Last year's loss to Penn State still stings; Lions next on Michigan's 2018 'revenge tour'

Detroit Free Press (TNS)
  • Penn State rolled to a 42-13 victory over MIchigan last season.
  • Penn State and Michigan square off again Saturday at Michigan.
  • The NIttany Lions are next up on what Michigan is calling its "revenge tour."

Michigan defensive end Chase Winovich didn’t go public with the phrase "revenge tour" until after the Wolverines’ 38-13 win over Wisconsin on Oct. 13.

Michigan defensive lineman Chase Winovich reacts after a play during the first half of an NCAA college football game against Michigan State , Saturday, Oct. 20, 2018, in East Lansing, Mich. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)

But it was a term that had been in the works for a long time, long before the start of a three-game stretch against teams that all beat the Wolverines last season.

“I think Chase was probably waiting to save that up,” said Carlo Kemp, a sophomore defensive tackle. “He probably had it written down in a notebook somewhere. Finally got his time to use it. That was the first time I heard it.”

Like many of his teammates, Winovich thought long and hard during the offseason about Michigan’s shortcomings last year. He thought about how to pay back the teams "that were bullying" Michigan.

“Me personally, I wanted our lunch money back,” Winovich said, “and I wanted them to pay interest.”

PSU next on tour: Wisconsin and Michigan State were the first opponents on the revenge tour. Next up is Saturday’s home game against Penn State.

“Last year, we played Penn State, definitely didn’t like that outcome,” Kemp said. “It’s been sitting in the back of our minds. You don’t think about that because you have to prepare for a new team every single week, but now you can bring it here to the front of your mind as we go into this Penn State game.”

The Nittany Lions trounced the Wolverines, 42-13, last fall. It was an ugly game that exposed Michigan’s weaknesses. And the loss ended any hope U-M had of winning the Big Ten title.

No one has forgotten that.

“I wake up every morning and I think about (that game),” defensive coordinator Don Brown said last week. “Honest.”

Loss to PSU lingered: Winovich said the loss lingered throughout winter conditioning and continues to do so every day.

“Obviously, we didn’t like what they tried to do at the end of the game, tried to score the touchdown again,” Winovich said. “But, hey, they gotta do what they gotta do. It’s football. So we’re not going to whine about it. We’re going to focus on what we can control and just keep getting better every week and prepare for this game.”

Winovich didn’t create the "revenge tour" shirt sported by linebacker Devin Bush Jr. before the Michigan State game. He did, however, make a different version that features himself as the Grim Reaper with blonde hair.

“It was cool,” Winovich said. “I don’t think compliance would let me sell that.”

Other players may not have been as outspoken as Winovich, or as demonstrative as Bush. But they all still "pretty much share the same opinion," says offensive guard Michael Onwenu.

Future of tour? As for the future of the revenge tour?

The phrase isn’t just exclusive to teams that beat the Wolverines last year, Winovich said. Which means there won’t be a break on the tour between this week and Michigan’s game at Ohio State on Nov. 24.

“It’s for everybody,” Winovich said. “I think it’s just an attitude, it’s like if you’re going to beat us, you can come and try and pry it out of our hands. That grittiness I felt like was lacking last year.”

“I think our team has more so embodied this year than just the cheesy slogan,” Winovich continued, before laughing and correcting himself. “It’s not cheesy, it’s a really good slogan.”