Welcome to the latest weekly column added to the whirlwind of UMTailgate.com postings, "Way Back When-sday", where we take a moment to reflect back on a great tailgate, game, moment in Michigan history, or moment in tailgater folly. This week, we take you back to November 2, 2002. The tailgate...epic. The game...full of revenge.
It was a red-letter day for tailgating, as a trio of big names found their way to "the greatest tailgate on the golf course". Tim Busfield of Revenge of the Nerds fame (Poindexter himself) made a cameo appearance in between gigs on The West Wing and Ed. Future state attorney general Mike Cox got some campaign support from the UMTailgaters, and even got his picture taken with Tim. And perhaps the best of all, Joe Cahn, the Commissioner of Tailgating, graced us with his presence. He spent some time sampling the culinary delights of the day which included the now UMTailgate famousSausage and Cheese Chowder, created from a recipe on his website.
We celebrated the 70th birthday of John Dogan, our oldest living tailgater, and presented him with a plaque indicating such. We also celebrated the birthday of tailgater Emily, who is most famous for her UMTailgate.com t-shirt that I enjoy posting to the front page of this website as much as possible.
As for the game at hand, revenge was on the mind of the Wolverines, who fell to the Spartans in the previous year in the infamous "extra-second" game in Spartan Stadium. Michigan State struck first, getting a 3-0 lead before Michigan went on a 49-0 run to end the game with a 49-3 win, the biggest over the Spartans in 55-years. The game featured a battery of John Navarre and BJ Askew, and included Jason Avant's first career catch, and Tim Bracken's first career touchdown.
Somehow graced by the gods I stood on the sidelines for this contest, and had the honor of meeting Steve Everitt at halftime. Despite his Ted Nugent-esque appearance, it's not often you run into a college football player that won 4-consecutive Big Ten titles. He did so as a starting center during the Maize and Blue's "drive for five" in the early-nineties. Three of his four titles were outright titles, as were four of the five overall, a record unheard of in Big Ten history. For example, despite the "amazing" success ofTressel's Cheaters, they have yet to win an outright Big Ten title. Their last was in 1984. Ok, I'm calming down now, sorry.
As we walked out of the tunnel a Spartan fan held up a sign emblazoned with two simple words, "Fire Bobby". I felt bad for about half a second thinking about the Spartan players filing out under that sign...then I came to my senses and had a good laugh. In the wake of a Jeff Smoker suspension for substance abuse just 10 days earlier, Dwan Moss was kicked off the team for public intoxication and assault on a police officer the Sunday after the 49-3 drubbing. Two days later, Michigan State fired Bobby Williams. Bobby has gone back to riding the coattails of Nick Saban, both at LSU and the Miami Dolphins.
A simply amazing day both on the field and at the tailgate. Share your memories of this day in the comments section below. And as always, GO BLUE!