As I sat down to write this week’s Inside the Box Score diary, I had to ask how long I could keep doing this, week after week, without suffering a letdown. The answer is, apparently, one week longer than Michigan State. Had sparty displayed an ounce of class in our last meeting, I would have responded in kind. They didn’t, so I won’t. You know what they say, karma’s a biatch*, unless she’s your 7thgrade math teacher. True story, my 7thgrade teacher was named Karma Storm. Speaking of karma storms, Dantonio and Bielema got hit with category 5s on Saturday. But I, unlike Beth Mowins, have put the state game behind me, so on to the link.
Burst of Impetus
- I’m sure most folks expected me to go with the safety here. And while that was a big play, it was only worth 2 points and a change of possession. Scratch that, the safety was a big play.
- The main burst of impetus in my opinion was the Avery interception. Purdue had the ball at our 16, down only 12-7. A TD there gives them the lead. A FG makes it uncomfortable. Instead, we get the ball, march down the field (thanks to a big back foot throw from Denard to Gallon) and score making it 19-7. Purdue was never really in it after that. If a guy is shockingly wide open, I don’t care how you get him the ball, you just get him the ball. Braxton Miller and Luke Fickell would agree with me. (That’s Bert Bielema you hear crying in the background.)
- We lost the turnover battle, 2-1, but one of our turnovers was effectively a punt to the five yard line and resulted in the safety, so yeah, not all turnovers are created equal.
- Both teams were 1 of 2 on 4thdown. Purdue, however, made questionable decisions to punt on 4thdown twice in our territory when down 3 scores in the 3rdquarter, but go for it down 4 scores in the 4thquarter. When going for it might have actually affected the outcome of the game, Danny Hope swallowed his mustache.
- Speaking of Danny Hope, I had to enjoy the offensive wizardry he exhibited by having two RBs run into each other on 4thdown. Couldn’t happen to a nicer guy.
Trash Cans Full of Dirt
- According to the Purdue blog’s preview that Brian linked to, our starting middle linebacker is Mike Jones. (Can someone explain the MIKE JONES meme to me? I try to read every single comment on this blog, but I’ve got a job so some things slip past me.) I thought it was very tricky of Mattison to keep our starting MLB on the bench until the 4thquarter. That Mattison has always got something up his sleeve. Jones tallied 2 tackles.
- One time they showed Mattison on the sidelines, he kept making this scratching move with his finger over his mouth. This is either an interesting audible call, or Mike Martin still had spinach on his teeth from Angelo’s Eggs Benedict. Mmmm, Angelo’s.
- The leading tackler was Desmond Morgan, with 9. Gordon and Martin had 7 each. I like that balance, a lineman, an LB, and a DB were the top 3 tacklers.
- How fitting was it that just after Beth Mowins told us about Kovacs being injured, Purdue broke off their long touchdown run. That really highlighted how important Kovacs has been to the defense this year. We’ve only given up two 40+ yard gains this season, and both were sans Kovacs.
- We had 7 TFLs that included 4 sacks. Mike Martin, our original trash can full of dirt, picked up 2 TFLs and 2 points. Martin also inspired this quote from Craig Roh, “I know he’s going to beast his guy, so I have to beast my guy.”
- J.T. Floyd had 2 pass break-ups.
- Purdue was held to 311 yards. I love watching good defense.
- 21 players show up in the defensive stats section. Lots of guys got valuable experience in the 4thquarter.
- With apologies to Denard, this section belongs to Fitzgerald Toussaint this week. In fact, I will refer to him as Filthgerald. Filthgerald gained 170 yards on 20 carries, scored 2 TDs, had a long of 59 yards, and averaged 8.5 YPC. Can someone explain to me again why he only got two carries against staee? Forget that last comment, I’ve moved on.
- Denard did have a nice 28 yard run and gained 63 yards on 15 carries.
- To my untrained eye, it sure seemed like Purdue had a spy on Denard for the whole game, that helped open things up for Filthgerald. Sometimes you’ve got to take what the defense gives you.
- Denard was 9 of 14 (nice completion percentage) for 170 yards.
Big John R. Studd Referee Section
- A. Kemp was our referee. He was a new face to me. It's nice to see some youngerish guys running around out there, one's you know, that might actually still be able to see.
- Purdue had 8 penalties to our 5, so I think the refs did a fine job. They missed a face mask or two, but there was nothing outrageous. ESPN did fail to show replays of a couple personal fouls, including the one on Lewan. Anyone know what he did to draw that flag?
- Denard drew an offsides penalty from Purdue with a hard count. That’s two weeks late, but whatever.
Roundtree and Gallon each caught a 40+ yard pass, but I think I was just as excited to see Brandon Moore catch one. TE depth, we haz it? (Someone insert an adorable kitten picture here.)
[ED:BISB: Needs moar kitty]
- On one of the Denard-as-WR-plays, it looked like the CB was playing tight coverage and was expecting the run. Just once, wouldn’t it be cool to see Denard run a fly pattern right past the CB? Again, probably saving this for ohio. I hope Fickell doesn’t read this, but that assumes he knows how.
- For just one week I’d like to not have something to report here. This was our pink game. Most guys had some combination of pink wrist bands and pink gloves.
- I have one question for Denard, Y U no wear pink?
- Our regular two hexadecimalists, Hawthorne and Cavanaugh, are now the 2ndstring LB and a special team player. This section was in danger of going away until…
- Thank goodness for 5G, Frank Clark. It’s nothin’ but a G thang, Frank. Clark tallied an assisted tackle, but he was around the ball a lot and showed promise.
- I’m pretty sure Chris Spielman still hates us, but I thought this section heading was more in keeping with the overall feel of the blog.
- Our announcers for the game were the aforementioned Beth Mowins, Mike Bellotti, and Shelley Smith. Can someone put a mirror under Mike’s nose to see if he’s still alive? Actually, I thought he did a good job limiting his comments. I wouldn’t be upset if we got more Bellotti.
- What happened to Shelley Smith? Wasn’t she a lead anchor on the worldwide leader? Now, she’s doing three or four sideline pieces on ESPN2. I had to feel sorry for her when it started raining. (Ladies reading nod knowingly.)
- I tried really hard to find something wrong with the announcing crew. I came up with these two things. Beth may have called Odoms, “Mar-TOE-vious,” and she sounds too much like Pam Ward for my liking. Oh yeah, she brought up the state game every five minutes.
- Beth did mention that Brady Hoke was showing “Michigan Man Toughness” for wearing short sleeves in 40 degree weather. Can we give Beth 10 MGoPoints for combining memes? Tremendous job, Beth.
Random, as Yet Unnamed, Bullets
- The previously mentioned Purdue blog also gave the edge to Purdue’s punters, Wiggs and Webster. They are in a fierce battle to be the space emperor of West Lafayette. Space Emperor of Space? Not so much. Since our punter didn’t punt until the 4thquarter, that comparison was basically moot.
- I didn’t remember it was homecoming until I saw all the different looking tubas. Some were bronze, some were silver, some had M covers on them. Strange, what jogs the memory. I hope everyone had a happy homecoming. 36-14 helps in that regard.
- Gibbons was 2 for 2, one from 37 yards and one from 22. Wile put one through the uprights from the 45 on a kickoff. I can haz 65 yard field goals? (More kitten photos…)
- We had 294 yards in the first half, and it was a balanced attack overall. Some Denard running, lots of Fitz running, some Denard passing, contributions from Smith, Shaw, and Devin. 535 yards total.
- Will Jet Pack Guy inspire an MGoBlog photoshop thread a la Lloyd Brady and Face Palm Guy? Add in the guy in the backwards hat (who I refer to as Michigan Turtle) in this Mitch McGary photo and you have the makings of an MGoEntourage.
* I did a site search on “biatch” and “bee-yotch” and got 57 and 0 hits, respectively, so biatch it is.
Very little in terms of commitments this week, but there's some movement in the middle of the rankings as the recruiting services get around to rating more players—Indiana's comeuppance for losing Gunner Kiel ends up coming one week later as a result. Action since last rankings:
10-21-11: Minnesota picks up James Gillum.
10-23-11: Purdue picks up Greg Latta.
That's it. Two JuCo recruits. Thanks for making my job easy this week, B1G.
|Big Ten+ Recruiting Class Rankings|
|Rank||School||# Commits||Rivals Avg||Scout Avg||ESPN Avg||24/7 Avg||Avg Avg^|
*ESPN doesn't rate JuCos, so Isaac Fruechte and James Gillum (Minnesota), Darius Stroud and Jacarri Alexander (Indiana), Steffon Martin, Devin Smith, and Greg Latta (Purdue), and Zaire Anderson (Nebraska) are counted as unranked recruits for the sake of consistency (trust me, it makes sense when you look at the spreadsheet).
^The average of the average rankings of the four recruiting services (aka the previous four columns). The figure is calculated based on the raw numbers and then rounded, so the numbers above may not average out exactly.
On to the full data, after the jump.
Depending on how early you were up, with temps around freezing you were out scraping your car to get to the game! Might see some light, spotty showers, but mostly just a light mist for the morning, and some sun also. Hitting near 40 degrees by 10am, with a calm south wind.
Looking at 45 degrees for the kickoff, feeling just a few degress colder with a wind chill. Winds still out of the south at about 3mph, with partly cloudy skies by noon. I think we'll still be dry for the kickoff.
Clouds continue to build in a little more, but should still see some sun too! There's a slight chance of a shower, but I don't think it will be anything heavy, just a few sprinkles, and shouldn't last long. 47 degrees by halftime, and those southerly winds still calm-just a light breeze.
Should just make 50 degrees by 4pm, with all the clouds hanging around I don't think we'll get any warmer. There's still a chance of a spotty shower and a possible rumble or two of thunder throughout the later afternoon/early evening hours. Temps drop quickly into the low 40s by dinnertime, and will continue to drop into the later evening hours. If you're out celebrating late tonight, you'll feel temperatures down around the freezing point by last call. Winds staying out of the south around 3-5mph (but expect a blustery day tomorrow). Clouds do start to diminish, so even though it will be chilly, you won't have any rain to deal with and may see some stars!
Have a great time at the game, and celebrating a win afterwards! Hail!
Christina Burkhart is a meteorologist for NBC/ABC in Traverse City, MI. She grew up in Ann Arbor and associates Saturdays with Michigan football. Go Blue!!
as always, comments are appreciated. i know that the LB spots have been shifting around, but i think all the major players are here. also, there have been some departures so there are new blank spots on the roster.
Four teams exit the polls this week. With its third loss of the season, Auburn drops out of the polls for the third time this season. Three other preseason unranked teams also dropped out, Georgia Tech, Illinois and Washington (thanks for your brief one week stay in the polls).
Texas Tech, USC, Penn State and Cincinnati replace them in the polls. Texas Tech and Cincinnati are new teams to the rankings and bring the total up to 14 unranked teams that have been in the poll for at least 1 week,
Individual Ballot Analysis
We have a new leader of the contest this week. GoBlueSTL has jumped up to first place thanks primarily to Michigan State and USC. He earned 92 points which is 17 off the highest possible score. The perfect ballot this week has LSU, Oklahoma St, Arkansas, Michigan St, Southern Cal and Clemson for 109 points.
We also have new leaders in futility. The people who had been dominating the bottom moved up and we have a 4-way tie for last place. All four of them are receiving all 15 points by picking Oklahoma in group A with their 5 other teams unranked.
Analyzing your Ballot
The MGoBlogosphere was too busy reading Three and Out to pay attention to the outside football world. For the first time this season the population of MGoBlog would have done better if they had just randomly picked their teams.
A random ballot would expect to earn 52 points this week. The median and mean of MGoBlog entries is 49 points. That is probably not statistically significant but it is still not a good sign.
Games to Watch
This week we’ve got
#9 Michigan State at #13 Nebraska
A game that seems to fit in the mold of a classic Big Ten matchup even though it is the first time they meet as Big Ten opponents. Historically Nebraska is 3-0 against Michigan State with an average score of 41 – 9.
#4 Stanford at #20 USC
"What’s your deal"? Didn’t Andrew Luck come in as a redshirt freshman for that infamous upset of USC? Now let’s see what he does as a senior.
Florida vs. #22 Georgia
If Florida wants a successful season, let alone to be ranked again, they absolutely have to win this game. If Georgia wins they will be in pretty good shape. South Carolina seems very erratic and without Lattimore that will only be worse. Georgia might be able to get control of the SEC East with a win here and a loss by South Carolina @ Arkansas next week. Georgia's only tough games left are home games against Auburn and Georgia Tech.
#11 Oklahoma at #10 Kansas State
Is Oklahoma as bad as they looked last week? Is Kansas State any good or is their record solely a product of terrible competition?
Beilein getting in on that Hoke swag
THE MODERATOR: Coach, an opening statement.
COACH BEILEIN: It's hard to believe that it's been already five years to have the privilege of coaching at Michigan. We love practicing with this team right now.
We have an incredible team-first attitude that's been very healthy so far. And now we're a couple of weeks away from the start of the season. So we love the young men on our team.
The most difficult thing will be replacing Darius Morris and all the intangibles that we had last year as a team that was really playing with a chip on their shoulder. So we're working hard at that. And I like the progress so far.
THE MODERATOR: Questions?
Q. How close to the start of the season do you think you'll choose a starter for the point guard position to replace Darius Morris?
COACH BEILEIN: You know, we have a scrimmage coming up. We have an exhibition game coming up. That will be a big part of it. And then every practice there's an opportunity for me to evaluate.
So I would think about that, the three or four days before our first game with Ferris State on a Friday night, we'll probably choose that just the week of that game.
Q. Can you talk a little bit about the improvements to Crisler Arena, what that's meant both in terms of recruiting and just the players you have right now and also the play itself on the court, I think (Michigan women’s head) coach Kevin Borseth talked about the painting of the roof, making it seem a little brighter in there?
COACH BEILEIN: Yes, there's been two things going on. First of all, the Chrisler improvements are striking. There's just -- you just walk into it, you feel like it's a brand new arena.
And it had aged quite a bit. It's a wonderful building for Michigan basketball for a long time. But Cazzie Russell being inducted into the NCAA Hall of Fame, that's the last time it was probably updated was when they built it.
So it's been really nice for our kids. I think they feel good about themselves when they're out there. The other thing, with our player development center, our practice facility, is all but completed. It's two weeks away. We've actually moved into the offices. That's going to lead into so much more efficiency how we operate every day.
So it's a very -- it's a good environment right now to grow as a basketball program.
Q. How do you think (Tim) Hardaway (Jr.) is going to react to defenses really keying in on him this season as him being the focal point of the Michigan offense?
COACH BEILEIN: You know, we had an early answer on that the other day. We just had a scrimmage where he was so unselfish he had seven assists and no turnovers in a scrimmage.
And just he sees the open people almost sometimes to a fault, where if they're putting extra men on him or guarding him a certain way, this is a team-first guy now.
So he's been really -- he's fairly comfortable in that. I think obviously he's still young. He's 19 years old. He's still young. His body is developing. But, still, he's going to have a lot of bumps in the road, because you have to guard him.
But he realized that's part of the journey himself to reach his goals of being a great Michigan basketball player and then playing afterwards.
Q. Two years ago there were more expectations in the program with Manny Harris and additional players coming back, how is this year different than those expectations and how that season turned out?
COACH BEILEIN: I think that one of the things that happened in that season was injury to Manny Harris earlier in that season. The expectations were very high, but Manny never really got to 100 percent, we felt, the entire year.
And we were probably more dependent on he and DeShawn (Sims) and the rest of the pieces were not complete yet. I think that we can -- if those two did not have a good game, we had a very difficult chance of winning.
This team, I think, has where the talent, those two are extremely talented players, this team may have a few more pieces, and I think we have a great team chemistry on the team as well, that hopefully a lot of intangibles going into winning. We hope we possess as many as you would need.
Q. Where does Trey (Burke) rank among the other freshmen in the Big Ten as far as being able to play right away, with (Indiana’s Cody) Zeller and those other big-time freshmen?
COACH BEILEIN: I have no idea about the other freshmen. I just look at my team -- you have to look at the rotation and how many veterans they have coming back. He's walked into a great situation with Darius Morris leaving, as far as him personally.
At the same time, there's a lot that goes on from going from a high school guard to a college guard. So after two weeks of practice, he's shown a lot of moxie, some great poise. And yesterday, the other day, in particular, a lot of toughness.
Those are three things you'd like to have a freshman have. Usually that takes a few years for them to accumulate some of those traits. He showed last week some really positive things in those areas that are beyond his ability to make a jump shot or make a play.
And so we're hopeful he'll continue that trend.