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January 04, 2012 - Image 1

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The Michigan Daily, 2012-01-04

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Altc4toan tim

Ann Arbor, Michigan

Wednesday, January 4, 2012T

michigandaily.com

EXTRA SWEET

Michigan
wills itself
to victory,
capping
improbable
season
By MICHAEL FLOREK
Daily Sports Editor
N EW ORLEANS
Stop trying to make
sense of it. What happened
inside the Superdome can't be
explained.
The scenes seem disjointed:
third-and-20 conversion, touch-
down, interception, touchdown,
touchdown catch review. The first
55 minutes flashed by ina blur of
yellow and orange pompoms. The
last five and overtime were an
eternity.
I'm not entirely sure how it got
to the point
where Brendan
Gibbons lined
up his 37-yard,
game-winning
field goal. If
you asked me
to rehash the
entire game, I'm
not sure I could. MICHAEL
In the immedi- FLOREK
ate aftermath,
one of the team
assistants ran onto the field.
"This is crazy!" he said, looking
for someone to hug.
I agree. So stop trying to explain
what's been an unexplainable year.
Stop thinking altogether. Here's
what you need to know: That just
happened. Fans, soak in the feel-
ing, even if the events that got you
there are a little hazy.
What this brings, though, is very
clear.
Any questions left for this team
to answer are walking out the door
with the departing seniors. Michi-
gan football is back to being Michi-
gan football.
"We're back," said fifth-year
senior receiver Junior Hemingway.
"Michigan's back."
It was a classic Michigan win,
in an untraditional Michigan envi-
ronment. Instead of the Rose Bowl,
the Superdome provided the back
drop for a not-very-pretty win. The
game wasn't about what the coor-
dinators cooked up. It was back-
yard football, just line up and play.
Michigan coach Brady Hoke's play-
ers vs. Virginia Tech coach Frank
Beamer's players. Who wanted it
more?
"This game was about will," said
offensive coordinator Al Borges.
"The kids played like they played
all year."
In a season that's been defined
by willing themselves to a high
See FLOREK, Page 5A

MICHIGAN 23, VIRGINIA TECH 20 (OT)

Michigan
outlasts
Virginia
Tech in
Sugar Bowl
ByTIM ROHAN
Daily Sports Editor
NEW ORLEANS - Brady Hoke
leaned in, hugged Junior Heming-
way and gave him a kiss on the
forehead. Hemingway's Most Out- *
standing Player Trophy sat on the
table in front of him, and Hoke
wore a smile as he took his seat.
Earlier, Hemingway cried on his
mother's shoulder while celebrat-
ing Michigan's 23-20 overtime vic-
tory in the Sugar Bowl over No. 13
Virginia Tech. Hoke always said
he'd lead with his seniors, and a
fifth-year senior had capped the
coach's blessed first season with a
win.
"You've got to have guys who
can make those plays, and when
(Denard Robinson and Heming-
way) are the ones doing it, you feel
pretty good about it," said Hoke,
whose team became just the fifth in
modern Michigan football history
to win 11 games.
On a day Michigan amassed
just 184 yards of offense, it wasn't
Denard Robinson or Fitzgerald
Toussaint that saved the day, it was
"Big Play" Hemingway, as Robin-
son calls him. No one will be quick
to call Michigan's win pretty, but
the few plays Michigan did make
came at the most crucial of times,
when the game was in the balance.
The first half had belonged to
Virginia Tech, but Michigan held
the lead. The second half belonged
to the Hokies too, but Michigan had
overtime. When overtime came,
Virginia Tech's third-string kicker
- who had was a perfect 3-for-3 to
that point - missed a 37-yard field
goal. Michigan's Brendan Gibbons
made his 37-yarder.
After the game, Hemingway
found his place on the stage at the
20-yard line, maize and blue con-
fetti falling, right near where he
initially caught in his first touch-
down catch-and-run.
At that point, right was left.
Up was down. And, still, Junior
Hemingway was celebrating in the
end zone.
Call it magic. Call it luck. But
Robinson and Hemingway routine-
ly made plays like this all season.
Robinson had thrown a pick on
just his second pass attempt of the
game, when he lofted a ball toward
Hemingway, who had a one-on-one
matchup. Earlier this week, Robin-
son said he wouldn't second-guess
himself when he looked towards
Hemingway.
"We had a lot of confidence in
that combination," Hoke said.
With Virginia Tech romping and
See MICHIGAN, Page 5A

gym

Romney narrowly defeats Santorum in historic Iowa caucuses

Eight vote margain
separates leading
GOP challengers
By RAYZA GOLDSMITH,
ADAM RUBENFIRE and
ANDREW SCHULMAN
Daily News Editors
and Daily Staff Reporter
DES MOINES, Iowa - For-
mer Pennsylvania Sen. Rick
Santorum staged an unexpected
comeback in last night's Iowa
caucuses as the state party chair-
man announced that former
Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Rom-
ney beat Santorum by the nar-
rowest margin in the history of
the caucuses - winning by only
eight votes.

Iowa Republican Party Chair-
man Matt Strawn announced
Romney as the winner early this
morning,
with Rom-
ney earn-
ing 30,015
votes and
Santorum.
receiving
30,007 of
the more
than 122,000 ballots cast.
Romney's narrow win, coming
in a contest traditionally thought
to be a thermometer for the early
phases of the presidential elec-
tion, could offer clues as to which
candidate will emerge to take on
President Barack Obama in the
fall.
Santorum, at one time a back-
burner candidate, could now

emerge as the top challenger to
Romney, who has long been con-
sidered the frontrunner for the
Republican nomination.
"Game on," Santorum said in a
speech to his supporters in John-
ston, Iowa earlier in the evening
before the final results were
announced.
Romney said he was pleased
with the night's close results as
the campaign now moves to New
Hampshire, which holds its pri-
mary on Tuesday.
"We also feel it's been a great
victory for us," Romney told sup-
porters at the Hotel Fort Des
Moines. In his speech, Rom-
ney turned his attacks toward
Obama, calling his work "a failed
presidency."
"The president may be a nice
guy, but he's just over his head,"

Romney said, stressing his expe-
rience in the private sector as
evidence that he can help revital-
ize the economy.
Santorum's strong perfor-
mance last night might also
establish him as a viable alter-
native to Romney, according to
LSA junior Brian Koziara, exter-
nal vice chair of the University's
chapter of the College Republi-
cans. He said both candidates'
success, though, reflected the
focus of voters on both the econ-
omy and social issues.
"The fact that Romney and
Santorum are the two top vote-
getters and they're so closely tied
shows that in addition to being
very concerned about the social
issues, like Rick Santorum is,
Iowa is equally concerned about
See IOWA, Page 3A

Republican presidential candidate, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt
takes the stage with his wife Ann at his caucus night rally yesterday.

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