News bullets and other items:
Harbaugh mandated they make an adjustment on special teams so that Jabrill could be in position to catch and run after Colorado punted to the same spot a few times in a row
According to Harbaugh, Peppers was “…by far the best guy out there in all phases.”
Harbaugh was really happy with the improvement in perimeter blocking.
Tom Brady’s pregame message went through each position group and told them what was expected of them in order to play like some of the best to wear the uniform.
Brady and Harbaugh played catch before the game and yes, it was a competition. Harbaugh said he wished he hadn’t given Brady the wind.
The kicking game was off and they’ll have to check the tape to figure it out; Harbaugh attributed part of it to an overadjustment to high snaps in pregame warmups.
Coach, can you describe your team’s mental state when they get down early in this game? Where were they at early in the first quarter, and how do you build off of a deficit of that nature?
“They—it was fight. They knew it was a fight, because I heard them talking about it. So, I think that’s where their mindset was. I really look at all these—every football game that’s ever been played, that probably ever will be played, it’s a battle of the best players, of seeing who the best players are in a football game.
“Colorado has some outstanding players, and the utmost respect for Sefo Liufau and the game that he played and the player that he is. He’s set 70 records at Colorado, and that first post route he threw, you can not throw it any better. Could we cover it better? Yeah, we should have. Next play he threw the ball on a fade route. I mean, cannot throw the ball any better than he did. He was really effective all game. Then he got that ankle injury. That looked pretty serious, and he hops up and kind of drifts out to his right and throws a post route that is as good a post route as you can possibly throw. So in a game of really good players all over the field on both sides, their corner #4, outstanding player, defensive line was outstanding, and above it all, Jabrill Peppers proved that he was the best player today, in today’s game.
“We don’t win that game without Jabrill Peppers. And also a great team effort. As you were talking about, fighting back and making enough—enough good players making enough good plays. The field position Jabrill got us on special teams. Again, that’s a team effort, but wow. He was making the difference; return for a touchdown and then the field position he was giving us.
“Blocked punts; our special teams unit was our finest unit out there today. Accounted for 14 points plus the blocked punt field position and the punt return field position. It was good. It was really good. The best part of playing football’s competing. I thought both teams did an outstanding job of competing at a very high level today.”
[More after THE JUMP]
Jabrill Peppers left the Buffaloes (and his coach) in awe. [Patrick Barron/MGoBlog]
After one quarter, Colorado had a 21-7 lead, outgained Michigan 195 yards to 66, and flat-out looked like the better team.
"We knew it wouldn't be a fairy tale all year," said Jake Butt. "We knew we'd get punched in the face."
Michigan punched back, hard. The Buffaloes gained 130 yards for the rest of the game. Michigan had 331. If Kenny Allen hadn't missed a pair of field goals, the Wolverines even would've covered the 20-point spread.
Early on, Colorado's up-tempo offense and athletic defense caught the Wolverines by surprise. Jabrill Peppers was caught out of position on a deep post for Colorado's first touchdown, then the Buffs went up by 14 less than a minute later when Chidobe Awuzie forced a Wilton Speight fumble that Derek McCartney took back 18 yards for a score. Speight, either shaken or hurt on the hit, had a tough time dialing in after that. If not for a blocked punt by Michael Jocz that Grant Perry took in for a touchdown, Colorado would've exited the first quarter up by 21 after another Sefo Liufao touchdown pass.
Then Michigan adjusted. The defensive front got to Liufau time and again, eventually forcing him out of the game with an apparent ankle injury, though not before Liufau somehow bombed a 70-yard touchdown off one leg to Shay Fields to open the second-half scoring. They shut down the Colorado running game entirely, and the Fields touchdown was the only big play after a first quarter full of them. Don Brown is paid good money for a reason.
The offense slowly but surely picked it up, too. With Khalid Hill leading the way in authoritative fashion, Jehu Chesson got the corner for a 17-yard jet sweep touchdown. Amara Darboh gave Michigan the proverbial momentum swing they needed on a 45-yard screen, stiff-arming a defender to the ground on his way to the end zone with only 33 seconds left in the half. Despite a disastrous start, Michigan led 24-21 at the break.
Colorado landed another big shot with the Fields touchdown. Michigan responded in kind with a pitch to De'Veon Smith on the second play of the ensuing drive; Smith hardly had to do anything on a 42-yard jaunt down the sideline on perhaps the best-blocked run play of this young season. The Wolverines finally grabbed control of the game when a long catch-and-run by Grant Perry set up a one-yard touchdown for Ty Isaac to give M a 38-28 lead heading into the fourth quarter.
Then Jabrill Peppers, having a remarkable all-around game, launched his Heisman campaign. Peppers already had three punt returns and a kickoff return that were a block or two away from reaching the end zone when Colorado lined up to punt from deep in their own territory; a line-drive kick went right to Peppers's chest, and he exploded up the middle, overcoming a cramp at the five-yard line to at long last tally his first return touchdown in a Michigan uniform.
"It was definitely a sense of relief," said Peppers. "If I don't score there, then they needed to put someone else back there."
Peppers's overall stat line boggles the mind: two rushes for 24 yards, four punt returns for 99 yards and a TD, two kickoff returns for 81 yards, nine tackles (six solo), 3.5 TFLs, and a thunderous sack.
"Above all, Jabrill Peppers proved that he was the best player in today's game," said Jim Harbaugh, who praised the talent level on both teams. "We don't win that game without Jabrill Peppers."
"That's a team effort, but... wow," Harbaugh added.
Peppers wasn't the only Paramus Catholic graduate to provide some honest-to-god wow experiences. Rashan Gary recorded 1.5 TFLs and a pair of QB hurries; even better, he eliminated the mental errors that allowed UCF to pick up big gains on the ground last week.
Michigan leaves this game with plenty to work on. Dymonte Thomas, Delano Hill, and Peppers all had coverage busts that led to big plays. Speight's performance didn't equal those he had in the season's first two weeks. Allen, who looked either injured or overwhelmed by his workload, struggled in all phases of the kicking game.
"To be honest I think we did [need a game like this]," said Butt. "We can look back and learn from this."
With Penn State and Wisconsin up next on the schedule, it won't take long to find out how well they've learned those lessons.
[Looking for the Colorado preview? It is HERE.]
Thanks to BOBBY for making us liveblog software. We are slowly rolling out more features but the all-important proton torpedoes are now armed and completely operational. Meta feedback in the comments is appreciated.
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Enter the liveblog here: http://kibitz.io/#/colorado (will open in new window. Sorry no embed yet. Tuesday.)
By Bryan MacKenzie
The implication of that headline is that Harbaugh found it stupid or distasteful. Or maybe he judged it to be a failed joke; it was an amusing idea, but was poorly executed. However, from all outward indications, the truth is likely is that Jim Harbaugh is the kind of guy who divides all information into two categories: 1) information that is relevant to the task at hand, and 2) why are you telling me this?
Colorado sent us a funny depth chart? Why would they do that? They could have been using that time to break down film or find a more efficient route to the stadium. And why would you show it to me? This does not help me win this football game. I’m not going to waste disk drive space or RAM on this, when I could be spending that computing power on a fullback wheel route.
He does not take vacations. He doesn't get sick. He doesn't observe major holidays. He is a jackhammer.
Harbaugh is not unlike a number of successful top-tier football coaches in this way. The line between this kind of behavior and mental illness is a fine one (as this week’s Urban Meyer piece artfully demonstrated). But while it may lead some to point and laugh at the way he interacts with the world, it also means that Jim Harbaugh isn’t going to leave anything on the table.
Why does this matter for Colorado? Because while Colorado isn’t awful, they also aren’t very good. And more importantly, they aren’t a complete team. They have a few strong pieces, but they have some glaring deficiencies. And if you have Jim Harbaugh
throwing wearing the headset, those weaknesses are going to be exploited. Betting on Harbaugh to either not notice, or to not find a way to take advantage of, an opponent’s weaknesses, especially when they are not particularly small not well disguised, is an unwise gamble.
Why would you even send me a depth chart? I’ve already watched every snap you’ve ever put on film. I know your backup quarterback’s favorite color, and the shoe size of your associate athletic director. We might not need the trebuchets I’ve specially designed to the type of stones you’ve used to construct these walls, but I’ll be damned if I’m not going to build them just in case.
Michigan 41, Colorado 7.
by Nick RoUMel
Scotty Frost, the half-championship, half-baked half-wit, was only half right. Despite last week’s 51-14 thrashing, Frost boasted that his Knights “outhit” Michigan. I was reminded of the Black Knight from Monday Python and the Holy Grail, brushing off his quadruple amputation as a “scratch” and a “flesh wound:”
“We’ll call it a draw, then.”
While it might be more accurate to say that CFU “out-held” Michigan, Frost did have a point. Our offensive line wasn’t blowing anyone off the ball; the defense gave up yardage; and the Wolverines looked curiously lackluster at times - despite the final score.
The good news is that our passing game seems ahead of where it was last year, when Jake Rudock was rusty in early games. Wilton Speight, blessed by a splendid receiving corps and enough time on pass blocking, took full advantage of the Knights packing the box to stop the run. With CFU daring the pass, Coach Harbaugh was happy to oblige; whereas certain past coaches in the same circumstance would keep trying to “establish the running game.” (Fitz Toussaint’s 27 carries for 27 yards, anyone?)
Colorado gives us a much harder matchup than CFU, is coming off two impressive victories, and is projected to play in a bowl despite a ferociously difficult schedule. In short: they are the real deal. They can pile up yards in a hurry, led by their dual-threat quarterback Sefo Liufau (a cross between Lucy Liu and a loofah).
Did you know you cannot find a photo of Michigan alum Lucy Liu in a Michigan shirt?
They are also aggressive on defense. If you concede that CFU gave our o-line a challenge, then today will be even tougher. In short, the 20-point spread is insane. Yes, I love this Michigan team. But like Jim Harbaugh, I worry about Freddie P. Soft (as described by Harbaugh, a little devil looking very much like the Virginia Cavalier, whispering sweet nothings in our ears):
Hey you, #4 in the U.S.A.! It’s in the bag!
Alas, we will succumb to Freddie’s seductive song. I do not want this to be true, but as Cassandra I have the gift of prophecy (and as Cassandra, I am cursed that no one will believe me). But I must foresee the future I have been shown.
It is this: The Buffaloes won’t even need a Hail Mary today. They’ll beat on both sides of the ball, and on the scoreboard. Curse you, Freddie.
COLORADO 24, MICHIGAN 20
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1. Getting Over UCF
starts at 1:00
We are finally disagreeing with PFF, whose quarterback rankings make no sense. For example, Speight has looked consistently good, especially on the short stuff. Left guard is a sore spot, but contain issues might go away when Taco returns.
2. Colorado is Better at Football, Not So Good at Under the Radar
starts at 26:00
Brian taketh then returneth the title of chief enunciator. We really like Awuzie, Colorado’s Peppers-like object. Prepare thineself for screens and breakneck tempo.
3. Gimmicky Top Five: Things We Are Over
starts at 53:00
Last week was Scott Frost grudges. This week is a Hail Mary 22 years ago that was avenged 20 years ago, and again 19 years ago. Some of these things we are actually over.
4. The Big Ten’s Interesting Non Conference Week
starts at 1:15:15
Michigan State vs. Notre Dame is saved for last. Ohio State at Oklahoma shouldn’t be at the same time, should be a good time. Looking for a 5th string QB for a call-out.
"Who's Got It Better Than Us"—Joe Escobar
"Booger Bear"—The Floozies
"Don't Poke the Bear"—The Swear
“Across 110th Street”
THE USUAL LINKS