The 2006 tailgating season got underway early Saturday morning, but not on the plush grass of Ann Arbor Golf and Outing. AAGO made an announcement Friday afternoon that wet conditions would leave the UMTailgate.com contingency homeless in week one. A mad Friday night scramble ended with a alternate location just a few blocks from the Big House, in the backyard of the college homes of a couple of our regular tailgaters. This marks the first time that the tailgate was not on the golf course or the tennis courts since...1997. Ya, I didn't want to be the only person in the world not to reference the National Championship year.
It didn't take long for the group to adapt to the new surroundings. We hit our stride, and as the food began to fry and the drinks began to flow, nobody even knew the difference. Fry Daddy Frank didn't disappoint, providing a monsterous amount of coconut shrimp and a mango-habanero accoutrement. Pork loin, fried chicken, and cheesy potatoes may not have screamed "Luau," but tasted so good it didn't matter. A few "brief" announcements by the Godfather later it was time to head to the game.
On the field, it was old school Michigan football, as defense and "establishing the run" took center stage. The Wolverines 246 yards on the ground eclipsed the Commodores 171 total yards, as Mike Hart did his best Chris Perry impression with 31 carries for 146 yards. It was ball control. It was defensive aggressiveness. And from those perspectives, it was everything that last year was not. At the same time, however, it was a glorified practice against a second rate squad from the SEC.
The passing game left a bit to be desired, as Chad Henne's 10-22 performance was not exactly world beating. Plagued by some dropped passes and some timing issues, the dismal 5.9 yards per pass leaves Michigan with something to practice for next week.
Michigan 27-Vanderbilt 7