Monday, September 29, 2008

The Legend of Rich Rodriquez Begins

Two losses in three games; eight turnovers against Notre Dame, and the first half against Wisconsin was deja vu all over again. Five turnovers including two interceptions and a fumble by the “deer in the headlights” quarterback. Pathetic special teams play; non-existent blocking, failed offensive schemes.

The defense was on the field for over twenty minutes in the first half and held the Badgers to only a 19-0 lead. Just 28 yards rushing and -7 passing for Michigan. So much for Coach Rodriquez’s fabled spread offence. The mighty, number 9 ranked Badgers, were skunking the impotent Wolverines in a warm up game to the Big Ten Season.

Pathetic, inept, gross incompetence, nonfeasance, malfeasance, embarrassing. Time for a class action suit against the Athletic Department. The AD, President, and Regents are nervous. West Virginia partisans are cheering.

The fans, 100,000 in unison, booed the team as it left the field at halftime. The boos, a cacophony of Bronx Cheers, were audible in Madison and Columbus and Lansing and through ESPN everywhere. Some fans, the truly disgusted, left at halftime and never returned. Who could blame them? Thank God I didn’t TiVo the game.

O yee of little faith.

The third quarter begins with a slight sign of life. Michigan receives the opening kickoff without fumbling. Coach surprisingly keeps the QB in. The offense even manages a first down on a pass. Then comes the inevitable punt. But the copse has a pulse, feeble as it may be.

The score at the end of the third quarter is 19-7. The fans stay; no mass exodus.

And now the fourth quarter. The malaise clears; the sun shines; The Sword of Damocles lifts from the stadium. The force is with Michigan as Wisconsin commits the stupid penalties, fumbles, interceptions, and dropped passes. They’re playing like the last seven quarters of Michigan football. Maybe it’s contagious.

Michigan scores a second touchdown on a 34 yard run by the backup tailback, and the Wolverine Nation senses a comeback. Is it possible? The players feel it. The boos change to cheers.

Suddenly an interception for a touchdown and Michigan is up 21-19.

Yes, Michigan is winning! We believe. 100,000 are One! The 5,000 Wisconsin fans seek beer. 27 straight points for the mighty Wolverines.

The defense bends, but does not break – echoes of Bo. The mighty Wolverines hold on to win 29-27 with the once beleaguered QB gaining 58 yards on a run with both hands cradling the football.

The win is the greatest comeback in the history of Michigan Stadium. What a way to commemorate the 500th game in the Big House.

No more booing. Strangers high five, hug and kiss each other in this magical moment of spontaneous euphoria. Cell phones are inoperable in the pandemonium, but text messaging goes through. Were you there? My seat was in Row 4 of the Michigan endzone behind the goalposts in the Fourth Quarter – normally an awful seat, but not this game. I was there. Better than TiVo.

Rich has his Bo win. The Wolverine Nation accepts him as a Victor. He still has to beat Michigan State and Ohio State, but savor the moment.

Rich is our Man. We believe. We know. The memories of Appalachian State are erased. The AD, President and Regents are smiling again, and West Virginia is silenced.

Hail to the Victors Valiant!

No comments: