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December 23, 2012

Year In Review: 10 Best Games

Looking at the best best games of 2012.

1. Football: Michigan 23, Virginia Tech 20 (OT)

It might not have been pretty, but the result was one of the most memorable moments in recent Michigan football history. After sneaking into a BCS game with a surprising 10-2 record in Brady Hoke's first season, the Wolverines ran into a defensive battle with Virginia Tech in the Sugar Bowl.

Wide receiver Junior Hemingway - the game's MVP - only caught two passes, but they were perhaps the two biggest of his career, registering both of Michigan's touchdowns in the game.

Kicker Brendan Gibbons knocked a 37-yard field goal in overtime to cap off an exciting win, despite the fact that the Wolverines mustered just 184 total yards of offense.

2. Football: Michigan 38, Northwestern 31 (OT)

The Wolverines hadn't given up a first-quarter score since the opening week of the season - but the Wildcats marched right down the field and scored a touchdown on the first drive of the game, setting the tone for a wild afternoon.

The teams combined for 850 yards of offense, going back and forth all game.

The Wolverines forced a punt with less than 30 seconds to play - but it took an incredible 53-yard pitch and catch from Devin Gardner to Roy Roundtree - and a subsequent kick from Gibbons - to send the game into overtime, where the Wolverines won.

3. Basketball: Michigan 56, Ohio State 51

The Wolverines have had plenty of big games in basketball over the last year - but non bigger than their upset over No. 6 Ohio State, setting in motion Michigan's rise to a regular-season Big Ten Title. ESPN's College Game Day was on hand to witness this clash between rivals.

Jordan Morgan, Tim Hardaway, Jr. and Trey Burke combined for 41 of the Wolverines' 56 points, and Michigan ground out a hard-fought win. It was part of a late-season surge that saw the Wolverines go 6-1 in the last seven regular season games.

4. Football: Michigan 12, Michigan State 10

Four losses to the Spartans is four losses too many. Now, four straight losses? That's unbearable.

The Spartans beat Michigan in 2008, 2009, 2010 and 2011, the Wolverines' first season under Brady Hoke.

Finally, Michigan and Hoke got their revenge over Michigan State and Mark Dantonio.

Gibbons once again saved the day, hitting three-of-three field goal attempts, including one with less than five seconds to go, giving the Wolverines' a two-point advantage.

5. Basketball Michigan 60, Michigan State 59

After sweeping the Spartans in 2010-11, the Wolverines were looking to extend their streak over Michigan State on the hardwood.

And when the Green & White traveled to Ann Arbor Jan. 17, Burke went off, scoring 20 points. Zack Novak and Hardaway added 10 apiece, lifting the Wolverines to a 60-59 win.

6. Hockey: Michigan 4, Ohio State 1

It's always nice to beat the Buckeyes. To spoil their sponsored outdoor game in Cleveland with a 4-1 shellacking is fantastic. The Wolverines claimed the Frozen Diamond Faceoff title.

Chris Brown, Alex Guptill, Derek DeBlois and David Wohlberg all notched goals in the victory.

7. Volleyball: Michigan 3, Stanford 1

The Wolverines were not supposed to beat the Cardinal - one of the consistently dominant volleyball programs in the country. But Michigan refused to let Stanford build any sort of momentum after the first set.

The Wolverines strung together set straight set victories, taking the match and earning the program's first-ever trip to the Final Four.

8. Basketball: Michigan 68, Indiana 56

The Hoosiers and Wolverines both had resurgent years in 2011-12 - setting both programs up for big things this season.

They split their two games last year, including a 12-point win for the Wolverines in Ann Arbor. Burke, Hardaway and Novak combined for 44 points in the win.

8. Basketball: Michigan 71, Kansas State 57

The Wolverines claimed the first of what will hopefully be several championships this year, beating the Wildcats in the title game of the Preseason NIT to win the title.

9. Men's Soccer Big Ten Tournament

At one point this season, the Wolverines were 5-8-1 and were probably going to miss out on the NCAA Tournament in coach Chaka Daley's first season. But Michigan went on a tear.

After losing to both Wisconsin and Northwestern during the regular season, the Wolverines upset both of them in the conference tournament, earning a place in the title game.

They took Michigan State to overtime, where the Spartans unfortunately pulled out the win. But it was enough to earn a spot in the NCAA Tournament, where the Wolverines beat Niagara, 3-1, in the first round.

10. Women's Tennis: Michigan 4, Texas A&M 3

The Wolverines upset the Aggies, earning an improbable place in the Sweet 16.


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