3. October 31, 2020
The further we get from this game, the more absurd it gets. In an empty Big House, The Spartans rolled in fresh off a loss to Rutgers where they turned the ball over an astonishing seven times. Michigan had just pounded Minnesota and national title expectations.
The Wolverines should have covered the 21.5-point spread in the first 10 minutes, right? The whole FOX pregame could not stop talking about Joe Milton winning the Heisman, two NFL MVP awards, a Stanley Cup, and a Masters jacket all in the same season. This was Michigan’s best team and could sleepwalk to a 40-0 victory. At least that’s what we were told and apparently what this Michigan team believed.
Then Rocky Lombardi and Ricky White happened.
The game plan was simple: Deep ball. Ricky White ended up catching eight balls for 196 yards, averaging 24.5 yards per catch. Every time it seemed like there was absolutely no way the Michigan defensive backs could let up another deep play, Lombardi cut another loose down the sideline. They even ran almost the exact same play as 2017 with a screen pass to Connor Hayward with several offensive linemen blocking to the point where Hayward could have moonwalked into the end zone, capping the 27-24 victory.
I’ll never be convinced that Michigan took this team seriously and did any type of game planning, relying on having more talent, highlighted by Milton’s admission that Antjuan Simmons “wasn’t on his radar.”
On this day, Hard work beat talent because talent didn’t work hard. This game was so magical, it made everyone think Mel Tucker was going to be a program-changer. Insane.