Michigan 10, Northwestern 9

Submitted by Ace on November 8th, 2014 at 7:39 PM

De'Veon Smith broke the scoreless tie with 6:49 left in the third on a three-yard plunge, ruining the aesthetic, but this will forever be known as The M00N Game:

If it involved futility, this game had it. Northwestern lost on a failed two-point conversion with three seconds left when quarterback Trevor Siemian rolled out, saw Frank Clark, and fell over. That was just the final pratfall in this slapstick, however.

It started right away, with Northwestern taking an illegal formation penalty to negate a third-and-one conversion on the game's first drive. Devin Funchess returned the favor by dropping a third-down pass on Michigan's opening salvo.

The two teams proceeded in such fashion for the duration of the game. Michigan's final three possessions of the first half started inside Northwestern territory. They netted 29 yards and zero points, failing in three different ways: a punt, a pick, and a blocked field goal as the half mercifully expired.

The Wildcats pulled the same trick in the second half, missing a field goal, turning it over on downs, and punting on a negative-28-yard drive on their three possessions beginning on the Wolverines end of the field. The teams finished with a combined 504 yards; 256 for Northwestern, 248 for Michigan.

Somewhere in the middle of all that, Devin Gardner threw a second interception when he stared down Jake Butt, Michigan lost a fumble when Jack Miller's snap bounced off a motioning Devin Funchess, and defensive tackle Matt Godin picked off Siemian after Clark tipped a pass.


Bryan Fuller/MGoBlog

We should all be thanking Pat Fitzgerald for his fourth-quarter decision-making. After punter Will Hagerup pinned Northwestern just outside their goal line, Siemian engineered a 19-play drive that covered 95 yards, only for Fitzgerald to call for the field goal unit on fourth-and-goal from the four. The field goal cut Michigan's lead to 7-3. The Wildcats had literally just doubled their yardage total in one drive. Under seven minutes remained on the clock. He kicked anyway.

Michigan nearly managed to ice the game on the next drive, chewing up 4:16 and all three Northwestern timeouts on a 54-yard drive that ended with a Matt Wile field goal.

The Wildcats marched right back down the field, cutting the M lead to 10-9 on a three-yard throw from Siemian to Tony Jones. Fitzgerald, slightly more bold than before—or perhaps just wanting the game to end—sent the offense back on the field. Michigan's pass rush had landed home all night, sacking Siemian six times, and they anticipated the Northwestern call to roll the pocket right; Clark shot past two blockers and Siemian slipped in an effective but fruitless attempt to avoid him.

One kneel later, the game ended. Nobody was sad to see it go.

Comments

FreddieMercuryHayes

November 8th, 2014 at 7:44 PM ^

Man, if Hoke wins out, UM has to keep him. The improvement would be undeniable. It only seems fair. He really deserves that fifth year without RR's guys. This is Michigan. Fergodsakes. Big boy football.

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Mmmm Hmmm

November 8th, 2014 at 7:44 PM ^

That really couldn't have gone better from my perspective. Michigan won, it was a thrilling game, and very few will be calling for a reconsideration of coaching change.

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creelymonk10

November 8th, 2014 at 7:46 PM ^

I think the failed 2-Pt conversion attempt was a throwback pass. The TE was rolling back to the opposite corner of the endzone. Which makes Fitz even more dumb, thinking he had enough time for this to develop, as Beyer was screaming in from the weakside as well.

jwendt

November 8th, 2014 at 7:47 PM ^

I've now taken my 4.5 year old son to two Michigan games. They won both by stopping 2 pt conversions to win the game. The first game featured over 130 points. Today was... Different

Mr. Yost

November 9th, 2014 at 12:00 PM ^

This offense is HORRIBLE it consistently puts this defense in the worst possible positions. Check the numbers, look at the box scores. We've had 1-2 bad games defensively all year.

He's not a god send or the best, but he's one of the best DCs in the country.

You can't look at the final score and determine how good a defense is...you look at the final score to determine how good a TEAM is.

Duh.

WolvinLA2

November 9th, 2014 at 12:27 PM ^

Agreed - this defense is quote good.  NW isn't a good team, but anybody is going to move the ball on you a little bit.  And even though the offense couldn't hold on to the ball for large parts of the game, the D never gave up.  Our defense was dominant today and that made the difference.

AZ-Blue

November 10th, 2014 at 10:05 AM ^

Looking back at the '97 NC team, the defense was lights-out and the offense under Griese was at least functional and took advantage when the defense handed them gifts.  This offense squanders everything and then puts the D right back on the field with short drives.