To say that Michigan State got up for the game on Saturday would be an understatement, if not an insult. Michigan State gave Michigan more than it could handle, dominating the game for the first three quarters, and the first three minutes of the fourth. The Spartan defense held Michigan's offense in check, forcing what seemed to be an endless series of three-and-outs. The Michigan defense remained on the field as the Spartan's managed the clock, dictated everything that happened along the line of scrimmage, and scored on big plays.
Not only was it ugly, but you wondered if it had ever been uglier. Flashbacks of bad losses in the Big House came to mind...Ohio State 2001, Iowa 2002. We were being manhandled, out-muscled, out-played...but this time, it was by our little brother from East Lansing. 'Doom' is the only word that comes to mind to describe the feeling when DeAndra Cobb ran a 64-yard dagger into the heart of the Wolverine defense, and the heart of the Wolverine faithful. It was 27-10, and there was no sign of life from the Michigan players on the field or on the sideline. As the kick return team jogged slowly onto the field, some people headed for the exits. Tough to blame them. The thought crossed the mind of every Michigan fan in attendance I'm sure.
But there's something to be said for taking your medicine.
And that's what we thought we were doing. Enduring a loss. And then IT happened. After a couple of quick first downs, Henne launched a bomb towards Braylon Edwards, who came back to make the catch on the under thrown ball to give the Wolverines a 1st and 10 at the Michigan State 12. But the Spartans would not be denied, holding the Wolverines to a 24-yard field goal, and holding a two-touchdown lead with just over 6 minutes to go.
And the Wolverines again jogged slowly out on to the field, this time to kick it off, as more fans made their way towards the exits. But they didn't get far, because the Wolverines kicked and recovered an onside kick, prompting a mass exodus from the concourse back into the stadium. So much work still to be done...so little time.
Then a two-play touchdown drive that took less than 20 seconds that ended with another spectacular Braylon Edwards catch. Follow that up with a Michigan State drive that included one first down, the loudest crowd in Big House history, and consumed about 2 minutes and 30 seconds, and Michigan took over with 3:18 to play from their own 40. Two-plays and 60 yards later, another Michigan touchdown...Henne-to-Edwards. It's tied. A slight clock management snafu and a pass-interference penalty gave Michigan State an opportunity to win the game with no time left on the clock, not unlike 2001, when the Spartans upset the Wolverines with no time left on the clock (wink wink). But the 52-yard field goal went wide-right, and we were going to overtime.
In front of the Michigan student section, the teams exchanged field goals to complete the first overtime, and in the process the Wolverines lost Mike Hart to injury. In the second OT, the Spartans struck first, forcing the Wolverines into a touchdown-or-lose situation. On 3rd and 6 from the Spartan 6, Henne lofted a pass to the corner of the endzone that was snatched from the sky by Jason Avant for the Wolverine touchdown. Rivas's extra point tied the game sending it into a third overtime.
After an incomplete pass and a Max Martin 1-yard run, Henne hit Edwards once again, this time for a 24-yard touchdown. Then Henne completed a pass to Tim Massaquoi for the two-point conversion, giving the Wolverines an eight point lead.
Michigan State's final drive was quelled by a 15-yard offensive pass interference penalty, and ended with an incomplete pass on 4th and 8 from the Michigan 23.
In the most improbable of scenarios, the Wolverines came out on top. And medicine never tasted so good. Fans that remained in their seats for the entirety of the game, now found themselves unable to leave at its conclusion, remaining in the stadium for several minutes reveling in the masterpiece they had just witnessed, and basking in it's joyous conclusion. Michigan wins 45-37.
The Wolverines take sole possession of first place in the Big Ten moving to 6-0 with Wisconsin (5-0) idle. Michigan, behind the amazing mix of Chad Henne, Mike Hart and Braylon Edwards, find themselves 8-1 overall, and ranked in the top-10. Not bad for a team that was on the brink of being casted-off a month and a half ago.
A Moment On Mike
I think it is important to realize the history-in-the-making we are witnessing with every game. Michigan football has been around for 125 seasons. 125 seasons of establishing the run. Mike Hart has rushed for over 200 yards in three straight games. Not only is that the first time a Michigan back has accomplished that feat, but Mike Hart's three 200+ yard games is one more than Chris Perry, Tom Harmon, Tim Biakabutuka, Jon Vaughn, Tyrone Wheatley, and Jamie Morris each had for their CAREER, and ties Ron Johnson for first all-time for 200+ yard performances in a Michigan career.
Mike Hart is ranked 9th nationally in rushing, despite having only eight carries going into the 3rd game of the season.
New Member of the Tailgating Elite
For the cheesy potatoes, for the chocolate chip filled brownies, for the endless love and affection she gives on a week-to-week basis, for her tireless dedication to UMTailgate.com, and for getting the Godfather to and from the tailgates...we are happy to induct Pammy Moore, Godmother to the tailgate and wife of the Godfather, into the UMTailgate.com Hall of Fame. We thank you for all you have done to make the tailgate special, and for raising and giving us the greatest family in all of Michigan tailgating, the Moore's. We love you all!