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Reliving the Season: Michigan

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Sorry for how long this one took--D

Oregon 39, Michigan 7
September 8, 2007
Michigan Stadium
Ann Arbor, Michigan

Leaders:

Oregon | Michigan
Passing:
Dixon 292 | Henne 172
Rushing:
Stewart: 111 | Hart 127
Receiving:
Paysinger 97 | Manningham 117

When we last left the season review, we were left very unsure about our season.  We were encouraged by the offense, but frustrated by the inconsistency.  And our defense surrendered more than a Frenchman at the sight of a German schoolboy.  And while I think many of us were cautiously optimistic, we were not excited about having Michigan on this particular week.  Michigan entered the season ranked #5 in the country, but opened up their season with an embarrassing home loss to 1-AA Appalachian State, who used a spread offense to eek out a win.  Many believed that there was no way Michigan was that bad--and was going to take it out on Oregon the next week.

And certainly, the game didn't start out as encouraging as we'd hoped.  To start off, our defense was every bit as bad as we feared it would be, taking about two minutes to march down to the Oregon 31.  But a well timed interception by Matthew Harper (and he would have a penchant for that this season) would keep the Wolverines out of the end zone.  Oregon rode a series of short passes down to the six yard line themselves, but when we had to settle for a field goal, you sensed that we let an opportunity slip by, and that it might hurt us later on.  And as Mike Hart sliced through our defense en route to a Michigan touchdown and a 7-3 Wolverine lead, your gut practiced wrenching because it was going to be one of those games.

Psych.

Brian Paysinger and Dennis Dixon squashed any fears with this bomb on the first play of Oregon's next possession:

Honestly, the game was over right there.  Chad Henne got hurt.  Mike Hart tried but couldn't make it happen.  And Oregon just imposed their will any way they wanted.  Long bomb to Jones.  Long bomb to Williams.  And we all know the signature play of the game, the one that would put Dennis Dixon on the map as a player to watch this season:

And what else can you really say at that point.  When you do something like that, there is nothing you can't do against that team.  It was the most dominant performance I've ever seen by an Oregon team--and we played like crap for most of the second half.  Sure, we've seen bigger margins.  But have we ever seen an opponent's psyche so completely destroyed as we'd seen in this game?  It was the most fun I've ever had watching a Duck game on TV--and it's not even close.  In the house of the most storied program in the sport, and absolutely took them to the woodshed.

We still weren't exactly sure what we had after this game.  Were we really good?  Was Michigan really bad?  Both?  I still couldn't believe that we would be national title contenders at this point, but I had a lot more confidence that we were going to be really good.  I was only concerned about the trap.  A decent Fresno team, who was desperate for a win against us was next.  Remember what happened after the Michigan game in 2003?  I was just hoping that history didn't repeat itself........