Ronnie Bell dropped what could have been a game-tying touchdown pass against Penn State and some Michigan football fans have turned ugly over it.
Heck, you can bet your life that Bell wishes he caught it more than anyone else. But he didn’t. That’s life. It’s a reality.
But some have taken their criticism of Bell too far. As often happens in these situations, the vitriol is out there and it’s not pleasant.
The same thing happened to Zach Gentry in the Ohio State game a year ago and with plenty of others. I myself have even said things I regret about players and the mistakes they make. It’s fair to be critical. It’s fair to call for guys to get benched or even in the case of coaches, to get fired.
Jim Harbaugh is making millions of dollars so he knew what he signed up for. The players did too to an extent. The opportunity to play for a program like Michigan is unique. It provides plenty of opportunities, both on and off the field.
I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t disappointed that Bell didn’t make that catch. But is that the reason Michigan football lost? Hardly.
Spotting the opponent a 21-0 lead certainly didn’t help. Poor starts on the road have doomed this team over the past two seasons and that trend popped up again last Saturday as the Wolverines simply weren’t ready for Penn State’s intensity.
As the game played out, you could see Michigan football is every bit as good as Penn State. When you see the final stats, you will see a game that Michigan could have and should have won.
A key turnover was costly and the inability to execute again in the red zone. Even on the previous touchdown drive, Michigan football needed a fourth-down sneak to make it in so it wasn’t a shock to see the offense bungle a goal-to-go situation with the game on the line.
But even though Bell dropped a would-be touchdown, he also had four receptions for 71 yards. He has now gone over 70 yards receiving in six straight games and leads the Wolverines in receiving, so blaming and alienating that player seems silly.
It’s hard to think of a single player on the offense that has improved more than Bell and if the Wolverines are going to beat Notre Dame Saturday, Bell will need to be a factor.
So hopefully, he has a short memory and also, I hope some Michigan football fans get a grip. Losing sucks, but that’s no excuse for some of the things said over the past two days.