This is the 2nd half diary, in the normal style.
5:29 – Bret Bielema is wearing sunglasses that make him look like a chubby Agent Smith from The Matrix.
5:30 – Kickoff to Odoms, who has a nice little runback. For the record, I would sell Cat32 for a win. Actually for a touchdown. Who am I kidding, I’d sell her for a first down. Any takers?
5:31 – Carlos Brown apparently wants Cat32. The crowd, tiring of boos, openly mocks the offense by applauding the first down. For some reason, this irks me more than the booing. It’s not like they’re dogging it folks.
5:36 – The drive breaks down and we punt. Wisconsin has bad field position for once, here’s hoping the D can get the offense in scoring position. I don’t have anything funny to say here, we need a miracle.
5:48 – Wisky picks up a couple of first downs, but the defense continues to do a good job overall. Bret, you keep calling ISO plays. I don’t think that play does what you think it does. Wisky punts for a touchback.
5:55 – Greg Matthews snags a couple passes, showing some life in the offense. Then on 4th and 1, Kevin “short yardage” Grady comes into the game and does what he does. (No, it did not involve a breathalyzer.) Am I the only one who notices that he turns around a lot toward the end of his runs?
5:58 – Touchdown Michigan! Threet to Koger. Rodriguez is shown on the sideline asking Calvin Magee what the hell a “tight end” is, anyway. I breathe out a huge sigh of relief and marvel at the 80-yard drive. Cat32 was pawing at the offense’s dead corpse, and jumped straight up when it twitched.
6:00 – I tell the cat that UFR will show something changed in the offensive line, because it looked like a switch had been flipped. Quick math shows we’re only two scores down, and I did that without benefit of a calculator. C’mon D! Get us good field position.
6:04 – The defense forces a 3 & out on a great 3rd down effort, with Evridge recovering his own fumble about 10 yards behind the line. Bielema suddenly looks like he’s thinking “Me no like Blue. Dis not plan.”
6:07 – 3 & out Michigan. Bret: “Dis plan.” I’m trying to muster some serious dislike for Wisconsin, but I just can’t. It’s Wisconsin, and even in this game they just happened to be standing around when we turned it over 5 times. How pissed can you really get at people who wear cheese on their heads, by choice? They know it looks silly and do it anyway, while happily snacking on heart-attack food. Guess I’ll have to hit a game at Camp Randall to make it personal.
6:16 – The defense forces another 3 & out. Have I mentioned how badass they’ve played today? I’d like to nominate the entire D-line for that GM scholarship thing. I don’t even have a joke here, I’m gaining hope for the rest of the season. On the down side, we have the ball in terrible field position yet again, our own 15.
6:23 – On 3rd & 15 Michigan, Wisconsin makes the most boneheaded play of the entire fall and rough the passer. Interestingly, the penalty was so dumb the ref announced it as “Sarah Palining”. Thanks Badgers, you’re on the Christmas card list now.
6:24 – Martavious Odoms catches a pass, and I find myself holding my breath every time he touches the ball waiting for him to do something spectacular. He’s like Steve Breaston in that respect. Even Cat32 finds nothing to disapprove of. We’re at midfield.
6:26 – And just like that, Brandon Minor has a long run for a TD! After the worst offensive half since probably OSU 2001, we’re only a score away with over 10 minutes on the clock! What has two thumbs and is really happy? <<points to self with thumbs>> This guy.
6:28 – OMFG we have the lead! I see a +4 in Thompson’s future. Defensive players were in a pack hitting anything in white rumbling into the endzone. Wisky looks like a deflated balloon. Also on the play, Ezeh was blocked in to Bret Bielema, severing his knee. OK, I made that up, but that would’ve made this the greatest play ever, no?
6:29 – Let’s just recap the last 7 minutes of game time. First, an offense with more plays than yards in the first half takes off the Clark Kent outfit and puts together 2 80+ yard drives. Everyone stayed mentally into the game, kept fighting. The defense stayed hot, and then delivered the play of the game. And. Michigan. Leads. Whatever ends up happening, let’s all admit that’s a good 7 minutes.
6:30 – Michigan doesn’t convert a 2-point attempt. I’m normally not a fan of going for 2 until there’s less than 5 minutes left in a game. If this is one of the trade-offs for the new coaching staff, I guess I’ll shrug and accept it. Hell, it might even be the right thing to do.
6:38 – I should just put this on a hotkey: “The Michigan defense forces a 3 & out.” This one was really close, but there’s the punter.
6:42 – Threet just rushed for 58 yards. I am officially hoarse. I am also going to stock up on canned food, just in case that was one of the seven signs. Seriously, the Wisky DB’s were catching up, but *slowly*. His acceleration might be on the lower end of the scale, but give him a few seconds to achieve top speed and you’ve got a big play. Wow.
6:46 – McGuffie scores, 27-19 Michigan. 27 straight points. The Threet run is a nice echo to another big comeback, the 2003 Minnesota game where Navarre rumbled for a long TD on the throwback. Let’s hope this one has a happy ending as well, which with an 8-point lead and the defense playing pretty saucy, I’m feeling good about things.
6:53 – Wisconsin builds a long drive where they look as good as they have all game. Then Evridge fumbles, and it’s recovered by Taylor. Evridge is actually lucky he fumbled, because if Wisconsin scored Cat32 was going to eat his liver with some fava beans and a nice Chianti.
7:02 – OK, we run 3 straight times and punt, leaving Wisky 1:42. I want to say “that was nice of RR to let Lloyd call a drive” but I probably would’ve done the same thing.
7:08 – Wisky scores. Cat32 added fava beans to the grocery list. When we needed to really get pressure on the QB, we only rush 3-4. Can’t wait for the UFR on this one, seems like we changed what we were doing more than Wisky did anything different. This drive and the last that ended with a fumble gave me déjà vu for the 2006 ND drive to end the 1st half. The game comes down to one play.
7:10 – Obviously I’m delighted that Wisky didn’t line up right the first time and missed the 2nd attempt on the 2-pt conversion, but I think we’d have beaten them in OT anyway. Easy to say now, but I really believe the D would’ve changed things up in OT.
7:11 – This is one of the greatest games, especially the 2nd half, I can remember watching. The highs and the lows were gigantic. My guess is it’ll be on Rich Rodriguez’s Top Ten wins list for his whole Michigan career.
7:12 – Thanks for the memory gentlemen, and I, for one, loved the heart and toughness showed in not folding.