Tranquill calls the halfback pass in the fourth quarter, but the Wolverines play it well. The same is true of the halfback option, on which Irvin pitches adroitly to Renaud, but a short gain is wiped out by a holding penalty.
The Spartans' defense plays heroically. Tuman (two catches for 14 yards) is stopped, and Michigan, which hardly uses Silver at all, gains just 275 yards. But on a second-quarter running play the Wolverines' Howard goes 51 yards to the Michigan State 33. It's the defense's only major mistake against the run all day, but it is enormous, as Michigan goes on to finish a 95-yard drive with a touchdown that gives it a 10-7 lead at the half.
More than an hour after the game, Saban walks back into the stadium after a long session with visiting recruits, who must be convinced that what they had just witnessed was not typical. "Mistakes," Saban says resignedly. "Too many mistakes." His words eerily recall his Monday-morning admonition. Mental errors....
Sunday, 10 a.m.
A dark room at the Duffy. Coaches sitting around a table watching a screen. Ohio State is next. Seven more days.