Photo courtesy of the Detroit News
It was awesome.
Johnny Thompson's 4th quarter interception return for a touchdown set off a raucous celebration in the student section, punctuated by my friends decided it was a good idea to form a giant dogpile in our section. The scene would replay itself two more times, after Sam McGuffie put Michigan up 27-19 and when Allan Everidge's pass sailed out of the back of the end zone on Wisconsin's two-point conversion attempt. I finally learned my lesson during the final celebration, and jumped on top of my 6'2" friend before I could be once again buried underneath the sweaty pile of exuberance.
The scene could not have been more different at halftime. Boos rained down on a Wolverine team that had managed a paltry 21 yards of offense and coughed the ball up five times en route to a 19-0 deficit. We spent much of the halftime show discussing what the post-game meal would entail and how big a deficit it would take for us to leave the stadium. Morale was low.
Since it's Tuesday night, I really don't need to tell you what happened next. The offense came to life, and the defense continued to play the way Michigan fans expected them to play before the season. Steven Threet briefly blacked out and was possessed by the spirit of Randall Cunningham. Brandon Graham unleashed the beast. Travis Beckum forgot the basic rules of football, costing the Badgers the game-tying two point conversion.
Oh, and the student section was louder than I've ever heard it. As the second half progressed, and the tides turned, the fans who remained (and shame on you if you left) brought the noise like Public Enemy, circa 1988. After Thompson's touchdown, you could sense that the students, whose skepticism of this team has been well-documented on this site, finally embraced the team. They certainly seemed to embrace us. On the final drive, Steven Threet spent most of the time between plays with his arms raised, trying to squeeze every last decibal of noice out of the student section.
Our quarterback (courtesy of the Detroit News)
In case you can't tell by now, there is not like the previous "Overheard..." posts breaking down all the stupid things said in the student section last weekend. I will only say that those who booed should feel ashamed for booing their fellow students who were doing all they could in the first Big Ten game of the RichRod era. However, I would rather not dwell on the negative. There were too many positives coming out of this game.
There is a different feeling on campus this week. Despite the struggles, the 2-2 record, the long stretches of offensive putridity, we love this team. People are starting to truly believe that Rodriguez was the right hire, and that we really will be good -- no, great -- in the seasons to come. We've been saying that all season, but the words had rung hollow, like we were only saying them to try to convince ourselves that, if we said them enough, they would become true.
Every week may be an adventure, but now it's an adventure in the sense of a roller coaster, not walking alone through a bad neighborhood at night. I look forward to more dogpiles, chaos, and lost articles of clothing in the years to come.