10/22/2005 - Michigan 23-20 Iowa - 5-3, 3-2 Big Ten
Last second victories are great--much preferred to last second losses. But it begins to wear on you when the team ends up staring grim, possibly peg-legged defeat in the eye week after week, playing bingo for the souls of Michigan fans everywhere.
Thus the difference between my reactions at the end of the Penn State and Iowa games. When the New Math cradled it home I spent minutes hopping up and down, screaming things that were only vaguely English. When Jerome Jackson fell mercifully into the endzone, I pumped a fist, muttered something about running on third and five, and needed some valium and a nap. Instead of elation the primary emotion was relief. It was still a good time, but once in a while I would like a relaxing time. I would like to make it Suntory Time.
That's why this column is posted on Monday instead of the OMG WOOHOO 12 PM Sunday stamp "The New Math" received. I spent Sunday on other tasks, reading books I've read before, fiddling with bits, etc. I've got no poetic to wax after the Iowa game, no nicknames to bestow. Just like invoking the name of your demon-kitten god over and over, the punch behind a nailbiting victory is reduced when it comes after a season of nailbiters. Fatalism takes over. We will either win or we will lose, but we deserve whatever Angry Michigan Safety Hating God decides to give us.
Still, it's nicer today than it would have been if the final score was something like 21-17, extremely probable-seeming until Kirk Ferentz decided to Lloydball his way into a game-tying field goal by running rather passively on first down inside the redzone. That was odd, especially given that Drew Tate had been near perfect all day. Paired with Michigan's run run run punt with three minutes left that was a carbon copy of the mistake Carr made against Penn State and vowed never to make again, it was akin to games of tetherball I watched as a child where one popular kid would play another popular kid. Whenever a game would come close to finishing, the loser would say "okay" and the winner would let up before the final death blow. The game would continue as I stood in line, silently planning my evil revenge (unconsummated to this day).
The cumulative effect was as if the Universe was indeed Trying To Kill Nana, if by "Nana" you mean me, by ratcheting up the pressure week after week until critical tubes in various life-sustaining portions of my body decided that structural integrity was as overrated as Texas Tech. Eventually you have two choices in life: go starkly bats or shut off, repress things, and set yourself up for post-traumatic flashbacks. I chose door number B.
That's a shame because that was a hell of a run by Breaston and a hell of a catch by Avant, but I've got all my tubes in working order. So I've got that going for me.
(no, I don't really know why the grim defeat is possibly peg-legged.)
The following probably says something terrible about our consumption-based society or whatever, but mostly I just think it's sweet (video will take a while to load as I am primitive and this is much larger than it has to be and not streaming):
If you'd like to download the file and keep it forever-ever, (and who wouldn't?) click here. Also, if anyone knows of some good open source video editing software, please inform me of its existence.
Blogpollers and assorted hangers-on are invited to post comments of any sort regarding the state of college football here; leave trackbacks or links to your posts about games you watched and sit back and revel in your genius.
Michigan's picked up a commitment from NY DE John Ferrera, a three star guy who was totally off guru radar screen as far as I know. Michigan's sent out a second wave of offers to a bunch of three stars since this is looking to be a bit of a down year in recruiting. Ferrara appears to be the first to accept the offer.
You should probably be on the look out for MI FB/LB Obi Ezeh's commitment in the near future as well. That is, unless you think he's seriously considering Indiana or directional Michigan schools. Ezeh's commitment would essentially end Michigan's linebacker recruiting since Michigan already has three in the fold (MI 5* Brandon Graham, OH 4* Cobrani Mixon, and MI 3* Quintin Patilla). It should thus come as no surprise that CA LB Josh Tatum has dropped us. Those inclined to declare Ezeh a wasted scholarship would do well to review the Iowa game tape and look at David Harris and John Thompson.
The recruiting board is very out of date at this point, as I've gotten pulled away on things that are actually happening. I'll try to get things in order in the near future, if not by next week than definitely during the bye.
On the basketball front, MI C Tom Herzog has committed to Michigan State. Michigan's currently trying to catch up on a bunch of second-tier posts but at the moment it seems that the most likely outcome of this year's recruiting class is K'len Morris, DeShawn Sims, and a bunch of empty air occupying three scholarships.
- Replay again blows a huge call by ruling that Antonio Bass had fumbled when it was clear that his elbow hit the ground and then the ball came out. When your elbow hits, you're down, and everyone knows that except for the Big Ten replay official. It balanced out an earlier blown fumble call when Martin clearly coughed the ball up but the play was ruled down and not reviewed. I'm in favor of replay but I'm also in favor of finding replay officials that have watched football before.
- Jake Long returned, praise Jesus. The guy off the bench when Henige was injured was actually redshirt freshman Alex Mitchell.
- Henne... what can you say? Iowa decided at some point to rush three and sit back on passing downs because he would panic after about two seconds in the pocket and check down or throw the ball away. Michigan's confidence in him is seemingly very low. His numbers look fine thanks in large part to the 52 yard screen touchdown and some completions that were meaninglessly short of the sticks on third down, but Lloyd is going to have to call me an idiot again.
- Still not sure if the pass to Avant in overtime was brilliant or retarded, since he was covered well and Henne was throwing across his body. He did put it in the only place he could and let Avant make an incredible (OMG INCREDIBLE) catch.
- I hate the fact that whenever Mike Hart gets injured they show shots of him on the sideline after every other play; each one breaks my heart.
- Jerome Jackson? WTF... okay! Jerome Jackson!
- John Thompson played the entire second half in place of Chris Graham and did very well. We have a new WLB and the difference was immediately apparent, like going from McClintock to Harris. Now about the strong side...
- A ton of frustrating soft zone coverage the whole day. Tate was very accurate but it helped that he only had to thread it into coverage infrequently. I'm getting tired of seeing our cornerbacks 10 yards off the line of scrimmage like they're Jaren Hayes.
- Woodley went out early in the game and Tirico kept referring to an Alan Branch leg injury. Pierre Woods and Tim Jamison filled in for Woodley very well, getting pressure on Tate regularly.
- After a couple of long early touchdown drives Michigan held Iowa to one last second field goal over the course of the second half, though they were aided by a gift interception.
- I was too hard on Jamar Adams. Over the past two games he's played very well in the absence of the starters (Engelmon missed one tackle on Iowa's first drive and then disappeared).
- Shawn Crable only appears on my radar when he's doing something really dumb, like the holding call in overtime.
Not much to speak of in this game. Iowa's punter consistently dropped in 20-30 yard punts, giving Breaston no chance to return. Rivas hit his one field goal. David Harris blocked an Iowa field goal. Ross Ryan's punts were all short-ish and had good hang time. He'll consistently kick it about 40 yards and only very few of them will be returned.
The call on the Breaston muff was correct, I think, as he was clearly affected by the gunner. Perhaps not the letter of the law but definitely the spirit of it.
It took Carr all of one game to forget the lessons he professed to have learned against Penn State. When Michigan got the ball back late Michigan looked at nine man fronts on first down and decided to run into them. The final series before overtime: run for two yards, run for three yards, run for two yards. Punt with three minutes left, almost lose the game.
As per usual, stuff all (hopefully coherent) rants about the game into this particular box.
Update: A reader sent along a link to Stuff On My Cat and accompanied it with a note saying in part "when I saw this I instantly thought of you," which I'm not really sure how to take. In any case, it's awesome and the source for this week's celebratory image:
Oh yeah. Hot, hot, hot!