The Wolverine

February 2013

The Wolverine: Covering University of Michigan Football and Sports

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Page 61 of 158

T By Andy Reid he 2012 season may not have ended the way Michigan fans hoped it would — in Pasadena, Calif. — but there were still plenty of highlights, special performances, incredible individual plays and inspiring players. Here's a look at the best the Wolverines had to offer this past year. Best Game Michigan 38, Northwestern 31 (OT) Every game in Michigan Stadium was special in its own way this season, especially because there were only six of them — all wins. But the stars and planets aligned Nov. 10, and the Wolverines and their fans alike were treated to a truly unforgettable afternoon in The Big House. After the teams battled to a 14-14 tie in the first half, the Wildcats pounced in the third quarter, building a 24-14 lead. With backup quarterback Devin Gardner directing the offense and the usually stout defense struggling to slow down the potent Northwestern rushing attack, Michigan was floundering. But that's why they play the whole game. Down 31-28 in the waning minutes of the game, the Wolverines needed a defensive stop to have any chance at a miracle finish. The defense held, forcing a punt and giving the offense 18 seconds, and 62 yards, to make something happen. That's when Gardner launched a prayer right down the middle of the field, where fifth-year senior wide receiver Roy Roundtree was streaking. A Northwestern defensive back got his hand on the ball, but Roundtree adjusted to the tipped pass in the air, twisting his body around and snagging the ball for an incredible 53-yard, game-saving catch. Two plays later, redshirt junior kicker Brendan Gibbons hit the gametying field goal — a 26-yarder — to send the game into overtime. From there, Michigan took care of business. Devin Gardner circled off the edge for a one-yard touchdown scamper on third-and-goal, and the U-M defense stifled a Northwestern run play on fourth-and-two to end the game. Gardner finished with 286 yards and two touchdowns on 16-of-29 passing, while he continued to grow into his new role of full-time starter. Best Win Michigan 12, Michigan State 10 Michigan football fans have suffered through too many humbling losses and subpar seasons in recent years, but enough was enough. Four straight losses to in-state rival Michigan State — which at one point seemed unfathomable — had helped changed the nature of the battle for the Paul Bunyan Trophy. With the game in Ann Arbor in 2012, the Wolverines could ill afford to walk away with a fifth consecutive loss to the Spartans. Before Michigan State's streak from 2008-11, the Spartans hadn't won consecutive games in the series since 196567 and had won four straight on only one other occasion (1959-62). Fittingly, the 2012 edition of the

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