|Michigan vs. Michigan State: The Battle for Everything.
||[Oct. 1st, 2005|05:30 pm]
Unranked Michigan 34, Formerly #11 Michigan State 31 (OT)
@ Michigan State, E. Lansing, MI
It was a wild game.
Mike Hart rushes, Drew Stanton passes, fatbodies, kickers, and a whole lotta beer on tap for this evening.
Michigan started off well enough with a 14-0 lead in the 1st, but if you watch college football, you knew that start to be only the first blow in a series of hits, like a prize fight.
No one from the state of Michigan really cares about Ohio State.
In Michigan, the dominion of the Big Ten is decided before the Ohio State game. It's decided in either Ann Arbor or East Lansing. Usually, Michigan takes the task from State to head for Destination Bowl Glory, sending Ohio State to some crappy bowl, wondering why the Wolverines always seem to get the best of them.
I guess that's why Ohio State fans are so angry. They get the short end of the stick every time. They'll never understand, however, the bitter rivalry between Brother against Brother.
If Ohio State students were literate, then they'd pick up an American history book. Oh well, so much for that notion. I'll remind them, of course.
Of all the wars throughout the history of the United States, the one that has hurt the most would be the Civil War.
If neither Michigan team is strong enough to take the conference, which is rare, then this game decides who's going to cause headaches for the leader. Unfortunately, this is one of those headache years. The outcome decided these schools as even fucking steven, which means all you other Big Ten teams are in serious trouble. Michigan State has a powerhouse offense, but it's going to be both of them causing trouble for everyone else in the Big Ten, not just the Spartans.
Screw the first three quarters. This game began in the 4th quarter, on a defensive touchdown.
Oh-ho, no Tuck Rule for you, Chad Henne!
In the 4th Quarter, with Michigan 31 and Michigan State 24, hunger and home field urged the Spartans with a little under 7 minutes to go.
Chad Henne, under pressure, reared his arm back, and a Michigan State defender, Clifton Ryan, snook up behind him as Henne brought his arm forward.
Henne's ball popped out of his hand on the wrap. The ball squirted to the ground, and #96, Domata Peko, a defensive tackle, scooped up the ball. Refs signaled a fumble. Peko, 6 foot 2, 310 lbs, rumbled ahead on the long 75-yard drive toward the Michigan end zone.
One Michigan defender, the tough star rusher, #20 Mike Hart, remained to stop Peko, and the State blockers took care of him. Peko hurdled into the end zone over the lockup between the State blocker and the Michigan defender. Touchdown, Michigan State, 31-30.
After a Big Ten review, there was no evidence to refute the fumble, despite Henne's forward arm motion, which was exactly the same situation that Tom Brady gained as part of an NFL 'Tuck Rule' in a crucial AFC playoff game.
Well, that's the NFL, and this is college. After the signal of touchdown after the review, Michigan State hit the extra point for a 31-31 tie.
Late in the 4th, another crucial kick and 53 seconds remained in the way of Michigan's claim on the victory.
You see, Mike Hart actually did great damage to Michigan State He could have been the hero. He set up Michigan for the win, starting from Michigan's 40 after the big rumblin' Peko TD. With 6:10 left, Hart ran time and again, 4 yards, 9 yards, 6 yards, yards and more yards. The entire final Michigan drive lasted just over 5 minutes, eating a ton of clock, putting Michigan on State's 10-yard line, with 4th and 2 and a necessary and elementary field goal attempt by Garrett Rivas.
You see, Michigan's kickers haven't really been all that fantastic during the Lloyd Carr era. Rivas, on a 26-yard field goal attempt, which was situated far to the left of the posts, blew the short chance for three points. He shanked it straight, sailing the ball far to the left of the left post.
Bring on the overtime. It was going to happen, since that's what happens with these two teams.
In college football, overtime provides the possibility of anything. One team gets the chance from short distance to move the ball any way they can for points. Whatever the result in points of that drive, the other team must do the same. More points than the 1st team provide the end and a victory. Less points than the 1st team accept defeat.
Michigan State had the first drive.
In the history of these contests, Michigan has been the more successful team. Michigan's more successful, really, than pretty much any team in college football.
Michigan State's first drive sent them to the Michigan 21. Like a younger brother, Michigan State often tries hard to best it's bigger brother, but it often falls short of the mark. John Goss, the State kicker, who had missed a crucial field goal earlier in the game, shanked the 38-yard attempt for three. I guess the Michigan State brother subconsciously felt sorry for its struggling Michigan brother.
After the miss, they turned to Michigan for their drive. All Michigan needed was 3 points for the win. The Wolverines probably wanted a touchdown to avoid the use of Goat Rivas, but State's defense stopped Hart short for only a yard on 2nd down.
Lloyd Carr is an ultra-conservative coach, and Michigan went into ultra conservation of this golden opportunity. On Michigan State's 18, with 3rd and 3, Michigan elected to take the opportunity for two field goal chances.
Garrett Rivas, the previous goat, turned himself into an Ann Arbor hero on the first try. He nailed the 35-yard field goal through the uprights, sending Michigan and Michigan State into the books as an instant classic.
So, who is the hero of this match?
Drew Stanton didn't have the best game through the air. Michigan State's air attack managed only 279 yards on the day, and Stanton only threw one TD pass.
Mike Hart ran 36 times for 220 yards and 1 rushing TD, for a 6.1 YPC. His longest rush was 64 yards. Gee, I guess Michigan State's rushing defense isn't that hot, eh?
Forget Chad Henne. Despite how his numbers look, he's still weak, and he looks a lot like Navarre out there in the clutch moments.
The real reason why Michigan even had a chance in this game was the return of Mike Hart. I will never really know why Rivals.com ever rated Hart only three stars. That kid was a blue chip. Maybe he was downgraded because of injuries in high school. Who knows?
While Michigan State's rushing defense may be mediocre, Michigan's is also quite suspect. Michigan State is a spread offense, which means a lot of passes and less rushes as a rule. Michigan State, however, was forced to put in on the ground. They ran 37 times, which was 6 times more than the passes. They gained 175 yards on the Wolverine defense, which is an accomplishment for State, especially the one rushing TD that won't go on the State offensive books.
Yes, that's right. I speak of the Peko defensive touchdown.
Never mind Michigan. They were lucky.
The true hero of the game is Domata Peko.
In sum . . . GO FATASS GO!!!