As the first in a series of works which will summarize the season, I have decided to first focus on the thing which probably troubled people the most on this board (and how troubling will become apparent in the summary of MGoCursing); the offense.
Before we get into a few more analytical graphs, here is the overall summary:
AVG. COMP. %
AVG. YDS PER COMP.
AVG. YDS PER ATT.
AVG. YDS PER CARRY
AVG. NO. PLAYS
AVG. YDS PER PLAY
If you’re wondering where that leaves us in the whole of FBS teams, it is something of a mixed bag of results. If you look at the second set of numbers in the table (average passing, rushing and yards), our passing offense was 43rdin Division I, for example, and our rushing offense was 99thin Division I. Our total offense was 82nd. Our red zone offense, which you won’t see discussed in this particular work, was 51stin Division I. These rankings come from the NCAA and actually differ some with TeamRankings, but you should have an idea of where were sit approximately as an offense for the year.
YARDS PER PLAY AND ITS COMPONENTS:
Something else that has been mentioned extensively on this site is that our average offensive yards per play was not exactly impressive for most of the year. Indeed, for the Michigan State, Nebraska and Iowa games, we did not even average three yards per play. What you will see below is that our best overall performance on a yards per play basis are Indiana and Ohio State, with Akron, Central Michigan and Minnesota in the next group. On a yards per completion basis, Indiana, Minnesota and Central Michigan are the top three. On the ground, the same games in which we were having a lot of success in the air were the same ones in which we had a lot of success on the ground, so Indiana, Minnesota and Central Michigan, but Akron is on that list as well for relatively successful rushing efforts.
RUNNING, PASSING AND WHEN TO DO THESE THINGS:
In the event that you may be interested in just how much we ran the ball versus passing it, there is an answer for this question – we ran the ball 57.50% of the time and passed the ball 42.50% of the time overall. Now, the individual frequency across games was actually quite varied, as you may have assumed. Indeed, there was a stretch in the middle of the season – mainly due to turnover problems – were we did not pass more than 35% of the time. Some of our more balanced games include some epically bad rushing performances too, so finding the right mix was not an easy task this season, as the graph below shows.
EFFICIENT USE OF A LOT OF PLAYS:
Points per play is an interesting metric and seems like it is a very good indicator of overall efficiency when it comes to our time on the field versus our trips to the end zone. You’ll see how relatively unpredictable we were below, as well as how inefficient we were sometimes. Clearly, on a points per play basis, our worst performance was Michigan State – 59 offensive plays and six points makes for 0.10 points per play. Indeed, in first part of November, we were having…difficulty if this is any indication.
LONGER PASSES, BETTER RESULTS PERHAPS:
I combined yards per attempt versus completion percentage and found something I had not thought about before quite honestly. The longer our attempts, the more of them we were completing typically. That should make sense however, because as you can see in the chart below, Connecticut, Penn State and Iowa were some of the least prolific passing games and also games with some of the less memorable passing results (also rushing, in the case of Penn State).
WHERE THE SUCCESSES CAME FROM:
The next two graphs show total passing and rushing versus the percent of total yards that they represent in that game. These are interesting because they underscore just how troublesome the rushing offense was virtually all year when it comes to being a major force in the offense as a whole. Actually, for Michigan State and Nebraska, I simply input the numbers rather than say that passing was 128% of our offense at Michigan State, for example. It was not a joy to calculate this one out.
If you didn’t read this and instead skipped down to here, you’ll not be surprised when I say that everything above is not new information per se, but it is merely an illustration of what the struggle looked like on paper.
WELL...now that football is essentially done, it's time for us to focus on the basketball team (yes, I know, and HOCKEY). We play someone good Tuesday, I think, so that should be quite the exciting game. We also get another somewhat good team in two weeks. Man, this December schedule is BRUTAL. Anyway, if you're curious as to HOW BRUTAL or who I'm referring to, FEAR NOT! I have produced a schedule wallpaper for your information delight!
16:9 Desktop (1920x1080) -
EDIT: Sorry about before...I broke photobucket, apparently. Thanks, MGoBlog!
Bumped for importance.
|2013 ALL-BIG TEN TEAM (COACHES)|
|FIRST TEAM||OFFENSE||SECOND TEAM|
|Braxton Miller, Ohio State||Quarterback||Connor Cook, Michigan State|
|Ameer Abdullah, Nebraska||Running Back||Melvin Gordon, Wisconsin|
|Carlos Hyde, Ohio State||Running Back||James White, Wisconsin|
|Allen Robinson, Penn State||Receiver||Jeremy Gallon, Michigan|
|Jared Abbrederis, Wisconsin||Receiver||Corey Brown, Ohio State|
|Corey Linsley, Ohio State||Center||Cole Pensick, Nebraska|
|John Urschel, Penn State||Guard||Blake Treadwell, Michigan State|
|Ryan Groy, Wisconsin||Guard||Andrew Norwell, Ohio State|
|Brandon Scherff, Iowa||Tackle||Brett Van Sloten, Iowa|
|Taylor Lewan, Michigan||Tackle||Jack Mewhort, Ohio State|
|C.J. Fiedorowicz, Iowa||Tight End||Devin Funchess, Michigan|
|Jeff Budzien, Northwestern||Kicker||Mitch Ewald, Indiana|
|FIRST TEAM*||DEFENSE||SECOND TEAM#|
|Shilique Calhoun, Michigan State||Line||Carl Davis, Iowa|
|Ra’Shede Hageman, Minnesota||Line||Frank Clark, Michigan|
|Randy Gregory, Nebraska||Line||Michael Bennett, Ohio State|
|DaQuan Jones, Penn State||Line||Noah Spence, Ohio State|
|Max Bullough, Michigan State||Linebacker||Anthony Hitchens, Iowa|
|Ryan Shazier, Ohio State||Linebacker||James Morris, Iowa|
|CHRIS BORLAND, Wisconsin||Linebacker||Denicos Allen, Michigan State|
|DARQUEZE DENNARD, Michigan State||Defensive Back||Blake Countess, Michigan|
|Kurtis Drummond, Michigan State||Defensive Back||Stanley Jean-Baptiste, Nebraska|
|Isaiah Lewis, Michigan State||Defensive Back||Reduced as a result of ties on first team|
|Brock Vereen, Minnesota||Defensive Back||Reduced as a result of ties on first team|
|Ciante Evans, Nebraska||Defensive Back||Reduced as a result of ties on first team|
|Bradley Roby, Ohio State||Defensive Back||Reduced as a result of ties on first team|
|Mike Sadler, Michigan State||Punter||Reduced as a result of ties on first team|
|Cody Webster, Purdue||Punter||Reduced as a result of ties on first team|
|2013 ALL-BIG TEN TEAM (MEDIA)|
|FIRST TEAM||OFFENSE||SECOND TEAM|
|Braxton Miller, Ohio State||Quarterback||Nathan Scheelhaase, Illinois|
|Ameer Abdullah, Nebraska||Running Back||Melvin Gordon, Wisconsin|
|Carlos Hyde, Ohio State||Running Back||James White, Wisconsin|
|Allen Robinson, Penn State||Receiver||Cody Latimer, Indiana|
|Jared Abbrederis, Wisconsin||Receiver||Jeremy Gallon, Michigan|
|Corey Linsley, Ohio State||Center||Jack Allen, Michigan State|
|Andrew Norwell, Ohio State||Guard||Blake Treadwell, Michigan State|
|John Urschel, Penn State||Guard||Ryan Groy, Wisconsin|
|Taylor Lewan, Michigan||Tackle||Brandon Scherff, Iowa|
|Jack Mewhort, Ohio State||Tackle||Rob Havenstein, Wisconsin|
|Devin Funchess, Michigan||Tight End||C.J. Fiedorowicz, Iowa|
|Jeff Budzien, Northwestern||Kicker||Mike Meyer, Iowa|
|FIRST TEAM||DEFENSE||SECOND TEAM|
|Shilique Calhoun, Michigan State||Line||Theiren Cockran, Minnesota|
|Ra’Shede Hageman, Minnesota||Line||Tyler Scott, Northwestern|
|Randy Gregory, Nebraska||Line||Michael Bennett, Ohio State|
|Noah Spence, Ohio State||Line||DaQuan Jones, Penn State|
|Max Bullough, Michigan State||Linebacker||Jonathan Brown, Illinois|
|Ryan Shazier, Ohio State||Linebacker||James Morris, Iowa|
|Chris Borland, Wisconsin||Linebacker||Denicos Allen, Michigan State|
|B.J. Lowery, Iowa||Defensive Back||Kurtis Drummond, Michigan State|
|Blake Countess, Michigan||Defensive Back||Ciante Evans, Nebraska|
|Darqueze Dennard, Michigan State||Defensive Back||Stanley Jean-Baptiste, Nebraska|
|Bradley Roby, Ohio State||Defensive Back||Ricardo Allen, Purdue|
|Cody Webster, Purdue||Punter||Mike Sadler, Michigan State|
Kwalick-Clark Tight End of the Year: Devin Funchess, Michigan
Named for Penn State’s Ted Kwalick and Iowa’s Dallas Clark
Rimington-Pace Offensive Lineman of the Year: Taylor Lewan, Michigan
Named for Nebraska’s Dave Rimington and Ohio State’s Orlando Pace
Blerg: A game that didn't go as expected with a turnover that was very unusual. When Countess intercepted the pass in the second quarter on the Michigan 9 yard line and everyone was cheering, I was saying just knock it down. It was 3rd and 17 on the ohio 31 yard line. After a 7 yard return M had the ball on the Michigan 16 yard line. Ohio would have punted on 4th down and the interception resulted in the same field position as a punt that was a net 53 yards. For the game, ohio had a net of just 38 yards per punt. Michigan had a net negative for that turnover of –0.57 EP. (Of course, a good return was possible which would have resulted in positive EP.)
The interception on the extra point try is not counted in the official stats as a turnover and, obviously, was not any more significant than a pass breakup.
Synopsis: Michigan's TOM for the game was +1.0 and for the year is now +5.0 (+ 0.42 per game) which improved to #33. Turnovers were not a primary factor in determining which team won the game. In fact, turnovers were not a primary factor in determining the winning team in any games that Michigan played this year year.
Countess picked up his sixth interception and this ranks him #4 nationally. Blake is also ranked #3 nationally with 169 interception return yards. Thomas Gordon forced a fumble that was recovered by Desmond Morgan and resulted in Michigan's drive to tie the game at 35-35.
Gardner had his sixth lost fumble of the year in the third quarter. Devin has 11 fumbles and 6 lost fumbles for the year both of which are the worst in the FBS. His 11 interceptions are ranked #20. But his QB rating is still an excellent 146.1 and ranked #33. Just imagine, this year without those turnovers!
Michigan finishes the year at +10.0 in TOM for B1G conference games which is second only to MSU at +12.0. And yet, M ends the year with a dismal 3-5 in conference play.
National Rankings: All rankings include games between two FBS teams ONLY and are from TeamRankings except for forced fumbles which is from CFBStats. The four columns with *** show the best correlation to offense and defense (per Advanced NFL stats).
This chart shows Expected Points for various yard lines.
This chart shows the basis of EP calculations for each turnover.
THE BIG TEN AT REST (UNLESS YOU ARE BOWLING)
Well, even though we did not win on Saturday, we still get to go to some manner of a bowl game and that means we get the practices and the additional time to work on some of the known issues. There is something to be said for this, even if the record is not exactly what people had in mind at the beginning of the season.
In any case, this will be the final installment of this particular weekly for 2013. The remainder of December will be filled with some summary diaries of the football season and then I am planning something like this for Big Ten basketball – I should be prepared for this hopefully by the time conference play rolls around in January.
SCORING OFFENSE AND DEFENSE:
Michigan ends the regular season with the 4thbest scoring offense in the Big Ten, averaging 33.8 points per game and trailing Ohio State, Indiana and Wisconsin in that order. Far and away, Ohio State’s offense was the most prolific, averaging almost 10 points more per game than its nearest competition. We end the year with the 8thbest scoring defense in the conference in terms of average points allowed at 26.5 points per game. Northwestern, Illinois, Indiana and Purdue all were more generous than Michigan. The average scoring margin is below – Boilerquest has fulfilled its destiny:
TOTAL OFFENSE AND DEFENSE:
By yards per game, Michigan’s offensive performance is probably where you think it is – in the bottom third of the conference at 9that 382.8 yards per game on average. Michigan State, Minnesota and Purdue would be our company in that particular tier of teams. On the other hand, we were 6thin the conference for yards allowed at 367.4 yards per game on average, which is near the conference mean – in other words, we were average in the Big Ten. The tempo-free differential ends up a bit in the positive overall at 0.3 yards, which is not great, but means we did gain a smidge more than we gave up in the end.
RUSHING OFFENSE AND DEFENSE:
There is not a lot of change here from the previous week. We still have only Purdue to laugh at when it comes to average rushing production, and indeed, we fell from 4thto 5thbest rushing defense after giving up nearly 400 yards on the ground to Braxton Miller and Carlos Hyde.
PASSING OFFENSE AND DEFENSE:
For all the concern and hand-wringing about our pass rush as well as the secondary, we sort of end the year respectably. We still maintain the 4thbest passing offense by yards in the air, and 7thbest passing defense, sitting more or less by the conference mean. We ended up…average.
In the end, we actually end up in the black, if you will, for both third and first down differentials, so we managed to maintain a pace that was – on average – ahead of our opponents. We merely did not make it easy on ourselves sometimes, or in some games, most of the time. That being said, 1.1 more third downs than your opponent on average doesn’t look great when you look at what some of our compatriots achieved. This could also be said for only averaging 1.4 more first downs per game. In a way, we managed to essentially break even on these measures.
Warning, I have a feeling this entry is going to be a little longer than my typical diary, bordering on TL:DR length. But that's OK, since this is my "own personal section of MGoBlog, to post in" as I like. If you don't like it, feel free to scroll down to the link.
If you check my avatar, you'll see I joined this Blog in September, 2010, for Rich Rod's last season. I spent that first season making ridiculous comparisons between Cam Gordon and Ronnie Lott. I was a freshman. For as many good posts that I made that first year, I metaphorically jumped offsides numerous times, a la Kyle Kalis. Once I got the hang of things around here, I think I started improving. Heck, Misopogon (as he was known back in the day) even bumped one of my board topics to the diary section at the start of my sophomore season. I've been bringing you the link to the boxscore ever since. Why do I do this? My reason back then was that I thought that something was missing from this Blog. Every sports section I read as a kid had a page of boxscores. How can one truly appreciate what happened in a game if one does not have numbers to back up their feelings? Quantitative analysis uber alles! Besides, I figured that you, the MGoReader, were going to go to MGoBlue.com anyway, so the least I could do for the blog is to provide a link and get a few more page views (read: advertising dollars) for the Blog, since I was too cheap to contribute to the Beveled Guilt.
I don't know who to attribute this quote to, but someone once said of freshmen, the greatest thing about them is they become sophomores. I expect dramatic improvement from Kalis and all the other freshmen who saw the field this season, and from the few who were redshirted. I guess that leaves me cautiously optimistic about Team 135. I won't be predicting a 13-1 season for them like I did for Team 134 (yes, I seriously underestimated the effect that an inexperienced interior offensive line would have on the offense. I should know better.) Getting back to me for a moment. Metaphorically, I'm finishing up my senior season on the Blog. The question for me is, did I redshirt that first year with my ridiculous comments? Or is there some youngster out there with a tribal tattoo on his left biceps and a penchant for writing about boxscores? Should I step aside for him/her, oh who am I kidding, him, and start writing about the Detroit Lions' boxscores? Part of me says it's time to step aside. I feel the same way after a grueling fantasy baseball season, but come March, I'm first in line to sign back up. I'll see how I feel in August.
Since this is my personal section of MGoBlog, I want to take the opportunity to address the 800 pound gorilla, the 500 pound elephant, and the 90 pound mole on Ginny Sacrimoni's butt.* These items are, in order, "fickle fans," "mailing it in," and the decision to go for two. First, the "fickle fans" comment. I took a swipe at the students in my Rush song parody post earlier in the week. I apologize. Even though the now omnipresent empty rows at the top of the student section were once again visible, I saw hardly any red in that sea of yellow pom-poms. However, in the alumni section, while not quite a sea of red, numerous buckeyes were spotted. Maybe that's because it's harder to scalp student tickets. I don't know. I do know that the renovated Big House provides our team with one of the better home field advantages in college football, and it's a shame to give that up due to being 17 point underdogs. During the first half, as Michigan kept taking the lead, I began to sense the makings of the Bill Simmons classic, "No one believed in us game." Now, I don't think Brady Hoke called the fans fickle to build on that, "no one believes in you, let's go prove them wrong" mentality, but it didn't hurt. The players sure came out motivated to win one for THE TEAM, THE TEAM, THE TEAM. But like Brian, I was upset at Brady for calling out the fans, the ones who indirectly pay his salary.
Next up, "Mailing it in." I was recently assigned a mentee from the University of Michigan's College of Engineering. In our initial meeting, one of the things he mentioned that he'd like to get out of our partnership is an understanding of how I balance work and life. I've given this some thought, and I think the advice I'd give him or you or Brian, for whatever it's worth, is when you are starting out in your career, you should choose to put your career first. When I was a grad student at UofM, the first paper I had to give was at a conference that was scheduled the week after Thanksgiving. My experiments were not going as expected and I found myself a few charts short of a full presentation with a few days to go prior to my flight. As Thanksgiving approached, it dawned on me that I was going to have to choose between Thanksgiving dinner with my family, and getting that extra data that would make my talk more meaningful. So I worked till 5pm on Thanksgiving day, grabbed a couple students from Hong Kong who had nowhere else to go for Thanksgiving, and headed to the Grand Buffet. Of course, by 6pm on Thanksgiving, they were completely out of Turkey, and every other meat product, so I think I had soup, spaghetti, and garlic bread for dinner. Twenty years later, I'm established in my career. I'm happy where I'm at workwise, so I took Wednesday off and wrote a silly song parody for MGoBlog. Time and situations matter. Prince looked cool wearing a puffy shirt in the movie Purple Rain. Ten years later, Jerry Seinfeld made a whole episode around the puffy shirt. "But I don't want to look like a pirate!" So if Brian Cook decides to take a week off and not write up UFRs, I think that says more about the success of this blog than anything else. He has built something great here, and if he wants to spend Turkey Day with family, more power to him. But if the same urge hits next year, might I suggest assigning the defensive UFR to Heiko and the offense to Ace. Present it to them as a learning experience and an opportunity to take on a stretch assignment. They are young. They can write up the UFRs and then head to the Grand Buffet for soup and salad and complain about their boss.
Third, the "go for 2" decision. I'm going to focus on this more in the sections after the link. In defense of Brady's decision, I should just point out that Lou Holtz thought he should go to OT and leave it at that. Pardon the war metaphor, but I think it gets my point across. We are in a battle with Ohio State. So far, we are winning the war, 58-45-6, but OSU is catching up quicker than we'd like. There are a couple sports-related things that I'd prefer not to witness in my lifetime. One is having some team catch us in all-time wins, and two is Ohio State taking the edge in the all-time record. While we lost the battle this year, I think Brady's decision to go for two will help us in the future. Recruits like uniformz and coaches with onions. Brady is a players' coach and a guy I'd want to go to war with. That can only help with recruiting. The future is, dare I say it, bright. Highlighter yellow bright.
*I watched the series finale of the Soprano's on Friday. I watched the earlier seasons numerous times. It seems every time I'd introduce the show to someone else, I'd start from the beginning and rewatch the series. So I probably saw season one 7 times, season two 6 times, and so on and so forth. I recently realized that I haven't rewatched the final season since watching the final episode that left me wanting more answers. As I sat watching that final episode again, I felt myself hoping for a different ending, as crazy as that sounds. But then, when Steve Perry sang, "Don't Stop," that final time, the realization sunk in that the ending is set in stone. I may not like it (I don't) but I'm going to have to live with it. What does this have to do with football? I suspect that sometime in the future, say 5 to 10 years from now, ESPN Classic or the B1G Network will reshow this UofM / OSU game and label it as a classic. I'll probably watch a few minutes until remembering how the game ends, and then I will sadly change the channel. For however great this game was (especially for fans of offensive football) the ending will always be the same, and that sucks.
Burst of Impetus
* On our first possession, Gardner threw a screen to Gallon that went for 84 yards. On one play, we accumulated more than half the yardage we put up against Iowa. We effectively said to Ohio State, "If you want to dress like Indiana, we're going to treat you like Indiana." Eventually, the impetus faded and Ohio State was able to build a 14 point lead and seemingly take control of the game. However, Michigan never gave up. A huge forced fumble got us back in the game (hey, Todd Blackledge, STFU, that was not a "gift" turnover. Michigan raked that ball free.) After the Penn State game, and after I calmed down a little, I rescinded my call to fire Borges. Instead, I said he should be evaluated at season's end. Before the game, I thought he was dead man walking (hence, the Ballad of Borges.) Now? I just don't know. The team did not quit on him like they did with Rodriguez. Call me crazy, but if Devin comes back for a 5th season, and I think and hope he will, I think he and Borges deserve an opportunity to finish what they started. Handing Devin another new coordinator in year 5 just continues the chaos.
* I know, no politics or religion, but the pun was unavoidable. Ben Gedeon, Thomas Gordon, and Raymon Taylor led us with 6 tackles each. Joe Bolden was 4th with 5 tackles. The young linebackers played well at times, but they were dealing with OSU linemen seemingly on every play. Perhaps Ross would have more quickness to avoid some blocks, but I think he's a little undersized and would get trucked by Hyde like everyone else.
* We had 18 players in the defensive stats to Ohio's 20. That may be the first time that the opposition has had more players show up in the defensive stats. That's partly due to Michigan running 82 plays to Ohio's 61, and our depth being hurt due to injuries.
* Frank Clark only had one tackle. We needed more production out of him. He did have one QH that wasn't credited to him. OK, I'll admit it, I have no idea what constitutes a QH. I thought it was a QB hurry or QB hit, but Clark deposited Miller on his backside early in the game and doesn't have a QH to show for it.
* QWash didn't register a stat. If he was commanding double teams and freeing up linebackers, that would be acceptable. Instead, Ohio averaged 8.5 YPC.
* I don't know how to defend the spread. The folks that claimed it wouldn't work in the Big Ten are swimming around aimlessly in a fetid soup of cognitive dissonance today. I saw numerous posters after the game complain that Mattison didn't put 8 or 9 in the box to stop Hyde. What, and leave two wide receivers completely uncovered? The best you can do against the spread is put 7 in the box and go man-to-man with the WRs. But then you need your 4th best cover corner to stay with their WR, and if the running back breaks through the box, there is no safety to clean up. No, the best you can hope for is to win one-on-one battles along the line and get to the mesh point before they can option you. We did this once with Jake Ryan. Auburn did this numerous times to Oregon in the championship game a few years ago when Fairly and some other dude shut down Oregon. We don't have the Fairly and other dudes we need on the d-line yet.
* Gardner finished 32 for 45 for 451 yards and 4 TDs. That's good for 71%. So getting back to the end-of-game situation. A successful pass basically wins the game. He's 71% for the day. That beats a 50/50 chance in OT. Additionally, he couldn't walk anymore, so that somewhat limits your attack in OT.
* ABC showed that Gardner had thrown 110 passes without an interception, as if trying to jinx him into a poor throw. DAMN YOU ABC!!! And yet, according to Todd Blackledge, Gardner has turnover problems. I see pro quarterbacks throw INTs all the time. Yes, I watch the Lions, how did you know? I think Gardner is being held up to a ridiculously high standard. Yes, I'd like to see fewer INTs next year, and better ball control, but stuff happens. Even the great and powerful Carlos Hyde fumbles occassionally.
20 Pound Cheeseburgers
* We have a running game to talk about, whoo-hoo! A week after I noticed that De'Veon Smith had exactly one yard lost this season, in the season of TFLs, he led us with 57 yards on 7 carries. That was boosted by a 38 yard run, but again, he had no carries of negative yardage. (I thought I saw Kalis trip him up in the backfield for a yard loss, but the boxscore doesn't lie.) Smith runs north and south and gets to the hole quickly. He may miss some gaping holes as a result, but the negative plays are minimized. I like the way he runs. I wish he had 4 years of eligibility left.
* Derrick Green had 12 carries and no lost yards.
* Fitz Toussaint had 5 carries and no lost yards.
* Imagine what the odds would have been for Michigan running the ball 24 times with RBs and having zero lost yards. All this behind an offensive line starting it's 5th different left guard of the season. Kudos to Kyle Kalis for not giving up, fighting back, and earning his starting spot again.
* I thought Kerridge's blocking was much improved, except for one pass block where he got shoved into Gardner. I'd rather he attack the defender than try to backpedal while staying in front of the defender.
V. Sinha Legends Jersey
* What more can be said about Jeremy Gallon? He'll go down as one of the all-time greats.
* What was truly impressive about the receiving stats is that 9 different players caught passes. That kind of diversity prevents the defense from focusing on two receivers, helping everybody get open. Jake Butt caught five balls for 85 yards and a TD, and caused me to exclaim, "WIDE OPEN BUTT," and "GO BUTT!"
* Dileo caught five passes, and a few of them were not 4 yard button hooks that the defense knows is coming. Regarding the 2 point conversion, I watched the first two Michigan drives again this morning. On the second TD, we were lined up just like we were for the 2 point play. Instead of passing to Dileo, Gardner ran the option away from the triple stack and basically waltzed into the endzone untouched. I think that would have worked again, assuming Gardner still had the ability to move his legs. The TD occurred 3 hours earlier, so I think the Ohio defense would have forgotten about it by then. Oh well. I really shouldn't complain about one bad play call out of 82.
Norf and Souf
* Norfleet had the kick return we were all waiting for called back by a bogus holding call. The blocker had his hands inside the defender's jersey, the defender was backpedaling, and a third player bumped into the M blocker and ohio defender. This caused the ohio guy to lose his balance and get pancaked. How was that a holding penalty? If that's holding, you could call Ohio's o-line for holding every play. It seems they are coached up to grab the defender by the name on the back of his jersey and shove him where they want.
Go for the Win
* In overtime, you need 25 yards to score a TD. I checked the drive chart, thinking this would confirm my gut feeling that going for 2 was the right call. Ohio State had 11 real possessions. They gained at least 25 yards on 7 of them. Michigan had 11 real drives (not counting the end of half because Brady didn't try to mount a drive.) We gained at least 25 yards on 8 of them. Hmmm, maybe Lou Holtz was right.
* We had 31 first downs to their 23. So our offense was at least as consistent as their's, if not moreso. Hmmm, I'm really starting to doubt myself.
* Yeah, but Ohio State averaged 8.6 yards per play. That's basically a TD in OT every three plays. Yeah, but we averaged 7.4 yards per play, that's hardly a significant difference.
* But we gained our yards passing while they gained their's running, and more bad things can happen passing than running (sacks, incompletions, interceptions.)
* In addition, our starting FG kicker was in street clothes and our QB was a bag of bones loosely held together by duct-tape and chewing gum.
* OK, I convinced me, go for the win. Everything was perfect, except for the final play when the guy with the members only jacket emerged from the bathroom and put a bullet in our collective temple. We never saw it coming.