The Wolverines go on the road this week to take on for the last time a Joe Tiller-led Purdue Boilermakers' Football squad. This game represents Michigan's best chance of winning a game for the remainder of the season so it is important for the Wolverines to seize the opportunity. To read up on this impending clash of Big Ten second-tier teams, you can read the Michgan Game Notes (.pdf). Go Blue!
Michigan (2-4) is halfway through its twelve game regular season schedule and is currently on its way to its worst season in over 40 years. In reviewing the first half of the 2008 season, here is where the Wolverines stand nationally in some important offensive and defensive categories:
Coming off a devastating loss to Toledo, the Wolverines have had to quickly refocus on this Saturday's game against undefeated and #3 ranked Penn State (7-0, 3-0). On Monday (October 13, 2008), Coach Rod conducted his weekly press conference. [Transcript can be read here]. Video of the press conference is below:
As always, you can find everything you need to know about this week's game in the Michigan Game Notes (.pdf). If you want to see things from the other point of view, check out the Penn State Game Notes (.pdf). Go Blue!
Michigan has stumbled to a 2-4 start and Michael Rosenberg, columnist for the Free Press, did a review of the first half of the season in a column entitled "System Failure." The byline for the article in the Freep print edition reads- "The early take on Rodriguez: Atrocious". So much for subtlety. Go Blue!
With 8 seconds remaining and the Wolverines trailing Toledo by three (13-10), K.C. Lopata trotted onto the field to attempt a 26-yard game tying field goal. The snap was good, the placement was solid, the kick was up, the ball sailed...wide left. No good. K.C. Lopata now joins an ignominous list of Michigan kickers who have missed field goal attempts in the waning moments of a game. Updating a post from prior to the 2007 season, here are some other examples of games in which time was running out and a missed field goal cost Michigan dearly:
September 1, 2007: Appalachian State (0-0) at #5 Michigan (0-0):
Sept. 15, 1979: #9 Notre Dame at #6 Michigan (1-0) (Sports Illustrated 9/24/79 issue; article part I, part II, part III) In the first game in Ann Arbor between these two teams since 1943, Notre Dame clung to a 12-10 lead with :07 seconds remaining in the game. Michigan had the ball at the Irish 25-yard line and kicker Bryan Virgil attempted a 42-yard field goal for the win the for the Wolverines. Virgil had already hit a 30-yarder earlier in the contest for Michigan. On the last second field goal attempt for the win, the kick was blocked by a leaping Bob Crable. Notre Dame consequently escaped with the hard fought victory.
Nov. 6, 1976: #1 Michigan (8-0) at Purdue (3-5) (Sports Illustrated 11/15/76 issue; Article part I and part II) Michigan was ranked #1 in the nation and had a chance to escape West Lafayette with a victory and keep its perfect record intact. Trailing 16-14 with :14 seconds remaining in the game, kicker Bob Wood came on for a 37-yard field goal attempt. Wood had set a Michigan record in 1975 by kicking 11 field goals and he was a very accurate 6 for 8 to that point in 1976. The kick was long enough but it was off to the left. No good. Purdue won.
Nov. 23, 1974: #3 Michigan (10-0) at #4 Ohio State (9-1) Trailing 12-10 with :18 seconds left in the game, Michigan set up for a 33-yard field goal for the win and a trip to the Rose Bowl. Attempting the kick for the Wolverines again was Mike "Super Toe" Lantry. Lantry's kick was ruled "no good" although to this day some Michigan fans swear the ball was inside the uprights. The miss gave the Buckeyes another victory and meant the Wolverines season was over as the Big Ten's Rose Bowl-only-policy was still in effect.
Nov. 24, 1973: #1 Ohio State (9-0) at #4 Michigan (10-0) A then NCAA record crowd of 105,233 packed Michigan Stadium to watch the two titans of the Big Ten battle for a Rose Bowl berth. The score was tied 10-10 when Tom Drake intercepted a pass for the Wolverines and he returned the ball to the Ohio State 33 yard line. Michigan advanced the ball to the Ohio 28 before using its final timeout. On third down, with :28 seconds left on the clock, kicker Mike "Super Toe" Lantry set up for a 44-yard field goal attempt. He had hit a 30-yarder in the third quarter and had narrowly missed a 58-yard field goal attempt earlier in the fourth quarter. If Lantry hit the 44-yard field goal attempt, Coach Schembechler's Michigan team would advance to the Rose Bowl as an undefeated team for the second time in three seasons. Lantry's kick went wide right and Michigan's Rose Bowl hopes were dashed as the game ended in a tie. The next day the Big 10 Athletic Directors voted 6-4 to send Ohio State to the 1974 Rose Bowl game.
Kickoff for the game is at noon on Saturday, October 11, 2008. The game will be televised by the Big Ten Network with Thom Brennaman (play-by-play), Charles Davis (color analyst), and Charissa Thompson (sideline reporter). Go Blue!
Depressed over another tough Michigan loss on Saturday? Want to listen to a Michigan win broadcast by a Michigan legend? Then tune into WTKA (AM-1050) tomorrow- Sunday- at noon for a broadcast of a classic Michigan Football game. WTKA will broadcast a classic Ufer announced Michigan Football game each Sunday from noon to 3 p.m. for the remainder of the football season. Go Blue!