Luke Waltons Forehead presented by the Sports Dude.

Monday, October 03, 2005 at 10:25 AM

Monday Morning QB - 10-03-05 Edition.

Well, I for one am now totally convinced, Mike Hart really is the key to the U of M offense. I started really having “man love” (yes that is a safe and acceptable term in today’s society) for him last year when it was clear David Underwood was not the answer for the Wolverines at tailback. It was the third game of the season last year for the Wolverines, against San Diego State, and my dad and I scored some tickets and went to the Big House. The entire week I kept telling my dad about this Mike Hart kid, that I was hoping Lloyd Carr would give in and start him even though it meant two freshman in the back field and all I remember my dad telling me is that I was nuts. What happened on that sunny afternoon in Ann Arbor? Mike Hart got his first collegiate start and the rest is history for the Wolverines. I even posted about it on Friday saying that I thought his absence was more telling than that of Braylon Edwards, but all the MSU fans were saying that it couldn’t be him, not that little 5-10 guy in the back field. Look, I am not gloating, because I still felt that with him back it would only be a good sign for the remainder of the season, I truly felt that even with him MSU still had this game. Well, all I can say was it was an instant classic, yet again, and the Wolverines walked away with a much needed and highly emotional victory. That being said, here is my interesting little recap on the game and things that I feel really made this game a perfect match up for the ages.

BOTH TEAMS HAD THEIR BEST OFFENSIVE PLAYERS

It was an even field as far as health was concerned; no U of M fans saying “If we only had Hart…” or Spartan fans saying “If Stanton would have not separated his shoulder…” there were no excuses there this time. Stanton stayed healthy the entire game, kept his shoulder in one piece and led a very impressive MSU offense if I must say so myself. I had yet to really watch a Spartan game this year, I did catch some of the Notre Dame game, but he was every bit as impressive as billed, at least in my opinion. Hart was back, racked up over 200 yards rushing, and was every bit of the emotional and physical spark that the Wolverines were apparently missing. No offense to Max Martin or Kevin Grady, two very talented tailbacks in their own right, but the team needed Mike Hart more than anybody thought and I think it was clear on Saturday how much he meant to that offense. So there you have it, no excuses either way, both teams had their best offensive players for the entire game on the field.

A LITTLE BIT OF CONTROVERSY OVER OFFICIATING

Well, this is touchy both ways, but both teams had calls, even with replay, that went against them and cost some points on the scoreboard. The Spartans complaint was somewhere in the second quarter I believe, when a U of M player intercepted a Stanton pass, gained possession, took four steps, fumbled and the Wolverines still recovered. The ball was ruled incomplete, even though possession had been made, and the ball went back to MSU. However, the play was reviewed and corrected, but MSU felt that it should never have been reviewed in the first place because the whistle blew the play dead? Or did it? Can you even “review” a whistle blow? But, the play went the Wolverines way and the end result was a possible touchdown, but a field goal at least none the less.

Now, for the controversy from a Wolverine fans prospective, this took place late in the fourth quarter with the Wolverines clinging to a seven point lead. The Wolverines were marching down the field, taking time off the clock and trying to put the game away and out of reach with another score. You all know what I am talking about, the hit from behind on Henne, forcing the ball out and resulting in a fumble recovery and touchdown for the Spartans, tying the score at 31 all. The controversy? Well, it is pretty clear what that is, do I even need to type it? Was his arm in a throwing motion, which by rule negates a fumble or was he trying to tuck it in and the ball came out, thus, resulting in a fumble? It was reviewed and the guys upstairs said the infamous “ruling on the field stands” giving the Spartans the tying TD and a huge momentum shift. The end result was a possible TD for the Wolverines or, bare minimum, a field goal.

So there you go each team had their own little bitches with the officiating, so we are even there as well.

FIELD GOAL KICKERS THAT CRAP THEIR PANTS

Each team had a case of “choking kicker” as well, another reason why this game was just so amazing to me. Garrett Rivas for the Wolverines missing a “chip” shot that would have given his team the lead with less than a minute left, the Spartans kicker (sorry, I don’t know his name!) missing a “chip” shot it OT.

So there you have it folks, an instant classic that left me emotionally drained after it was all said and done. I know the cliché is an old one, but I for one will use it here anyway and say it is just sad that there had to be a loser in this game. U of M comes out gunning and goes up 21-7; MSU keeps knocking on the door and eventually forces OT. Seriously people, if you are not a fan of rivalry games then you must not have a heart beat because there is something wrong with you! A season saved for the Wolverines and a season that I hope is not lost for the Spartans. I have said it a million times before and I will say it again, this is the only game I want the Spartans to lose, I hope they win out the rest of the way… especially twos week from now against the stupid Buckeyes! U of M has a real chance to at least make something out of this season and look towards next when a real young team this year will be another year older. As for the Spartans they still have next year to look forward to as well because I even remember hearing this preseason from the “experts” that next year was going to be the year for MSU. Well, from what I have seen this year if next year is supposed to be it then damn, we already have another instant classic waiting for us in Ann Arbor next season. A season saved, a season I hope that is not over, go blue and yes, go green too! At least now that rivalry week is over I can say that again!

Oh, and one more thing, the Lions lost, need I say more? Call it as you will a controversial ruling on what may or may not have been a winning TD to Marcus Pollard, but the end result is Joey did little before that drive. When will people see the light? The dude is just not a pro QB, same old Lions, different Sunday.

Later – the sports dude. HAIL TO THE VICTORS VALIANT HAIL TO THE CONQUERING HEROS….. sorry, had to do it!

Blogger Leelanau Sports Guy said...

Don't forget about the nice acting job by Rivas on the roughing the kicker in the 2nd quarter.

I can't complain too much, cause that's what kickers are supposed to do, but come on. I do love Rivas though, you can tell he doesn't miss too many keggers!  

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