by Andrew J. Maurer / admericaaaf.org columnist
From Where I Sit [Sep. 18, 2006]
Week IV: A New Hope
A Long Time Ago, In a Syracuse Stadium Far Away…Michigan won a road opener—just like they finally did this weekend.
Break out the Ewoks, our Poet Laureate won in Week 3. Congratulations, Classic. (No, seriously, I’m not being sarcastic, I want to congratulate him. Nice win.)
Going into the Notre Dame showdown this week, I honestly thought that this would be the biggest game of the year for Michigan. Apparently, they thought so too. While some Maize and Blue fans probably disagree with me, thinking that Ohio State is the BIG GAME (And not just because I used all caps), they forget one important thing.
You can’t play a truly meaningful game against Ohio State in the final week, until you win a meaningful game against Notre Dame in the third one.
Trust me, if the Wolverines had lost this game, I’d have spent the Tuesday night before the annual Buckeye Battle writing an article about how Lloyd could still beat out the Nittany Lions for a Holiday Bowl bid with a win. Even a Wookie couldn’t fake excitement over that scenario.
Okay, time for a few medals. What a performance by the defense. I’m not sure what Ron English did to Prescott Burgess this week, but keep doing it as long as it doesn’t involve Frozen Carbonite. Finally, that man was a Beast! Same with Shawn Crable, oh sure, I’d tell him myself but he probably wouldn’t hear me with his head still buried in Brady Quinn’s chest cavity.
So that’s it for us, right? No more admericaaaf.org? The coach won a big rivalry game and now all us so-called “Rebels” have to eat our words this weekend. We’re supposed to kneel before the awesome power of a new, improved Lloyd “Death” Carr!
(PLEASE NOTE: Hum “Imperial March” here.)
Nope. Sorry. Rumors of our death have been greatly exaggerated. I say this for the following reason: Saturday, only the end result changed—not the problem.
If you’ve read any of my previous columns, you know my main problem with Lloyd Carr is his passive play with a lead. How many times did you read a U of M article this off-season that said the team needed to learn how to finish games strong?
Well, despite winning 47-21, they didn’t finish either half strong this week.
For example, after holding Notre Dame to one first down most of the opening half, Brady Quinn went to a no-huddle offense and got four of them—driving 72 yards in two minutes and ten seconds to get a touchdown right before halftime. Where the light-speed, aggressive defense went, Yoda only guess can, but Coach English—with all due respect—leave the “Prevent” package at home next week.
You probably think I’m being a bit of a Sith. (Hey, Darth Vader himself is Michigan Alumni.) All right, but let me ask you this: Since U of M had such a big lead in the fourth quarter, how come they didn’t just make a few more first downs and run out the clock?
The answer: They couldn’t make first downs in the fourth quarter and run out the clock. In fact, although Michigan had 17 first downs for the game, they had a grand total of one in the fourth quarter.
On the first offensive play of the fourth, Mike Hart had a rush for 20 yards - that would be the last time the offense got to the sticks. After that, Coach Carr went as passive as C-3PO again, running Hart up the middle instead of abusing the Irish secondary like he had all afternoon. Hart had 6 rushes after that final first down, 4 of which gained two yards or fewer.
I’m not sure what would have to occur to keep Carr throwing the ball to “ice” a big win, but just going off “Super” Mario’s stats, it would have to be slightly better than three touchdowns in four catches.
And you guys think I’m a tough Jedi Master.
Now, I know they were way ahead this time. But mark my words, Jar-Jar, at some point this season, Michigan will likely cough up a win against some Jawa they should have beaten because they got scared, ditched the Manningham Falcon on Endor and, not surprisingly, stopped making first down markers. Maybe the Wolverine Rebel Force should try to change accepted football lexicon to “throw” out the clock—before a Badger, Hawkeye or Spartan Empire Strikes Back.
After all, it wasn’t Luke Groundwalker saving the day!
ANDREW J. MAURER (AKA Wolf Vereen) is a 2000 graduate of the University of Michigan and a professional writer, having trained at Second City (Detroit) in sketch comedy writing. He also wrote the short-lived comic book series, “Masters Of The Ring” and is the author of two books currently in submission. He is represented by the Richard Henshaw Group of New York, NY.
SOURCES: This article was researched through various sites and transcripts from
www.freep.com, www.espn.com, www.mgoblue.com and www.wikipedia.com
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