Michigan would be hard-pressed to find a single bright spot as a rallying cry during a 31-0 drubbing from their rivals on Saturday.
Arguably one of the more over-matched -- and embarrassing -- losses of his coaching career, Michigan coach Brady Hoke's Wolverine team is left in an all too familiar feeling, struggling to stay afloat early in the season. To add salt to the proverbial wound, the Irish sent the Wolverines home shutout for the first time since 1984 that equated to a NCAA-record streak of 365-straight games.
With the fan-base baring down on the Michigan program and administration to shape up or ship out, Hoke exhorts to all Michigan fans to keep the faith and trust the players in the program.
"If they're truly fans, they'll believe in these kids and what they've done and the hard work they've put in," Hoke said. "If they're not, they won't."
Although the Wolverines out-gained the Irish 289-280, it is clear that the offense is still not where it needs to be. Senior quarterback Devin Gardner, who appeared solid week one against Appalachian State, crumbled under the continued Irish pressure throughout the game by throwing two interceptions and fumbling the football.
Making his first appearance in a rivalry game for the Wolverines, the lack of scoring made for an underwhelming grade offensive coordinator Doug Nussmeier placed upon himself.
"Not very good, obviously when you don't score and you're the offensive coordinator it's not good," Nussmeier said. "It's been a lot of reflection, what could we have done differently and what we should've done differently. Obviously I take big ownership in this and when you don't score points it falls on everybody. Starting with the offensive coordinator."
With a devastating and demoralizing loss the Wolverines faced on Saturday, it's easy to hang your heads and let the loss change the way the season ends. With the players getting back to work Sunday, they're not ready to throw in the towel just yet.
In fact, the goal is still in reach.
"We (leaders) let the guys know we still have a season left," senior defensive end Frank Clark said. "We still have 10 games to show what Michigan is capable of doing. One thing we always preach is just finish and that's one thing we have to do for the rest of the season."
Until the mantra of finishing translates into wins, the fan-base will continue to sour on the current Michigan team if it doesn't occur.
The team assembled is still strong and ready to show the world what kind of work they've put in.
"The fans don't see what we do in Schembechler Hall," senior linebacker Jake Ryan said. "They don't know what we do behind the scenes, they don't know how much work we've put in for this season.
"I'm confident in this team and have all the confidence in the world in this offense and defense. We're going to step up and this is going to be a great season."