"You can't make me," Hoke said. "You're not my father."
Every Big Ten team has played at least eight games, with Penn State, Illinois, and Indiana playing nine. The Big Ten and SEC have the most teams who are currently bowl eligible, with six – Illinois, Michigan, Michigan State, Nebraska, Penn State, and Wisconsin. Iowa and Ohio can become bowl eligible with wins this weekend, over Michigan and Indiana, respectively, and Purdue is two wins away.
It’s time to look at the third quarter of the season report card for Big Ten teams, now nine weeks into the season. The report card will factor in each team’s success (or lack thereof) offensively and defensively, while keeping their win-loss record in mind. I’ll also provide a few games to look at over the next three games for each team. I included my percentages for teams to make the Big Ten Title Game, these are in no way scientific. The Mathlete put a lot of work in to his percentages, I did not.
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Illinois – Projected Record: (6-3); Actual Record: (6-3)
Total Offense: 402.56 yards/game; 58th. Quarter 2-[448 yards/game; 33rd.]; Quarter 1-[410 yards/game; 60th.]
Run Offense: 198.44 yards/game; 26th. Quarter 2-[226 yards/game; 13th.]; Quarter 1-[223 yards/game; 22nd.]
Pass Offense: 209.9 yards/game; 83rd. Quarter 2-[224 yards/game; 65th.]; Quarter 1-[187 yards/game; 83rd.]
Total Defense: 280.11 yards/game; 9th. Quarter 2-[297 yards/game; 15th.]; Quarter 1-[269 yards/game; 17th.]
Run Defense: 102.89 yards/game; 15th. Quarter 2-[80 yards/game; 9th.]; Quarter 1-[63 yards/game; 7th.]
Pass Defense: 177.22 yards/game; 11th. Quarter 2-[217 yards/game; 56th.]; Quarter 1-[205 yards/game; 59th.]
Notes: The Illini started off the season on fire, starting 6-0 with an average MOV of 16.8, since that time, they are 0-3 with an average MOD of 6.7. While they are bowl eligible, Illinois is looking to go to a more prestigious bowl than the Texas Bowl they attended last year, when they were 6-6. Illinois is led offensively by QB Nathan Scheelhaase (2188 total yards, 63.9% completion, 17 total TDs, but 5 INTs), RB Jason Ford (492 rushing yards, 3.9/carry, and 6 rushing TDs), and WR AJ Jenkins (1030 receiving yards, 15.1/catch, and 7 receiving TDs). The Illini are on a bye this week and finish with rival Michigan at home, Wisconsin at home, and Minnesota on the road. Their best bet for a win is probably Minnesota, but they have lost two of the last four meetings and one of those two wins was by three points.
Big Ten Championship?: With losses to Ohio and Penn State, Illinois is mathematically eliminated from a trip to Indianapolis.
Maize_in_Spartyland’s % chance to win division: 0%
Wins: Arkansas State (33-15); South Dakota State (56-3); #22 Arizona State (17-14); Western Michigan (23-20); Northwestern* (38-35); @ Indiana* (41-20).
Losses: Ohio* (7-17); @ Purdue* (14-21); @ #19 Penn State (7-10).
Quarter 1 Grade: A-.
Quarter 2 Grade: A-.
Current Grade: C+.
Indiana – Projected Record: (3-6); Actual Record: (1-8)
Total Offense: 378 yards/game; 75th. Quarter 2-[369 yards/game; 82nd.]; Quarter 1-[417 yards/game; 55th.]
Run Offense: 163.56 yards/game; 54th. Quarter 2-[119 yards/game; 92nd.]; Quarter 1-[169 yards/game; 55th.]
Pass Offense: 214.40 yards/game; 75th. Quarter 2-[256 yards/game; 44th.]; Quarter 1-[247 yards/game; 38th.]
Total Defense: 458.33 yards/game; 112th. Quarter 2-[422 yards/game; 97th.]; Quarter 1-[373 yards/game; 73rd.]
Run Defense: 234.67 yards/game; 117th. Quarter 2-[210 yards/game; 109th.]; Quarter 1-[177 yards/game; 87th.]
Pass Defense: 223.67 yards/game; 62nd. Quarter 2-[212 yards/game; 48th.] Quarter 1-[195 yards/game; 48th.]
Notes: Indiana is in the midst of a rebuilding year, but even by Indiana standards, this year is exceptionally bad. The Hoosiers are in the midst of their worst year since 1984, when they were winless. Despite the bad year, Indiana has only been blown out in a handful of games, with their first four losses coming by seven points or less. Unfortunately, their average MOD since then is 28.75, with none of the losses being by less than 21 points. QB Tre Robinson (791 total yards, 59.7% completion, 4 total TDs, but 2 INTs) is the third quarterback for the Hoosiers this season. RB Stephen Houston (577 rushing yards, 5.2/carry, and 6 rushing TDs) and WR Duwyce Wilson (217 receiving yards, 12.8/catch, and 3 receiving TDs) lead the Hoosiers offensively. Indiana will be hard pressed to win even one of their final games, likely giving them their worst record since 2003, playing in Columbus, East Lansing, and home to Purdue.
Big Ten Championship?: Indiana has been mathematically eliminated.
Maize_in_Spartyland’s % chance to win division: 0%
Wins: South Carolina State (38-21).
Losses: vs. Ball State (20-27); Virginia (31-34); @ North Texas (21-24); Penn State* (10-16); #19 Illinois* (20-41); @ #4 Wisconsin *(7-59); @ Iowa* (24-45); Northwestern* (38-59).
Quarter 1 Grade: D.
Quarter 2 Grade: D-.
Current Grade: F.
Iowa – Projected Record: (7-1); Actual Record: (5-3)
Total Offense: 402.63 yards/game; 57th. Quarter 2-[388 yards/game; 70th.]; Quarter 1-[411 yards/game; 59th.]
Run Offense: 159.13 yards/game; 60th. Quarter 2-[129 yards/game; 78th.]; Quarter 1-[127 yards/game; 82nd.]
Pass Offense: 243.5 yards/game; 50th. Quarter 2-[281 yards/game; 28th.]; Quarter 1-[284 yards/game; 22nd.]
Total Defense: 402.25 yards/game; 76th. Quarter 2-[388 yards/game; 66th.]; Quarter 1-[397 yards/game; 88th.]
Run Defense: 163.63 yards/game; 69th. Quarter 2-[152 yards/game; 64th.]; Quarter 1-[157 yards/game; 76th.]
Pass Defense: 238.63 yards/game; 81st. Quarter 2-[235 yards/game; 80th.]; Quarter 1-[240 yards/game; 82nd.]
Notes: With numerous losses offensively, including QB Ricky Stanzi and WR Derrell Johnson-Koulianos, the Hawkeyes knew this would be a tough year. Fortunately for them, the non-conference schedule was Snuggie soft, allowing them to pick up three of their five wins to date. The Hawkeyes have been led by Junior QB James Vandenberg (1918 passing yards, 62.2% completion, and 20 total TDs), RB Marcus Coker (969 rushing yards, 5.3/carry, and 10 rushing TDs), and WR Marvin McNutt (858 receiving yards, 17.9/catch, and 9 receiving TDs). Iowa needs one more win to be bowl eligible, and they missed the potential to do that last weekend, with a loss to lowly Minnesota. Iowa finishes up with Michigan and Michigan State visiting Iowa City and visits to Purdue and Nebraska. A loss to Minnesota, because of how awful the Gophers are, takes Iowa from what could have been a C or C+ down to a D+. Could Iowa miss their first bowl game since 2007?
Big Ten Championship?: Despite two losses, Iowa controls their own destiny. Wins over Michigan, Michigan State, and Nebraska (as well as Purdue) would create, at most, a three way tie for first, and Iowa would be 2-0 over its competitors. Any loss down the stretch likely eliminates Iowa.
Maize_in_Spartyland’s % chance to win division: 10%
Wins: Tennessee Tech (34-7); Pittsburgh (31-27); Louisiana-Monroe (45-17); Northwestern* (41-31); Indiana* (45-24).
Losses: @ Iowa State (41-44 OT); @ Penn State* (3-13); @ Minnesota* (21-22).
Quarter 1 Grade: C.
Quarter 2 Grade: C-.
Current Grade: D+.
Michigan – Projected Record: (6-2); Actual Record: (7-1)
Total Offense: 463.14 yards/game; 21st. Quarter 2-[491 yards/game; 14th.]; Quarter 1-[461.5 yards/game; 24th.]
Run Offense: 253.29 yards/game; 8th. Quarter 2-[270 yards/game; 7th.]; Quarter 1-[245 yards/game; 13th.]
Pass Offense: 209.9 yards/game; 79th. Quarter 2-[168 yards/game; 105th.]; Quarter 1-[177 yards/game; 87th.]
Total Defense: 340.57 yards/game; 35th. Quarter 2-[348 yards/game; 39th.]; Quarter 1-[374.5 yards/game; 76th.]
Run Defense: 144.29 yards/game; 55th. Quarter 2-[142 yards/game; 58th.]; Quarter 1-[202.5 yards/game; 103rd.]
Pass Defense: 196.29 yards/game; 26th. Quarter 2-[206 yards/game; 39th.]; Quarter 1-[172 yards/game; 26th.]
Notes: Michigan has now equaled last year’s win total, having their most wins since 2007. Since 2007, Michigan is 5-9 against its rivals (4-1 against Notre Dame, 1-4 against Michigan State, and 0-4 against Ohio), a number that could improve with the last game of the regular season. QB Denard Robinson (2104 total yards, 53.5% completion, and 21 total TDs, but 11 INTs) still continues to make errors throwing the ball. RBs Fitzgerald Toussaint (423 rushing yards, 6.0/carry, and 4 rushing TDs) and Vincent Smith (268 rushing yards, 6.5/carry, and 2 rushing TDs) lead the Wolverine ground attack. Michigan now hits the road for two games, at Iowa and Illinois, before returning home for clashes with Nebraska and Ohio to end the year. Wins in two of those remaining games allows the Wolverines to match their 2007 win total, wins in three allows them to exceed it, and wins in all four may give them a trip to Indianapolis.
Big Ten Championship?: Michigan is very much alive in their chances to represent the Legends Division in Indianapolis, but they will need some help. First, Michigan likely needs to win out, as Michigan State holds the tiebreaker over them. Secondly, they will need Michigan State to lose at least one (the best opportunities are at Iowa and at Northwestern).
Maize_in_Spartyland’s % chance to win division: 19%
Wins: Western Michigan (34-10); Notre Dame (35-31); Eastern Michigan (31-3); San Diego State (28-7); Minnesota* (58-0); Northwestern* (42-24); Purdue* (36-14)
Losses: @ #23 Michigan State (14-28).
Quarter 1 Grade: B.
Quarter 2 Grade: B+.
Current Grade: A-.
Michigan State – Projected Record: (5-3); Actual Record: (6-2)
Total Offense: 363.63 yards/game 84th. Quarter 2-[398 yards/game; 61st.]; Quarter 1-[396 yards/game; 67th.]
Run Offense: 133.38 yards/game; 81st. Quarter 2-[129 yards/game; 79th.]; Quarter 1-[125 yards/game; 83rd.]
Pass Offense: 230.3 yards/game; 60th. Quarter 2-[269 yards/game; 34th.]; Quarter 1-[270 yards/game; 26th.]
Total Defense: 228.75 yards/game; 2nd. Quarter 2-[173 yards/game; 1st.]; Quarter 1-[192 yards/game; 4th.]
Run Defense: 101.50 yards/game; 14th. Quarter 2-[64 yards/game; 3rd.]; Quarter 1-[88 yards/game; 28th.]
Pass Defense: 127.25 yards/game; 1st. Quarter 2-[109 yards/game; 2nd.]; Quarter 1-[104 yards/game; 3rd.]
Notes: Michigan State hasn’t had back-to-back nine or more win seasons since 1965-1966, but right now, they have the potential to do just that. To do that, though, will require Michigan State to win at least one road game; MSU is 5-0 at home with an average MOV of 24.8, but 1-2 on the road with an average MOD of 12. Senior QB Kirk Cousins (1693 passing yards, 63.6% completion, 11 passing TDs, but 5 INTs) RB Edwin Baker (472 rushing yards, 4.3/carry, and 2 rushing TDs), and WR BJ Cunningham (723 receiving yards, 15.1/catch, and 3 receiving TDs) lead the Spartans offensively. The Spartans are already bowl eligible, but have their sights set on a trip to Indianapolis. The Spartans would have had an A- even with a respectable loss to Nebraska, except they were dominated. Michigan State finishes with Minnesota visiting East Lansing, a visit to Iowa City, Indiana coming into town, and a visit to Evanston to end the year.
Big Ten Championship?: Michigan State was in the driver’s seat to represent the Legends Division until a trip to Lincoln. Now the Spartans will need Nebraska to lose at least once, and Michigan State to likely win out. Michigan State has the softest schedule left, giving them the advantage over Nebraska, despite Nebraska controlling their own destiny. Nebraska has trips to Penn State and Michigan on back-to-back weeks. If Nebraska wins in Happy Valley, will Dantonio be forced to hope for a Michigan win, this time?
Maize_in_Spartyland’s % chance to win division: 40%
Wins: Youngstown State (28-6); Florida Atlantic (44-0); Central Michigan (45-7); @ Ohio* (10-7); #11 Michigan* (28-14); #6 Wisconsin* (37-31).
Losses: @ Notre Dame (13-31); @ #14 Nebraska* (3-24).
Quarter 1 Grade: C+.
Quarter 2 Grade: C+.
Current Grade: B+.
Minnesota – Projected Record: (3-5); Actual Record: (2-6)
Total Offense: 303.38 yards/game; 113th. Quarter 2-[300 yards/game; 110th.]; Quarter 1-[373 yards/game; 78th.]
Run Offense: 147.25 yards/game; 72nd. Quarter 2-[145 yards/game; 65th.]; Quarter 1-[175 yards/game; 48th.]
Pass Offense: 156.1 yards/game; 107th. Quarter 2-[164 yards/game; 107th.]; Quarter 1-[197 yards/game; 77th.]
Total Defense: 430.75 yards/game; 97th. Quarter 2-[414 yards/game; 91st.]; Quarter 1-[399 yards/game; 90th.]
Run Defense: 201.75 yards/game; 103rd. Quarter 2-[167 yards/game; 77th.] Quarter 1-[93 yards/game; 31st.]
Pass Defense: 229 yards/game; 67th. Quarter 2-[248 yards/game; 91st.] Quarter 1-[305 yards/game; 112th.]
Notes: Minnesota showed signs of life last week, defeating Iowa for the second straight year; Minnesota has now won three of the last six meetings. Excluding the win over Iowa, Minnesota is 0-3 in conference with an average MOD of 39; they have been double-digit underdogs in five of their eight games this season. Minnesota has also lost a game despite being more than a three-touchdown favorite. QB Marqueis Gray (1440 total yards, 50.8% completion, 7 total TDs, but 4 INTs) and RBs Duane Bennett (406 rushing yards, 4.1/carry, and 3 rushing TDs) and Donnell Kirkwood (190 rushing yards, 3.7/carry, and 3 rushing TDs) lead the Golden Gopher offense. Minnesota could be bowl eligible if they win the final four games, but with a trip to East Lansing, playing host to Wisconsin, visiting Evanston, and host to Illinois, they will lucky to win even one of those games. One win in the final four games will allow the Gophers to equal their win total from last season.
Big Ten Championship?: Minnesota’s chances for making a trip to Indianapolis aren’t dead yet. Despite losses to Michigan and Nebraska, (1) if both Michigan and Nebraska end up with four losses, (2) Michigan State with at least three losses, (3) Iowa losing at least one more, and (4) Minnesota winning out, Minnesota could represent the Legends Division. The chances of that happening? Virtually zero.
Maize_in_Spartyland’s % chance to win division: 1%
Wins: Miami (Ohio) (29-23); Iowa* (22-21).
Losses: @ USC (17-19); New Mexico State (21-28); North Dakota State (24-37); @ #19 Michigan* (0-58); @ Purdue* (17-45); #13 Nebraska* (14-41).
Quarter 1 Grade: D+.
Quarter 2 Grade: F.
Current Grade: D-.
Nebraska – Projected Record: (7-1); Actual Record: (7-1)
Total Offense: 412.38 yards/game; 51st. Quarter 2-[419 yards/game; 46th.]; Quarter 1-[422 yards/game; 51st.]
Run Offense: 252.13 yards/game; 9th. Quarter 2-[247 yards/game; 8th.]; Quarter 1-[252 yards/game; 11th.]
Pass Offense: 160.3 yards/game; 106th. Quarter 2-[168 yards/game; 104th.]; Quarter 1-[169 yards/game; 92nd.]
Total Defense: 334.63 yards/game; 29th. Quarter 2-[373 yards/game; 59th.]; Quarter 1-[364 yards/game; 67th.]
Run Defense: 155 yards/game; 63rd. Quarter 2-[168 yards/game; 80th.] Quarter 1-[132 yards/game; 61st.]
Pass Defense: 179.63 yards/game; 12th. Quarter 2-[205 yards/game; 37th.]; Quarter 1-[232 yards/game; 78th.]
Notes: Nebraska was welcomed to the Big Ten with a 48-17 thrashing in Madison. Since then, Nebraska is 3-0 with a 18.3 average MOV, looking for their third back-to-back-to-back double digit win season, their first since 1999-2001. QB Taylor Martinez (1915 total yards, 54.9% completion, 17 total TDs, but 7 INTs) continues to panic when getting pressured. RB Rex Burkhead (882 rushing yards, 5.3/carry, and 12 rushing TDs) has come up big when needed the most, totaling 249 yards and 5 total TDs against Michigan State and Ohio; he has five 100 yard rushing or more games to date. Nebraska finishes with Northwestern, visits to Happy Valley and Ann Arbor, and playing host to Iowa in the Heroes Game.
Big Ten Championship?: As it stands, Nebraska leads in the three way tie, by virtue of divisional record (2-0) (Michigan State is 1-1 in division and Michigan is 2-1). Nebraska is in the driver’s seat; if they win out, they will be in Indianapolis. However, road games in Happy Valley, and, more importantly, Ann Arbor, could easily put them behind Michigan State and Michigan.
Maize_in_Spartyland’s % chance to win division: 30%
Wins: Chattanooga (40-7); Fresno State (42-29); Washington (51-38); @ Wyoming (38-14); Ohio* (34-27); @ Minnesota* (41-14); #11 Michigan State* (24-3).
Losses: @ #7 Wisconsin* (17-48).
Quarter 1 Grade: B+.
Quarter 2 Grade: C+.
Current Grade: A-.
Northwestern – Projected Record: (5-3); Actual Record: (3-5)
Total Offense: 431.75 yards/game; 37th. Quarter 2-[387 yards/game; 71st.]; Quarter 1-[390 yards/game; 71st.]
Run Offense: 187.75 yards/game; 33rd. Quarter 2-[188 yards/game; 37th.] Quarter 1-[220 yards/game; 24th.]
Pass Offense: 244 yards/game; 49th. Quarter 2-[167 yards/game; 106th.]; Quarter 1-[169 yards/game; 93rd.]
Total Defense: 431.63 yards/game; 98th. Quarter 2-[439 yards/game; 104th.]; Quarter 1-[394 yards/game; 87th.]
Run Defense: 193.63 yards/game; 95th. Quarter 2-[176 yards/game; 87th.]; Quarter 1-[205 yards/game; 105th.]
Pass Defense: 238 yards/game; 78th. Quarter 2-[264 yards/game; 97th.]; Quarter 1-[188 yards/game; 39th.]
Notes: The Wildcats were hoping to be a Legends Division contender, but opening conference play with four straight losses wasn’t the way to go about it. The schedule doesn’t get any easier, either, as the remaining three teams on their schedule are a combined 7-5 in conference play. QB Dan Persa (1251 passing yards, 75.5% completion, and 9 passing TDs) is now healthy, and won his first game of the season this past week, in Bloomington. All-purpose player/QB Kain Colter (1269 total yards, 66.7% completion, and 11 total TDs) and WR Jeremy Ebert (569 receiving yards, 12.6/catch, and 7 receiving TDs) lead Northwestern. Northwestern has made three straight bowl games, but haven’t won a bowl game since the 1948 Rose Bowl. They have their work cut out for them if they want to make a fourth straight, and snap that bowl losing streak. Games at Nebraska, home to Rice, Minnesota, and Michigan State loom; Northwestern will need to win at least three of those to be bowl eligible.
Big Ten Championship?: A loss to Nebraska officially will eliminate Northwestern from a chance to play in the inaugural Big Ten Title Game. As it stands, the following need to happen in order for Northwestern to make Indianapolis: (1) Northwestern needs to win their remaining three Big Ten games, (2) Michigan must lose their remaining four conference games, (3) Nebraska needs to lose their remaining three conference games, but beat Michigan, (4) Michigan State needs to lose two of their remaining three conference games (beside Minnesota), and (5) Iowa needs to lose three of their remaining four conference games. Hope is still alive, but Nebraska must beat Michigan, Iowa needs to beat Nebraska, and Michigan State needs to lose to Indiana and Minnesota. Northwestern won’t make the title game.
Maize_in_Spartyland’s % chance to win division: 0%
Wins: @ Boston College (24-17); Eastern Illinois (42-21); @ Indiana* (59-38)
Losses: @ Army (14-21); @ #24 Illinois* (35-38); #12 Michigan* (24-42); @ Iowa* (31-41); #21 Penn State* (24-34).
Quarter 1 Grade: B-.
Quarter 2 Grade: C.
Current Grade: D.
Ohio – Projected Record: (6-2); Actual Record: (5-3)
Total Offense: 309.63 yards/game; 110th. Quarter 2-[315 yards/game; 105th.]; Quarter 1-[342 yards/game; 86th.]
Run Offense: 186.63 yards/game; 36th. Quarter 2-[169 yards/game; 48th.]; Quarter 1-[170 yards/game; 53rd.]
Pass Offense: 123 yards/game; 116th. Quarter 2-[154 yards/game; 111th.]; Quarter 1-[172 yards/game; 91st.]
Total Defense: 309.5 yards/game; 17th. Quarter 2-[308 yards/game; 22nd.]; Quarter 1-[263 yards/game; 14th.]
Run Defense: 113.13 yards/game; 26th. Quarter 2-[167 yards/game; 36th.]; Quarter 1-[107 yards/game; 37th.]
Pass Defense: 196.38 yards/game; 27th. Quarter 2-[192 yards/game; 21st.]; Quarter 1-[156 yards/game; 17th.]
Notes: The Buckeyes started the season 3-3, but now find themselves with a shot to win the Leaders Division. To do that, though, they will need a little help. Freshman QB Braxton Miller (834 total yards, 52.4% completion, 8 total TDs, but 2 INTs) is under center for the Buckeyes. Ohio has also had contributions from RB Carlos Hyde (408 rushing yards, 5.2/carry, and 5 rushing TDs) and TE Jake Stoneburner (150 receiving yards, 12.5/catch, and 6 receiving TDs). Ohio has made 11 straight bowl games, last missing a bowl game in 1999 (John Cooper’s second to last year); expect that streak to continue. Big wins at Illinois and home to Wisconsin in the recent weeks elevate the Buckeyes to a B. Indiana visits Columbus this week, Ohio will visit Purdue the following week, welcome in Penn State for their home finale, and visit Michigan on the final week of the regular season.
Big Ten Championship?: Ohio’s two losses in conference are from Legends Divisions members. Ohio will need to (1) win out (a loss to Michigan makes things all the more difficult) and (2) need another Penn State loss OR (1) defeat Purdue, Indiana, and Penn State, (2) need two more Penn State losses, and (3) need one more loss from Wisconsin. Despite being two and a half games behind Penn State, they are in decent shape, as Penn State still plays Nebraska at home and Wisconsin on the road in addition to Ohio.
Maize_in_Spartyland’s % chance to win division: 30%
Wins: Akron (42-0); Toledo (27-22); Colorado (37-17); @ #16 Illinois* (17-7); #15 Wisconsin* (33-29).
Losses: @ Miami (Florida) (6-24); Michigan State* (7-10); @ #14 Nebraska* (27-34).
Quarter 1 Grade: C.
Quarter 2 Grade: D.
Current Grade: B.
Penn State – Projected Record: (7-2); Actual Record: (8-1)
Total Offense: 356.67 yards/game; 88th. Quarter 2-[374 yards/game; 81st.]; Quarter 1-[306 yards/game; 103rd.]
Run Offense: 162.44 yards/game; 56th. Quarter 2-[162 yards/game; 53rd.]; Quarter 1-[148 yards/game; 66th.]
Pass Offense: 194.2 yards/game; 91st. Quarter 2-[222 yards/game; 66th.]; Quarter 1-[158 yards/game; 100th.]
Total Defense: 282.33 yards/game; 10th. Quarter 2-[251 yards/game; 4th.]; Quarter 1-[242 yards/game; 9th.]
Run Defense: 111.89 yards/game; 24th. Quarter 2-[93 yards/game; 17th.]; Quarter 1-[111 yards/game; 42nd.]
Pass Defense: 170.44 yards/game; 8th. Quarter 2-[158 yards/game; 5th.]; Quarter 1-[130 yards/game; 7th.]
Notes: Penn State has at least eight wins in their first nine games for the third time since 2008. Penn State also holds in the advantage in the Leaders Division, having a two and a half game lead over their nearest competitors. The Nittany Lion offense is led by QB Matt McGloin (1193 passing TDs, 55.6% completion, 7 passing TDs, but 3 INTs), RB Silas Redd (1006 rushing yards, 5.2/carry, and 7 rushing TDs), and WR Derek Moye (514 receiving yards, 17.1/catch, and 3 receiving TDs). Penn State will make their seventh straight bowl game. Because Penn State is 7-1, with their only loss to the #2 team in the nation, I feel obligated to give Penn State some kind of A; however, Penn State has had some real nail-biters in the recent weeks, playing teams with a combined 5-9 record in conference play. They’ll earn an A-, for now. The schedule gets much tougher for Penn State, with Nebraska visiting Penn State next week. Penn State then hits the road for its final two games, to Columbus and then to Madison.
Big Ten Championship?: If Penn State wins out, they will represent the Leaders Division. Even if Penn State goes 2-1 down the stretch they will represent the Leaders Division. If Penn State only wins one, it gets a bit more complicated, as a win over Nebraska would give them a divisional record of 3-2, but a win over Ohio or Wisconsin would put them at 4-1. The Nebraska game means the least out of the last three. Three losses down the stretch likely eliminates Penn State.
Maize_in_Spartyland’s % chance to win division: 45%
Wins: Indiana State (41-7); @ Temple (14-10); Eastern Michigan (34-6); @ Indiana* (16-10); Iowa* (13-3); Purdue* (23-18); @ Northwestern* (34-24); Illinois* (10-7).
Losses: Alabama (27-11).
Quarter 1 Grade: B-.
Quarter 2 Grade: B.
Current Grade: A-.
Purdue – Projected Record: (6-2); Actual Record: (4-4)
Total Offense: 377.5 yards/game; 76th. Quarter 2-[412 yards/game; 50th.]; Quarter 1-[471 yards/game; 22nd.]
Run Offense: 181.75 yards/game; 42nd. Quarter 2-[215 yards/game; 20th.]; Quarter 1-[258 yards/game; 9th.]
Pass Offense: 195.8 yards/game; 89th. Quarter 2-[207 yards/game; 81st.]; Quarter 1-[212 yards/game; 64th.]
Total Defense: 374.63 yards/game; 53rd. Quarter 2-[346 yards/game; 36th.]; Quarter 1-[321 yards/game; 43rd.]
Run Defense: 169.50 yards/game; 75th.Quarter 2-[143 yards/game; 59th.]; Quarter 1-[109 yards/game; 40th.]
Pass Defense: 205.13 yards/game; 40th. Quarter 2-[203 yards/game; 32nd.]; Quarter 1-[212 yards/game; 63rd.]
Notes: Purdue is two wins away from making a bowl game, but may fall short. Two of Purdue’s losses are by a combined seven points, losing on a blocked field goal to Rice (on the final play of the game) and by five at Penn State. Purdue has played QB Caleb TerBush (1283 passing yards, 62.2% completion, and 10 passing TDs, but 4 INTs) as compared with QB Robert Marve (283 passing yards, 54.5% completion, 3 passing TDs, but 2 INTs). The ground game has paced the Boilermakers, led by RBs Ralph Bolden (420 rushing yards, 4.5/carry, and 3 rushing TDs) and Akeem Shavers (328 rushing yards, 5.0/carry, and 5 rushing TDs). Purdue has games remaining at Wisconsin, home to Ohio and Iowa, and a road game at Indiana to wrap up the regular season. Games against Wisconsin and Ohio will likely yield losses, so Purdue will most likely need to end the season on a two game winning streak to make a bowl game for the first time since 2007.
Big Ten Championship?: Given that Purdue has already lost to Penn State, one more loss will eliminate Purdue from a potential trip to Indianapolis. Purdue needs (1) to win out and (2) Penn State to lose out. Unlike other teams, Purdue’s task is simple, and Penn State could very well lose out, but Purdue won’t win out.
Maize_in_Spartyland’s % chance to win division: 1%
Wins: Middle Tennessee (27-24); SE Missouri State (59-0); Minnesota* (45-17); #23 Illinois (21-14).
Losses: @ Rice (22-24); Notre Dame (10-38); @ Penn State* (18-23); @ #18 Michigan (14-36).
Quarter 1 Grade: C.
Quarter 2 Grade: C-.
Current Grade: D+.
Wisconsin – Projected Record: (6-2); Actual Record: (6-2)
Total Offense: 490.5 yards/game; 10th. Quarter 2-[523 yards/game; 9th.]; Quarter 1-[505 yards/game; 14th.]
Run Offense: 231.75 yards/game; 13th. Quarter 2-[243 yards/game; 9th.]; Quarter 1-[238 yards/game; 17th.]
Pass Offense: 258.8 yards/game; 35th. Quarter 2-[280 yards/game; 29th.]; Quarter 1-[267 yards/game; 27th.]
Total Defense: 295.5 yards/game; 11th. Quarter 2-[264 yards/game; 7th.]; Quarter 1-[271 yards/game; 18th.]
Run Defense: 139.5 yards/game; 53rd. Quarter 2-[103 yards/game; 22nd.]; Quarter 1-[77 yards/game; 18th.]
Pass Defense: 156 yards/game; 4th. Quarter 2-[161 yards/game; 6th.]; Quarter 1-[193 yards/game; 44th.]
Notes: Wisconsin started the season talking about a national championship. They started the season at 6-0, averaging 50.1 points per game. Since then, Wisconsin is 0-2, averaging 30 points per game. At one point, Wisconsin controlled their own destiny, now they must rely on other teams to help them get to Indianapolis. Wisconsin is led by QB Russell Wilson (2033 passing yards, 71.3% completion, and 22 total TDs), RB Montee Ball (853 rushing yards, 6.0/carry, and 18 rushing TDs), and WR Jared Abbrederis (595 receiving yards, 16.5/catch, and 4 receiving TDs). Wisconsin is two plays away from still being undefeated. Their defense was exposed against UNLV and further exposed in the last two games. The exposed defense and mistakes by Russell Wilson allow Wisconsin’s grade to drop by a letter. Wisconsin will make their tenth straight bowl game, the question is whether it will be a BCS bowl, January 2nd bowl, or a lower tier bowl game. Games against Purdue, at Minnesota and Illinois, and home to Penn State will decide Wisconsin’s holiday destination.
Big Ten Championship?: Wisconsin will need some help from teams playing Penn State now. Wisconsin will need to (1) win out, (2) Penn State losing at least one game in addition to the finale, and (3) an Ohio loss OR (1) Wisconsin winning the divisional games and losing to Minnesota, (2) Penn State losing out, and (3) Ohio losing two games. Wisconsin is in trouble.
Maize_in_Spartyland’s % chance to win division: 24%
Wins: UNLV (51-17); Oregon State (49-7); vs. Northern Illinois (49-7); South Dakota (59-10); #8 Nebraska* (48-17); Indiana* (59-7).
Losses: @ #16 Michigan State* (31-37); @ Ohio* (29-33).
Quarter 1 Grade: A.
Quarter 2 Grade: A.
Current Grade: B.
Analysis courtesy Brian, per usual. Original Picture Pages at http://mgoblog.com/content/picture-pages-stunting-veer.
I apologize for the lack of slo-mo this time around; my video editing SW seems to have a mind of its own and decided 'no slo-mo for you!' OTOH, my lower-case letters are actually lower-case this time, so there's that.
Setup: Purdue comes out in the Wildcat with WR Justin Siller at QB, which immediately causes anyone who remembers the 2008 game to break out in hives. Then they realize that Greg Orton and Kory Sheets aren't on the field and they relax a bit. Michigan tips that they're going to drop Roh into coverage (Brian's original PP says he plays standup, but really he's just late to put his hand down) and stunt Ryan behind Martin (shown by Ryan lining up a yard downfield from Martin).
Wha'hoppon: Ryan does indeed stunt and Roh does indeed start to drop, then he reads the mesh point and heads for the edge to contain the outside run. Siller reads Demens heading outside as well, so he keeps. There appears to be an opportunity straight up the middle, as Purdue has two linemen heading downfield and nobody's in the hole...
...except Ryan. The pulling RG doesn't see him stunting into the hole and chooses to double RVB instead. The LG does see him but is too far downfield to pick him up. Ryan gets practically a free run at Siller, and it's only Siller's agility that makes this a regular TFL rather than a semi-vs-Smartcar moment.
Full YouTubage at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fzm-mAPvcw8.
|Michigan Hockey: WMU Preview|
|#4 Western Michigan (5-0-3) at #3 Michigan (6-1-1)|
|11/04/11 7:35 pm(Fox Sports)|
|11/05/11 7:35 pm(Fox Sports)|
Highlights that can be linked or embedded are hard to come by right now. We have two choices, video from someones personal camera or a media player that crashes my computer. So getting an idea of how good a team looks is difficult when all you have is stats. On paper they are good but not great with a sweep over NMU and two ties over Union. The difference between WMU and the other teams we have played so far is scoring is more balanced, because they have other options outside of the top line. Offensively they get it done as a team and not with a single individual, coming in with the 13th best offense in the Nation. Chase Balisy is the scoring leader and the only forward on the roster who has been drafted (6th round), but Andy Murray is getting the most out of a group of players who know one cared about because he can actually coach hockey, unlike his predecessor hockey GERG.
This should look familiar, because this group is just like what we saw with Ferris last week. We have another group of blueliners who don't have much of an offensive contribution but play very solid on defense. WMU comes into the series ranked 4th allowing 1.62 goals per game, however I feel that this team could really struggle against us because of the offense ineptitude. They kind of remind me of the 3-Point shooter who can't make a shot and won't stop shooting. I really do believe that this unit has to play a perfect game to have any chance of slowing us down, we played the #1 ranked defense last week and scored nine goals.
Of all the undefeated goalies we have faced this season we finally have two who don't look like Venza Trophy winners on paper, the GAA is very good but the SV% is not. It will be interesting to see how Murry chooses to approach this series, because Slubowski has not looked good at all. Either way Michigan should be able to put pressure on the Broncos goaltenders.
|Phil Di Giuseppe||5-2-7||20||+7||4|
Nothing wrong with this group, they still score whenever they want and look great doing it. Maybe I'm going to far here but the way this team is scoring is exactly how last years team tried to do it and could not. Eventually the finesse will have to stop because it won't work all season, but for now the nasty between the legs passes are working perfectly so why stop? There was some degree of fear going into the Ferris series that scoring would diminish, and they responded by pounding the nations best defense and penalty kill. Seriously these guys are sicker than even the biggest Michigan homer could have predicted. Phil Di Giuseppe, you are insane. Congratulations on being named CCHA Rookie of the Month.
Still an above average group but the WTF moments are still there. Obviously the heat is on Kevin Clare but I have seen more glaring mistakes from our other veterans. Also watching the highlights I didn't see the defense make very many mistakes at all, but instead it was the forwards being out of position. As usual Mike Chaiasson and Lee Moffie are exceeding expectations and everyone else is where we thought they would be. Position is huge right now, an offense that has players who can move without the puck will continue to destroy us. Too many times this season a defensemen was caught watching the puck only to have the opponents forward slide in behind him for an easy score. The good news is that isn't as noticeable because Hunwick is awesome.
Still awesome and recently named CCHA Goalie of the Month, Hunwick is planted among the Nations elite. Coming into the series he is ranked 3rd in GAA AVG, and 2nd in SV%.
Seeing as how both times I have been wrong, I'm hesitant to make a prediction. I know that we are better in all phases of the game, and we are also holding the longest home winning streak in program history. With those factors I'm comfortable saying we can sweep, but last time I said that the series ended 0-1-1. I have to get it once right?
(Note: I originally emailed this to Ace for his use in his weekly scouting report. He encouraged me to post it here as a separate thread - so here it is.)
E.J. Levenberry, Jr. (Class of 2013 Michigan Offer)
- Position: OLB for C.D. Hylton High School, Woodbridge, VA (record 9-0)
- Personal Info: Listed as 6'3", Looked more like 6'2" with cleats on. His weight is listed as 230. He might be that big but looked leaner to me. I'm guessing closer to 210-215. Definitely has the frame to put on more weight/muscle.
- Current Offers: Everyone. Michigan, Alabama, LSU, Florida, Florida State, Auburn, Oklahoma, Notre Dame, et al.
- Game: 28 OCT 11 played versus Potomac High School, Woodbridge, VA (record 3-6)
- Outcome: Levenberry's Hylton High won 19-7.
- Weather: Game day was miserable. Drizzly rain for the entire game with temps in the mid- to low-forties.
- Levenberry Stats for Game: ~8-9 solo tackles, ~4 assists (a lot in traffic), 1 sack, 1 interception, 2 dropped interceptions, 2 other pass breakups (one was probably not catchable), 1 incomplete pass thrown to him on offense (got a hand on it but was a bad pass).
- Story on the game: http://www2.insidenova.com/sports/2011/oct/29/hylton-improves-9-0-win-over-potomac-ar-1419235/
- Played the SAM linebacker in their base 4-3 set. Played as one of two up linebackers when they went to 5 down linemen.
- Was the leader of the defense and took the play calls from the sideline. That said, he didn't show consistent enthusiasm and I wouldn't say he was a vocal leader on either side of the ball.
- Showed good lateral movement and was usually around the ball even when he wasn't making a tackle. Had good but not great speed vertically.
- Was very good in coverage and primarily dropped into zone coverage on passing downs. He had one interception and dropped two others - should have had at least one of those two. Very rarely blitzed.
- Seemed to work his way through traffic well and was usually able to shed blocks when anyone got to him. When there was a tackle made, he was usually in the mix. Potomac didn't have any designed runs toward his side of the field but did have a few cut backs that went toward him.
- Showed good tackling technique. He didn't miss any tackles that he had a chance on. Wrapped up well in tackling but no big hits on running plays.
- In pass defense, he did have a few big hits. One tackle sent the receiver about five yards out of bounds.
- Seemed to slow up on some running plays when they didn't go toward him. However, made a lot of stops between the tackles from his OLB position.
- They used him as a blocking tight end for rushing downs (which, given the weather, was about two thirds of the time). No stats on offense with exception of the one pass that he didn't/couldn't catch.
- Neither team played particularly well on offense. The weather was horrible and the offenses couldn't put anything together.
- Game was very chippy. I counted about 10 personal fouls spread out over the game. One memorable set included three personal/unsportsmanlike conduct fouls against Hylton on one play - one on the players, then one on the sideline for protesting, then another one on the players when they protested the first two (45 yards total). Added to this were a whole host of holding and offsides plays on both teams. Both teams had multiple long runs called back due to holds. During the post-game handshakes, a brawl broke out. In fact, the police were summoned but nothing came of it. Levenberry was in the mix (whole team was) but I don't think he was one of the instigators.
- A defensive game throughout. The score, such as it was, implies more offense than what actually occurred. In fact, there was really only one touchdown (from Hylton) that was primarily the result of the offense. One Hylton touchdown was the result of two back-to-back personal fouls that got them deep into Potomac territory. Another Hylton touchdown was the result of a pick six. The only Potomac touchdown was the result of a recovered fumble on the Hylton 1-yard line after the three personal foul escapade drove Hylton back inside their five.
Levenberry made big plays when his team needed it most. His two biggest plays - the interception and sack - both stopped likely scoring chances for Potomac. The sack came when Potomac was on the Hylton five yard line and looking like it might actually score a touchdown. Levenberry came on a rare blitz that got home for about a ten yard loss. One of his teammates then got another sack which drove them back seven more yards. The drive ended with an interception. No points.
Levenberry's interception came late in the game when it looked like Potomac might actually string a drive together and make it close. Obviously, no points on that drive.
He was just okay on offense. Didn't really block particularly well but was serviceable. Couldn't pull in the only pass thrown to him. Just seemed kind of disinterested on offense. He is going to be a linebacker in college and that is where he put in the most consistent effort.
Levenberry was clearly the best player for either team on the field. He made consistent stops in the running game; played excellent pass defense when he dropped back into the zone; and came up with big plays to stop drives when his team needed it. He seems to have good instincts for the ball which was displayed in the pass defense and also usually being in the right place during running plays. He seems to have enormous potential and his game clearly shows why he is generating such early interest. Has the size, skills, and instincts to develop into an outstanding linebacker at the next level.
A few pictures of Levenberry (#10) (apologies for my crappy camera):
[Disclaimers: Observed the player for only one game, so small sample size applies. All notes are my thoughts and not drawn from any scouting reports. I have no association with the player or program, either. I'm just a U-M fan in a locale that I know our scouting experts can't normally get to.]
|MICHIGAN FOOTBALL DEPTH BY CLASS|
|D. Gardner*||D. Robinson|
|J. Jackson||D. Stonum*|
SCHOLARSHIP COUNT: 59
Current Commits: 23
Unrenewed 5th Years: 1 (M. Cox)
Transfer: 1 (?)
OPEN SLOTS: 5
Maybe it won't be like last time...
(edit: Embed fail http://youtu.be/Qpux-Drk6EY?t=37s)
And even if it is, maybe that's not such a bad thing. Ok? ... Ok.
There was something rather familiar about Saturdays' game against Purdue. For the first time in a long time, that felt like "Michigan fergodsakes!" There was just something about the way we dominated and put the game away. It brought back my idealized memories of how Michigan would roll over the rabble of the big ten in year's past.
I enrolled at Michigan in the fall of 1995, Lloyd Carr's first year. And of the 40 odd games that I've attended in person, all but 2 were under his direction.
This wasn't cupcake nonconference, this wasn't baby seal U, this wasn't even one of the worst Minnesota teams in the last half century. This was a normal, lower tier big ten team that was coming off a victory over a previously ranked team. And they had maybe 4 or 5 good plays against us all game. (the screen TD, Denard's INT, the transcontinental to Siller, and maybe you count the final TD and their QB scramble).
The game wasn't as close as the score. Take away their garbage time TD, and give us another 11 points if we execute a little better on the goal line and we're talking about a 40 point blow out.
But it's not just the score that made me reminisce on the Lloyd days. It was the way we did it; we just had better athletes. And we used that advantage to make the game boring. Even though the lead was only 3 possessions, by the middle of the 3rd quarter there was absolutely no drama left that we might blow the game. And it's been a long time since I've felt that way when we've played a bigten team. I guess the Minnesota game didn't make me feel that because they didn't feel like a bigten team, and we were still scoring points. By the time the 4th quarter started on Saturday, I was thinking we'd only get 2 more possessions since we were grinding the clock out so fast.
I actually fell asleep before the game finished, (granted that was about 4 am local time and my BAC was significant). When I woke up, I had the rest of the day to ponder, 'do I like boring old Michiganfergodsakes?'
Was it really so bad?
Towards the end of the Lloyd years, we had grown accustomed to 9 and 10 win seasons and a bowl loss. And frankly we were bored with them. We had become frustrated with having a roster full of NFL talent that would only call dive plays once we had a double digit lead. And then 7-5 came, and we called it "the year of infinite pain". Oh summer child, what did we know of pain? Little did we know that Richrod was coming.
After the Horror, it was pretty clear that Lloyd's retirement was somewhat of a mutual split between him and the fanbase. I freely admit that I was fed up, and wanted change. You can count me amongst those that wanted RR to succeed.
In a way, I loved Lloyd. I still think he's a great role model. If I ever have a son, I would point at Lloyd as someone he should look up to. But toward's the end, I thought that his risk aversion and gameday decision making was impairing our ability to win big games.
There's been a lot of harsh words directed at Lloyd in light of the revelations in John Bacon's book. I don't believe he acted maliciously. I hope not, anyway. I just think Lloyd was just being Lloyd. He never liked the spotlight, and he resented the media. This was apparent from his first news conference (which, if anyone has video of this, I'd love to see it again) in the wake of Moeller's firing.
I like to believe that he was just trying to be loyal to his players. From a program perspective, that might have been a mistake. Ok, it was definitely bad for the program. And the program needed someone to be like Bo, to be the face of the university, to force people to work things out. But that's not who Lloyd was, it just wasn't in his DNA.
The details seem to get lost in history. People forget that things started kinda shaky in '95 and '96. We lost 4 games both years (just one less than the 'year of infinite pain'). And then came the miracle year of 97, and Lloyd could never live up to that standard again. It's like when poor married couples go on an expensive, once in a lifetime honeymoon, all the sex after that just seems a little bit pale in comparison.
Do we really want to go down that road again?
I admit it, I wanted the hot young model. I think Jim Harbaugh would have been very successful as a head coach here. He would have been fiery, and dramatic, and when we finally score 48 points on OSU, he'd have gone for 2. But Harbaugh probably would have gotten bored with us and ran off to the pro's while he still had his looks. So maybe it's better this way. Maybe someday he'll get tired of that and be ready to settle into a comfy college job.
Until then we've got Hoke. Brady Hoke and his magical golden poop. (From top to bottom, I can't remember the bigten ever being weaker. Bigten teams are going to get smashed come bowl time.) Hoke fits like a comfortable old shoe. But he's not the old shoe. He's not kicking field goals on 4th and inches. He's like that old shoe, but back when it had fresh treads.
And then I realized, it's not about da shoes. The thing that changed was me. I'm ready to go back to 9-3 season's again. I'm willing to tolerate 8-4 years if they're balanced with 10-2. I might even be able to stomach the very infrequent 7-5 year if it's offset with a couple 11-1's and 12-0's. And I don't need last second comeback drives against Indiana to be entertained. Saturday's stomping of Purdue was boring, and entertaining, and filled with more satisfaction than I've felt in years.
Play it again, Sam.
So it's week 9, the 8th game of the year, and we're starting to develop some patterns. If you were to blindfold me and make me predict what's going to happen next week, I could just think about this week and rattle off:
- Mike Martin makes a big play
- Craig Roh makes a mistake, but then makes a big play
Kovacs makes a big play
- Jake Ryan has a mental breakdown and loses contain
- Jake Ryan blows someone up in the backfield
- A CB misses a tackle
- Molk makes a great block
- Denard has a sweet run
- Denard has a horrible interception
- XXXX receiver fights for a jump ball or adjusts to the under thrown bomb
- Vincent is wide open for a throwback screen.
- The defense causes a couple of flukeyish takeaways.
And you could probably run that against most of our games this year and not be very far off. The lack of a Vincent screen and a successful jumpball against MSU could easily be blamed for the score deficit of two weeks ago.
The major differences this week were the reverses and the excellent production from the Tailback position.
Let's see that again.
Bad Roh, Good Roh
I've been bitching about our lack of a bubblescreen, because it's a simple fucking play, that works. Especially if you get a favorable matchup with personnel.
On Purdue's first drive, they've got Craig Roh lined up against the slot man. Even though he's into the boundary, he's not going to win a footrace to the sideline.
They only need 3 yards for the first down, and with the Corner playing 8 yards off, the bubble screen is a nearly automatic 5 yards unless the man in Roh's position has a lot more speed in space than Craig.
He's thinking about his flat responsibility in the zone, but what he should be thinking is that he's got to get out to that 2nd man and ignore the blocker.
JT Floyd, doesn't use his hands well enough and lets the blocker get into his body, Roh is almost in position to make a play, but he's taking a bad angle.
Defensive snapshots where more than one defender is on the ground and the ball carrier is hopping past them, are never good for the defense. Morgan is also taking a bad angle and is barely there in time to escort the WR out of bounds after a huge gain.
But when Purdue tried to come back to it on their next drive, we played it much better.
Here's our first appearance of golden poop. We're futzing around with flip-flopping the D-line and Roh is getting a late start. But because he's still running to get in position when the ball is snapped, he's got momentum built up and quickly gets out on the receivers.
This time Floyd does a better job of taking on the blocker and forcing the play back inside.
With Roh in position and Floyd not getting knocked on his ass, the pursuit closes off any cutbacks and the ballcarrier has no place to go.
Mike Martin : Bruce Banner mode
The difference between a good athlete and a great football player is understanding the game. Mike Martin destroys this outside zone read because he recognizes the blocking assignments.
If you haven't watched the excellent (if somewhat corny) video by fishduck, you should check it out. The RB is next to QB so this should be an outside zone play. The O-line all slant to the wideside of the field. If the RB can get to the corner, he should get about 7-10 yards with good blocking as everyone is accounted for except the deep safety. Martin has seen this in practice about a zillion times from the Richrod days and beats his man to the spot and gets penetration. For Oregon, this is no problem, because the cutback is just as good as the designed play.
But Martin sees the cutback and tosses his man to the side so he can come back underneath and make the tackle. Our LB's are actually a little slow to react and would have been in trouble if the RB had continued to bounce it outside.
If it weren't for Martin, this play has a decent design to pick up lots of yards. The guards are scraping off their initial reach blocks and releasing to the 2nd level. Roh is unblocked because it's expected that the QB fake will hold him in position. If the center and left tackle had gotten better blocks, this play gets an easy first down. But Heimerdinger beats his block too.
So the three of them converge to make the gang tackle.
Mike Martin: Getting Angry...
On the safety, Martin had to fight through a hold to get the sack. (and a bit of facemask)
Mike Martin: Hulk Smash! mode
Before we even get to halftime its apparent that the Boiler's can't block Martin one on one, so they keep in the RB to help out.
Martin uses his hands so well. He does an outside move on the left guard and gets by him easily.
The RB sees him come free and moves to pick him up.
When you're a little guy, trying to block a much bigger man, they teach you to go low.
Because this is what happens if you don't go low.
You get sent airborne.
and knocked back 4 yards, (or more if those other guys hadn't been there)
This other angle shows how badly off balance this guy gets knocked back.
Bad Tackling, Good Tackling
Late in the 4th quarter, both starting cornerbacks were in the game when most other starters had left the field. You gotta think that's partly because of a lack of depth at DB, and partly because they both weren't very great at run support or tackling.
On the long screen for a TD, Countess was the only man with a chance to make the play, and he missed.
But I don't really blame him. We got caught in a blitz. This play was always going to be a touchdown unless one of the blockers completely whiffed.
Which almost happened. Blake does a good job to slip the block.
But the blocker had gotten just enough of him to prevent him from making the shoestring tackle. They say football is a game of inches. There's about 6 inches standing between a 5 yard gain and a 50 yard TD.
There's better examples of DB's (mostly Floyd) not breaking down to make the tackle, or not coming up aggressively enough in run support. By I'd rather show them an example of what you're supposed to do.
On this kickoff, Morgan does a great job of taking on the blocker
And then he disengages to make the tackle.
He hits the ball carrier right in the midsection with perfect form and wraps up and holds on until help arrives.
I'll take "improved running game" for $100, Alex
So, it's just Purdue, but that's what I call manball. And it started with our first play from scrimmage.
Purdue has an alignment problem because they didn't pick up the unbalanced line. This might be the first time we've used it extensively this year.
The end is left unblocked because he has to respect Denard on the bootleg. This is fine as long as the guy isn't fast enough to tackle Denard before he can make the handoff (like what MSU did to TSIO). So we've got two pulling lineman and a fullback giving us a huge numbers advantage on the play side.
We get a good kickout block, and Molk does an excellent job of peeling back to get the linebacker. Hopkins is leading through the hole like any good fullback.
Fullback is a deceptively skilled position. You've got to be able to read the hole like a TB and then be both fast enough to get to the block, and big enough to make the block. Here, Hopkins has to choose which of the free men to block. If he picks the linebacker, that ensures a solid gain and puts Fitz one-on-one with the safety with room to make a move. If he thinks the LB won't make the play then he should block the safety which often leads to long TD runs.
He chooses to go after the safety, which I think is the right choice. But without eyes in the back of his head, he doesn't realize that Fitz is making a beeline towards the sideline.
So he ends up not blocking anybody.
And he knows he's got to hit SOMEBODY. That coulda been a TD.(probably not, as the WR didn't sustain his block).
To the house!
So, did Fitz and Shaw perform a Vulcan mind meld during the bye week? If so, it worked. Fitz was bouncing the play outside all day, and Shaw had what I think is his best run of the year by busting through the line. Someone mentioned that Purdue has a better than average interior D-line (i guess) which would explain some of the bouncing outside. But who told Shaw he could run through tackles?
On this Denard fake jetsweep counter pitch, the boilers are in good position to stop the play for a moderate gain. But they've got two guys who are jogging around waiting for the play to develop instead of attacking the LOS. *cough*JTFloyd*cough*. But look at Molk, He's not really designed to be in this play, he's just hustling to make a block.
Fitz is reading the play and sees the defenders over-run it, so he cuts back. . #3 is in pursuit and should close off the cutback. But Molk and now #75 are following the play.
Fitz sees the two unblocked defenders and breaks down to make a move.
It's just at that moment that Molk catches up and gets a twofer. Schofield is also making himself useful by getting in the way of the pursuit.
#2 is in good position to make the stop, but his momentum is in the wrong direction as Fitz is now running against the grain.
But here's the amazing part. When he sees the lane open up in the middle, he just turns on the jets.
This is the speed we haven't really seen from Fitz on the field. Maybe reports of him being dinged up were true and now he's finally healthy. (He should be after having 3 weeks off).
Shaw's TD came from some improvisation on a simple lead dive.
The boiler DT get's a good push up front to disrupt the play. Hopkins has to help block him instead of getting to the free linebacker. Odoms is coming around for the end around fake that will hold the unblocked end.
Shaw sees that the play side is clogged up, so he cuts back. So now he has to deal with an unblocked safety instead of an unblocked LB => more yards.
The right guard doesn't get the best of blocks and his man starts coming off of him to make the tackle. But Shaw sees just enough daylight to make him decide to accelerate through the hole.
Normally, this is where Shaw falls down for a minimal gain, but on this play he keeps his balance.
And he shows off a little leg strength to fight through the contact.
Then he does what he does best and shows off his top gear outracing the defender to the pylon.
I know I've been critical of him on this blog, but that's because he's very frustrating. Physically he's got all the tools to be a great back, ala Chris Perry. His vision might be half a notch down, and I haven't seen him much in the passing game. But he's got the speed, and if he learned how to harness his talents, he could be making runs like this on a regular basis. Anyway, this was a great run.
- The defense is playing so much better than last year. But the last two games have seen waaaaaay too many arm tackles. I'm not liking that.
- One game is not a season. Playcalling vs. Minnesota, Northwestern, and Purdue was great, creative, and effective. Playcalling vs. MSU, eh ... not so much. I hope this isn't establishing a trend where we have zany fun stuff against Iowa and Illinois and go into a shell against NE and TSIO.
- Rocketman! I didn't notice the helmet on the low quality streams
- The theme for homecoming was something about space, and the wavefield got some love on TV. That wavefield was like a 2nd home for me for 3 years.