Miracle at Lloyds…Part of the "Michigan Miracle" story re-telling were all those "firsts" that no dedicated Buckeye fans really expected. Here is a list of things we did for the first time this year that surprised Lloyd and most of the rest of us, as well:
1. We ran the ball up the gut. Yes, our hard working 285-pounders blew their over-confident 330-pounders off the ball. It wasn't exactly 2002 Fiesta Bowl, but it did the heart proud.
2. We manned up and blitzed on defense. We rattled Henne like a freshman is supposed to be rattled. He guessed. He goofed. He changed the game throwing into the end zone from the 5-yard line.
3. We sprinted out to the right and threw a pass to a tight end to the left! Yes, you can look it up!
4. We had 97 and 99-yard drives. Those two drives alone exceeded the total yardage in both the games at Iowa and at NC State.
5. No interceptions and no fumbles lost. And we were getting the plays called and up to the line of scrimmage with still 10 seconds to go on the clock.
6. Didn't hear Michael Hart's name called much. Or Steve Breaston's. We took away big chunks of the strength of the Wolverine game and didn't suffer any consequences.
7. We gave up no sacks!
8. We scored more in regulation than any other team has scored against Michigan all year.
9. We're #27! We're #27! And sneaking up on Bowling Green in the polls…
10. The defectors barely figured in: Massey, Woods and Burgess each had one solo tackle each and Crable didn't rate a stat. Welcome home, boys.
11. Teddy Ginn stayed home. And he's been a miracle all on his own…
Raging Lloyds…Yes, he was burning. Yes, he was irritated. I always thought that Lloyd Carr was kind of your "poor man's Bo Schembechler". He can stick out that jugular, he can rage at the refs, and he can mouth "godd***its" just like his mentor. Of course, I always thought that Bo was your "poor man's Woody Hayes". And Woody would have been damn proud that day. Not only by the way Ohio State manhandled and dominated Michigan. But also by the way our security guys got in the heads of the Michiganders.
What got their Lloyds in an uproar? Seems that prior to the game, security official wanted to search his bag. A police officer and dog were there for the formalities and Lloyd found the whole thing "extremely disrespectful". Further: "In my 27 years in this conference, I've never seen anything like it. I think it is something that is absolutely inexcuseable." He demanded to know who was behind it and was told that the search orders came from the athletic department.
"Everybody was agitated", Lloyd went on to say. What were they searching for? "I don't know if they're looking for drugs or what. I don't think I'm a terrorist".
Yes, Woody was looking down and enjoying that Saturday. Immensely…
I hear you knocking…One of the knocks of the Cooper Era was that John couldn't beat Michigan (two times in thirteen years is a powerfully bad trend). The other knock was that he couldn't win bowl games. Then, when you overlap those two trends, exactly how many times did Cooper teams win both the Michigan game and their bowl game? The correct answer is "once" – in 1998, with a team that should have won the national title (and how many times did we say that, as well?).
The only other time that Coop beat Michigan was in 1994 (22-6) and then we lost to Alabama that year in the bowl. We tied Michigan 13-13 in 1992 but lost our bowl game to Georgia, 21-14.
Earle Bruce, by the way, didn't win his last two games in the final five seasons of his tenure as coach.
Now, fast forward to the current Tressel Era. In 2001, we beat Michigan but lost to Lou's USC bunch. In 2002, we ran the table (there's one…). In 2003, we inexplicably lost to Michigan but whomped Kansas State. So this year, we're in position for the second sea change that we really need. "The trend should be your friend". And the trend is that we now expect to beat Michigan. Finishing 8-4 and closing out those last two games of the season is a powerful metric, indeed. And it would be only the third time in 21 years that we won our last two games of the season
The kids are all right…We have been asked: 1) How are we doing recruiting this year? And 2) How has the Clarett spectacle affected recruiting? The answers seem to be: 1) Real well, thank you and 2) Who?
To that end, and for those that don't follow my monthly feature on the same subject, here is a quick glimpse at where we stand/stood with some of the premier talent in the country. Many of the Top 100 lists are out, revised and ready for scrutiny. I took one such list and used my Scarlet and Gray overlaying skills to see how we are doing with the (alleged) Best of the Best. Here ‘tis:
Of those 11, we probably have the best shots at Maurice Wells, Selwyn Lymon and Rico McCoy. To land seven of the Top 100 would be extraordinary. But to be in on 15-30 of the Top 100 kids is already extraordinary (at one time or another during the recruiting season, there were 14 more Top 100 recruits that we had a chance with; that will now commit elsewhere). The coaches are doing great, they are doing it nationally and we have a real shot at yet another Top Five class in the nation for our 2005 group.
E-mail Mr. Bucknuts at MrBucknuts@yahoo.com