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April 19, 2011 - Image 17

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The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com

Tuesday, April 19, 2011- 7B

The Michigan Daily - michigandailycom Tuesday, April 19, 2011 - 7B

The sound of silence

'M' suffers historic
upset at Big House

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -
This wasn't a season that
could be captured in
still frame. It wasn't a
team that could be defined in 900
words. And it wasn't a moment
that anyone - not even Darius
Morris - had words for.
No, to
understand
what hap-
pened in that
moment, that
game, that
season, you
need to hear
to believe. CHANTEL
And few
will actu- JENNINGS
ally listen for
it, because
you would have to look for those
sounds in the unlikeliest of places.
You'd have to listen to the silences.
And no one is looking there.
Just like no one was looking
at Michigan before this season
started.
All that can be said, explained
and extrapolated about this team
and its emotions were heard in
those silences throughout Time
Warner Cable Arena yesterday.
It was the sound of silence as
the ball left Morris' hands and
arched perfectly toward the bas-
ket until that idyllic silence was
broken by the ding of the ball
meeting the heel of the rim.
But in that moment of silence,
there was hope - desperate hope.
The hope of a team of ragtag kids
who were under-recruited and
underappreciated. It was the hope
that the team, led by two Indiana
boys in black sneakers, has held
this entire season. It was the hope
of John Beilein as he leaned for-
ward, anticipating the exact result
he'd seen in practice so many
times when Morris took that same
shot.
And then came the ding.
There was the silence of the
aftermath. The silence of disbe-
lief. The silence that shook the
team to its core that comes with
a rude awakening, paralyzing the

brain. The silence that overtook
Tim Hardaway Jr. as he looked
up at the scoreboard and bit at his
uniform to fightback the tears.
Yes, the scoreboard read cor-
rectly, Duke won, 73-71.
"Everything went blank,"
Hardaway Jr. would say after the
game.
He heard nothing. Thousands
of Duke fans screamed as Mike
Krzyzewski notched his 900th
win, but Hardaway Jr. heard
silence.
Then there was the silence of
Jonathan Kirbitz packing up his
drum set for the last time. For four
years, he's been the Michigan pep
band's drummer, but when that
ding came, his career ended. The
band director looked up at his
band and asked the seniors to lead
the group for their final round of
"The Victors."
Kirbitz is graduating in May
and doesn't know what he'll do.
He wants to continue playing
music, he says, but it won't be for
Michigan. Unlike every member
of the Michigan basketball team,
he won't return. His career ended
the moment that silence did.
And then there was the
moment no one saw when Lau-
ren McLaughlin meticulously
placed a sticker reading 'Duke'
as the winner on the bracket that
hung outside the arena. It was a
placard that represented the Wol-
verines' defeat - perhaps the first
physical manifestation of the loss.
She attached the sticker and said
nothing.
Perhaps she expected to putthe
Blue Devils' name there, like so
many others, but the NCAA had
printed up Michigan's sticker as
well.
She wouldn't need to use it. She
carelessly threw it into the trash.
There was no rebound. That shot
was perfect and the crumbled
sticker layunused and silent in the
bottom of the can.
Right now that sound is the
silence that filled Zack Novak's
heart as he stood at midcourt
coming to the realization that his

CHANTEL JENNINGS/Daily
Sophomore guard Darius Morris puts up the last shot of Michigan's 73-71 loss.

junior season was over.
It's the worst feeling in the
world, like someone died, he'd say.
And then there was the silence
of the arena after the game, as
Morris reemerged from the locker
room and walked onto the court
where his season had ended less
than an hour before.
A handful of reporters and
maintenance workers fell quiet.
He looked at no one and walked
across mid-court towards the bas-
ket that may haunt him until next
season. With an invisible ball, he
reattempted that shot.
His right hand, with perfect
form, glided through the empty
space. His headphones jiggled
around his neck. He jumped off
his right foot and landed again.
Silence.
But the sound of the pros-
pects of next year's team roared
throughout the arena. A team that
will lose no one. A team that will
return with a chip on its shoulder.
A team that will no longer have a
target on its heart, but rather, on

its back.
And then a voice from the
upper deck broke that silence, just
like that ding broke the silence of
the ball rushingthose the air.
"Keep your head up."
Morris looked up and contin-
ued walking.
It will be what this team needs
to do. Because for now, there will
be silence and it will be a pain-
ful silence. It will be the sound of
people not knowing what to say.
Whether to apologize or congrat-
ulate a team that brought Michi-
gan basketball out of irrelevance,
if only for a few weeks.
It will be a silence that repre-
sents the end of a hopeful season
and a quiet March for Michigan.
Morris won't get that shot back.
But on Thursday or Friday,
they'll be back in the gym again.
And that silence that represented
so much, yet held nothing, will
be filled with sounds of a team
preparing to do work again next
season. -
~March 20, 2011

By KEVIN WRIGHT
Daily SportsEditor
Sept. 1, 2007 - Put aside the dif-
ferent subdivisions and throw out
preseason rankings. It came down
to execution. Plain and simple,
Appalachian State's 34-32 upset
win over No. 5 Michigan in Satur-
day's home opener, a feat labeled as
the greatest upset in college foot-
ball history, was decided on the
field.
"They just outplayed us," Michi-
gan tight end Mike Massey said.
"Theyexecutedbetterthanwe did,
and we had a lot of penalties that
hurt us too."
Appalachian State wide receiv-
er Dexter Jackson brought real-
ity home for the Michigan faithful
with his post-game comments.
"By coming in here and beat-
ing Michigan, it's a big statement
to represent every team that's in
our division," Jackson said. "This
opened a lot of doors for a lot of
teams."
Michigan's opener looked to be
their first step to a National Cham-
pionship run, but all it took was a
two-time national champion from
a lower subdivision of college foot-
ball - the Football Championship
Subdivision (FCS), formerly Divi-
sion I-AA - to dash those hopes.
"When you lose to a team like
that - they're a I-AA team - how
can you go for a National Cham-
pionship?" said Mike Hart, who
rushed for 188 yards and three
scores despite a bruised thigh
sidelining him for two quarters. "I
believe, personally, it's out of the
picture. I'm not going to give up
on it. It's in everybody else's hands
now."
The loss marked the first time
a team ranked in the Associated
Press poll, which started in 1936,
fell to a FCS squad. What started
out as just a scare turned into the
statement of the season, but not
for the team that had questions to
answer. Appalachian State entered

the Big House more hopeful than
expectant. The Mountaineer side-
line began to believe when Jackson
broke free on a 68-yard touchdown
catch on a simple slant pattern to
knot the score at seven with 10:55
left in the first quarter.
"That was. real big," Jackson
said. "That was big motivation for
me that we could hang with these
boys. So basically before that, I
knew if I made a play, it would be a
long day for them."
Numerous Michigan miscues
followed to give the Mountaineers
the edge. Protection broke down
when Appalachian State (1-0)
blocked two Jason Gingell field
goals, one a 44-yard attempt with
1:47 left and a potential game-win-
ning 37-yard try with six seconds
remaining. The Wolverines (0-1)
committed seven penalties to the
tune of 56 yards, including an ille-
gal procedure and a delay of game
that stymied two drives in Moun-
taineer territory. And Chad Henne,
the four-year starting quarterback,
threw an ill-advised toss across
his body that Appalachian State's
Leonard Love intercepted.
The natural order of college
football hierarchy appeared to
return in the second half. Michi-
gan stormed back to a 32-31 lead
with 4:36 remaining in the fourth
quarter after an inspired 54-yard
touchdown scamper by Hart.
But Mountaineer coach Jerry
Moore wouldn't let his team quit.
"The bottom fell out on us,"
Moore said. "What are you going
to do? You going to throw in the
towel? You going to cry that we
played hard and we gave them our
best? We could have walked away
real easy, 32-31, and everyone
would've said, 'Well, you played
hard.'"
The soft-spoken coach added he
said a short prayer following the
shocking win - an act many of the
Michigan faithful will imitate in
the coming weeks, if they haven't
already.

SUMMER SESSIONS

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