Mike Lantry, 1972
It was this close.
If Burgess moves his hand over two inches...
This post on Winged Helmet sums up my feelings perfectly about the RB. I don't think we got outschemed in this game. We've been outschemed just about every other game involving a running quarterback (if I see that goddamned rollout draw that worked against us in THREE CONSECUTIVE GAMES again I will hulk smash), but not this one.
Ok. After some deliberation I have decided to not kill myself. So let's talk about the Rose Bowl.
First off, the timeouts. I had no problem with Lloyd's decision to not use them. Texas was willing to settle for a 38 yard field goal with an inconsistent kicker from one of the hash marks. If we made it clear that we were angling for time to respond, Texas would have attempted to get a first down. And they would have put it in Vince Young's hands on a rollout. How do you like your chances there? I was torn. That decision could have gone either way. For truly egregious clock management, check Iowa's final drive against LSU.
The thought that made me the sickest afterward: those two awful holding calls on Michigan's first drive of the game turned what would have been first and ten at the 15 into a punt. That's at least three and possibly seven points gone because of a weak, weak call on Gonzalez and an absolute joke of a call on Baas.
No, wait. The event that made me want to vomit most was Pat Massey somehow letting Vince Young escape a sure sack and run for a touchdown on third and goal from the ten. A close third is the third down on which Henne managed to overthrow Gonzalez by about ten yards even though he was insanely wide open.
So how much of our fourth straight defensive collapse was the responsibility of the defense, how much was the responsibility of the defensive coordinator, and how much was just Vince Young, the hotness? Two of VY's TD runs were made after he escaped the clutches of a defensive lineman and went from Pocket Passing Clark Kent into Downfield Running Superman, so who's responsible? Well... mostly VY. Once he broke contain and was loose against guys playing man coverage, it was deep trouble. But those touchdowns broke Hermann's willingness to play tight man and we spent lots of the second half in the horrible zone defense that manages to drop six or seven and cover no one.
We basically shut down Cedric Benson. Young blew up for 192 yard rushing, but this is where we lost the game:
Passing Att-Cmp-Int Yds TD Long Sck
YOUNG, Vince 28-16-1 180 1 27 1
Vince Young was actually pretty good as Pocket Passing Clark Kent. But how many of those completions were 15 yard lobs to a TE or a WR with absolutely no one in the vicinity? Young made a number of accurate throws, but not one of those throws was a hard one. He took what was given him, and we gave him everything. Torn between defending his running and defending his passing, we defended neither.
How much more talent can you have on a defense? I count four obvious first or second-round picks (Shazor, Jackson, Woodley, Watson). It's likely that most of the rest of the defense will get drafted. Pierre Woods, Prescott Burgess, Ryan Mundy, and Pat Massey were all top-100 recruits. It's unlikely that Michigan will ever have better athletes on defense. They just didn't make plays.
This is not a new trend. Look at the points given up by Michigan in their bowl games AW (after Woodson): 31 to Arkansas, 34 to Alabama, 28 to Auburn, 45 to Tennessee, 30 to Florida, 28 to USC, 38 to Texas. Not once has Michigan held an opponent to fewer than four touchdowns. Seven straight years. It's a miracle Michigan won four of those games.
I think it's crass and rude to call for a coach's job. But. But I don't think it's ever going to get any better. Jim Herrmann's defense is holding Michigan back. Michigan has gone through a carousel of offensive coordinators until finding one who seems right for the job in Terry Malone. Herrmann must go.
On ESPN here. I'm still hoping, but it's just that at this point. Not expecting him to come.
In other news, the WHL's number one pick, Jonathan Toews, has committed to UND, which is absolutely huge for them. Michigan's class featuring a potential three or four first round picks (depending on how well Mitera does and whether Kessel shows up) now has two classes that may match or surpass it: UND and Minnesota. Good for college hockey. Not so good for UM.
Football later. In mourning.
Talk later. I'm trying to find puppies to drown.
Ugh. No feel good.
Anyway. Nerves for RB are starting in earnest now. Iowa leads LSU 7-0, Wisconsin's got 2nd and 26 in the third down 10-6. Er, make that 3rd and 34.
1:33 PM: Georgia got its own version of the Immaculate Reception for a TD, Wisconsin down 11 now and shooting themselves in their collective foot. Lots. Iowa is playing very well against LSU.
1:36 PM: Iowa's killing Marcus Randall. If they had a running game this year they'd be unstoppable.
1:42 PM: Wisconsin 3 and out, punts from their own nine. They are in serious trouble. Need a stop here big time. May not be able to win without one. LSU driving on Iowa.
1:49 PM: Wisconsin had Georgia in 2nd and 20. 30 yard touchdown run for Georgia. Where is Wisconsin's d-line? Georgia's up 24-6. Ballgame. Focus entirely on the Iowa game.
1:56 PM: Wow. Iowa is dead last in rushing. #117 out of 117. Iowa three and out.
2:03 PM: LSU gets the ball on Iowa's 45, goes 15 yards, and gets a 47 yard field goal. 7-6 Iowa Big series coming up for Iowa; they don't need to score put they do need to flip the field. And somehow Wisconsin scored a TD. And GA screwed up the return, it's at the one foot line. Big opportunity for UW here.
2:25 PM: Iowa just blocked a punt with 1:12 left in the first half and Considine housed it. Iowa 14-6. Their D is dominating, they're getting big plays in special teams. Wisconsin shanked a field goal and took a drive starting at the Georgia 31 and turned it into a 3rd and 14 Stocco fumble. Wisconsin's defense is finally showing up but Stocco can't move the ball against the Georgia D.
2:36 PM: Wisconsin had first and goal and Pollack just ended the game with a sack, forced fumble and fumble recovery all in one motion. LSU got a 74 yard touchdown on a "we give up" run at the end of the half. Holy crap! Wisconsin just pick-sixed a screen pass! They get the two point conversion on a deflection. It's not over.
2:43 PM: Put up or shut up for the UW defense now. Looks like it's shut up. Erasmus James has done nothing to the point where even Mark Jones can tell. GA gashing UW, into field goal range.
2:47 PM: There's a 1:57 left in the UW game, and Wisconsin calls timeout. Bob Davie: "Great use of a timeout by Wisconsin to stop the clock." What? You were actually coach of a major college football team and you think that using a timeout to stop the clock late in a game in which you're trailing is clever? Wisconsin actually screwed up their clock management by not taking their timeouts as soon as possible. Now it's third down and Georgia can run or throw because UW will just take a timeout if they run.
2:50 PM: Wow. 4th and inches for Georgia. They should go for it. It ENDS THE GAME if they get it.