Orlando, FL. Jan 1, 08 - Senior Michigan tailback Mike Hart had his last game as a wolverine in the Capital One Bowl in an upset against 10 point favorite Florida team. He had 2 TDs and 2 lost fumbles, which is the most number of lost fumbles he had in 1 game. Hart started for the wolverines for 4 years, and he came into the game with only 1 career lost fumble, which came during his freshman year against Iowa.
The lost fumbles, though uncharacteristic, does not worry the Michigan fans as far as the game was concerned, as when the fumbles occurred, Michigan had both good field position and had a TD lead against #12 ranked Florida.
Both the fumbles were near the goal line, and roused suspicion from some fans that Hart is actually trying to make up his career worth of lost fumbles. After all, this is his last chance to tie things up as a wolverine. In his four years wearing the maize and blue, he had 3 career lost fumbles.
After the game, one of our reporters asked him if he fumbled the ball intentionally to keep up with the NCAA tailback average number of lost fumbles, he expressed curiosity in the national average, "What's the national average lost fumbles a tailback does in four years? ", when told that it is about 20-30 lost fumbles, he exclaimed "Darn, I tripled my career total but it wasn't even that close."
He later added that he was hoping no one would notice he deliberately dropped the ball near the goal line deep in their own territory, so that the wolverines could get the ball back on a safety or a punt. That way, he could accumulate more lost fumbles as he brings the ball all the way back to the goal line and lose it again. "We had to score a few more to keep Florida from being motivated to win the game though".
After the first lost fumble, he feigned surprise and kept saying he was already down when the ball came loose when he knew it was otherwise. "If the Florida defense knew what I was trying to achieve, they might not even try to tackle me at all, and I wouldn't be able to try to at least get to the national average, it would have been a disaster. Then I would run all over the field unblocked and untackled. I can't risk that happening"
When asked what sparked him to embark on such a voyage to pursue imperfection in his records, he said, "sometimes when you wake up and realize that you haven't lost a fumble in more than 3 years, there is a lot of catching up to do, and this game is my last in college after all."
He also said he was happy with his game and that no one saw through his ambition in tripling his career lost fumbles in one game.