Saturday, September 12, 2009
Forcier leads Michigan to statement victory
Posted by ESPN.com's Adam Rittenberg
Some of you have suggested I have a man crush on Tate Forcier. Well, at least I can pick 'em.
After briefly looking like a freshman midway through the fourth quarter, Forcier regained his poise down the stretch to lead Michigan's game-winning drive against Notre Dame. He consistently used his feet to make big plays and completed six huge throws on the Wolverines' decisive drive.
His most impressive play came with 30 seconds left, when he evaded the rush, opted not to run despite ample room and hit LaTerryal Savoy for an 18-yard completion inside the Fighting Irish 5-yard line. After Savoy dropped a touchdown, Forcier came back with another throw to senior Greg Mathews.
Forcier finished with 240 pass yards, 70 rush yards and three touchdowns (2 pass, 1 rush). Denard Robinson was a nonfactor in this game, and Forcier is the team's clear No. 1 going forward.
If Michigan isn't back, the Wolverines are pretty darn close. To win a game in which they didn't defend particularly well, especially in the secondary, speaks volumes about how far this program has come in a year. Cornerback Boubacar Cissoko had a game he'd like to forget, but Forcier, the receivers and the run game really picked up the slack. Brandon Minor was huge in his return (106 rush yards, TD).
Michigan might be the second best team in the Big Ten, depending on what happens tonight in Columbus. The Wolverines will definitely enter the national rankings this week and should start 4-0 before heading to East Lansing on Oct. 3.
It was also a much needed victory for the Big Ten, which struggled in the early games and could be facing a few more losses tonight. I've always written that the Big Ten can't be good without Michigan being good, and the Wolverines are certainly headed in that direction under second-year coach Rich Rodriguez.