|Photo: Patrick Barron|
Well… What can I say about that game that the Michigan faithful would feel at all interested in reading?
What can I illuminate that isn’t already painfully obvious?
the synopsis of the game isn’t particularly complex or nuanced. Michigan’s defense was dominant up until midway through the fourth quarter. Their offense played well enough to win up until Wilton Speight’s second interception late in the third quarter, which shifted momentum in favor of the Buckeyes.
Some egregious penalties (or the lack there of) which Harbaugh went on at length about in the post game presser played a large role in the outcome of this one.
I could break down the minutiae of all of that and further depress our already weary readership, but I’m not going to do that. Instead, I’m going to focus on the positive things I saw and experienced today.
First off, I have to mention the outstanding play of Kenny Allen today. He played the best game of his career in the biggest game he’s ever played in. His punts combined with the Wolverine defense controlled the field position battle all game long. And he looked as confident as Sebastian Janikowski out there on field goals. I really thought we might see a game winner from him today, but for me, he’s my MVP of the game.
It’s hard to choose a player who stood out from the rest on defense, but the heart and the guts I saw displayed by Mike McCray out there today, was truly inspiring. He also had the best game I’ve seen him play to date. He had no quit, and no one out on that field wanted it any more than him, on either sideline.
Finally, I’d like to mention two Buckeye fans who approached my father and me at a Chick- fil-A in Hilliard, Ohio, just outside of Columbus. Mark and Julie saw us waiting for our food in our Michigan gear, probably looking like someone had just shot our dog in front of us, and said, “We just want to say that we know that our fan base aren’t known as the most hospitable people in the world, but we just wanted to tell you what a great game you guys played.” After the abuse we received walking to and from the game, I almost had my Dad slap me to make sure I was awake and that was actually happening.
We both told them how much we appreciated them saying that. We stood there talking with them about the rivalry for five minutes or so and then Julie surprised us both with hugs.
I have to admit, leaving that stadium today, I wasn’t sure I ever wanted to come back. Then I thought about the Michigan seniors and how they must feel. I thought about how much we all care about the well being of some young men who we don’t really even know, and how there are good people on the other side of the game like Mark and Julie who feel the exact same way about their team and their players.
I don’t know if I’d ever go so far as to agree with the ESPN promotion for The Game this week that suggested that Michigan and Ohio State really “love each other”, but the rivalry certainly supplies people all over the country with enough reasons to love college football. It brings people together to celebrate the cultures that their individual communities have created. I know that our neighbors to the south can be quite obnoxious and crass at times, but there’s one sentiment that the ESPN promo did get right, there would be no Ohio State without Michigan, and no Michigan without Ohio State.
Turn the page.