Can't Lose Them All
The Cubs and Red Sox are in the league championship series. Ohio State lost a close game to Wisconsin. Arnold Schwarzenegger is the Governor of California. Northern Illinois is ranked in the top 20. Translation: The sun shines on a dog's ass now and then. And even on a Friday evening, in a dome, a tiny ray peaked through and hit #16 in the ass, if only for one quarter.
Make no mistake, the Wolverines may have been the lesser of the two teams on the field on Friday, or at least they were playing that way. There were no major miscues, no huge special teams foul ups, and the only turnover was an interception that looked as if it just may have been a great play by the defensive back. And yet, Michigan found itself down 14-0 at the half. They were down because they were out-played. They had no answer for the Minnesota offense, and the Wolverine offense mustered up less than 100 total yards. The third quarter wasn't much better, as Minnesota added another 14, while the Wolverines only score came on a trick play where Steve Breaston tossed a touchdown pass to none other than John Navarre. At the end of three quaters, the Wolverines were in the middle of a drive down the field, but trailed 28-7. I won't lie to you, the four of us that made the trip considered leaving. I received a text message on my cell phone that read "Leave now and beat the traffic." A voice mail said, "Is it really all worth it?" referring to the 20-hour round trip to Minneapolis to see this anemic performance. We decided to hold our decision to leave until after the Wolverines current drive.
A ten-yard touchdown pass from Navarre to Perry made it 28-14, which at that time seemed to just be delaying the inevitable. Faith is not something that appears in a thought that contains John Navarre, so the 14-point differential still seemed insurmountable. But then, just one-minute later, Jacob Stewert intercepted an errant pass and returned it for a touchdown...28-21. Maybe? No, still Navarre. But we're not going anywhere. C'mon defense!
Minnesota then got the ball to mid-field, and a 52-yard run right up the gut by Minnesota QB Abdul-Khaliq was the dagger. I want to leave...but there's so much time left. 11:11 to go...isn't 11:11 supposed to be lucky? I make a wish. Stephen curses the fact that we stayed. One-minute later, Navarre to Edwards for a 52 yard touchdown, 35-28. Maybe? No, still Navarre. DEFENSE!!
A much needed and rare stop is followed by an 8-play, 60-yard drive, which ends with a 10-yard TD run by Chris Perry. TIED? 35-35... and I'm convinced we can't put together back to back defensive stops. But we do. Maybe? No, still Navarre. Pray for overtime. For god's sakes John, don't throw an interception that gets returned for a touchdown. Run it Lloyd...run it. Then time stopped. It was one of those quick moments that seemed to last forever, where you hear your heart beating, as the ball popped out of Chris Perry's hands and bounced up field...right into the hands of a diving Tim Massequoi. Kick it now! Good god, kick it now. Navarre takes a knee, Minnesota burns it's last time out, Rivas lines up and splits the uprights. 38-35. Maybe? YES...MAYBE? Colorado? DEFENSE!!!!!! DEFENSE!!!!!! Then Abdul-Khaliq's hail mary falls short, and into the hands of Markus Curry. And it's over. Michigan wins 38-35? 31 fourth-quarter points?!? A Navarre win against a ranked team on the road? Ahhhh yes, a dog's ass my friends, a dog's ass.
If you recall from last year's trip to the Twin Cities, there is no substantial tailgate at Minnesota, so we actually tailgated on the road...literally. Open container laws aside, we created a theme on the fly (Fried Foods) and our tailgate was catered by Culver's and included fried cheese curds and breaded pork loin sandwiches. I am mentioning this makeshift tailgate in order to explain why there are very few pictures from the trip. To fill in the blanks, I've included some choice pictures from the Godfather's family trip to New York City which occurred in between the trip to Iowa and Minnesota... and created the monniker "Hell Week" to describe the activities of the last 7 days. Enjoy!
Can't Lose Them All