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Posted on Wed, Jan 4, 2012 : 2:55 a.m.

Brendan Gibbons goes from 'zero to hero' for Michigan football team

By Rich Rezler


Kicker Brendan Gibbons, left, holder Drew Dileo and tight end Kevin Koger celebrate Gibbons' game-winning overtime field goal.

Melanie Maxwell |

NEW ORLEANS — After being mobbed by his teammates and stopped for multiple interviews while trying to make his way off the Superdome floor late Tuesday night, Brendan Gibbons veered toward the stands and extended his hand to the celebrating Michigan fans.

At one point, he stopped and grabbed an extended Sharpie. Some lucky guy now has an autograph from one of the unlikeliest of heroes on his 2012 Sugar Bowl program.

Gibbons was one of the most maligned players on a well-maligned Michigan football team last year. Suddenly the redshirt sophomore from West Palm Beach, Fla., is the personification of the Wolverines’ turnaround season.

His 37-yard field goal in overtime — coming moments after Virginia Tech’s placekicker, with his own intriguing back story, missed one — gave the Wolverines a 23-20 victory, their first BCS bowl win in more than a decade.

And what was Gibbons, a laid back character with long hair and full beard, thinking about just before that game-winning kick?


"Every time we were struggling in kicking, Coach tells me to think about girls on a beach or brunette girls," Gibbons said. "So that's what we did. Made the kick."

He went 3-for-3, in fact, to finish 13-for-17 on the year for a Michigan team that went 11-2 and ended its season dancing in falling maize and blue confetti. Last year, he went 1-for-5 before losing his starting job to Seth Broekhuizen and watching his team get blown out in a second-tier bowl.

His roommate, offensive lineman Taylor Lewan, called it a “classic zero to hero” moment.

But is Gibbons ready to be the poster child for Team 132, the term coach Brady Hoke uses to describe the 2011 Wolverines? Not so fast.

“You make that kick, everyone’s confident in you,” Gibbons said. “But you still have haters that don’t believe in you.”

Welcome to the life of a place-kicker.

Virginia Tech senior Justin Myer knows all about it. He went from an unknown third-stringer to hero to Sugar Bowl goat in the span of two weeks.

He missed a 37-yard attempt wide right on the Hokies’ overtime possession, setting up Gibbons for his heroics.

Virginia Tech starting kicker Cody Journell was suspended on Dec. 22 after his arrest for breaking and entering. Backup Tyler Weiss was sent home from New Orleans on Dec. 29 after missing the team’s 1 a.m. curfew.

That left Myer, who had been used as a long-distance specialist this season, but was 0-for-2 with attempts coming from 57 and 53 yards.

He went 4-for-4 in regulation, including a 25-yarder with 2 seconds remaining to force overtime. His 43-yard kick early in the second quarter, which gave the Hokies a 6-0 lead, was Virginia Tech’s longest field goal of the season.

“I told him he did a heck of a job,” Virginia Tech coach Frank Beamer said. “He said he didn’t quite get through that last one, but he did a nice job for us. And I’d have liked to have seen him make that last one.”

Only one kicker can be a hero. On Tuesday night in New Orleans, that was Brendan Gibbons.

"I thought it was good when I hit it. Felt good coming off my foot," Gibbons said. "I just wanted to celebrate with my teammates, and it felt good to celebrate with them."

Rich Rezler is a sports producer for Contact him at or 734-623-2553.



Thu, Jan 5, 2012 : 1:34 a.m.

It just goes to show how much difference it makes for a kicker when the head coach truly believes in him and encourages him instead of doubting him and extinguishing his self-confidence. It makes all the difference in the world.


Wed, Jan 4, 2012 : 4:47 p.m.

and he even moved before the ball was snapped.the shouldn't have been there Wolverines get lucky again.


Wed, Jan 4, 2012 : 4:08 p.m.

yeeeaah Gibby.. Hail To The Victors! v


Wed, Jan 4, 2012 : 10:38 p.m.

Dishonorable? As far as I'm concerned, both teams played hard and played fairly. Unfortunately, Tech was on the wrong side of some close calls and didn't convert their red zone opportunities. Winning dishonorably would indicate that Michigan cheated or played dirty in some manner, which they didn't.


Wed, Jan 4, 2012 : 4:50 p.m.

for being the dishonorable winners.


Wed, Jan 4, 2012 : 2:43 p.m.

Here in South Florida, there were many disappointed West Virginia fans after that Gibbons' kick! Go Clemson!! Hail to the Victors!!


Wed, Jan 4, 2012 : 1:34 p.m.

Gibbons turnaround exemplifies the turnaround of the entire team. Hearing Hemmingway's emotional interview after the game showed just how much this game and this season meant to these seniors and this entire Michigan team. Congrats to all. GO BLUE!!!


Wed, Jan 4, 2012 : 10:36 p.m.

rightmind250: That kind of comment is completely inappropriate, doesn't have to do with the game at all. Mind explaining your reasoning for the comment? 15crown00: Congratulations, luck is a part of sports, as you just figured out.


Wed, Jan 4, 2012 : 9:52 p.m.

He was in motion on 2 field goals.they didn't call and yellow lucks out again.


Wed, Jan 4, 2012 : 2:40 p.m.

Wow, I thought Hoke met Brenddan sitting next to him at the Crispy creme donut shop and asked him if he could kick

Elton in Atlanta

Wed, Jan 4, 2012 : 8:21 a.m.

Congratulations to Gibbons and the whole team.


Wed, Jan 4, 2012 : 4:49 p.m.

the honorable Wolverines enter through the back door and leave the same way. Wow something to be proud of for sure.