maratop[4]

 

It was an odd vibe before the game.  While the atmosphere was a little more exciting than usual, probably due to the timing and the collective BAC, I asked few folks how they felt things would go in the game. 

Devin mgoblue Usually folks narrow in on a player or two or say something like ‘if we can just run the ball..’ or ‘if we don’t turn the ball over..or whatever.  Yesterday I got looks of confusion, bewilderment and/or just disinterest. 

The problem is fans don’t know up from down right now—the compass is broken, man.  It’s a bad place to be.  Last night’s win didn’t fix that but damn, it was nice to walk out of there with a win.

Speaking of up from down, these things happened:
* Players wearing blue pants
* Punt returners doing choreographed pre-punt dance routines with personally selected music blasting over the PA
* MMB doing light shows

If you told me 10 years ago that these things would eventually happen in the Big House I would have hurled.  Somehow last night each of those things worked for me (seriously).  More below.

To the game: Quick props out there to CAPTAIN Jake Ryan for getting better each week and leading the defense in putting up an inspiring performance.  And to Matt Wile for drilling those crucial field goals that proved to be the difference out there.  And finally to Devin Gardner…thank 98 if you see him about town.  He was clearly hurt but sacked up and made it back out to finish the game and make the next two weeks tolerable.

Arena
* No boycott – While there was talk of a pregame boycott there clearly was no boycott.  John (Captain Torso) Navarre went on WTKA pregame & urged students to not do it.  In fact the student section was a filled up early as it’s been all season.  I’m glad the students showed en masse.
* Section 23 Bo – This is great.  The usher all the way atop section 23 (50 yard line on the west side) affixed a Bo-bblehead doll to the wall outside the Regent’s box.  I love it:

Bo Usher

I know some of you want to stick something else outside the Regent’s box but please…maintain your dignity.

After the jump – Pomp, Uniforms, Tunnels of Love, MMB Killing it, Norfleet, MORFleet, More, more..

More »

Ed.  Steve Sapardanis aka “Dr. Sap” is back with his decals. 

This week I added the Editor’s Pick & the Fan Award.  Here are the picks from Week 1, Week 2, Week 3, Week 4, Week 5, Week 6 and Week 7 and Week 8 and Week 9 and Week 10 and Week 11.

OFFENSE

JEREMY GALLON – I think “10-Gallon Hat” played his best and toughest game as a Wolverine on Saturday. He made several big time and clutch catches that kept drives alive and played with a level of determination that I had not seen out of him. He clearly understood the magnitude of the game and stepped up his own accordingly.

DEFENSE

FRANK CLARK – His blind-side sack on Braxton Miller in the second quarter was a TREMENDOUS hit and one that evoked memories for me of another seismic hit in a big game. In the 1979 Rose Bowl, Michigan linebacker Jerry Meter almost decapitated USC QB Paul McDonald on a similar play. I’ve put the two next to each other below – amazing how similar they look!

clip_image002

SPECIAL TEAMS

DENNIS NORFLEET – I’m going with #26 here not because of his returns. It was his heads up play on OSU’s muffed punt that gave Michigan the ball. He swatted the ball towards his teammates and allowed Marvin Robinson to make the recovery for UM. He also got away with a facemask call on a kick-return tackle he made, but believe me, you will take ANY calls that go your way in Columbus because they are certainly few and far between.

[Ed. Plus there was this:]

HUSTLER /
SPARKPLUG

DENARD ROBINSON & JORDAN KOVACS – Even with one hand and recognizing the turnovers that happened, Denard is still the most electric player I’ve watched since Anthony Carter. His 67-yard TD run was electrifying and brought you out of your seat. Kovacs gave it everything he had and left it on the field on Saturday. He is a player I wish would never use up his eligibility and never leave the program because he is MICHIGAN. Note to the coaching staff: can you find a few more like him?

EDITOR’S PICK

ROY ROUNDTREE -  Was a baller out there Saturday and even went inverted:

UNIFORM CHAMP

SHORT-SLEEVE HOKE – Before we get into WHO Coach Hoke looked like by going with short-sleeves at the Horseshoe in November (his initials are Wayne Woodrow Hayes), let me tell you first-hand how cold it was in Ohio Stadium.

Sure there were flurries and yes it was 31 degrees at kickoff, but it was the wind that was making it MUCH colder than the announced temperature. I wore the following while sitting in the upper deck of the Snakepit on Saturday: two pairs of socks, thermal underwear, lined sweat pants, t-shirt, turtleneck, two sweatshirts, a hooded-sweatshirt and a full-length coat with attached hood AND I WAS STILL FREEZING!!
I don’t know how you did it, coach!

UFER MAIZE & BLUE
FEDORA FAN

how about KRYK AND DR. SAP (right)?!


WOLVERINE WALDO
:
wegotthis 

 

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The hugs and smiles were flying and that’s how you do Senior Day.  Hoke’s got the hug thing down pat, and it’s tough to beat this for smiles:

Denard Robinson Smile - MVictors.com

Misc from Saturday:

* Squibs.  Only use a squib kick if it’s the last play of the half or game, or in other words, if there are around four or fewer ticks left on the clock.  Or anytime Rocket Ismail is on the field.  No exceptions.

* Student No-Shows.  OK, beside Fitz’s brutal injury there was one downer.  And now I’m pissed.  It’s one thing to show up late (and the ESPN opening shot from the south end zone just before kickoff was damn embarrassing) but to not show up at all?   I don’t get it.   Sorry youngsters, but #1000SSS should remove a section or two of student tickets and sell them to folks who are waiting for season ducats.   And by the way, for what it’s worth it looks even worse from the sideline due to the slope of the stadium—it appears as though half of the students didn’t show.  I can’t help but wonder how many players were shaking their winged noggins.  When PA announcer Carl Grapentine executed what I think is an awesome U-M tradition—calling out for each U-M class, freshman through seniors, to sound off—it was a complete mess:Empty Michigan student section

* Captains of 132:  This is what it’s all about.  There were many former legends in the house, including Bump Elliott and Don Lund.   Loved seeing Captains Koger and Martin representing, here postgame.  As Martin put in on Twitter, this was some “family business”:

Mike Martin and Kevin Koger

 * Helping Out.  Speaking of former U-M’ers, man, what an NFL career Stevie Brown is putting together with the NY Giants.   Check out John Kryk’s piece on Brown if you missed it.  Here’s Brown with Treezy postgame:

Roy Roundtree and Stevie Brown

Brown was in town selling some of his T-shirts, which supports Hurricane Sandy relief via and the Red Cross.  Get some:

stevie brown t shirt

* Strength of Schedule.  So if you put aside the Ohio State situation, by most measures heading into the last week of the regular season Michigan in 2012 will have faced the top few, maybe top 3, teams in the country in Notre Dame, Alabama and the Bucks.   That used to count for something.   Take 1945, the year featured on Saturday’s ‘This Week in Michigan Football’ segment.  Michigan dropped games at Yankee Stadium vs. Army, at Baltimore Stadium vs. Navy, and in Ann Arbor against Indiana.  Those teams finished #1, #2, and #4 respectively.  So where did The Fritzmen end up?  Number 6.  

* Last time.  So this is the final time we’ll see Denard not lace up of these beauties in Michigan Stadium:

Denard Robinson Shoelaces - MVictors.com

* But I don’t Hate you, man.  I ran into a few very friendly Iowa fans downtown after the premiere of the Billy Taylor movie Friday night.  I gave them my typical “good luck” and chatted for a little bit.  It got me to thinking about where, today, we view Iowa as a rival and vice versa.
Then I thought about everyone else.  
Then I made a chart. 
Then I posted it here:
[Ed.  Then I updated it with Rutgers and Maryland and reposted it]:

Hatred Index 

More here from MVictors:

  • Senior Day Pageantry (Photos)
  • Bear Hugs Aplenty
  • TWIMFbH: Platooning to Stop Davis, Blanchard (1945)
  • Moeller and Holtz Breaking Down “The Catch”

     

    Elsewhere:
    Iowa Postgame Presser: Brady Hoke – mgoblog
    Alternate Endingmgoblog
    Blue – Hoover Street Rag
    Iowa Wrap-Up – Maize and Blue Nation
    Game Photos – UMGoBlue

     

     

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  • Win 902 will be remembered for a long time and Brady Hoke is clearly a bit charmed. 

    While Treezy’s ridiculous catch will naturally be the play everyone remembers, that comeback required quite a couple mistakes by Northwestern and few great plays to set up Gardner’s heave and of course to win the game in overtime.  

    First, let me grab my retro-spectacles to ensure my vision is 20-20.  That’s better…I can see clearly now.   For openers, Northwestern took that delay of game penalty on 4th down on the U-M 44.  They should have just punted it there and not sacrificed the five yards.  Then, with the ball at midfield, the punter hit a short, line-drive right into Gallon’s hands which is just about the worst thing that can happen.  I’m assuming that Fitz told his punter to get the ball off quickly to avoid a block, but Hoke outflanked him by setting up the return to the surprise of a few folks including Brian Griese up in the ESPN booth.   Then Treezy somehow was singled covered down the field before the lucky tip and the epic grab.  

    To Michigan’s credit, props to Hoke for calling the punt return.  Heck, he even putting an extra man back there instead going with the block.  Next, after Roundtree’s grab, cheers to the offense for getting down the field and lining up so quickly to set up the spike to kill the clock.  Finally, was anyone out there really worried about Gibby’s kick?  He’s been in that situation so many times and is absolute money– we’re actually taking the guy for granted.

    Misc, Misc, Misc, et cetera:

    KD Dang! Is it me, or was that a bizarre formation on the final play of the game?  Brian will explain it I am certain.  In any case you can’t argue with the results:

    vpdmh3

    Snot locker! 

    Cheers to you.  Once again #1000SSS did a very nice job with the Legends presentation.    But the big props goes to fans in attendance.  I wander up to the photo deck to catch the pregame activities and the roars The Ox received when Grapes announced he was at midfield was amazing.  Nicely done.  Here’s are all the #11s on the field once again:

    #11 Wistert Brothers - Michigan 

    Five Decades.  Speaking of the banner, Happy 50th Birthday to you—here’s ‘Lace and Treezy  and the new #11 – Capt. Jordan Kovacs — leading the way:

    GO BLUE banner turns 50 - Denard Robinson, Roy Roundtree

    Tweet:  mgo-Heiko noting we’ve seen this act before:

    heiko

    Maintain your Dignity.  I still have a lot of respect for Pat Fitzgerald and Northwestern, and I would have been cool if he was the guy who replaced Rich Rod…but this was grass eating weird, gobble gobble turkey weird.  I spotted his sarcastic(?) little dance from the south end zone and while I was 99% sure I had to ask the dude next to me, “Is that Fitz?”  

    Pat Spazgerald Did Mike Tyson bite his ear off?   And BTW that looked like a complete crap call anyway.   Maintain your dignity, homes.

    Willie’s Head.  I got a little too close to Willie the Wildcat before the game and so did Brad from MBN:

    Willie the Wildcat via Brad at Maize and Blue Nation 

    I can confirm, as the Sklar Brothers know, that the inside of Willie’s furry head smells like Doritos, Jagermeister and broken dreams. 

    Elsewhere:

    Maize and Blue Nation photos and UMGoBlue photos.  Dell killed it on this one.  Walk off shot:

    Devin Gardner Touchdown - Dell Callihan - UMGoBlue.com - 2012 
    Does the pylon make a ‘ting!’ sound like tapping a wine glass?

    Recent but Related:

  • Mud Bowl 2012 (Photos)
  • Dr. Sap’s Decals – Northwestern Style
  • Merry TipMas
  • Hail! Al Wistert, Back in the Big House
  • TWIMFbH: Fifty Years of The Banner (1962)

     

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  • Check out more postgame jug photos here, and of course pregame shots here. 

    Devin Gardner run and cuts against Minnesota 2012

    Slash!  Gardner heading here:

    Michigna's Devin Gardner stretches for a touchdown against Minnesota - TCF Bank Stadium

     

    Devin Gardner and Denard Robinson chat during 2nd Half - Minnesota 2012

    Gardner and Capt. Robinson comparing notes

    Minnesota Marching Band - Drumline

    Gopher drumline adding some pageantry

     

    Michigan Gang Tackle 

    Gang tackle.  There are few extra legs and feet in there somehow like the Iwo Jima Memorial

     

    "No More Minnesota Nice" T-Shirt and Mandy Pepperidge

    Deep sigh.   Guys, it’s hard to take the ‘No More Minnesota Nice’ thing seriously when you flash the hearty double thumbs up next to Mandy Pepperidge – who herself looks like she just found a box of puppies.   And memo to the guy below:  I know Gangnam Style is irresistible but you made a commitment when you put on that shirt and the eye black.

    Minnesota fan goes Gangnam Style

     

    Roy Roundtree positions to make catch - 2012 Minnesota

    I haven’t seen the reply yet but this is the play where Roundtree wrestled the catch down near the goal line to set up the score.   Would love to see a little more of Wrestlin’ Roy the rest of the way.   Here he is telling the back judge what was up:

    Roy Roundtree argues for interference

     

    Minnesota helmet heaters/coolers/cozies

    Until just now, I thought there were merely cute little helmet cozies on the back of the bench, certainly worthy of a post here for many reasons.  Upon further review- they are actually hooked up to a propane-fueled heating (or cooling?) system.  Gophers know how to deal with the elements, that’s for certain.

     

    Devin Gardner slashes at Minnesota 2012

    Slash Part II.

     

    View from TCF Bank Stadium press box

    View from the press box – first class all the way.

     

    Brandin Hawthorne carries Little Brown Jug

    Did she reach it?  Careful now!

     

    So much more:

  • Dr. Sap’s Decals – Gopher Edition
  • Gopher Pregame Photos
  • Jug Secured!
  • Denard’s Arm and Beer
  • Happy Birthday–Coach Hoke!
  • Getting to Minneapolis
  • TWIMFbH: Avenging Ithaca and Forming the League (1894)
  • Little Brown Jug Lore: What Really Happened in the 1930s
  • Electrifying Game

  • It’s a beautiful day!   No question the star of the game was this guy, who once again showed poise beyond his years:001-Trey-Burke_thumb[1]

    That photo was taken after Burke’s first start of the year in game 2 against Towson.   Back then I wrote this:

    Burke is a cool cat for a true freshman by the way.  He admitted he was a little nervous before the game after [getting] the nod for the start, but he certainly wasn’t nervous breaking the game down for the media.

    I think that was the last time he was nervous because that’s a cool dude.   He’s cooler than Treezy with shades in the Maize Rage.  And he not only led the team with the ball most notably creating the game winning score, he made several very nice plays on defense.   In the final seconds (after he’d been on the court all but a couple minutes of the game) he had the awareness to help out Novak to stop Green’s drive just past the stripe, and he while he didn’t get the rebound, he turned, got a body on Green and broke up Green’s attempt to tip the ball in. 

    Radio >>  As an aside, I had the unique opportunity to listen to a portion of the game on the radio while heading back to the area.  I caught about 10 minutes of the game on WJR with George Blaha Will Tieman on the Spartan Radio network and now I know what play-by-play sounded like in the 1950s in Indiana.   When I got in range of WTKA 1050AM I flipped over to Matt Shepard and David Merritt and what a difference.  And trust me, this isn’t a Green vs. Blue thing.  Each guy is fair albeit with a clear (and understandable) leaning toward the teams they cover, but the difference between the quality of the broadcasts is severe.  Props to Shep for delivering an outstanding call—he’s quick with the info, actually helps you visualize what is going on and, something he’s always done well, brings great energy.