It's funny how a ten-hour tailgate in Happy Valley makes a 3:30pm kickoff seem like it's too soon. A drizzling morning sky and chilly temperatures kept us huddled under the tents for much of the day. But just as it was time to head to the stadium, and not long after a mini-football war with GarsWorld, the skies cleared and the sun came through in full force to make the gametime temperature nearly 60 degrees.
A sluggish Wolverine offense mustered only three first-half points. Fortunately, that was three more than the Wolverine defense allowed in the same time period. The Wolverines would increase their offensive output every quarter, with 0 points in the first, 3 in the second, 7 in the third, and 10 in the fourth. Both Wolverine touchdowns came by way of Mike Hart, who along with the offensive line, became stronger as the game went on...while Iowa's defense got weaker. Chad Henne was as accurate as he has been all season, going 23-33 for 203 yards, despite some questionable pass blocking that resulted in 3 sacks and several scrambles.
The Michigan defense reaffirmed their position as the best defense in the country. Even Drew Tate said so. They allowed just 1.7 yards per carry for a total of 41 yards, and did not allow a touchdown in the game for the first time this season. And while the game was close (10-6 heading into the 4th quarter), the result was never in doubt. Michigan wins 20-6 behind a second-half-heavy running game and brilliant defense.
The nation is ready for the impending game of the century between Michigan and Ohio State on November 18th, and for the next month, it's all you will hear about with regards to college football. The Big Two, Little Nine scenario so often referred to in the Big Ten has become a Big Two, Little 117 scenario for the nation. The winner of The Game will advance to, and become the odds-on favorite in, the BCS National Championship Game. All that stands in the way of the plan for the Wolverines is Northwestern, Ball State, and Indiana. For OSU, it's Minnesota, Illinois, and Northwestern. So, barring a miracle, THIS IS IT. But it doesn't feel like it, does it? Perhaps it's the amazing World Series run by our own Detroit Tigers that has muted your response to the Wolverines perfect season. Perhaps you are still reeling from last year's 7-5 abomination. Perhaps you're confidence has faded due to back-to-back average offensive performances. Perhaps you're just scared...of Ohio State...of Jim Tressel...of Columbus.
But seriously...THIS IS IT. It's everything you hoped for and more than you ever dreamt of. We have exercised the demons with convincing wins over Notre Dame and Wisconsin, handing both of them their only losses to this point. We returned the Little Brown Jug to Ann Arbor. We validated Super Mario's last second heroics of 2005 with yet another win at Penn State. We dominated two teams, Iowa and Michigan State, that took us to overtime just a year ago. We were handed one of the nation's toughest schedules, and remain unblemished through the late part of October. So it's time now to smile, celebrate a bit, puff up your chest, and walk tall. We're coming Columbus. I'M COMING COLUMBUS. Coming to ruin your pathetic lives once again.