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Posted on Wed, Jun 20, 2012 : 5:59 a.m.

Michigan football moments to remember: The touchdown that wasn't, a 205-17 quarter and a tearful admission

By Nick Baumgardner

This is the first of a three-part series: Day 2

Brady Hoke's first season at the helm of the Michigan football program was one to remember.

The 2011 Wolverines suffered their fair share of triumph, redemption and even a bit of heartbreak. has selected its season-defining moments -- the good and the bad -- that should help define the legacy of Michigan's 132nd football team.

Our first three moments are listed below. Check back Thursday and Friday for the remainder of the list.


Michigan wide receiver Roy Roundtree couldn't come up with this touchdown catch in the final moments of a 24-16 loss at Iowa.

Melanie Maxwell |

In or out?

When: Nov 5. 2011

Where: North end zone of Kinnick Stadium; Iowa City, Iowa

What: Brady Hoke claimed his view wasn’t great and Iowa defensive back Micah Hyde appeared to have no idea what was going on.

As for Junior Hemingway? His message was pretty clear.

"I caught that 1 no If ands or buts about it!!!!" he tweeted moments after the conclusion of the game.

Hemingway’s apparent last-second, 3-yard touchdown catch in the back of the end zone would have given Michigan a shot at capping a 15-point, fourth-quarter comeback. More importantly, it would have kept the Wolverines' Big Ten title hopes alive.

But Hemingway’s one-handed grab was ruled incomplete, something video replay would later show was the wrong call. Two plays later, Roy Roundtree -- who may or may not have been the victim of pass interference -- couldn’t hang onto a pass in the end zone, and the Wolverines went home with a 24-16 loss.

One might argue Michigan learned more from a defeat at Iowa than it would have from a victory. The Wolverines didn’t suffer from the same physical meltdowns that put them in a hole against Iowa during the last four games of the year.

That might have been true. But if Hemingway’s catch is ruled good, and Michigan moves to 8-1 ... the Big Ten Championship and a shot at Pasadena may have been Hoke’s ultimate rookie season fate.

Notable: Talk about wild finishes?

Hemingway and Roundtree’s near misses weren’t the only heart-stopping moments during the final two minutes of the Iowa loss.

Shortly before the final sequence, Michigan running back Vincent Smith darted through a hole untouched for an apparent 82-yard touchdown scamper.

The run was called back because Smith’s knee appeared to be down 7 yards from the line of scrimmage. The wrong end of two replay decisions and one judgment call in the final 135 seconds? Not an ideal situation, to say the least.


Michigan running back Fitzgerald Toussaint attempts to out run Northwestern's Bryce McNaul during a 42-24 win last November.

Melanie Maxwell |

A third quarter to remember

When: Oct 8, 2011

Where: Welsh-Ryan Stadium, Evanston, Ill.

What: The first 30 minutes of Hoke’s inaugural Michigan road test had all the makings of a nightmare.

Denard Robinson threw it to the wrong team three times and the Wolverines’ revamped defense couldn’t stop a mobile quarterback.

Then, the third quarter happened. More specifically, 205-17 happened.

It was a quarter that, looking back, could have been a microcosm of Michigan’s entire season.

Robinson burst through holes and hit a jump-ball bomb to Roundtree. Michigan’s defense found itself in the right place at the right time on an interception. And Devin Gardner successfully stemmed off disaster when Robinson had to leave the game momentarily with an injury.

The Wolverines outgained the Wildcats 205-17 in the third quarter, and eventually outscored Northwestern 28-0 after halftime to prove to many that Brady Hoke’s Wolverines were a tad bit different than Rich Rodriguez’s version.

Heads didn’t dip, frustration never set in and, no matter how ugly things got, Michigan very much remained in the game.

The Wolverines went on to claim a 42-24 comeback win, became bowl eligible and earned Team 132's first road victory.

More importantly, they aced the first serious Big Ten test of the Hoke era.

Notable: The Northwestern game marked the second straight week that Robinson fought through a "boo-boo."

One week earlier against Minnesota, Robinson played with a heavy wrap around his right elbow, covering what he and Hoke described as a "boo-boo."

After the season, it was revealed that Robinson spent time in the hospital with a staph infection. He never confirmed the date, but it's believed the "boo-boo" he was protecting against the Golden Gophers was related to the staph injury.

In total last season, Robinson was subbed out of four Big Ten games (at Northwestern, at Michigan State, at Iowa, at Illinois) due to an apparent injury.


Half of the Michigan defense brings down Illinois quarterback Nathan Scheelhaase.

Melanie Maxwell |

'A Michigan defense'

When: Nov. 12, 2011

Where: A tunnel below Illinois' Memorial Stadium; Champaign, Ill.

What: Perhaps it was due to logistics, or perhaps it was on purpose.

Moments after his defense put together its most dominant effort to date, Michigan defensive coordinator Greg Mattison found himself with more than a dozen reporters circled around him outside the visitors' locker room in Champaign, Ill.

With tears in his eyes, Mattison offered the official coronation for a group that had been tattered, battered and embarrassed for the better part of their college careers.

"That was, without a doubt, a Michigan defense," Mattison said of his group's effort in a 31-14 win at Illinois. "Because they played as hard as they could, they did whatever they had to do.

"Without a doubt, that was a Michigan defense."

A year prior against Illinois, Michigan needed multiple overtimes to grab an almost embarrassing 67-65 victory. On this November evening, Mattison's defense didn't allow 65 yards until the closing moments of the third quarter.

Two years earlier against the Illini in Champaign, Illinois quarterback Juice Williams engineered a 99-yard drive to cripple the Wolverines, sending them further into a season-closing five-game losing skid.

All Illinois quarterback Nathan Scheelhaase engineered against Michigan in 2011 was a drive to the cold tub, as the Wolverines harassed him all night, limiting the Illini to 37 rushing yards on 33 attempts.

Since before the season began, Mattison outlined his primary mission in 2011: To rebuild a true "Michigan defense," by any means necessary.

Michigan took small steps toward Mattison's aspiration throughout the first nine games of the year. And during the final road game of the season, he finally found what he was looking for.

"We hadn’t come to that final point where you win a game on defense," Mattison said. "We said, 'This is your last away trip to do it,' and I couldn’t be more proud that they did it."

Notable: Fitz Toussaint's true breakout game may have been a 170-yard performance two weeks prior against Purdue.

But against Illinois, Toussaint proved why the Michigan staff rode him as its lead running back, and why most experts expect All-Big Ten-level things from him in 2012.

Toussaint finished the Illinois game with a career-high 192 yards on 27 carries, proving that the Wolverines had another bona fide star in their backfield -- one that ties his shoes and doesn't sport dreadlocks.

In Michigan's final five regular-season games, Toussaint ran for 678 yards, more than half of his season-ending 1,041.

Hints for Thursday's installment: Fourth-and-forever, November foreshadowing and 'what just happened?'

Nick Baumgardner covers Michigan sports for He can be reached at 734-623-2514, by email at and followed on Twitter @nickbaumgardner.



Wed, Jun 20, 2012 : 8:28 p.m.

Ode to Our Hero Theo is great; Theo is good. He knows it all, 'Cause he's from the 'hood. He posts and he posts; He's Prez of The Board. Follow his lead, Or you'll be ignored. Offense is best, Excitement it brings. Name of the Game, And King of The Kings! King Ball = Michigan 46, 'Bama 20 Backwards Ball = 'Bama 30, Michigan 7

Steve McQueen

Wed, Jun 20, 2012 : 11:20 p.m.

Here Theo....I will edit for you based on how your King's teams performed vs. good teams: King Ball = Michigan 16, 'Bama 63

Steve McQueen

Wed, Jun 20, 2012 : 5:16 p.m.

Team 133 will need to improve in road games this year....particularly in getting off to a stronger start of the game and being more consistent. The Iowa game was a tough loss because Michigan is a better team overall but did not show it until the 4th quarter. Cant do that this year.


Wed, Jun 20, 2012 : 10:03 p.m.

definitely going to be tough - bama @ dallas, @ ND, and finishing with @ Nebraska and @ osu

Terry Star21

Wed, Jun 20, 2012 : 4:49 p.m.

Great writing Nick, it was a great season - a couple plays away from an undefeated season and meeting and stopping bama in the final for the crystal. Theo my friend, you still know how to get attention. Good job ! MgoBlueForTiM...trying hard to get Theo back on the sideline.


Wed, Jun 20, 2012 : 5:11 p.m.

terry, good luck. . . in order to get theo back you also will have to get ted to come along for the ride. . . GO BLUE!!!!!!


Wed, Jun 20, 2012 : 4:28 p.m.

Hey Theo, the Arizona Wildcat bandwagon needs plenty of fans. You should pick up some Arizona gear, get the DirecTV college football package and follow your King to your hearts content.

Eric Anderson

Wed, Jun 20, 2012 : 1:56 p.m.

Theo212, let's look at the won and loss column when comparing the coaches' record, not just ypg.


Wed, Jun 20, 2012 : 1:32 p.m.

Moment #4: Offense bogged down by Borges and Hoke. Under Our King we averaged 398.6 yds/game total offense. Under B & H: 312.1 yds/game. Sadly, it's only gonna get worse. So long, Crystal. You're a great gal...


Thu, Jun 21, 2012 : 1:30 a.m.

So much stupidity for those RR fans Under YOUR king points per game in 2010 32.8. Under Hoke and Borges 33.3. Just an FYI, scoring is more important than yards Under RR opponents scoring 35.2 per game Hoke and Mattison 17.4 Oh and the whole won loss record goes without saying. One coach NEVER beat Ohio, the other is undefeated.


Wed, Jun 20, 2012 : 4:51 p.m.

Theo, when are you going to wake up and see your so called king was nothing more than a Joker?


Wed, Jun 20, 2012 : 4:27 p.m.

I like Theo...


Wed, Jun 20, 2012 : 2:38 p.m.

offense scores points, but DEFENSE wins games! did you forget the MICHIGAN-illinois game in 2010? we won 67-65 and were lucky to win, because that game could have gone either way. you are right about one thing. . . under RR, sadley it would have only gotten worse. . . so long, crystal!! HOKE is MICHIGAN. . . GO BLUE!!!!!!


Wed, Jun 20, 2012 : 2:30 p.m.

Theo, you seem to be in the wrong location. Your buddy's new fan club is here: We'll check in and congratulate you all on bringing home your coveted "Crystal" in 2013. Good luck.


Wed, Jun 20, 2012 : 2:25 p.m.

welcome back Theo. Missed you while you were gone. Do you know where your bud Tater went? Will we see both of you resurface on UofA


Wed, Jun 20, 2012 : 2:12 p.m.

At least your agenda is clear and unwavering. As one that sided with you often I feel good about the change. I trust you will get over it soon.


Wed, Jun 20, 2012 : 2:03 p.m.

Yards are nice, but points are better. I believe Hoke's team edged out RR's in the department. While yards are nice, and points are better, wins are all that matters. In that department, it's clear which staff is superior.


Wed, Jun 20, 2012 : 1:52 p.m.

Haha! Theo, good to have you back. Seems even your fabled King would understand that the most important stat at the end of the season is the win/loss record, no?

Blue Marker

Wed, Jun 20, 2012 : 12:58 p.m.

Great recap Nick. Hoke's first season was one to remember. Perhaps the most fortunate team in my memory. The fumble that bounced right back in D-Rob's hands for a TD vs. Notre Dame. Pass after pass being over-thrown by Braxton, the OSU QB to open receivers. And the TD catch that was over-ruled in the Sugar Bowl too. Sometimes the breaks go you're way and sometimes they don't. After the last 3 plus years of painful Michigan football made last year all the more special.

Blue Marker

Wed, Jun 20, 2012 : 2:49 p.m.

@heartbreakM, The VT catch was extremely close. I agree with the video replay official but it was close. I'm not taking anything away from that team, they'll go down as one of my favorite teams of all time because they persevered. But they got a little help along the way.


Wed, Jun 20, 2012 : 2:27 p.m.

Many calls can go both ways--like those Iowa calls (though I do believe that the first catch was a TD in that game). Smith's knee??? probably down but questionable. But that Va Tech catch out of bounds was no TD, nor was it even a true catch. That one should have never been called a TD in the first place. He was OUT OF BOUNDS even if he had caught it.

Craig Lounsbury

Wed, Jun 20, 2012 : 12:35 p.m.

may I suggest a slight change to the headline from "Michigan football moments to remember:" to "2011 Michigan football moments to remember:"


Wed, Jun 20, 2012 : 6:57 p.m.

What were you guys expecting? A history lesson on Michigan football moments to remember? Seriously, how you didn't get that the article was about last year is beyond me.

Ed Kimball

Wed, Jun 20, 2012 : 6 p.m.

Sorry, GR82ba... I agree with Craig. The headline should describe the story. I was expecting a very different article when I read the headline.


Wed, Jun 20, 2012 : 5:31 p.m.

Must these writers be critiqued on every piece they write? It gets SO old to hear the Pulitizers in the crowd nitpicking everything that is written. Enjoy the piece for what it is on the surface. I truly don't believe Nick is trying to convey any deep, thought provoking points here......just a few nuggets in the off season for those that enjoy UM football coverage. Great work as always Nick! You and Kyle do a fantastic job of bringing us UM sports from all angles. THANK YOU & GO BLUE!