Posted: Monday December 4, 2006 5:12PM; Updated: Monday December 4, 2006 5:22PM
You know how teams get a lead and get all conservative while trying to run out the clock, which causes them to get away from their game plan? Well, it happened to my Florida team. I ran the ball over and over with little success, and still managed to move the ball until I got just past the 50. On 3rd and 8, I tried to connect on a pass over the middle and threw into double coverage (Leak!) for an interception. Arrgh!
Michigan took the ball at their own 40 and ran for 8 yards, threw and incompletion, then ran on 3rd and 2 and...FUMBLE! The sure-handed Mike Hart coughed it up.
With the ball at the 48, Leak was sacked on a screen, then I brought in Tim Tebow for a QB draw, then Leak came back and threw a ball up for grabs. Flag on the play! Pass interference! From the 33, I managed to get another first down and then kicked a field goal to go ahead 27-21.
Two minutes left and Michigan is desperate. I have Florida in a four deep and after a few short completions, somehow Henne found Manningham for a 55-yard touchdown with 1:22 left. Michigan takes their first lead of the game, 28-27.
Florida came back and Leak managed to throw two incompletions, get sacked and then complete a 15 yard pass on 4th and 23. Game.
Leak finished 14 of 25 for 348 yards, with 2 TDs but 2 picks. Henne was a much more efficient 12 of 17 for 286, with 3 TDs and one pick. Have you heard that Florida can't run the ball? Tebow was my most effective rusher, with 19 yards on 4 carries. Mike Hart went for 39 yards on 14 carries, though Michigan's best player was Manningham, who had four catches for 208 yards and 3 TDs. Florida dominated time of possession, had fewer turnovers and was more effective in the red zone...but it didn't matter.
So now we know. The computer has spoken: Michigan deserves to be in the BCS title game. No question.
Lang Whitaker is the online editor of SLAM magazine and writes daily at SLAMonline.com.