Smile Politely

Zook regains infallibility

We know the saying in Columbus. “If you go one and ten, and beat Michigan, it was a good year.”

Illinois beat Michigan Saturday = It’s a great year.

Pause a moment, if you need to, to allow the enormity of yesterday’s game to sink in. Illinois beat Michigan. Just three words. For many men, however, the most difficult three words to say in all their adult lives.

Ron Zook deserves a contract extension. And how about Mike Schultz’s offense, eh? (Who cares that this version of Michigan stinks? )

The best part of all this hoo-hah is that Michigan thoroughly controlled the game well into the third quarter. Nobody saw it coming, and then a magical moment occurred; the stuff of legend (really).

Freshman Terry Hawthorne, born on the first day of the 1990s, made the play that codgers will still be exaggerating in the 2090s. (“I was there and I tells ya his shoes caught fire!” or maybe “He ran 76 yards in 3 seconds flat.” Or, in extreme cases “that was me!)

This is Terry Hawthorne.

I am not exaggerating when I say that Terry Hawthorne’s 76 yard run will be talked about for years. And he wasn’t even on offense. In fact, that’s the remarkable aspect of the play: Nobody scored.

Hawthorne tripped-up Michigan’s Roy Roundtree one foot from the end zone. The officiating crew signaled a touchdown. The review booth reversed it. First and goal Michigan.

Then, after that amazing thing happened; an amazing thing happened, four times: Michigan did not score. On 4th and millimeters, the officiating crew signaled a touchdown. The review booth reversed it. Again.

When this battery of dramatic events conjoins, it’s nearly impossible to prevent a series of dramatic events. Poetic justice exists in sports, but it speaks syllogism. I’ll map it for you:

If (dramatic defensive stop at 1)
and (dramatic four-down goal line stand)
then (dramatic 99-yard touchdown drive to reclaim lead).

To cut the suspense, Champaign Centennial’s poet-emeritus Mikel LeShoure ran the last 70 of those yards his own self.

This is Mikel LeShoure.

The man who made the stop on fourth down is Garrett Edwards. His name too will be spoken in decades to come. He seemed unfazed by the prospect. But when he’s old and fat, it will be there for him.

This is Garrett Edwards.

There were other scores and highlights from this game, I guess. I seem to recall Michigan had a touchdown too. And the Illini must have scored more, because they wound up with 38 points. But that’s all so much statistical bookkeeping.

Back when Michigan seemed good

The moment that changed a game, possibly a season, altered the lives of three people. If these three survived the subsequent orgiastic celebration, they can only hope to achieve more memorable moments over the next 60 to 80 years of their lives. And good luck to them.

This moment is for us, Illini Nation. For the second time since the Eisenhower Administration, the Wolverines go home losers.

Fuck ’em.


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