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AnnArbor.com's News section covers government, crime, education, health and the environment across Washtenaw County.

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    A man was found dead in the Huron River near this bridge north of downtown Ann Arbor Friday afternoon.

    Courtney Sacco | AnnArbor.com

    This story has been updated with more information on the man found in the river.

    A man was found dead Friday afternoon in the Huron River near the 900 block of North Main Street in Ann Arbor, according to Ann Arbor police.

    Police officials confirmed the man was found Friday afternoon, but other information about what led to his death was not available as of 5 p.m. Friday. The investigation into the incident is ongoing, officials said.

    Lt. Detective Robert Pfannes said the person was a man, thought to be in his 40s. Pfannes said there are no initial signs of foul play.

    The Washtenaw County Medical Examiner’s Office will be doing an autopsy that should shed more light on the man’s death, Pfannes said.

    Washtenaw County Sheriff's Office Sgt. Geoffrey Fox said the sheriff's office's dive team was sent out to the river about noon Friday to help Ann Arbor with the incident.

    "Our dive team went out there to recover the body," Fox said.

    Unofficial reports indicate there was no trauma on the person's body.

    AnnArbor.com will update this story as more information becomes available.


    View Larger Map

    Kyle Feldscher covers cops and courts for AnnArbor.com. He can be reached at kylefeldscher@annarbor.com or you can follow him on Twitter.


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    Lincoln running back Troy Brumfield carries the ball during the Railsplitters' 46-14 win over Huron on Friday, September 6, 2013.

    Brianne Bowen | AnnArbor.com

    This file will be updated throughout the night.

    Washtenaw County Scoreboard:

    Pioneer 39, Dearborn Edsel Ford 13
    Story | Boxscore

    Ann Arbor Pioneer’s Tyson Montgomery ran for 162 yards on 23 carries to lead his team to a 39-13 victory over host Dearborn Edsel Ford on Friday.

    "I just have to keep giving credit to the offensive line,” Pioneer coach Jari Brown said. “The reason we had so much success was because they did so well on the line, enabling the offense, opening up holes and just keeping the defense at bay."

    Quarterback Brandon Bertoia was 7 for 10 for 81 yards, delivering a 4-yard touchdown pass to DeVaughn Brown, and an 11-yard touchdown pass to Elliot Deeds. Montgomery and Malik Fuller each added a touchdown.

    Skyline 28, Dexter 3
    Story | Boxscore

    Skyline quarterback Askaree Crawford completed 7 of 12 passes for 187 yards and two touchdowns. Kornelius Saxton caught five of those receptions for 142 yards and one touchdown. Nick Durand grabbed a 37-yard touchdown pass as well.

    Terry Jackson led Skyline on the ground with 77 yards on five carries and one TD, while Crawford added 52 yards on nine carries.

    For the second straight week Skyline set a new program-low for points allowed in a game.

    Lincoln 46, Huron 14
    Story | Boxscore | Photo Gallery

    brandon-moyer-lincoln-huron.jpg

    Lincoln High School linebacker Brandon Moyer tackles a Huron ball carrier on Sept. 6.

    Brianne Bowen | AnnArbor.com

    The Ypsilanti Lincoln football team defeated visiting Ann Arbor Huron 46-14 Friday after jumping to a 28-7 halftime lead.

    "We didn't play well offensively, defensively, or on special teams," Huron coach Craig Jobe said. "We're going to have to make some corrections and watch the film. We've had a couple of guys sick or with injuries. We just got to keep practicing."

    Huron's Josh Jackson completed 12 of 19 passes for 169 yards with two touchdowns and one interception.

    Lincoln stats not available.

    Milan 48, Riverview 28
    Story | Boxscore

    Milan’s Trace Lindeman rushed 22 times for 194 yards and two touchdowns to help the Big Reds to a win in its Huron League opener. Robert Kanitz was 8 of 12 for 140 yards and a TD, and Shawn Beaton rushed two times for five yards and two scores.

    Milan jumped out to a 20-0 first quarter lead, but gave up 20 points in the second quarter.

    “We jumped on them early, but we got weary, and they tired us down,” Milan coach Jesse Hoskins said. “We made some halftime adjustments and changed some alignments on defense and used some of our zone pressures.”

    Max Blackburn led Milan with 12 tackles, and Nick Scully had an interception.

    Manchester 41, Napoleon 6
    Story | Boxscore

    The Manchester football team outscored host Napoleon 28-0 in the first quarter and won 41-6 on Friday. Napoleon’s Jack Hatt rushed 24 times for 121 yards.

    “The defense was trying to get stops, because last week we didn’t get the stops,” Manchester coach Wes Gall said. “We told them before the game that we wanted to force punts, and we just also happened to get turnovers.”

    Manchester is now 1-0 in Cascades Conference play.

    Belleville 17, Chelsea 14
    Boxscore

    AnnArbor.com Game of the Week coverage:

    Saline 37, Ypsilanti 29
    Story | Boxscore | Photo Gallery | Daouda Sylla: Mr. Everything for Ypsilanti Community football team


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    Saline High School senior Griffin Wooley, 9, tries to break a tackle from Ypsilanti Community High School senior Tyrone Coleman, 3, in the second quarter on Friday, Sept. 6.

    Patrick Record | AnnArbor.com

    Updated at 12:15 a.m.

    With his team up by 30 points late against Ypsilanti, Saline coach Joe Palka turned to one of his assistant coaches with what would be a prophetic statement.

    “This is the toughest thing to manage, right now, these situations,” Palka said.

    He then watched as Ypsilanti scored three fourth-quarter touchdowns and nearly completed an improbable comeback, before Saline held on for a 37-29 win Friday night at Hornets Stadium.

    More Coverage: Boxscore | Photo Gallery | Football roundup

    After the Hornets (2-0) put in mostly backups, the Grizzlies (0-2) and sophomore quarterback Marquis Smith went on scoring drives of 81, 79 and 75 yards.

    Their final touchdown came with 28 seconds left, but an onside kick attempt failed and Saline was able to run out the clock.

    “I’ve been on the other end of these where teams have come back and we’ve lost,” Palka said. “It’s a reflection of kind of where we’re at in our program that we kind of hang on and find ways to win. It wasn’t pretty.”

    Saline moved to 2-0 on the year ahead of a Week 3 matchup against Chelsea, while Ypsilanti is still looking for its first win as a combined program.

    “Each week is a new challenge, but we can’t hang our hats on this just because we only lost by seven,” YCS coach Rufus Pipkins said. “That’s not going to get us anywhere."

    Saline got off to a quick start, scoring 62 seconds into the game on a 13-yard Griffin Wooley run. The play was set up by a 75-yard opening kickoff return by the Hornets’ Nader El-Awar.

    El-Awar struck again in the same quarter, when Saline’s Travis Brown connected with him on a 19-yard touchdown pass. Guarded closely, El-Awar managed to get one foot down just inside the sideline in the end zone for the score.

    “He’s just a spark plug to this offense,” said Saline senior defensive lineman Dominic DiMelis, who led the Hornets with 12 tackles.

    Two drives later, the Hornets seemed poised to go up three scores as they drove inside the Ypsilanti 40-yard-line.

    But a devastating hit by the Grizzlies’ Daouda Sylla forced a fumble that Ypsilanti recovered. Three plays later, Sylla caught a short pass and scampered 54 yards to the end zone, bowling over a Hornet on the way. He then kicked the extra point to make it a one-score game.

    “We’ve been practicing hard, we gotta come out and make plays,” Sylla said.

    Another long kick return, this one 55 yards by Saline’s Tyrone Miller, set up a three-play Saline scoring drive. The Hornets tacked on a field goal to go up 24-7 at halftime.

    Sylla’s hit knocked Brown out of the game, and the junior didn’t return. Trent Theisen, who had been splitting time with Brown, finished the game, going 9-for-14 for 100 yards.

    Wooley, the Hornets’ top back after a Week 1 injury to Kevin Gross, ran 14 times for 106 yards and two touchdowns.

    The Grizzlies also used two quarterbacks, with senior Mike Caldwell finishing 7-for-12 for 173 yards, while Smith, a sophomore, was 8-for-11 for 75 yards. Smith also ran for 86 yards. Sylla finished with 135 receiving yards and two scores.

    On their first drive of the second half, Saline went 54 yards in five plays for a touchdown, capped off by Wooley’s third touchdown run of the game.

    Ypsilanti returned the ensuing kickoff to the 25-yard-line. But on the first play from scrimmage, the Hornets’ Stephen Slattery sacked Smith, forced a fumble and recovered it in the end zone for a defensive touchdown.

    The Grizzlies put together their best drive of the day on the ensuing possession, going 81 yards for a touchdown. Caldwell threw for 60 yards on the drive, and Smith finished it off with a seven-yard touchdown run.

    The trio of Smith, Caldwell and Sylla did most of the Grizzlies’ heavy lifting, and caused plenty of fourth-quarter headaches for Saline.

    “When you’ve got athletes that can run, and they kind of get into that sandlot football routine, it is hard to defend,” Palka said.

    Smith added another touchdown with six minutes left in the game, after a drive in which he carried or threw the ball on every play of a 75-yard drive.

    The Grizzlies added one last score, when Sylla caught a 19-yard touchdown pass from Smith with 28 seconds left.

    Saline moves on to play Chelsea next week, while Ypsilanti will play Huron.

    Chelsea is 0-2 for the second straight season after a 17-14 loss to Belleville on Friday, but Palka said he expects the Bulldogs to be a better team than their record indicates.

    “We’ve already seen a little bit of them on tape,” Palka said. “I’m impressed with their quarterback, I’m impressed with their linebackers, they’ve got a tall, good receiver and I think they can do some things that will give us problems with athletes out in space.”

    Kyle Austin covers sports for AnnArbor.com.


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    The Saline football team built up a 30-point lead over Ypsilanti Community High School on Friday in the first three quarters. Ypsilanti scored 22 points in the fourth quarter, but it proved too little too late for the Grizzlies as the Hornets won 37-29.

    Patrick Record is a photographer for AnnArbor.com.


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    University of Michigan students and fans gathered on the Diag for a pep rally Friday night ahead of the Wolverines' game against Notre Dame Saturday.

    They heard from Head Coach Brady Hoke, U-M president Mary Sue Coleman and football players and they were treated to a performance by former Michigan Student and "Glee" star Darren Criss.

    AnnArbor.com photographer Courtney Sacco captured these images.


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    The Lincoln High School football team improved to 2-0 on the season on Friday night while Huron fell to 1-1 when the Railsplitters beat the River Rats, 46-14.

    Brianne Bowen is a photographer for AnnArbor.com.


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    090613_SPT_SALINE_YPSILANTI_FOOTBALL_PR07_fullsize.jpg

    Ypsilanti Community School senior Daouda Sylla, pictured above, did a little bit of everything against Saline in Friday's 37-29 loss.

    Patrick Record | AnnArbor.com

    On paper, Ypsilanti Community School’s loss on Friday to Saline will only go down as a one-touchdown loss. But to anyone who witnessed the Hornets build a 30-point lead before the fourth quarter began, it was pretty obvious that Saline had Ypsilanti outmatched at nearly every position.

    That is, save for one -- or rather, three -- as Ypsilanti Community senior Daouda Sylla was Mr. Everything for the Grizzlies on Friday night, displaying his skills as a linebacker, receiver and running back.

    He even handled kicking duties for the Grizzlies.

    “He’s our man. He’s our do it all,” said Ypsilanti coach Rufus Pipkins. “He’s more than willing to put it all on his shoulders.”

    More coverage: Game of the Week story | Photo Gallery | Football roundup

    He put his shoulders one others as well.

    Ypsilanti’s first scoring drive in the second quarter showed just how valuable and punishing a player Sylla can be for the Grizzlies (0-2). On what would have been a first down run deep in Ypsilanti territory, Sylla hit Saline quarterback Travis Brown so hard it sent the junior quarterback and the ball he was carrying flying in opposite directions.

    It would be Brown’s final play of the night.

    090613_SPT_SALINE_YPSILANTI_FOOTBALL_PR14_fullsize.jpg

    Daouda Sylla, 7 into the air by Saline High School junior Colin Payne, 91, on Friday, Sept. 6. (Patrick Record | AnnArbor.com)

    Ypsilanti recovered the fumble and on the ensuing drive, and it was Sylla who would put the team onto the scoreboard, catching a pass in the backfield and rumbling 54 yards for a score, barely breaking stride to lower his shoulder and plow over a Saline linebacker en route to the end zone.

    When the Grizzlies lined up for the extra point, it was Sylla (who else?) who split the uprights giving him a forced fumble, touchdown reception and extra point in a five-play span.

    “He’s our heart and soul. He’s our guy,” said Pipkins. “It’s not going to take long before a college recognizes that he’s definitely a big time D1 player.”

    Sylla finished with seven receptions for 135 yards and two touchdowns, nine rushes for 28 yards and made his only extra point attempt. On defense there was hardly a play where Sylla wasn’t delivering a hit and on offense it was much of the same.

    “(Hitting) definitely feels good on both sides,” Sylla said.

    Sylla’s onside kick attempt in the final 30 seconds during Ypsilanti’s comeback attempt left much to be desired. Despite all he’d done for his team, and the minor chance even a well-struck onside kick would have been recovered, Sylla seemed genuinely disappointed to have not performed better.

    It’s the type of attitude Pipkins said Sylla applies to everything he does. Having Sylla in the huddle, Pipkins said, is like having another coach on the field.

    “He wants us to play with a sense of urgency all the time,” Pipkins said. “Coach, captain everything in one on the field.

    "We look up to him and it’s amazing. You don’t get kids often with his type of ability and his type of passion for the game.”

    Pete Cunningham covers sports for AnnArbor.com. He can be reached at petercunningham@annarbor.com. Follow him on Twitter @petcunningham.


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    “Brett Weston Landscapes” are inaugurating the University of Michigan Museum of Art’s new Photography Gallery in the second floor Maxine and Stuart Frankel Family Wing.

    brett_weston.jpg

    "Dunes and Mountains" from the "White Sands" portfolio, 1946. Gelatin silver print photograph.

    courtesy of the University of Michigan Museum of Art

    As the UMMA’s press release announcing this development tells us, this newly dedicated space is “part of (the) UMMA’s phased effort to incorporate more 20th- and 21st century art and culture throughout the building.

    “This flexible and accessible space, sited adjacent to the South and Southeast Asian Gallery, allows the Museum to regularly showcase its distinguished and widely admired photography collection — more than 3,000 images that date from the medium’s historic origins to innovative contemporary work and represent a broad range of techniques — through special exhibitions and thematic installations.”

    It is, of course, possible to come up with a short list of essential inaugural photographers (or topics, of that matter) to launch this gallery. But the younger Weston (1911-1993) is certainly an admirable photographer with which set forth this long-term project. As Carole McNamara, UMMA Senior Curator for Western Art, says in her introduction to the exhibit, the second son of one of America’s pioneering art photographers (Edward Weston, 1886-1958), Brett was not only born to the business — he was destined to expand the notion of art photography itself.

    “Brett Weston,” says McNamara, “ranks among the finest and most iconic photographers of the 20th century, his work standing as a remarkable testament to a strong visual aesthetic that found structure and compelling form in landscape.

    “Weston first took up photography as a teenager when he traveled to Mexico with his father. Immediately realizing that his son had great promise, Edward gave Brett his own Graflex 3 ¼ x 4 ¼ camera. Although some influence from his father was inescapable, the young Weston quickly set off in his own direction, printing his negatives with a higher gloss paper and in gelatin silver rather than platinum in order to achieve the deep contrasts and sharp edges he so valued.”

    These “deep contrast and sharp edges” are certainly on display in this tidy 19 artwork exhibit spreading itself comfortably against two non-contiguous walls at the UMMA. There’s a sophisticated sense of minute detail coupled to an overarching abstract composition that makes Weston’s photography uniquely his own.

    Not content to merely discover his photograph through a viewfinder, Weston instead sought to structure his work so that the landscape image is recognizable for what it is while also particularize the photo’s compositional elements to build wholes out of its discrete parts. This is photography quite nearly on the scale of genius and the incontrovertible proof is on display in this carefully selected and meticulously mounted display.

    As McNamara further tells us, “Though (Weston) framed his images as a photographer; exploiting the pictorial tensions of positive and negative space — he saw as a painter. Indeed, he was profoundly influenced by the work of not only other photographers, but also leading painters like Diego Rivera, whom he met in Mexico, and Georgia O’Keeffe whose painting he particularly admired.”

    brett_weston2.jpg

    "White Sands" from the "White Sands" portfolio, 1946. Gelatin silver print photograph.

    courtesy of the University of Michigan Museum of Art

    Take for example, Weston’s 1946 gelatin silver print “White Sands “from his “White Sands” portfolio. This magisterial image has a monochromatic saturation that dazzles the eye — but this is also only the most conspicuous quality of the composition as Weston’s framing of his pictorial elements features a slight diagonal placement that makes these shrubs seemingly biomorphic. Weston’s remarkable eye gives each and every plant a particularized character and it’s this attention to detail that makes “White Sands” such a vivid photograph.

    “Dunes and Mountains” from the same year and the same portfolio, on the other hand, finds Weston enamored with the ripples of the White Sands landscape. This gelatin silver print is highly pleasing not only for this sheer technical expertise, but also for his playful alternation of flat linear geometry and the rippling sand dune whose repetitive curvilinear striation leads the viewer’s eye into the heart of the composition. Using a backdrop mountainous ridge as a brace to frame his viewer’s eye, Weston crafts a meticulous series of sightlines whose subtle function is to guide our imagination.

    It is, of course, impossible to choose any single one of these 19 photographs as the masterwork of the exhibit, but the two photos mentioned above touch on Weston’s considerable strengths as an art photographer.

    As McNamara says, Weston sought in his work to “achieve the greatest depth of field and overall sharp focus” in his work. This is most certainly a fact to be found in photograph after photograph in “Brett Weston Landscapes.” His display of UMMA accessions sets a standard for the newly established Photography Gallery that’s a worthy benchmark to emulate.

    “Brett Weston Landscapes” will continue through Dec. 1 at the University of Michigan Museum of Art, 525 S. State St. Museum hours are 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., Tuesday-Saturday, and noon to 5 p.m., Sunday. For information, call 734-764-0395.


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    Once upon a time there was a little white house enclosed by a big brick wall. Inside that three bedroom house lived four little children - Pam, Priscilla, Gary, and Terry; and their parents, Bob and Lois Hurst.

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    Gary and Terry "help" cut the grass on Ferry Field.

    Family photo

    In their backyard was the University of Michigan football practice field. A stone’s throw away stood the basketball and track field house, and a short walk took them to the football or baseball stadium.

    It has been decades since the children lived their own version of fantasy football. The house was torn down in the 1987 and replaced by Schembechler Hall; much of the brick wall is now gone and new facilities have sprung up; those simple days have given way to the big business of college sports. But the memories remain.

    Even Priscilla (now Harris), who didn’t like sports, said it was fantastic living there. "There was always something exciting," she said. "Pep rallies with a bonfire at the outdoor track; crisp, fall football days when the whole town was deserted because everyone was at the game, making it easy to drive around."

    Gary said "it was a whole different world. Until we got older, we didn’t appreciate it because it was just our way of life, what we grew up with, all that we knew. It was a fun childhood."

    The thirty acres of land was named Ferry Field after Detroit businessman Dexter Ferry who donated it for the development of athletic facilities. To the Hurst children it was a huge playground. The house was the farmhouse on the acreage.

    The darkness of Yost Field House made it a perfect place for playing hide and seek or climbing the ropes that were there for the athletes. Terry would run on the artificial football practice field after the players were gone for the night and run through the tires. The blocking dummies were toys for them all to be played on.

    Pam (Gibb), the oldest, remembers cars being parked at Ferry Field for the football games and the buses which brought the high school bands for the annual band day. "The Michigan marching band practiced in our backyard and the ROTC was there on Saturday," she said.

    "It was a neat experience. You couldn’t beat it. Who else has a football team in their yard? On Saturday afternoons I would sit on the front porch waiting for the band to come back after the game, watching to see if their hats were on backwards, indicating a victory. Sometimes I would go at half-time and get in free, especially when I became a teenager and learned that it was a good place to meet boys."

    Gary and Terry got to mingle with the players and coaches before and after practice. "The biggest deal for me was getting to know the players as people, not just as players," Terry said. "Some of the players and coaches would explain to Gary and me how to do things. Stan Kemp, who played in the mid 60s and was a punter, showed us how to kick the ball, for example. And Bump Elliott (the coach from 1959-68) would give us tips on different things.

    "It was a little tricky, though. They were all busy, so we had to learn when to talk to them and when not to. Our parents told us not to bother them once practice started."

    Because Bob was the head of maintenance for the athletic department, his family was able to live in the house. He had come back to Ann Arbor after serving in the Army Air Corps. for three years as a radio operator in a B-24 bomber, flying 34 missions over Germany and France. On the 34th, he was wounded in both legs by enemy flak and was in the hospital for a few months afterwards. He began working at the athletic department on a temporary basis in 1945 and ended up staying 41 years.

    Besides the fun and excitement, there were a few scary times at the house. In February 1959, the furnace blew up and the house caught on fire. At the time, Bob and Lois were gone, and Bob’s parents were babysitting. The fire department responded quickly, and Pam and Priscilla were able to jump out of the second-story window into the arms of the firemen. Gary and Terry, however, were overcome by the smoke. One of the firemen climbed a ladder, crawled along the ground to the unconscious boys, and carried them out one at a time. They both woke up later at the hospital in oxygen tents.

    In May of the same year, a tornado tore a corner of the roof off of Yost Field House and a big tree broke through the brick wall. The patch job is still visible. Then there was the time that Priscilla fell out of the second-floor window while waving to her uncle who was approaching the house. Fortunately, the lawn had been freshly laid with sod; Priscilla landed on her hands and knees, got up and walked away unhurt.

    Shortly after, though, she was playing on the bandstand that Dr. William Ravelli (director of the marching band) used. She climbed two steps, fell off and broke her arm. Figure that out.

    A special treat for the family was when the helicopters would land at Ferry Field. That was typical when the governor would come for the Michigan State game. In 1965, President Lyndon Johnson landed there, then headed to the stadium to give the graduation commencement address.

    Another man who would become president, Gerald Ford, often watched football practice when he was in Ann Arbor (he played for Michigan from 1932-34), and he and Bob became well acquainted.

    Lois, who said she doesn’t know the first thing about football, still liked living at Ferry Field. "The kids, and their friends that they had over, could play on the fields and I always knew where they were," she said. "It was great for Bob because there was no commute to work. And the lack of privacy wasn’t a problem since we enjoyed meeting people, and there were lots of wonderful people."

    There were a few nice perks, too, of being close to the athletes and coaches. One day, Bo Schembechler happened to be at Knight’s Restaurant the same time that the Hurst family was there. Since Bob knew Bo well, he was able to introduce him to Terry’s daughter and son-in-law, a thrill for them.’

    Everyone has a "Bo story," and Terry recalls cleaning Bo’s office as a teenager when he worked for his dad. "I broke a trophy one day and left him a note explaining what happened. The next day, he called me in, and I thought ‘oh, no. I’m in trouble.’ Bo asked me if it was an accident. I said that it was. He suggested that I get some glue and try to fix it, and to be more careful next time. I walked out relieved and said to myself, ‘he isn’t so bad.’"

    Terry said he not only had fun, but learned from the athletes. "I saw that it was their dedication and focus that led to success. At practice, they would do the same thing over and over until they got it right. That approach applies to any aspect of life."

    Gary admits that sometimes the kids might have been pests to the players or coaches or work crew. "But I loved growing up there," he said. "Whether it was playing on the tractors or watching them transport sod from Ferry Field to transplant in the stadium, it never got old. Even when I was older."

    Bob and Lois now live in Florida. When their kids visit, as they all did recently, you can imagine that reminiscing is a big part of the conversation.

    If you want to contact Terry about his life growing up, or about Michigan sports in general, email him at dr.terry.hurst@gmail.com.

    Bob Horning, a lifelong Ann Arbor resident, is writing U-M game day stories for AnnArbor.com. If you have ideas for future columns, please email news@annarbor.com.


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    minikegchug.jpg

    University of Michigan officials are encouraging students to be safe with their drinking during tailgates before the Michigan-Notre Dame game Saturday.

    Courtney Sacco | AnnArbor.com

    It’s noon on the first football Saturday of 2013 in Ann Arbor and Hill Street is alive with the sound of tailgate.

    In the 1100 block of Hill, University of Michigan students and other college-aged revelers jam into the yard of a two-story home. The crowd is bouncing with the thumping beat of a techno track that echoes across the neighborhood; it's so loud it’ll surely leave most with ringing ears in a few hours.

    The air smells like cheap vodka and spilled beer. People dancing on the ledges of the home sometimes struggle to stay on their feet. The Wolverines don’t take on Central Michigan University for a few hours.

    A family, two children and a mother and father, pose for pictures across Hill with the party in the background. They smile, laugh and marvel at the spectacle.

    A Pint Of Perception

    With school starting up at the beginning of September — and football season coming just before it — so comes the return of loud, obvious binge drinking on the streets and Twitter accounts of Ann Arbor residents.

    But, is it any different now than it was 20 years ago? Statistics say no.

    On the national level, binge drinking among college students has been on the decline since 1991, according to the National Institute of Drug Abuse. A survey completed in 2011 shows the proportion of college students who reported having five or more drinks in a row during the last two weeks went from 43 percent in 1991 to 36 percent in 2011.

    At the University of Michigan, the numbers only increased slightly. In 1999, 45 percent of U-M students reported binge drinking in the previous two weeks. In 2013, that number was 50.8, but even that is down from a peak of 53.2 percent in 2005.

    According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, four out of five college students drink, and about half of those students report binge drinking in the previous two weeks.

    Those are the numbers. But, the perception is definitely changing, said Mary Jo Desprez, the Alcohol and Other Drugs Program coordinator at U-M. A lot of that is thanks to social media.

    “It’s much more in our face than it was, even in 2007,” she said in an interview.

    She added, “The ability for those images to go viral and create a perception is worrisome because then it makes it seem more normal, that that is what you do.”

    In addition, Desprez said, Ann Arbor is unique among many college campuses, in that the city of Ann Arbor and the campus of the University of Michigan are so intermingled. With students and permanent residents living so close together, it becomes very easy to see mass parties like the ones on football Saturdays — and the heavy drinking that comes along with them.

    That perception problem is also in place at Eastern Michigan University.

    According to 2012 statistics from the CORE Alcohol and Drug Survey in 2012, more than 40 percent of students believed that students use alcohol three times per week. However, the actual percentage of students using alcohol more than three times per week was below 20 percent.

    According to the same survey, the percentage of students reporting bingeing in the previous two weeks went down more than 3 percent from 2010 to 2012 — from 33.5 percent to 30.2 percent.

    Kathy Walz, a health educator at EMU, said educating students about drinking — how to determine if friends are too drunk, knowing how much alcohol is in a certain drink and showing them that not everyone is getting hammered every weekend — is very important.

    “Since we started, we’ve come a far way in helping them understand that alcohol poisoning is real,” she said. “Telling them to ‘Drink responsibly’, and other media messages, are doing them a disservice, because no one’s had that conversation with them.”

    A Game Under The Lights

    Tailgates can be quite the spectacle, such as the one on Hill Street that drew the attention of that Wolverine-fan family last week. With just the second night game in U-M history to be held Saturday night, there are some concerns about alcohol consumption getting out of control during the extended tailgating period.

    “It’s going to be pretty crazy,” said John Burns, U-M sophomore. Notre Dame is a pretty big game and we have a history with Notre Dame. … It’s going to be fun for sure.”

    Most of the problems after the 2011 edition of the Michigan-Notre Dame game — the first to be held under the lights — took place after the game. A large fight was broken up by Ann Arbor police using pepper spray as the bars closed after the game at the corner of South University Avenue and Church Street and a few other assaults took place as well.

    According to Ann Arbor police, there were 144 total citations during that edition of the game. Police issued 94 alcohol-related citations and 9 noise citations before the game and another 33 alcohol-related citations and eight noise violations after the game. All of those numbers were much higher than normal home games during the 2011 season.

    Throughout the 2012 football season, UMPD gave 61 minor in possession tickets on game weekends, needed 55 ambulance requests or hospital transports and 57 people were kicked out of UM Stadium for having booze. One person received an open container ticket, 26 people were arrested for disorderly conduct, there were seven internal dorm incidents for alcohol, one urination in public ticket and 2 people arrested for going on the field at Michigan Stadium.

    On Saturday, there will definitely be enough rowdiness on the streets south and west of campus, on the golf courses and in the Pioneer High School parking lot to go around. But, not everyone is working on making sure they get so blitzed they don’t remember half the game.

    “There’s a significant portion of campus that doesn’t drink. They would prefer to be at a dry tailgate,” said Michael Proppe, a senior at U-M and student body president.

    That’s why the Michigan Student Assembly will be holding The Under The Lights Tailgate on Elbel Field, off of Hill Street between Division and Fifth Avenue, Saturday. The student assembly held a similar event before the last night game in 2011 and more than 8,000 students attended. A similar amount of people are expected this time.

    The event will give students who don’t want to drink a tailgate atmosphere to enjoy without alcohol, and give those who have been drinking a chance to get some free food and water before the game. Proppe said it’s an important event.

    “The University of Michigan is a pretty diverse campus. Some students prefer to be out at the party and some prefer to be at a dry event,” he said. “This gives that option. They don’t have to be at the party with alcohol. It does keep the student experience a lot of fun for a lot of students.”

    Burns said he expects tailgating to be getting going early but with probably some downtime. The most important thing is still the game, he said.

    “I know people will be out here at six in the morning, trying to get on TV,” he said in an interview near the College GameDay set on Ingalls Mall. “There will probably be some drinking earlier in the day and some downtime to get some food, and then it might start back up before the game.”

    He added, “There’s a chance of that (students getting out of control), but I’m sure people will want to be in control of things. There are smart kids here.”

    Desprez is hoping students will download the new Stay In The Blue smartphone app to make sure they stay safe on game day and other nights out. The app allows users to track the amount they’re drinking while the app gives them an idea of their Blood Alcohol Content, along with other helpful functions to lead to a safe night.

    U-M football legend Desmond Howard has done public service announcements in support of the app and Desprez said it’s another attempt for educators to be with students in the new mediums where they’re spending their time, such as Twitter and Facebook.

    “We have to be innovative with how we educate those who are going to choose to drink anyway,” she said.

    At the end of the day, the thing that matters most to students is that the Wolverines leave the Big House with a win. Burns was a high school senior in 2011 and remembers watching the last night game on TV.

    “I’m expecting one of the greatest games I’ve ever been to,” Burns said. “I watched that game, the last time it was under the lights, and in the last minute there was like five touchdowns, so I’m just waiting for, hopefully, something like that. I’m just hoping for a Michigan win."

    Education, Alternatives, Prevention

    For the most part, college is college wherever you go and it’s been like that for decades.

    “At any university environment, you are going to have a drinking culture,” Walz said about EMU. “We have the biggest incoming freshman class and a lot of those freshman are living on campus. We face the same issues … around alcohol that other universities face.”

    What’s different now is the targeted educated and prevention efforts from departments such as Alcohol and Other Drugs Program at U-M and the University Health Services at EMU.

    Desprez and Walz both spoke about the importance of educating freshman during their first days on campus about drinking and sexual assault. Walz said the three groups especially targeted for education efforts at EMU are freshman, athletes and those in the Greek Life system.

    “We have to think of practical proactive ways (to engage students),” Walz said. “A lot of times, they don’t plan what happens, so we have those conversations and really have to keep it fresh.”

    For instance, Greek students at EMU go through such steps as role-playing scenarios when they might have to take care of a friend who is too drunk.

    Desprez said the field of educating students about the risks of binge drinking in college has been taking great steps in recent years, aided by a federal law that requires an alcohol and other drugs program and policy at every school.

    With that many universities turning out data, it’s allowing people like Desprez to figure out what works and what doesn’t work for each campus population.

    For the most part, drinking and driving isn’t a big problem at U-M, she said. So, “putting a crashed car on The Diag doesn’t do anything,” she said.

    “All we try to do is put lots of things in place that have shown some evidence of being helpful,” she added.

    Among those programs are the required online course about alcohol and sexual assault issues, the Beyond the Diag program and dry events such as Escapade during Welcome Week, which 5,000 students attended, and the UMix event on Friday nights that averages 1,000 attendees.

    While university officials are working hard to educate students on alcohol’s effect on their life, sometimes the best regulator of student behavior is when classes start and the schoolwork comes, she said.

    “The intensity and rigor has a moderating effect,” Desprez said. “U-M students care about their academics and about maintaining a really good academic profile.”

    “There’s a very small percentage (of students) who can party hard and study hard persistently, but most people have to figure out how to calibrate.”

    Kyle Feldscher covers cops and courts for AnnArbor.com. He can be reached at kylefeldscher@annarbor.com or you can follow him on Twitter.


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    Michigan football fans celebrate the Wolverines' win over Notre Dame under the lights in 2011.

    Melanie Maxwell | AnnArbor.com file photo

    LIVE BLOG: Join MLive Wolverines Football writers Nick Baumgardner and Josh Slagter on the Wolverines homepage close to game time for their live blog. Or follow them on Twitter at @nickbaumgardner or @JoshSlagter

    WHO: No. 17 Michigan vs. No. 14 Notre Dame.

    WHERE: Ann Arbor.

    WHEN: 8:05 p.m.

    ODDS: Michigan is favored by 4.5 points according to SportsBook.com.

    SERIES RECORD: Michigan leads 23-16-1.

    LAST MEETING: September 2, 2012, Notre Dame beat Michigan, 13-6.

    WEATHER: 77 degrees with isolated thunderstorms and a 30 percent chance of rain. Or...

    BROADCAST INFORMATION: TV: ESPN; Radio: Michigan Sports Network (local affiliates).

    MICHIGAN: Roster | Schedule

    NOTRE DAME: Roster | Schedule

    Coverage: The last time Michigan and Notre Dame met under the lights at Michigan Stadium, there was an epic Wolverines comeback that ended up being the catalyst for Michigan's run to the Sugar Bowl. Last year's game at Notre Dame: just a ho-hum one-touchdown contest that precipitated a Fighting Irish run to the national championship game. The 2013 version of the rivalry -- and yes, it is a rivalry -- has a lot to live up to, but with Saturday being the last time the teams will meet for the foreseeable future, all indications are both squads are up to it, so let's learn all we can about the matchup:

    Thumbnail image for Fitz-toussaint-nw-run.jpg
    5 Michigan keys: The turnover war and the Fitz Toussaint-Derrick Green experience (with picks)

    It's been well-documented that the Wolverines coughed the ball up 18 times in their five losses a year ago. It was the common theme, above all else and it was never worse than against Notre Dame. Ball security is one of the many keys to the game for the Wolverines on Saturday.

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    Desmond Howard on Michigan rivalries: Michigan State's regional; Ohio State, Notre Dame are national

    Heisman Trophy winner Desmond Howard, who is on campus this week with ESPN's "College GameDay," didn't call anyone a little brother Friday, but he did offer his thoughts of Michigan's top rivalries. Ohio State's first, Notre Dame's second and Michigan State's third.

    TATE-FORCIER-11-1509(1).JPG
    As Devin Gardner preps for Notre Dame, a look back at Michigan QBs in their first start vs. Irish

    Devin Gardner said this is what every college quarterback dreams of, so it's safe to say he'll be pumped for Michigan's game Saturday night against Notre Dame. But how will Gardner fare at QB against the Irish? School history shows the last 10 first-time starters against Notre Dame are 4-6 overall.

    ndebow.jpg
    Matchups: Notre Dame loses Manti Te'o but has Louis Nix; Michigan's fate sits with Devin Gardner

    It's been the national spotlight game all week long, and it'll get the big stage Saturday when ESPN's "College GameDay" makes yet another trip to Ann Arbor to host a Wolverines-Fighting Irish party. There's been plenty of hoopla. But what about the actual game? Let's look at the matchups.

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    Notre Dame QB Tommy Rees has Wolverines' respect, experience under Michigan Stadium lights

    Two years ago, Tommy Rees thought he had the perfect ending to a career day when he hit Theo Riddick for a 29-yard touchdown pass with 30 seconds left, just 42 ticks after the Wolverines had claimed their first lead of the day.But Denard Robinson wasn't out of magic and all anyone remembers from that day are the Wolverines' heroics, not Rees's. He'll look to steal back a moment of his own on Saturday.

    denarded-nd-slide.jpg
    Denard Robinson ranks Michigan's rivals, refers to Michigan State as 'little brothers'

    Denard Robinson went 1-3 lifetime against Michigan State during his career at Michigan. But that didn't stop him from taking a shot at the Spartans this week during an interview with the Big Ten Network. He also offered his perspective on Michigan's rivals, ranking them in order of importance...or hate, whichever way you want to look at it.

    brian-kelly-nd-rivalry.jpg
    Brian Kelly open to renewing 'historic rivalry' with Michigan, but ACC commitments make it hard

    Brady Hoke doesn't want to see the Michigan-Notre Dame series end. Brian Kelly just can't figure out how to make it work, for now. Two days after downplaying the significance of the series, Kelly opened his weekly press conference Tuesday with "this is a great and historic rivalry … so let's get that out of the way."

    gordon-avery.jpg
    Official: Michigan's Courtney Avery and Joe Reynolds will play vs. Notre Dame; Thomas Gordon 'itching' to return

    Thomas Gordon was suspended for Michigan's Week 1 opener against Central Michigan, but coach Brady Hoke indicated he will be back in the lineup on Saturday. Also expected to play are Courtney Avery and Joe Reynolds, who both were dealing with injuries.

    channing-stribling-um-football.jpg
    Michigan freshman Channing Stribling gets run at corner with Blake Countess playing nickel

    The 6-foot-2, 171-pound freshman cornerback Channing Stribling saw plenty of time Saturday early and often, especially in Michigan's nickel package situations -- with the rookie playing on the outside and the more experienced Countess moved inside. Will that be the case again against Notre Dame?


    This and that:

    Associated Press preview capsule

    WHAT'S AT STAKE

    Lasting pride. After next season's game in South Bend, Ind., the storied programs will probably not play again for at least a decade because Notre Dame chose last year to cancel the last three games of the series to help it adjust to playing five games against Atlantic Coast Conference teams.

    KEY MATCHUP

    Michigan's offensive line against Notre Dame's defensive line. The Wolverines broke in three new starters in the middle of their line in last week's tuneup against Central Michigan, but the trio is in for a big test. Wolverines offensive coordinator Al Borges said the Fighting Irish have the best defense he'll see all year, and the unit is led by defensive end Stephon Tuitt and 6-foot-3, 342-pound nose guard Louis Nix.

    PLAYERS TO WATCH

    Michigan: OT Taylor Lewan. The 6-8, 315-pound senior turned down a chance to be a first-round pick to play another year of college.

    Notre Dame: Stephon Tuitt. The 6-6, 312-pound junior is projected as one of the top picks in the 2014 NFL draft if he skips his senior season.

    FACTS & FIGURES

    The Big House hosted its first night game two years ago against Notre Dame, and it lived up to the hype. Former Michigan QB Denard Robinson threw 2 TD passes in last 1:12, including one with 2 seconds left in a 35-31 win in front of an NCAA-record crowd of 114,804. Current Notre Dame QB Tommy Reese threw a 29-yard TD with 30 seconds left in the instant classic in 2011. ... Notre Dame picked off five of Robinson's passes last year and forced a sixth turnover in last year's 13-6 win. ... Michigan leads major college football with 904 victories and a .7347 winning percentage and Notre Dame's .7337 winning percentage trails only Michigan and its 866 wins rank third.

    Pete Cunningham covers sports for AnnArbor.com. He can be reached at petercunningham@annarbor.com. Follow him on Twitter @petcunningham.


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    The second annual Ypsi 24 Hour Shootout - a contest in which filmmakers have 24 hours to make and submit a short film that includes various elements announced at the starting time - is scheduled to happen September 27-29, but those who want to find out more, or network with other local filmmakers, should consider attending a anticipatory mixer for the event, happening on Wednesday, September 11, 2013.

    A press release contains complete details:

    What: The 2nd annual YPSI 24-Hour Film Shootout returns to downtown Ypsilanti, Michigan in September. To officially kick off the event, organizers are convening the YPSI 24 Mixer at the MIXParty at 6:30-9 p.m. on September 11th at MIX (130 W. Michigan Ave., Ypsilanti), and is open to all. The Mixer will be hosted by MIX, and munchies catered by The Wurst Bar of Ypsilanti. All are welcome to meet and greet with filmmakers, film lovers, and other artisans learn more about the YPSI 24-Hour Film Shootout.

    When: The Shootout Mixer kicks off at 6:30 p.m. on Wednesday, September 11, 2013.

    Where: MIX, 130 W. Michigan Avenue, in downtown Ypsilanti

    The YPSI 24-Hour Film Shootout is a community event for filmmakers to create a short film and share it at a community screening in downtown Ypsilanti that brings together filmmakers and film lovers. And there will be cash prizes for the winners!

    Look for more details at www.ypsi24hourfilm.com, Facebook, and Twitter!

    Jenn McKee is an entertainment reporter for AnnArbor.com. Reach her at jennmckee@annarbor.com or 734-623-2546, and follow her on Twitter @jennmckee.


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    Fans watch a live broadcast of ESPN's "College GameDay" at Ingalls Mall on the University of Michigan campus Saturday.

    Melanie Maxwell | AnnArbor.com

    They came from as far away as Florida and North Carolina to Ann Arbor for the big University of Michigan-Notre Dame football game at 8 p.m. Saturday.

    Even though kick-off wasn't for 12 hours, at 8 a.m. fans were already out en masse showing support for their teams with signs, costumes and even hair-dos at Ingalls Mall on U-M's campus for a telecast of ESPN's "College GameDay".

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    Kyle Schultz of Brighton showed off his sign at the GameDay telecast.

    John Counts | AnnArbor.com

    Some of the signs, like "Notre Lame," were pretty easy to interpret. Many referenced U-M football coach Brady Hoke's's "chicken" comment, about the ending of the long-standing rivalry, with comments such as "Cluck of the Irish."

    Kyle Schultz of Brighton got into the spirit, too, holding a sign with a chicken on it with the words, "Notre Dame New Logo" on it.

    "Brian Kelly said it wasn't a real rivalry," Schultz said. "He chickened out."

    U-M senior Jade Warner was clad in a maize and blue outfit .

    "I thought I'd do something big," he said about the outfit. "I'm enjoying (GameDay) so far."

    Notre Dame fans were also getting into the action.

    Russ and Robin Paige had a sign that said "Kiss my dog, he's 'Irish.'" Sure enough, their spaniel was right next to them. And his name is Irish. The Paiges said they've been coming to Ann Arbor for years for the Michigan-Notre Dame game.

    "We drove all the way from the mountains of North Carolina last night," Russ Paige said. "We don't want to see the ... series end." The couple and their pooch welcomed numerous U-M fans who walked up to give Irish a pet — despite the rivalry.

    Russ Paige said he's always had a great experience in Ann Arbor for the game.

    "If we weren't Notre Dame fans, we would be Michigan fans," the Boone, N.C., resident said.

    Another Notre Dame fan, Liam Kane, wasn't satisfied with a temporary sign. He got his Irish pride shaved into his head.

    The Notre Dame junior had "ND" and the school's leprechaun mascot buzzed into his head at a barber shop in South Bend, Ind. yesterday before hitting the road for Ann Arbor.

    John Counts covers cops, courts and GameDay events for AnnArbor.com. He can be reached at johncounts@annarbor.com or you can follow him on Twitter.


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    David Berkeley, who, according to the New York Times, has a “lustrous melancholy voice with shades of Tim Buckley and Nick Drake,” brings an album’s worth of new songs to The Ark on Monday night.

    david_berkely0091.jpg

    David Berkeley

    Courtesy

    With his doleful baritone, he’s been compared to Cat and Sufjian Stevens as well as a host of other literate songwriters. Insite Atlanta calls him "one of the undiscovered gems of the modern folk music scene, and Rolling Stone says that Berkeley has a “voice sweeter than incense and peppermints.”

    Given the tone of his music, his between-song persona can be surprising, as Berkeley manages to weave his heartbreaking songs with anecdotes that bring the house down.

    His newest album is “The Fire In My Head,” released earlier this year.

    Born in New Jersey, Berkeley has lived in Cambridge, Mass., where he got a degree in literature and philosophy from Harvard. He also called Alaska, Idaho, Brooklyn, Santa Cruz, Santa Fe and Corsica home. Each of those places has left its mark on his sparse, atmospheric guitar-based songs.

    As influences, he cites Paul Simon for the lyrics, Nick Drake for the mood, and then Neil Young, The Band, Elliot Smith and Jerry Garcia of the Grateful Dead.

    “My wife and my son inspire me the most,” he says. “Most of my songs are about them to some extent. I’m also inspired by traveling and by the outdoors. … I get pretty moved by the landscape and by change of scenery. … I get inspired by things that piss me off, political things that bother me.

    "Anything that gets me going, whether it’s love or anger or frustration with the world, that’s where my songs come from.”

    David Berkeley plays at The Ark, 316 S. Main St., Monday, Sept. 9 at 8 p.m. Tickets are $15. Details at www.theark.org or 734-761-1800.


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    People try different types of tomatoes at the tomato tasting during the fifth annual Home Grown Festival at the Ann Arbor Farmers Market in 2012.

    The sixth annual HomeGrown Festival, a community event celebrating the best of the region’s locally-grown food, drink, music and more, runs Saturday evening at the Ann Arbor Farmers Market.

    Rest assured, there will be plenty to eat, with chefs committed to cooking with seasonal, local food offering small-plate portions priced from $1-$7. Spirits (beer, wine, mead and kombucha) will be available to taste, and there will be many chances to meet the people who make up this region's large locally-grown food community. Trust us: They’ll be happy to answer any questions.

    Project Grow Community Gardens will also bring more than 50 varieties of heirloom tomatoes to taste, from Snow White to Aunt Ruby's German Green to Black Zebra. In addition, the Dyer Family Organic Farm will showcase a tasting selection of up to a dozen different garlic varieties. The Slow Food Huron Valley Great Lakes Heirloom Project will showcase over 30 heirloom vegetables that have been grown in this region for more than 60 years.

    There will also be music: Wire in the Wood, Chris Good & The Sweet Insurrection, and Nadir will play, starting at 6 p.m.

    Organizers estimate 4,500 people attended last year, proving interest in sustainable local food is high. Bring your appetites.

    The Sixth Annual HomeGrown Festival will be held at the Ann Arbor Farmers Market, 315 Detroit St., Saturday, Sept. 7, from 6-10 p.m. More information: http://homegrownfestival.org


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    Notre Dame fan Leo Staudacher, right, was rescued by rivals in 2011 when Marvin Sonne, University of Michigan School of Dentristry 1973, performed CPR when Staudacher suffered a heart attack at the U-M game against Notre Dame.

    University of Michigan Health System photo

    When Bay City resident Leo Staudacher, 71, watches Saturday night's football game between Notre Dame and the University of Michigan on television at home in Bay City, the longtime Notre Dame fan will find himself wrestling with split loyalties.

    I've been going to Notre Dame football games since I was 10 years old, but I'll never be able to pull against U-M again," said Staudacher.

    That's because of what happened two years ago when Staudacher came to Ann Arbor with his three adult sons for the first night game at the Big House. Cheering for the Fighting Irish was a family tradition dating back several generations for the Staudacher family.

    During the second quarter of the game, Staudacher experienced heartburn-like symptoms and fatigue. His arms suddenly felt heavy, and he collapsed on the two men sitting in front of him.

    One of those men was dentist Marvin Sonne from Trenton, Michigan. Sonne performed CPR on Staudacher with the help of Jan Tardiff, a nurse from Bay City, who was sitting nearby.

    Sonne said that Staudacher wasn't breathing and felt cold and clammy. He told AnnArbor.com, "We brought him down onto the bench, ripped open his shirt, and I began chest compressions."

    1022_Leo_Staudacher.jpg

    Leo Staudacher

    EMS arrived on the scene a few minutes later and used an automated external defibrillator to shock Staudacher. He was then transported to the U-M Cardiovascular Center, where cardiologist Dr. Stanley J. Chetcuti and a catheterization team opened Staudacher's blocked artery with emergency angioplasty.

    Staudacher was able to watch the end of the football game from his bed and stayed in the hospital for the next five days. He realized then that his football allegiances were compromised.

    The retired banker told AnnArbor.com, "The U of M fans, the HVA (Huron Valley Ambulance) people, and the care that I got at the hospital really impressed me."

    He says, "I wish U-M well in everything. Once I survived the heart attack, it's the best thing that ever happened to me."

    Staudacher has lost 25 pounds and now walks 13 miles a week.

    "I'm feeling great," he said.

    Who will he actually be cheering for during tonight's game?

    "As much as I love U-M, I have to root for the Irish," said Staudacher, who feels like the winner no matter what the final score is in Saturday night's game.

    Lisa Carolin is a freelance writer for AnnArbor.com. Contact the news desk at


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    ESPN's "College GameDay" hosted a live broadcast from Ingalls Mall on the University of Michigan campus as hundreds of Wolverine fans cheered and jeered on Saturday, September 7, 2013.

    AnnArbor.com photographer Melanie Maxwell captured these images.


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    Students starting waiting outside the Big House Friday night to be the first in line when it officially opened at 11 a.m. Saturday.

    Courtney Sacco | AnnArbor.com

    Die-hard student fans started waiting outside the Big House as early as 10 p.m. the Friday night before Saturday's University of Michigan-Notre Dame football game to ensure they got a front-row spot in the student section.

    Four sophomores who were at the front of the line around 1 p.m. Saturday said they arrived around 10 p.m. Friday, parked a car at a friend's house in the area and took shifts sleeping and waiting on Greene Street until they were allowed to officially line up at 11 a.m. — more than 12 hours later.

    Even then, they still had hours to wait for the kickoff.

    The scene was markedly different than the week before, when only 32 people were in line by 9 a.m. for seats under the new policy implemented this year that did away with reserved seats for students

    Adam Feingold, a sophomore studying neuroscience, Neil Syal; a sophomore studying mechanical engineering; Chris Reynolds, a sophomore studying aerospace engineering; and Sarah Lyyski, sophomore studying human physiology agreed the wait was worth it.

    "It's a classic rivalry," Lyyski said. "At least one time this year, with the new general admission, I wanted to get down in the front row."

    The fact that the contract Michigan and Notre Dame will be taking a hiatus from their rivalry also played a part, Lyyski said. Next year's game in South Bend will be the last between the two rivals for a while. The four friends concocted the plan to wait overnight spontaneously about 10 minutes before they arrived on Greene Street Friday night.

    Soon after, they encountered Aaron Grzegorzewski, a junior studying nuclear engineering from Cincinatti, who got there with friend Allie Engelhart, a junior marketing major.

    The two self-described "battle buddies" got there around 10:30 p.m. to wait on Greene Street.

    090713_student_queue_CS-1-2.jpg

    Ethan Stark, a first year Ph.D. student, cooks up pancakes using a makeshift stove as he waits in line

    Courtney Sacco | AnnArbor.com

    "I hate Notre Dame," Grzegorzewski said. "It's not too deep into school yet. I was pretty excited to get out here to be in the first row for the game. I cannot tell you how many texts and Snapchats I've gotten from my buddies who are out drinking right now who won't know what it will be like to be in that first row."

    Engelhart admitted it "took a lot of convincing" to start waiting to get into the stadium more than 21 hours before the game started.

    "It was fun, a little bit cold, but fun," she said.

    Grzegorzewski estimated there were about 10-15 people on waiting on Greene Street at 2 a.m. By 8 a.m., he said there were about 50-60 people. The strangers quickly bonded.

    "We're a family now," Lyyski said.

    Rob Law, a senior studying biomedical engineering, got to the stadium at 4:30 a.m. The senior said under the old rules, he wouldn't have had to wait and said the pizzas and water being handed out around 1 p.m. to all the students waiting in line were a type of peace offering from the Athletic Department.

    "I was born and raised a Michigan fan," said Law, who grew up in the Ypsilanti-Saline area. "I've always had a passion for the game. "I told my friends and they all thought I was crazy for coming out here this early."

    John Counts covers cops and courts for AnnArbor.com. He can be reached at johncounts@annarbor.com or you can follow him on Twitter.


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    The scene outside the Big House during Saturday's game against Notre Dame.

    Ryan J. Stanton | AnnArbor.com

    The luck of the Irish only goes so far.

    Dozens of Notre Dame fans — and yes, some Michigan fans, too — lingered outside the Big House for more than an hour after Saturday night's game started, searching for the elusive extra ticket to Under The Lights II, and many came up empty handed.

    For those lucky enough to score a last-minute ticket from a scalper, the going rate seemed to be about $140-$150.

    Notre_Dame_090713_RJS_005.jpg

    Fans watch the game on the scoreboard from outside the Big House.

    Ryan J. Stanton | AnnArbor.com

    "We tried to buy tickets, but we couldn't find any, so we just kept walking and found that people were watching the game," said Julie Rowan, a Notre Dame fan who called off her search and found a place to sit outside the stadium along a closed-down Main Street.

    Rowan and a friend — and about a dozen other fans — found spots in view of the scoreboard at the northern end of Michigan Stadium and watched the game from there.

    Others, like Justin Will and Brian Koch of Ann Arbor, were content tailgating nearby and watching the game on TV.

    Will and Koch and about three dozen others gathered around a glowing screen set up outside a Greyhound bus parked just southeast of the stadium. The tailgate was hosted by Tom and Jackie Anderson, University of Michigan graduates who now live in Holland.

    "This is awesome. This is the biggest tailgate out here," Koch said.

    "Two years in a row we've won best tailgate of the year," Will said. "We have food, we have alcohol, we have a good time. No riffraff."

    Notre_Dame_090713_RJS_008.jpg

    On a lawn half a block west of the stadium, David Pilmore, president of the Adrian Steel Co., watched the game with friends on a TV set up in the back of a van.

    Ryan J. Stanton | AnnArbor.com

    On a lawn half a block west of the stadium, David Pilmore, president of the Adrian Steel Co., watched the game with friends on a TV set up in the back of a van, with the roar of the crowd at the Big House creating a true surround-sound experience.

    "It's a tradition for us. We've been doing this for decades," he said. "It's something we come out and do with our customers three or four times a year and it's always enjoyable."

    Local school students Delia Binetti, Sarah Lancaster, Delaney Sperlbaum and Lexie Sperlbaum used Saturday's game as a chance to raise money by selling homemade cookies and brownies just down the street from the stadium.

    "I've been doing this since I was a little kid," said Lexie, now 14 and at Pioneer High. "Sometimes it's to help us with school trips or when we're doing sports and we have to pay for that."

    Barney Klein, who lives on Keech Avenue and was out tailgating Saturday, said the scene around the stadium seemed a little more toned down compared to the last Notre Dame game.

    "It seems like two years ago for the first night game it was a little more rambunctious than this," he said. "But it's hard to say, because now that they're closing down Main Street, both the foot and the car traffic seems a little lighter here."

    He added, "This is always a crazy game — Notre Dame — but nothing beats Michigan State. Every single time it is just out of control."

    Diane Brown, spokeswoman for the U-M Department of Public Safety, said university police handled a lot of incidents on Saturday, but she didn't have a detailed report to share yet.

    Notre_Dame_090713_RJS_001.jpg

    Bobby Wilson, who said he lives on government disability, expected to make about $30 from cashing in the bottles and cans he collected Saturday night.

    Ryan J. Stanton | AnnArbor.com

    Jeff Kass, who drove in from the Detroit area for the game, proudly wore a "Rudy Blows!" shirt as he made his way into the stadium Saturday night.

    "I'm hoping we send them out on a good note," he said, referencing the fact that Notre Dame won't be coming back to Ann Arbor for a while. "I think that's kind of weak, but what are you going to do?"

    Large amounts of litter, including plastic bottles and cups, cluttered the sidewalks outside the stadium, but scavengers were out scooping up items of value.

    Among them was Ann Arbor resident Bobby Wilson, who said he lives on government disability. He expected to make about $30 from cashing in the beer bottles and pop cans he collected.

    "Basically just about everybody out here is on disability and just trying to get some pocket change," he said. "We're out here because we run out of money in the middle of the month, because we only get $700 for rent, food, transportation, clothes, whatever."

    Notre_Dame_090713_RJS_007.jpg

    About three dozen fans gathered around a glowing screen set up outside a Greyhound bus parked just southeast of the stadium to watch the game.

    Ryan J. Stanton | AnnArbor.com

    Main Street was once again closed to vehicle traffic and fans moved freely in and out of the street on foot before and during the game.

    Chuck Fojtik, who was overseeing the city's traffic control operations on Saturday, said there weren't any major traffic issues before the game.

    "I think it was pretty spread out," he said. "We started at 2 p.m. and there was a little bit of a backup onto the highway at I-94 and Ann Arbor-Saline Road, but once we started running the traffic lights and got everything going, it just kept going smooth from then on."

    As the game got under way, Fojtik predicted it would be a late night.

    "The last Notre Dame game, we didn't get out of here until 2:30 or 3 in the morning. We expect it to be that late again," he said.

    Ann Arbor Police Sgt. Elizabeth Patten said just after the game ended before midnight Saturday that officers were busy, but there were no significant incidents to report.

    "It's just been busy like usual football games, but maybe up a little bit," she said, adding there were citations for open intoxicants, minors in possession of alcohol and noise violations, but she didn't yet have numbers to report on citations issued.

    Ryan J. Stanton covers government and politics for AnnArbor.com. Reach him at ryanstanton@annarbor.com or 734-623-2529. You also can follow him on Twitter or subscribe to AnnArbor.com's email newsletters.


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    090713_SPT_Michigan_NotreDame_pr23.jpeg

    After a long day waiting for their front row seats, students celebrated up close and personal with the players after Michigan's 41-30 win over Notre Dame at Michigan Stadium Saturday, September 7, 2013.

    Patrick Record | AnnArbor.com

    The University of Michigan pulled out all the stops for the second “Under the Lights” game against Notre Dame.

    The 115,109 fans at the stadium, a new stadium record, were treated to a number of jet flyovers, multiple celebrity appearances and a stunning halftime show. Rumor has it there was also a football game squeezed in there somewhere.

    Things did not start out quite as smoothly as planned for certain sections of the crowd, though. Many students complained of long waits in line to reach their seats as ushers focused on making sure that the general admission seating areas filled property.

    Wait times were as long as half an hour outside some sections, with extremely long lines still snaking out from entrances less than 30 minutes before kickoff.

    “We’ve been waiting here for way too long,” one student shouted as he tried to force his way into section 28. “This is just ridiculous.”

    The stadium ushers, who volunteer to work on game days were not thrilled with the new system.

    “This is the biggest fiasco we’ve ever had here,” one usher said who requested to remain anonymous in order to continue working at games in the future.

    michigan-lights.jpg.jpeg

    Fans walk around Michigan Stadium prior to Michigan's game against Notre Dame, Saturday, September 7, 2013.

    Brianne Bowen | AnnArbor.com

    “I’m surprised there weren’t any casualties from the heat we were packing the kids so tight in there.”

    Once seated, the students voiced their displeasure, booing athletic director Dave Brandon loudly when he was announced as part of the pre-game ceremony honoring Michigan’s first Heisman Trophy winner Tom Harmon.

    The ceremony, highlighted by the presence of Tom Harmon’s son and television actor Mark Harmon, bestowed Harmon’s No. 98 jersey on quarterback Devin Gardner.

    Gardner joined a number of other Michigan players wearing numbers honoring great players from the program’s past. Wide receiver Jeremy Gallon wears Desmond Howard’s No. 21 jersey, linebacker Desmond Morgan wears Gerald Ford’s No. 48, tight end Devin Funchess wears Ron Kramer's No. 87 and Courtney Avery wears No. 11 honoring brothers Francis, Albert and Alvin Wistert.

    Once the game kicked off, the atmosphere was electric as the record-setting crowd made sure their presence was felt throughout the game. Chants of “Go Blue” were constant, but chants of “Lets Go Irish” could also be heard in the stadium, and even from the press box, well into the fourth quarter.

    Thank_you_steve_flag.jpg

    Students displayed a large flag thanking Stephen Ross for his recent donation to the University of Michigan.

    Ben Freed | AnnArbor.com

    Early in the first quarter, Miami Dolphins owner and major University of Michigan donor Stephen Ross was honored for his recent $200 million gift to the business school and athletic department with the unfurling of a flag that stretched across an entire section of the stadium.

    At halftime, the lights went out in the Big House. Thankfully it was on purpose.

    For the second week in a row, fans were treated to an innovative halftime show from the Michigan Marching Band and new director John Pasquale. The show involved lasers, lights, light-up bracelets distributed to fans, a giant disco ball and music originally performed by Beyonce Knowles.

    Those who weren't lucky enough to get tickets, truly missed out on a spectacular show.

    Eminem_in_hallway.jpg

    Eminem pauses to talk with a fan in the hallway after his appearance on ESPN during halftime of the Michigan-Notre Dame game.

    Ben Freed | AnnArbor.com

    So much was going on that even Eminem was overshadowed by the show on the field. The rapper from Detroit made a brief appearance in the stadium during halftime, sneaking into the press box to chat with ABC announcers Brent Musburger and Kirk Herbstreit about his new album. The interview was played in-part — and without audio — on the big screens at the stadium.

    Other Michigan celebrities who showed up to be honored included basketball player Cazzie Russel, the entire Michigan Basketball team that went to last year’s final four — including NBA players Trey Burke and Tim Hardaway Jr. — and wide recievers Desmond Howard and Anthony Carter.

    With fans perhaps learning their lesson from two years ago, the stadium remained packed deep into the fourth quarter as Notre Dame time and again kept the game close when it looked like Michigan might pull away.

    Feelings were running strongly in the lower rows of sections 14 and 15 where away fans traditionally sit, but Notre Dame supporters said that overall their trip to Ann Arbor had been a pleasant one.

    dileo-brick-ND-celbration.jpg

    Students who waited all day in line celebrated with players after Michigan's 41-30 win over Notre Dame Saturday, September 7, 2013.

    Melanie Maxwell | AnnArbor.com

    “Aside from the pass interference calls? Yeah, we’ve been treated alright,” Cody Smith, a Notre Dame fan who made the trip from South Bend, said.

    The on-field drama of 2011 would have been difficult to top, but the second night game in Michigan Stadium history did not disappoint.

    And though they booed loudly at Brandon for the new general admission seating policy, the happiest fans were no doubt those who waited 22 hours for the coveted front row seats. The loyal waiting by those sleep-deprived fans earned them the embrace of the victorious Wolverines.

    Under the lights.

    Ben Freed covers business for AnnArbor.com. You can sign up here to receive Business Review updates every week. Get in touch with Ben at 734-623-2528 or email him at benfreed@annarbor.com. Follow him on twitter @BFreedinA2


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