'M' faces more than rematch with Buffaloes
No pep talks. No reminders. No
The Wolverines all know what they-
have to do. They all remember what
happened Sept. 24, 1994, whether they
were on the field, on the sideline, or on
their way to play for Michigan.
They all remember the perfect season
that was killed in its infancy. They all
remember national championship
hopes falling into the sewer as the ball
fell into Michael Westbrook's arms with
no time left. They all bristle, itch, burn
and squirm at the thought.
What might have been? Why hasn't
Michigan ever been the same?
Two years ago, Colorado came into
Michigan Stadium to face the
Wolverines, who had just won a euphor-
ic classic with Notre Dame and nur-
tured visions of a true return to college
football's elite. A top-five ranking. An
undefeated season. Michigan's first
national championship since 1948.
For most of the game, the Wolverines
pounded the Buffaloes, and their 26-14
lead after the third quarter was stun-
ning. The crowd taunted the Colorado
sideline with chants: "We're No. l!"
and "Overrated!" The players never
admitted it, but many seemed to be
thinking the same thing.
Then there was a fumble. Then a
touchdown. Then the Hail Mary.
Everyone's enthusiasm was prema-
ture. Everone was dead quiet.
The Wolverines lost, 27-26, and went
on to lose three more games after that.
This week, revenge is sure to be a hot
topic. Redemption is sure to be dis-
cussed. Proving something is sure to be
a priority. But these things are for the
media and the fans.
On the field, the lineups have
changed, and so have the times.
The Buffaloes are still on top of col-
lege football, but the characters are dif-
ferent. Stewart is now Koy Detmer.
Westbrook is now Rae Carruth.
Rashaan Salaam is now Herchell
Troutman. And coach Bill McCartney
is-now Rick Neuheisel.
The Wolverines are still formidable,
but they take no national title hopes to
Boulder, and some say they take little
chance of winning.
Doesn't matter. Talk to someone like
Jarrett Irons - who was on the field
that day in 1994, saw that pass complet-
ed, and saw his season drop incomplete
- and there is something else.
Irons doesn't want to talk about it too
much. Unlike 1994, he doesn't want to
win so he can say, "We're No. 1!" He
wants only to come home and say, "We
won!" He doesn't want revenge,
redemption or whatever. Those are
someone else's words.
He has his own, and they are simple.
"I can't wait," he says. "I can't wait."
He says there is nothing more to say,
because, maybe, there isn't.
- Nicholas J. Cotsonika
The Hail Mary.
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