Following an exciting win against Penn State, Michigan football had the day off on Saturday. My wife was out of town at a conference, so on a day that I might normally spend with her I was left to find my own entertainment. There was plenty of good football on TV but the game I was most interested in seeing was down the street at Michigan Stadium. The Big House played host to Slippery Rock and Mercyhurst Universities, two Division II teams in the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference. This was the third time ‘The Rock’ had played a game at U of M, and the first since 1981. You can read more here about how the relationship between two schools with vastly different athletic programs developed. Despite the cold and on/off drizzle over 15,000 people showed up to watch, many of them part of or there to support the dozen high school bands that played during the game.
It was a strange experience (the stadium was at less than 15% capacity, I sat in the fancy chair back seats for free, and I DROVE to the stadium and parked at a nearby meter) but this was without a doubt the most fun I have had at a football game in a while, certainly this season. The game moved so much quicker; there were no TV timeouts before and after kickoffs and both offenses moved with impressive speed. Slippery Rock scored on a 45 second drive towards the end of the half and then with barely 30 seconds left on the clock Mercyhurst managed to run a drive to kick a FG. The Slippery Rock fans traveled very well and the night before the game Main street was a sea of green shirts with giant S’s on them (a little disconcerting at first). When Slippery Rock scored the first TD of the game on a long pass play I found myself cheering wildly with several other Michigan fans curious to see the team from Western PA. Nobody spent the game complaining about ticket prices, PR snafus, or how much money it would take to get a Harbaugh to coach at Michigan. Everyone who was there was so incredibly happy and excited to be there. If this photo from The Ann Arbor News’ Tyler Stabile is any indication, perhaps next time they return to the Big House Slippery Rock will simply be known as ‘The Bread’.
A few weeks ago I posted about making pretzel sticks in order to solve my mid-afternoon snacking woes at work. But what fun is there in eating the same thing over and over again (which, to be clear I usually don’t mind). For a long time I’ve been searching for a recipe that made good crunchy granola bars. My wife makes granola for breakfast often but I like to have an actual compact bar. So many of the recipes that I’ve tried just didn’t get the type of texture I was looking for.
I realized what I was looking for was something like those Nature Valley Oats ‘n Honey bars. Dedicated readers will remember my tirade against these bars about two years ago. Well it seems time heals all wounds and was ready to eat these bars (or something like it) again. They are a great thing to have with breakfast, in the middle of the day, or whenever you need a little pick me up.
Last week I was thinking, ‘You know, it has been a while since I edited a .gif for a Photoshop Phriday post’. And then, as if on cue, all sorts of wonderful things happened in the Michigan vs. Penn State game. Devin Funchess’ crazy TD catch in the 1st quarter was a great start, but then Dennis Norfleet just took over. Norfleet is in his third year returning kickoffs and punts for Michigan (he’ll also line up at WR) and last week passed Steve Breaston for the most kickoff return yards in program history. For a few years now many Michigan fans have also loved Norfleet for his fun attitude. Waiting alone in the middle of the field for a TV timeout to end you’ll almost always see him dancing. Well this week he took it to a whole other level.
With just a few minutes left in the game and Penn State about to punt from their own endzone (they would take a safety in an attempt to get the ball back) Norfleet busted out some true moves while waiting for play to start. You can see the full video here, and I personally recommend you spent at least 15 minutes watching it. You can hear when the crowd really starts to get into it. Football is after all, a game, and it’s always great to see the players having fun out on the field, especially after everything that is going on. Perhaps that’s another reason why this really took off this week. Or, perhaps it’s because Dennis was just so excited to get his hands on some seedy salt bread.
Edit: Thanks to Brian for featuring this at the top of today’s MGoBlog Unverified Voracity post!
I did a double take the first time I saw this recipe. Lemon poppy seed…sourdough? I had seen plenty of muffins and cakes before with this delicious combination, but never a loaf of bread. Now that I’ve made it I wonder why I hadn’t seen it before, because it is quite tasty.
The crumb of the bread was denser than most loaves I make and it did take on an almost cake-like consistency. It was wonderfully chewy, dense, and had a great citrus flavor from the lemon. While we mostly treated it as though it were a dessert, I did have a few slices toasted with peanut butter for breakfast some mornings.
Last week I was planning to do something different for Photoshop Phriday but after I had a huge spike in traffic from MGoBlog, I stuck with the usual topic. However I did want to carve out some time for my other sports obsession; baseball. More specifically, the Washington Nationals. From a numerical standpoint the Nationals, whose season unfortunately came to a close earlier this week, actually consume far more time in my life than Michigan football. There are 12 scheduled (hopefully 13, maybe 14 with a potential Big 10 title game visit in the future) Michigan football games a year. I estimate I watched close to 130 Nationals games since April, none more exciting than the last regular season game.
I have maintained for the last two years that Jordan Zimmermann was the best starting pitcher in an impressive Nationals rotation. Again this year the Nationals staff was great, boosted by the addition of Doug Fister (thanks Tigers!). This year Zimmermann posted career a low in ERA (2.68) and walked as many batters (29) as he did in his first MLB season despite pitching more than twice as many innings. On the last day of the regular season Zimmermann cut through the Miami Marlins lineup like a piece of Wisconsin cheddar (he is, after all, a native Wisconsinite). With two outs in the top of the 9th inning he still hadn’t given up a hit, and Steven Souza Jr.’s incredible diving catch (listen to all the radio and TV calls here) sealed the first no-hitter in the National’s 10 year history. I’ve watched the replay near 100 times already, but just today I noticed that Zimmermann threw the last out with a piece of buckwheat apple sourdough (post coming soon!).
The calendar says it’s October (and so does the 40 degree morning we had) so the scriptures of food blogging compel me to load up on pumpkin recipes. I roasted my first pumpkin of the fall two weeks ago and am currently making my way through my second. Last year we made pumpkin mac and cheese but were disappointed with the result. It was far too pumpkin-y so I set out to find the right balance between pumpkin and cheese.
I’m happy to report that this recipe did just that and it was even better when I realized I had inadvertently taken a picture of smiley face. I mashed the roasted pumpkin to make sure it wasn’t too stringy and it incorporated very well into the cheese sauce. I baked most of it in a larger pan but put a few in some ramekins that we got as a wedding present to get servings with crispier edges.
Well…it has been quite the week for Michigan football. People far more qualified than I (and some perhaps far less) have written and recorded a lifetime’s worth of content on the goings on with the football team and athletic program since Saturday’s game against Minnesota. So, I will devote space here to other things.
I’ve posted a picture before of Michigan’s first football team but haven’t talked about one of its most notable members, Irving Pond. Pond was an engineering student at Michigan who would found with his brother Allen the highly successful architectural firm Pond and Pond. Three of the student unions in the Big 10 were designed by the Pond brothers: Purdue, Michigan State, and of course Michigan. So what does this have to do with football?
Well as a member of the 1879 team, Pond is credited with scoring the first touchdown in Michigan football history. The actual story is perhaps a bit more complicated than that, but he was certainly the embodiment of the student-athlete model. When I used to give tours I always liked to point out the two statues above the main entrance to the Union. There is a scholar looking towards the academic buildings on the Diag and an athlete facing the stadium and practice complexes. In the early 20th century these were meant to embody the ideal ‘Michigan man’ (originally the Union was just for male students) a term that has since taken on a much more complex meaning. Pond passed away at the age of 82 in 1939, but this picture from his 70th birthday shows that he was up for a good time well into his later years, long jumping over a giant flatbread pizza (perhaps with a sourdough crust).