Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Michigan Upsets Florida 41-35, Sends Lloyd Carr Out On Top

Good for Lloyd Carr. Good for Jake Long, Chad Henne, and Mike Hart, who won't leave Michigan 0-8 against Ohio State and in Bowl Games. Good for the Michigan program, which picked itself up off the mat and won a game in a hostile environment that nobody gave them a chance to win (I certainty didn't -- And neither did Las Vegas, which made Michigan a 10.5-point underdog against the Florida Gators). Michigan defeated Florida 41-35 in today's Capital One Bowl, ending Lloyd Carr's career on a high note, and giving Michigan's seniors the signature victory they have been starving for.

And what a strange game. Mike Hart, who fumbled three times in his entire college career before today, and not once in his last 1,002 touches, fumbled not once, but twice, both inside the red zone, both as Michigan was about to score a touchdown. Wide receiver Mario Manningham carried the ball seven times for 53 yards on reverses. Seven carries for a Michigan wide receiver. Michigan had four turnovers, Florida none, yet Michigan led for most of the game. And the offensive firepower of Florida? No match for Michigan, which put up 524 total yards of offense (compared to 399 for Florida). 524 yards of offense -- That may be what we'll expect to see from new Michigan head coach Rich Rodriguez, but to see it from a Lloyd Carr coached team, just incredible. And how about that defense, blitzing even on Florida's final drive and putting pressure on Tim Tebow and Florida all game long? Where was that all season? Not at all the game that anybody expected, but in a very pleasant way for Michigan fans.

In many ways, this was not just the end of Lloyd Carr's tenure at Michigan, but the end of Michigan as fans have known it over the past few decades. Rich Rodriguez' spread offense (whether run by a returning (or potentially not) Ryan Mallett, or by somebody within the program like current wide receiver Junior Hemmingway, or by potential freshman recruit and #1 ranked high school quarterback Terrell Pyror). And what a way to go out. Healthy, aggressive, and successful. A vision of what could have been this season had Michigan not lost to Appalachian State and Oregon, and if Chad Henne and Mike Hart not spent most of the season fighting various injuries.

Today though is not a day to look back on what could have been, but a day to celebrate the ending of the Lloyd Carr era, and the end of the Michigan careers of Chad Henne, Mike Hart, and Jake Long (and potentially Mario Manningham and Adrian Arrington as well, who had a remarkable game, with some of the best catches I have ever seen in a Bowl Game). Lloyd Carr went out, deservingly so, on top, leading his team to a huge upset, in an incredibly exciting game that will be talked about at Michigan for years to come.

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Anonymous said...

Come on. After ASU? And Oregon? It's too much to credit them for carrying the coach off the field in front of an over-ranked FL team. LC is leaving for a good reason. He can't beat Jim Tressel's Ohio State. If WVU can produce such a coach that's all good for MI, but it remains to be seen, and plan to look for a long time to see it. Just look where the pro teams recruit. If you compare U-M to OSU in the Tressel era rivalry against MI or in NFL drafts, and you're a U-M fan, you'll cry, unless you're a different type of crybaby.


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