Maximus: I am required to kill, so I kill. That is enough.
Proximo: That's enough for the provinces, but not enough for Rome.
But first, the tipping point.
Michigan had just given up a field goal on a short drive thanks to a Gardner tipped pass --> interception. On the following MU kickoff, a botched return in where a true freshman blocker (Wyatt Shallman) didn't hear the returner (Justice Hayes) call for the catch behind him on a pop-up kickoff that was executed to perfection. Michigan hands the Redhawks prime field position again.
Miami goes on to score, ties the game at 10. Fans begin to panic.
Michigan, on the ensuing drive goes 66 yards on 6 plays (mostly runs if I'm correct) and goes ahead for good on a Derrick Green touchdown run to make it 17-10. On Miami's next drive, they run 3 plays for 1 yard consuming :57 of game time. They punt.
Michigan gets the ball 1st and 10 at their own 47 yard line with 3:29 left in the half. They then proceed to run 6 plays, gain 11 yards and spend 2:37 on a hunt for cohesion and urgency in which they find none. During the course of which a timeout gets called, followed by a delay of game penalty.
Fans panic some more.
Then another delay of game on 4th down (presumably on purpose in order to give Matt Wile more room to pin Miami deep in their own end), and he boots it into the end zone.
Miami gets the ball on their own 20. Down by 7 with :52 second to play and at least 1 timeout that I was aware of…they decided to take a knee and run out the clock.
Cue the meltdown.
If you were on the fence about any possible Michigan Football related hot button issue, you weren't after that. Hoke, headsets, Gardner vs Morris, the offensive line, Dave Brandon, fireworks, piped in rawk music…pick one…pick anything. Boos rained down from every corner of the Big House as the team made their way toward the tunnel and up to the locker room.
Let's call that the low point.
As we now know, even a second half shutout and 24 unanswered points weren't enough to calm folks down. Twitter, message boards, radio shows are all at DEFCON zero. After Notre Dame, anything besides perfection was not to be tolerated.
Did Michigan go all #Team134 and let Miami hang around (ala Akron/UConn)? No, they put the hammer down using a good old fashioned running game and a lockdown defense. Is Miami terrible? Yes. Did Michigan make them look good? For 5 minutes in the second quarter, yes…otherwise, not at all. Are there consistency issues on this team? Yes. Can Michigan get better? Of course.
Am I going to just keep asking myself yes or no questions?
Look, I get it. Its a perfect storm of last season being so terrible, the Notre Dame blowout a week prior, and now letting a MAC school on an 18-game losing streak make it a game early.
Booing the team into the locker room, while I've heard it a handful of times over the years, should never be a reasonable option for anyone. Its embarrassing and its counter productive. Its the equivalent of pouting because you didn't get your way. Its just sad.
Brady Hoke will stand up and say he thinks Michigan has the greatest fans in the world because that's what he's supposed to do. But the reality is Michigan doesn't have the greatest fans in the world. Turns out, fans like winning and dislike anything else, and they have no problem verbalizing their displeasure. Michigan fans are no different…let's be honest.
I'm just a single voice in a vast sea of opinions, but for my $, I was thrilled to see Michigan respond the way they did. This team is light years away from what they were a year ago. With a real honest-to-goodness running game, weapons like Green/Smith, Norfleet, Funchess and Butt…and everyone a year more experienced, this offense is in a far better place this season. And the defense has grown considerably as well.
I promise you, without fan support, this team is doomed. This week is a big test. Utah is a good program that will test Michigan on both sides of the ball. If fans can create a true home field advantage, they're going to be pleasantly surprised at the outcome.