Here are five takeaways from this weekend’s football action around the state.
Just one big goal left to achieve for U-M
Michigan football players and fans should rightfully gloat right now after a thorough 44-10 beatdown of Michigan State on Saturday, giving the Wolverines lopsided wins this season over two rivals, Notre Dame and MSU.
But the reality is that despite U-M’s resurgence since halftime of the Penn State game, the season will be a disappointment if the Wolverines can’t upset their top rival, Ohio State, on Nov. 30.
With Penn State and Ohio State also winning, U-M was officially eliminated from appearing in the Big 10 championship game in Indianapolis, and the Wolverines have still yet to make that game since its inception in 2011.
Not even five years of Jim Harbaugh has been able to change that, and getting to Indy was what many expected the Wolverines to do at the start of the season.
Notre Dame has also proven to be an above average team and Michigan State has become a train wreck, so there is less luster on those wins.
This week’s game at Indiana doesn’t really seem to mean much other than to avoid a loss that would create some bad publicity.
Ultimately, the only thing of significance left to accomplish for U-M is to upset the Buckeyes.
Cowboys fans take over Ford Field
As if there weren’t any more reasons for Lions ownership and management to feel embarrassed about how the season is turning out — most notably, the fact that the defense is among the worst in the NFL with a defensive-minded head coach — along comes Sunday’s game that turned into a home game for the Cowboys at Ford Field.
It’s a rare sight for players of a visiting team to implore fans to make noise while the home team has the ball, but that’s what happened frequently during a 35-27 Dallas win.
Cowboys fans took over the building and were constantly imploring their defense to make plays throughout. Whenever a Cowboys player did something good on offense, the cheers could seemingly be heard all the way down to Texas.
Yes, Dallas is among the most popular teams in the NFL with a huge following.
But the support for the Cowboys shouldn’t reach that degree in Detroit, a sure sign that many Lions fans don’t want to be bothered watching their home team in person anymore this year.
CMU rallies for big road win
It’s looking more and more like Central Michigan will go from worst to first in the MAC West following a comeback victory at Ball State in what was a first-place showdown Saturday.
The Chippewas rallied from a 27-11 halftime deficit and a 41-31 deficit to start the fourth quarter, scoring the game-winning touchdown with 1:01 left to earn a 45-44 win over the Cardinals.
CMU and Western Michigan are now tied atop the division standings at 5-2 with one league game remaining.
WMU holds the tiebreaker by virtue of its win over the Chippewas in Kalamazoo earlier this season.
WMU plays at Northern Illinois on Nov. 26, while CMU will host Toledo on Nov. 29.
Wayne State breaks 35-year losing streak against Grand Valley
Nearly four decades of startling domination ended in Allendale on Saturday.
Wayne State hadn’t beaten Grand Valley State since 1984, but the Warriors ended that streak with a 31-17 victory to conclude the regular season.
Grand Valley State had a 30-game winning streak over the Warriors over that span.
The only disappointing part for Wayne State was that, despite the win, and finishing the season 8-3, the Warriors didn’t qualify for the Division II playoffs.
The only team from Michigan to make the 28-team field was Ferris State, last year’s runner-up that went 10-0 during the regular season.
Notable prep streak snapped
The state high school playoffs are now in the semifinal round, but there will already be one thing missing this year.
The Catholic League Central Division, which features traditional powers Novi Detroit Catholic Central, Birmingham Brother Rice, Orchard Lake St. Mary’s and Warren De La Salle, as well as a good Detroit U-D Jesuit program, won’t have at least one of its members appear in a state championship game for the first time in 22 years.
St. Mary’s and U-D Jesuit were the last teams remaining, but both lost in the regional final round over the weekend.