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September 24, 2012 - Image 10

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The Michigan Daily, 2012-09-24

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2B - September 24, 2012

The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com

Finally, a sigh of relief for the Fighting Irish

SOUTH BEND - "Every
time we play these guys,
this happens."
I glanced over and nodded.
The Notre Dame fan, dressed in
blue jeans and a green shirt, had
scored the best seat in the house
- standing beside his pal directly
beneath the uprights of the north
end zone of Notre Dame Stadium.
The Fighting Irish were pre-
paring to receive a kickoff with a
seven-point lead and 3:27 left on
the clock. And this guy couldn't
stand it.
"I'm serious," he said. "This
exact thing
happens
every time.
And then two
minutes later,
you're like,
'What the
hell just hap-
pened?"',
He'd seen STEPHEN J.
this before. He NESBITT
saw in 2009:
Tate Forcier
to Greg Mathews with 11 seconds
left. He saw in 2010: Denard Rob-
inson up the gut with 27 seconds
left. He saw it in 2011: Robinson to
Roy Roundtree with two seconds
left. Three straight years, three-
point leads disintegrated with
under half a minute remaining.
A defeat of Michigan would
be another benchmark on Notre
Dame's road to relevance. But for
three years, progress had been
stalled because of last-minute
perils against the Wolverines.
This fan could have been the
Notre Dame Everyman. Football
there is a religion, he wanted to
believe, to restore his faith in the
Fighting Irish. But he needed to
seea sign first.
"You probably have to be an
impartial observer, right?" he
asked.
I do my best.
"So this is probably a bad one
for you. Well, at least for now."
After three quarters of some of
the most disgusting football you
can imagine - eight turnovers, 19

they'd beaten Michigan.
"We did it!" one linebacker
yelled as he passed by.
"Yes sir!" answered another.
Three years straight, those
players felt the agony of defeat.
Again, again and again.
This was the other side of the
story. The one you didn't notice
while youbelted out "The Vic-
tors" and toasted to the night last
season, they limped back home
with the weight of the largest
college football fan base on their
shoulders.
This was their long-awaited
release.
Manti Teo, the senior line-
backer who intercepted Robinson
twice, could hardly hold back his
tears after the game. He lost his
girlfriend, Lennay Kekua, and his
maternal grandmother within a
span of 24 hours just 10 days ear-
lier. More than 10,000 leis were
handed out at the game to support
the Honolulu native.
Te'o deserved to win.
"I'm just glad on my last one, on
my last hurrah, I was finally able
ERIN KIRKLAND/Daily to have something to celebrate
about," he said.
Robinson was one of the first
as glistened as he to leave the field after the final
whistle. No one got Denarded
we go into the this time; he struggled, admit-
on, my grandpa tedly, and Michigan couldn't get
say, 'Bring out the into the end zone all night long.
we're goin' to He knew the game was in reach,
knew it was his job to bring the
team back again. But he couldn't
*** quite do it.
Behind him, the rest of the 69
he northwest cor- Michigan players stared blankly
ow of "Touchdown ahead as they trotted toward the
vly flooded around tunnel at the north end of the sta-
Dame Stadium, dium. Hoke hurried behind them.
nsity as it flowed "Hustle up, let's go." Hoke
.nd rows. urged when he reached the tun-
ief ebbed through nel. He started to jog. "Here we
,795. go. Here we go."
ight, late Decem- The page had turned, a new
chapter begun. The Fighting Irish
al timefor me. had finally finished. Bring on the
er, what a night!" genuflect.

4

4

Notre Dame players stand arm in arm by-the student section after defeating Michigan, 13-6 on Saturday night at Notre Dame Stadium.

total points - he, like every Notre
Dame fan in attendance, still
expected the worst.
They had to keep the ball away
from Robinson, he said, as the
Fighting Irish started their final
drive. Tommy Rees couldn't go
"Turnover Tommy" like he had
last fall. They had to finish this
one. But could they?
Last year, Rees pieced together
a touchdown drive in the last
minute to go up, but he left too
much time. It only took Robinson
just 28 seconds to drive 80 yards
and win.
So Notre Dame kept it conser-
vative. Rees handed off twice to
Theo Riddick. Michigan called
a timeout with 2:35 on the clock.
Hoke stripped off his headset
with his left hand and gave it to

an assistant as he sent the defense middle. Thomas Gordon tripped
back onto the field for third down. him upright at the first-down
Rees, ever-engineered to col- line.
lapse against Michigan, didn't. "Why isn't the clock moving?"
Noticing a the Notre Dame
Cover-0 look fan beside me
from the "Bring out the wondered aloud.
defense, he The officials
audibled out genuflc t boyS brought the
of a designed 7 line crew out to
quarterback we're oin' to measure. Eighty
run at the line thousand fans
of scrimmage. church." held their collec-
He expertly tive breath.
floated a pass "FIRST
to Tyler Eif- DOOOOWN,"
ert down the right sideline for boomed the loudspeaker.
38 yards and a first down. The Gordon punched the air in
celebration was deafening, but it anguish. Michigan was out of
died out within seconds. time. There were no heroics. Rees
There was too much time. never let Robinson touch the ball
Two more Riddick runs and again.
Notre Dame was facing a third- His back to Touchdown Jesus,
and-eight. Again, a give to Rid- Rees readied for the snap. My
dick, and he found room up the sideline partner couldn't stop

smiling. His eye
turned to me.
"Wheneveru
victory formati
used to always;
genuflect, boys,
church.' "
It started in t
ner, in the shad(
Jesus," and slon
hallowed Notre
picking up intet
through aisles a
A wave of rel
the crowd of 80
"Oh, what a n
her back in '63.
What a specie
As I rememb
Notre Damel
beeline for thes
Each wore a sm

U
U

players made a
tudent section.
ile. Finally, finally,

- Nesbitt can be reached
at stnesbit@umich.edu.

U

Mack reaches 10-goal mark,
'M' drops Big Ten opener

Ferlic leads Blue to
fourth-place finish
at Panorama Farms

U

By DANIEL FELDMAN
Daily Sports Writer
It's an easy model to follow:
The earlier and more frequently
a team shoots, the more likely it
is for them to score.
The No. 17 Michigan field
hockey team learned this as it fell
to No. 6 Penn State, 4-3, on Sun-
day after giving up three early
first-half goals in its Big Ten
opener.
After MICHIGAN 3
recor4 PENN STATE 4
ing two
straight shutouts against Buck-
nell and then-No. 23 Fairfield on
Sept. 16 and 23, the Wolverines (
0-1 Big Ten, 6-4 overall) gave up
two quick goals to the Nittany
Lions' Ashtin Klinger.
"We just weren't playing our
game and sticking to our game
plan," said redshirt sophomore
defender Leslie Smith. "We were
letting them beat us to the ball."
Kleiger's first goal came off of
a cross by Hannah Allison that
Kleiger reflected with her stick
into the right corner of the net
at the 3:57 mark. It was the first
goal and the first shot on goal of
the game.
Before Michigan could get
off its first shot of the game, the
Nittany Lions (2-0, 10-2) scored
again - 10 minutes later. Klingler
added her second of the game
and seventh of the season after a
scramble in front of the net.
The goal resulted in a timeout
by the Wolverines that aimed to
calm the players down.
"We had to make a couple of
adjustments," said Michigan
coach Marcia Pankratz. "(The
timeout) worked really well and
we came out toe-to-toe with
them the rest of the way."
Three minutes after the time-
out, Michigan was finally able to
register its first shot - albeit not
on goal.
This brief moment of success
did not last for long, as Penn
State tallied its third goal of the
first half at the 18:40 mark off a

By NATE SELL
For the Daily
When the physical and men-
tal aspects of running finally
come together during a race, it's
a great moment for a competitive
runner.
That's exactly what happened
for sophomore Mason Ferlic,
who ran a career-best 24:28 for
the Michigan men's cross coun-
try team at the Panorama Farms
Invitational 8,000 meter race in
Earlysville, Va. on Saturday to
give the Wolverines a fourth-
place finish in a field of 10 teams.
"I knew I had it in me," Ferlic
said. "I was just looking for
smart decisions both mentally
and physically during the race,
and I really just took control
leading the chase pack after the
mile. I felt smooth, I felt strong,
and confident."
Ferlic's time earned him a
sixth-place finish - something
the second-year runner said he
was thrilled about.
"Coming down the straight-
away toward the finish line I
saw five guys in front of me and
I thought, 'Wow this was a good
race,' " Ferlic said. "I powered
home to the finish."
Junior Mark Beams finished
seconds behind Ferlic with a
time of 24:31, a career-best for
him as well.
"When I wanted to move for-
ward, I used the down hills and
flats to my advantage and just
relaxed on the up hills and just
picked guys off one at a time,"
said Beams. "I wasn't really con-
cerned with time while I was'
racing - really I was just com-
peting with theo guys around
me."
Ferlic and Beams stepped
up on a day where senior Dan
Lowry, a transfer from Brown
University, had some difficul-
ties, including a nasty fall about
two and a half miles into the

race. Lowry is typically the
team's fastest runner, but with
the miscues he was the third
Wolverine to cross the finish line
with a time of 24:34.
Junior Morsi Rayyan and
senior Zach Ornelas finished
with times 24:46 and 24:52,
respectively, wrapping up Mich-
igan's scoring five.
"We did some things really
well but we were a little bit slop-
py in our mid-race execution,"
said Michigan coach Alex Gibby.
The season is still very young,
though, and the course that
Michigan traveled to is no cake
walk. The Wolverines also had
to perform in 80-degree weather
- somethingno Michigan native
is accustomed to in late Septem-
ber.
The Michigan runners and
coaches emphasized that in pre-
paring for the race, nobody was
worried about times.
"It's all process related stuff,
we don't talk about specific
splits; it's more about feel, relat-
ing, and being prepared when
the time comes to make the right
decision," Gibby said.
"(Ferlic and Beams) were
rewarded for good decision-
making which is nice to see their
first time out."
Added Ferlic: "(We're) estab-
lishing a pattern for champion-
ship races when it really counts,
and I came out with a PR as just
kind of a benefit of the process."
This year's team has high
goals - in both the Big Ten and
nationally. When asked how he
feels about reaching these goals
after seeing the team run, Gibby
stayed positive.
"Certainly a lot better than
years past," he said. "We are
going to see definitive improve-
ment, but the question is how
much? We will be better than
last year but I think we are capa-
ble of being a very good national-
level team."

corner. After initially put in play the net.
by Whitney Reddig, the ball was Five minutes later, Michigan
rocketed by Kelsey Amy into the mounted another comeback as
back of the net for her 15th goal Mack scored her 10th goal of
of the season, making'the score the season off a corner started
3-0. The Wolverines were able by Smith, who passed the ball
to get on the board two min- to senior Liesl Morris at the
utes later, as top of the box
junior forward before passing
Rachael Mack to Mack, who
scored her first "W e really finished the
of two goals sequence.
off a shot from elevated our It appeared
the top of the the Wolver-
box that took level of play ines might
a high bounce have the
before rolling by the end." momentum
in to the net to it needed to
make the score stage a dra-
3-1. matic second-
The Nittany Lions struck half comeback.
right back less than two minutes "We made some tactical
later, thanks to an unassisted chances," said Pankratz. "I was
goal by Jenna Chrismer, who happy with the team being able
fired a shot from the left side of to make those changes in the

middle of the game."
In the second half, the Wol-
verines were outshot 17-6 and
outcornered 7-1, yet they man-
aged to score the lone goal of the
second half when Smith scored
on a penalty shot. But just 15 sec-
onds were on the game clock.
"We won the second half of
the game," Pankratz said. "I
think we really elevated our
level of play by the end of the
match."
Michigan was outshot 30-14
and out-cornered 13-3.
Due to the amount of shots
by the Nittany Lions, redshirt
junior Haley Jones was able to
record a career-high 14 saves -
nine of which came in the sec-
ond half.
"Penn State is a really strong
team," Pankratz said. "I was
really proud of how hard we
fought."

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