The Wolverine

January 2021

The Wolverine: Covering University of Michigan Football and Sports

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16 THE WOLVERINE JANUARY 2021 BY JOHN BORTON This is the way the season ends, not with a bang but with a whimper. W ith apologies to T.S. El- iot, that's about it. Jim Harbaugh's sixth squad at Michigan won two games — none at home, for the first time since they constructed Michigan Stadium. The final three scheduled contests — Maryland, Ohio State and a hastily arranged meeting with Iowa — fell victim to COVID-19. Many felt it was just as well, given the Wolverines' downward spiral with an injury- and illness-depleted roster. By all objective standards, the sea- son turned into a disaster. But not everyone felt compelled to label it so. Fifth-year senior defensive tackle Carlo Kemp spoke poignantly about experiences he never expected, but will still appreciate down the road. "Being able to go through all these ups and these downs with all your teammates is definitely a lot better than not playing," Kemp insisted. "These are the memories you play for, that you would not have been able to have with no season. This is what you take with you when the season is over." That season ended abruptly. The Wolverines were practicing for a Dec. 19 showdown with Iowa, which had won six straight after opening with a pair of close defeats. Michi- gan, meanwhile, began its season in resounding fashion with a 25-point win at Minnesota. Everything went downhill from there. The very next week, a bad Michigan State squad exposed the Wolverines' weaknesses in the sec- ondary, delivering a 27-24 shocker in The Big House. That marked only the beginning of sorrows for a crew that never found its way — up front on offense, behind center and throughout the defense. The Wolverines lost four of their fi- nal five games, yielding an unwieldy 34.5 points per contest overall, which ranked 98th nationally. Defensive co- ordinator Don Brown's previous four crews posted the following opponent scoring averages: 20.7, 19.4, 18.8 and 14.1. Meanwhile, redshirt sophomore quarterback Joe Milton began with a flourish at Minneapolis, but couldn't maintain it. Redshirt freshman Cade McNamara replaced him after 27 scoreless minutes at Rutgers, in what BITTER END BITTER END Michigan Season Skids To A Two-Win COVID Stop

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