Despite epic run, The Revenge Tour’s emphatic stop leaves faithful with same old feeling

By Brandon Justice ,

Football

(Andy Shippy)

Where does Michigan go from here?


With eight minutes and 25 seconds left in the third quarter, Michigan was receiving a kickoff from Ohio State.

Having been winners of 10 straight, there was encouragement in the No. 4 Wolverines only trailing by eight points; Its defense looked encouraging following a defensive stand at the goal line that forced Urban Meyer to settle for a field goal for the second time in as many drives.

Despite the absolute drubbing the Buckeyes handed the Wolverines to that point, Michigan had an opportunity to tie the game. After watching OSU’s goal line quarterback, Tate Martell, denied in two consecutive drives, the offense had a chance to tie it up and pull off another second-half turnaround.

With six minutes and 48 seconds left in the third quarter, Michigan was facing a third-and-10, following a handoff to Chris Evans that lost two yards on first down and a Shea Patterson sack on second.

Patterson chucked a pass a few yards past the first-down marker to the left sideline. The throw was heading for 6-foot, 185-pound walk-on wide receiver Jake McCurry — it fell incomplete, but a flag came in. In rare form, Michigan got a favor from the officiating in Columbus, as Shaun Wade, the Ohio State defender, was called for pass interference on an uncatchable ball that McCurry, wisely, flopped to draw the flag that earned his team another set of downs.

After a handoff to senior back Karan Higdon for no gain and a one-yard drag route check-down pass to junior tight end Nick Eubanks, Michigan faced another third-and-long.

With four minutes and 50 seconds left in the third quarter, the Wolverines didn’t get another break, as Patterson underthrew a wide-open 6-foot-7 Zach Gentry, who dropped a low pass, one of three total drops for the junior tight end on Saturday.

With four minutes and 41 seconds left, Ohio State had a 16-point lead following a blocked punt returned for a touchdown on the very next play.

With two minutes and 11 seconds left in the third quarter, Detroit native Mike Weber would add to the Buckeyes’ lead, making it a 41-19 game.

Six minutes and 14 seconds before that Weber touchdown, Michigan had the ball near midfield, down eight points, with a chance to tie the game in the halfway point of the third quarter.


Michigan’s Revenge Tour was at an all-time high after holding Michigan State to 94 total yards. (Andy Shippy)


Gentry would drop the pivotal catch, the next play would be a blocked punt; four plays after that, Patterson threw an interception while attempting to throw it away, and two plays later, Weber scored.

With a chance to turn things around in the second half, to beat Ohio State, to go to a Big Ten Championship and a potential College Football Playoff — Michigan left us all with that same old feeling of almost.

Almost in the Big Ten Championship

Almost in the College Football Playoff

Almost undefeated in Big Ten play

For what remains a successful season from the Wolverines by college football standards, it is nothing more than the same old feeling for the locker room as well as the faithful: a loss to Ohio State and a date with the couch for the Big Ten Championship.

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Michigan linebackers Devin Bush (left) and Josh Uche (right) get emotional in pre-game at Ohio State. (Andy Shippy)


The Revenge Tour and its epic run

Forgotten in its tumultuous ending is the epic run that was The Revenge Tour.

U-M’s 2017 season was disastrous, having lost to all four ranked teams it faced and ended with a brutal bowl loss to South Carolina. The 2018 season kicked off with a road loss at now-No. 3 Notre Dame, a game it lost by a touchdown.

What followed was 10 straight victories, including a comeback road win over the Big Ten West champions, three straight against ranked opponents, zero losses at home, and a bundle of gimmicky interviews with some players wearing official Revenge Tour merch and one screaming expletives following an emotional win over Michigan State.

There’s an empty feeling in Ann Arbor as the sting from a loss to the Buckeyes, despite being favorites, returned for another year — but this time, even worse.

The Revenge Tour took a screeching halt and had a disastrous ending. It was almost like a really bad ending that ruins an overall great movie.

Sure, its ending was heartbreaking to some and gut-wrenching to all, but the one who birthed the mantra summed its ending up best.

“Man, what a run.” – Chase Winovich


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