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Sunday, October 16, 2005

:01


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?

6 comments:

M82 said...

You almost feel sorry for JoePa and those gritty nitty lions...

NOT!!!

Go Blue!

M82

Yost said...

Go Blue, indeed, M82.

I heard JoePa wouldn't make his team available to the media after the game saying something like, "You guys are just going to ask them the same questions anyway."

I think that's a little bush. I know it was a VERY tough loss. But that's football and, more importantly, that's life. So if you can revel in victory like they did last week against tOSU, then you should have to also have to learn to stand tall in defeat, even the tough ones.

Benny Friedman said...

He was also childish at the press conference. When I read his quotes on line they didn't sound so bad. When I heard them on tape he sounded like a baby. Maybe, after 55 years he's just tired with the media. I couldn't blame him for that. But for most of those years the media's treated him pretty well. I think he's lost a lot of integrity over the past few years with all the complaining about the refs (including yesterday about the extra two seconds Lloyd got us) and the btiching in the media.

Yost said...

Did JoePa whine about the extra two seconds put back on the clock? That was a totally legit call. The clock kept ticking after the play even though Lloyd was calling time out to the ref. On MICHIGAN REPLAY this morning, he said he thought it should have been four seconds back on the clock.

You know, I'm a big JoePa fan. I think what folks have been doing to him in Happy Valley hasn't been so happy. But I have to say, recently when he loses close games (especially to us), it seems, like you said, he's always complaining about a blown this or that instead of giving credit to the opposing team. It's getting a big stale.

Wangs said...

I agree w/ all your comments Yost. Wow, did I just say that? I'll have to reread the post, I'm sure there's something completely wrong in it. Anyway ...

I actually thought the best play of the game may have been by the defense when they gave up their third qb draw td in the 4th quarter this season (1 against Wisco and 2 against Pennsylvania State). Thank goodness. That left 52 seconds on the clock. If they stop them there but then give up the inevitable td on 2nd down, we don't have a chance.

Also - I was very pleased that - like Butterfingers against Virginia oh so many years ago - Breaston dropped the ball on the second to last play of the game.

I think we may have found a playmaker - freshman Manningham. The first td was huge. He simply did not give up on that ball and tracked it down. Breaston does not make that catch. The second was a great route - gave himself and Henne - lots of space and he made a fine catch. Wahoooooo.

Yost said...

You're so right about Breaston dropping the second to last ball. If that doesn't happen, we lose b/c the clock runs out and we're all b*tiching today (rightfully so) about why we're throwing 5 yard curl routes from the 10 with six seconds left.

Come to think of it, why were we throwing 5 yard curls with six seconds left from the 10?