The Michigan football team climbed back over the .500 mark
with a resounding 44-13 victory over Purdue in West Lafayette
last weekend. Denard Robinson is back on a roll and so is the 2 0 1 2 S
defense, but Fitzgerald Toussaint hasn't quite gotten going yetA
this fall. The Wolverines now tangle with Illinois, which has a new Alabama(Sept.1): Michgan's memory needsto
head coach but has suffered the same, painful result this season. be short after this one. It should be anyway with
some of the hits the Crimson Tide dealt out.
Ben Estes, Zach Helfand, Stephen J. Nesbitt, Luke Pasch
Air Force (Sept. 8): Air Force ran all over
TA BL E OF CONTENTSMichigan, but Denard Robinson returned the
favor to squeak out the 31-25 victory.
Q&A: Illinois quarterback Nathan Massachusetts (Sept.15): Michigan thoroughly
Scheelhaase sat down with the Daily's dominated its weakest opponent, trouncing
Ben Estes at Big Ten Media Days in July. Massachusetts, 63-13.
Notre Dame (Sept. 22): Robinson threw four
The Legend of Slippery Rock: The polar interceptions and Vincent Smith added another,
opposite of Michigan, how has a tiny Penn- as the Fighting Irish barely scraped out a 13-6 win.
sylvania university captured our hearts?
Purdue (Oct. 6): Kirk Herbstreit picked Purdue
Advance: Michigan has downed Illinois in to win the game and the Big Ten before the
consecutive seasons, and the scales have " game. He went tail-between-the-legs quickly.
8 cnsewtipdevseasns dthe scaM's have
now tipped even futher in 'M's favor. Illinois (Oct. 13): Michigan will miss Ron Zook,
ILL IS who was fired after an 0-6 stretch to end last
Cover illustration by Marissa McClain season. But it might like Tim Beckman more.
Michigan State (Oct. 20): Wolverines could
snap a four-game losing streak to Sparty. If it
happens, avoid fans' (or players') raging fists at
Nebraska (Oct. 27): Michigan handed the
Huskers a rude welcome to the Big Ten in 2011.
Prime time in Lincoln could be different, though.
Minnesota(Nov.3):This game was a confidence
booster last year - a 58-0 drubbing. The Little
Brown Jug will stay in Ann Arbor again.
Northwestern (Nov. 10): In a late season
matchup, we'll find out who scraps harder: A
wildcat or a wolverine.
Iowa (Nov. 17): It's not heaven. It's Iowa - the
utterly mediocre squad that handed Michigan
one of its two losses in 2011.
Ohio State (Nov. 24): The reincarnation of the
Bo-Woody dynamic, Hoke and Meyer will com-
pete in 'The Game' for the first time at the Shoe.
council and works for the fire
department. "We've got kids on our
team now that aren'tgetting a dime
to play football. They love to play
football, and they love to play for
Mihalik stood in front of these
football players, these students.
"I haven't seen that look in a
while, fellas," he said. "We're ready
to play tonight. You know what's on
the line tonight. You know what we
can do tonight.
"The Rock's ready."
And with that, they streamed
out the locker room, through a
small concrete corridor that serves
as their tunnel, through a gate in
the chainlink fence in front of the
bleachers - where there was no
banner to touch - and onto the
High up above the field, on a hill
above the visiting team's bleach-
ers, Slippery Rock President Cheryl
Norton watched the game from
the Gail Rose Stadium Lodge with
donors and other administrators.
It's the Slippery Rock version of
a luxury box, more homey and
with fewer corporate frills. Nor-
ton watched from the inside of the
wooden structure through big win-
dows. Then she moved to the patio
outside, where on a nearby picnic
table sat the quarterback of the Slip-
pery Rock High School team, which
had won the nightbefore.
The president here likes foot-
ball. She likes it just as much as she
likes women's soccer - she took in
that team's game against Shippens-
burg before she went to the football
game. She likes football, it seems, as
much as anything else at the uni-
versity. Football is nice, but football
Three fumbles and abysmal spe-
cial teams play had given Kutztown
a 41-21 lead. In the Lodge, Norton
cheered and grew quietlike the rest
of the crowd. But she kept perspec-
"It's not a live-or-die sport, peo-
ple can actually play football for
the love of the game," Norton said.
"And not because theythink they're
going to go pro, not because they
think they're the best thing next to
sliced bread, but because they really
love the game. And that's wonder-
Back down in the locker room
at halftime, there was little of that
"I've never been a bitch in my
life," Jeff Thompson, a fifth-year
senior defensive end and one of the
team's leaders, told his teammates.
"That's how we're being treated
Mihalik, frustrated, began a rant.
"You can't beat an opponent and
also try to beat ourselves," Mihalik
said. "And we're just knocking the
shit out of ourselves. Special teams,
you're killing us tonight."
And he was right. The Rock had
lost a fumble, punted for just 20
yards, missed a field goal, allowed
a 51-yard kickoff return, lost two
more fumbles and allowed a 53-yard
kickoff return just in the first half.
Mihalik promised his team one
of the biggest comebacks in Slip-
pery Rock history. But for a room
full of players payingtheir own way
through school, playingin front of a
few thousand fans, Thompson said
"Act like you love it!"
And Slippery Rock ran back out
onto the field.
The quarterback here is recog-
nized by some on campus, but no
one takes pictures with him. No one
asks for an autograph. Nigel Barks-
dale is the backup, actually, filling in
for the starter who sustained a head
injury the previous week.
But Nigel Barksdale can play.
After the game, after Barksdale had
rushed for169 yards, thrown for 261
more and combined for five touch-
downs with no interceptions, Miha-
lik would make a comparison.
"He reminds me of someone you
watch, doesn't he?" Mihalik asked.
That someone is Denard Robinson.
On the field, Barksdale is quick
and creative, capable of outrunning
any defender. He's also reckless and
had to leave the game with a knee
injury at multiple badly timed junc-
tures. But his explosiveness can
After a Thompson sack started
the half, Barksdale seized control.
He rushed for a touchdown, then
threw for another. After one touch-
down, a teammate lifted Barksdale
into the air, much like Taylor Lewan
does with Robinson.
A third touchdown in the half, a
run by Akeem Satterfield, evened
the score, and then another Barks-
dale touchdown suddenlygave Slip-
pery Rock the lead.
For the moment, Barksdale was
the hero. And yet he'd still probably
go largely unrecognized around
"Being a student football player
at Slippery Rock ... you have your
people," Barksdale said. "You see
them in the stands - there's a lot of
people at our games. We have them
when you're walking through cam-
pus. Good game here, good game
there, you guys could've done better
here, you guys could've been better
there. It's nothing like rah-rah-rah
walking through the halls (like)
you're the big man on campus."
But right now, Barksdale was
the big man on campus. With 10:35
remaining in the game, Slippery
Rock led 49-42.
There is no instant replay here.
No coach's challenges.
When the referees say the ball
is fumbled, the ball is fumbled and
that's that. It doesn't matter that
Slippery Rock had clawed back
from three scores down and let the
lead slip away ontwo straight Kutz-
town touchdowns. It doesn't matter
that the Slippery Rock receiver's
knee had likely been down.
After it was over, Mihalik dis-
cussed the game with Steele, the
equipment manager. Mihalik was
upset, but calm. He looked at the
box score, saw the five turnovers,
the large total yards differential
that favored Slippery Rock and gave
an aw-shucks shrug.
He glanced over.
"I told the team, 'We have to win
for the Michigan guys,' " Mihalik
The Daily football writers pick
against the spread to predict
scores for the top-25 and Big
Ten in the 2012 football season.
No.25 Michigan (-21)vs.Illinois
No Alaao a(-17.5)atMissoui
N5o. 3SouthtCaroiinaat No. 9LSU (-4)
No.6tKansas State (-7.)iaIowa Stat,
N. 7Notre axet(-7) v.5No.17 Stanford
No. 0 Ohio State (-19) at Indiana
No. 10 regon State at BYU (-5)
Nol 2SoihenCai(- 27atWashington
No. 2 Florida State (-27)vs. BC
No.13 Oklahoma (-2.5) vs. No.15 Texas
No. 18 Louisville (-1.5) at Pittsburgh
No. 19 Miss. State (-1.5) vs. Tennessee
No. 21 CincinnatjiNS) vs. Fodham
No. 22 Texas A&M (-7.5) at Louisiana Tech
No.24 Boise Statei(9.5) vs. Fesno State
MichiganoState (-13) vs. Iowa
Minnesotavs. Northwestern (-3.5)
i scons i
79-7 s t-4
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