You don't like to find yourself some stupid lucky play away from being tied at half with a far inferior opponent, but it's important to keep in mind that after EMU tied it up at 10-10, Michigan went on a 35-7 run to finish the game. They also gashed the Eagles for 380 yards rushing, the most since 2003. Tate was rarely called upon to throw, and I'm inclined to believe that the focus on the ground game was intentional and calculated. The ground game keeps the boys grounded. In short, we won't be having another week of Tate is Jesus press conferences. Though he might actually be Jesus. Oh, and Denard is still really fast, and still really a quarterback, he just can't throw so well....yet.
The defense was again, timely, but left a little something to be desired, especially early on. However, the third quarter continues to be our quarter. Michigan has given up zero points in the frame following halftime adjustments. For the Western game, the Broncos had two third-quarter drives, one that resulted in a turnover on downs, the other ended in an interception. The Fighting Irish had three third-quarter drives, a fumble and two punts, and a total of 22 yards. Eastern had four drives in Saturday's third quarter, two ending in punts, one interception, and one turnover on downs. So, ya, I think that means something.
In the end, it wasn't like we were all sitting around at the half, worrying about what would have been the ultimate disaster. That fear is waning. We were just all looking for something a little better, a little bit more "last week." Call it Irish hangover, or lack of inspiration going into a meaningless game. Whatever. While we're not quite in a position to be looking past opponents, that's what we did, and we still won 45-17. So there's that. And that's enough as we transition to conference play.