Junior Hemingway didn’t understand.
Just before the Michigan football team took the field for warmups prior to the Under the Lights game on Saturday, equipment manager Jon Falk approached the fifth-year senior wide receiver.
“When you come back up from warmups, make sure you come in so I can change your jersey,” Falk told Hemingway.
He didn’t explain any further.
So when Hemingway returned to the locker room a half hour later, he headed to Falk’s office. The new edition of Hemingway’s No. 21 jersey had a patch on the upper right chest reading, “Desmond Howard: Michigan Legend.”
Moments later, former Michigan wide receiver Desmond Howard, who starred in the No. 21 jersey from 1988-91, walked beneath the banner at midfield to be recognized as the inaugural Michigan Football Legend.
From that point on, Hemingway and his new-look jersey didn’t disappoint.
“It’s a great honor to wear the number, but I’ve got to go out there and play my game,” Hemingway said during a press conference Monday. “I can’t think about having to live up to what Desmond did.”
Hemingway caught three passes for 165 yards and scored the Wolverines’ first touchdown.
But No. 21 was never Hemingway’s first choice. During his high school career in Conway, S.C., he wore No. 5.
No. 5 wasn’t available when he arrived on campus as a freshman. Then-Michigan wide receivers coach Eric “Soup” Campbell listed the numbers Hemingway could choose from.
When he stopped, Hemingway asked, “That’s it?”
“Oh, well we’ve got 21,” Campbell said.
He took it. And now he’s become part of a legacy.
Michigan coach Brady Hoke said there will be a “thought process” regarding who wears Howard’s number from now on, and he noted there’s a good likelihood it will only be handed to wide receivers.
What about freshman cornerback Raymon Taylor, who also wears No. 21? Does he have the patch?
“No, I don’t think he does,” Hoke said. “That’s a good question. That’s one I’ll ask.”
A FAMILY AFFAIR: Michigan Athletic Director Dave Brandon will probably admit he got a little too involved in the Under the Lights game. But he paid for it.
When junior wide receiver Roy Roundtree caught the game-winning touchdown in the south endzone, Michigan’s sideline went berserk. And fifth-year senior Ryan Van Bergen seized an opportunity.
“I think I chest-bumped Dave Brandon,” Van Bergen said Monday.
A synopsis was in order.
“I was going for it and I don’t think he knew,” Van Bergen said. “When you … make eye-to-eye contact, you start gathering for the jump. You’ve got it timed out. You practice this kind of thing and we didn’t rehearse this.
“You could tell that he’s kind of rusty. But I think he’ll come around.”
But knocking the wind out of Brandon — the brainchild of Michigan’s first-ever home night game — wasn’t the only time Van Bergen got physical on the sideline.
After falling on a loose ball early in the fourth quarter to stifle a Notre Dame drive into the red zone, former Michigan center and NFL journeyman Steve Everitt left his mark with Van Bergen.
“When I got that fumble, I’m trying to celebrate with my guys and this blonde guy with a yellow shirt comes up and just smacks me,” Van Bergen said. “It was probably one of the harder hits I had of the game.”
Maybe it was that, maybe just of the excitement of the game, but Van Bergen had a hard time settling down after it finished.
The defensive tackle said he got three or four hours of sleep.
But across town, 35 or 40 members of the extended Hoke family had descended on the head coach’s home for the night.
“Everybody found a place on the floor and went to bed,” Hoke said. “It was late, 3:30 maybe, by the time you say hello, talk to everybody and be as gracious as I can be.”
ROBINSON, MICHIGAN WIN B1G: Two days after tossing a career-high four touchdowns and collecting another on the ground against the Fighting Irish, Robinson collected three awards.
His 446-yard evening earned him Big Ten Offensive Player of the Week honors, the Davey O’Brien Quarterback of the Week award and Rivals.com’s National and Big Ten Player of the Week awards.
But the performance was far from perfect, especially his three interceptions.
Hoke straddled the line when asked whether Robinson had a rough game or great game Saturday.
“A little of both,” he said. “He made some plays when we needed to have some plays made, which a guy of his capability and caliber can do.”
But Van Bergen had a brighter review of Robinson’s day. He said there was no cause for concern when Robinson led the offense onto the field down three points with 30 seconds left on the clock.
“When you have Denard Robinson on your team, 30 seconds is plenty of time to score a touchdown,” Van Bergen said. “He can run 100 yards in under 10 seconds, so you don’t need to worry about 30 seconds being on the clock.”
The Michigan team was named the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl National Team of the Week.
INJURIES: After leading the Wolverines in carries during the season opener against Western Michigan, sophomore running back Fitzgerald Toussaint was held out against Notre Dame.
“I think he’ll be okay,” Hoke said. “He just bumped up his shoulder against Western.”
Fifth-year senior linebacker Brandon Herron (leg) and redshirt sophomore linebacker Cam Gordon (back) also missed the game and remain day-to-day.