I had a chance to play 9 holes of golf mid Saturday afternoon under gray skies. I didn't play particularly well, however anytime on the course is a good time in early September. After golf, I knew I was to get home in the middle of the Notre Dame/Michigan football game, hoping Notre Dame was flattening the Wolverines at Michigan Stadium --- "The“Big House” in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Much to my chagrin,The University of Michigan was hanging in there, not knowing they had jumped out to an early lead and the Irish coming back. I saw that Michigan was running the ball effectively in the first half and took it to Notre Dame right up the middle. I thought nothing of this, knowing that the true freshman quarterback of Michigan was just to manage the game.
To nobody's surprise, the game was tied at close at the half with the Irish holding a slim 20-17 lead.. The second half was sure to be a barn burner. But nobody could have predicted who the hero of the game would be. It was that true freshman quarterback for Michigan that was to manage the game.
Enter Tate Forcier.
Forcier, a true freshman from Scripps Ranch High School in San Diego, CA was highly regarded by Michigan coach Rich Rodriguez. Forcier was thought to be mobile with his feet, an accurate arm, and very confident even though he is a smallish 6' 1” 185 pounder. Exactly the type of quarterback Coach Rodriguez needs to run his offense, the spread option.
Was Tate all of that in the second half? Boy, was he ever and then some.
Forcier was as calm and collected as any player I have seen in a freshman in many, many years...including one Tim Tebow. I cannot remember Forcier being frustrated once during half number two and had the guts of a cat burglar. He stood up in the face of a fierce Fighting Irish pass rush and in the 3rd quarter he led the Wolverines to the lead with a 3 yard touchdown pass.
Oh, but the best was yet to come. The fourth was as amazing as they come.
With Michigan driving to the Notre Dame 31 yard line, Forcier dropped back to pass on a 4th and 3 play, and was under duress from the Irish pass rush. He spotted a seam up the middle and put a move on Irish linebacker Darius Fleming that left him dead in his tracks. Thirty one yards later, Michigan was up 31-20. Bedlam in Ann Arbor as most believed the game was salted away.
But as former Indiana head coach and now ESPN commentator Lee Corso would say “Not so fast, my friend.” as Notre Dame scored two TD's to regain the lead at 34-31. The Irish had the ball with less than 3 minutes to go and basically one 1st down away from victory. Notre dame ran on 1st down for no gain then tried two passes that fell incomplete. After the punt, Michigan had 2:13 left to either tie or win the game.
Forcier never flinched during the final drive completing six of seven including a huge 2nd and 15 completion for 11 yards followed by a six yard completion for the 1st down and a clock stoppage. After a dropped pass that would have won the game, Forcier coolly completed the 5 yard game winner to Greg Mathews. Indeed, a star was born!
After the game ended a few ticks later and “The Big House” rocking, young Tate Forcier was interviewed by reporters and said “I don't get nervous”. That was apparent, wasn't it?
Yes indeed, a new star was born in Ann Arbor, MI on Saturday September 12, 2009. Any college football fan would hope this star can stay healthy and University of Michigan fans hope he will be the quarterback for 4 years and a Bowl Championship Series (BCS) national title.
Welcome to major college football Mr. Tate Forcier.
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