national champs baby
An era in Michigan Wolverine football comes to an end
I am not sure why this game got to me. It has been a long time since I have been so frustrated with a team and a game. Maybe I was in denial. Maybe I just didn't want to admit that an era in the University of Michigan's football program has come to and end. And to have it do so in such exasperating fashion nearly drove me over the edge.
Playing one of the worst teams in the Big Ten, 2-6 Purdue, Michigan coudln't find a way to hold leads of 14 points two different times and a tie game with 80 seconds left. Despite scoring 42 points on offense, the defense gave up 48 points to the Boilermakers led by a third string QB who had been playing running back. With the game on the line the defense gave up two huge trick plays and never seemed able to slow down an heretofore anemic team (Purdue hadn't scored a touchdown in 3 of their last 4 games).
Michigan repeatedly missed tackels, had penalties in key situations, and turned the ball over on special teams yet again. A defense that was supposed to be the foundation of this team entering the season has become an absolute laughing stock. They have given up five touchdowns in five games and 129 points in the last three games.
In what was clearly becoming a shootout the Michigan offense once again took a big chunk of the game off. Michigan took a 14 point lead with 5:29 to go in the first half. They didn't score again until there was 12:19 to go in the game. Purdue scored 21 unanswered points to take a 35-28 lead and Michigan would never lead again. Michigan has scored 14 points in the third quarter all year!
Despite this, and aided by a couple of big penalties by Purdue, Michigan tied the game with 1:20 left. All the defense had to do was make a stop; or even hold them to a field goal. Instead, Purdue marched down the field and used a perfectly executed hook and ladder play to score the winning touchdown.
I am not sure why I am surprised. If not for critical penalty by Wisconsin, Michigan would have managed this pattern in eight straight games.
Michigan is now assured of a losing record for the first time in forty years and will miss a bowl game for the first time in 33.
Here is what I said after the Penn State debacle:
You would be foolish to bet on Michigan these days. They simply can’t play a complete game of football. About the only way I can see them winning a game this year is against a team that turns the ball over and lets them hang around in the fourth quarter. And even then, as we saw against Toledo (Toledo!!!!), even then they are as likely to blow it as to win.
True. I honestly don't think they will win another game all season. They simply don't know how to win. And I can't seem them figuring it out this late.
Michigan's run as an elite program is over. It may be temporary as it seems likely - given his history and Michigan's ability to recruit, etc. - that once Rich Rodriguez gets his type of players into the system and developes some chemistry that they will return to their winning ways.
But right now they simply can't be considered anything but a once proud program a few years from being competitive. And that is something I have never known in my lifetime.
I guess maybe that is why I was so angry this afternoon.