Reforged In Fire

Submitted by Brian on January 4th, 2012 at 3:51 PM

1/3/2012 – Michigan 23, Virginia Tech 20 (OT) – 11-2, 6-2 Big Ten

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Michigan got outgained better than two to one and probably squeezed the last bits of magic out of Brady Hoke's rectal horseshoe, but it doesn't matter. It doesn't matter until the Very Serious bullets that have no time for sentiment, the Very Serious bullets that didn't feel deeply guilty for not including Junior "Junior Megatron" Hemingway amongst the hallowed group of seniors who maybe could have sort of made Michigan itself again… except insofar as "again" is inappropriate to apply to a program that has not exactly made a habit out of winning BCS games doing so. The Very Serious Bullets were not ready to declare war on God for smiting David Molk—OF ALL PEOPLE DAVID MOLK—in the moments before the culmination of his career. And screw that. Screw a Very Serious bullet. Also logic, and reason, and causality, and all the other things that had no bearing on which team walked off the Superdome field happy.

This is what matters: Molk standing on the sideline watching the first offensive series and the feeling in his gut as he watched the last 60 minutes he'd wear the uniform evaporate. Logan Thomas saying something like "damn I'm tired" or "damn you're tired" to Ryan Van Bergen in the second half after yet another play on which a broken Van Bergen harassed—but did not sack—the brobdingnagian Tech quarterback. Mike Martin slicing his way into the backfield to put Tech into another third and long. Hemingway's hands finding the three inches of space needed for a touchdown. Confetti, the right confetti, and ugly shirts, and Chris Fowler talking to Junior Megatron, and people smiling.

What matters is that when Brendan Gibbons was asked what he thought about before the winning kick, he said "brunette girls" because Brady Hoke told him that's what he should think about.

This is not the best Michigan team ever assembled. It's not the most dominant. You know a lot of it was assembled by smoke and mirrors and Jon Falk's super-secret loose-fumble-magnet gloves. You're not eyeing that Alabama game next year and thinking "those rednecks are in for an… education. [YEAAAAAAAA]."

You, cold-eyed realist who gravitates to this place, are going to tell work colleagues who went to universities other than your own that Michigan deserved to win this game in no way whatsoever. And then your shit-eating grin is going to drive them from you.

------------------------------

I haven't watched the NFL in going on a decade now except in somnambulant Thanksgiving not-give-a-craps, but this holiday season happened to coincide with weekends and I was a guest without remote privileges. I caught a few last week. Amongst other exercises in vacuous non-speech, I ended up watching Aaron Rodgers make his publicist very proud after he respectfully dispatched Generic Opponent and then said things about his teammates.

The things he said were not so very different from what we usually get in college—like the game itself, public relations in the NFL is metal refined from NCAA ore—but in college things are rawer, emotions felt instead of managed. The brutal look on Danny Coale's face after his redemption was overturned is evidence enough of that.

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The stakes in these games come from the stories of the players, and we get a relatively honest look at them over the course of their four years. After what must have been a crushing loss, The Key Play took to the internet not to light up coaching decisions or instant replay or VT's offensive line but to do this:

That team made me proud.

No we didn't win. I'm sure a lot of y'all are pissed about some play calls. I am. More carries for Logan. More carries for Logan. More carries for Logan. More carries for Logan, especially on short yardage situations. But this wasn't the Orange Bowl last year. We didn't get our balls beat in. We didn't get throttled. We didn't get out-coached. We didn't get out-played. No one punched us in the throat... And that's why it hurts.

I have an ache in my chest right now too painful for words to describe. We came sooooooooo close, but failed. That's a strong word, but it's accurate--we failed. We came to play. We came to fucking play this game.

That comes from Coale, a guy pressed into service as a punter who was asked to make a weighty decision and failed. A guy who was a centimeter away from redeeming himself by staking Virginia Tech to a seven-point lead as tall as Everest who then had his anguish revisited time and again by ESPN as Michigan positioned themselves for the identical field goal Tech had just missed.

VT fans love Danny Coale even if they hate the way his last game played out. He is why they care, even if their memories are bittersweet. God, have we been there. Entire generations of Michigan seniors came and went without beating Ohio State.

For the first time in a long time, we don't have to eulogize. Michigan beat OSU and won a bowl BCS game for the first time since the 1999 season. Martin Van Buren was president of East Rhodesia and logic gates were chiseled onto rocks the last time a group of Michigan seniors went out like this:

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MVictors

Or a season ended like this:

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Yeah, the game was the definition of a "yes, but…" experience. In the cold-eyed light of the offseason it will dampen expectations for next year. So what? Virginia Tech fans are thinking of Danny Coale this morning.

I'm thinking of Martin and Koger and Hemingway and Molk and Van Bergen and how there is no thought of what could have been, no thought of opportunities missed or goals fallen short of. Just that they stayed, and they made a BCS bowl, and they were champions of it. In the end, the seniors of Team 132 got what they came for. Now they will break the last link on the chain and tell those who follow they can make it anew.

NOT VERY SERIOUS BULLETS

Smooth. In the same fashion friend of blog Jerry Hinnen said "yes, thank you, finally" to someone dubbing Oregon's shinybits in the Rose Bowl "Destro helmets," I welcome the comparison of brunette-loving, Scott-Van-Pelt*-.38-Special-comparison-inspiring, suddenly-nails kicker Brendan Gibbons to Keith Stone:

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Psyching himself up for NAILS

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hangin' w/ Mister Cooper

Well done, unknown Iowa fan who knows iawolve, well done. After a season in which Gibbons has been sarcastically exhorted to put the ball through the uprights in all caps and with question marks, it is only right to break out some H tags in tribute:

GIBBONS: YOU PUT IT THROUGH THE UPRIGHTS!

Yea, and it came to pass that the season preview gave the kicker spot at least a 3 next year. Now please stop probably deserving false start penalties.

*[SVP is reminiscent of the Dan & Keith ESPN heyday. He is capable of making me enjoy an hour of Sportscenter. Like Gus Johnson and Alton Brown, he is a rare being of pure awesomeness that can exist in a lowest-common-denominator setting. SVP for president.]

Further evidence. Via BWS:

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Nike shirts: making you glad your school is Adidas even if they did dress the team like the bumblebee girl from "No Rain" this year. If you thought copping a Def Leppard lyric was gauche, you did not see the Fiesta postgame.

NachoVictory[1]

Nike is now run by the immature cheese from Cheez-It commercials.

Stop complaining about being passed over. Mathlete:

For all the K St fans upset about the Sugar Bowl snub, Michigan won this one in honor of you, can't imagine winning 10 games like that

Kansas State did play in the Sugar Bowl. They were wearing Michigan's uniforms.

This is why you're Sparty. LeVeon Bell:

UofM proud that they had 8 home games, didn't play Wisconsin OR Penn St, AND lost to us? Yall can beat a average VA Tech team, be proud then

Sparty being Sparty. Just like this guy wearing green and white in the endzone where Gibbons nailed the winner:

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I hope you enjoyed the last few years, guys.

VERY SERIOUS BULLETS

ALL RIGHT NOW WE HAVE A TALK. Holy pants the offense. This was the third time this year Michigan's offense was just beyond terrible; they lost the other two but horseshoed themselves the Sugar Bowl.

It was imperative that Michigan establish something VT had to react to, but they never did. Their big tactical innovation for this game was a not-very-spread formation with a TE, a tailback, and Odoms in motion for a jet sweep fake. That worked on the first play of the game when Odoms got the edge and then hardly ever again. I don't understand Michigan's emphasis on running to the perimeter against a defense like VT's that thrives on getting their safeties to tackle in space.

Meanwhile, Michigan receivers got zero separation all night, allowing VT to tee off on the run with impunity. Michigan needs an athleticism upgrade there.

It's apparent Borges wants to put guys in the box instead of spreading them out, forcing the opponent to respect the horizontal aspects of the defense, and then making you tackle and fill one on one; maybe that will work against a VT when Shane Morris is throwing to LaQuon Treadwell. It did not here.

Robinson likely shares some responsibility but it's hard to tell since the Sugar Bowl shorted replays for more commercials. I did notice a late third down and medium on which Robinson tried to fit it in a nonexistent window to Koger when Gallon was breaking open underneath. But mostly it just seemed like there was never anything there. It's one thing if the opponent is beating a block. Against VT it seemed like there was always an unblocked guy fitting the run and no one was ever open. Hard to move the ball like that.

Interior DL FTW. We in the M blogosphere may have been excessively optimistic about the offense but man did we peg the other side of that matchup: VT's crappy interior line pass protected well but could not get RVB or Martin blocked to save their lives. Wilson got hacked down at the line time and again, got some yardage outside when Michigan's run support on the edges was missing. Logan Thomas was not pressured much and picked Michigan's secondary apart with lethal accuracy.

This is kind of why I am worried about next year: taking away Martin and Van Bergen is going to be huge, and the rest of the defense is short of guys who seem like certainties to be players at their level next year. I've got Ryan and Kovacs and then…

Mattison's going to earn his money next year if Michigan treads water defensively despite returning eight starters.

Holy Van Bergen. Not only did RVB play every snap, and play well, he was injured early in the game and ended up like this:

"My foot just feels like rubber,” Van Bergen said after the game. “I couldn’t plant on it or anything like that.

“It actually went down, like parallel to my chin when I was in a pile. The next time I was trying to plant, I was trying to overcompensate for it, and I put it the other way and got chopped, so my toe was coming up to like the top of my ankle.”

Can we retroactively make him a captain? I'm serious. If the Bentley doesn't list RVB as a captain I might have to hack their site so it does.

Richt'd… right? Hoke game theory bits were a mixed bag. By decision:

  • Fake FG near end of first half. Yes, it was a called fake. The problem was that a big chunk of the team didn't get the call, including Dileo's intended receiver, thus resulting in the Yakety Sex that was the deflected long-snapper reception. Hoke's verging on the territory where all go/kick situations on which there's a reasonable debate seemingly decided in favor of the kick will be expected to be fakes, thus depressing the EV of faking. At this point he's going to have to kick some dumb field goals if he's going to get that back.
  • FG at end of first half. I was okay with it. A fair chunk of the reason it's a good idea to go for it on fourth down in those situations is the crappy negative-value field position it leaves your opponent in if you fail. When the half is ending that's not a factor, and given the way that half played out I was not super confident Michigan would punch the ball in from the two.
  • Sending out the punt safe team on the fake punt. Obvious move given the situation and one that paid off when Coale pulled a Zoltan-vs-MSU miscalculation on the rugby option. If you're going to go there you should put it in the hands of your huge QB, not rely on a converted WR to make a high-pressure decision he's never made in a game before. This bullet is more about Beamer than Hoke.
  • Not calling TO in an effort to get the ball back at the end of regulation. Also okay with that. Immediate TO sees you get around 35 seconds when the ball is kicked off; given Michigan's offense to that point in the game and season-long crap kickoff returns that did not seem like it had much value. Calling TO has a slight chance of flipping the opposing coach's thinking towards going for it, or at least it might if this wasn't Frank Beamer.
  • Richt-ing it in OT. It wasn't a full-on Richt. Richt idiotically threw away two downs to attempt a 42 yard field goal with a kicker who had been 6 of 16(!!!) from 40+ that range this year. Hoke/Borges at least shaved a meaningful five yards* off the attempt and went with a guy who was at that point 11/15 on the season. Given the way Michigan's offense had been moving the ball (not at all with plenty of OH SHI— near-INTs), the equation is significantly different than when you've got Aaron Murray. While I was a little annoyed they didn't flip it out to the WR and his massive cushion, I wasn't livid at the thought process.

    Still, man… let Denard run the ball with the extra blocker in a spread formation and instructions to keep both hands on the ball. Upside is greater there.

The theme here is when your offense can't pick up two yards to save its life, old-timey decisions are correct. When the game is going to end with a score worthy of 1950, playing 1950s-era football is the move.

*[The Mathlete's preview post contains an apropos FG success graph showing a whopping 15% difference in success rate between a 42 yard field goal (around 55%) and a 37-yarder (around 70%) for an average D-I kicker, which I'd say Gibbons is. Same difference for a bad one, FWIW. It's only when you've got a Kaeding or the like that playing as conservatively as Richt did makes even the slightest amount of sense.]

The not quite catch. Someone on the twitters put it best:

RT @johnegolf: @HS_BHGP no catch, but great catch.

Here it is:

It's incomplete because the tip of the ball hits the ground and it shifts in his arms when it happens. The ball has the potential to slide through his upper arms when it impacts the ground; ground aids catch; not a catch.

VT fans and players are pissed off and I can understand why. Again, they should remove the uncertainty here and say the ball hitting the ground equals no catch until you have made the proverbial "football move." That is a bright line rule that removes the controversy from plays like this and the 49% Hemingway touchdown against Iowa and the 48% Coale TD above. If it swings the game a bit towards defense that may not be a terrible idea these days.

More on the fake FG. I thought surely the refs had missed an illegal man downfield, but it does appear that when the pass is thrown Michigan linemen are within three yards of the LOS:

Whatever the screwup was it looked like VT had that well covered. Hoke's going to have to shelve the fakes for a while.

Countess. Hoo boy was that a rough ride for him. I hope you caught that first bubble screen of the second half—after Countess let his guy get to the sideline Mallory lit him up. He got burned on a double move that Thomas overthrew, generally could not match up with the extremely talented Jarrett Boykin*, and was a problem on both outside Wilson runs and a variety of 7-8 yard bubble screens.

*[Another way in which Beamer handed this game to M was continuing to run the ball when your QB is completing 70% of his passes for almost 8 YPA. M loses if Beamer pulls the Carroll and tells his OC to call no runs in the second half.]

Bubble screens. Ain't saying nothin'.

MEDIA

Woolfolk took a short video in the locker room and posted it to the twitter:

It's not 90 degrees off, it's artistic.

Some pregame shots from MVictors as well. AnnArbor.com has a photo gallery.

HERE

Comment of the week from beenplumb:

Go back to last year and tell us that our defense and kicker would win us a BCS bowl and try not to get punched in the face for lying.

Diarists are too hungover to chip in just yet. Seth did excellent work on the no catch in OT, but that's on the front page so you probably know about it already.

ELSEWHERE

Players. Ryan tweets some photos from the field. Roh with the dudes I promised to name my firstborn after*:

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*[negotiations pending.]

Roundtree and… uh… I don't know.

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This is a disturbing moment. Who is that dude?

Blog substances, local. BWS bullets:

Mike Martin and Ryan Van Bergen, and perhaps more importantly, the Virginia Tech offensive line, were as advertised. The interior of that offensive line is dysfunctional. Martin and Van Bergen were three yards into the backfield on basically every running play. The only reason they can pass block is that they keep retreating into Logan Thomas, at least long enough for him to zip a pass to one of his many wide receivers. I have no idea how a team with an offensive line that bad can win 11 games.

Braves and Birds:

In a way, this is how the 2011 season had to end for Michigan.  At the end of the Rich Rodriguez era, Michigan was a great offfense and then a smoking heap of wreckage.  The defense was unconscionably bad.  The special teams were barely above that level, most notably because the Wolverines could not kick a field goal.  Michigan did dumb things like not knowing that a blocked field goal is a live ball.  The turnover rate was terrible.  This year was a palate cleanser in every way.  In the end, Michigan won a game despite the offense being completely stymied.  The Wolverines won by being good on defense, very good on special teams, and smart enough to avoid the mistakes that killed their otherwise superior opponent. 

Brief bit from HSR. Maize and Go Blue recap. TTB bullets.

Blog substances, national. EDSBS:

It was a complete mess in so many ways, and in so many different ways than the other BCS games thus far. the numbers were appalling in their own unique way: Michigan had 184 yards of total offense, got doubled up by VT in terms of total production, had 12 first downs to Virginia Tech's 22, and still ended up covered in maize and blue confetti watching Junior Hemingway losing his shit gloriously when Chris Fowler asked him about the long path to getting here. This is not a very good Michigan team, but they are a very good Michigan team.

That should make sense if you've watched this team dodge bullets and narrowly avoid putting the car in the ditch on so many occasions this year, or come back against Notre Dame, or hold on despite doing almost everything they could to lose a late lead to Ohio State, or in this game scratch, claw, and somehow hold a more productive Hokies team in check until the final and inevitable kicking mistakes. This team was more fun than any other team Brady Hoke will ever have because they were not supposed to have eleven wins, and could not conceivably have piled them up like this. This team is the pound dog that saved your family from the fire. They are the college car that would not die no matter what you put in its gas tank. They are the party that came out of nowhere on a Tuesday night, and resulted in no hangovers.

Easily one of our favorite teams of 2011, and not just because we like calling Brady Hoke "Ol' Pizzafarts."

Bill Connolly breaks down the numbers:

4: Tackles for loss by Michigan's Jake Ryan. Michigan's defense played the bend-don't-break routine to perfection. They allowed five yards per play and seven trips inside their 40, but they forced five field goals and a turnover on downs at their four. Part of the reason for the success was that Ryan (must not make Sixteen Candles reference and reveal that it is one of my favorite movies of all-time ... must not make Sixteen Candles reference and reveal that it is one of my favorite movies of all-time ... must not make Sixteen Candles reference and reveal that it is one of my favorite movies of all-time...) was always around to make a big play. Ryan, Jordan Kovacs and Desmond Morgan combined for 22.5 tackles and 5.5 tackles for loss, and Michigan as a whole severely limited Tech's big plays. Just force them to keep inching down the field and eventually force a fourth down.

Hinton:

All of that sentimental bunk about Brady Hoke returning Michigan to its meat-eating essence or whatever, well, it actually worked out that way. It worked out far beyond the expectations of the most observant pilgrims of Oosterbaanian lore. No one in August was going out on a limb for a 7-6 outfit with no defense transitioning to a new coaching staff. As collapse-prone as the Wolverines were after fast starts under Rodriguez, no one was going out on a limb for them in early November, after losses at Michigan State and Iowa seemed to leave them back at square one. Since then, Michigan is 4-0 with wins over Nebraska, Ohio State and now Virginia Tech and abides in a state of Bo-like balance. Those who stayed fended off a fourth quarter Hokie rally to complete the circle.

I enjoyed this comment after the post:

 

This game proved that there is no pride or character in the big ten. When the only way you can win a game is by cheating and you are proud of it . I guess no one should surprised by the level of scandal in the conference. the attitude of the only real harm in disgusting behavior is being held accountable and the ends always justify the means is as base as it gets. to be beaten on the field as thoroughly as Michigan was on the field and be proud of a win that was a gift from whomever controlled that officiating crew is banal. That kid caught the ball everyone who has seen the replay from the angles available knows it including the replay officials and all of the Michigan coaching staff. ESPN made the staement that the only thing that matters is the final score. They and their Mid east Ohio valley values may be the real problem here.

Tom Fornelli has a format that demands he put words after the bullet HOW MICHIGAN WON. He begins "This is not an easy question to answer."

Mainstream folks. Staples spends most of his article on the "yes, BUT…" aspects. Wojo:

This was beyond weird, and exhausting to decipher. The Hokies controlled play, and had an apparent 20-yard touchdown pass in overtime overruled by replay. That gave the Wolverines their shot, and they took a BCS bowl victory and improbable 11-2 record with it.

Notes from AnnArbor.com include a discussion of the in-game punting switch. Hagerup needs to get it together. Florek column in the Daily. Nesbitt on Gibbons. Meinke column.

Comments

YouremyboyBlue

January 5th, 2012 at 11:08 AM ^

I agree that the VT TD in OT was not a catch and was correctly overturned.  However, I don't understand why VT fans seem to think that if the TD stood, that VT would have won.  Michigan still had another possession to score a TD to tie the game.

Granted, Michigan's offense couldn't move the ball to save their lives.  However, how many times when the team needed the offense to score this year did they (and/or Denard) pull it out, no matter how badly the game was going at the time? (Think ND, OSU, Sugar Bowl, etc.)

While it may be hard to logically explain how this team won some of their games this year (like the sugar bowl), I think this team had a few lucky breaks, and was able to overcome bad breaks.  But more importantly, this team knew how to win, was hungry to win, and were able to will themselves to several wins.  Knowing how to win is an extremely underrated quality in a team that comes from experienced players and great leadership.  Many times, it is referred to as having 'it', and this team had it.

I am not entirely convinced, that even if the VT OT TD pass had stood, that Michigan wouldn't have still won that game.

gte896u

January 4th, 2012 at 4:43 PM ^

I have a feeling they were trying to run an analogue to the GT 3-O, using slot motion to mix up the D.

but without giving them a reason to fear quick slashes up the middle it didn't really have its intended effect.

Smash Lampjaw

January 4th, 2012 at 5:05 PM ^

The sad-faced green guy  who had to turn away as the ball sailed through the uprights has pocketed a maize souvenir pom pom. He must have a daughter with high hopes for a bright tomorrow.

buckley

January 4th, 2012 at 5:06 PM ^

"Whatever the screwup was it looked like VT had that well covered. Hoke's going to have to shelve the fakes for a while."

Word.  My 8-year old son called the fake..

Indiana Blue

January 4th, 2012 at 5:09 PM ^

statistical and play by play analysis of our BCS victory.  There is absolutely nothing to be gained via evaluations of downs and plays ... for tomorrow down the road will be Team 133's first game.  Team 132 has finished its year.  Brady Hoke has done what virtually no one on this board believed was possible.  He converted a group of football players into a team ... that never questioned, never quit AND always competed to WIN.  He took players  -  like Gibbons (probably the most berated player from last year) and gave them the belief that they were a cog of Michigan and to take pride and work and sweat and never ever quit on their teammates or themselves.

Hail to the Victors ... Champions again!

Go Blue!

MAS

January 4th, 2012 at 5:11 PM ^

The TV Announcing was great.  You know why VT's QB is good?  Because he is so tall.  We were literally playing against Manute Bol who can throw.  Paul Bunyon showed up at the Superdome, threw on an Orange and Brown jersey and looked over the top of our D-Line carefully placing footballs into his wide recievers hands.  SO TALL = SO MUCH VISION!

profitgoblue

January 4th, 2012 at 5:16 PM ^

He made me want to claw my ear drums.  At one point I was finally able to block him out entirely as if he was muted.  My wife called my attention to something he said that I had completely ignored.  Pretty impressive feat by me, actually, if I do say so myself.

 

EGD

January 4th, 2012 at 5:20 PM ^

I thought they were alright, but I laughed my ass off at Blackledge trying to describe one of Vt's running plays:"You see here that Virgnia Tech runs kind of a long mesh-fake type running play to the outside where the tailback winds up as a lead blocker..."   I'm like, "dude, I don't know squat about football, and even I know that's called the 'inverted veer.'"

snarling wolverine

January 4th, 2012 at 5:20 PM ^

Hoke's verging on the territory where all go/kick situations on which there's a reasonable debate seemingly decided in favor of the kick will be expected to be fakes, thus depressing the EV of faking. At this point he's going to have to kick some dumb field goals if he's going to get that back.

True, but there is a real benefit to that. If opposing defenses have to play it safe to avoid a fake, they can't commit as many guys up the middle to block the kick.

Yooper

January 4th, 2012 at 5:45 PM ^

I know that we get used to the quality that is MGoBlog but this post is really a great example of why this is such a great resource.  Great writing and information!  Thanks to Brian.

MaizeAndBlueWahoo

January 4th, 2012 at 5:55 PM ^

You, cold-eyed realist who gravitates to this place, are going to tell work colleagues who went to universities other than your own that Michigan deserved to win this game in no way whatsoever.

For a given definition of "deserve", of course.  "Deserved" as in, "outplayed the other team and therefore should reasonably be expected to have more points as a result," no, not a whit of it.  "Deserved" as in, "was owed some kind of reward from a horribly unforgiving cosmos in return for three years of being the unsuspecting target of malevolent forces bent on self-satisfying destruction," yes, I think this team deserved to win this game.  Few teams have ever deserved it more, in fact.

Bodogblog

January 4th, 2012 at 6:07 PM ^

David Molk:

 

"I don’t know if I was fighting for my life. I still had one leg,” he said in the Michigan locker room after the game. “C’mon, I can squat a ton. One leg’s good enough."

TrppWlbrnID

January 4th, 2012 at 6:34 PM ^

But i would like to hear more about this "yakety sex." is there a yak involved, if so, I might already know about it.
<br>
<br>/longnightmorningdayonbourbonstreet

Drbogue

January 4th, 2012 at 6:59 PM ^

Not Gallon. That underneath throw to an
<br>Open Odoms>>>>making Koger stretch out for a fingertip grab. And yes, an Odoms completion would have been a 1st down

Drbogue

January 4th, 2012 at 7:20 PM ^

Odoms translates to Idioms in spell corrector. As an engineering grad, I don't know what to do with this curious piece of information... unless... "Siri, what do Martavious Odoms and idioms have in
<br>common?"

LB

January 4th, 2012 at 7:33 PM ^

change. I am continually losing my favorite player(s) to graduation. One of the things I love about college football is that every year there is a new favorite or three, along with an influx of potential favorites-to-be.

I'd like to think this years class of graduating seniors has left a legacy that will be remembered for some time to come.

antidaily

January 4th, 2012 at 7:19 PM ^

In a year, it wont matter how we won. They won't put an asterick after the 11. They won't preview the Alabama game by saying we won the Sugar Bowl but were outgained.

I think we capitalized on VTech mistakes and played good defense and that's why we won. We've had our shoulda-coulda moments in bowls and recent losses (this year's MSU game comes to mind). Feels good to be on the other end of it. 

Mr. Yost

January 4th, 2012 at 9:43 PM ^

Sir, I don't know if this has been said because I wasn't about to read all 81 comments. But I'd like to say, you, my friend...you are a baller. You played your ass off. You are Jordan Kovacs, the offensive version. If you didn't rock maroon and orange, I'd definitely be honored to have you wear the maize and blue. We got you yesterday, fair and square...but you put it all out there. I don't feel bad, but I respect you like hell. I wish you all the best, I'll always root for you Mr. Coale.

T4L

January 4th, 2012 at 10:38 PM ^

Regarding the Hagerup situation, it sounds as if the coaching staff is really excited to have Kenny Allen on board. From what I've heard and (mostly) from what he's told me they love him there, especially for a walk-on kicker/punter.

TyrannousLex

January 4th, 2012 at 11:32 PM ^

That was one of the stranger football games i've ever seen. I've been watching Michigan football since the late 70's, and so have become conditioned to expect nothing but bad breaks in bowl games ... and especially in weird, close ones. I guess the scars from childhood heartbreak never really heal.

Logical me worried that VT's ability to march down the field and UM's ability to stop them short of the endzone would eventually run out. But this was Team 132. You can feel them. And while they couldn't erase the nagging from heartbreak scars, they made them immaterial.

I stopped caring whether it was good football being played. Whether Borges was stinking up the joint or whether the successful gameplan had its lynchpin broken in pre-game warmups. It was enough that Molk was out there and that Hemmingway was stealing interceptions. My fan emotion became a moot point. I only wanted these young men to walk away from their time at Michigan on top.

These seniors will always have Yost and Schembechler smiling down on them from football's Valhalla; not because of grace but through their good works. Hang a plaque for them, the most Michigan of Michigan Men.

 

 

M-Wolverine

January 5th, 2012 at 1:56 AM ^

You had two defensive teams playing. We mostly stuffed their run, and did what we did all season, give up yards between the twenties, but keep them out of the endzone. Stuff them on 3rd and 4th and short. For all the talk of overturned interceptions and catch/no catch (which no Michigan fan at the Stadium thought was a catch when it happened...and yes, we had tv's at the edge of the lower deck), the only way they scored a TD was by a pass interference call on a pass out the back of the endzone. They gave them a TD basically; might as well take one away. Otherwise the only reason they were close was the improbable idea that a 3rd string kicker who hadn't made one all season went 4 for 4 in regulation. He misses one earlier instead of his last, and we're not even talking OT.
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<br>They have a real good DC, and also concentrated on stopping the run, which they did well. We couldn't open it up because October Denard came back, and he was throwing more accurate passes to VT defenders than Michigan receivers, and hanging onto it too long (yes, at times because there was lack of separation. Newsflash, we need more talent). That and a hurt best center in the Country, and a killed first drive with snap mishandles makes for a rough day. The passes called were a great deal of the short comfort passes everyone wants for Denard, but he was back to not being able to hit a screen. But guess what; he hit two TD passes, two more than that fearsome QB on the other team could. And you don't win big games kicking field goals. (You can lose them by missing them). So Denard becomes the first QB to win a BCS bowl for Michigan since Tom Brady.
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<br>They can say the special team plays are "breaks", but we knew their special teams weren't good. So we took advantage of it. A Sparty like roughing the kicker. A forced fumble on the return (been doing it all year). And yeah, a bone-headed decision to give his "punter" a run option...after a time out...against a safe punt return...at that point and field position...rather than going for it. Dumb. But better are opponent making those decisions than us.
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<br>We were up 17-6 in this game. We're the one's who let them back in, and didn't put it away. Certainly thinking that they weren't kicking 4 more field goals to win it, and Denard would be Denard at least once more. It didn't go as perfectly as planned. The other team was trying too. But the plan was sound. And you know what...it worked.
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<br>We didn't gets luck to win. They were lucky to see overtime. And then it ran out on Cinderella kickers. The cleat didn't fit. A win really is just a win when it's the last game of the season.