What the Hell Happened in Ann Arbor?

What a shitty weekend.

My computer broke and had to be replaced. The Chron sat out at the Rock and we froze our asses off. And, Northwestern lost to Michigan in one of the most embarrassing manners possible, putting myself and other fans of NU athletics in a state of shell shock, not to mention making my piece in the printed Chronicle totally outdated and un-topical (thanks a lot, Michigan).

About a month ago I said that the Penn State game was the most disappointing Northwestern loss that I’ve had the misfortune to witness. I was totally wrong. This beats that, easily. I’m from Ohio, so a loss to Michigan is always worse than a loss to any other team, but this… I have never seen a loss by any team I support that has been as heartbreaking, or left as bitter a taste in my mouth as this.

Bismillah, what happened in Ann Arbor?

Northwestern had a three point lead and picked off Michigan quarterback Devin Gardner, then converted a crucial 4th and 1 that allowed us to begin to run out the clock, is what happened. We couldn’t pick up another first down and had to punt, is what happened. We were forced to punt, and a bad punt it was, to give Michigan the ball with 18 seconds left on the clock, which is apparently plenty of time for them to pull off something wacky and unbelievable, a la the Notre Dame game last year.

Then Devin Gardner heaved a 58 yard pass to Roy Roundtree. The pass appeared to be broken up by Daniel Jones, but in some unholy manner Roundtree managed to catch the tipped ball and set the Wolverines up on the Northwestern 9 yard line (or 8, I’m too emotionally scarred to know or care. Even writing this is a chore), where they picked up a field goal to send the game into overtime, where they won. Is what happened.

But what the hell actually happened.

How does that happen, ever? This is how the plucky underdog wins in some crap movie about little league football. This is Friday Night Lights material, not real life. This should not have been.

We would have had a better chance if Daniel Jones, instead of tipping the ball, tore Roundtree’s helmet off and smacked him across the face with it. Or you know, pass interference. A penalty would have been more beneficial to us in that situation. Yes, Michigan would have gotten 15 free yards, but the clock would have run down. Hell, we could have had an end game plan of just penalties and we would have likely won. Instead, Michigan converts on a Hail Mary and we lose yet again in excruciating and painful to watch fashion.

Who is to blame? Is it Fitz, who just minutes earlier had elected to go for it on a crucial 4th and one, a smart coaching move? I doubt it, who could have seen what happened coming? Was it the players’ fault? I don’t think so. Again, tipping the ball seemed like a good idea. Can anybody be blamed? Honestly, I don’t think so.

Maybe some higher deity just really hates Northwestern. That’s about as plausible an explanation for the farce in Ann Arbor.

This marks three games this year in which we have had double digit leads in the fourth quarter, and the third game in which we gave up those leads and lost. How does this keep happening.

Bitch bitch bitching aside, there are still two games left. Michigan State and Illinois. There is no conceivable way that we should lose to both of those teams. Both are very beatable, especially in-state rival Illinois who is so bad it’s hilarious.

Our Rose Bowl hopes are officially over, as are our Capital One Bowl and likely Outback Bowl hopes. Here’s looking forward to the Gator Bowl. A 9-3 end to the regular season is still on the table, and so is the first bowl win since 1949.

Here’s to keeping up hope. Go Cats.

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