Sunday, November 18, 2018

Daylight Fading

The sacks were not commonplace today, but they came in very opportune moments. (David Guralnick/Detroit News)

She said "Everybody loves you, "
She says, "Everybody cares"
But all the things I keep inside myself
They vanish in the air
If you tell me that you'll wait for me
I'll say I won't be here
"Daylight Fading" by Counting Crows, from the 1996 album Recovering the Satellites 

23 in a row overall.  20 in a row in the Big House with an average score of 38-15.  But dang it if every single one of those feels like one of the most annoying wins of the year.  But the key word there is wins.  The only significant streak that has passed down the great chain of being of Michigan football from Bump to Bo to Mo to Lloyd to RichRod to Hoke to Harbaugh is that Michigan does not lose to Indiana at home (even more amazing, Michigan doesn't lose to Indiana on the road.  It's only ever happened twice: 1959 and 1987, that's the list.)  But the critical thing here is that they are wins.  History rarely asks you how you won, but rather did you win?  That does not deprive us of the narrative in the moment, because in the moment, dang this was annoying.

Jake "Mad-Eye" Moody kicked six field goals which is simultaneously awesome (Rise up Western Wayne County!) and well, maddening (field goals 33, 32, 31, 30, 29, and 23 speak to an offense that could not close in the red zone.)  Jake Moody personally outscored the entire Michigan State/Nebraska game.  Yet, it's not like Michigan's offense was "bad", per se, they had 457 yards of total offense.  It just wasn't coming when it was needed.  If let's say the Patterson to Gentry pass early in the second quarter is held on to and, oh, I don't know, the Indiana player doesn't "unintentionally" kick the ball as its being reset near the end of the half, Michigan maybe has 7-11 more points and this looks and feels much better.  But no, this is the Indiana game and while Indiana may no longer hold the mantle of #CHAOSTEAM, it has now embraced the mantle of #jerksquad.  Said squad was enabled by the maddening and baffling officiating decisions of the John O'Neill crew.  (As a rule, I should not know refereeing crews just as I don't want to know the name of our long snapper, though Camaron Cheeseman gets a special dispensation for drawing the roughing the snapper penalty against Wisconsin, I digress.)

As I say so often, college football only lives in the past and in the future, never in the present so it can be reasonably understood that yesterday's matchup, already viewed by many as a last perfunctory hurdle before The Game, cause many in the Michigan fanbase and brain trust to worry about "What does this mean for next week?"  It's a reasonable question, but it's also one that ignored that Ohio State looked eminently ordinary against Maryland in the early game slot.  This game likely has little meaning for next week, save the notion that Michigan has some nice "don't do this" film and got some practice against a team that likes to tempo.

Indiana is in the books for another year (thank goodness.  We'll do it all again in Bloomington before OSU next year.)  The Game is here.  Beat Ohio State.

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