Don't expect an encore of a primetime home game from the University of Michigan. At least, don't expect it until 2013. Michigan athletic director Dave Brandon has admitted that the university probably won't play any nighttime home games during the college football season in 2012.
The Michigan Wolverines and Notre Dame Fighting Irish competed in the first primetime game in the history of Michigan Stadium on September 10, 2011. The game featured one of the most thrilling fourth quarters in college football during the 21st century. The Fighting Irish wanted to avoid a 0-2 start. The Wolverines were looking to improve to 2-0 and win their first major game under first-year head coach Brady Hoke.
The Fighting Irish took a 24-7 lead into the fourth quarter. The Wolverines made a remarkable comeback by scoring three consecutive touchdowns. Vincent Smith's 21-yard touchdown reception with 1:12 remaining gave the Wolverines a 28-24 lead. The Fighting Irish responded with a 29-yard touchdown reception from Theo Riddick with 30 seconds remaining. Once again, the Wolverines responded with a 16-yard touchdown reception from Ray Roundtree with two seconds remaining. The Wolverines held on for the 35-31 victory.
Denard Robinson finished the game with four of his 11 completions being for touchdowns. Robinson also added 16 rushes for 108 yards and one touchdown to his statline. Junior Hemingway had 165 receiving yards on three receptions. That included a 43-yard touchdown reception in the second quarter.
That was northing short of a remarkable opening chapter in the history of primetime football at Michigan Stadium. That's also why fans shouldn't be too anxious with hosting another nighttime game until 2013. The Wolverines' home opponents for the 2012 season include the Air Force Falcons, Massachusetts Minutemen, Illinois Fighting Illini, Michigan State Spartans, Northwestern Wildcats and Iowa Hawkeyes.
From that list, the Spartans are the only team who should be considered for any primetime game in the Big House. The Wolverines also play the Fighting Irish, Ohio State Buckeyes and Alabama Crimson Tide. However, those games will be played on the road or at neutral sites.
The Wolverines finished the 2011 season with an 11-2 record. That includes a Sugar Bowl victory over the Virginia Tech Hokies. Hoke will try to lead them to their first Big Ten championship since he took over last season. The Wolverines will also have an opportunity to play the defending national champions in the regular-season opener and create a two-game winning streak over the Buckeyes.
Joshua Huffman grew up in Michigan's Upper Peninsula (1988-2001) and is currently a Middle Tennessee resident (1986-1988, 2001-present). He graduated from Middle Tennessee State University as a marketing major in 2009. The Middle Tennessee State Blue Raiders and Michigan Wolverines are his favorite teams. He also likes the Michigan State Spartans basketball program because of Tom Izzo, a Yooper.
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