Bottom 5 moments of the season's first half for the Michigan football team
For a team sporting a 5-2 record just past the season’s halfway point, the Wolverines have endured more than their share of injuries, tumult and what Rich Rodriguez likes to call “drama.”
On Tuesday, I counted down the top five moments of Michigan’s season to date. Now it’s time to look at the bottom five moments of the year thus far.
Here we go:
5. Troy Woolfolk gets hurt In many ways, the fate of the Michigan defense was sealed the moment cornerback Troy Woolfolk dislocated an ankle in an August practice.
Not only was he the team’s most experienced player in the secondary, he was the only experienced player in the secondary. He entered camp, he said, in the best shape of his life.
The injury ended his season. In his absence, among others, the Wolverines have used three true freshmen cornerbacks this year. Predictably, Michigan’s pass defense ranks as the worst in the Big Ten.
4. Denard Robinson goes down
Lon Horwedel | AnnArbor.com
More than 100,000 people collectively held their breath and remained silent when Denard Robinson didn’t get up following a Bowling Green tackle early in the first quarter.
Although he would be OK, Robinson didn’t return to the game because of a left knee injury. The moment underscored that in four short games, Shoelace had become essential to the Michigan offense.
3. NCAA starts round two If anyone needed further proof that the NCAA intends to deal harshly with Rich Rodriguez regarding rules violations at Michigan, it arrived when college sports’ governing body announced its findings from its investigation into his West Virginia tenure.
Five alleged rules violations at Morgantown were nearly identical to the ones found in Ann Arbor, the NCAA concluded on Aug. 4.
At this point, the ramifications of the two cases are unclear. For certain: Once the NCAA Committee on Infractions releases its findings in the Michigan case, Rodriguez will still have the West Virginia headache lingering.
2. Irish cream Michigan's secondary Standing in his own end zone, Notre Dame QB Dayne Crist fired a laser to tight end Kyle Rudolph at midfield, who took the reception the rest of the way for a touchdown that gave the Irish a 24-21 lead late in the fourth quarter.
The 95-yard TD was the second-longest in Notre Dame history.
Although Michigan would come back to win the game on the ensuing drive, the play embodied everything wrong with the Michigan defense this season.
Not only did the young group of defenders give up the big play in a crucial situation, they couldn’t catch a lumbering tight end from behind.
1. The curse of Mike Hart So many plays from the Michigan State game could claim the No. 1 spot - and doesn’t that really say enough?
Twice, Spartans running backs gouged the Wolverines defense on long touchdown runs, using a play the Michigan players later said they had practiced against often. Those were bad enough.
But the worst might have been the third-quarter flea flicker that clinched the game for MSU.
Out of the wildcat format, Larry Caper handed to Keshawn Martin who flipped the ball to quarterback Kirk Cousins who hit fellow QB Keith Nichol on a 44-yard pass that set up a TD for Caper that put the game out of reach for Michigan at 31-10. They lost 34-17. Three straight wins for Michigan State in the series. Little Brother has grown up.
Pete Bigelow can be reached at (734) 623-2556 or e-mailed at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @PeterCBigelow.