M FOOTBALL 2011-SUGARY BCS BOWL WIN OVER HOKIES 23 TO 20 (OT)

By Andy Andersen

The 132nd rendition of  a Wolverines Football Team (10-2, 6-2) knew that they would have their hands full competing against the Frank Beamer coached Virginia Tech Hokies ( 11-2,7-1)  and they did.

They stopped Denard’s ground game cold.  But Junior Hemingway’s two leaping end zone catches helped make the difference, and earned him player of the game honors.

Here’s Hemingway afterwards: “From the beginning when the coaches first came in we had to buy in and the seniors had to get the rest of the team to do the same thing, Team 132. It was just a hard-fought season. To go out there and do it for the underclassmen who now have a Sugar Bowl championship under their belt and for us to leave with the Sugar Bowl championship, it just shows our hard work, our determination, our resilience. And that’s where most of the emotion came from.”

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Sugar Bowl Final- Michigan Wolverines 23 Virginia Tech 20 (OT)

It wasn’t the greatest season in the storied history of Michigan Football.

Losses to instate rival Michigan State and Iowa, prevented the Michigan Wolverines from winning the Big Ten title and returning to the glory of the Rose Bowl.

But it may have been the most surprising and joyous season since the Wolverines went undefeated and the won the 1998 National Championship.

A year ago the program was floundering, having been spanked in the Gator Bowl losing to Mississippi State by a score of 52-14.

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It seems like a million years ago.

Prior to the game, Brady Hoke was rumored to be on the short list to take over if Rich Rodriguez was fired.

I couldn’t believe it. Now after an unbelievable year, that saw the Wolverines finish 11-2 I wonder how I ever doubted him.

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From day 1 he said and did all the right things.

He won over a jaded group of players many of whom were fiercely loyal to the outgoing coaching staff.

He preached the gospel of being a Michigan Man, of being responsibility to your teammates and honor.

He brought back former Wolverine Coach Greg Mattison to be defensive coordinator to resurrect a moribund defense that was among the worst in the nation. Last season former Buckeye and TV commentator Chris Speilman called the players on Michigan defense guys “…who would be nice little subs at Indiana.”  This season a defense made up primarily of the same players returned to playing Michigan football terrorized opponents.

The Michigan Wolverines capped an amazing turnaround season with a 23-20 (OT) BCS Sugar Bowl Victory over Virginia Tech.

Those who stay will be Champions!

Bo would be proud.

What a ride.

GO BLUE!

Nothing But ‘Net – Week #10 – 01/02/2012 – A Promising Start

Happy New Year!

The (#18) University of Michigan men’s basketball team played two games last week, and they won both of them, to improve their record to 12-2 (2-0 in the Big Ten) on the season, including 7 wins in a row.  On Thursday (12/29/2011) they beat Penn State 71-53, then on Sunday (01/01/2012) they beat Minnesota 61-56.  Both games were in Crisler Arena.  This is a very promising start to the Big Ten schedule.

The Penn State win was easy and convincing, but Minnesota put up quite a fight.  PSU really only has one good player (Tim Frazier), and he got his points, but the rest of the team is pretty weak.  After PSU took an early 5-4 lead, UM went on a quick 7-0 run to go ahead 11-5, and they never trailed again.  The lead got as large as 16 points in the 1st half, and 22 points in the 2nd half, before PSU got a little closer (18 points) at the end.  It was an easy win.  Not so in the Minnesota game.  At the first media timeout, Minnesota was up 6-1.  That’s one point in 4+ minutes of “action” for Michigan.  Not good.  Michigan tied the score at 6-6, then again at 11-11, before they finally got their first lead, 13-11, with 9:16 left in the 1st half.  Once again, Michigan never trailed again, although Minnesota did tie the game at 35-35 in the 2nd half, and get within one point (57-56) with 2:08 left in the game.  Michigan made some clutch shots and grabbed some crucial rebounds, and managed to hang on for the win.  It was very exciting.

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Nothing But ‘Net – Week #09 – 12/26/2011 – A Dangerous Cupcake, And First Trimester Grades

The (#20) University of Michigan men’s basketball team played one game last week, and they won it, to improve their record to 10-2 on the season, including 5 wins in a row.  On Thursday (12/22/2011) they beat Bradley 77-66, in Crisler Arena.  Coming in, Bradley looked to be the final “cupcake” in a series of three cupcakes, but they put up quite a fight.

The final margin of victory looks pretty comfortable, but for first 30 minutes it was a seesaw battle.  Michigan opened up a few small leads in the first half (25-19 with 8:32 to go, 31-26 with 3:45 to go), but Bradley kept coming back, and tied the game (33-33) at halftime, on a long 3-pointer at the buzzer.  The crowd and the Michigan team seemed deflated, and things looked dicey for the second half.  With 18:05 to go in the game, Bradley was ahead (38-36), but that was their last lead.  The game was tied 4 more times, and Michigan never led by more than 3 points until their big run, but once UM pushed the lead past 3 (54-49, with 11:02 to go), it was over.  The Wolverines went from a 52-49 lead with 12:00 left to 71-56 with 6:21 left, a 19-7 run in just over five and a half minutes.  It was a very exciting run, with a couple steals, a couple dunks, and a couple 3-pointers mixed in.  Bradley had been playing with good composure, answering every Michigan basket with one of their own, but once the Michigan run started, they panicked, which cost them the game.

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