"Rodrick Williams Jr.'s 10-month old, 2-foot-long savannah monitor named "Kill" gets the RB some strange looks when they go for walks together."
If there is one thing we've learned from following Team 133 this season, it's - everybody say it with me - "there's an expectation for the position." This is not unique to Michigan football. For example, the expectation for the Iowa running back position is that you will be struck down at some point in the season by AIRBHG*. The expectation for the Iowa wide receiver position is that you will have a hypenated name. With a new offensive coordinator at Iowa, a new expectation for that position has developed. He will now wander the field aimlessly while the Iowa QB goes through his progressions, which start and end with tight ends. There is also an expectation for Iowa's safety position, that he be a fair complected walk-on, who develops into the leader of the defense. Hmmm, seems we co-opted that expectation.
I bring this up because it's pretty clear that the expectations for the QB position at the University of Michigan have been raised this season. We will now expect our backup QB to be a first string WR, and if our starting QB gets hurt, we will expect him to become a 100 yard per game running back. Shane, you might want to work on your route running and learn how to read your blockers.
* After what happened to Fitz, that will be the last time I mention AIRBHG. I suggest we all retire that meme.
Burst of Impetus
* Did Iowa ever really have a chance in this game? They kicked a FG to make it 14-10 in the 2nd quarter, but I never got the sense they would challenge us. There are only so many times you can throw to a tight end before Mattison adjusts, and you sort of need to be able to stop a team from scoring touchdowns every single time they get the ball.
* Brady did go for it twice on 4th down. I guess those were big plays. He has shown a propensity to try to break the will of the opponent early in games, especially when playing an opponent that doesn't match up with us.
* 21 players recorded defensive stats, led by JR3 with 12 tackles. I would guess that most of those were after Iowa tight end receptions. Bolden and Ryan each had 6 tackles. Yay! three linebackers led us in tackles. That, of course, will happen when Iowa averages 9.5 yards per pass attempt. Michigan was at 17.4 by way of comparison.
* We tallied 8 TFLs, 2 sacks and broke up 2 passes, but were again shut out in QHs.
* The last two names listed were Brandin Hawthorne and Floyd Simmons. Each had an assisted tackle. I think Brady Hoke mentioned them earlier this week when he was being asked repeatedly about Denard's last home game. I would guess that Hawthorne and Simmons had larger dreams than being special teams contributors, but in keeping with, "The Team, The Team, The Team" theme, those two guys took on their roles and were every bit a part of the team as the two Ermahgerd guys.
* Devin Gardner was 18 of 23 passing for 314 yards. His first half would have made for a nice game - 204 yards, 2 TDs running, 2 TDs passing. He passed and ran for two more TDs in the second half for a total of 6.
* Denard Robinson became the #1 back after Fitz' injury, and probably got more carries than Brady wanted as a result. He ended up with 98 yards on 13 carries for a 7.5 yard average.
Bunches of Funchess
* I don't know if our receivers were that good, or Iowa's DBs were that bad, but it seemed like our guys were always a step or two away from the Iowa DBs, except for those few times our guys were open by 10 or 20 steps.
* Gallon caught a 51 yard bomb and tallied 133 yards on 5 catches.
* Roundtree also caught 5 for 83 yards and a TD.
* Funchess caught another TD, and Vincent Smith scored a TD on his patented throwback screen play, that was assisted greatly by Denard's being on the field.
And Justice for Rawls
* Fitz had 31 yards on 3 carries before his injury. I'm sure we all wish him a speedy recovery.
* Rawls' running plays was the one area we struggled. He ended up with 2.8 ypc on 8 carries. A lot of his runs were short yardage situation things, but we'll need more than 2.8 ypc in the shoe.
Norf and Souf
* We only punted once, and as a result, special teams weren't much of a factor this week.
* Iowa's punter is named Kornbrath. I'm not making that up.
* Two of the officials were named "Carr." I don't know if they were related to Lloyd. The Field judge was Ed Rohan, which seems fitting considering the Vincent Smith mini-Balrog YOU SHALL NOT PASS haiku from earlier this week.
* L. Trinca-Pasat had 4 tackles. Apparently, Iowa's hypenated name thing is spreading to their DL.
* When he was awake, Collin Sleeper had 4 tackles, and when he wasn't hyding from our WRs, Micah Hyde had 8 tackles and an INT.
* Steve Bigach had 3 tackles. I bring this up because his name is a perfect metaphor for the BIGGG TENNNNN this year. BIG ACK! (Hey, bonus points for me for working in a cat photo.)
Outside the Boxscore
We're nearing the end of another season, and I've started to reflect on the meaning of all this. It's just a game, right? And should big-time athletics really be associated with academic instutions of higher learning? Well, I'd answer no and yes, respectively. Back yard football on Thanksgiving is just a game. Preparing year round to go out in front of 110,000+ fans and a national TV audience, risking your health, while reporters and bloggers track every play, suggests that it's not just a game. There is something larger at stake, and I don't mean the millions awaiting some of the players upon graduation. There are life lessons to be learned along the way, that are completely in line with the goals of an academic institution. Let's look at Devin and Denard. Devin's dream was and is to play QB. When he found himself playing behind Denard, he didn't sulk or limit himself to being the backup. He found a way onto the field to help the team. When it was his turn to play QB, he prepared and performed incredibly well considering the circumstances. When Denard was injured and couldn't throw the ball anymore, did he sulk? Did he leave the team? No, he found another way to help the team, first as a mentor to Devin, and then as a contributor on the field. There will be situations those two individuals face later in life, where they will have to decide between doing what is best for themselves individually, versus what is best for the business they are working for or the family they are part of. I'm pretty sure I know how they will choose. Every now and then, sports teach us some pretty important life lessons, if we are willing to pay attention.
Ok, so here's the first of what I hope will be 4 wallpapers for BEAT OHIO week. This one focuses on #21 and The Game. It's so cool to see Roy stepping up at the right time to do the number justice. Now all he has to do to complete his transformation is to BEAT OHIO as #21 and enter Michigan lore. Go Blue, BEAT OHIO! Enjoy!
A beautiful day for football and a day for layers! High pressure to the east of Lake Huron keeps us in some sunshine after the fog burns off. We'll feel a light southeasterly breeze and although temps will fall into the 30s during the evening, we won't be nearly as cold as this past night. Thanks for stopping in Iowa, but it's senior day and you're not winning this one!
Starting off a little chilly and foggy for the up-an-at-em tailgaters! Drive carefully! Fog is dense in some areas and with such cool temps there may be some slick spots with fog freezing. Grab the hot coffee! We're remaining in the mid 20s until sunrise, then the temperature will rise quickly. By mid-morning we're into the low 30s with a light south wind and will have gotten rid of most of the fog.
Start taking layers off! Temps keep going up- 47 degrees by kickoff with a light breeze (about 6mph) out of the SSE. Lots of sunshine, with just a few clouds passing by.
Wind picks up to 8mph, still out of the SSE. With mostly sunny skies, we're hitting 49 for the half.
51 is the high for the day and we hit it as you leave the game, then drop to 40 degrees by 8pm. Keeping lots of sunshine for a beautiful afternoon! Winds remain southeasterly and stay between 5-8mph until around dinner time. Then they shift to come out of the east, staying light. We aren't as cold as Friday night! If you're more of a night-owl than a morning person and you're out til closing time-expect 35 degrees when you walk out the door with partly cloudy skies. Fog will also form again, especially after 11pm, so keep that in mind if you'll be driving. Go Blue!
Christina Burkhart is a meteorologist for NBC/ABC in Traverse City, MI, and temporarily for NBC25 in Flint/Saginaw, MI. She grew up in Ann Arbor and associates Saturdays with Michigan football. Go Blue!!
Ok, so I'm not REALLY making excuses, but...OH, you don't want to hear that anyway. Sorry this is so late in posting, but here is a wallpaper I put together for Iowa. I've been spending more time on the Ohio wallpaper and less on the others, so I apologize if it seems lacking. Anyway, hope you like it (hell, it's only for a day, right?). Enjoy!
All three plays in the 'Ending It' Picture Pages series in one video. Analysis courtesy Brian, per usual.
Goal by goal analysis (GBGA) is something I've been doing on my Red Wings blog for a little over a year. The lockout seems like the perfect opportunity to transition to writing about UM, and the series against Notre Dame sounded like a good place to start.
A couple of notes about the images below:
- Dashed lines indicate something that did not happen but could have. The first screencap from the first goal is a good example of this with a pass that could have been made but wasn't.
- Solid lines indicate the action of the play. Shots, passes, or a player's movement can all be indicated with solid arrows.
- Circles indicate a player integral to the developing play. Also, circles are awesome and fun to use because I don't have to hand draw them.
Notre Dame 0 Michigan 1; 04:38- Selman unassisted
Notre Dame controls the puck in their own zone. Michigan has an aggressive forecheck on with two forwards in the defensive zone. Despite the pressure, there is an easy D-to-D pass that the defenseman could make.
He instead chooses to try and thread the puck through the high slot through the two converging Michigan forecheckers. This doesn’t work because duh, and Selman picks off the pass.
Selman is in all alone in the left faceoff circle. He doesn’t deke at all, just carries the puck forward for a second before snapping a shot that beats the ND goaltender over the shoulder blocker side. No dangle-dangling, just a great shot that beats the goaltender cleanly.
Notre Dame 1 Michigan 1; 04:04- SH Voran from Tynan & Taker
ND chips the puck out of the Michigan zone, which allows Michigan’s forwards to go off for a line change. ND has a man high, and the chip pass finds him at the blue line.
The ND forward (Tynan) carries the puck in and has a man trailing (circled in green). Bennett is Michigan’s lone defenseman back, and he starts to position himself in the middle of the slot for the situation that’s unfolding; the goaltender will take the shooter and the defenseman will take away the pass to the trailer.
Patience pays off for the Golden Jofas, as Tynan waits until he sees a gap under Bennett’s stick and passes through it to the right faceoff circle. Voran is ready for the pass and one times a shot past Racine, who was able to push across the crease but had already hit the ice and left the top part of the net exposed. Racine isn’t to blame here, however, as the pass never should have gotten through the crease in the first place.
Notre Dame 2 Michigan 1; 14:22- Rust from Russo
The ND defenseman is trying to get the puck in deep. He takes a slapshot that hits the boards behind the net.
Racine thinks about playing the puck for a split second before he realizes that Rust is going to beat him to the puck. He pulls back but is in poor position to go cross-crease because he turns to look at Rust picking up the puck instead of sliding across and locking down the post.
Rust scores on an easy wrap around. Moffie drops to a knee like he’s going to take away a pass but there is no pass here; he needs to pull his stick around to the other side to try and interrupt Rust’s shot.
Notre Dame 3 Michigan 1; 18:28- Schneider from Johns & DiPauli
Four minutes later, Michigan gets victimized again by a Notre Dame defenseman getting the puck deep (and, in this case, on net).
Racine stops the shot, but he lets a juicy rebound go right to…Mike Chiasson? The puck hits his skate and is redirected into the net. SKATE DERP.