Sunday, November 11, 2018

Goin' Down to New York Town

Oliver Martin finally won his battle with the end zone. (Julio Cortez/AP)
Oliver Martin finally won his battle with the end zone. (Julio Cortez/AP)

There was no way that anyone could have been happy with this game, save something in the realm of a return of the 78-0 defenestration, so a 35 point victory without a shutout, something that Michigan fans would have clamored for in their dreams just a season ago, will engender complaints, even if briefly.  In the final analysis, Michigan won by five touchdowns and after Chase Winovich's fumble recovery, the math was sufficiently convincing in Michigan's favor that even the AP Elections Bureau had called the game in the Wolverines favor, despite there being 17 minutes of football remaining to be played.

There were some nice moments in this game.  Karan Higdon went over 1,000 yards for the year, something he had sought since being disappointed on that front last season.  Oliver Martin caught his first career TD after being vigorously denied on several occasions.  Shea Patterson made some nice throws on the move while never once pulling and running, keeping himself on track to be healthy going into The Game, knock on wood.  Some of Shea's deep shots just missed, a couple of which were nicely defended by the Rutgers secondary.  The game was a much-needed reminder of the maxim that Scott Van Pelt likes to trot out "Well, they got some guys on scholarship too."  Rutgers played with some pride and it's to their credit that they still looked like a group of guys who wanted to see what they could do.  You get an early touchdown like that on a bust, you get the right to dream a little bit.

Beyond that, it's done and Indiana on the docket.  Let's see what happens.

Saturday, November 03, 2018

A Murder of One

The turning point when lunch money receipts were collected and reimbursement demanded (Kirthmon F. Dozier/Freep)
"Well, I dreamt I saw you walking
Up a hillside in the snow
Casting shadows on the winter sky
As you stood there counting crows
One for sorrow, two for joy
Three for girls and four for boys
Five for silver, six for gold
Seven for a secret never to be told."
"A Murder of One", Counting Crows, August and Everything After, 1993
For many years, I thought that the next line in "A Murder of One" (one of my favorite Counting Crows songs) was "There's a perfectness inside you" which not only made sense, it seemed like a nearly magical turn of phrase from Adam Duritz.  It turned out that it was "There's a bird that nests inside you." which is still pretty good, but not as good as I initially believed my false impression to be.  It makes more sense with the bird metaphor that continues afterward, but again, the notion of a perfectness inside you, sleeping underneath your skin always seemed like this wonderful notion of what can be achieved if we just pushed ourselves a little more.

What Michigan did to Penn State today was nigh on perfect.  It obviously did not finish as perfect as Penn State scored a garbage time touchdown, preventing the Don Brown shutout dreams from coming true, but still, it just felt amazing.  It was just brilliant.  Even though the script felt familiar, not enough points in the first half, potential missed opportunities, blood in the water being ignored, we also knew how that script flipped in the second halves of the last two games. 

If I'm going to be honest, writing about these kinds of games are difficult because they're works of art.  They stand on their own.  Each of us stands before the artwork, taking it in, processing our own experiences, our own feelings, our own personal aesthetic and comes up with something.  If we're skilled in communication or in the history of the medium, we can usually articulate why this particular thing makes us feel this particular way, but sometimes the sheer joy or exhilaration of the piece robs us of our words.  We look at it and words fail us.  This was a pure, unadulterated cackle with glee moment.

Chase Winovich has said a lot of things.  He has said many many things that would be worrisome if he was not out there every play, backing it up, leading the posse like Kurt Russell's Wyatt Earp in the last hour of Tombstone, and riding herd like he knows the exact amount in his bank account so he can start writing checks all over the Big Ten.  I am sure that he annoys the hell out of the rest of the Big Ten and probably the country, but I don't care.  The guy who can destroy opposing quarterbacks but still take time to let the Drama Department know that he really enjoyed their performance of Sweet Charity, he's the Winovich, and we love him.

A trip to New Jersey next week awaits.  Onward.