alternate headline: man does job
Can you just share what your message to the team was after this tough loss?
“That was for the team, not for public consumption.”
Obviously they’re a big read-option team. What were they doing, and why did you think your defense struggled so much to stop the run today?
“Yeah, they’re very good and they got after us running the football and I think the number one thing was we weren’t tackling well enough.”
Any thoughts on Jake Rudock having to end the regular season on the sidelines?
“Uh, it’s what happened. Went down on his shoulder. I don’t know how serious it is. AC to the left shoulder.”
Could you just talk about some of the improvements throughout the season from when you took over in fall camp to this point now? Obviously this isn’t the result you were looking for, but 9-3 on your first year.
“Well, yeah. We’ve talked about it many times. Very proud of the team: the way they’ve worked, the way they’ve progressed, and we’ll just stay at that. Closed quite a bit of ground. Still more ground to close on, but knowing our team they’ll stay with it.”
You talked about putting steel in your spine from previous losses. Is that what this is more of, especially against a rival like Ohio State?
“Well, we got beat. Didn’t play well enough in the game to win it, but we’re gonna regroup, come back with the same drive and aspirations that we’ve had: win the next game.”
You said earlier in the week that you thought Jabrill was a really good running back, and obviously we saw more of him. Were we going to see more of him used in the second half if the game had been a little bit tighter?
“Uh, yeah, he was in the second half.”
[Hit THE JUMP to see my question go over as successfully as the rest]
One team came prepared.
Ohio State's coaches prepared for Michigan's soft edges with an attack heavy on the power read. The Buckeye defense prepared for every wrinkle the Wolverines could conceive to utilize Jabrill Peppers and stopped them.
Michigan looked unprepared to deal with the Buckeye running game. The scheme was too passive and the adjustments ineffective, especially a move to a 3-man line. The linebackers weren't prepared to tackle Ezekiel Elliott in the gap or track JT Barrett in space. Nobody was prepared to block Joey Bosa.
For the tenth time in eleven years, Ohio State won The Game. The Buckeyes ran at will; Michigan couldn't trust its run game enough to even use it without ample trickery. While Michigan's 9-3 record and obvious team-wide improvement stand as a testament to the remarkable work of Jim Harbaugh, today's game showed just how much ground the program must make up on their chief rival.
Unlike last year, Michigan will get a full slate of bowl practices to work on their issues, and they'll face a quality opponent in a decent bowl game. Much like two years ago, there's a good chance they'll have to play that game with their backup quarterback, as Jake Rudock exited the game with an apparent shoulder or collarbone injury after taking a huge hit from Bosa.
Ohio State looked like a playoff team today. Michigan looked a long way off. That's exactly what we expected heading into the season; it's still hard not to be disappointed after seeing how the last few months have played out.
By Nick RoUMel
According to the National Collegiate Athletic Association rule book, college athletes are not to receive preferential treatment, gifts or other special benefits because of their athletic skills. Michigan fans will recall that our athletic teams have been punished more than once because of this rule.
In February 1996, UM basketball players Maurice Taylor, Robert “Tractor” Traylor, Louis Bullock, Willie Mitchell and Ron Oliver took Mateen Cleaves, then a senior at Flint Northern High School on his official recruiting visit to Michigan, to a party at a Detroit hotel. On the return trip, Taylor’s Ford Explorer rolled over on M-14, breaking Traylor’s arm and leading to many questions. Ann Arbor News sports reporter Jim Cnockaert reported, in a 2002 article, that immediately after the accident, the NCAA asked Michigan for financial records detailing the leasing arrangements for Taylor's vehicle. The aftermath led to the Ed Martin booster scandal that rocked the Michigan basketball program, causing its rapid and long demise.
In enforcing the rule against providing benefits to players, the NCAA did not limit the scope of its inquiry to college. In February 2000, UM basketball freshman phenom Jamal Crawford was handed two separate suspensions totaling 14 games, arising from his relationship in high school with a man he considered his father figure and godfather, who helped rescue him from a childhood of poverty and criminal influence. The major accusation against Crawford was that this good Samaritan had given him a used car to help him get to school. The New York Times reported in 2000 that Crawford’s was just one of a rash of aggressive investigations the NCAA launched against college players accepting benefits while they were in high school.
The NCAA has been kinder to Ohio State. In 2010 it was learned that several players had traded “nine Big Ten championship rings, 15 pairs of cleats, four or five jerseys and one national championship ring” for cash or trade, including tattoos. The players were suspended for five games – but they did not have to sit out until the beginning of the non-conference 2011 season. They were permitted to play in the January 4, 2011 Sugar Bowl, which the Buckeyes won over Arkansas to cap a 12-1 season. After the game it was determined that then-coach Jim Tressel was aware of the NCAA violations by his players, had led others to believe he wasn’t, and failed to report them. He too was eventually suspended for five games, but in the face of controversy about his relatively light punishment, he left amid allegations of more extensive problems.
The Buckeye football program was transformed by these violations, but in a good way. After a 6-6 2011 season that saw Michigan’s only gridiron victory over their rivals since 2003, OSU hired Urban Meyer to head their program, less than a year after Meyer retired as Florida’s coach to “spend more time with his family.” (Sportswriter Mac Engel quipped, “Urban Meyer has apparently spent enough time with his family.”)
Some may argue that Meyer has brought an SEC mentality to Ohio State; others respond that nothing has changed. Their reaction to the complete beatdown that Sparty laid on them last week was outrage. Suddenly a coach who had won 23 straight games didn’t know what he was doing. Star running back Ezekiel Elliott blasted the playcalling, and declared there was “no chance” he would return next year. Cardale Jones also announced he would not return. One might expect that such openly public criticism would lead to discipline; no chance of that in Columbus. Meyer stated of Elliott, “He apologized. We squashed it as a team.”
Thus the Buckeyes, remarkably, come into Ann Arbor as a cohesive unit, and the rumors of their implosion are highly exaggerated. They are the same program that has owned Michigan for a dozen years, and the same team that are the defending national champions. They have been ranked #1 for much of this year, and are still in the top ten.
Sure, Sparty exposed some vulnerability. But don’t expect Michigan’s offensive line and running game to enjoy the same success, and I think that Barrett/Jones/Elliott will fare better offensively, especially with Ryan Glasgow’s absence in the middle.
If you’re looking for scandal: move along, nothing to see here. The Buckeyes are one big, happy, dysfunctional family. This is who Urban Meyer really wanted to spend more time with, and he’s found a home.
OHIO STATE 23, MICHIGAN 19
By Heiko Yang
Hate is a strong word, but it’s the only way to describe what I felt when OSU fans swarmed onto the field around me after their team beat Michigan 26-21 to secure an undefeated season in 2012.
I remember the final moments of that game cinematically: the last kneel down, the roar of the crowd, and then just a muted daze as I looked around and marveled at how much I hated everything in that frigid stadium. I hated their band, hated their fight song, and hated that all the prematurely made victory signs somehow weren’t enough to jinx the outcome. I hated that I was there to suffer their happiness. I had to force my way past throngs of jubilant idiots on my way to the press conference area, and I just hated that they were euphoric about the very thing that made me miserable.
I didn’t know I was capable of such all-encompassing hate until that moment. I had to keep telling myself “it’s just a game and none of this matters,” but never had those words felt so hollow.
Hate is a powerful thing. We don’t even need to talk about the recent tragedies around the world to know that it can inspire terrible things when misguided and left unchecked. But hate isn’t always bad. In the world of sports, we happily subject ourselves to regular exercises in hate on because it’s a constructive outlet for an emotion so potent that even for a contest premised on moving a leather balloon 100 yards back and forth we will cultivate century-old rivalries based on little more than geography, provisional ideologies, and color schemes.
Our capacity to hate gives these rivalries meaning and character. It’s no longer just a simple game with inconsequential outcomes; when we’ve invested our very identities into something, everything matters. We remember all the verbal slights, the guarantees of victory, the recruiting battles, the midfield brawls, and the tearing down of our banners, and for one day every year we lay that hateful history on the line. The stakes are very real: emerge triumphant or be sentenced to suffer your opponent’s gloating happiness for another year.
This is Michigan’s proverbial Year. It’s been on the warpath toward this game ever since Jim Harbaugh took the reins of the program and channeled a decade of personal frustration over Michigan losses into his coaching. Like Bo in 1969, Harbaugh has built this team to beat the Buckeyes. The Wolverines defense is rock to Urban Meyer’s scissors, and the offense has been meticulously stockpiling weapons capable of punching holes through the Ohio State defense. More importantly, the team has come together over the course of the season and achieved a heightened level of focus and determination just as the Buckeyes are beginning to fall apart. This year more than ever, Michigan is prepared to win. And they will – with character, cruelty, and hate.
The Ohio State fans here today will be in for a real treat. It’s been too long since they’ve been forced to suffer our happiness. I don’t think they remember what it’s like to regret having to be in our frigid stadium to listen to our band play our fight song while they filter out miserably past our throngs of jubilant fans.
It’s time to remind them what hate feels like.
Michigan 24, Ohio State 12
[File photo: Eric Upchurch]
Caris LeVert's 11 first-half points were easy to overlook during a spectacular Michigan barrage that featured 11 three-pointers.
When the barrage abated, and a persistent Texas squad nearly knottedd up the score, LeVert's eight second-half points kept the Wolverines out in front. Tasked with taking control of the offense with the Longhorns giving chace, LeVert snaked through defenders to find all manner of ways to create a layup.
The supporting cast is still setting into shape; it did just enough tonight. Duncan Robinson hit 4/5 three-pointers. Zak Irvin went 5/8 for 13 points. Derrick Walton stuffed the stat sheet (13-5-7) and drew a pivotal charge on Isaiah Taylor down the stretch. Moe Wagner looked like he may quickly become the team's best center, putting up six and four in the first half before foul trouble limited him in the second.
The team defense still wasn't good. Texas had plenty of chances to make this a real game but an 8/19 mark from the free-throw line made up the difference and then some. Big man Cameron Ridley was perfect from the field but only took five shots in 28 minutes; not to sound like Seth Davis calling a Michigan game, but he could've used a few more post touches.
Michigan is going to get in some shootouts this year. They're ready for them on one end. On the other, we'll have to wait and see.
Brian's preview is here. Go Blue.
[Click here for the Ohio State preview]
Here's the scores of Michigan's football games since someone last won this darn thing:
- 28-16 over Penn State
- 48-41 over Indiana
- 49-16 over Rutgers
- 29-26 over Minnesota
You guys have left a "Build a Wall" shirt, the "Win with Character, Win with Cruelty" shirt, the Penn State excuses shirt, a book about Michigan's helmets, and a replica of the Brown Jug on the table. We're getting 400+ guesses. Just start guessing crazy things, I dunno. I want to give you free stuff!
How this works again:
- Readers predict the final score of a designated game by placing a guess in the comments, preferably in the format of [M score][hyphen][Opp score], for example "41-0" or "35-0 Michigan", or "28-0 Go Blue", or "42-0 Harbaugh!" etc.
- The three guys who read this part holler at people who post in a different format
- First person (by timestamp) to post a particular score has it.
- If you got it right, I contact you for an address by your MGoBlog account email, and you give me some time to get that to you.
- If nobody got it right or I don't hear from the winner(s) we push it to next week or let it go.
About Last Time:
What's so weird about 28-16? Two of you guessed 28-17.
This Week's Game:
And on the Line:
A full-size, limited edition print by famous portrait artist (and Bacon book interviewee) Ben McCready. Bennie is named for THAT Bennie, who was his godfather. McCready is part of the lifeblood of this Michigan of ours. He was the guy they asked when they started the Legends jerseys, and the guy behind getting them retired again. He's putting one of his prints on the line for whoever guesses the score correctly.
BONUS: If Penn State beats Michigan State and Michigan beats Ohio State I'll pick some score-guessers from those past articles and give them the prizes for being close enough, because sometimes if you're close a little bit of help can get you where you want to be.
Fine print: One entry per user. First user to choose a set of scores wins, determined by the timestamp of your entry (for my ease I prefer if you don't post it as a reply to another person's score--if you do it won't help or hurt you). Deadline for entries is 24 hours before the start of the game. MGoEmployees and Moderators exempt from winning. The algorithm finds the winners as it chooses. The algorithm is self-correcting. The algorithm is back! This is not the algorithm. But it will be again soon.
Elliott Takes The Cake
Great birthday wishes from a great coaching staff pic.twitter.com/yQxJ4lmoc9
— Its Lit (@XCV____) November 24, 2015
Alright, so, um, perhaps that cake doesn't look exactly like Texas. That apparently didn't matter to top-100 TX DT Jordan Elliott, who moved up his official visit to this weekend, joining a packed list of expected weekend visitors. The Wolverine's Brandon Brown is reporting "multiple sources" have informed him that Michigan is in great position to land Elliott, whether it's during or after his official visit ($).
Elliott is near the top of the list of potential weekend commitments for Michigan. 247's Steve Wiltfong put in Michigan Crystal Ball picks($) for Elliott and three-star FL WR Keyshawn "Pie" Young; he already had ones in for top-ranked MD OG Terrance Davis and four-star Detroit King CB LaVert Hill—the Hill pick is one he's especially confident about. Wiltfong also confirmed that four-star King WR Donnie Corley will be in Ann Arbor tomorrow.
There have also been two five-star additions to the 2017 visitor list: Davis' high school teammate, RB Anthony McFarland, and IMG Academy standout DE Joshua Kaindoh. While Michigan hasn't been mentioned among the favorites for either, that could change after this weekend.
While the focus of the coaching staff is still primarily on wrapping up the 2016 class, we could see their 2017 efforts pick up steam, especially since many big-time junior prospects seem excited about Michigan. To wit:
4 Star Top 100 DT prospect excited for Michigan visit this weekend. https://t.co/6VIrgPWpSx
— Cesar Ruiz (@_OverCees) November 25, 2015
4 OC, can tell that 4 DT Fred Hansard is excited for Michigan visit ! https://t.co/FViW60MpFl
— Fred Hansard (@Fred_Hansard56) November 25, 2015
Yup, safe to say they're excited.
[Hit THE JUMP for the rest of the roundup.]