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January 05, 2012 - Image 16

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The Michigan Daily, 2012-01-05

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4C -- Thursday, January 5, 2012

The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com

THE QUICK BREAKDOWN
I/ I E G J GU EZThe Michigan Daily football writers break down the weekend's stats that don't show up in the box score. The Denard-o-Meter measures the success of quarterback Denard
Robinson, the Beef-o-Meter judges how emotional (positive or negative) Brady Hoke was following the game, and the Hype-o-Meter measures the fans' performance.
Uy
IM

9

DENARD-O-METER
It was one of Robinson's worst games of the season,
going 9-for-21 with two interceptions. But like the rest of
4 the team, when it came down to making a few plays, he
Denards got it done, with a little help from Junior Hemingway.

BEEF-O-METER
3/ Logan Thomas ran over and threw past
Michigan's defense and early on, the unit
couldn't stop anything outside the red zone.
Brady Hokes But Hoke's boys gave upjust 20 points.

HYPE-O-METER
Forty-five minutes before the game, the Superdome
4 was already bonkers. And the split crowd ensured
4 the noise almost never died down. But announced
Big Houses attendance was almost 13,000 short of capacity.

LOOKING GOOD

FEELING BLUE

BRENDAN GIBBONS: Brendan
Gibbons has redeemed himself on
the biggest stage possible. After
going 1-for-5 a season ago, it raised
some eyebrows when Michigan
coach Brady Hoke named him the
starter at the beginning of the
season. He's been solid all season.
That didn't change in the bright
lights of the Superdome. He hit
three field goals in the game, a
24-yarder and a 39-yarder before
hitting the 37-yard game winner.
It was a fitting ending: one of the
most scrutinized players in one
of the most scrutinized positions
redeemed himself and his team's
chances in its biggest game in years.
After the game he said Michigan
coach Brady Hoke always jokes
with him about what to think
about as he kicks. So what was he
thinking about before the biggest
kick of his career? Brunettes. It
worked, he made the kick and found
himself at the bottom of giant post-
game dog pile. Those brunettes?
I'm sure Brendan is going to get
7 a lot of interest from them now.
MARISSA MccLAIN/Daily

DARRYL STONUM: After being
suspended and forced to redshirt
this season due to a drunk driving
charge, all Darryl Stonum could
do in the Sugar Bowl was stand
on the bench, wave a towel and
watch Junior Hemingway, his
roommate, win the MVP award.
Sure, Stonum isn't feeling totally
blue: his boys just won the Sugar
Bowl. But there is the bittersweet
feeling, wondering what he could
have done on the big stage. "It was
pretty hard," Stonum said. "But
everything happens for a reason.
I'm just glad coach Hoke kept me
around to be a part of this. And
I'm back - I'm back now." Stonum
will be back to play Alabama in his
native Texas. He'll have a chance
to get his 'M' ring for graduating
from Michigan. He'll have a chance
at the NFL. He'll have a chance
to live out his senior year. But he
has to be wondering, was ita year
too late? Should his last game in
a Michigan uniform have been
in New Orleans, bringing about
the return of Michigan football?

NOTABLE
QUOTABLE
It shows our fight. It shows our determination.
It shows everything we've been through, because
we've been through a lot. We've been through
a lot. We've been through so much.
Nobody understands that. But to come out here and
win this football game today with these people I've
worked hard with from day one,
it feels so good.
-Fifth-year senior wide receiver Junior Hemingway talking with ESPN's Chris Fowler after the game on the team's seniors. MARISSA MCCLAIN/Daily
Lewan's comedy and confidence invigorates Team 132

*I

By STEPHEN J. NESBITT
Daily SportsEditor
NEW ORLEANS - Taylor
Lewan never lost faith.
With the Virginia Tech foot-
ball team facing a third-and-2
from the Michigan 8ayard line,
Lewan stood up from the bench
and put his helmet on. The red-
shirt sophomore offensive tack-
le wouldn't watch the next play.
At stake was the Allstate
Sugar Bowl crown. Michigan
was clinging to a 3-point lead in
the final minute, and the Hokies
were 8 yards away from a game-
winningtouchdown.
Lewan strapped the helmet
tight and walked to the right of
the benches.
"Nothing to worry about,
friend," he said with a smile,
patting a team spokesperson
on the shoulder. "No reason to
worry."
He looked back to the field in
time to see a referee toss a flag.
False start on Virginia Tech.
One 5-yard pass later, the Hok-
ies were lining up for a field

goal. Crisis averted, Lewan and
the Wolverines were on the
brink of overtime.
Lewan started toward the
bench, then looked back and
winked.
"Told you," Lewan said.
It's the implicit confidence
Lewan has shown since he broke
onto the scene as a redshirt
freshman starter at tackle last
season.
How can he be so confident,
especially in a game of that
magnitude? Fifth-year senior
center David Molk doesn't like
putting the game in the hands of
the defense, calling it "the worst
feeling ever as a football player."
He likes control.
Lewan might not watch the
play, but he has trust. Trust
in a defense that one year ago
allowed 52 points to Mississippi
State in the Gator Bowl.
That kind of confidence
seems almost irrational. But
maybe it isn't. For Lewan, it's
about history.
"Did you watch Notre Dame
last year?" Lewan asked, limp-

The defense burst through to
knock down Fighting Illini
quarterback Nathan Scheel-
haase to seal the win.
So the Sugar Bowl finish
wasn't unprecedented.
"This team knows what
they're doing," Lewan said.
"This team does not quit."
But that confidence says as
much about Lewan's personality
as it does the Wolverines' track
record. Regardless of time or
place, the 6-foot-8, 302-pound
lineman is armed with his quick
wit, off-the-wall commentary
and, of course, tattoos.
Standing outside the locker-
room door after the game, he
could only think of one way
to describe his emotions after
winning the Sugar Bowl. Out of
the 64,512 fans in attendance,
hundreds of credentialed media
members and the entirety of
Michigan's Team 132, Lewan
made the comparison no one
else could.
"Have you ever seen a box of
kittens? It's the feeling you get
when you see a box of kittens,"

Lewan told AnnArbor.com
Moments later, he charged
into the locker room and inter-
rupted a few teammates, includ-
ing fellow redshirt junior
offensive lineman Patrick
Omameh.
"Hey guys, tell me this,"
Lewan shouted. "Who would
win this fight: A turkey or a wol-
verine?"
The presentation was good,
drawing a few chuckles. (Hint:
The wolverine wins.)
But Lewan has his serious
moments. He sprained an ankle
in pregame warm-ups, tweaked
his thumb in the first quarter
and battled through the pain on
the line of scrimmage.
And as he slowly limped
off the field, Lewan offered a
thought he'll keep with him for
the next few months - it's the
motivation that will carry next
season's Team 133.
"Look at the confetti around
you," Lewan said, gesturing
back toward midfield. "Nobody
wants to be here one year and
not the next."

Redshirt sophomore left tackle Taylor Lewan lifts Denard Robinson before the
Sugar Bowl. It is a tradition between the quarterback and his blindside protector.
ing off the field after the trophy over Notre Dame.
presentation. "Did you watch Illinois the
It was the first night game year before?"
in Michigan Stadium history, a It was a 67-65 triple-overtime
last-second comeback victory barnburner at the Big House.

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