Indiana's quarterback battle isn't quite over yet (photo via courier-journal.com)
Indiana fell back to earth after their program-first triumph over Penn State, allowing 473 yards in a 42-28 loss to Michigan State and pulling starting QB Nate Sudfeld in the fourth quarter after he struggled to move the ball. I've watched each of these games and think I have a grasp on Indiana's overall quality: a well-coached offense that can put up points on anyone but is limited by their talent in the backfield and on the line coupled with a defense that's ... well, pretty bad.
For an expansion on that boiled-down point, let's go to the full breakdown.
WR Cody Latimer is off to the best start of his career (Andrew Weber/US Presswire)
Spread, Pro-Style, or Hybrid? Spread. The Hoosiers don't have a fullback, almost always have at least three receivers on the field, and never go under center, even in short-yardage situations.
Basketball on Grass or MANBALL? Basketball on grass. They didn't run much in this game, but when they did it was read option with QB Tre Roberson or simple inside zones.
About last week:
Indiana (3-3, 1-1 B1G)
Last game: Michigan State 42, Indiana 28 (L)
Recap: Indiana put up 28 points against MSU, which was 11 points more than any other team has scored against Sparty this year. But they also gave up 42 points, which was 14 more points than Sparty has scored against any FBS team this year. Given the nature of Indiana’s season, neither of these should be surprising. IU jumped out to an early 7-0 lead when Tevin Coleman broke a 64-yard touchdown on the first series of the game, but he finished with only 15 yards on 14 carries outside of that. IU kept it close until State scored on the last drive of the first half and the first drive of the second half to take a 14 point lead.
Indiana simply couldn’t stop Michigan State, either in the air or on the ground. Sparty averaged 5.6 yards per carry and 7.6 yards per pass, both of which are, I believe, non-FBS highs for State. Indiana couldn’t defend the run in any way, shape, or form; their defensive ends were just getting destroyed, and their linebackers were leaving cutbacks and counters open all day. If the front side didn’t look like a cavern, the back side looked like a moonscape. And while this is a steadily-improving Michigan State offense, we’re still not talking about the ’85 Bears.
If Michigan can’t run the ball against Indiana… oh dammit I can’t even find a humorous way to finish that sentence because Michigan probably can’t run the ball against Indiana because even Indiana’s defense can stop the run when they put 13 guys in the box.
IU’s bowl quest is probably still on track, because they still have Minnesota, Illinois, Purdue, and (sigh) Michigan on their schedule. Three more wins until the Pizza Pizza Bow… wait, there is not Pizza Pizza Bowl anymore? WHY CAN’T WE HAVE ANY NICE THINGS ANYMORE?
This team is as frightening as: An octopus. Noted for its intelligence and resourcefulness. Can open jars, pick works cup winners, and occasionally knock off some bigger prey, but for the most part they will just hang around looking unassuming and not standing out too much in any respect. Fear level = 4
Michigan should worry about: Kevin Wilson has an office. That office has a television. That television is attached to a video-playing device of some sort. As a result of this freak confluence of factors, that tackle-over thing won’t work, even against Indiana.
Michigan can sleep soundly about: Hey, a home game. Sometimes those don’t start with Michigan doodling randomly for 40 minutes before looking at the clock and realizing “oh shit this exam is over in 20 minutes and if I hand it in like this I’ll fail.”
I SAID “SOMETIMES,” okay?
Seriously, this is the kind of game where if the defense plays well, the offense can MANBALL stumble its way to 30 points. Indiana isn’t a bad team, but they are an abysmal defensive team.
When they play Michigan: I still think Michigan wins this game. IU’s defense is terrible, their offensive line is banged up. One important matchup to watch will be Tevin Coleman coming out of the backfield. I don’t think Desmond Morgan can run with him, so it’ll be up to Mattison to figure something out or risk getting wheel routed like whoa.
Next game: @ Michigan
[AFTER THE JUMP: I get a little less snarky. No, that’s a lie. I can’t back that up.]
This is a long way off, but Michigan's latest addition to the schedule is a quality one; the athletic department announced this morning that the Wolverines will play a home-and-home series against UCLA—[insert 'that's one way to get to the Rose Bowl' joke here]—in 2022 and 2023. Full release:
ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- The University of Michigan Athletic Department announced Thursday (Oct. 17) a two-game series with the UCLA Bruins scheduled for the 2022 and 2023 football seasons. This will be the Wolverines' first home-and-home series with a Pacific-12 Conference school since the early 2000s (Washington, 2001 and 2002; Oregon, 2003 and 2007).
The Bruins will travel to Michigan Stadium on Sept. 10, 2022, and the Wolverines will make the return trip to the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, Calif., on Sept. 2, 2023.
These will be the 12th and 13th meetings between the two schools. Michigan holds an 8-3 edge in the all-time series, including a 5-1 mark at Michigan Stadium and a 2-1 record at UCLA (Rose Bowl). The two schools split a pair of bowl games against each other, with the Wolverines claiming a 33-14 victory in the 1981 Bluebonnet Bowl and the Bruins earning a 24-14 win in the 1983 Rose Bowl.
Michigan and UCLA last met during the regular season in 2000, a 23-20 victory by UCLA at the Rose Bowl.
Position: Outside Linebacker
Ht/Wt: 6'4"/205 lbs.
Location: South Point High School - Belmont, NC
Offers: Clemson, Duke, Georgia Tech, Louisville, Michigan, Ole Miss, North Carolina, Northwestern, NC State, Virginia
With numbers expected to be historically low for the 2015 class offers are pretty hard to come by, so when one went out to LB Tanner Muse on Friday it made some noise and meant a lot to him.
Coach Manning and I were messaging each other over Twitter and he asked me when a good time to call would be. Once I finished my football meeting with my high school team I called him and we talked for a little bit and he just offered me. I felt very blessed to know a school like Michigan would offer me! It’s really exciting when a prestigious school like that offers you.
Michigan throws their hat in the ring with Clemson, NC State, North Carolina, Georgia Tech, Louisville, Northwestern, and Virginia for Muse’s services. A list like that makes for tough competition for a North Carolina native. Clemson is currently considered his leader and he “somewhat” verified that, but he also spoke highly of the Wolverines.
Clemson is somewhat my leader. It just depends on how all these visits I’m going to take end up going. Michigan ranks pretty high for me, but I still will have to visit there and get to know the rest of the coaching staff.
As of right now linebackers coach Roy Manning is the only contact Muse has with the Michigan program, but the young coach seems to have made a solid impression on Tanner.
My relationship with Coach Manning is really good. It seems like we get along and he’s kind of like me actually. He’s more laid back and straight forward.
At 6’4” and 205 lbs. Muse was told by Coach Manning that he’s been offered as an outside linebacker, which probably means the SAM position in Coach Mattison’s defensive scheme. Muse is built and runs like a safety. On film his speed is very noticeable and he told me about his self-diagnosed strengths on the field.
I train and practice all the time on my speed. My hand-timed best 40 is a 4.32 and my most recent laser-timed 40 was a 4.37. I bring that speed and my physicality to the field and when I get to the ball carrier I try to make my presence known.
As a high school junior Muse can take his time with his recruitment, but he has a vague plan in place for how he’d like it to play out.
I want to visit all of the schools that have offered me. With Michigan I’m going to try to go to either the Nebraska game or the Ohio State game. I discussed it with Coach Manning and since those games are a couple weeks away still, I can get a flight. I’d like to commit by my senior season but I also definitely want to take my officials late. I’m not really sure when I will make a top list either.
I love Muse on film. He’s long, fast, athletic, rangy, and looks to thrive on contact. He’s almost identical in build to Chase Winovich from the 2014 class, but may actually have more straight-line speed, which is scary because Winovich can fly.
With Clemson playing as well as they are and Michigan stocking up on linebackers with a lot of similarish guys, I feel as if landing Muse will be an uphill climb. That being said, Michigan may actually be in 2nd place right now behind the Tigers and a visit to Ann Arbor could go a long way with Muse as he’s already visited Clemson.
- The coaches had to take Taylor Lewan's helmet from him during the game to keep him off the field. He should be good to go Saturday though.
- Everybody's rotating at guard. Except Ben Braden. I heard second-hand that Joey Burzynski and Kyle Bosch took a lot of 1st team reps yesterday, but who knows what it will be today.
- I don't think we've seen the last of "tackle over."
“We had a good practice yesterday. I thought we had a lot of energy. This is a pretty resilient group. I think they’ve proven that throughout the year. I think the leadership’s been good. Especially the senior class and the captains have taken their roles very seriously and have done a great job of how we approach each day. We have a big test on Saturday against Indiana from an offensive perspective. They’re top three in a lot of categories in our league. Have a lot of skill players. I think their offensive line got a little beat up through the course of the year, but they’re very athletic. Run very well in that system. They’re going to try to create some space with different things formationally. Defensively they have some new faces in there. I think the secondary and the linebackers they’re very active. It’s a good football team and Kevin [Wilson’s] done a nice job.”
Potential changes on the offensive line?
“We’ll see. Guys are working hard.”
In the last couple weeks, you’ve known by this point in the week what the switch would be.
“But I don’t know by now this week.”
[SITE NOTE: Due to a confluence of things including a long drive home, four overtimes, thrilling CONCACAF qualifier business, the Tigers, this post, and a desire to stab my eyeballs whenever I look at the tape, UFR is not quite done and will go up tomorrow.]
Fitzgerald Toussaint set a Michigan record for sustained futility on Saturday by running for 27 yards on 27 carries. Since 1949, no other back has gotten as many carries without gaining at least twice as many yards. Posterity demands that someone detail what happened.
A note: blame is apportioned. When things are designated playcall it's because I don't believe it's reasonable to expect Michigan to block player X, either because he's an extra guy in the box or he's tearing towards the line of scrimmage on the snap because he has no fear of a pass. You can adjust your personal indignation levels on this based on how reasonable you thought running into stacked boxes was vis a vis Devin Gardner's 13 YPA and constant turnover threat; I'm just trying to figure out how much of the run splat was preordained by playcalls.
Ready? No. I know you're not. But here we go anyway.
Play: Power O
Formation: Tackle over I Form H
Why it didn't work:
- Graham Glasgow ignored the NT.
- Predictable playcall sees PSU linebackers flow hard with effectively nine in the box.
- Jake Butt gets beat badly by a PSU LB in the hole.
Blame: 80% OL, 10% playcall, %10 TE/FB
Play: Zone stretch.
Formation: Tackle over I Form big
Why it didn't work:
- PSU has straight up nine in the box.
- Michigan tries to be clever by running at Williams and Bryant, both of whom get destroyed.
- Schofield leaves immediately, so Lewan has no shot at the backside tackle.
Blame: 30% TE/FB, 30% OL, 40% playcall
Play: Power O
Formation: Tackle over Ace H
Why it didn't work:
- Actually it did work.
- It works because Schofield gets nice push, giving Toussaint a crease. Glasgow gets movement on a DT and the eighth guy in the box for PSU tries to get over to the frontside when he should probably stack this up near the LOS.
Blame: Everyone is happy!
Formation: Tackle over trips TE
Why it didn't work:
- Seven guys in the box against six blockers; extra guy makes the stop.
- PSU WLB doesn't get suckered by the counter, gives Glasgow no shot to block him.
- Kalis gets shed, falling to the ground.
Blame: 80% playcall, 20% OL.
[After THE JUMP: just don't click through. I'm sorry I even did this.]