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Posted on Sun, Nov 6, 2011 : 3:06 p.m.

Michigan, with any realistic shot at a Big Ten title dashed by Iowa, tries to look forward

By Kyle Meinke


Mike Martin on Michigan: "The game's over. We've just got to worry about Illinois. That's the next opportunity."

Melanie Maxwell |

IOWA CITY, Iowa — The Michigan football team entered November with an unlikely stake in a first-place tie and a slim chance of advancing to the Big Ten title game.

It woke up Sunday morning with neither.

The No. 13 Wolverines were upset Saturday in a 24-16 loss at Iowa, which dropped them to 7-2 overall and 3-2 in Big Ten play. They also fell out of a tie for the Legends Division lead, which they shared with Michigan State and Nebraska entering the weekend.

The Cornhuskers also were upset, falling to Northwestern, although the Spartans edged Minnesota. They are 4-1 in Big Ten play, a game better than second-place Michigan, Nebraska and now Iowa at 3-2.

The Wolverines fell to both the Spartans and Hawkeyes, meaning they would lose on the first tie-breaker to either team. So, for Michigan to play in the inaugural Big Ten championship game, it would need both teams to lose twice in their final three games.

That is unlikely to happen, especially with Michigan State closing against Iowa, Indiana and Northwestern. Those teams have a combined record of 11-17.

Michigan was not focused on that big-picture scenario after the game, instead turning its focus to next week's game at Illinois — a second consecutive road game for a team that has struggled on the road.

That's the message senior defensive lineman Mike Martin planned to deliver to his teammates today as they reconvened in Schembechler Hall to begin watching film and preparing for the Illini.

"We know it hurts, it's gonna hurt, it should hurt, but that's in the past now," Martin said. "Tomorrow is going to come, and it's not going to be Saturday anymore. The game's over. We've just got to worry about Illinois. That's the next opportunity."

Michigan coach Brady Hoke said in August at the team's media day that his goal for his first season at the helm was to win a Big Ten championship. It was a lofty pursuit for a team that had finished 6-18 in league play the previous three years, but one that remained alive into the final month of the season.

Now, with any realistic shot of a title dashed by the Hawkeyes — of course, they're not yet mathematically eliminated — he put up a strong front, although surely was disappointed.

"It's still November," said Hoke, who says this is the month of championships. "We've got a lot of games left."

He also found stakes for which Michigan can play, with its title contention run cut three weeks short.

"No. 1, we've got 24 seniors who are going to play their last three guaranteed football games at Michigan," Hoke said. "We're always going to coach for them, and we're always gonna play for them."

Big Ten standings

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


Jim Honeywell

Mon, Nov 7, 2011 : 6:10 p.m.

Honeypromoinc I am looking forward to seeing Devin passing, pitching out, toDdenard misdirection plays using the talents ofDenard. Denard recieving a pass from Devin then passing the ball down field. Just think of the damage that could be done using the two quarterbacks on the field at the same time.


Mon, Nov 7, 2011 : 1:52 p.m.

This years team has been in every game! Eliminate the turnovers and things would be different.

Wally the Wolverine

Mon, Nov 7, 2011 : 1:34 a.m.

Martin has it right. We need to be laser focused on Illinois. They know we have some vulnerabilities and would like nothing more than to exploit them (especially after losing to us in the shootout last year). Though they're out of the conference title hunt, a 6-3 overall record gives ILL the opportunity to play for decent bowl positioning. Yeah, we better prepare well and bring our "A game".

Terry Star21

Mon, Nov 7, 2011 : 2:51 a.m.

Thanks for the support. Who does your team play next week ? Good Luck.


Mon, Nov 7, 2011 : 1:25 a.m.

Big Ten Title = Unrealistic goal for this team. Right now, you can forget about a Big Ten Title. It ain't happening. Set your sights on something you can achieve. Try to win at Illinois ...period.

Michigan Man

Mon, Nov 7, 2011 : 1:16 a.m.

In life and in football, never, ever giveup!


Mon, Nov 7, 2011 : 12:34 a.m.

We had our one chance to enter the modern era. Impatience and immaturity squashed it. We're getting what we deserve. (I'm going to get a season pass for the Citrus Bowl for the next decade or so). Hope you're happy, Lloyd.

Terry Star21

Mon, Nov 7, 2011 : 2:49 a.m.

Again Theo buddy, I was with you 100% when the last coach was here, but he is long gone..... A Michigan Football Faithful moves on, supports his players and coaches.....and those that support become Champions.


Mon, Nov 7, 2011 : 1:16 a.m.

I don't know whether we deserve it or not, but what we are getting is a much better football team then we've had for the past three seasons...and the ceiling is MUCH higher with this new staff as opposed to the previous one. So, my guess is that Lloyd IS he should be.


Mon, Nov 7, 2011 : 1:14 a.m.

No, we witnessed the modern era last night when LSU and Alabama did battle. Big, strong and athletic defenses with pocket passers and bruising running backs. Need proof? Look what LSU did to the current poster child for the spread earlier this year. They absolutely *****-slapped Oregon off the field. Urban Meyer, spread disciple, and a far more successful implementer of it than your "King" said on ESPN that the era of the spread offense is tailing off. Defenses have adjusted. I will repeat this each and every time you chime in with this plea for a return to pathetic playground ball as practiced by RR.


Mon, Nov 7, 2011 : 12:30 a.m.

1) Come on... You guys are just kidding, right? Meinke is just an over zealous Blue fan and wrote an exaggerated story title. I mean, folks in AA weren't SERIOUSLY thinking that with one year of Hokey-mania, UM would have a shot at the division title? Are you naive? Blue is better... but not THAT much better. 2) What happened at the Texas A&M game? I've searched the internet but can't find an answer. After watching the Buckeyes dispatch the Hoosiers at the 'Shoe yesterday, I went for dinner. There was a TV, but no audio or closed-captioning being shown on the restaurant TV. The Aggie game stopped as a police officer (state trooper?) talked with a player. ESPN showed the player leaving the stadium with a trainer and the trooper walking nearby. What happened? 3) Serious issue: Who will be the Buckeye coach next year? Luke has potential, but I think they'll go for a bigger name to bolster recruiting. Wolverines better beware. We're regrouping and we'll be ready for later this month. We've got our sites on you!

lindsay erin

Mon, Nov 7, 2011 : 4:32 p.m.

I think you should be focused on OSU playing U-M at the Big House this year. Perhaps if you win, your team might finally make it into the top 25.

Terry Star21

Mon, Nov 7, 2011 : 2:44 a.m.

1. Hoke has made a difference and Michigan still is in line for winning their division. 2. texas a & m (who ?). 3. ohio state should still be in line for a good coach, despite the last one cheating in ways he got caught and numerous other ones that will never surface - all for winning. osu limps away from the Big House in three weeks, just like past history when games were played honest. "We've got our 'sites' on you"....not sure what that means, but I'm from an honest hard working state so I missed that.


Mon, Nov 7, 2011 : 1:20 a.m.

I don't really care who the next ohio coach is. Michigan has to work on being Michigan again and, with Hoke at the helm, they are doing just that. Whoever ohio's coach is will be in for a yearly dogfight with Michigan, because Michigan is on the way back. This year's game should already be pretty good and, considering how lopsided it's been the past three years, that's already a step in the right direction.


Mon, Nov 7, 2011 : 12:51 a.m.

Why did my comment not post, I stayed within the guidelines, bucko is short for buckeye, come on people. Doesn't seem fair how you let some of the comments on and not others, mystifying to me.


Sun, Nov 6, 2011 : 10:54 p.m.

A few things I've been thinking about after that frustrating loss to Iowa: -That was a TD by Hemmingway at the end, his knee was down with possession. Some people on these threads are trying to claim that the process of catching the ball was not completed, WRONG! This not the NFL, it was a catch, the process thingy is only in the NFL. -If after not getting that call, how can the refs not call interference on that last play, just awful. -Kyle, is it true the refs were Iowa alums? If so, how can this be allowed? I don't want to hear anything about refs keeping their integrity, they're still human and their subconscious controls their instincts sometimes during potential calls, I don't care who you are, no one is infallible. -I wish Denard was a Senior so that we would be done with him as a QB, he's fun to watch and can be exciting but he's way too inconsistent passing the ball and makes horrible decisions so often, I'm sick of it. Gardner wouldn't look loss if he was able to relax and run the Offense all the time. -And on that note, I really believe Devin will beat Denard out at QB going into next year, Denard needs to play slot WR or RB, return kicks, anything that will help him be a more attractive pro prospect. Bellomy would be able to get some valuable experience in the backup role and we need to recruit another QB this year before Morris comes in for depth sakes. -If Denard is gonna stay at QB, please Mr. Borges, stop calling deep throws,it ain't working. Intermediate and short passes PLEASE! -Unbelievable to me that we did not call at least one roll to the right and pass or run or throw it away in the final 4 plays,I was irate about that. Finally, I think we're definitely headed in the right direction, our losses were close games where we didn't play or coach well and still had a chance at the end of both games, something that was not the case in blowout losses the past 3 years. Let's win these last 3 games and hope for some help against MSU and Iowa

lindsay erin

Mon, Nov 7, 2011 : 4:42 p.m.

That was definitely a TD by Hemingway at the end, and the fact that interference wasn't called is just absurd--agreed. Even my MSU friends who watched with me were baffled by the call!


Mon, Nov 7, 2011 : 1:51 a.m.

Mick - I couldn't agree more. We know what Denard is as a QB and deep throws are not his specialty. If he is to remain the QB we need to tailor the game to his strengths instead of asking him to do things he can't do.


Mon, Nov 7, 2011 : 1:25 a.m.

He didn't use the ground to 'gain' control of the ball. He maintained the control he already had when he hit the ground. Big difference. Anywho, that game is over and it's time to move on to Illinois.


Mon, Nov 7, 2011 : 1:08 a.m.

The getting control of the ball and not using the ground to gain control is not only an nfl thingy, but a college, high school, midget league, pop warner, and maybe your flag football powder puff league thingy.


Sun, Nov 6, 2011 : 10:34 p.m.

I don't understand what everyone's so upset about. UM got a new coaching staff this year. Unfortunately, a vast infusion of 4- and 5-star players wasn't part of the deal. The staff is doing as well as I had expected under the circumstances. After all, it is a transition year. I have little empathy for those who call for wholesale use of the spread offense. If UM doesn't make a continued effort to implement a pro-style offense, they'll keep putting it off and never get there. True, the offense is temporarily slightly worse off (but still averaging almost 450 yards/game), and the defense is MUCH improved. Oh well, we all have differing philosophies and expectations. GO BLUE!!!


Sun, Nov 6, 2011 : 10:01 p.m.

With that offense, Michigan can maybe win one more- but I doubt it.


Sun, Nov 6, 2011 : 9:47 p.m.

I wouldn't be counting my chickens on beating Illinois. Illinois had a bye last week. While UM was getting pushed around by Iowa illinois was practicing for michigan. I am pretty sure they will be ready. They have one of the strongest defensive fronts in the big 10. their defense is ranked 2nd or 3rd overall. UM has their work cut out. I remember last week everyone was upset that espn predicted an Iowa win. Well, obviously they weren't drinking the Hokey kool-aid.

Terry Star21

Mon, Nov 7, 2011 : 2:36 a.m.

illinois has no chance, plays tough one half sputters second half....iowa embarrasses spartans (again)....Michigan slaps nebraska around and it comes down to the last weekend of the Big Ten - priceless !


Mon, Nov 7, 2011 : 1:10 a.m.

Who's counting their chickens? I think most fans KNOW Illinois will be tough. First, they're pretty good, second it's on the road, and finally, like you said, they've been preparing for Michigan for two weeks. I've seen this as one of the most difficult games on the schedule since before the season started.


Sun, Nov 6, 2011 : 9:11 p.m.

I just hope the coaching staff learns from the iowa debacle. Our offense has issues. And furthermore no identity.


Sun, Nov 6, 2011 : 9:02 p.m.

Kyle, Correct me if I'm wrong, but if Iowa beats MSU next week and we beat Illinois, that would leave us tied for the legends lead again. I see this as a very possible outcome next weekend. If Neb wins they will be tied as well. 4 teams sitting at 4-2. At that point with 2 games to go we would need 1 loss from MSU and 1 loss from Iowa in each of their last 2 games. MSU has to go to NW to close the season and Iowa still has Neb on the road. In my opinion we may very well get the "help" we need but can we win a road game next week and then take care of home field against to beatable opponents? We shall see. One thing I truly believe is that we will be in all 3 games with a chance to win in the 4th quarter.


Mon, Nov 7, 2011 : 4:18 p.m.

It seems that anything can happen in the B1G this year. Who picked Northwestern to beat Nebraska, AT Nebraska ? And who picked Minnesota to beat Iowa ? On any given Saturday in the B1G almost any team can beat the other team. So we still have a chance to win our division, although it is now much more difficult after losing to Iowa. More difficult, but certainly not impossible. Go Blue !


Mon, Nov 7, 2011 : 1:30 a.m.

But you're assuming Michigan will win all 3 of its remaining games, on top of Iowa beating MSU, and then both MSU and Iowa each losing 1 of their final two games. It ain't happening! The chances of that happening are about the same as when Floyd of Rosedale flies.


Mon, Nov 7, 2011 : 1:05 a.m.

zeeba, While it's true that MSU has to lose twice for Michigan to pass them, the article is actually incorrect in stating that Iowa has to lose twice. UM and Iowa are both 3-2 in the division, so if Iowa loses just once and Michigan wins out, Michigan beats them based on better B10 record. Not saying that it's likely for Michigan to win out, just saying UM does not need Iowa to lose twice.


Mon, Nov 7, 2011 : 12:58 a.m.

You could also be a millionaire next week if you go to Meijer's and put $1 down on the Lotto. Odds are about the same. First, MSU would have to lose to two of the following: Iowa, Indiana, Northwestern. Possible, but not likely. Iowa has to beat MSU, then lose to both Purdue and Nebraska. This is an even longer shot. In addition to the above, Michigan has to sweep Illinois, Nebraska and Ohio State. Unless this team can reinvent itself in the last three games of the season, this is the most unlikely outcome of all. Put them all together, and Powerball starts looking like a sound investment by comparison. Hoke's made some significant strides, but it's time for Blue fans to start thinking about next year.


Sun, Nov 6, 2011 : 10:55 p.m.

You are correct and Michigan is not really out of it just yet. I am not sold on us winning out but I do believe that Michigan can defeat IL on the road. I was able to tune into a lot of the IL games this season and they are more inconsistent than Michigan and really not as good. The key to that game will be the Michigan offense. Meanwhile, more upset losses to come within the Legends divisional race so no team really has the upper hand at this time. GO BLUE!!!


Sun, Nov 6, 2011 : 8:35 p.m.

Although Michigan may not a realistic chance of finishing on top of the Legends division, they do need to focus on IL. It would be great to see them bounce back with a win. Getting the 8th win would be very important. MSU will not have an easy time playing at IA or at NW. The divisional race won't be settled until the final game has been played.