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Andrew Logue: Wolverines look woozy heading into Kinnick

[ 0 ] November 17, 2013 |

These are trying times for the maize and blue faithful.

Their beloved Michigan football team needs a victory Saturday at Kinnick Stadium in order to have any chance of finishing with a winning record in the Big Ten Conference.

How bad have things been for Iowa’s next opponent? Bad enough to lead at least one Wolverine follower down a dreary path.

According to a story last week by the Dearborn Press & Guide, a 25-year-old man was arrested Nov. 3 for drunk driving after falling asleep in his car.

The unidentified man, who had a blood-alcohol level of 0.24, told police he drank so much because he was upset with Michigan’s 29-6 loss to Michigan State the day before, and the play-calling of offensive coordinator Al Borges.

Officers reported the man appeared confused and disoriented, with slurred speech.

He also confessed to urinating on himself.

In his defense, Michigan rushed for minus-48 yards against the Spartans — the lowest total since the program’s inception in 1879.

“It is something that we’re all disappointed with,” Wolverines coach Brady Hoke told reporters this past week of the loss. “We all need to do a better job, and that’s just part of it.”

Perhaps, Hawkeye fans can identify with their Michigan counterparts.

They’ve expressed some displeasure with coach Kirk Ferentz, despite this season’s 6-4 record and signs of improvement.

The Wolverines, meanwhile, seem to be regressing after an 11-2 season in 2011 and an 8-5 mark a year ago.

A 27-19, triple-overtime win last weekend at Northwestern brought a temporary reprieve.

But with Iowa looming and a Nov. 30 home date with Ohio State, Hoke is not yet off the hook.

Remember back in August, when the pundits were speculating about the Wolverines and Buckeyes possibly playing twice?

There was some hand-wringing over Michigan and Ohio State facing off in a regular-season finale, and then again for the Big Ten title Dec. 7 in Indianapolis.

Well, as it turns out, Michigan State (9-1, 6-0) is the cream of the Legends Division, while the Wolverines (7-3, 3-3) are in danger of sinking to fifth place.

“We know we’re not going to the Big Ten championship game, but we want to win 10 games,” offensive tackle Taylor Lewan said after Michigan beat Northwestern. “That’s our goal. You can’t win 10 without (No.) 7.”

The Wolverines and Hawkeyes share a knack for inconsistency.

But for Michigan, it’s even more maddening.

The roster is weighted with four- and five-star recruits, but the Wolverines have spent much of the past two months teetering on despair.

They needed a late goal-line stand to escape Akron 28-24 on Sept. 14, then barely survived Connecticut 24-21, a week later.

A 42-13 win over Minnesota was followed by three losses in the next four games.

Junior quarterback Devin Gardner became a target of Michigan’s angst.

He’s ping-ponged between excellence and exasperation, completing nearly 60 percent of his passes for 2,411 yards, 15 touchdowns and 11 interceptions.

”We talked about sticking together,” Gardner said after going 24-of-43 for 226 yards against the Wildcats. “And (there’s) no better game than a game like that.

“It showed we are sticking together.”

If there are cracks remaining in the Wolverines’ psyche, a loss to the Hawkeyes would shatter any illusions.

Andrew Logue covers Hawkeye football and sports media for the Register. Follow him on Twitter: @AndrewMLogue.

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Category: Big Ten, Iowa Hawkeyes Football

About Andrew Logue: Andrew has been with the Des Moines Register for 19 years, covering everything from preps to Hawkeye and Cyclone sports, as well as the Drake Relays. View author profile.

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