Michigan Football: The Soul Of The Annihilation In Happy Valley

STATE COLLEGE, PA - OCTOBER 21: Kekoa Crawford
STATE COLLEGE, PA - OCTOBER 21: Kekoa Crawford /

It was basically everything we feared when Penn State embarrassed Michigan football in prime time on Saturday night. Then again, when does UM win big games?

I can still remember, vividly, several incidents and anecdotes from the second sports book I read.

Related Story: Takeaways from the Penn State game

It was called “Instant Replay,” and it is a classic. It is the story of the Packers’ third straight championship year, 1967. The culmination was the game dubbed as “The Ice Bowl” where the Pack beat the Cowboys for the second straight year in the NFL championship game, which was played in conditions where home field advantage really meant something: -13 degrees below zero. It led to a phrase picked up by historic NFL announcers and one of Chris Berman’s most famous “Boomerism’s”—that being “The frozen tundra of Landau Field”.

The book was from the perspective of Jerry Kramer, starting right guard for the Pack. Much of training camp he spent complaining about the fanaticism of his head coach, the legendary Vince Lombardi. It culminated with the block Kramer made on Jethro Pugh to make room for Bart Starr to score on a QB sneak as time was running out for a final score 0f 21-17 Packers.

The tagline of the book was “Thank God for Instant Replay”.

OK, now that I’ve made a quick synopsis of the whole book, here is the point. One of those phrases I remember Kramer using was this: We ran out of time in a few games, but we hardly ever got beat. And now we flash forward several years, to Harbaugh’s Wolverines.

Michigan got beat in his first game, at Utah, but it was pretty close. Then it got beat in that first year by Ezekiel Elliott, Joey Bosa and a pissed off Ohio State team which had just been beaten at home in a driving rainstorm by Michigan State. And Saturday night they got beat by a team which we had reason to believe Michigan could hang with.

Well, the worm on the hook turned. A very good Penn State team beat the Wolverines by the same score Ohio State beat them by almost two years ago: 42-13.

It was demoralizing. They went right after the strength of the Michigan team: its defense. The imagery is tattooed on the inside of their eyelids now.Saquon Barkley, Heisman hopeful, only caught 3 passes for 53 yards, it just seemed like he was abusing Mike McCray in coverage all night long.

James Franklin was Maryland’s offensive coordinator from 2008-10, and Don Brown was their defensive coordinator from 2009-10. It has been suggested by some that Franklin took notes on how to beat Brown’s defense at that time. I’m sure there’s some truth to it. But do we have to worry that Michigan’s future has been downloaded? Probably not.

Penn State is at the top of their game. Michigan is not. It’s a very young. Everyone saw this team as being in at least a semi-rebuild mode this season—before we started letting the “the future is now” mentality take over the fanbase. The Wolverines aren’t there yet.

This roster is full of good young Michigan men. Jim Harbaugh needs to figure some things out and maybe tie up some loose ends, maybe streamline a few things this offseason in his coaching staff.

This season is not going to be near as pretty as we had allowed ourselves to hope for. It is time to loosen up a bit, have a little fun, get the depth some playing time. Is it time to play Brandon Peters? Could he get playing time against Rutgers next week?

Next: Top 10 running backs in Michigan history

I would like to see the guy who Harbaugh pronounced a reasonable facsimile of Andrew Luck when he was recruiting him. I think the $9 million man owes us something like that. C’mon, Harbaugh, surface that submarine and show us something. What do you have to lose?