Sadly, no single moment from the 2016 season captures last year’s posterization of BYU’s Micah Hannemann at the hands of Amara Darboh (a moment that Darboh almost repeated against Hawaii). I mean, this was baller:
But, when you’re 6-0 and the #3 team in the country, your biggest problems are probably going to be ‘Michigan problems,’ and not producing a completely rad poster while you’re kicking so much ass certainly qualifies as one of those. And besides - these guys have created some pretty good moments of their own. Here were some my favorites.
In all seriousness, this was probably the moment of the year so far. For the fans who might point out that it happened on fourth down, and it would have been better to just force an incompletion, I tip my hat to you. I would also point out, however, that Jourdan does what Jourdan wants, and the football field is his to own.
This was from Hawaii week. Michael Jordan was in the House, and Derek Jeter was as well, but Charles is a Michigan Man. He gets the tip of the cap here.
I don’t know why I love this photo so much. The rain? Fighting through a tackle? The way he’s holding the football? Not sure.
As an aside, that Jordan gear is still catching my eye halfway through the season.
There are three gentlemen in the foreground: Jabrill Peppers in the middle, Bobby Henderson on the left and Khalid Hill on the right. Together, these two fullbacks and one linebacker have combined to carry the ball 21 times through the first six games, and are averaging 6.9 yards a carry with 10 rushing touchdowns. Not bad, as they say.
Still standing, but more challengers are lurking in the corner. There’s something chaotic and yet perfectly stoic about this photo of De’Veon. I love it.
Incomplete. Jehu only had two catches in the Rutgers game - one, a beautiful bomb for 30 yards and a touchdown, and another touch pass for 4 yards from Speight. Chesson has just 15 catches on the year, 231 yards and that one touchdown. (Yes, his first touchdown of the season came in Week 6.) He’s on pace for 500.5 yards over a 13-game season.
JB, meanwhile, is flying under the radar, too: 270 yards and 3 touchdowns for a guy who could easily get 1,000 yards if you fed him enough. And among pass catchers with at least five targets on the season, nobody has a better catch rate than Jake Butt’s 70.6%.
This is another of Michigan’s tight ends, Devin Asiasi, #2, after scoring the third touchdown of the contest between the Wolverines and the Nittany Lions. But this photo is less about the touchdown, and more about the atmosphere after the fact.
Michigan’s back-up tight ends, by the way, have combined 6 catches for 31 yards and one touchdown.
Seriously, have I complimented these uniforms yet? Because those things look classic.
You know, I always loved basketball growing up, but one of the big differences is that a single basketball player can dominate a team or even a league for years on end, whereas football has an unavoidable teamwork aspect. Every locker room has to be full of players who contribute something different and valuable. And everyone has their battles to win.
Well, one of those deadly reserves that Michigan seems to have several of is Tyree Kinnel, a special teams nightmare so far this season. I’m hoping that his big play ability translates well to his upcoming role at safety - probably free safety - in Don Brown’s defense.
Hats off to Karan Higdon, too, who’s been a silent assassin: 7.2 yards a carry, 5 TD’s, and the highest opportunity rate (54.3% of his runs getting at least 5 yards) of any of the four primary backs.
(Strangely enough, De’Veon Smith has the lowest, at 37.7%, but has the second-highest highlight yards per opportunity.)
By the way, ever try scoring against a terrific defender? It gets in your head pretty quickly. And good luck scoring against Jeremy Clark, who was brilliant at shadowing and harassing anybody he needed to guard. It’s a shame he was injured against Penn State.
One last sliver in this whole basketball train of thought: you could organize a pick-up game in a rec center that’s better than an NBA game if there’s enough teamwork and energy and personality involved. But good luck organizing a pick-up football game that’s even a fraction of the real thing.
Having 100,000-person stadiums doesn’t hurt, either. The fans are huge for making football what it is.
Another fascinating part of this team has been Wilton Speight, Michigan’s rookie starting QB and a leader by example for this football team, much like Jake Rudock before him.
In a way, we still don’t know a whole lot about Speight. He’s been a steady presence, but he’s also still growing into his role on the team week by week. I’m sure we’ll learn more as we live through some of those inevitable high-stakes moments and rivalry games that are still to come. But it has, definitely, been a perfect marriage.
This team has crafted a perfect blend of tunnel vision and swagger - hard work and pride. Sometimes those are mutually exclusive, but not with this team. They’ve got both. Jabrill is probably at the heart of that.
And the fans, too, for sure.
Oh, and the defense. They’re kind of a big deal, from what I’ve been told. Pretty good.
Honestly, if I were 6’4”, 240 pounds, I still would not want to mess with that defense.
Oh, and we can’t forget about the future NFL pass-catchers on this squad. They bring the swagger and hustle whenever given the opportunity. So yeah, this has been a perfect team effort from all over the field. And rarely does everything click like that.
Now, if only there were a night home game still to look forward to... That’s always an amazing experience for the fans.*
*Unless you happened to lose 78-0, of course. That would be a bummer. Luckily that's never happened to anybody.
Oh, never mind. Well, it looks like we’ll just have to settle for those pesky Michigan problems, since everything has been going swimmingly well otherwise. No night games? Hoping for more all-time iconic moments? Who’s got it better than us?
You know, I think that was more than a few photos.