Saturday, November 23, 2019


If one has earned the right to stunt on 'em, stunt on 'em. (Tyler Carlton)
In 1969, Michigan was 7-2 after a 51-6 demolition of Iowa at Kinnick.  They had lost two games early in October, a non-conference game against Missouri and falling victim to the Curse of Paul Bunyan in Bo's debut in their match-up with Michigan State.  This meant that Bo, in his first year in Ann Arbor, would need to beat Ohio State to match Bump's 1968 win total.  Even though it was pretty much a given that Michigan would be heading to Pasadena regardless of what happened in the not-as-yet dubbed Big House on that November 22nd, the 12th ranked Wolverines were facing a daunting task.  Ohio State hadn't lost in 22 games.  They were being called one of the all-time great teams, even better than their national championship winning predecessors.  There was no way Michigan was winning this game, 17 point underdogs that they were.

Trap game, they yelled.  Indiana's really good!  #9Windiana was lurking.  Harbaugh teams always have trouble at the Quarry.  And early on, it was holding to form.  Indiana looked really good picking on Dax Hill on their first scripted drive, and though Michigan responded immediately (yeah Ronnie Bell!), the short punt after the interception and Indiana's subsequent touchdown generated that oddly queasy, yet wholly expected feeling.  That Giles Jackson didn't hear a whistle did not matter as he was down 62 yards earlier, he played the game until he was told not to do so.  That Shea mixed it up and hit a bunch of receivers made it feel good, but the circus catch by DPJ was a thing of beauty to tie the game back up.

From that point forward, it was the Nico Show, with three touchdowns, each beautiful in their own way, be it the catch and GO for 76 yards for his second or the repeat of last week immediately after a turnover for the third and the nail in the Hoosiers coffin.

Plenty was said today, on GameDay, during the game, about just how different this Michigan team has looked since halftime of the Penn State game.  The numbers bear it out.  It feels different.  The BPONE doesn't settle in.  It looms, but it gets up and leaves a lot earlier than you expect it to do so.  But it also gives Michigan fans hope.  Because that moment 50 years ago this past Friday is our origin myth, or at least, the reboot version of it.  It's setting up to be close enough to what it was if you squint a little.  Is it all just a little bit of history repeating?  Maybe, probably not.  But it's not fun to not hope.  It was utterly improbable that Michigan could upset Ohio State 50 years ago until it happened.  I know that was then, but it could be again.

Beat OSU.

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