit with one of the Wildcat lineman after the first, nicely done.
Junior Hemingway: 1 decal for 48-yard reception in 1st QTR. (Junior Megatron?)
Steve Watson: 1 decal for 9-yard TD reception in 1st QTR.
Jeremy Gallon: 1 decal for 25-yard TD reception in 2nd QTR.
Mark Huyge: 1 decal for kick-out block on Gallon TD.
Ryan Van Bergen: 1 decal for Pass Break Up in 2nd QTR.
Roy Roundtree: 1 decal for 57-yard reception in 3rd QTR.
Devin Gardner: 2 decals, 1-yard TD run in 3rd QTR, and +1 editor’s pick for handling the reins like a vet while Denard was out.
Brandin Hawthorne: 1 decal for diving interception in 3rd QTR.
Michael Shaw: 1 decal for 2-yard TD run in 4th QTR.
Blake Countess: 1 decal for PBU in 4th QTR.
Will Campbell: 2 decals, 1 for sack in 4th QTR, +1 editor’s pick for barreling off the field top speed at the end of the game, to the delight of the Michigan faithful.
Kenny Demens: 1 decal for TFL.
Craig Roh:  1/2 decal for 3rd QTR 1/2 sack along with Mike Martin. 
Mike Martin: 1/2 decal for 3rd QTR 1/2 sack along with Craig Roh.


Dr. Sap’s Decals – Minnesota

Dr. Sap’s Decals – San Diego State

Dr. Sap’s Decals – Eastern Michigan

10. October 2011 · Comments Off on Michigan 42, Northwestern 24 + the Misc. · Categories: 2011 · Tags: , , , , , , ,

rickshawWhat a great night in Evanston and props to the throngs of Michigan fans who made the trip, many of whom blew my doors off on I-94 topping 95 MPH.  

After parking several blocks from the stadium, I was running a tad late so I flagged your typical pregame rickshaw driver and cruised to the stadium in style (left).

OK, maybe it wasn’t the best idea as something smelled funny back there and I got ruined by a few of the pickled fans as I cruised by.  But I shaved off a couple minutes and dude, it was hot.

For a small stadium, boy, it was a bear getting in.  Lines to get into your gate were brutally long and the press box elevators were jammed.

As far as the ballgame, a few thoughts:

  • Don’t you feel like, for the first time in a long while, that Michigan clearly has the advantage in coordinators?  While there is room for improvement, it’s a blast to see Borges tinker around with Denard and Gardner, and the defense has rattled several quarterbacks this season and has clearly improved.  The team seems to get better as the game goes on.
  • Speaking a Gardner, I love see him getting snaps and building confidence.  While Denard hasn’t been dinged up as much as he was last year (not sure why—he seems like he’s just as active running the ball?) you know Gardner is going to have to play during a significant stretch or two like he did this week.
  • On defense, it’s so good to see guys making holding contain on the outside and getting in position, settling their feet and making tackles.  Yes, a few guys over-pursued BADLY in the first half, but in general, these guys really are tackling well.    I have to look at the film but Thomas Gordon stood out on several plays.
  • I’m guessing they wouldn’t have had enough evidence to overturn Hawthorne’s interception either way.  If they called it incomplete on the field, I think that would have stood up.  The Northwestern folks in the press box were convinced (vocally) that it should have been overturned.  Oh well.   And I think the fumble proved to be out before the knee hit but it was close, again, maybe if it wasn’t call that way on the field they would have let the play on the field stand.
  • I think we all accept that you have to toss out your conventional understanding of what a quarterback should do when you’ve got Denard, but man, some of those throws in the first half…yeessh.   Until he proves to be more effective throwing the pigskin there’s just no way this is a top 10 team. 
  • The errant passes yielded one nice perk—it gave you a look at Vincent Smith’s tackling skills.  He made solo tackles on the first two picks and they were nice.  #toughness!
    The Misc:

Jersey Reversion.  I got a few emails and tweets just like this from reader Nick:

    Any chance you can ask Jon Falk about why the d-lineman (namely Roh,
    van Bergen, Martin, and Campbell that I can remember) are all wearing
    last year’s road jersey w/ the maize side stripe tonight in Evanston?
    Thanks and Go Blue!

    Looks like Denard has the striped version on as well, at least at the end of the game, and notice the other guys don’t:


    I have no idea.   I reached out to Dr. Sap for his take so we’ll see what he comes up with.  He initially suggested it might be a fit/feel thing for the lineman.  As far as reaching out to Jon Falk, I generally lay off badgering him about uniform minutia mid-season but maybe I’ll ask media relations.  [Update: a spy tells me that the d lineman feel that the 2011 jerseys are too easy to grab, thus they went with the older style.  We’ll see if that’s fixed next week!]  [Update #2:  Per media relations, this was more of a function of the players reverting to their “backup” jerseys after the regular unis suffered some rips.]

    Golf Clapping, Maybe.   They make an announcement each week in the Michigan press box “…a reminder that this is a working press box, no cheering allowed..”.   I didn’t hear that announcement and there was clearly some clapping going on by a few guys who appeared to work for the University.  I don’t care really (it might be more fun if people were cheering), I’m just saying it was different.

    Two #1 Throwbacks.  Former WR David Terrell donning the limited edition #1 throwback:

Purple Chill.  This nice couple apparently won the raffle and got to chill out in purplicious La-Z-Boys in one of the Michigan-dominated corners of the stadium.   Congrats, you won a front row seat to the 2nd half beat down while being heckled relentless by thousands of visiting fans:


Not Heckled.  The folks got a nice view of the final touchdown of the game.  And #16 even went up and paid a quick visit to the faithful:

denard  backpack 
Denard scored and skipped past the only thing that nearly tripped him up on the play—my backpack with my PC and gear.   When I checked to make sure my laptop wasn’t damaged, I noticed all Denard apparently applied all the latest hotfixes and patches as he passed by.  Dang he’s fast!

Get Honor.  The Otto Graham Honor Roll, nicely done.  But I like the Michigan Legend concept better:

honor roll 


Bo Bites.  It was wild hearing later that Nebraska came back and beat Ohio State. 

And even wilder was that postgame handshake, as I think Bo Pelini went in to whisper something but Fickell just kept moving. 


18. May 2010 · Comments Off on Dufek’s Homer – The Call (audio) · Categories: Archive 2009 · Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Love this photo – mgoblue.com

Certainly by now you’ve heard of Michigan’s epic comeback from down 14 runs to Northwestern this weekend on Senior Day.   The story made it to SportsCenter and prompted ESPN to ask, ‘Are you Serious?’

WTKA’s Ira Weintraub called the game on the radio and was kind enough to forward over a clip of his call the Dufek’s bomb.  Per Ira, “Not a great call, but not bad for a guy who has now called 8 baseball games in the last 10 years!!”  

Not to bad indeed, and note Weintraub using the Harwell technique of letting the crowd and band paint the scene after the blast:


For more, check out frequent mgoblog diarist FormerlyAnonymous who gave his account of the game.   (HT: Ace @ TWB)

And speaking of WKTA 1050AM, Rich Maloney’s call into Sam and Ira this morning is worth a listen.   Maloney effectively acknowledged the was over at 13-0, telling his players that no team of his has ever quit during a game, and it wouldn’t be happening today.  That said, he did tell the guys that the wind was blowing out and their pitching was a bit depleted.  Who knew?  Unfortunately I don’t see the podcast up there yet; it is comes up I’ll toss up a link.

22. January 2009 · Comments Off on The Grind, Beilein audio and Wildcat mix-tape · Categories: Archive 2009, Coach Beilein, Hoops, Jokes, Michigan State · Tags: , ,

After the Penn State loss, I’m guessing most M fans would say a NCAA tourney bid is not going to happen in 2009. That’s of course a 180 from just over a week ago, but we were warned by a few folks this season might go this way. Shots aren’t falling and the team is struggling, Coach Beilein talked with Sam Webb and Andy Evans this morning on WTKA about where the team is at, what he’s doing to get things back on track, and how he & Pittsnogle faced a similar slump one year at West Virginia:

The situation is even worse than Brian at mgoblog suggested just earlier this week:

Moving forward, the last two games have blown whatever margin of error Michigan had in their effort to make the tournament. Even if you assume wins home and away against Northwestern and away against Iowa—potentially dodgy but absolutely necessary to make the tourney—you have to find three wins in these games to get Michigan to .500 in conference:

Home: Penn State, Michigan State, Minnesota, Purdue
Away: Ohio State, Purdue, Minnesota

Yikes. One of those assumed games is Saturday’s tilt against Kevin Coble and the bomb-dropping Northwestern Wildcats who showed Michigan State a little something called style last night at Breslin. A few highlights from the action, you’ve got to see these guys:

And more….I can’t get enough of these guys: