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5:57 pm EDT 84°F (29°C) in South Rockwood, MI
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You have to have heard by now, but this past Saturday, Lloyd Carr’s Michigan football team opened its season by allowing the biggest upset in the history of college football: a 34-32 victory by Division I-AA Appalachian State University at Michigan Stadium. Don’t even be fooled into thinking that this was a close game that went back and forth several times, either; ASU had either an 11- or 14-point lead for much of the second and third quarters, and it took a miracle just for Michigan to grab a 32-31 lead about halfway through the fourth quarter.
The Michigan defense, the back end of which was already an acknowledged weak point of the team, just didn’t show up to play at all. ASU scored touchdowns on three consecutive second-quarter drives to take a 28-14 lead, with help from at least one Michigan turnover. A trio of field goals, two by Michigan and one by ASU, would bring it to 31-20 by the mid-point of the third quarter, before Michigan scored a touchdown in that quarter’s waning moments to make it 31-26.
Unlike a lot of people, I won’t even fault Carr that much for attempting two-point conversions on both of Michigan’s second-half touchdowns. You can say that the first attempt, late in the third quarter, showed some lack of faith in the offense; why should it be really critical to bring the score within three points (31-28 had it succeeded) with a whole quarter left to play? There was a valid reason for the second two-point try, though, namely that Carr wanted to force Appalachian State to score a touchdown to win. That failed conversion, though, left Michigan up by only one point with roughly seven minutes to play.
Frankly, when Carr goes, defensive coordinator Ron English needs to lose his job as well. His defenses have now given up 108 points in Michigan’s last three games — 42 to Ohio State last year, 32 to USC in the Rose Bowl, and now 34 to ASU. Furthermore, they have shown a distressing inability to do anything to stop a spread offense, and with another spread team (Oregon) coming in this weekend, one has to wonder if Michigan won’t be still looking for its first victory against Notre Dame in two weeks. I will be attending that Oregon game on Saturday, perhaps with some kind of “FIRE CARR!!!” paraphernalia like a sign or a paper bag over my head, and definitely substituting “FIRE CARR!” when the band plays “Let’s Go Blue.”
I still have some things to do on this Labor Day here, so I’m going to have to cut this one a bit shorter than I would like. That said, this update serves to let you all know that I’m not dead yet, despite 19 days away from this site.