No. 9 Wisconsin chokes in second half, falls to Michigan 27-25

Sam McguffieDespite Michigan spotting them five turnovers and a 19-0 lead at halftime, No. 9 Wisconsin fell short at the Big House on Saturday, 27-25.

Trailing 19-0 late in the third quarter, Michigan cut the deficit to 19-7 after Steven Threet hit Kevin Koger for a 26-yard touchdown pass. The Wolverines followed up that score with a Brandon Minor 34-yard touchdown run early in the fourth quarter to make the game 19-14. On Wisconsin’s first play after the kickoff, John Thompson picked off Badger QB Allan Evridge and took to the house for a 25-yard touchdown to give the Wolverines a 20-19 lead. They extended the lead to 27-19 on a three-yard Sam Mcguffie touchdown run with just over five minutes remaining in the game.

Wisconsin wound up cutting Michigan’s lead 27-25 with only 13 seconds left, then made a 2-point conversion before the play was wiped out because of an ineligible man downfield. Their next 2-point attempt failed, and the Wolverines were able to run out the clock on the change of possession.

I know Michigan has now won 23-straight Big Ten openers and are still one of the more storied programs in the nation, but anyone who watched them in the first half of this game and early in the season knows that this is not the same UM program of years past. And with that, Wisconsin should be embarrassed for losing to a team that handed them scoring opportunity after scoring opportunity in the first half and didn’t even pick up a first down until the third quarter. Michigan deserves credit for not quitting at halftime and the defense stepped up tremendously in the second half, but the Badgers blew a golden opportunity to cash in on all of the upsets going on in college football this week.

Michigan head coach Rich Rodriguez doesn’t have his players in place yet, but he can use this win as a huge stepping-stone for the rest of the year. This upset was big not only to show that the Wolverines still have fight in 2008, but also that Rodriguez has his program moving in the right direction.

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