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November 10, 2014 - Image 8

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Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 2014-11-10

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2B - November 10, 2014

The Michigan Daily - michiganda'rly.com

2B - November10, 2014 The Michigan Daily - michigandailycom

UGLY
From Page 1B
Michigan started its last
three offensive drives of the
first half in Northwestern
territory, but was unable to
come away with a single point.
The Wolverines struggled to
move the ball throughout the
game and turned the ball over
three times.
Fifth-year senior
quarterback Devin Gardner
threw two interceptions, the
first of which could have been
caught by sophomore tight
end Jake Butt. The second
interception was the product
of a poor decision by Gardner,

who threw the ball into
traffic and was intercepted by
Northwestern safety Ibraheim
Campbell.
The Ugly:
Unfortunately, we weren't
allowed to use all of the space
in today's paper for this section.
There are normal football
mishaps, and then there are
the mishaps that happened in
Saturday's game.
There was the Michigan
turnover that occurred when
junior wide receiver Devin
Funchess was in, motion and
the shotgun snap hit him in
the chest as he ran in front of
Gardner.

There was the Northwestern
punt when a low snap bounced
on the ground and led to a
20-yard punt. And the muffed
Wildcat punt return that the
Wolverines recovered.
Michigan also got in on the
special teams fun when senior
Matt Wile's 41-yard field goal
attempt in the second quarter
was blocked.
Even the game's deciding
play was ugly. Siemian slipped
on the game's final play, ending
Northwestern's threat with an
uncoordinated fall to the ground.

a

NOT PRETTY
From Page 1B
win Saturday, was that
Brady Hoke wasn't doing much
clapping during the game.
And when Hoke isn't clapping,
you know you have a problem.
The players certainly seem to
recognize that much.
"It's really frustrating that
(the offense) doesn't capitalize
on the situations that we're
put in, buta win is a win," said
redshirt junior center Jack
Miller. "It could've been a lot
easier. ... It's both frustrating
and nice.
"Thank God for the defense.
... Thank God for therm, they
played great
and bailed us
out."
Miller's "W e're
right, it was a
win, but it was to go to
so painful to
watch that it Bowl-
almost didn't at
=feel like one.
So where do
you draw
the line and
realize a win isn't what it
should be?
Is it when your mobile
quarterback takes too long to
commit to the run with the
open lane, despite an open
20 yards ahead of him? What
about ifhiwaits and waits and
waits before he decides to take
off, gains just six yards and
the team is forced to punt two
plays later?
or when a future first-
round draft pick at wide
receiver drops several
important balls, commits
multiple penalties and even

fumbles the ball when he runs
in motion and moves in front
- of the center as the ball is
snapped?
What about when a horribly,
and I mean horribly, shanked
punt is one of Michigan's
only chances to get past
midfield, but in response, it.
goes three-and-out and punts?
Is it when defensive tackle
Matthew Godin intercepts
Northwestern four plays later
and the Wolverines get within
field goal range only for the
attempt to be blocked just
before the half?
Or when the Wolverines are
inside Northwestern's 25-yard
line for just the second time
in the first half and Gardner
throws
an ugly
. interception?
not gomg What about
when he
the Rose steps back
to pass and
We failed trips over
hat" himself?
Is that
where the
line is drawn
for a win
not feeling like a win? Is that
when Hoke's claps aren't
warranted? Is that where that
warm fuzzy feeling fans get
when their favorite teams win
disappears?
It's getting to feel that way.
What about when the
disorganization on the
Wolverine sideline is so
glaring they receive three
warnings from the officials for
interference?
Or what about when
Michigan has a fourth-and-
one on Northwestern's 16-yard
line, and, instead of kicking an

easy field goal, the Wolverines
go for it with a terribly
executed run up the middle
from sophomore De'Veon
Smith, a running back who
has struggled all season with
following his blocks? Does
that ruin the joy of a win?
Where do you draw the
line?
Sure Michigan won, but
it sure didn't feel like it.
Everyone saw the turnovers,
ugly plays and missed
opportunities - and it all
overshadowed the final score.
But if you were on the
sidelines after the game, you'd
know the line was nowhere
in sight for the Wolverines.
Michigan won, and nothing
else seemed to matter.
"A win is a win," Miller said.
"It's going to be a nice flight
home. Getting the 'W' at the
end of it is what matters.".
When senior defensive
end Frank Clark stopped
the potential game-winning
two-point conversion with
three seconds remaining, the
Michigan sideline erupted
toward midfield to swarm
Clark in a sea of excitement.
"You really have nothing
to lose," Clark said. "You just
want to make it to (a) bowl.
We're not going to the Rose
Bowl - we failed at that.
We're not going to the Big Ten
Championship - we failed at
that this year. All we can do is
finish the season strong.
"All we can do is finish the
season, and that's it."
Even if the line has been
drawn already.
Dettelbach can be reached
at adettel@umich.edu or
on Twitter: @asdettel.
BY THE NUMBERS
Michigan Football
11
Stadents inthe Northwestern student
sectian at kickoff.
19
Combined number ofpuntsand
turnovers between both teams,
Combinedpoinsscored by bothseams
4r433
Days since Michigan last won a game by
scoring 10 points.

FILE PHOTO/Daily
Though the Michigan football team has its biggest game of the year remaining. excitement has shifted to the hardwood
For now, Michigan is a
baskhetball school

6

MICHIGAN HAS A
LONGER WINNING-
STREAK THAN
MICHIGAN STATE.
TAKE THAT!
FOLLOW US ON TWITTER FOR
MORE GREAT INSIGHTS
@THEBLOCKM

There weren't ver
people atthe Mic
football team's g
Saturday againstNorthv
ern, and by the end, mos
42,429 fans who showed
Ryan Field probably wis
they hadn't.
The afternoon featui
many punts and turnov
points (19).
Both teams
made
comically
bad
mistakes.
Wildcats'
coach Pat
Fitzgerald's ALEJA
decision to ZUNIG.
go for two.
with three
seconds left instead of:
overtime with an extra
probably came as a reli
both fan bases - wino:
least the embarrassmer
finally be over.
Michigan redshirt ju
center Jack
Miller called
the game
"frustrating," As t
even .
though the n
Wolverines t
won. And if a
it aggravated p
Miller,
imagine
how it felt
to everyone
who
watched.
tt's Nov. 10, 2014, an
Ohio State game is thre
away. But the exciteme
the season's biggest gai
lost its luster. Almost e
is already looking forw
the men's basketball se
There's a reason just
people arrived to a stad
that can sit thousandsr
just like there's a reaso
but one of the Wolverin
home football games th

y many have been attended by below-
chigan capacity crowds. And it's not
same all because of the high ticket
west- prices or the bad weather.
t of the Watching them just isn't a
i up at pleasurable experience.
hed You can't even blame the
Wolverines'.500 record as
red as the sole reason for the lack
'ers as of interest. In 2008 and
2009, Rich Rodriguez's first
years at Michigan's helm,
Big House crowds didn't dip
below capacity once. Not once.
The Wolverines went 8-16 in
those years. The team wasn't
winning, but people came to
watch Tate Forcier, Denard
NDRO Robinson and the electric
A offense with the hope they
might witness something truly
special.
forcing Truth is, Michigan football
point simply isn't enjoyable to watch
ef to anymore. As the Wolverines
r lose, at proved Saturday, even a win
nt would can be maddening.
And fans who want an
inior entertaining program are
rightly
ditching
the gridiron
:he W olverines for the
hardwood.
)roved, even On the
football
win can be field,
Michigan
maddening. is fighting
its way to
a mediocre
bowl game,
just like it
did last year. There's plenty
d the of talent, buta hobbled
e weeks quarterback and an NFL-
nt for caliber wide receiver who
me has drops routine catches are a
veryone hard sell.
ard to It's not fun to watch a team
ason. that gave up a punt-return
42,429 touchdown earlier this year
ium because it only had 10 players
more, on the field. It's not fun to
n all watch a team that suffered
es' a historic defeat in the last
is year scheduled game of a storied

rivalry. It's not fun to watch
Devin Gardner, a fifth-year
senior, miss open receivers and
throw brutal interceptions.
For Michigan football
fans, optimism is hoping the
team performs poorly enough
there's a new coach next year.
And that's not very enjoyable.
Meanwhile, on the
basketball court, season tickets
have sold out for the second
year in a row, and students
have again purchased more
than their allotment of seats.
The Wolverines will begin the.
season by raising lastyear's
Big Ten championship banner,
and though they might not
repeat, they're projected for
another NCAA Tournament
appearance.
For Michigan basketball
fans, optimism is knowing
a team that might struggle
in November and December
could be competing at an elite
level by January and February.
This may never be a
basketball school. There's too
much tradition and too much
history embedded into the
football program to disregard
its relevance, even on off years
- or off decades. If or when
Michigan hires a new football
coach, interest may return to
higher levels,
But for now, in November
2014, Michigan fans are
prepared to enjoy basketball.
They're prepared to leave this
miserable, painful football
season behind and focus on a
sport where optimism means
real success, not a bowl game
sponsored by an automobile
mechanic.
They're excited for Saturday
in Ann Arbor, game day, when
the lights of the Big House will
be off and the doors to Crisler
Center will be open.
Zihiga can be reached
at azs@umich.edu and on
Twitter @ByAZuniga.

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