|Hey, we remembered that this guy plays football for Michigan. (Kirthmon F. Dozier - Detroit Free Press)|
They didn't turn the ball over on the first offensive series. 6-14-2-10-Nico for 48 and a TD. [Caveat: Rutgers] People we're going to point to Gattis on the sideline calling plays, or the "good week of practice", but really [Caveat: Rutgers] it just came down to talent cohering, looking crisp, and after a Rutgers three and out, finding a solution to the goalline woes by bootlegging Shea [Caveat: Rutgers] not once, not twice, but thrice (and Joe Milton once for good measure.) Shea's day looked like what you would expect from a top-end signal-caller recruit [Caveat: Rutgers], and even the interception, a good idea "Chuck it to Nico," almost worked.
We spent a week wallowing in the muck and the mire of what Wisconsin meant. Why did Michigan look lost and perpetually doomed to be an also-ran? We are no closer to knowing what it meant or how we got here. Pet theories were batted around, national media types spewed forth with a barely restrained glee that Harbaugh wasn't the messiah. When we asked Ace last week "Why is this sadness different than the other types of sadness we have experienced," his reply in the pod was spot on, we allowed ourselves to dream and to hope without restraint. Rodriguez and Hoke were risks in their own way that the hope was more invested in "please don't crash and burn." Whereas with Harbaugh, the track record was much more shaded toward lending itself to a massive amount of hope, and the crushing realization that it may never happen again was devastating. It probably took us longer than the rest of the nation, but it still hurt.
Today's result [Caveat: Rutgers] doesn't change anything. It is what we expected at the beginning of the season, Michigan handling its business against a massively overmatched Rutgers team was written in Sharpie at the beginning of the year and was a solid bet three possessions into the game. It doesn't tell us anything more than we already knew, but at least it wasn't the confused, choppy, ill-fitting outing against MTSU or the never schedule a service academy run of the Army game.
Sometimes you have to lose everything to find out what you really are. On the day in which Michigan celebrated the 150th anniversary of college football, it wasn't a look back to the receding past, nor trying to find its place in an ever-changing future, but rather a solid moment of reflection in the present, committing to trying to be what they thought they were, what they hoped they would be, and what they always suspected they could be. The puzzle will be solved, week by week, but at least for one moment, things looked as good as they have in a while. And that just might be enough. [Caveat: Rutgers]