The Michigan Wolverines play a physical and mostly-clean game against the Minnesota Golden Gophers on Saturday night in the 49-24 victory. There were no shortage of standouts and unsung heroes, but few had the impact — both physically and spiritually — that senior fullback Ben Mason had in the contest.
Aside from a penalty on the first drive that was a bit of a setback, Mason was flattening Gophers throughout the evening and also chipped in with a touchdown reception from quarterback Joe Milton, who was making his first start as a Wolverine. He was named one of Michigan’s offensive players of the game, along with the running backs.
Head coach Jim Harbaugh raved about the performance and the heartfelt message he delivered to the team prior to taking the field on Saturday in Minneapolis.
“I don’t know how many guys he knocked on their back, it was pretty significant,” Harbaugh said. “5 to 8, maybe? He was tremendous. Like I said, he was the offensive player of the game along with the backs. The holes that he was creating, he cuts down blocks. You talk about the first block, they made a movie out of that called ‘The Blind Side,’ and Ben was penalized. Probably rightfully so. It was a tremendous block. Tremendous, tremendous block on a tremendous player. Their linebacker, that was their best linebacker. A tremendous player.
“I would say this: Ben Mason, called up the team pregame and Ben asked if he could say something to the team. He said something to the team. What he said was, ‘Joe, this is your night. We’re gonna block, we’re gonna catch, we’re gonna do everything in our power to make you successful.’ It was a very passionate speech. The point to me is, there’s a lot of guys that made speeches in the history of football. Easy to make the speech but there’s maybe a dozen or so that I can think of after making the speech actually went out and did what they said they were gonna do in the speech. He did that and then some. Tremendous game by Ben Mason, number 42.”
Mason might not have a ton of impact on the stat sheet this year himself, but his efforts in run blocking will certainly help the Wolverines on the ground this season. That and the palpable passion he brings to the locker room makes his role this season as important as any on that side of the ball.