First Impressions: Michigan 20 Wisconsin 17

WTKA's Steve Clarke gives his initial thoughts from Section V in the stands at Camp Randall Stadium

Be honest. Did you give up on them? Were you calculating the odds of Northwestern (who lost to Bowling Green, Saturday)beating Illinois on Thanksgiving Day?

There would be no shame if you did. By the way the odds of Michigan sharing the title with Illinois if the Wolverines had lost, Saturday, would be near nil. What is important is that the Wolverines did not hang their heads and give up.

Former Michigan recruit and current Wisconsin defensive back Brent Bell was listening to his coaches this week. They told him to be aware of all of Michigan's trick plays and gimmicks. That's right! The Badgers were well aware how deep the Wolverines have been in their play book this season. Bell thought Michigan could be running a fake punt, so when Michigan's Brandon Williams broke down field as if he was going to catch a pass, Bell remembered what his coaches told him all week, "BEWARE OF THEIR TRICK PLAYS!" Bell wouldn't keep his eyes off Williams, as he continued to break towards the punted ball. Bell was so focused, he didn't hear any of his teammates shouting at him to get away from the ball. A fortunate bounce helped continue the game turnaround.

With 1:32 left in the game, Wolverine fans in the stands weren't angry but were in disbelief. The Big 10, a BCS bid, all gone. Wisconsin fans are badgering Michigan fans reminding them of this. Earlier in the game, Badger field goal kicker Mark Neuser made a 46 yard field goal look easy. His simple 36 yarder went just wide right and nearly fluttered short. Another big break for the Wolverines, but few saw their chances good in overtime.

You can't blame them of that, too. Michigan's offense sputtered in the 2nd half. The Wolverines had only 45 yards of total offense in the 2nd half. Wisconsin was just starting to get their engine running with fuel called momentum. The defense was getting tired after being on the field most of the fourth quarter. The fans in Camp Randall were going nuts.

Coach Carr noted he wasn't happy with his passing game, but wouldn't pinpoint where the problems were until he viewed the film. For those that are screaming for Jermaine Gonzales be careful what you wish for. He's not ready for primetime, but this debate can be saved and evaluated in the spring.

The coach knows that breaks doesn't always fall his way. He has had some recent reminders. Wisconsin head coach Barry Alvarez said in his press conference that Carr told him after the handshake that, "his team deserved better," a memorable line after Michigan's loss to Michigan State. When asked if Michigan should have run another play or two to before Hayden Epstein's game winning kick to prevent Wisconsin winning like Colorodo did in 1994, Carr responded, and I'm paraphrasing, "Are you Crazy?!...It's been proven that it's difficult to run another play with only 14 seconds left."

So, with the help of some rare luck and a never-give-up attitude, it is once again down to Michigan against Ohio State, and the Wolverines needs to win in order to claim the Big 10 title. Michigan needs to find some offense this week. The Buckeyes will stack the box to shutdown the run and force John Navarre to beat them. You can't blame Michigan fans if they are a bit nervous.

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