Sunday, November 09, 2014

Kill the M00N

In 2002, the Detroit Lions, who would end up going 3-13 that year, hosted the Dallas Cowboys, who ended up going 5-11, at Ford Field in a game that ended up Lions 9, Cowboys 7.

That game was scoreless at halftime, and memorable for the fact that Filip Filipovic and John Jett combined for 19 punts between them, the first nine possessions of the game ended in punts before a Dallas fumble in the second quarter ended the streak.  Fox even put up a graphic that said "Coming up next: A Punt."  A veritable fiesta of punts. It was as ugly a football game as I have ever watched.

And then M00N (HT: @mgoshoe) arose over Evanston.  It was a bad M00N rising.

To list the offenses against football competence in this game would be to invite charges of piling on.  It was bad, we know it was bad, and in the end, the final play, with Trevor Siemian slipping on the greasy Ryan Field turf as Frank Clark bore down on him like a Stinger missile.  Michigan knew what was coming and played it perfectly, Northwestern threw scissors and Michigan didn't just bring rock, they brought boulder, only to see Siemian embed the scissors in his thigh of his own volition.  It was the imperfect capper to an imperfect game.

In the end, Michigan won.  Michigan has lost just four times to Northwestern in their last 35 meetings.  I have clear and vivid memories of each of those four losses:
2008: Fandom Endurance III
2000: A-Train Fumble
1996: We just lost to you LAST YEAR!
1995: Luther Van Dammit

The only other team that I have this precise a memory of losses to is Minnesota, and that is mostly Jug related.  If you'd like to make the argument that Michigan should be 0-3 against Northwestern over the last three years, you'd very well be on to something.  And yet, here we are.  Football is a strange game, deserving to win does not assure that you will.  Northwestern did everything they could to give this game to Michigan, and Michigan did everything they could to give the game back to Northwestern.

It was only the Michigan defense that kept this game from going rapidly south.  Jake Ryan and Frank Clark were essentially picked Michigan up time and again.  They assured that this 2014 season is now 2009 as opposed to 2008 with a chance to go to 2010.  It's not the happiest of thoughts, but at this point in the year, given everything this team has been through, let's just enjoy the ride.  Because chaos is swirling everywhere in college football, we're just a part of a giant string of random.

So another week off, another week of sitting on an Open Date with a win, and a winnable game against Maryland, and amazingly, a chance to finish third in the B1G East, where we sort of thought we might be at the start of the year.  We've got two more games, maybe three, so let's enjoy the moments, no matter how terrible they are on paper. #915

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