WITH AUTHORITY [Eric Upchurch/MGoBlog]
The gulf between box score and eye test is vast this evening.
The box score says Michigan gave hapless Miami their 19th straight loss with authority, outgaining the RedHawks 460-198, moving the ball well on the ground (6.1 YPC) and through the air (8.4 YPA), and ultimately cruising to a 24-point victory.
My eyes saw Michigan cough up three turnovers in the second quarter, allowing Hapless Miami to tie the game at ten apiece and hang around for a while.
The box score shows that Miami scored ten points against the Wolverine defense, but the eyes know those should be charged against Michigan's offense, as those scoring drives covered all of 26 and 21 yards following U-M turnovers.
The box score doesn't contain a giant red "WTF" flag. My eyes saw this at the end of the first half:
You can click to enlarge that picture, or I can just tell you that Michigan ran a four-minute drill with zero urgency or effectiveness. After Michigan tried to run a quick play on fourth-and-1, only for Miami to call a timeout before the snap, Brady Hoke decided to punt on 4th-and-6 from the Miami 37 when the Wolverines took a delay of game penalty coming out of that timeout. The decison to punt was so surprising Miami didn't put out a returner, then called a timeout of the "you can't be serious" variety. Finally, U-M took another delay of game to give Will Hagerup more room to boom a punt that hit the end zone on the fly.* Insert giant red "WTF" flag here.
The box score shows Devin Gardner had an efficient 184 yards and two TDs on 20 attempts, with one lone interception blemishing his stat line. The eyes saw his mechanics, which are all over the place, and at least two should-be interceptions hit the turf or, in the case of Jake Butt's first catch, get rescued by a great effort on the receiver's part. In fairness to Gardner, the box score also doesn't show that his interception was tipped at the line.
A crease, that. [Upchurch]
The box score and eye test agree on a couple things, at least. The offensive line did a fine job opening up holes after Miami stopped packing the box with eight defenders; when the RedHawks had to adjust to account for Michigan's wide-open receivers, Derrick Green went off, finishing the game with 137 yards and a pair of scoring runs on 22 carries. Green showed off patience, vision, and the decisive cuts necessary for success in a zone running scheme, and the numbers say as much.
Amara Darboh also looked good as he stepped into a starting role with Devin Funchess in street clothes; the redshirt sophomore caught six passes for 88 yards and Michigan's first touchdown—when he caught a quick slant and powered through a tackle to poke the ball across the plane—though he did lose a fumble during that stressful second quarter. Jake Butt looked healthy after playing sparingly against Notre Dame, finishing with three catches for 59 yards and a score on a clever fake screen called by Doug Nussmeier.
The defense thoroughly dominated Miami. RedHawks QB Andrew Hendrix could only muster 165 yards with one TD and one INT on 26 passes. The Miami passing game fared a whole lot better than their running game, which managed a paltry 33 yards on 24 attempts. The defensive front looked great, and even without starters Ray Taylor and Jarrod Wilson, the secondary held strong. Jourdan Lewis recorded his first career interception with a leaping grab on the sideline, while Jabrill Peppers impressed with his physical man coverage, forcing throw after throw to sail into the sideline.
The box score, which must be taken into account—our lyin' eyes being what they are—says Michigan turned in a dominant performance, with the final score a bit deceiving thanks to those turnovers. While it took longer than anyone hoped or expected, the Wolverines ultimately dispatched a bad team with relative ease.
On my drive home, however, I'll remember the groans that accompanied Hagerup's ill-fated punt, and the boos that followed the team into the tunnel, and I'll wonder what that kind of first-half performance would result in next week, when a plucky Utah squad coming off a bye week visits the Big House. The mental image isn't a pleasant one.
*Apologies for initially screwing up this sequence of events; now edited for accuracy, though the general "WTF" feeling stands, of course. This was horrible clock management and an infuriatingly conservative call in a one-score game against an overmatched opponent.
Yeah, it sure does hurt.
By Heiko Yang
Well that sucked. Not sure what more I can say about last week other than I can’t believe my pessimistic prediction (ND 21, UM 16) wasn’t pessimistic enough. I actually thought at halftime that Michigan could shut out Notre Dame in the second half and score a couple touchdowns, but of course that didn’t happen because why would anyone make any halftime adjustments.
One of the nice things about not covering the team anymore is I can choose to stop thinking about Michigan football during the week. I don’t have to go to depressing press conferences and ask inconsequential questions about game plans and then have to listen to it all over again while transcribing. I don’t have to open the mgoblog app or Twitter to read about how crappy Michigan played against Notre Dame and why the season is over. None of this is in my face anymore like it has been the last three years.
Except I still spend my free time scrutinizing postgame pressers, looking for the game column Monday around noon, waiting patiently for the UFRs, and scanning Twitter daily for developments. No matter how disappointing the result, I’m finding it impossible to mentally or emotionally distance myself from Michigan football.
Win or lose, following Michigan football is important for my happiness. I don’t know why. It’s an obsession that doesn’t make a whole lot of sense, and it’s a weird feeling I’ve been trying to figure out for more than a year now. It’s counterintuitive that I can feel better by thinking about the very thing that makes me feel miserable.
So far I’ve concluded that the underlying reason for all of this might be -- idunno, hope? Certainly not hope in the cure-for-cancer sense, but more like hope as a coping mechanism. I think most you get what I’m talking about. No matter how badly a game goes, there’s always a degree to which every fan will rationalize the results and pick out the tiny glimmers of hope indicating that things weren’t as bad as they seem and that there might be a better outcome next time.
As Michigan fans, we’re lucky to have this blog to do the rationalizing for us. The weekly UFR is the ultimate tool with which to say, “Yeah, we scored zero points, but because of X, Y, and Z, we may be more likely to score more than zero points in the future.” Even when Michigan is losing, like it was the entire second half of 2013, there are individual performances we can follow week to week in order to find tiny victories, like Frank Clark’s emergence and Devin Gardner’s heroic performances in spite of staggering adversity. It’s always a thrill when these tiny victories come together in unison to give you that one perfect game or that one badly needed victory over a rival. Last game, it was good to know that there was improvement by defensive front and offensive line. Even though getting blanked by an absconding rival always sucks, it’s nice to believe that the team is taking a step forward from last season’s ineptitude.
I don’t think this tendency will ever change, and I don’t want it to. Michigan might be mediocre for the next five seasons, but many of us will continue to watch because we will always have hope that things will be better next game.
It isn’t a bad addiction by any means. It’s a weekly exercise in optimism, and there’s nothing weird or maladaptive about a way of thinking that someday might actually help lead to a cure for cancer.
Michigan 52, Miami 10
By Nick RouMel
Welcome, Heiko, to Wolverines Anonymous. Have a cup of coffee and take a seat.
We too used to live and die on the outcome. A bad loss would ruin our day, if not our week. Look at my friend Jim over there, sitting in the folding chair, with a half eaten powdered sugar doughnut. In 1980, he was driving, listening to the Notre Dame game, when Harry Oliver’s 51 yard field goal barely cleared the crossbar to beat Michigan, just as the fierce crosswinds that had been blowing all afternoon miraculously stopped.
Jim stopped his car on Washtenaw Avenue, got out, banged on the hood for a few miserable moments, and then presumably drove straight to the nearest bar. He still hasn’t recovered.
Today, Heiko, we are on the road to recovery. It has been a long, arduous trip. But we are no longer emotionally beholden to the fate of the football team. We have stopped tailgating. We put our tickets on StubHub and hope they sell. We do crazy things on Saturday, like spend time with our families. Heiko, for the rest of us in this room, it’s over.
Oh, sure, we do our share of cyberstalking. We check the score, furtively. In meetings, we scan MGoBlog, and nod knowingly at the sage insights, while our co-workers think we’re agreeing with the boss. Our hearts still leap a little bit when we score a recruit, like Jabrill Peppers.
And when the opening drive is hitting on all cylinders, that familiar longing returns. We dare hope. But reality intrudes, rudely. Like when you’re in a hotel bar in Toronto, watching the game with your wife, and it turns ugly. And you don’t even realize your wallet was stolen while you were hammering down Rusty Nails and yelling at the screen. Thank you, Hilton security. But I digress.
It’s not, Heiko. It’s not important for your happiness. It’s not a five year bump in the road. It’s not what it once was. It’s a diversion. That’s why you’re here. Have a coffee and doughnut, and pull up a chair. We can help you.
Yes, my name is Counterpunt and I’m a cranky old S.O.B. I haven’t cared in …
Whoa, what’s this report on my IPhone? John Harbaugh is tired of the Ray Rice mess in Baltimore and might be enticed to Ann Arbor? That would be a great fit! It could bring us back to glory!
Enjoy your doughnut, Heiko. I’m going to the game.
MICHIGAN 27, MIAMI 19
A brave man once requested me
To answer questions that are key
'Is it to be or not to be?'
And I replied 'Oh why ask me?"
It's Korea out there in user-generated content land, and it's my job to triage. The only way to make it through sane is Hawkeye-level satire, and making fun of people who take themselves seriously, and not looking too hard at the antics of certain people from Toledo. Okay Radar, state your business, in one word or less:
- Reshp1: 289 yards for zero points.
One word or less.
- Glewe: Mental toughness.
That is two words.
- Glewe: Mentaltoughness.
Ah, you're a football coach I see. Try an English word.
Didn't you go already?
- Dnak438: I wrote another one.
Oh. Well thanks. I'm still putting it in etc.
[After the jump: the pain grows stronger, watch it grin.]
Michigan vs Miami
(Not That Miami)
Ann Arbor MI
September 13th, 2014
|THE LINE||M –33.5|
|TICKETS||Slightly cheaper than last week: 20 bucks|
Partly cloudy, 60
0% chance of rain
Tip of the hat there.
This is not a good scoreline.
This isn't Bo's Miami. The EDSBS commentariat's preferred term to distinguish this Miami from the other one is "puntin' Miami," and it's not like the other Miami has been Oregon this last little bit. Miami is bad. Miami is coming off losses to Marshall and Eastern Kentucky. They've already suffered 21 penalties. Miami is probably about as good as Appalachian State (not THAT Appalachian State).
So this is a good opponent for right now.
Run Offense vs Miami (Not That Miami)
guys chasing guys
Marshall was a very good run offense a year ago and picked up where they left off in their opener, with Devon Johnson ripping off a 55-yarder and acquiring 151 on just 19 carries. This continues a theme for the Redhawks from last year, when Miami was gashed for a whopping 5.1 yards a carry en route to a rush defense that was statistically worse than Michigan's rush offense last year. Think about that.
Miami ceded 223 rushing yards in an average outing last year; they were a MAC version of Purdue. While they did choke out I-AA EKU, if Michigan has any intention to prevent people on ledges across the Michigan diaspora from jumping they will have to mash this defense.
Survey says… probably! Both DEs check in at 245 and neither DT hits 290; their "OLB" is ND (sigh) transfer Lo Wood, who you may remember is a cornerback. They were very bad last year and seem pretty bad this year. Possibly the most interesting matchup will be DE Bryson Albright, who hit double digit TFLs a year ago, against either of Michigan's noob tackles.
This will be a test of what Michigan wants to do for the rest of the year. This is a game where you'd think they might be able to manball up and manball it down the opponent's throat with a series of 1970s formations. And they may well do that: Appalachian State featured a lot more under center stuff than the ND game did.
Is the rest of the year going to be a passing spread-ish lineup? If it is against Miami, yes. If it's not… well probably yes. Something to keep an eye on.
Key Matchup: Michigan tailbacks versus their blocking allergy. Blocking allergies affect millions of Americans. Stop blocking allergies.
[Hit THE JUMP for Not That Notre Dame Quarterback.]
The sun had risen, though it was hard to tell through the lingering haze and dust. It all seemed so surreal; they had so recently stood beaming with pride, assuring the peasantry that the claiming of Rutgersland and the conquering of the Turtle People had ensured our long-term security. We had been told that our leaders had won the kind of Lebensraum that would see us through the coming ages. When was that? Had it been a day? A month? Surely it could not have been so long ago.
Some would argue whether the Big Ten had ever really existed at all; that even before The Weekend, the “conference” was merely an idea. A fleeting notion. A foolish homage to the time of 22-personnel and punting from the opponent’s 35 yard line. But whatever it had been, it was no longer. Reports were sketchy, but from all indications the destruction was similar throughout the realm. The borders had been shown to be merely transitory, and the defenses illusory. This was surely not the last incursion, but did it matter? What more damage could be done than had already been done?
Big Life. Big Stage. Big Ten.
About Last Week:
The Road Ahead:
Miami (NTM) (0-2, 0-0 MAC)
Last week: Lost to Eastern Kentucky, 17-10
Recap: The good news for Miami was that they outgained Ohio Valley Conference team Eastern Kentucky 445-280. The bad news was that they turned the ball over six times, including three interceptions from Tommy Hendrix. This runs Miami’s losing streak to 18 games.
This team is as frightening as: A team that has a full compliment of 85 scholarships available, plays a MAC schedule, and hasn’t won a single football game in the last 18 tries. Fear Level = 1.5
Michigan should worry about: Andrew Hendrix is throwing for 338.5 yards per game…
Michigan can sleep soundly about: …at 6.7 yards per attempt. Against Marshall and EKU. Also, if you believe silly superstitions like “reviewing game film,” you should probably feel pretty good.
When they play Michigan: A crowd of “100,000” will get to witness a comfortable, boring win over a terrible opponent.
Next game: at Michigan (-34), 3:30 Saturday (BTN)
[AFTER THE JUMP: Combative dromedaries are the best dromedaries]