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Continued: Patrick Reusse from Oct. 10, 2003: For a while, we actually believed

  • Article by: PATRICK REUSSE , Star Tribune
  • Last update: October 2, 2013 - 8:50 PM

Wolverines 38, Gophers 35.

I'm not sure I should believe my lyin' eyes.

Yes, Michigan came back to within 28-21 in that fourth quarter, when Asad Abdul-Khaliq threw the most ill-advised aerial since the forward pass was legalized early in the last century.

The flip went to Michigan's Jacob Stewart, and he cruised intothe end zone, accompanied by 60,000 groans.

But so what? Abdul-Khaliq came back to prove he is an athlete capable of reaching inside for a new rush of composure. On third-and-a-foot near midfield, he paused an instant, stepped through a gap in Michigan's compacted defense and went 52 yards for a touchdown to make it 35-21.
There were 11 minutes left. The quarterback had rallied, and now his team was back in charge.

It was a night when the magnificent Barber had 198 yards on 21 carries, and the Gophers totaled 424 yards on the ground.

You can't rush for 424 yards and lose . . . can't happen.

Unless it's the Gophers playing Michigan. Unless it's the Gophers with a giant opportunity staring at them through their facemasks.

"This isn't a one-shot thing," a fully drained Mason said later. "Our kids have had a lot of setbacks in their careers."

Never one like this. Never one where 53 carries for 8.0 yards a pop turned into a 38-35 loss.

If Mason's kids come back from this one and get themselves into a New Year's Day bowl, both the coach and the athletes will deserve more cheers than they heard for three quarters Friday.

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