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Published: Thursday, 10/8/2009

The End Zone: Michigan

Michigan beat writer Ryan Autullo Michigan beat writer Ryan Autullo

Too often we hear tales from a guy certain he was destined for stardom before a vindictive high school coach came along. Or perhaps it was a toe injury that derailed an eventual path to the NFL.

Accountability and athletics are rarely on friendly terms. With that in mind, it was admirable for UM's Tate Forcier following Saturday's overtime loss at Michigan State to text an ESPN.com columnist, “I take complete fault for that loss.” It was admirable, though in this instance unnecessary.

Blame for UM's first loss should be spread evenly, from a feeble offense led by Forcier, to a duck-and-cover defense, to a panicky coaching staff. I've gone back and forth debating which was a more regrettable decision — inserting run-exclusive quarterback Denard Robinson to begin a fourth-quarter drive down 14 points or giving Zoltan Mesko authority to fake a punt from UM's 16. Hindsight only reinforced belief that poor judgment was enacted in both cases.

It wasn't UM's proudest hour to be sure, but we've all had times professionally we'd like to forget. Chefs have served runny eggs, journalists have misused grammar, fertility doctors have mixed-up embryos (OK, not all mistakes are equal.).

UM will be judged on how it responds Saturday at No. 12 Iowa. Will last week's poor all-around performance be viewed in isolation? Or did it mark the beginning of uninspired, unintelligent football?

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