"(I) think about 'The Lion King,' Simba gets hit over the head and (he's told) 'the past can hurt,' " Harbaugh said Monday afternoon. "'You can either run from it or embrace it and learn from it.'
This is my weekly feature to look back at summer previews, get egg on my face, look over what Michigan did, and then project the rest of the year as we get more real time data. Last week's taking stock report can be found here.
Prelude: I did season previews on most UM opponents - I skipped UNLV, Indiana and Rutgers out of boredom, and OSU out of fear. The rest are below
Dear readers - the deeper we go into the season the more off my summer views will become as naturally teams will evolve from what we thought they would be and injuries happen.
So let's see how I did with Northwestern this summer ... I began the preview with:
After making what seemed like a "breakthrough" in 2012 with a 10 win season Northwestern began receiving the type of hype you are seeing with Minnesota this year as a top tier 2 team in the conference. I've already outlined why I believe Minnesota hype will come back down to earth this year and it sure did for Northwestern. Some of it was just bad injury luck but programs of this ilk rarely have the depth to go a whole season without a serious setback. After back to back 5 win seasons Minnesota has basically replaced Northwestern as the chic program to pick as a challenger for the Nebraskas and Wisconsin in the West. As for Northwestern, 2012 feels more like an outlier and if Northwestern doesn't get to 7 wins this year that will be 3 years in a row without a winning season.
Northwestern has ranked between 66th and 76th in the F/+ rankings in five of the last six seasons.
Vegas has set Northwestern's win line at 6.5 games and judging from their tough schedule this sounds fair. Tough games with brainy schools Stanford (home) and a suddenly solid Duke (away) are mixed with FCS Eastern Illinois and quite bad Ball State. 2-2 seems likely. (Duke is likewise breaking in a new QB but is well coached, and is at home) Northwestern is probably sick of playing Michigan as UM has (at times undeservedly) snatched some last second victories away but it doesnt get easier for the Wildcats in 2016-2017 as their crossovers switch from UM/PSU to OSU/MSU. If they only go 2-2 in non conf they'd need to go 5-3 in the conf to go 7-5 and surpass Vegas 6.5 games. That seems daunting with the schedule they have. I might actually take the under on Northwestern this year.
The Wildcats should have a solid defense but at least in terms of preseason projections their offense lacks an established QB and a lot of threats in the receiving core; running back should be good and could be quite good if all goes well. OL is questionable. That said their defense should keep them in a lot of close games and its up to the offense to do something.
And ended with:
Like Oregon State I think the type of team Northwestern brings fits solidly into the type of team UM is built to stop. Teams with good QBs scare me much more than those with "IDK", esp with UM's still "sorting it out" passing defense.
The defense should have a solid day and if they can do anything similar to what they did vs freshman RB Jackson last year it should be a comfortable win. While I'd expect Jackson to improve on his production and get nearer to 100 yards, rush defense should remain a UM strength especially up the gut. So "future Northwestern QB(s)" will need to find a way to get some yards thru the air without a lot of potent weapons.
This is a home game, enough weeks into the season for the offense to (fingers crossed) have a viable rush offense and that shold parlay in Rudock being more effective as the offense can be more 2 dimensional. Of course that is a lot of theories and we need to see them become fact by mid October.
Northwestern will be coming off a smash mouth type of game vs Minnesota while UM will be returning home after a night game vs a (IMO) not too impressive Maryland squad. However with MSU on the calendar a week after this game some Wolverines may be looking ahead.
This is the type of game a Harbaugh led team - even in year 1 - should do well in. Not to mention even Hoke's teams found magical ways to beat the unlucky Wildcats.
I give this an 80/100. While conceptually correct that NW will be run based and the offense just has to "do something" to help out a good defense, the defense has been much better than I thought. NW is surely going to surpass the win total Vegas set (and I thought NW could be below Vegas' #) as NW's D will dominate a lot of the very bad offenses in the Big 10 West. Nebraska and Wisconsin are also worse than I thought so NW should be favored in those games. I'm also not that convinced on Iowa (although both teams avoid OSU and MSU this year in crossovers) but the NW-Iowa game next week will be interesting to watch as Iowa has not played much of anyone of value while NW played UM, Stanford, and a solid Duke team.
NW is a very solid team but just went up vs superior players, esp on our D v their off, and a staff who look like chessmasters. Where I did nail this was saying it was a great matchup for UM much like Oregon State. (run based offenses with young QBs and non explosive offenses) You take away Justin Jackson and that offense has nothing really. UM took him away for the 2nd straight year. Once NW was down 14-0, I said in liveblog it is over as NW is not built to come back from behind. I do think newbie QB Thorson is going to be solid down the line and when facing non elite defenses he can do some damage even this year. They do need to find some WR talent.
These were my views of the unit matchups this summer:
(take these matchups with more of a grain of salt than usual because once you get past the month of September teams grow and evolve - well at least well coached teams.)
UM rush off v Northwestern rush def - Adv: Even. Both teams have questions and until the season begins its too early to really determine who has what. Hopefully by mid October UM has a viable rushing offense with lineman who create holes that running backs not named Drake Johnson can find. Northwestern's questions at DT offer similar questions for their rush defense.
UM pass off v Northwestern pass def - Adv: Even. This is only even due to Rudock. Northwestern's back 4 should be quality - espt at corner - but their pass rush might let them down. UM's receivers are of course lacking in production as a whole and are more about potential until we play actual games. Will it just be a group of complentary receivers complenting each other or will someone emerge by this time of the year? Expect a lot of Jake Butt (again).
Northwestern rush off v UM rush def - Adv: UM. This is only based on UM's performance last year and Northwestern's OL issues. Of the 2 teams Northwestern actually has the most proven back - which is sort of sad considering the multitude of high level prospects that filter through UM and the fact Minnesota's guy is a true sophomore. Aside from the UM game, Northwestern was able to run on the remaining 7 of final 8 opponents but without a great OL I do expect UM to have the (slight) advantage.
Northwestern pass off v UM pass def - Adv: UM. Northwestern needs to find an answer at QB. Maybe they have one by week 6 - it is a great unknown. Best case is Thorson grabs the jobs and begins to figure things out by this point in the year. The issue with UM is corner depth - this about the time of year your CBs begin to get dinged up and once you get past presumed starters Lyons and Lewis you begin to ask a lot of questions with the next group. Healthy savvy CB starters would be a boon if that's the case. (safeties have more depth) Northwestern doesn't have anyone who really scares you at WR but Jones should be solid. Michigan's "weakness" has more potential answers than Northwestern's "weakness" at this point in time.
A bit too bearish on UM here. The rush D this year has been even better than expected so while I expected UM to win that battle I thought it would be a slight advantage. Nope, domination. Pass D I expected to do well despite our questions (haha Lyons as a starter!!) and they did. Our rush O was decent this week, not relying so heavily on "1 big run" to boost the averages and the pass O was all I could ask for out of a game manager. NW actually has a high quality secondary so it makes me give Jake even higher marks based on that. 24 pts vs this NW D is very good - NW had given up only 3 TDs all year, and one of those was a 1 play 22 yard drive after their offense derped deep in their zone. So those early drives by UM that went full field were beautiful to behold. Then UM went into its 2nd half comatose state which have become a welcome pattern this year!
At the end of last week's preview...with a lot more data about NW I wrote this:
This is not your dad's Northwestern defense. NCAA total defense #5 (a flawed stat but since we are touting UM #2) and S&P+ #10 (UM #3). They flat out have some athletes - and a top player at each level. Anthony Walker is on the way to stardom at MLB with speed to burn at 235 lbs. Godwin Igwbuike (a target for Hoke) came back from injury and looks to be a top safety prospect. And there are some nice complimentary pieces on this defense - its not a scheme thing but talent this year with athletes better than we are used to seeing a NW squad have. They are top 10 in both 3rd down defense conversion and 3rd down offense conversion (believe it or not on the latter).
They have legit special teams which is helping them win games. They are not often penalized. They win the turnover battles. So far this is Tressel-lite eh?
Their run game is more consistent then UM's with a healthy Justin Jackson who came into the year an established top end Big 10 RB. They don't give up many sacks. Obviously their question is QB. As is ours. Thorson is not a huge runner but mobile enough (160 yds) to keep you honest, and has run for 4 TDs so they like to use him close to the end zone.
This one looks really close on paper to me although Vegas disagrees (oddsmakers opened this at 12 and its down to 8). That seems like a lot of points to give but if its a 17-9 game, 8 works. UM also has home field along with having NW's # with last second wins of late. A win here should move UM into the top 12ish setting up a tasty matchup in AA the following Saturday.
Esp tickled with our ability to get thru a decent OL to the QB. And our special teams play was fantastic - thank you John Baxter, please stay another decade.
A Look at Michigan
This is Michigan. That's how I felt after / during this game. And not even Carr or Moeller's Michigan which many years lost 3-4 games, and almost always a wtf game. I am talking Bo's Michigan. Excellence in 2 of the 3 phases (special teams, defense) and "boring" but good in the 3rd phase. Yes please.
After depressing the hell out of me last week, Iowa 2014 Jake Rudock resurfaced. For an entire game. For the first time this year. And it pleased me. (stroke-cat-on-lap.jpg). If this Jake never leaves us this year uhh... you guyz... this is a 10 win team. Umm... maybe 11. Guyz?
Ok NW Jake won't be here all year but if you could just show up for the MSU and OSU games IN THEIR ENTIRITY I will be happy to give you a half off vs Rutgers and Minnesota. Deal?
Turnover free ball (even his derps were less derpy than usual; only can remember 1 near miss this week) combined with 17/23, 179 yds, 7.8 ave (woo hooo). Did I mention no turnovers? With this defense this is all Jake really needs to do for Michigan to dominate many of the coming opponents, and make fun games vs MSU and OSU.
Jake did get hit a few times this week, so the pass protect was a bit off but again that's a quality defense. The fact his performance was super game managery even with the few hits was even more promising. There will be more hits this coming week - please stay turnover free sir.
Pass distribution: 7 to TEs, 3 RBs, 7 WRs. I like that distribution for a game manager.
There are so many small things that are different with this team vs 2014 and prior. Things like AJ MF Williams. Dude with 1 catch in his career had 4 in this game. And had me asking where is Jake Butt (who had 3 catches himself) Remember post Utah when teams were going to double Heisman candidate Butt because we had no other real TE options. What do you think this staff has been doing for 5 weeks? Getting every other TE on the roster involved. But again AJ Williams suddenly has hands. Which the last staff could neither develop nor figure out. Grrrr.
Running game churned out 201 yds on a whopping 46 carries. Distribution all over the board. Smith looked good but I wish they had pulled him once we were up 3 TDs and just say him. He seemed to tweak his ankle at a point in the game he had no reason to be in. He had a 7.4 ave before going out which is... nice. Higdon had his redshirt taken off as a message to Isaac I assume. He struggled with am ave 2.0 per but seemed to have some scoot. First game experience vs CFB athletes and all. Johnson seemed marginalized a week after having a good game - I am confused there. Green was ok late (3.9 ave) vs a beaten down NW line; it is what it is - he looked functional at least and he can go in with big leads and you don't risk injuries to your top 2 backs. Kind of funny / sad / first world problemy to have two 5 stars plugged in as your 4th/5th RB in the rotation. Also shout out to the fullbacks this game as Kerridge returned and had a beauty of a run, and Houma continued to be #HoumaTime. I think with better running back talent these 46 rushes would garner 250+ yards rather than 201 but we're working with what we have.
As for the defense, I am running out of adjectives. Defense travels. Defense doesn't have off weeks like even elite offenses do. Gosh darn it, is is fun to see how demoralizing an elite defense is. This was a bad offense yes but UM's good defenses of the past would still give up 7-10 to bad offenses. NWs only threat was a long FG attempt. The only drama was if there would be another shutout. The "defense" chant by 100,000+ at the end of the game was goosebumpy stuff. The DL was magnifcent - what I love is new guys take the lead every week. Wormley has fallen off the past 3 weeks but now the Henry we thought we'd be getting preseason showed up. Glasgow seemed quieter than usual but then Hurst continued his ascent. Mario was out and RJS was effective. RJS? Yes RJS - the AJ Williams of the defense.
J. Lewis is J. Lewis. NW seemingly targeted him for reasons unclear to mankind. I barely heard Clark's name. I think Stribling dressed but did not play? Bolden did some Bolden things early. It is what it is and will only matter vs MSU, OSU, Indiana and our opponents in the playoffs (mmm kool aid) Much like BYU a few weeks back there was not much for the LBs to do this week since the DL was so filthy. Only thing that remains missing on this D is ability to create fumbles.
This staff simply can develop players and put them in places to succeed. Lacking for years on one side of the ball or the other (or at times both) with Michigan football. The team is now a lot like Utah football under Whittingham- the sum is greater than the parts. But our individual parts are better than Utah's - but you are getting the same development that a few staffs out there are well known for. It's exciting especially when you consider the lack of playmakers on offense - down the road think of the ceiling when you get a Kaepernick style QB combined with a Chubb RB and a Treadwell WR. Well a boy can dream.
UM S&P+ defense rank moved from 3 to 1. It will be difficult to move up from here I believe. #Math UM's S&P+ offense moved up from 53 to 46 - it was at 48 two weeks ago so probably this is the range it is destined to remain, especially since we like to take entire halves off with big leads. FEI unit data rolls in next week so we'll start reporting it then.
DEGREE OF DIFFICULTY (DOD!) RANKINGS
Basing games on WHEN they are played and WHERE this was my general view on degree of difficulty for each opponent coming into the year and adjusted weekly, Again this is not how good the team is in a vacuum but how they match up vs UM.
|Week 6||Week 5||Week 4||Week 3||Week 2|
|11||Oregon State||Oregon State||Oregon State||Oregon State||Oregon State|
|11||Oregon State||Oregon State|
No one bro...
- OSU - Maryland went back to their 1st QB that started the year and he showed he was a RB who has a bad arm who deserved to be benched. (10/27) He at least had a few big runs that made OSU sweat into the 3rd quarter. Cardale played very well and was very efficient. Elliott is just making me envious. OSU sort of unleashed Barrett as a running back at the QB position with 12 rushes. OSU finally rediscovered Braxton Miller in the passing game. The surprise here was more the D than the O - I just think it was one of those "spready rush QBs suck to play even when they suck". Clearly the highest ceiling of any opponent we face and they continue to have bye week after bye week on their schedule for another month.
- Utah - Utah played a quality Cal offense and caused all sorts of trouble for future NFL pick Jared Goff. Secondary was supposed to be a Utah weakness coming into the years but another 5 INTs. Wow. This is a defense that makes so many turnovers. Wilson had 2 turnovers himself so Utah went to Booker who went off for 200+. Now to be fair, Cal's D is not very good but still it's nice to have a RB you can feed like that. Cal was also able to run pretty well on Utah. I continue to believe Utah is not a top 5 team but based on resume I'd rank them there at this point. This ASU game has trap written on it as I believe ASU is nowhere near as bad as they showed in 1st 2 weeks of season and has a high octane offense. Will be a fascinating matchup.
- MSU - Coming into the year MSU had a top end college QB and 2 very well thought of lines. One of those lines has been hit with an array of injuries and it showed in this game. For the first time in his career Cook actually got more than 3 grass stains on his jersey. Welcome to the life most college QBs enjoy Connor! To his credit Cook played one of his best games of his career and MSU needed every amount of it. The WRs also played lights out. Cook was 23/38 for 357 yds (9.4 ave) with only a doofus INT at the end of the 2nd Q as a major mistake. Burbridge also dropped another TD pass. Cook was the offense. The run game struggled as the OL was bad at times. Rutgers spent the entire first half blitzing Cook then decided to stop doing what worked in the 3rd quarter when MSU promptly went on 2 long drives. That's why they are Rutgers. They began again in the 4th but some were not getting home and when you dont get home on a blitz you feel pain. And Rutgers has a lot of youth in their DBs. On D, MSU had no answer for Carroo - but he was not targeted enough IMO. I'd have thrown 15x+ to him. More shocking to me was Rutgers ability to run on MSU. I am PTSD watching MSU play rush D against us for years - and anytime I see a runner make a run over 2 yards it does not compute. But MSU's extraordinary run defense of years past is only "darn good" this year (ranked in the 30s nationally). MSu is playing more like a fringe top 25 team at this point and even AP voters finally broke and dropped them to 7.
- Northwestern - NW ran into a chain saw defense and it showed. I still have them as the 4th best team as there is no one behind them to justify moving past them. They still have probably the 3rd best resume of the 12 opponents and that D will do enough to keep them in every game the rest of the way until / when / if they get to the Big 10 championship game. Huge game vs Iowa next week to determine who wins the West as Wisconsin, Minn, Neb all look to be pretenders.
- BYU - BYU needed a run with 19 seconds to go to pull ahead of ECU and win a shootout. Mangum had another great game (24/33, 332 yds, 3 TD 0 INT) but apparently was hurt late. ECU's QB strafed BYU's passing D (which sucks) to the tune of 376 yds. Hence you get your shootout. ECU is average but not terrible - they lost to BYU, Florida, and Navy - all decent opponents at least. And beat VATech. BYU is a solid team and fringe top 25 when all is said and done; they have a good QB but a horrid pass D.
- PSU - PSU did what they had to do when the opposing team rolls out a former model as a QB. Zander did Zander things passing. (9/17) PSU did a great job on his running which is his main tool...held to 38 yds on 11 carries. The injury to running back Jordan Howard killed Indiana's run game and without Sudfeld to compensate the offense is bad. Hack had a good game but this is Indiana's HS defense we are speaking of. His ave of 6.7 per attempt still sucks for a "NFL pick". Looks like PSU was content to sit their freshman phenom RB Barkley for another week. One item of note - Duke beat Army 44-3 this week. PSU barely beat Army last week. NW beat Duke in Durham. Transitive baby.
- Minn - Minnesota went into Boiler town and put down MSU's 3rd biggest rival (UM, CMU, Purdue). Purdue led 6-0. It was 41-7 the rest of the way. Mitch Leidner did Mitch Leidner things - going 8/12 for 59 yds. Backup Croft went 2/5. UM is so going to be destroy that offense. Shannon Brooks was the story at running back with 17 carries for 176 including a 71 yarder. But this is Purdue's HS defense. Stopping Minn will be the same as stopping NW - stop Brooks and Rodney Smith at RB, laugh at their QB.
- Indiana - The people called for moving Indiana up the DOD rankings past Minn or PSU. I said NOT SO FAST. Of course without Sudfeld and Howard, Indiana might be in UNLV range in the rankings. We don't play Indiana until late in the year and you can be sure both will be healthy by then. They seem to have injuries which are week to week.
- Maryland - Maryland remains a joke. Edsall is gone. They don't have a viable FCS QB, forget FBS. The D appears to at least be "not horrid" but that offense is not something women or children should be exposed to.
- Rutgers - I feel like Rutgers has some pieces and maybe they can be moved up in a week. But coming close to beating a bad MSU team (zing) isn't enough to do so. Carroo does give them 1 weapon at least. Their QB has some potential. Lewis on Carroo though - then what Rutgers?
- Oregon State - The people called for moving Oregon State up the rankings because a sleepwalking Stanford who just came off an emotional win vs arch rival USC had to travel to Beavertown and let OSU hang around for a half. I said NOT SO FAST. And this is why. The flying Rich Rods exposed Oregon State for the bad team it is. If you can't score more than 7 on Arizona's 110ish ranked defense - that's just pathetic. Seth Collins went 8/24 for 56 yds. That's Mitch Leidner territory folks. He was benched late.
- UNLV - UNLV lost to the Al Borges Machine in OT. UNLV plays Boise State in 2 weeks. If they don't look like the a sad sad sad team I might consider moving them ahead of Oregon State.
Please don't leave me in 2 months DJ Durkin.
The schedule continues to fall in UM's favor. The Big 10 is bad and should continue to be ashamed of itself.... except that the ACC is probably worse. MSU is not a top 5 team. Their "program" win lost to Washtingon State last week. At home. Hell that makes Utah's win over Oregon look worse! Minn does not have a viable QB. Maryland does not have a viable QB. PSU's viable QB has PTSD. Indiana does have a viable QB but a defense UM should be able to put 40 on. Rutgers - see Indiana. Iowa is somehow considered a quality Big 10 team. Nebraska has Mike Riley. Wisconsin used to have an offense - no more. Purdue somehow has not been asked to be in the MAC. Illinois is now a West power at 1-1 in conf. NW - a team UM barely scraped by - has a 50/50 chance to represent the West in the championship game.
So win this week and the seas could be parting until The Game (tm).
MSU to 2013 = UM to 2015 if Jake Rudock can continue to be Northwestern Jake Rudock. That is all.
It's rivalry week. Dantonio is in a sour mood and scowling. Wait, that's every week. He is feeling disrespect even as his overrated team stays ranked 4th in the coaches poll with a 1st place vote (thanks Narduzzi!). This is a team that is a few plays away from being 3-3 with losses to a bad Oregon, an awful Purdue, and a below average Rutgers. But the gods of football still seem to love MSU.
Despite a S&P+ offense and defense rank almost identical to Nebraska the team is 6-0. They've played 4 of the worst defenses in the land and 2 other meh ones.
That said it's rivalry week and when Bobby Williams is not coaching it still matters. There is still some prime time talent scattered across their lineup and aside from the Central Michigan rivalry this week consumes all of MSU's time. They have one of the 2 best QBs UM will face this year. MSU finally decided to ride him - out of need - last week.
Let's take a look at the trenches. MSU has two NFL calibar lineman in C Jack Allen and LT Jack Conklin. Conklin has been out two weeks but was reportedly practicing all last week but held out vs Rutgers. "Practicing" can mean anything so we'll see - one assumes he plays. Allen was healthy all year until the last drive of the Rutgers game when some DL dude rolled on his ankle from behind. It did not look good. The other tackle Kodi Kieler came back from injury to play vs Rutgers but did not look his normal self either. Certainly not 100%. So those are both your tackles and your All American center in some form of pain. UM has a good DL. A very good DL. This matchup is key. Cook rarely faces pressure so if UM can get pressure without bringing the house constantly ala Rutgers it will be a big advantage. A month ago this looked like a stalemate - MSU's offensive strength against UM's defensive strength. Now it looks advantage UM. I want to see ALL OF THE grass stains on Cook's uniform. And I want to see a untouched Delano Hill arriving on a safety blitz to exchange an early Christmas wish to Connor.
On the other side of the ball this still looks like a MSU advantage in terms of MSU DL v UM OL. Both units look healthy. The one area MSU's DL has been a bit off this year is in rush defense - some blown assignements have led to a few big runs each game. It would be nice if UM could exploit that. The pass protect for UM has to be the best of the year because MSU has a very good pass rush. How Jake reacts to this in terms of making smart decisions is another key.
Looking at other parts of the teams - this is the best passing O UM will be facing until OSU. (yes better than BYU) While Burbridge is not Lippett level he is good. J Lewis - stay on him all game. That's Cook's go to man. How Stribling and Clark do vs the Kings and Sheltons of the world will be important. Josiah Price, MSU's very good TE has been hurt but most expect him back for this week so sad ghost of Bolden's pass coverage skills vs Josiah Price will probably cause some pain. But if we can limit those 12 yard gains to 12 and not 28 it will be nice. I'd prefer Ross covering Price myself but not an option for a half. Paul Lang and Jamal Lyles are other TEs to watch.
LJ Scott is looking like a beast mode running back early in his freshman year but is dinged up a bit. Gun slinger Delton Williams will probably play quite a bit too now that his "disciplinary redshirt" suddenly no longer matters. MSU has not faced a rush D anywhere near this. UM must dominate MSU's rush offense and make the unit 1 dimensional. "We have the technology".
On defense MSU rolls out its normal variety of good linebackers including the 28,737th Bullough. MSU's back 4 is currently LOL mode. Can Rudock take advantage? He must.
Overall MSU's D is not as good as prior versions but the front 7 is still very very good. They are still a havoc defense which makes a lot of big plays. Excellent at creating fumbles and interceptions. But a lot more suspectible to big plays thru the air vs even average offenses (in the past it was only good offenses who could do that to them). They will get pressure, they will cause stress - but they have holes.
Last, special teams folks. Holy advantage batman. The FG kicker is a basket case. They have one of the biggest legged punters in the country who can boom 50 yarders on the regular but they still only net 35 yds on ave in punting because the coverage is a sick joke. Peppers can begin to cement his legend if he can pull a Breaston in this game. Kickoff returns should also be an adventure - pick your poison, Chesson or Pep.
Based on S&P+, MSU is basically Nebraska who will treat this game as their Super Bowl. (FEI seems to like MSU much more than S&P+ thus far however) Obviously MSU is far superior than Nebraska at QB. But they have been relying on playing bad teams, and causing lots of turnovers to cover up other mistakes.
If you don't give MSU those turnovers, you don't have to do special things on offense - just be efficient and let the defense battle it out with MSU's O. Let the special teams win their battles. The team who rushes better and has less turnovers almost always wins these battles. So let's be good at those things and restart the 50+ year inferiority complex. Also, home field advantage - yes it matters when teams are pretty evenly matched and it's a bunch of 18-23 year olds living on emotion. Michigan Stadium should be the loudest it has been in a decade if the home team is doing their thing.
Last, UM has been treated like sh** in this rivalry for half a decade+, and esp the past 24 months. Yes MSU will bring emotion as this is the only game that matters to them, but damnit UM should have emotion filtering out of every orifice with Harbaugh's foot in their collective asses. We've been embarrassed for 2 years in a row - it must end.
|Stat||2014||2015 (pro-rated to 12 games)|
I made a comment about play-makers making plays in my diary. I was curious to see if that was reflected in the other defensive stats - things besides tackles. The 12 game cumulative stats for last year can be found here:
you may have to enter 2014 to get last year's stats.
The 6 game cumulative stats for this year are here:
I'm no good at the charts, but the thing that stood out to me was the defensive back stats - pass breakups and INTs. We almost have as many BrUps through 6 games (24) as we had all last season (27). We already have more INTs than last year. It helps having exceptional DB coaches.
Sacks are on pace to match last year, and TFLs are slightly better. We have not recovered many fumbles this year. Perhaps we can improve upon that stat this week.
This seems to be a bit of a tradition for Gameday week. I think we've had sign threads for every CGD that has been in Ann Arbor, so... whatcha got? I won't be there so I'm just here to submit bad ideas and dated dad jokes.
Maybe a bald head and goatee photoshopped on Harbaugh - "I AM THE ONE WHO KNOCKS"
"Worst day for Spartans since Thermopylae"
Like I said, I'm just here to suggest bad ideas.
EDIT: I see that I've committed an MGoSin. I maintain that there is enough content coming in to keep this thread up, double post or not.
Got this one a lot quicker than last week thankfully. Love doing these.
So great to see Michigan finally take a kickoff back for a TD. The week we have a thread on the board about the lack of special teams returns, no less.
MOD EDIT - Bumped at the resquest of the OP - LSA
During the NW Broadcast, one of the commentators said Harbaugh told him Michigan was looking into the possibility for Mario getting a 5th year. I thought that was completely impossible since he played in 5 games this year, but I wonder why Harbaugh would even mention it if that's the case. Is there any precedent for someone getting a 5th year in this circumstance? It does look like Mario didn't play much his first year, so maybe that could be factored in?
After the team took the field for the kickoff, I just had this feeling that something big was about to happen. So, I got my phone out of my pocket and started recording. I haven't watched any highlights yet, so I don't know how obvious it was that he was taking it back on TV, but I think this shows a designed play and it becomes obvious very quickly that he's taking it back.