|A beautiful sight, we're happy tonight... (Photo by Isaiah Hole)|
For all of our calling Indiana #CHAOSTEAM, we tended to presume that Michigan would bounce back from the disappointment of that night at Kinnick, and rally behind John O'Korn and figure out how to get by Indiana, a team Michigan has not lost to since 1987, and has not lost in Ann Arbor to since 1967. But the same problems from last week, from the last month, really, were cropping up. Slightly off target passes, bad luck on spots, every toss-up ball to an Indiana receiver managing to be good for a solid gain. By the end of a cold and blustery first half at Michigan Stadium, only Kenny Allen's punting seemed to be going right and Michigan and its fans felt fortunate that if this was the first time all season that they were going into the locker room at halftime down, it was only a 7-3 margin.
So the Chaos did come, but, as chaos is wont to do, it came from something seemingly random. On a third and eight, John O'Korn used his feet, the one part of his game that everyone seemed to agree was stronger that Speight's, and scrambled for 30 yards into Indiana territory. After an injury timeout, one handoff to De'Veon Smith saw the senior find the end zone with a little fancy leaping at the end, Michigan retook the lead and would never look back. A second Smith touchdown, following a second blocked punt and a "missed it by that much" dagger from O'Korn to Darboh and there was some breathing room.
No, the chaos came in the snow late in the game. It snowed. Goodness did it snow. In five minutes of game time, Michigan Stadium was transformed from a chilled November in the gloaming to a snowglobe of wonder, the flakes reflecting off the high-powered stadium lights in a way that was more calming that anything else. Concurrent to this, Michigan did something it had not been able to do against Michigan State or Iowa in the fourth quarter, as they milked a 15 play drive for 51 yards, but more to the point, over eight minutes of game time, assuring that Indiana would have to move the ball in Hoth-like conditions to mount any form of a comeback and reminding them that we would see them in Hell when their Tauntaun died before they reached the first marker.
The snow swirled, the joy of a perfect home season settled over the crowd, a reminder that not every season at Michigan Stadium must end in disappointment, as had become familiar over the last decade or so. The first snowfall of the season is a reminder of the joyful feeling that snow can provide before the cold, harsh realities of a long Michigan winter settle over you. But, as a symbol of an ending, for this massive senior class, for those who have seen lows and highs in somewhat equal measure,
Now comes Ohio State week. A truncated work week as we celebrate that which we are thankful for while simultaneously what we both covet and dread. There is no reason to believe that Michigan can't go down to Columbus and get a win, but that knowledge comes with the caveat that it's going to require virtually everything to go right for Blue and a lot of things to go wrong for the Buckeyes. But that is likely more the realities of the 21st century speaking in the back of my mind. Never stop fighting until the fight is through. Here endeth the lesson.