Russell Bellomy became the loneliest man in the universe on a Saturday night in October 2012. It was that night, in Lincoln, Neb., that Michigan’s backup quarterback stepped into the most significant role of his entire career, and it fell apart too quickly for those watching to even know what happened.
Michigan was ranked No. 20 in the AP Poll and sat atop the Legends Division standings with a 5-2 (3-0) record. Nebraska was 2-1 in the Big Ten at the time and found itself a game out of first place in the division.
Especially given the situation, Lincoln on a Saturday night is one of the most dangerous places you can be as a backup stepping up onto the big stage for your team.
On a second-and-seven from Nebraska’s 15, Denard Robinson scrambled to the edge, but instead of ducking out of bounds, he hesitated and tried to cut upfield. Lunging forward, Robinson re-aggravated a nerve injury in his right arm. That injury of course is what ended Robinson’s time as a quarterback at Michigan.
The torch was then handed to Bellomy, a redshirt freshman with no valuable playing time up to that point.
Michigan finished that drive with a field goal to pull within a point of the Cornhuskers before halftime. After that, though, the game slipped away from Bellomy and the Wolverines.
The first pass Bellomy threw that didn’t fall to the ground was intercepted by Nebraska’s P.J. Smith and returned 53 yards to the Michigan 4-yard line.
The rest of the game would be much of the same for Bellomy. The only other viable option for Michigan at quarterback was Devin Gardner, but he hadn’t been practicing at the position since his switch to wide receiver, and Brady Hoke said after the game he never considered the switch.
Bellomy would go on to throw two more interceptions, taking his total to three, which equaled the number of completions he had on 16 attempts.
So in the matter of just over one half of football, Russell Bellomy became quite possibly the loneliest human being on the face of the planet. A deer staring into oncoming headlights, the freshman couldn’t dodge quickly enough, and Michigan shared first place with the Cornhuskers after a 23-9 loss.
Flash forward to today, and Bellomy—the quarterback who has been through the highest of highs and lowest of lows in a Michigan uniform—has decided to forgo his fifth year of eligibility. He will instead graduate after this semester and transfer as a graduate student, which means he’ll be able to play right away.
On his Instagram, Bellomy had this to say:
“To those of you that know me well, I always try my hardest never to get emotional; however, I write this with a heavy heart. My heart is packed full of experiences, acquaintances and irreplaceable memories that I will reminisce on for the rest of my life,” Bellomy wrote. “I love each and every one of my teammates, both former and present, and I hope y’all know that every day I busted my butt for you and the benefit of UM. I will receive my degree at the end of this semester and have decided to sign my release that enables me to play my 5th year as a graduate student at another university. I pray that you respect my decision and support me in whatever I do, because this was not an easy process. I am forever grateful to have attended and played for UM and I wouldn’t trade it for anything in the world. “For I know the plans I have for you…” #GoBlueAlways”
In his Michigan career, Bellomy appeared in a total of six games (one in 2014) and completed four passes for 46 yards.
Best of luck, Russell.
Tyler Fenwick is the managing editor of The Big House Report. Follow him on Twitter @Ty_Fenwick.