When I looked back on last year's blog entries on the Michigan season, I completely forgot, somehow, that I was actually EXCITED for the Michigan/Ohio State game last year. Because I had a five stage plan that was going to complete the Michigan comeback, and beating tOSU was phase 4.
So the question is why, and the answer is simple, it's how the
Michigan/Ohio State game ended.
(For those of you wondering why I would go back and rehash this now,
it's the principle of not forgetting where this season came from.
And really, as
amusing as this is now, it was the coup de grace, not the
main reason. Oh, and I may forget key parts or specific
incidences, but that's largely because on the way into the game last
year, I tripped on the sidewalk in front of the Natatorium and gave my
right knee a massive bruise.)
With 7:49 left in the fourth quarter, Michigan's Garrett Rivas kicked a
19-yard field goal to put Michigan up 21-12. Now, let's stop
right there...A 19 yard field goal means that the 11 play, 69 yard
drive which was built off a tOSU missed field goal was stopped at the 2
yard line. A touchdown and extra point makes that a 25-12
One minute and nine seconds later, Ohio State whipped up the field,
using just five plays to go 67 yards, culminating with a Santonio
Holmes touchdown. An extra point makes it 21-19.
Now, here's the thing.
Michigan took the ball back and Steve Breaston took the ball back all
the way to the Michigan 48. All Michigan needs to do is drive
the ball to the tOSU 25 and let Rivas have a crack at a field goal that
will put you up 24-19, forcing tOSU to drive the length of the field
with less than three minutes left. But no, Michigan chose to
punt, putting tOSU back in their own 12 and letting Troy Smith go to
Here's the difference, and this is as plain as it could be:
9 rushes for 15 yards, a long of 4 yards.
With Mike Hart to kill the clock, Michigan can win that game.
It's that simple. But...
Starting on their own 12 with 4:18 left, Troy Smith used 12 plays to go
88 yards for the go-ahead score which would have tried to make it
27-21, but instead made it 25-21.
That was it, that was the ballgame. Michigan fell to 7-4, a
trip to the Alamo Bowl, and the beginning of the rebirth.
It's a different year, it's a different team, it's a different feeling.
Am I saying Michigan will win because they have a healthy Mike Hart?
No, but it certainly doesn't hurt their chances.
The simple thing that people must remember is that half of
defense is offense, and last year, that is a big part of where Michigan