Peppers at 10, which seems low.
The box score from the Hoke Bowl can be seen here:
This was the first game where I knew while watching that I was going to post this diary, so I took a few notes during the game. Unfortunately, my notes are full of really strange things the B1G Network announcers said. In a post this week, Brian lamented the dearth of good names for our weekly features. I'm going to offer up a couple, and use them for sub-titles. First, after SDSU recovered UofM's first fumble, B1G announcer Eric Collins suggested this could be the "burst of impetus" for SDSU to get back in the game. (Trust me on this, I took notes during the game.) I can only guess that Eric got tired of the "change in momentum" cliche, went to the thesaurus, and treated us all to Burst of Impetus. So when I talk about the turnover margin, that section will be sub-titled, "Burst of Impetus." I think this one works for the weekly turnover feature.
The second thing I wrote down was, "trash can full of dirt," when commentator Chris Martin was straining for words to describe Mike Martin. I don't think trash cans full of dirt are particularly mobile, so this doesn't really describe Martin, who last I checked, was bursting past SDSU linemen with tremendous impetus. I think the trash can full of dirt more aptly describes the 330 pound nose tackle a la BWC. Regardless, the defensive stats section will now be sub-titled: "Trash cans full of dirt." OK? OK. On to the commentary, bullet-style with awesome B1G Network style sub-titles:
Burst of Impetus
* SDSU won the turnover margin, 4-3. However, if you look deeper into the box score, you'll see the stat of the game, 4th Down Conversions. SDSU was 0 for 3, UofM was 1 for 1. Getting stopped on 4th down is effectively a turnover, since you don't get the punt yardage, so really, we won the extended turnover margin 6-4. I'd like to know what went on during the timeout before our decision to go for it on 4th down. I'd like to think that Brady Hoke said, what the heck are we doing punting here, WE'RE MICHIGAN FERGODSAKES!
* SDSU went 3 and out after our first turnover. The defense stepped up all day long and limited the damage from our turnovers.
Trash Cans Full of Dirt
* 20 players showed up in the defensive stats. I like this stat as a measure of our depth and gang tackling. Getting more helmets to the football is a UofM defensive tradition, and that created the first Hillman fumble yesterday.
* Three players tied for the lead in tackles, Gordon, Countess, and Demens. It's clear SDSU went after Countess when he entered the game, but I thought he held up well. AMDBHG stay away from Woolfolk. Just stay away. I hired you to work in East Lansing this season. At this point, Woolfolk is basically taunting AMDBHG. He's hobbling around on two bad ankles, has his hand in a cast, gets a bloody nose against EMU, and still manages to get 5 tackles.
* For only getting 2 tackles, Craig Roh had another good day. Both tackles were for losses, one was a sack that forced a fumble. All I can say is Roh Yeah!
* Ronnie Hillman was shut down (<100 yards) in three of SDSU's losses last season. I didn't think we could hold him under 100, but if we could keep him under 150, I was confident we'd get the win. He ended up with 109 yards and a 5.2 YPC average. That, combined with Lindley's 23 for 48 passing day were the stats of the game for the defense.
* Hawthorne shows up as number "7A" in the box score. Could hexadecimal numbers be the answer to our "retired numbers" problem?
San Diego 49ers
* I learned during the game that Braylon Edwards now plays for the San Diego 49ers. If I had any WR stats to comment on, they would go in this section. Consider it a place-holder. (In defense of the B1G announcing crew, this seems like a reasonable mistake to make.)
Random, As of Yet, Un-Named Bullets
* Matt Wile. Wait, let me try that again. MATT WILE!!! Yeah, I think he was properly pumped up to play his Dad's team. Net yards per kickoff were 50 for SDSU and 49.2 for UofM. To be even on kickoffs is a win for us. Net yards per punt were 34.7 for SDSU and 43.5 for Michigan. To gain almost a full first down per punt is huge. Two punts were inside the 20, and two were 50+ yards. #82, Terrance Robinson had 2 ST tackles and did a great job as the gunner on punts.
* Jeremy Gallon didn't get a FR in the boxscore (but J.T. Floyd did get credit for a fumble, was that for the time the ball glanced off his leg on the punt return?) but his head's up play to cover the punt was big at the time. That could have given SDSU a huge burst of impetus.
* Kickoff time: 12:00. Yes, it's in the box score. It's hard to quantify what impact it had on SDSU, but it's well known that you never bet on the west coast NFL team traveling east to play the 1:00 pm game. I don't think it's worth 21 points, though.
* Total yards: SDSU 376, UofM 413. We gave up around 450 yards per game last year. My hope for this year is to stay under 400 yards given up through a combination of better defense and slower offensive tempo (fewer plays.) Against a good offense, we only gave up 376 yards. I'll take it.
Big John R. Studd Referee section
* This was our first Witvoet game this year that I recall. I got negged for complaining about Witvoet last season, so just in case the Witvoet family reads this blog, I will say the refs did a great job. Penalty yards: SDSU 55, UofM 25. The refs rightly called several holding penalties where SDSU tried to undress Mike Martin. That hurt them and was one of the reasons they only scored once, even though they were in UofM territory 11 times. Sacks, turnovers, and holding penalties. Those are all the result of putting pressure on the offense. Thank you, Greg Mattison, thank you.
I also wrote a note that simply says, "UCONN," but I refuse to believe that this is 2010. This is 2011, Brady Hoke poops gold nuggets, and Borges and Mattison are the two greatest coordinators ever. So there.
It seems like we are putting in the I later in the games and having Denard work on his game. Obviously, the results are less than stellar. It seems like the idea is to try and get Denard as much game time as possible in the new offense, regardless of whether it works or not (we are up, so why not?).
The question for the board is, do you believe, like I do, that if things aren't working come sparty that the O coordinators will abandon the experiment to win games? I sure hope so.
Are you worried that Denard has struggled throwing the ball?
How do YOU get Denard's passing game going?
What is your favorite asset about yourself?
It is early and there isn't enough data for Sagarin to even put a lot of stock in his own rankings, but....Michigan is currently ranked 15th (and 18th in the Predictor, which is suppose to be more accurate).
We are ranked 3rd in the conference. MSU seems extremely underrated at 41 (but they are 28th in the predictor).
MGoBlue Highlights (Y U No Denard 53 Yard TD?):
Postgame Press Conference (Hoke and players):
I continue to see the defense and special teams developing, and becoming a strength for the Michigan team.
- It is interesting to hear Hoke quoted as saying:
I think our defense is playing pretty good, to be honest with ya.
- Looking at the scoring defense, Michigan is averaging 10.33 points scored against per game, which would be good for somewhere around 8 or 9th in the country. Of course, things will change soon, but that is a great start. This is a tremendous reflection of the bend, don't break philosophy. (Note: I have no clue how to calculate this stat. Do you include WMU or not? Do you amortize the WMU score over four quarters instead of three? Regardless, we are not getting clobbered by other teams on the scoreboard.)
- It is great to see the emphasis in practice this week on better play on kickoffs, and the huge improvement by Matt Wile. This apparently is falling under Mattison's review. This is a huge between games adjustment. We are not only seeing adjustment during games, but during the season.
I am especially looking forward to the defense UFR this week.
While it would be a mistake to be too positive, it would be hard to think of a more favorable schedule.
- Minnesota seems as easy of a game as possible to start the conference schedule.
- This will also give Michigan at least one game to scout and prepare for Persa and Northwestern.
- Michigan is due to win vs. Michigan State, but more than being due, MSU appears greatly weakened on the OL.
- Purdue is not frightening.
- Iowa appears vulnerable, with their loss to ISU.
- Illinois is Illinois. They are stronger than last year, but so is Michigan.
I can't believe Michigan will win all these games. But we could run the table in October, and split Iowa / Illinois, leaving us to close out at home with the two strongest teams we face, Nebraska and OSU.
Honestly, I don't care if we lose, as long as we're in the game. And Mattison is maximizing the defense to keep us in the game. More than that, the favorable schedule allows us to grow the defense, to heal up as necessary (exhibits A & B, Cam Gordon, Troy Woolfolk,) to give experience to Freshmen (Blake Countess,) to teach BWC how to play. It also limits the burden on Denard.