Led by Denard Robinson and Jordan Kovacs, Michigan's senior class leaves the Big House in style
ANN ARBOR -- At Michigan Stadium, there's only one way in, and one way out.
The lone entrance and exit to the stadium turf, of course, is the famed tunnel on the structure's east side.
And in the moments following Michigan's 42-17 win over Iowa on Saturday, senior co-captains Denard Robinson and Jordan Kovacs wouldn't have minded if someone or something found a way to permanently cave that tunnel in.
Neither wanted to leave.
Because, on this day, both knew they'd never get to come back.
"(I was just thinking) about all the memories I've had with this team, everything we went through," Robinson said following Michigan's senior day victory. "All the ups and downs we had in this stadium.
"Time went by so fast."
For Robinson, Kovacs and the rest of the Michigan senior class, it really did.
Although, at times, their careers almost certainly had to feel like an odyssey that may never end -- and if it ever did, one that would almost certainly end with frustration and pain.
This class began its career at Michigan with a 12-13 record in 2009 and 2010. Some of these players, the team's fifth-year seniors, were present in 2008 when the Wolverines opened the Rich Rodriguez era with a dismal 3-9 record.
There's been shame, embarrassment, humiliation, heartbreaking losses and blowout losses. They've been booed at Michigan Stadium, the've gone through an NCAA investigation and a had to live with a coaching change.
But most importantly, for Michigan's 23 seniors, there was also redemption.
Michigan is 19-5 over the past two seasons, and in the final 14 home games of this senior class' career -- they never lost.
"I didn't want to leave the stadium," Michigan senior Kenny Demens said. "Where we've come from, with those less than successful seasons, to be where we are now, this just means a lot."
Two of the last players to leave the field Saturday were Kovacs and Robinson.
One, the team's electric superstar who came back from injury Saturday to put on a show one last time in front of the homestanding faithful.
The other, the heartbeat of a defense that has gone from a punching bag to a brick wall in just two years' time.
They've had their ups, their downs and their in betweens at Michigan Stadium.
There's only one way in and one way out.
And for Robinson, Kovacs and the rest of the 2012 seniors, that final time out felt pretty good.
"I'm not ready for it to end," Kovacs said. "It's been quite the journey."
It certainly has.