The Wolverine

December 2018

The Wolverine: Covering University of Michigan Football and Sports

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DECEMBER 2018 THE WOLVERINE 21 WORK LEFT TO DO The Wolverines understand, even after that trio of attention-getting wins, their work is far from over. There's "The Game" coming up down the road, and a possible pitfall against Indiana before that. They're looking to win a Big Ten championship, and some have dared mention getting to the College Foot- ball Playoff. At the same time, they intend to remain locked on the week- to-week task of giving full meaning to the Revenge Tour. "Week by week, it's just beating the teams that beat us last year, and beat- ing the teams we're scheduled to play … every week, we've got to be able find a way to win these games," Win- ovich said. "Revenge is just in general. It's an attitude. "If you're going to beat us, come and try to pry it out of our hands. It's that grittiness that was lacking last year." "It's about this team and this year, the goals that we have," Long as- sured. "I said a few weeks ago, every- thing we wanted to do is still in front of us." Senior running back and captain Karan Higdon defiantly declares Michigan's ability on a regular basis. A few weeks ago, he sounded the lit- any of slights against the Wolverines — couldn't win big games, couldn't win on the road, etc. He hasn't heard any of that lately, he acknowledged with a grin. "It's been silent," Higdon said. "Ev- eryone's kind of been like, 'Whoa, this could really be a playoff-contending team.' That's the kind of shift in mo- mentum that we want. "We want to demand our respect. We've just got to keep going." "We're at a point right now where every game matters," Kemp assured. "Two years ago, we were in this posi- tion. We know how it feels to be at the top and be in control. "Right now, we have that grip. Right now, we're trying not to let it go. We remember that feeling … it's determining if you win the Big Ten championship, if you make the play- off. These last games are the ones that really define a season." ❏ For 16 seasons under Bo Schembechler, Michigan never faced the need of a turnaround season. That's because the Wolverines were always playing at a high level, always in the hunt for the Big Ten championship. Then in 1984, his quarterback and Michigan's eventual head coach, Jim Harbaugh, broke his arm. The Wolverines sagged to a 6-6 campaign, the worst in Schembechler's 21 seasons in Ann Arbor. There have been turnarounds required since, from time to time. Here are the five best: 1. 2014-15 — This is the only two-year stretch featuring a win total bumped up by five. Brady Hoke's final Michigan squad went 5-7 in 2014, opening the door for Harbaugh's first season in Ann Arbor. The Wolverines rocketed to 10-3 in 2015, immediately boosting hopes that Harbaugh would soon guide the Wolverines back to the top. 2. 1996-97 — They were calling the Wolverines "Mediocre Michigan" in the summer of 1996, following a fourth straight four-loss campaign. But Lloyd Carr's bunch ran the table in 1997, going 12-0 and capturing the national championship paced by Heisman Trophy winner Charles Woodson. 3. 1984-85 — Harbaugh's busted arm against MSU took the Wolverines down. But they stormed back in 1985, go- ing 10-1-1, beating Ohio State and winning a street fight of a Fiesta Bowl against Nebraska. A defense that allowed an average of 8.1 points per game and Harbaugh's return jump- started the '85 squad. 4. 2005-06 — Carr's injury-plagued Wolverines of 2005 slid to an uncharacteristic 7-5. Chad Henne, Mike Hart and a dominant defense stormed back the following year, going 11-2 with a gut-wrenching, narrow miss in a No. 1 versus No. 2 shootout in Columbus. 5. 2010-11 — Rich Rodriguez's final year in Ann Arbor featured the wonder of quarterback Denard Robinson's run- ning, but not much else in a 7-6 sayonara. Hoke's first squad turned that around, going 11-2 with wins over Notre Dame, Ohio State and Virginia Tech in the Sugar Bowl. — John Borton Several Michigan players, such as junior linebacker and team captain Devin Bush Jr., went out and bought shirts featuring the Revenge Tour rallying cry. PHOTO COURTESY MICHIGAN PHOTOGRAPHY Michigan's Biggest Turn-Around Seasons Since 1969

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