somehow we're only 124th
My first reaction to this game was "Holy Jumpin' Jehosefat! We suck donkey balls!" By the end of the game though, I couldn't shake the feeling that we had just dominated the Irish and yet had our asses handed to us. Sure enough, a quick look at the box score revealed 388 yards of offense for us, 260 for ND. The numbers further showed us owning them in passing and rushing yardage. Our offense had indeed clicked finally though it was hard to see it through the smokescreen of killer turnovers. Even our defense didn't play half-bad statistically but trying to overcome the mistakes this young team was making, and the places on the field that they were made, was nothing less than impossible.
Looking Back - Some thoughts looking back on the game after sleeping on it:
Evidence of our offense clicking:
- McGuffie runs for 131 yards and becomes our solid first string back. Dude was on fire and proved a great receiving target as well. He also managed to not get hurt on a tackle that would have snapped the hamstrings off a mere mortal.
- Threet completed 16/23 passes for 175 yards and a TD. His passes were on target and well timed. This guy is our starter.
- Then again, Sheridan did complete all five of the balls he threw. Just sayin'. ;~)
- We had 5 drives of 7 plays or more, 4 of them for 58 yards or longer.
- Our receivers looked very good and the throws were spread amongst them very well.
Evidence that our offense is young:
- We had 7 fumbles and lost 4 of them.
- We had 6 turnovers total. (Someone tell Sheridan we have the Winged Helmets!)
- Threet fumbled all over. Of course I put the blame for the backwards pass mostly on Minor.
Evidence that our defense wasn't as bad as they seemed:
- We held ND to 260 yards of offense.
- Jimmah(!) was only 10/21 for 147 yards, 2 TDs, and 2 INTs.
- We held ND to 113 yards rushing on 34 attempts. 3.3 yards per.
- If you told me the three statistics bullets above and that we would lose, I would have called you a big fat (Weisian even) liar.
Of course there were bad plays...
- Trent was burned crispy despite providing pretty good coverage on the second and third touchdowns. His PI on the first ND posession was killer as well.
- Stevie Brown looked lost in coverage a lot once again.
- Pick a play. See any real pass rush? No? Explain this to me.
And oh so many goats in this one. Not going to pick on the freshmen:
- Brandon Minor, catch the damn ball! The first turnover of the game was the killer kind we can't afford.
- Kevin Grady, hold on to the damn ball! The turnovers in the red zone were extra killer and no me gusta.
- Two turnovers in the redzone. Two inside our own 15. Another returned directly for a touchdown. C'mon, seriously?
- Cue up the Yakety Sax.
Hats Off Awards:
- McGuffie!!! - 178 total yards and brilliant moves displayed throughout. Welcome to Michigan Fans' hearts.
- Rich Rod - I have to hand it to him. This offense is making great strides. At this point I don't think we can blame him for the turnovers.
- Zoltan!!! - Looked much more like the heir to the Space Throne with a wizard performance befitting his name: 4 punts with 52+ yard average (the fake-fake punt was very nice) and of course picking up the first on the real fake punt was awesome.
- Our Receivers - These guys looked great all game. I was praticularly impressed with Stonum and of course Mathews was solid. We were robbed on that TD catch, his wrist clearly hit the ground under the ball.
- Camera man who kept his camera trained on Fat Charlie during his "I've fallen, and I can't get up!" moment. Knees weren't made for that kind of strain, that's for sure. The rest of the game he looked like Golum meets Jabba the Hut on those crutches. Gotta give the big guy props for seeing it from the sideline though.
Michigan is coming around folks. I figured a lopsided loss like this one would make me despair as to us getting 6+ wins. But honestly the Big 11 looks rather shoddy across the board (except for Penn State, but until they prove otherwise, we pwn Penn State) and there are plenty of wins left to be had if we can play like yesterday minus the turnovers. Congratulations to Wisky for going out west and winning a tough game that I didn't think they would. They will probably beat us next week, but it is far from a sure thing IMO.
Dear Diary (Sunday 9/14/08),
I write you after a long sad day in which we lost to the lamest school in the country, Notre Dame. It was one of the most frustrating games to watch as a Michigan. Count me as one of the few michigan fans that thought before the season that this was going to be rough, I mean extremely rough year. I never bought into the '8 or even 7 win season' as a possibility. Not even remotely. I thought we'd be lucky to be .500 after it is all over. I just had a few of my own observations:
---But still. 6 turnovers? 6? Really? This game was so frustrating because (as a biased michigan fan) we should've won. The scoreliine should've been 31-21 Michigan. Matthews catch in the end zone should've been a TD and Grady should've never fumbled that ball. That's 14 right there for us. And well, we can call agree that we spotted ND with 14 in those first two TD's. Now all the idiots on ESPN will glorify ND and feel compelled to admire their return to greatness. Whatever, we killed our chances. We literally beat ourselves yesterday.
----I feel bad for Rodriguez and I don't know why. He's only been with us for 3 games but still, for whatever reason I feel bad for him.
----What get's lost in the shuffle of all the bitching is people forget about how inexperienced and young our OL is. I mean geeeez, don't think if we didn't have a halfway expereienced OL that we wouldn't be putting more points on the board. I mean, we have an f'n freshmen at center and everyone is bitching about our QB play.
---Our defense is good, but not great. I hate (HATE) to say this but I believe our defense is overrated. We basically have been counting on our D to be the savior of our squad this year but that just isn't justified. I understand they were put in a terrible position on those opening 2 drives, but c'mon, why not 6, or even 10 points instead of the initial 14. We HAD to stop them but didn't.
---I'm going to keep on going with the defense, particularly the secondary. WHAT THE HELL. It's easy to bash Stevie Brown and I want to defend him but geez, how many chances does the guy need? Missed tackles and poor communication with the CB's is just not acceptable. But the horror doesn't end there. Morgan Trent and Donovan Warren IMO played their worst combined game as Wolverines. The amount of calls and big plays they let up was just inexcusable.
---McGuffie. I believe he is the real deal. This kid can run and knows how to make plays. Basically, our gameplan should be, when all else fails and we're not quite sure what the hell to do... just give the damn ball to Sam and let him come up with something.
---Threet/Sheridan. Threet now is the obvious starter. He looked good. Sheridan, well..he.. looked like an all-conference walk-on today. But has that really changed from last week? Or the week before? Threet is a gamer. It literally pains me to see Sheridan in the game. I lose all confidence in us having any opportunity to win the game once his ass is behind center.
---Next year; Don't count on Beaver or Tate to come in and turn the program around. The whole 'rebuilding process' isn't a 1 year thing. At his rate Threet will still be the QB next year and one of those two freshmen (most likely Tate IMO) will probably get a cameo role. But don't think either one of those 2 will come in and be the man. That's just laughable.
----Last but not least Recruting; I hope our abysmal season doesn't affect our recruiting. I've seen ND suck it up the last few years and they've still managed ridiculously good classes. I have faith in RichRod that he will still get the talent but i'd be lying if I said to myself that we're safe with all of our recruits we got now and will go out and get even better talent. Attention recruits, this season is not and never will be typical of michigan football.
----And finally, I still believe RichRod will take us to glory. Not this year, and maybe not next, but... well... I guess patience is a virtue. GO BLUE.
Some thoughts from another fantastic day of College Football:
- Threet really came into his own today. His deep throws were spot on and he showed some leadership. You have to love his progress. I'm a little concerned about his apparent injury. Hopefully he is good to go. Luckily Michigan has 2 weeks before Wisky.
- The refs. For some reason I'm the only one posting on MGo about the calls. They seemed pretty one-sided to me. How horrifying was that call on Matthews apparent TD??? They totally stole that one. Then ND goes down the field, draws a weak, weak sister of a pass interference call and scores. 14 point swing right there. Game. The bad calls went on and on.
- ND is not good. Again and again Michigan gave them the game, but I always felt like the Blue were in it. For the most part Michigan's D was great, but for being put in bad spots.
- Trent seemed to have a bad day. Perhaps he got a little overrated last year playing across from Warren? Perhaps teams were more interested in testing Warren last year because he was a freshman, and now that Warren is showing some real ball-hawking skills teams choose to go after Trent instead. Or maybe Trent just gets the tougher assignments as he should. I'm interested to see the defensive UFR on Trent.
- McGuff! Great performance. He holds onto that ball like one Mr. Michael Hart (Blessed Be His Name), he gets the extra yard like one Mr. MH (BBHN), and he seem oblivious to the score and/or the current situation the team is in like one Mr. MH (BBHN). I like this kid more and more each week. He is all he is billed to be and more.
- What can you say? I think today finally sold me on how weak the Big 10 is. Believe that. I mean, come on, this shithole of a team has been blowing up the Big 10 (11) for years now. In the meantime they blew out ND (yeah, that's tough), got hammered by Florida, hammered by LSU and now completely demolished by USC. Good night. I think the Bucknuts days as the top dog are ending. All you need to creep back into the top of this conference is to see that the dog on top is wounded. I, for one, couldn't have been happier to see them shit the bed.
- Boeckman. He truly sucks. That is confirmed, confirmed, confirmed. As long as Michigan doesn't get into a hole early in Columbus and keeps the pressure on that piece of crap they have a shot in November.
- Tressel. Seems to me the only thing he is good at is beating Lloyd Carr. Well, guess what asswipe, Lloyd's gone.
- MSU's game was largely uninteresting. Ringer ran for like 4,000 yards against a willy-nilly half-assed Florida team playing in Hurricane Katrina (MAKE PLAYS). The only comment I have is WTF WAS MSU DOING PLAYING IN THE SHOTGUN IN THE FIRST QUARTER???? It's apparent to me that all they had to do was run run run on FAU and they would win. Just take Hoyer out of the equation, he sucks balls anyway. Once they continually gave the ball to Ringer, good night. Or, good day sir.
- They beat the holy hell out of a team from somewhere in New York State. I hope they are for real because I would love to see PSU take it to the Bucknuts. We need this. Please JoePA, tear up some Bucknut ass for us. We give you permission to ahead and beat Michigan this year for once, we won't mind.
I spent a great deal of my evening in an attempt to repress the events of the afternoon:
"Sorry about the game man."
"What game? I think it got rained out. Hurricane Gustav or whatev."
This was useless:
I saw OSU get pummeled.
There's nothing like the smell of burning flesh to remind you that some teams are worse than other teams; the teams that are worse than other teams are also better than some other teams; one of these other teams beat the hell out of our team. Moving on:
I saw Michael Phelps bomb on SNL.
He did wear a Michigan shirt while announcing Lil Wayne. He might have been the worst host of all time.
Reliving it all under the guise of a Michigan win:
I would still be laying in my bed with laptop on my chest, the heat emminating from the battery (fantastic birth control method if you lay it in your lap, in case you didn't know), trying to type something worth reading. I am a pathetic excuse for a writer, but even as I type this I hold on to some ridiculous fantasy that someone will respond: "what a well written post". Narcissism is a beautiful thing. Since the end of the game, four diaries have been written (not including this one); this is not because there is a lot to say (there is little to say). It is because want-to-be writers (like me) subconsciously know that a herd of forlorn fans will look to MGoBlog for answers, all but guaranteeing that their diary will be read by the masses.
Read my diary (I'm under-qualified).
Respond with comments. It feeds me. So does whiskey.
I'm disappointed that this will be a tough year and more than likely, winning season streak and bowl streak go by the wayside. However, losing what we did on offense, installing a new system without the appropriate personnel, and being thin at the o-line, this was all pretty predictable.
Teams that may be lacking talent, but possessing experience and leadership win some games they shouldn't. Teams with talent, lacking experience make mistakes and lose games that they shouldn't. UM should have won the game today, but they made unforced errors. (I will allow the Grady fumble and the 2 INTs as forced errors, dropping kickoffs and fumbling in the backfield I would consider unforced and do not credit these to ND.) RR was correct in that this team is not good enough to play poorly and win.
I think that we all hoped that this team would win some tough games, have a few positive surprises on the offensive side of the ball, get stronger as the year went by and be anchored by a very strong defense. The offense has been about what should be expected given the above considerations. The defense has not been horrible IMO, but has been disappointing given most expectations.
All and all, this year will be (and already has been) tough. I do feel that regardless of the competition, the offense has improved measurably each week. I do feel that Threet is the guy and despite his fumbling problems today, he has improved as well. (I don't recall Tacopants in the game today.) I am concerned because his knee injury today seemed to be suggestive of a meniscal tear. My hope is that he continues to improve to the point that next year we will be able to gradually work in the QB that ultimately better fits this system. I think Mcguffie is going to be special.
I have faith in RR's system and his ability to coach. I hope this translates into continued improvement. If this happens and we can shore up some problems on defense, I hope we will win more games than we all currently expect. This was the first game on the road for many inexperienced players in tough conditions. It showed and we lost a game that we should have won. This is just the beginning. Despite the fact that we all feel that we have been "fed up with losing" the last few years, overall as a fanbase we have been pretty spoiled. I look at the offense and think that with some improved O-line play(ers) and a QB who is a run threat, we will be awesome. It just won't happen that way this year.
It seems that some people on these boards are losing it. Although I had to open my bottle of Knob Creek after the second fumbled kickoff return in the first quarter, I will give some positives I saw from the game:
- We moved the ball on the ground consistently. Unfortunately, turnovers (two in the red zone) kept us from scoring points, but I thought the O-Line looked better than last week. I consider week to week improvement from this group a plust, win or lose.
- The Notre Dame offense consisted of two big plays. Granted nobody wants to give up big plays, but they did not consistently move the ball against our D even if Morgan Trent didn't have his best game. However, we did seem to miss some tackles. Maybe this was due to poor footing in the rain? I'd have to watch the game again.
- Threet looked much improved from last week, putting balls in catachable places for receivers. This is what was missing from the Miami game. I thought he made some big steps today which bodes well for the rest of the season.
- Clausen's line for the game 10-21, 147, 2td, 2 ints. If anybody tells me thats Clausen's line before the game, i predict a win.
- I don't think we're hitting the fade routes the way the coaching staff wantt to. Our receivers don't seem to hold their vertical route very well and the qb's aren't leading them to their outside shoulder. This is usually a timing issue that should be correcting with more practice. We did however hit a couple comebacks and throw the ball well otherwise.
- Carson Butler in the red zone has got to sit and get his head around faster on that pick in the red zone. That was a catchable ball delivered on time and should have been caught.
- Obviously turnovers cost us today. Wet conditions with freshman on the field is a recipe for fumbles. This comes with experience, and is correctable.
Overall, I think people have to be encouraged going into the big ten schedule. I think we can still win seven games and get to a bowl game. I expected the worst today, and I saw improvement despite turnovers. That may be me being a homer, but I am optimistic about the rest of our schedule.