We're BAAAAAAaaaaack!!! Well almost... It takes more than one game to turn something as massive, ugly, and completely mind blowing as Michigan's performance last year around. I will tell you this, however, Michigan took one giant leap and a fierce Wolverine claw slash towards reaching that goal on Saturday.
Gone are the days where our QB overthrows or under-throws every single wide open receiver. Gone are the moments when our offense was so confused it seemed to be stopping and tackling itself.
Gone are the defensive woes that made stopping opposing running backs and receivers seem more like a bull fighting exhibition than a football game, GONE...
In the first half the Wolverines outplayed, outweighed, and outclassed their competition on their way to a stunning 31-0 lead by halftime. Granted, this was a MAC school, but WMU was predicted to possibly win the conference and was regarded by some as the best team in the MAC.
Many media outlets had Michigan losing this one, Appalachian State style for the third straight season opener.
The mighty Wolverines had a much different agenda. Aside from the strong defense which held Western to -2 yards rushing in the first half, one of the most pleasant surprises witnessed by this seasoned Michigan fan was the presence of the running game.
U of M ran between the tackles very well and established the run early. This enabled the passing game, namely the short pass and play action pass to develop. In turn this opened up receivers down-field.
Another great sight to see was the play of the freshman quarterbacks, Tate Forcier, and Denard "Shoelace" Robinson.
Tate looked sharp throwing the ball and there was no question after seeing him hookup with Junior Hemingway in the corner of the end-zone, on the run with pressure in his face, that Tate had control of this team as well as the playbook.
Denard's speed was evidenced when he picked up a botched snap and scrambled for a long touchdown run. Once the ball was in his hand he made a dash for the sideline, stopped, made one guy miss and took off like a NASA space craft for 43 yards. The Big House was 'ROCKIN.
Beyond the play on the field, the fans in their seats had much to do about the way this one shook out. I have been to several games in that stadium, I dont think any were louder than this one.
It seems lately the press has been trying to turn fans against Rich Rod. Well let me tell you this press, its not working one bit. The place was literally vibrating from noise, rocking, shaking, rattling...simply unbelievable.
Once the score reached 31-0 the fans chanted "Rich Rod- Riguez, (clap clap clapclapclap)" over and over and over. The players, namely Brandon Graham reacted visibly, raising the roof so to encourage the chants.
Even the refs seemed confused by what was going on, resetting the game clock for a second time which had just been done 10 seconds prior and whistling the play dead again.
The second half was less exciting. Michigan fell back in a prevent defense, using mostly zone coverages and ran the ball a ton when they had the rock. I thought this was a classy move, opting to not run the score up, however, Coach Rodriguez said in an interview after the game he wished they had played better in the second half.
Hey Coach, I don't think you had to but don't tell the kids that.
Next week will be the true test for this team that seemed light years ahead of where it was one year ago. Notre Dame is a much stronger foe and should prove to test this team in all aspects of the game.
I can't wait to see what the match-up has in store while restoring a great rivalry between two great teams. People don't forget about this game amidst the media cyclone that whisks us all away on a daily basis.