Sunday, October 16, 2005
Wow. What a finish. When Pennsylvania State University's QB scored with some :52 seconds left on the clock, I thought for sure Michigan had once again written another sad chapter in the "Coulda, Shoulda, Woulda" saga that is their 2005 campaign. Yet somehow they pulled it off in thrilling fashion. Are we trying to be on ESPN Classic every day next year? Hell, ESPN might have to give us our own special "Michigan Night" if this keeps up. Can you remember a season with this many games coming down to the wire in the 4th quarter? We're a handful of plays from being undefeated...and a handful the other way from being 2-5. Ah, the fickle finger of football fate.
Hats off to the team for pulling this one out. They could have easily quit a couple times in the fourth quarter (after the two PSU TDs scored in a nanosecond early and then their above-mentioned final TD with under a minute left) but they didn't and produced one of the greatest wins in Michigan history.
But, not to rain on the victory celebration, had we lost, I think the blame would have rested squarely on the shoulders of Coach Carr. After Leon Hall intercepted Michael Robinson with around 3 1/2 minutes left, Michigan called three consecutive running plays in order to get Pennsylvania State University to use up timeouts rather than trying to score. Typical Michigan in these situations: instead of going for the kill, we played "not to lose." And it nearly cost us (again).
Even Coach Carr admitted as much saying: "If we had lost this game, I would have blamed myself. What I should have said, is, 'Let's throw the ball in the end zone.' We were so concerned with making Penn State use their timeouts ... Instead of being so concerned with them using all their timeouts and maybe kicking a field goal, we left them (the defense) out there."
Let's hope he won't make this mistake in the future and it signals a realization that you have to be daring and have a set of stones more often than not in these situations.
On the positive side, this is Lloyd's 15th victory in 20 games against Top 10 teams during his tenure (8-0 in A2). I have to think that's one of the best big game records in the land. The problem with that success is, I think it tends to make the scratch-your-head losses to the teams we should beat that much more frustrating.
On another positive note, the offense proved they can win a game in the clutch, a big game against a top team (and even score in the 3rd quarter. I didn't realize until it was mentioned on TV that our TD in the 3rd quater was our FIRST one this season! But like my friend said, "Relax. It's only the SEVENTH GAME OF THE SEASON.")
But while the O showed its stones by marching down the field at the end, like everything this season, there is a flip side: the defense still has yet to prove it can stop somebody -- anybody -- on a final drive to preserve a victory. After shutting down PSU in the first half, they gave up 22 points in the 4th quarter. I guess we should all be thankful our game winning TD came with no time left on the clock. Is there anybody who thinks we would have held on to win had there been another minute to go?
And finally, for those like me who no longer live in A2 and must watch the games on TV: DID YOU SEE ALL THE SHOTS OF PEOPLE SHAKING THEIR KEYS?! &^%*!
Oh well, I guess I'll bask in the victory tonight and leave my anti-key crusade to another post (oh, and there will be more).
Next up: Iowa at Iowa. Another tough game. Is it just me, or does anybody else miss the good ol' days of the "Big 2 and the Little 8"? Gee, how many heart attacks do you think Bo would've had coaching in this age of parity?
Posted by Yost at 2:05 AM