Friday, November 29, 2013
Monday, November 18, 2013
By Leo Blavin
Michigan won’t win pretty. Time and time again, the Wolverines find ways to both win and lose ugly. On Saturday in Evanston, the Wolverines won and it was ugly. Michigan, behind their first positive rushing performance in three weeks, defeated the Northwestern Wildcats 27-19 in triple overtime. The Wolverines struggled to establish success in the red zone in regulation, however in overtime Michigan appeared to be a different offensive team. The Wolverines scored two touchdowns in extra time and following a failed fourth down by Northwestern it was over.
The play of the game came in special teams as Michigan scrambled to get their field goal team out as time expired in the 4th quarter. Holder Drew Dileo slid into his holder position as kicker Brendan Gibbons rushed into place to kick a 44-yard field as regulation expired. Michigan made plays when it counted, as two, 4th down conversions set up the game tying field goal.
Quarterback Devin Gardner played his best game since Indiana, however it was Michigan’s running game that stood out. Behind freshmen Derrick Green and De’Veon Smith, the Wolverines rushed for 137 yards on 45 attempts. It was a welcomed sight for Michigan fans, which had yearned for more carries from the highly touted Green. As for the passing attack, Gardner finished 24 of 43 for 226 yards and 1 touchdown. More importantly Gardner didn’t throw an interception for the second straight game.
In the end, a sloppy game resulting in a win is the best this team could have hoped for following two consecutive ugly losses. Moving forward the Wolverines will travel to Iowa City to take on the Hawkeyes before returning home to take on archrival Ohio State to close out the regular season. For Northwestern, the season can’t end soon enough as the Wildcats, who were ranked as high as 16th this season, have lost 6 straight and are on the verge of missing a bowl game for the first time since 2007. As Northwestern continues to find ways to lose, it was Michigan that found a way to end their losing skid and get back on track. They’ll take it, no matter how ugly it was.