The Wolverine

November 2012

The Wolverine: Covering University of Michigan Football and Sports

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Give The Wolverine As A Gift This Holiday Season! The Wolverine covers all sports at U-M with an emphasis on football, basketball and recruiting. A one-year subscription includes: s 11 full-color information-packed issues from August to June. s The Wolverine Football Preview, a glossy, full-color, action-packed magazine mailed in July, filled with great information about the upcoming season. s 26 issues of The Wolverine Now, our online newsletter that is published Sundays and Wednesdays during football season. s Access to digital editions of The Wolverine at including an archive of past issues. The writers of The Wolverine weigh in with their take on U-M football. EXtra P INTS Virginia Tech had its hands full with mobile Clemson quarterback Tajh Boyd, wait until it gets a vapor trail from Denard Robinson. The vast majority of players on Michigan's roster have never ex- perienced a positive game-day experience in a bowl. That's about to change. Prediction: Michigan 38, Virginia Tech 24 — John Borton • For this group of Michigan seniors, losing the Sugar Bowl would be akin to leading a marathon then falling down an open manhole in mile 26. They're on a mission, and so are the rest of the Wolverines, from the MVP on down. If 3 8 By The Numbers NCAA quarterbacks to rush for 1,000 yards during the regular season — Northern Illinois' Chandler Harnish (1,382), U-M's Denard Robinson (1,163) and Kansas State's Collin Klein (1,099). 41 64 Player Victories U-M earned in 2011 against bowl-bound opponents, tying the Maize and Blue with LSU and Oklahoma State for most in the country. All-time bowl appearances for the Wolverines; Michigan is 19-21 in its previous 40 postseason match- ups. Offensive plays of 20 yards or more for the Maize and Blue this season, with one game to play; U-M had 65 such plays last year. U-M Football Injury Report Full Games Terrence Talbott, CB Injury Missed Unknown 8 VA Tech? Doubtful Only one opponent in the second half of the year (Ohio State, thanks to a defensive game plan that underestimated Braxton Miller's passing skills) exceeded their season-long average for yardage against Michigan. Though Virginia Tech's offense has been formidable this season, it hasn't been consistent, and the Wolverine D should be able to keep the Hokies in check. Prediction: Michigan 24, Virginia Tech 13 — Tim Sullivan Frank Beamer has built Virginia Tech into one of the nation's most consistent programs, but our writers give U-M the edge in the Sugar Bowl. PHOTO COURTESY VIRGINIA TECH Beamer, who's a shoo-in for the College Football Hall Of Fame, will square off against one of the sport's newest stars, National Coach Of The Year candidate Brady Hoke. And if the Wolverines can topple the Hokies, Michigan's new head honcho could be set up for a Beamer-like run of sustained success. Prediction: Michigan 28, Virginia Tech 24 • At the Sugar Bowl, the nation's longest-tenured coach, Frank — Andy Reid • Though the Michigan defense didn't start the year with a bang, Greg Mattison rounded his troops into solid form by midseason. year, its head coach (Frank Beamer) scoffing at opinions he and his team didn't deserve the BCS this year. This might not be a vintage Virginia Tech team, but the Hokies have talented skill players, are well-coached defensively and on special teams, and will play with pride. That said, they haven't seen any- thing like Michigan quarterback Denard Robinson all year, es- pecially the way the junior played down the stretch. U-M's de- fense will play well, but the offense will be the difference. Prediction: Michi- 2011 FOOTBALL SCHEDULE Date Opponent Result/Time/TV Sept. 3 Western Michigan W, 34-10 Sept. 10 Notre Dame gan 28, Virginia Tech 17 — Chris Balas THE WOLVERINE Oct. 8 at Northwestern W, 42-24 Oct. 15 at Michigan State Oct. 29 Purdue Nov. 5 at Iowa Nov. 12 at Illinois Nov. 19 Nebraska Nov. 26 Ohio State Sept. 17 Eastern Michigan W, 31-3 Sept. 24 San Diego State Oct. 1 Minnesota Jan. 3 Virginia Tech 8:30 pm/ESPN • Page 14 W, 36-14 L, 24-16 W, 31-14 W, 45-17 W, 40-34 W, 58-0 L, 28-14 W, 35-31 W, 28-7 • Be wary of a prideful team scorned. Virginia Tech fits the bill this game WEEK POLL How will the Big Ten fare THEWOLVERINE.COM in its 10 bowl games this year? 8-2 7-3 6-4 5-5 4-6 3-7 2-8 362 votesWolverines Snap Ugly Streak On Game-Winning Field Goal BY JOHN BORTON Michigan Vs. Notre Dame All-Time Head To Head In Winning Percentage School G W L T Pct. U-M ND * Notre Dame lost to Stanford Nov. 26 and went 8-4 during the regular season 1,240 894 1,194 853 310 299 36 42 .7355 .7320 KICKING THE HABIT T 3% 12% 31% 26% 18% 8% 2% his one wasn't about bru- nette girls, the tougher The Wolverine Now, our Internet-based newsletter, is published every Sunday (game reports) and Wednesday (scout- ing reports) during football season on Internet-based team, or even shutting up the green-clad neighbors. This was about freeing Paul Bun- yan, held hostage in East Lan- sing for four long years, and preventing an unprecedented Michigan State win streak in a truly bitter rivalry. For Michigan, there was more, when redshirt junior placekicker Brendan Gibbons slammed through a 38-yard field goal with five seconds re- maining, giving the Wolverines a wildly celebrated 12-10 win. It was about another step to- ward the prize for the 5-2 Wol- verines, who are still perfect in the Big Ten at 3-0. "It's an in-state rival," U-M head coach Brady Hoke af- firmed, stiff-arming a chance to revel. "But we have bigger expectations." Those hopes almost took a forearm to the throat against Michigan State (4-4 overall, 1-3 Big Ten), whose defense didn't yield a touchdown all afternoon. When Gibbons hit the clincher, some couldn't even look. "I didn't watch," senior quarterback De- Redshirt junior placekicker Brendan Gibbons provided the winning margin when he booted a 38-yard field goal with five seconds remaining. PHOTO BY LON HORWEDEL nard Robinson admitted. "I just took a knee and prayed. I was just thanking the man above for giving us the opportunity to step on the field today. I didn't see it until everybody ran on the field." Robinson, who rushed 20 times for 96 yards and went 14-of-29 passing for 163 yards, kept his eyes wide open leading up to the historic kick. Trailing 10-9 with exactly two minutes remaining, Robinson had one last chance. He'd snapped off a 44-yard run on Michigan's previous possession, only to see penalties torpedo a shot at a game-winning field goal. Now, after Michigan's de- fense secured a crucial stop, the Wolverines saw one more opportunity, from their own 38. Senior Vincent Smith im- mediately broke off a 12-yard run, and Robinson himself stretched out on a crucial two- yard pickup to the MSU 40 on third down. Robinson then scrambled and found the giant killer of the day — junior wideout Drew Dileo (four catches, 92 yards), who snagged a 20-yard pass to the MSU 21. "We knew their DBs didn't really cover once the quarterback started scrambling, so I just got open, he found me, threw a good ball, and I caught it," Dileo noted. OCT. 21, 2012 Seconds later, he made another huge catch — as the holder for Gibbons' game- winner. "Drew is not the biggest guy, he's not the fastest guy, but the one thing Drew is, he is a football player," Hoke said. The Wolverines all stood a little taller, after surviving a head-knocking defensive struggle that saw the Spartans' Le'Veon Bell rush 26 times for only 68 yards, and MSU quarterback Andrew Maxwell go 12 10 21-of-34 for 192 yards and the game's only touchdown. This one was about hanging on, and the Wolverines did so at times like a man clinging to a skyscraper ledge. The game turned dramatically early in the fourth quarter on MSU's longest run of the day — not by Bell, but by Michi- gan State punter Mike Sadler. The U-M defense had done its job, bottling up the Spartans at their own 23-yard line. With the clock ticking away, it looked as if Michigan would get great field position with a 9-7 lead. Instead, Sadler took the long snap and bolted right, finding no resistance from the Wolverines' punt return team. He rumbled 26 yards for a first down, the key play in MSU's 90-yard, 18-play, field goal drive. "They saw we weren't leveraging the outside … that got them some hope, got them in the game," Hoke said. "We told the defense, keep them to a field goal and Send to: THE WOLVERINE • Circulation Dept. • P.O. Box 2331 • Durham, NC 27702 PleaSe SeND: u One year for me (11 full-color issues + The Wolverine Football Preview Magazine + online access to The Wolverine and 26 Internet-based newsletters during football season) — Only $49.99. u One year gift subscription (11 full-color issues + The Wolverine Football Preview Magazine + online access to The Wolverine and 26 Internet-based newsletters during football season) for $49.99 each to the recipient listed to the right. u First Class delivery (inside continental U.S.) — add $30.00 per year. Please call for delivery options outside the continental U.S. TOTal $___________________ u My check or money order payable to The Wolverine is enclosed. 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