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Posted on Sat, Nov 19, 2011 : 7:02 p.m.

Michigan fans help offense cope without a play clock in first quarter

By Kyle Meinke

Michigan Stadium is not an intimidating venue for road teams, despite being the largest stadium in college football.

Thanks to a twist of fate, though, it offered a decided advantage for the 20th-ranked Michigan football team in its 45-17 blowout Saturday of No. 17 Nebraska.


Michigan fans waved towels Saturday. They also helped Michigan overcome the lack of a play clock one the south side of Michigan Stadium by counting down seconds.

Jeff Sainlar |

A main fuse at the stadium blew out about 90 minutes before kickoff, leaving much of the stadium without power. That included concession stands, the press box, the scoreboards — and the play clock in the south end zone.

That meant the team going toward that end zone was at a significant disadvantage. And, in the first quarter, that team was Michigan.

That's where the student section and the rest of the fans stepped in for the Wolverines. It yelled out the play clock — much like a shot clock in basketball — to help quarterback Denard Robinson get off the plays.

"That was the biggest thing. ... I really appreciate the fans helping us out, because we really needed it. Shout out to the fans, and I hope they're ready next week," Robinson said, alluding to the upcoming showdown with rival Ohio State.

Added senior offensive lineman Mark Huyge: "You could hear it. 'Five, four, three, two, one ..." I'm like, 'Snap the ball, snap the ball!"

Offensive coordinator Al Borges, who calls plays from the press box, still had communication to the field because of a backup power system, but was forced to get out the plays quicker than normal to account for the confusion on the field.

The system wasn't perfect. Michigan picked up one delay of game penalty in the first quarter, for which coach Brady Hoke took the blame.

"That's on me," he said. "I should have called timeout. For me to not do that, that's bad coaching."

The flag didn't hurt Michigan, though, as Robinson was able to find sophomore receiver Jeremy Gallon for a 6-yard touchdown pass two plays later. In all, the Wolverines scored 10 first-quarter points without the benefit of a play clock on the scoreboard.

When the game moved into the second quarter, Nebraska faced the south end zone, but did not have the aid of the student section counting down. It scored three points in the quarter.

Nebraska quarterback Taylor Martinez said the powerless play clock did not effect him, nor his offense.

Power to the clock was restored at halftime, and this was not an issue in the Wolverines' big second half, which powered their rout of the Cornhuskers.

Kyle Meinke covers Michigan football for He can be reached at 734-623-2588, by email at and followed on Twitter @kmeinke.



Mon, Nov 21, 2011 : 5:41 a.m.

I feel the atmosphere was louder than usual on Saturday, but I tend to agree with Kyle, as Michigan Stadium is not as intimidating as us fans would like to believe. Michigan Stadium's acoustics work against it, and there are far too many fans willing to sit on their hands. I'm a fan that believes you stand and yell when the opposing offense is on the field (not just on third down). I can't tell you how many times I've been hushed and told to sit down by Michigan fans. I've sat next to a "Michigan fan" reading a newspaper during the game. If you want to sit while watching the game (or read your paper), do it at home, and don't complain when one of your own is up showing support. And when the opposing team's fans are singing their fight song, how about us fans sing The Victors over them, something, anything. Remember this next week. The last time I attended an Ohio game at Michigan, the Ohio fans' O-H-I-O chant could be heard loudly, and without any challenge from the Michigan fans. Unacceptable. If your voice isn't hoarse from yelling support when you leave the Michigan Stadium, then you did it wrong. Go Blue


Sun, Nov 20, 2011 : 8:45 p.m.

1) Real impressive: New scoreboard, no power. 2) According to the article, the entire stadium is wired through 1 giant fuse. (Probably designed by a Blue EE.) What happened? You needed to find a student with an extra penny to screw into the socket? Well, that explains why it took 90 minutes. 3) Like everyone else, I picked up Kyle's error ("Michigan Stadium is not an intimidating venue...".) Once again his fingers are faster than his brain. While the size of the structure and the crowd do, in fact, make it intimidating, it will never be loud. Your bowl is shallow and the sound dissipates. It's simple acoustics. If you want loud, go to the closed end of Ohio Stadium.


Tue, Nov 22, 2011 : 4:15 a.m.

This is just the kind of post I will enjoy re-reading next Sunday!


Sun, Nov 20, 2011 : 5:50 p.m.

Tis a new era so 1st Down is correct...Michiagn Stadium is now becoming a very intimidating place to play these days. 1) the fan base is muh more amped up, they cheer loudly so the opposing team on offense cannot comminicate there siganls as well as they once did and 2) the Michigan defense plays a much more physical game. The opposing team goes away more dinged up than in the past several years This Michigan team has won 7 straight home games and I am confident that they will not settle for anything less than a perfect season at home in the win column. Maybe, we should have known that in the night game against Notre Dame that there is no quite in this team when it comes to playing at home. Witness, a near shut out against SDSU and a shut out against MN. Michigan plays great at home so the home field advantgae will be very huge against those buckeyes on Saturday. Not, if can limit the number of their fans to under 10,000 in this game, that would be great. Personally, I would block off all roads at the state line so they cannot come up here and clog our streets, but last I checked, this is still America. GO BLUE!!!


Sun, Nov 20, 2011 : 3:09 p.m.

I would like to see more about the power outage. How about the fact that there was no power in the restrooms, including No Emergency Lights! They had the doors opened but there was no source of lights. They didn't even provide flashlights or anything for the event staff working the restrooms. Not safe.


Sun, Nov 20, 2011 : 1:15 p.m.

App State and Toledo agrees with Kyle.

1st Down

Sun, Nov 20, 2011 : 3:58 a.m.

"Michigan Stadium is not an intimidating venue for road teams, despite being the largest stadium in college football." That is not true. You need to stick around Michigan a while Kyle and get some experience on Michigan football.