Sept. 26, 2009
Big Play Redemption
On Indiana's 85-yard touchdown run to take the lead in the fourth quarter, defensive tackle Ryan Van Bergen came off the field distraught after a blown assignment. He was taken aside by defensive coordinator Greg Robinson and then sat on the team bench with his head sagging.
"You flush it and you come back and play," Robinson yelled down the line. "You don't need to be a hero."
"I'll make up for it," Van Bergen said quietly to his teammates next to him. I'll make that play."
One possession later, with Indiana on their own 24, Van Bergen helped stuff the middle of the line on first down and then sacked quarterback Ben Chappell for a loss of 12. He helped stack the middle of the line on third down and Indiana was forced to punt.
"I told you I'd make that play," he yelled to teammate Donovan Warren as he came off the field.
Warren slapped him on the shoulder pads and smiled. He had a big play of his own coming up.
In two consecutive plays, quarterback Tate Forcier went airborne for points. On Forcier's seven-yard touchdown leap, he ran right, used a block from Kevin Grady and then leapt up and in for the score. On the two-point conversion, Forcier ran over the right tackle and leapt, surging into the end zone in a sea of Maize and Blue helmets.
On the bench, Kevin Grady was all smiles. "I didn't even know where Tate was," he told his offensive mates. "I just kept pushing my guy and I felt him fly over my head."
"He was up around my shoulder pads on the two-point conversion," said Steve Schilling after the game. "I just had my hands out."
"We're not allowed to pull him forward," said center David Moosman in the locker room, "so I just kind of held propped him up a little."
Martavious Odoms Celebrates His TD with Some Celebrities
Slot receiver Martavious Odoms recorded the first touchdown reception of his career, a game-winning 26-yard toss from Tate Forcier. He hauled the ball in near the back of the end zone and ran right into a pack of celebrities, consisting of Rick Leach's boys and former tight end and quarterback Andy Mignery. The group had a perfect view of the game-winning TD, standing behind the out-of-bounds stripe in the back of the end zone. They jumped all over the diminutive receiver until he tore himself away and celebrated with his teammates in the end zone. Odoms now has three touchdowns in his career. One rushing, one on a punt return and one receiving.
J.T. Floyd's Checklist
Substituting at cornerback for Boubacar Cissoko in the second quarter, J.T. Floyd sat on the bench and ran through a mental checklist of keys. When it came time for the defense to take the field, Floyd ran down the sideline with players behind him shouting his name. He turned, a little confused, and reacted just in time to catch a maize mouth guard, his mouth guard, flying through the air.
"The coaches always talk about mental reps and that was what I was doing on the bench," Floyd said after the game. "I just forgot my mouth guard. I usually wedge it on my helmet, but I guess I just forgot."
David Moosman's First Start at Center
As the Michigan defense took the field to begin the game, fill-in center David Moosman stood on the sideline waiting for his first chance to snap the ball. Replacing injured center David Molk, Moosman stood with his helmet on, his mouth guard in place and his bushy ginger beard engulfing his chin strap. He was suited up for battle, wearing a glove on his left hand, a brace on his right wrist, a sleeve on his left knee, a black brace on his right bicep, thick tape on his left wrist and white tape on his finger. His helmet was already scuffed, sporting a number of deep gouges.
A manager handed Moosman a ball during a TV timeout and he flipped it sharply from right to left. He didn't talk to anyone, just stared at the turf and flipped the ball over and over.
While U-M's kick return team ran off the field, he walked forward, shaking his shoulder pads from side to side and bouncing on his toes. The U-M offense gathered on the side of the field and Moosman looked at tackle Mark Huyge and the two reared back and slammed helmets together like rival rams. With that, the offense trotted onto the field.
Bruce Tall Was Close
After Michigan sacked Indiana QB Ben Chappell and forced the Hoosiers to punt with 5:36 remaining, he addressed the team on the bench.
"We're going to be out there two more times. Do your job two more times and good things will happen!"
Michigan's defense actually got one more time on the field and it was for a single play as cornerback Donovan Warren picked off a pass intended for Damarlo Belcher. Tall was close. He got the "good things" portion of his prediction right.
Homecoming for a Former Band Member
Homecoming calls alumni of all stripes back to Ann Arbor, including droves of former cheerleaders and band members who return to reconnect with old friends and relive their college years. A group 100 strong consisting of alumni band members took the field prior to the game to play "The Victors", then enjoyed the game from metal bleachers in the southeast corner of the field.
Leon Sarkisian (class of 1969), his cousin Edward Sarkisian (1970) and Edward's son, Aram (2004), were all in town for homecoming, watching the current band take the field. Leon lives in Florida and returns to Ann Arbor every few years for homecoming.
"The first thing I do is check out Michigan Stadium," said Leon.
His memories of the The Big House are vivid and returning to campus helps him relive the high that he felt during his college years.
"We sounded so good singing The Yellow and Blue in the tunnel before coming out on the field," said Leon. "There is no high that compares to marching out of the tunnel. The first thing you see when you get out there is the Michigan Stadium sign on top of the press box. It still gives me goose bumps."
Sarkisian has seen a lot of changes to Michigan football since his college years.
"The players change, the coaches change and the stadium changes," he said, pointing to a video board featuring Wolverine greats, "but Michigan football is always Michigan football."
His biggest hope with some of the changes inside the stadium is that the Michigan Stadium sign is preserved so that future band members can march out of the tunnel and be greeted by the big maize letters.
Sarkisian gathers with family and friends at his home each Saturday to watch Michigan football games. Over 30 years of Michigan memorabilia is displayed in the home, from Rose Bowl pins to hats, pennants, scarves, sweaters, everything imaginable.
"Last year we played a game where we drank for each first down," he said. "This year, we had to switch it up and do a shot for each touchdown. The offense is a little better this year."
After Indiana kicked a field goal in the second quarter, the ball slipped past the net behind the goal posts and flew into the stands. With the crowd yelling, "throw it out!" the ball was passed higher and higher towards the upper bowl of Michigan Stadium until, making sure to get a good grip on the pigskin, a fan reared back and tossed it over the lip of the north end zone.
In the fourth quarter on Michigan's second-to-last TD, the U-M offensive line hit Indiana defensive lineman Fred Jones so hard that his helmet popped 10 feet into the air. The Wolverines went on to score a touchdown and added a two-point conversion on the drive.
Michael Shaw, Dancing with the Stars
Running back Michael Shaw's dance after teammate Carlos Brown's second touchdown of the game was award worthy. He put both hands behind his helmet and gyrated his hips left to right, hopping forward on the balls of his feet and entertaining the Wolverine sideline. As of now, there is no word on what Tom Bergeron's thought about Shaw's performance.
Social Networking Quick Hits: The word "Michigan" was a trending topic on Twitter for the third game this season, meaning that the word "Michigan" was one of the top 10 words used in tweets today ... Michigan's final Facebook status update announcing the final score received 1,313 (and counting) "like this" clicks.
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