somehow we're only 124th
Miami (NTM), UMass, FIU, Louisiana-Monroe, North Texas, Wake Forest, Oregon State…
What do these teams have in common?
These are the 8 teams that have averaged less than 2 yards per carry from their running backs on first down at least 2 different times this season. This is not a good list to be on. Miami (OH) has done it three times and has fired their coach. You know what is different between the fired Don Treadwell and the Michigan offense. When it wasn’t working they stopped doing it. Against Marshall, Central Michigan and Kentucky they averaged between 1 and 1.7 YPC from their running backs on first down. They gave them the ball 14 times total in those three games.
Against Michigan’s two best opponents, Notre Dame and Penn State, Michigan has averaged 1.7 yards per carry from it’s running backs on first down. Michigan has run the ball 35 times on first down. No other team has called more than 26 running back carries in games with under 2 YPA.
What is Michigan getting for their sacrifice?
Michigan is ranked 41st in bonus yards, my measure of big plays. It’s not a bad number but it doesn't indicate a massive advantage. Michigan’s average third down is 7.6 yards. They haven’t had a single game better than 7 yards to go on average for third down. 95 teams average less than 7 yards to go on third down for the season. 95 teams average third down is better than Michigan’s best game average. Michigan hasn’t even been that great at converting third downs once you account for their horrendous third down to go distance (-3%, 108th out 125). Michigan is getting no discernable advantage from the first down runs.
This has to stop. It’s at the point of absurd. The funny thing is when I initially pulled the numbers, this was Michigan’s second best 1st down day on the ground (a measly 4 and change per attempt) on the season but that was all driven by Devin Gardner. Obviously he can’t take every carry but the playcalling has to dramatically change. Michigan is among some of the worst overall teams in the country when their running backs run the ball on first down, they are the only teams that keeps doing it.
End of Game Punt Call
No issue whatsoever with the decision to punt the ball. Should they have let themselves lose the 5 yards on the delay of game, absolutely not. That was the error. Field goals from the 35 in the fourth quarter or OT are good 40% of the time, but there is a lot of self selection in the group. Only 36 field goals have been made of that distance or longer in the fourth quarter or overtime in the last 10+ seasons. Making a kick of that distance late in the game happens a couple times a year in all of college football.
By kicking it, Michigan forced Penn State to go at least 80 yards with less than minute to go and no time outs. Since 2003, only 6 teams have scored a TD under these circumstances, one of which was Michigan in UTL1. Yes a field goal would have won it but that is a low likelihood possibility. I have no issues at all with the decision to punt.
Since 2007, teams getting to go second on offense in overtime have won 55% of the time. In 287 overtime periods the team going first has gone scoreless 79 times. 13 of those times the second team went scoreless, as well. This hadn’t happened twice in a game until this season, but now it’s happened three times this season. Michigan is the only team since 2007 to blow two freebies in one game.
Missing Three Game Winners
Brendan Gibbons missed three field goals that would have been walk-offs. Twitter user @jquesnelle asked if that had ever been done before? Since 2003 I found five games where a team missed three kicks in fourth quarter or overtime and lost, some of them are brutal, but nobody had three walk off attempts missed/blocked.
Here’s the five to share in the pain.
2003, Cincinnati beats Temple 30-24 in 3OT
- Cincinnati misses 33 yard FG tied with 4:45 left in a tie game
- Temple misses from 37 in the first OT period, Cincinnati blocked from 38
- Cincinnati misses from 41 to start second OT, Temple misses from 51 to follow
- Temple misses from 24 yards in the third OT before Cincinnati scores a TD on the second play to seal the game
2005, LSU beats Auburn 20-17 in OT
- LSU misses a 28 yard FG to open the 4th quarter, leading 14-10
- Auburn comes back and misses a 37 yard FG on the next drive
- Auburn misses a 49 yard FG with 1 second left, game goes into OT tied at 17
- Auburn misses from 40 yards that would have sent it to 2OT
2008 Apple Cup, Washington State beats winless Washington 16-13 in OT
- Washington misses from 40 yards leading by 3
- Washington misses from 28 yards leading by 3 with under 4 remaining
- Leading by 3, Washington punts on 4th and 3 at the WSU 36 and less than a minute on the clock
- After hitting from 22 to start OT, Washington comes back and misses from 37 to open the door for WSU
2010 Liberty Bowl, Arkansas beats East Carolina 20-17 in OT
- East Carolina misses from 42 with a minute remaining and tied
- Gets the ball back 19 seconds later after three Ryan Mallet incompletions and a punt
- Misses again from 39 as time expires
- Opens overtime with a 35 yard miss
2012 Temple 17 UConn 14 in OT
- UConn misses from 42 to start the 4th quarter, leading by 7
- UConn blocked from 45 with 3 minutes left, still leading by 7
- UConn misses from 28 to open overtime
“Well, obviously it was a hard fought game by both teams. I thought our guys came back in the second half, played better. We’ve got to execute at all positions better. It was hard fought by both teams. Kept sticking around, so it’s a tough one, every time you go onto overtime, but we have to move forward.”
“We had opportunities throughout the game. We had opportunities with missed tackles. We had opportunities to make a play on the ball. We had opportunities to hit a hole better. We had opportunities to finish blocks. There’s no doubt.”
The decision to punt with 45 seconds left in regulation. Did you consider kicking the field goal?
“Yeah, did, but if we could pooch it down there and them starting at the 20 instead of the 34 or 45 or something like that. I liked those odds better … Could we have executed the pooch better? Sure.”
Could you have kicked the field goal?
“Without the delay? Could have. I think Matt would have, probably, because it would have been a long one.”
Any concern with Brendan Gibbons’s consistency?
“Not really. He’s been great. That’s why we kicked it on the last [overtime].”
Taylor Lewan’s injury?
“Yeah, he should be all right.”
Was it a head thing?
“Not really sure.”
It looked like your guys were in position to make plays on that last drive.
“Yeah, well you have to make plays. You have to execute. Would we have liked to rush the passer better? Yes. But at times we did, at times we didn’t.”
Channing Stribling played a lot on the last drive. What was the reason there?
“Well we’d been playing some dime stuff, trying to put another DB on their tight end.”
Fitz had 27 carries for 27 yards. The offensive line shuffling didn’t seem good enough …
“It wasn’t good enough. There’s no question.”
Where do you go from here?
“Well, we’d better take a hard look at it.”
Chris Bryant got replaced late?
“Chris got banged up a little bit. I think Darrell [Funk] also wanted make a move.”
Some losses are harder to come back from than others. Do you have to work harder to keep everyone together?
“Well I think you always have to work hard. Anytime you lose in overtime, if you let it take a toll, it will.”
With the long field goal in overtime, did you consider Matt Wile at all?
“Thought about it, but Brendan, before the game, we talked. We talked to Matt before the game. Both felt good at certain distances, and that was the distance.”
You talked about the resiliency of this team coming out at the half. What do you take from this game?
“Well I think the biggest thing is we had all kinds of opportunities at every position. As coaches we had opportunities, and we all are in this together, and we all have to make sure we’re taking advantage and executing when those opportunities come.”
After Devin’s mistakes, did you change the game plan at all?
“You know what, we didn’t. Honestly. We started the second half with the same game plan that we used in the first half.”
Did you think there was more energy coming out in the second half?
“I thought we had good energy when we came out in the first half. I had no problem with how we prepared all week and everything we’ve done.”
Were the turnovers deflating a bit?
“Well they responded. Came back, responded. Defense got a couple. I think we complemented ourselves pretty good at times in there. Offense and defense and kicking game. There were some really good things. Especially the kickoff return part of it. When the opportunities are there, you have to take advantage of it.”
When did you decide Jake Ryan was going to play? And did you try to keep his plays limited?
“We tried to keep his play count down a little bit. I can’t tell you exactly how many he ended up having, but we really [made the decision] after Thursday’s practice and Friday. He felt good all week.”
The offensive line issues, is it a toughness thing? A confidence thing?
“We’re having a hard time sometimes targeting at times, combo-ing off the blocks. It’d be interesting to see. Magnuson came in from where I was watching in the game, he made a couple really good combination blocks. That was encouraging. But I’ll be honest with you, [you can’t tell] until you really get a good look at it all and you can analyze it.”
Quite understandably, the players were really down and only gave short, rehearsed answers. Their expressions say it all.
Jeremy Gallon drinks Gatorade by the quar- okay yeah now is not the time.
That was the stupidest f***ing football game I've seen in my life. The end.
Our continued gratitude to Shashi Mara of Marawatch, maker of exquisite timepieces for Michigan fans. There are some watches you own that you look at only when you need to know the time. And then there's the watch you occasionally look at to tell the time, and then look at to tell the time again, and then just in case you'd better check the time again...
Shashi's watches are exceptional at telling time. That's why you're staring at yours so much. Really.
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