‘This season is not over, not even close’ – Michigan football players already looking to bounce back

  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
·3 min read
In this article:
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.

EAST LANSING, Mich. — For a long, long while on Saturday, it appeared that Michigan football would be hoisting the Paul Bunyan Trophy once again. Instead, after the game sat a somber Aidan Hutchinson and Cade McNamara, trying to put together the pieces after a devastating loss to rival Michigan State. While it may hurt for a long while — likely forever — this team is determined to move on from it.

Right now.

Yes, it’s as painful of a loss that a team can have — one where you’re dominating statistically, where you’ve squandered a 16-point lead. It’s to a rival, and it’s the first loss of the season — even worse. But if Michigan were to give up now, the season could end up being 9-3, or worse.

While the challenge of Ohio State seems daunting at season’s end, the Big Ten East is likely the best division in college football. As far as the players in Ann Arbor see it, the margin for error just shortened significantly, but everything else is still on the table — Big Ten championship and more.

“I think we’re still in contention. We still have all of our goals in front of us,” senior captain Aidan Hutchinson said. “It’s a tough loss, but one I think we can bounce back from.”

“Absolutely — this one stings for sure,” redshirt sophomore quarterback Cade McNamara added. “But we’ve gotta be able to bounce back and we can’t let this game define our season.”

That’s not to say that this game will go fully into the rearview. As McNamara later adds, this is a game that Michigan must remember, so that it can fix the issues it faced in the game.

“Obviously this is a big game. We’re not just gonna not think about it,” McNamara said. “This one stings, like I mentioned, we have to respond. Our back is against the wall now. We’ve gotta respond.”

Related

Aidan Hutchinson pins defensive woes vs. MSU on poor execution

Despite career day, Cade McNamara blames himself for loss to MSU

Sixth-year captain Andrew Vastardis says that now is the time for the team to come together.

In previous years, when Michigan’s gotten a loss of this magnitude, seasons have gone downhill in a hurry. Units blamed other units. Players blamed other players, or even checked out entirely.

However, given what happened last year, Vastardis says that this team cannot respond like that. Instead, they need to get closer, and find ways to not let games like this happen down the road.

“Going forward, it’s in the past. It’s a learning experience,” Vastardis said. “We’ll treat it like that. We’re gonna stick together. That’s the No. 1 thing for me: no pointing fingers. We’re gonna be a family. Gotta be a family when it’s good, gotta be a family when it’s bad. I firmly believe that. We’ll stick together.”

So for Vastardis, while he couldn’t bring himself to see the Paul Bunyan Trophy hoisted on the shoulders of the Spartans, parading down to the MSU student section, he’s not as focused on the outcome of this game like that. Instead, he wants to figure out how he and his cadre can improve with games against Indiana, Penn State, Maryland, and Ohio State still remaining.

“Very difficult. I don’t care about them, I don’t need to watch them celebrate,” Vastardis said. “More so, it’s how can we grow together from this? It sucks, it sucks from the top down. It’s gonna be one of those things where we really just lock arms, grow together. Because a lot of people are gonna hop off the bandwagon, and this season is not over — not even close.”

List

What Jim Harbaugh said after Michigan football loss to Michigan State