...says Denzel Valentine of Big Ten Tourney favorite MSU, which is 5-7 in its last 12 games. Cumong, man.
Outside of a two-possession stretch when Michigan fans held their breath as Denard Robinson was sidelined with a pinky injury, the Wolverines couldn't have made it any easier to look ahead to next week's game against Michigan State, pounding a hapless Illinois squad, 45-0.
If anything, the final score belied Michigan's dominance. The offense moved the ball at will, rushing for 353 yards on 6.9 per carry and adding 174 through the air on just 15 attempts. The defense held the Illini to a mere 134 yards, including an unheard-of 29 yards on 16 passes; while it didn't help matters when starting quarterback Nathan Scheelhaase exited in the second quarter with an upper-body injury, his four yards on six attempts weren't lighting the world on fire.
Seemingly every play called by Al Borges worked as intended, starting with a 71-yard touchdown to Jeremy Gallon on a bubble screen* to open the scoring; Gallon weaved through the Illini defense, helped by stellar downfield blocking, most notably by tight end Mike Kwiatkowski. The next drive stalled near the goal line for a field goal after Denard exited the game with a banged-up pinky; it was the only moment when Michigan fans felt even a hint of concern.
The Wolverines continued to establish their identity as a run-first, run-second outfit on Denard's first possession back in the lineup, gaining all 68 of their yards on the ground en route to a six-yard scramble for Michigan's dreaded wonder. When Robinson opened the second half with a physics-defying 49-yard scamper to paydirt, the rout was on in earnest. Illinois's next possession ended after one play, a Kenny Demens interception of Reilly O'Toole. Three plays later, Devin Funchess hauled in a Robinson lob in the back of the end zone, bringing the score to 31-0 before many fans had returned with their halftime hot chocolates.
On the other side of the ball, Jake Ryan flashed his All-American potential again and again, amassing 11 tackles (7 solo), four TFLs, 1.5 sacks, and a devastating forced fumble as he flushed O'Toole out of the pocket, doubled back, and blindsided him to jar the ball loose. Denard Robinson may have finished with four touchdowns, 159 yards passing, and 128 yards rushing, but Ryan made a legitimate claim for best Wolverine on the field.
Ryan wasn't the only standout, as seven Wolverines tallied tackles for loss, neither Illini quarterback could find an open receiver, and Greg Mattison's blitzes hit home time and again. Two years ago, Michigan faced this same Illinois squad—with the same starting quarterback, even—and gave up 561 yards and 65 points. Against this defense, the Illini would need almost a full 17 quarters to rack up that same yardage; no matter how long they went, they'd obviously never reach that point total.
Safe to say, times have changed for both programs.
Michigan has found their perfect match at head coach and defensive coordinator. The offense under Al Borges has had their growing pains, but it's clear that they've found a suitable balance since the bye week to maximize Denard's remaining time as a Wolverine.
After the game, the marching band spelled out "Marry Me, Danielle?" as a band member dropped to a knee at midfield. Like everything the Wolverines dialed up on Saturday, the play was a success. On a cold, grey, rainy day in Ann Arbor, only the weather could dampen the spirits of those in Maize and Blue.
*On second look, it wasn't exactly a bubble screen, as Gallon started downfield before stopping and coming back to the line; a very well drawn-up play regardless.
- Trouba is the truth. Three assists, one leveling open-ice hit, and defensive responsibility until everyone got sloppy up a ton in the third. A tape to tape breakout pass machine. Money money money.
- Andrew Copp is an interesting guy to keep an eye on. Not a big recruit by any stretch of the imagination but Copp stood out as a big dude with some jump; he split time between football and hockey in high school and may develop into something a bit better than Danny Fardig 2.0.
- Moffatt-Treais-PDG looks to be your top line, at least for now, with the wingers on that line seeming to have good chemistry. Looking for a bustout year from PDG, who was young enough to get drafted after his freshman year and should improve greatly.
- Brennan Serville is another guy I'll be watching early for signs of improvement, especially with Merrill out six weeks and Serville skating every night as a result. Initial impression was not much different than last year's struggles, unfortunately, but confirmation bias and all that.
- I miss Hunwick. Rutledge gave up a soft goal in his period and looked like he had holes all over. This may be paranoia.
The mid-tier guys (Moffie, Bennett, Guptill, Old Lynch, Hyman) were scratched, FWIW. Hyman's another guy I'm hoping will start producing more after his freshman hype fizzled.
Jake Ryan, basically. Roh on Ryan:
“He’s like a Tootsie Pop,” Roh said. “No matter how many times you talk to him, you really never know what you’re going to get until you get to the chocolatey center.”
Zach Helfland asks the obvious question:
Meaning what exactly?
“I don’t know,” Roh said. “You can’t describe him, really. He’s like, I don’t know, he’s like smart but dumb at the same time, but he’s also just random, just like, ‘Yo,’ randomly.”
YO. Elsewhere in that article, Ryan is an alien. Read it.
NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO JT FLOYD WHYYYY
"I told him right before I cut them, 'Man, 'Lace, I'm going to cut 'em,'" Floyd said. "He's like, 'No you're not, no you're not.'
"He was the first guy I saw. He just looked at me and smiled, 'Man, I can't believe you did it.' We had a little dreadlock bond, I guess. Now I'm trying to persuade him to cut 'em"
but it's not going to happen. Not going to happen."
Ticket pricing update. To be fair The M Zone needs to continue their scalping project into next year to see what it's like trying to grab OSU tickets online, but so far so good for the idea we're closing in on the max amount people will pay to go to Michigan games:
Endzone Seats on StubHub:
UMass - Saved $64.72
Illinois - Saved $31.72
Total Endzone StubHub Savings So Far - $96.44
Maize Seats on StubHub:
UMass - Saved $87.38
Illinois - Saved $43.38
Total Maize Section Savings So Far - $130.76
Victors Seats on StubHub:
UMass - Saved $165.24
Illinois - Saved $98.12
Total Victors Section Savings So Far - $263.36
MSU is looking like a win for season ticket holders but that's the only one, and that's with Stubhub's massive cut (15% from the seller plus 20 bucks in "convenience fees" from the buyer) taken into account.
Willis Ward to be honored. Michigan's going to do it, and it's all thanks to an eight year old girl:
"A lot of people like to listen to little kids, and you should speak up and make a difference," said Genna, a Brighton third-grader.
She addressed the university's board of regents in March and lobbied state legislators in June to name a special day after star U-M football player Willis Ward, who was benched for a game against Georgia Tech in 1934 because he was black.
Genna succeeded, and Willis — a friend and teammate of future President Gerald Ford — will be honored by the state and school next week.
Like flies. Blocking-type Michigan State people continue to get injured at an alarming rate. TE Dion Sims may or may not play against Michigan; if he doesn't they probably won't be throwing his backup many passes:
Andrew Gleichert, a walk-on who was awarded a scholarship before the opener against Boise State, has a broken wrist and will have to play with a cast the rest of the season.
"We got concerned with him being a point-of-attack blocker," Roushar said. "We feel like he's got to do a better job. He's working on it. With the loss of Dion, you're looking for something stronger at the point of attack."
Meanwhile, former megarecruit Lawrence Thomas went from linebacker to 295-pound fullback and can't move down to tight end this week because he picked up a concussion against Indiana—his second since August. He's expected to play against Iowa because obviously.
[AFTER AN UNUSUAL UV JUMP: THINGS PEOPLE DID TO THE DANNY HOPEDOKEN GIF]
Formation notes: Michigan set to blowing up Purdue's screen game by sliding their linebackers over to any trips formation like so:
The guy nose to nose with the WR on the LOS is Jake Ryan. I called this "4-3 even slide." Here's a closer look on another play:
Kovacs would come down on the other side to play tiny linebacker.
A couple of times Purdue went to formations like this and Michigan split their linebackers way out wide:
Yeah that looks super-vulnerable to the run but Purdue couldn't get any creases so it's not. Nice trick to put five in the box with two deep safeties and not get gashed.
Note that M spent most of the game in an even front instead of an under. This appears to be their default against spreads.
Substitution notes: Secondary was as usual: Taylor/Floyd/Kovacs/Gordon with Avery coming in for nickel packages. Morgan and Demens got almost every meaningful snap; Ryan saw most but Cam Gordon did get a couple drives.
The line was more Washington/Campbell regular stuff than the nickel business that didn't work so well against the UMass spread.
|Ln||Dn||Ds||O Form||D Form||Type||Rush||Play||Player||Yards|
|O25||1||10||Shotgun 4-wide||4-3 under||Pass||4||Quick hitch||Ryan||4|
|M ends up way spread out by Purdue in a double stack-ish formation. Purdue goes with a dink pass that Ryan(+0.5, tackling +1) is close enough to get a no-YAC tackle on, but only just. He would have delayed the receiver long enough for the D to rally even if he hadn't managed to get the receiver down.|
|O29||2||6||Shotgun trips bunch TE||4-3 even slide||Run||N/A||Zone belly||Kovacs||5|
|M moves Ryan all the way out to the hash where the bunch is and has Demens a bit further inside; Morgan is the only actual LB in the box; Kovacs overhangs to the short side. Purdue tries to take advantage by running a belly zone at the backside. Clark contains; give. Campbell(-0.5) gives a little too much ground and Kovacs(-0.5) is hesitant when he's got a free run at the ballcarrier—seems like he doesn't entirely trust Clark, which fair enough. Clark comes down to tackle with help from Kovacs near the sticks.|
|O34||3||1||I-Form Big||4-4 under||Run||N/A||Pin and pull counter||Demens||0|
|Fullback goes away from the play and RB takes a counter step as two linemen pull around the other way and TerBush pitches. This probably should have worked but one of the pulling linemen goes for Taylor instead of looking for a linebacker flowing from the inside. The other blocks Ryan(+0.5) who sheds quickly and comes upfield but does get in a shoestring tackle attempt that helps make the RB an easy target; Demens(+1) did flow quickly and get to the hole to tackle(+1) short of the sticks. Mostly just a Purdue screwup but M did execute some.|
|Drive Notes: Punt, 0-0, 13 min 1st Q. See you in ten minutes, D.|
|Ln||Dn||Ds||O Form||D Form||Type||Rush||Play||Player||Yards|
|O32||1||10||Shotgun 2TE||4-3 under||Pass||4||Sack||Ryan||-11|
|Clark flares out just as the field WR goes in motion, which gives M more of a 3-4 look but the DEs are tucked inside. Anyway, he's upfield to deal with the potential-end around on the snap. It's play action; no one open as Gordon(+1, cover +1) pulls up and moves out on the TE drag coming across the field. Ryan(+2, pressure +2) is unblocked backside and making for the QB all the way. He has the agility and discipline to not overrun the QB and makes a massive sack as Terbush can't risk the throw to the covered safety valve. RPS +3—this was dead to rights.|
|O21||2||21||Shotgun trips bunch||Nickel even||Run||N/A||Counter trap||Morgan||10|
|Roh(+0.5) actually does a good job to not run way upfield once the G over him releases and comes down on a the trapping OL, which forces the RB to go outside of him. Demens(-0.5) and Morgan(-1) do not take that opportunity. Morgan doesn't read the G pull right over him and gets locked out by a tackle releasing. Demens goes upfield of his blocker and doesn't make a play; probably not relevant because Morgan didn't read it but still bad. Kovacs fills for his only tackle of the day(!).|
|O31||3||11||Shotgun 3-wide||3-3-5 nickel||Pass||4||Rollout hitch||Floyd||Inc|
|Rollout gets TerBush all day (pressure -2) but no one is open at all (cover +3) and Floyd(+2) is there to break on the ball and get a PBU when TerBush eventually has to pull the trigger on a throw as he nears the chalk.|
|Drive Notes: Punt, 7-0, 3 min 1st Q|
|Ln||Dn||Ds||O Form||D Form||Type||Rush||Play||Player||Yards|
|O37||1||10||Shotgun trips||4-3 even slide||Pass||4||Hitch||Floyd||11|
|Floyd(-1, cover -1) is unable to tackle on this five-yard hitch and turns it into a first down.|
|O48||1||10||Shotgun double stack||4-3 even split||Pass||4||PA bubble screen||CGordon||3|
|Ish, anyway. Cam Gordon(+1) is getting blocked by the outside WR in an almost-stacked formation as TerBush throws to the inside guy who is shuffling backwards on the catch. That's one on one with Taylor but Gordon's blown his blocker back and cut off the inside so the WR has nowhere to go and gets sandwiched by Taylor and Gordon after a small gain.|
|M49||2||7||Shotgun 3-wide||Nickel even||Pass||4||Rollout fly||Beyer||Inc|
|Beyer(-1, pressure -1) is hacked to the ground by the tailback and just kind of stops there; he didn't get cut, he got CUT. This gives TerBush all day on the edge. Demens is coming up to turn that pressure on and TerBush misses badly on a WR who had an okay gap between Avery and Kovacs. Coverage push; this wasn't too bad in the secondary.|
|M49||3||7||Shotgun 2-back||Okie two||Pass||5||Hitch||Morgan||5|
|Slot blitz from Avery plus a hash to hash zone drop from Morgan that he holds up on; notably, this h2h drop features the guy looking all the way. Avery(+0.5, pressure +1) gets in free, forcing a quick throw. Morgan(+0.5) is combining with Gordon(+0.5, cover +1) to box in the obvious hot read from the corner blitz and get the guy down short of the sticks. RPS +1; M got exactly what they wanted on this play.|
|M44||4||2||Shotgun trips||4-3 even slide||Pass||4||Hitch||Taylor||INT|
|This should be a five yard completion for the first down, which okay. Terbush throws it high, WR deflects, Taylor(+1) is like okay free touchdown yay. Cover –1.|
|Drive Notes: Defensive TD, 21-0, 12 min 2nd Q. Boilers fumble ensuing KO.|
|Ln||Dn||Ds||O Form||D Form||Type||Rush||Play||Player||Yards|
|O27||1||10||Shotgun 2-back||Nickel even||Run||N/A||Quick pitch||Floyd||0|
|CGordon(+1) in for Ryan, playing with his hand down. He is upfield on the snap as the T releases downfield and forces a scary pitch that is well behind the RB and almost dropped. RB brings it in, spinning. The spin takes him outside into Floyd(+1), who has set up at the numbers at the LOS and forces it back to the pursuing CGordon, except not actually because the RB runs his face into Floyd's.|
|O27||2||10||Shotgun trips||Nickel even||Pass||4||Hitch||Floyd||11|
|Another five yard hitch Floyd(-1) is lax on and turns into a larger gain. He's indecisive, taking a couple false steps before attacking. I'm not too mad since getting beat over the top is worse against this flailing O but be there to tackle before the sticks plz.|
|O38||1||10||Shotgun 3-wide||Nickel even||Run||N/A||Inside zone||Roh||3|
|Roh(+0.5) holds up pretty dang well to a double for a guy his size at three tech. Clark(+0.5) is unblocked on the backside, keeps contain, and comes down quickly. Washington(+0.5) doesn't really know what's up but has blasted a single block back and will ass tackle if Clark doesn't actually tackle; more to the point there's nothing to burst through because of Washington.|
|O41||2||7||Shotgun trips||Nickel even||Pass||4||Improv||Floyd||7|
|Floyd(-1) in press along with Avery; they're backed by safety help. Aggressive on the short routes, Terbush finds nothing (cover +2) and rolls. Token pressure from Clark; Terbush does find a WR late, with Floyd getting lax as TerBush rolls out. Get up on your man; he's not going anywhere that close to the sideline.|
|O48||1||10||Shotgun trips bunch||4-3 even slide||Pass||N/A||Scramble||Ryan||2|
|Ryan(+1) is destroying things before they even exist on this play as Terbush aborts a WR screen so that Ryan doesn't kill all the people. Roh(+0.5) contains; Pipkins(+0.5) helps tackles, but this is RPS +2 mostly.|
|50||2||8||Shotgun double stack||4-3 even split||Pass||4||Improv||Beyer||20|
|Cut blocking so they want a quick throw. Ryan(+0.5) and Taylor(+0.5) are all over the routes TerBush wants and then he has to exit pocket posthaste. Roh(+1) avoided that cut and leapt, preventing a throw. Beyer(-1) overruns the QB and lets him outside the pocket, at which point Kovacs(-1) gets beat by the TE for a big gain.|
|M30||1||10||Shotgun Trips TE||4-3 even slide||Pass||4||Slant||Demens||Inc|
|Purdue fakes the WR screen Ryan is set to destroy and goes for a short slant behind it; ball is in front of the WR and dropped. Demens(+0.5, cover +1, RPS +1) was right there on a deeper slant and would have likely tackled this for a minimal gain if complete.|
|M30||2||10||Shotgun trips bunch||3-3-5 nickel||Pass||4||Improv||Gordon||3|
|Nothing at first(cover +2) as TerBush goes through a couple reads. Internal timer goes off and he starts trying to find a way out of the pocket. Roh(+1) gets pressure(+1), forcing a TerBush throw off the back foot that loops to his WR. He's penned in by three Wolverines and it's third and long. This ball is obviously fumbled but the refs screw it up by calling forward progress. Gordon +1 for the strip, refs –2.|
|M27||3||7||Shotgun empty||Okie one||Run||N/A||Inverted veer keeper||Morgan||4|
|Slot comes in motion for the handoff. Okie stuff gets three guys blocking the backside DT as two folks drop to LB depth. Morgan(+1) reads the pull and stands up a pulling G two yards downfield despite having no momentum; Ryan(+1) is unblocked on the backside and has the speed to close and tackle near the LOS; Demens(+0.5) reads it and finishes the play unblocked.|
|Drive Notes: FG(40), 21-3, 7 min 2nd Q|
|Ln||Dn||Ds||O Form||D Form||Type||Rush||Play||Player||Yards|
|O31||1||10||I-Form||4-3 under||Run||N/A||Yakety snap||N/A||-2|
|O29||2||12||I-Form||4-3 under||Pass||4||Waggle hitch||Floyd||Inc|
|Again they get the edge (pressure -1) but Roh is pursuing so it's not super easy. Coverage(+3) is excellent downfield for a long time; TerBush finds an open-ish guy that Floyd(+1) is there to break up. PBUs are usually two but this was pretty easy on a stationary WR.|
|O29||3||12||Shotgun trips||Nickel even||Pass||4||Scramble||N/A||1|
|Michigan looks like they're trying something fancy as both DTs move way way outside, opening up a huge lane for TerBush to step into. He does, and he's looking to find someone downfield when he runs into his own tailback; the delay forces him to start moving again, at which point it's too late for him. Um. Pressure -1, Cover +2? I think we got a little lucky here.|
|Drive Notes: Punt, 28-3, 2 min 2nd Q|
|Ln||Dn||Ds||O Form||D Form||Type||Rush||Play||Player||Yards|
|M36||1||10||Shotgun 2TE twins||4-3 under||Pass||4||PA WR screen||Kovacs||8|
|Play action allows Purdue to get a TE out to the edge without drawing LB attention. Kovacs(-1) sucks in a step or two and doesn't read the TE; he gets stalled many yards downfield. Floyd comes up to keep leverage okay. Kovacs does get off the block and Ross starts dancing around, eventually getting stuck(+0.5, tackling +1) by Morgan in space.|
|M28||2||2||Shotgun 2TE twins||Base 3-4||Pass||4||Bubble screen||Beyer||3|
|Beyer's(+1) flared out as an OLB type as Michigan goes with more of a 30 look. He's got a blocker he gets outside of, forcing the WR inside of him. Campbell and Morgan are coming out and are now useful because of the leverage but can't cut him off before the sticks. That'll happen.|
|M25||1||10||Shotgun trips||Nickel even||Run||N/A||Trap||Morgan||9|
|Tough to defend this with 5.5 in the box and DTs Black and Roh. Black(-1) gets blown out as CGordon shoots upfield unblocked but also useless; two guys move through the center of the field to find one guy, Morgan(-1), who gets cut really badly. Demens(+0.5, tackling +1) flowed down the line and smashed the TB just as he breaks to the secondary; fortunate. RPS -1.|
|M16||2||1||Shotgun trips||Nickel even||Pass||4||Flare||CGordon||Inc|
|CGordon gets a hand up but doesn't actually deflect the thing; it's just a crappy pass. I guess he gets +0.5 for maybe making the pass go badly. Taylor was coming up, with indeterminate results if this is complete.|
|M16||3||1||Shotgun trips||Nickel even||Run||N/A||Trap||Morgan||3|
|M slanting, which means the DT Purdue is running at ends up running at the trapping G and kind of seals himself, but at least this time Morgan(+0.5) is moving fast at the snap, knowing the playcall, and ends up in the hole before the tackle coming out on him can block. He can't quite get out there, though, and while he makes the tackle it's not the thumper required to prevent a first down. Demens(+0.5) did a good job to pop a guard releasing and come off to finish the tackle. RPS push; good idea but evidently tough to execute.|
|M13||1||10||Shotgun trips||Nickel even||Pass||4||Slant||Morgan||9|
|Purdue pulls a guard and Morgan(-1, cover -1) does suck up on it, but I'm not sure I'm even mad. Demens(+0.5) is not coming up and almost drops right into the route, getting a hand out and coming about an inch away from a PBU. Gordon(+1) gets a good tackle(+1) right away.|
|M4||2||1||Shotgun trips||Nickel even press||Pass||4||Slant||Taylor||4|
|Taylor(-1, cover -1) is lined up with inside leverage, bites on a feint outside, and gives up the easy slant.|
|Drive Notes: Touchdown, 28-10, EOH|
|Ln||Dn||Ds||O Form||D Form||Type||Rush||Play||Player||Yards|
|O21||1||10||Shotgun 3-wide||4-3 even||Run||N/A||Sweep||Roh||0|
|Roh(+1) bursts upfield and outside of the TE, as he's aligned outside of him and is tough to seal. That blows up any sweep type ideas as he's now cutting off the outside, which is 3 for 1! Morgan(+1) flows, takes on an awkward block by a redirecting G, and those two combine to tackle for no gain. RPS +1. Mattison blew this up with alignment.|
|O21||2||10||Shotgun 3-wide||4-3 even split||Pass||4||Hitch||Floyd||11|
|Floyd(-1, tackling -1) again turns a four yard hitch into a first down or near it by being unable to tackle on the catch.|
|O32||1||10||Shotgun double stack||4-3 even split||Run||N/A||Trap||Washington||0|
|Five guys in the box, Purdue wants to test it. Washington(+1) goes boom into the center, driving him back; this picks off the trapping G. Campbell(+0.5) gets into him in the backfield and forces an awkward bounce. Roh(+1) is riding a tackle so he can't get into Demens; as he sees the cutback he releases upfield and makes the tackle for no gain. BWS picture-paged.|
|O32||2||10||Shotgun trips||3-3-5 nickel||Pass||4||Slant||Floyd||Inc|
|Credit to Floyd(+2, cover +2) on this one: he is right there on this slant and gets a PBU.|
|O32||3||10||Shotgun Trips TE||Okie one||Pass||5||Tunnel screen||Avery||3|
|Clark(+1) reads the tackle releasing and starts moving outside. This doesn't get a tackle in or anything but it does force the WR vertical before he wants to go vertical; Avery(+1) is charging at the WR and tackles after a modest gain. Got lucky, as the tackle coming out should have pounded Avery and then Gordon is the man who is basically the only thing between Purdue and a TD. He probably makes the play but would have been do or die right there.|
|Drive Notes: Punt, 28-10, 11 min 3rd Q|
|Ln||Dn||Ds||O Form||D Form||Type||Rush||Play||Player||Yards|
|O36||1||10||Shotgun trips bunch TE||4-3 even||Pass||4||Rollout hitch||Demens||Inc|
|Coverage(+2) is good on the rollout. Ryan(+0.5) picks up a flat; Floyd(+0.5) has a deeper route; Demens(+0.5) has a hitch to the inside. Heitzman(+0.5) is delivering nominal pressure, and TerBush eventually chucks it across his body wildly; Demens almost gets a hand on it and likely would if this was more accurate.|
|O36||2||10||Shotgun trips||Nickel even||Pass||4||Slant||Clark||2|
|Demens(+0.5) seems to have the inside slant; Purdue runs a bubble fake to the outside and Floyd(+1, cover +1) is definitely all over the slant that's supposed to be the gotcha counter. TerBush throws it anyway; Clark(+1) bats it as he is wont to do. Inside slant guy catches it for a few.|
|O38||3||8||I-Form twins||Nickel even||Pass||4||Rollout dig||Floyd||Inc|
|Clark is containing but there are three guys on the edge blocking so he's got no shot. This looks like it's designed to suck Michigan to the edge of the field and then hit them back inside as the outside WR runs a dig; Floyd(+2, cover +2) is all over it and gets a diving PBU.|
|Drive Notes: Punt, 31-10, 5 min 3rd Q|
|Ln||Dn||Ds||O Form||D Form||Type||Rush||Play||Player||Yards|
|O23||1||10||Shotgun trips||4-3 even slide||Run||N/A||Power off tackle||Washington||-3|
|Washington(+1) shoves his man into the backfield and picks off the pulling G. Roh(+1) chucks the tackle trying to block down on him; Demens(+1) beats a WR block; Ryan(+1) does likewise and attacks, getting a diving TFL. If he misses he's still forced the guy upfield and Demens and Gordon will blow him up anyway. Morgan(+0.5) was scraping to the hole if it went further upfield. Ain't nowhere to go.|
|O20||2||13||Shotgun 2TE twins||Nickel even||Pass||4||Hook and ladder||N/A||20|
|More like a fake tunnel and ladder but whatever. Okay, they get M. I'm not minusing the D, but this is an RPS -2.|
|O40||1||10||Shotgun empty||4-3 even||Pass||4||Out||Taylor||14|
|A five yard out Taylor(-0.5, cover -1) can't tackle on the catch. CGordon(-1, tackling -1) is coming out as the WR turns upfield and overruns it. Gordon fends off a block to slow the guy and gets an ankle tackle as Taylor recovers to tackle.|
|M46||1||10||Shotgun 3-wide||Nickel even||Run||N/A||Sprint counter||Pipkins||11|
|Heitzman left unblocked; he flows up to contain the QB. The line hasn't gotten gapped on the backside but there's a big hole between Heitzman and Pipkins(-0.5), who doesn't slow the back...I think he may be right to cut this thing off but I'd like to see him realize where the ball is going faster and at least bother the guy. Demens was pass-dropping; he gets into a blocker and contains about three yards downfield. Morgan(-0.5) went around a blocker upfield and almost almost makes a nice play to hold this down but cannot. Kovacs fills; pile falls past sticks. RPS -1.|
|M35||1||10||Shotgun 3-wide||4-3 even||Pass||4||WR screen||Taylor||2|
|M shows cover one and that they will send CGordon off the edge. Purdue shows a sweep to the left and just throws it at a single receiver to the right. Taylor(+1, tackling +1) comes up to make a stop after a minimal gain. Beyer flowing out from the line helped, I guess, but not really sure what Purdue is trying to accomplish here.|
|M33||2||8||Shotgun 3-wide||3-3-5 nickel||Pass||4||Scramble||N/A||6|
|Again all of the time on the edge. Clark(-1) gets sealed inside, though the RB leading out there is just looking to block. Pressure –2. No one open (cover +3) despite all day, Marve runs for a few.|
|M27||3||2||Shotgun 2TE tight||4-3 even||Pass||4||TE out||Kovacs||1|
|Kovacs(+0.5) and Floyd(+0.5, cover +1) are right there on one yard pass and force a fourth down. RPS +1.|
|M25||4||In||Ace trips||Nickel even||Run||N/A||QB sneak||N/A||1|
|They get it.|
|M24||1||10||Shotgun 2-back||4-3 even||Pass||4||Scramble||Beyer||2|
|Initial read is covered and then Beyer(+0.5) and Campbell(+0.5, pressure +1) collapse the pocket, with Beyer going around the edge and Campbell bulling an interior OL back. Still nobody open(a total over cover +2) as Marve gets the edge; he scrambles for a couple.|
|M22||2||8||Shotgun trips||4-3 even slide||Pass||4||Throwaway||Morgan||Inc + 11 Pen|
|Looks like miscommunication but Marve is just throwing this away; his OL cut the interior guys so the WR's route is right. That's a slant that Morgan(+1, cover +1) is going to pick six if thrown. Roh(+0.5) and Beyer(+0.5) are beating guys upfield and meeting at the QB so Marve has to get rid of it. Pressure +1. Washington(-1) gets a personal foul. No idea why, no replay.|
|M11||1||10||Shotgun 2-back TE||Nickel even||Pass||5||Sack||Ryan||-6|
|Max pro with two WRs. Marve thinks they're covered(+1) and starts rolling, unwisely, as Ryan(+1) avoids a cut and charges at him. Ryan can't bring him down but does force him to the sideline. Roh(+0.5) pursues fast and finishes forcing him OOB.|
|Purdue's OL derfs as both guys blocking Roh(+1) let him go and move to the second level. Roh does contain the back and force him back to the rest of his DL; Beyer(+0.5) finishes the tackle.|
|M19||3||18||Shotgun empty||Okie zero||Pass||4||Throwaway||Ryan||Inc|
|Mattison zone blitz as Demens is lined up over the G, fakes like he's coming, and backs out. That occupies a G; C occupied by Black. Ryan(+1, pressure +2, RPS +2) gets to roar straight up the middle of the pocket untouched and level Marve, who chucks it out of the endzone.|
|Drive Notes: FG(36), 31-13, 12 min 4th Q|
|Ln||Dn||Ds||O Form||D Form||Type||Rush||Play||Player||Yards|
|O16||1||10||Shotgun 3-wide||4-3 even||Run||N/A||Reverse||Roh||11|
|Ryan and Roh are on the edge here. Ryan goes straight upfield to cut off the outside; Roh starts running straight for the sideline, opening up a lane. Roh(-2) should have let Ryan handle the contain. Gordon comes up to tackle.|
|O27||1||10||Shotgun 4-wide||4-3 even||Pass||4||Out||Taylor||5|
|Taylor(+0.5, cover +1) in cover two and tackles on the catch.|
|O32||2||5||Shotgun 3-wide||Nickel even||Pass||5||Drag||Ryan||INT|
|Ryan(+1) blitzes, stunting inside into the center, beating him and again shooting straight upfield at Marve. Clark(+1) beat the RT with a speed rush. Those guys are going to crush Marve, so he throws. It's a drag route Demens(+0.5, cover +1) is going to blow up short of the first down; WR deflects it directly to Gordon(+1), who makes the easy INT. Pressure +2, cover +1.|
|Drive Notes: Interception, 34-13, 9 min 4th Q. Rob Henry gets the next drive but M starters are still mostly in so okay.|
|Ln||Dn||Ds||O Form||D Form||Type||Rush||Play||Player||Yards|
|O27||1||10||Shotgun trips||4-3 even slide||Run||N/A||QB draw||Campbell||-2|
|Campbell(+1) drives the G back into the intended crease, convincing Henry to go outside, where he and Ojemudia(+1) combine to TFL.|
|O25||2||12||Shotgun trips||4-3 even slide||Pass||4||Hitch||Demens||5|
|Five yard route, immediate tackle. Demens +0.5|
|O30||3||7||Shotgun trips bunch||3-3-5 nickel||Pass||5||TE out||Ojemudia||4|
|Three man front with two LBs flanking. Ojemudia(+1) swims past a guard, as does Black(+0.5), though Black is not as quick. Ojemudia looks held, no call. QB chucks another short dink route; Floyd(+0.5) there for an immediate tacke. Pressure +1, cover +1.|
|O34||4||3||Shotgun trips||4-3 even slide||Run||N/A||Inverted veer keeper||-1|
|Ojemudia(+2) shuffles down a bit, then moves upfield as the back gets there, which causes a pull... and causes the pulling G to go for him. Ojemudia goes upfield of that block and starts making an ankle tackle; Morgan(+0.5) was unblocked thanks to the Ojemudia play and helps finish with CGordon, who came from the backside quickly.|
|Drive Notes: Turnover on downs, 37-13, 5 min 4th Q. One more drive but mostly backups so fin.|
I almost kind of expect this.
I know. Like… I know. But even if you kind of expect that you can't actually expect that, you know?
I don't know, you know?
Well, the thing is I've been doing these things for a while and I kind of know what a reasonable number is for a lot of this stuff and the numbers for this game are just not reasonable. I think we should look at
|Roh||8.5||2||6.5||Reliable. Active. Mini-RVB.|
|Campbell||2||0.5||1.5||Purdue only bothered to test M DTs a couple times.|
|Washington||2.5||1||1.5||So like whatever.|
|Clark||3.5||1||2.5||Another batted pass.|
|Beyer||2.5||2||0.5||Got cut pretty badly that one time.|
|Heitzman||0.5||-||0.5||no comment possible for one half point|
|Ojemudia||4||-||4||All of this on last drive but that was impressive on the veer|
|TOTAL||24.5||8||16.5||When Purdue tried to run at hilariously few guys in the box they got zip.|
|Morgan||5.5||3.5||2||Overshadowed with +2, is this real life?|
|Demens||6.5||0.5||6||As I said after ND: !!!|
|Ryan||10||-||10||I call him mini Clay Matthews.|
|C. Gordon||2.5||1||1.5||Getting some run now.|
|TOTAL||24.5||5||19.5||That is incredible. Has to be the best +/- LB ratio ever.|
|Floyd||10.5||4||6.5||Got 3-4 PBUs to go with 3-4 not quite tackles on short stuff.|
|Avery||1.5||-||1.5||Tunnel screen stick.|
|Taylor||3||1.5||1.5||TD was a little bad.|
|Kovacs||0.5||2.5||-2||Plz ignore, see "coverage"|
|T. Gordon||4.5||-||4.5||Playing pretty well these days.|
|Pressure||11||7||4||Rollouts a little annoying but…|
|Coverage||34||5||29||I don't even know what to do with myself.|
|RPS||11||4||7||Mattison must break you.|
Okay, so the LB numbers and the coverage numbers I will tell you flat out without even looking are completely unprecedented. Linebacking is hard, and covering people is hard, and I've been tolerant of scores around zero for both groups. To come out of a game with 80-90% good marks just never happens.
When something like this goes down I naturally would like to sanity-check it, so… yup, eleven drives, a flat 200 yards on those drives and 13 points. 10% of Purdue's yards on a hook and ladder. Purdue starting QB averages 4.4 YPA. When hook and ladder removed, all Purdue QBs combine for 4.2 YPA and throw two INTs. Purdue rushes for 3.0 YPC. Sanity checked. Sanity is like "maybe those numbers should be a little higher."
So, yeah, don't look at the –2 for Kovacs on like the few plays he was on the screen for, look at the coverage metric, and nod your head and say woo pig sooie. (Do not say that.) This was the quintessential play from yesterday: good play action from Purdue sucks Morgan up a fraction and…
…Demens almost bats it down and Gordon tackles the guy as soon as he touches the ball. College teams cannot execute in these windows very often, and even when Purdue's stuff was working they were operating with a tiny margin for error.
I started a tweet BOOM on Saturday and later thought to myself that was out of character; now I kind of wish I had added the SHAKALAKA deserved.
I thought you were kind of mad at JT Floyd?
I am still a little when 33 of Purdue's scanty yards are acquired on little five yard hitch routes Floyd cannot tackle on immediately:
(It happened to Taylor once, FWIW. These plays were about a quarter of Purdue's entire offensive output.) Reviewing the film I found 4 PBUs—even though the official stats only give him two in my book you get a PBU for being in position to catch a ball no matter how ugly the duck that misses the WR is. PBUs are hard and get points and again, no yards for Purdue and massive coverage metric.
Floyd also had a good run fill on a quick pitch, so there's that.
Is it weird they're just going at Floyd all the time?
A lot of those were rollouts and it's easier to roll out right for a right handed quarterback and then when the play is over you're on the right hash and Floyd is the boundary corner. I bet that if Michigan had swapped their guys Purdue still would have been throwing rollouts to the boundary, only at Taylor.
That said, it is a little weird. Taylor did give up that slant on fourth and two and just got lucky; he also gave up a slant on first and goal that was not so good. If that guy beats you to the outside and they complete the fade, okay. That's a much tougher recipe than chucking that easy slant.
Taylor's still doing very well in general—again, holy coverage metric. The bet here is that Floyd's frequent targeting was just a symptom of the limited offense Michigan was going up against.
JAKE F. RYAN
Yeah man yeah yeah. Okay, so he spends a big part of the day hanging out on the edge making or threatening to make plays like he did against that one ND screen on third and four. Purdue eventually just had to abandon that part of their gameplan entirely after they couldn't even throw the ball:
Another part of the day is spent pass rushing. He's unblocked here but TerBush is decently mobile and how many times do you see guys set loose overrun opponents?
Brandon Harrison sucked at that* and he was about half Ryan's size.
Mostly Mattison but again demonstration that Jake Ryan has a killer size/speed combo. On the next drive Ryan would do that again, and Marve was all like ball gone please leave me alone.
+10, no minus, yeah baby.
*[No offense Mr. Harrison. Brandon Harrison should have been much more involved in the 2008 defense, which insanely benched him until Minnesota when the 4-2-5 nickel came back.]
Demens now has a +14, –0.5, +13.5 line the last two games. Morgan hasn't had that kind of eye-popping UFR production but he's not that far off as a true sophomore. Note that in this game the veterans kept the rookies entirely off the field—that should tell you the coaches are a lot happier with them than they were a couple games ago.
Against a team that runs as much dinky pass stuff as Purdue that's mostly a compliment to their pass coverage.
I'll have to take a pass this week as Purdue barely tested the DTs. When they did, Michigan responded, as BWS documented in a picture pages. I will say that Roh is handling SDE duties just fine so far; he's becoming the half-point machine RVB was last year where he's not lining up the opposing QB for killshots but is getting to him consistently, is stringing stuff out and closing off holes and doing all the littler things that make life easier for everyone else.
Anyone new emerging?
I was impressed by Mario Ojemudia's brief cameo at the end of the game. He swam past an offensive guard on a play reminiscent of his high school tape, and then he played an inverted veer just right. So here he delays the QB's decision, forces a pull, occupies the pulling G, and helps tackle:
Can't do that better. Just getting the two for one (contain and the pulling G) is a major win; doing that and making the subsequent tackle easier for the unblocked LB you caused to be unblocked is great.
While I'm not sure how much more we'll see him in important moments with Beyer back, he's shown the first flashes of quality play. Whoever wins the WDE dogfight going into 2013 is going to be pretty dang good.
Jeez. Pick someone. Entire secondary, Jake Ryan, Demens, and Roh. There you go.
Srs. GTFO, man.
What does it mean for Illinois and the future?
Illinois will put up 14 or fewer points and totally fail to move the ball consistently.
As for the future, it seems like the veteran ILBs have reasserted a hold on their jobs, and for the best reason: playing better. We'll see more of the freshmen when the defense isn't booting the opposition off the field in three plays while Michigan takes 17 to matriculate down the field; I don't think they'll be huge threats to displace the oldsters. Michigan's LBs are clean and playing a lot faster.
We got a few extra hints that the DL was pretty good, and that whatever coverages Michigan is running are being executed extremely well. Michigan's short a couple elite athletes in the secondary; other than that there's not much to criticize.
Mattison must break you. Jake Ryan is his tool.
[THE SCENE: A member of the media (who shall remain anonymous) talks about being involved in a recent car accident. Enter Greg Mattison]
“… You really didn’t go get an ambulance to take you to the hospital, did you? You really didn’t do that, did you? Come on.”
I hurt my back and neck.
“Come on ...”
I hurt my back and neck! It’s not my fault they rear-ended me.
“Come oooon. I mean, just think of the force these guys out on the field that get hit with. Sheez.”
Hey, they might get hit with the same force, but … they’re expecting it!
[Sigh.] “What do we have? What do we got?”
You had to be pleased with the effort last Saturday, huh.
“Yeah I was pleased with the effort. We’ve stressed so much about you’ve got to run to the football, you’ve got to play as hard as you can on each and every snap, and when they feel, I think, that you’re sincere in having a rotation and having guys go in that game and you’re in the Big Ten, you’re playing for all of it each game. It was good to see them buy into that and play extremely hard on every play. There were plays in that game that I was very pleased, when you looked out there, it was the way I perceived Michigan defense, where you had all 11 running as hard as they could to the football. Not nine, not eight. And then when a young man had played a number of plays, then the next guy goes in and he did the same thing. Still our technique, still we’ve got a long ways to go that way. We had a couple missed assignments that you can have, but all in all the effort was very pleasing.”
News bullets and other important items:
- Kickoffs: There was one bad kick and nine missed tackles, but kicking it short and to the right was on purpose to avoid Raheem Mostert.
- Denard's wrist is fine.
- Gallon's job as punt returner is not in danger.
- Hoke did not consider putting in Rawls earlier for Toussaint.
“Thanks for coming. Very pleased with the win. It’s great to win, obviously. I thought we set a tone early defensively and great to win on the road is what I should say because you look at this league on the road, it’s a tough place to play. I thought we set the tone with the three-and-out on the defense, and offensively, 17-play drive, almost nine minutes, really was what we needed to do. We play really good defense watching our offense out there on the field. That’s a good deal. I think we practiced well for the week. We prepared well. Liked how our guys came to work every day, and we need to continue to do that. We know we’re in a championship game every Saturday, so our mentality and attitude needs to reflect that by our actions in practice. We had a good day yesterday, and hopefully we can continue that.”
10/6/2012 – Michigan 44, Purdue 13 – 3-2, 1-0 Big Ten
For three hours on Saturday, October 6th, 2012, a rapidly-expanding event horizon engulfed the Indiana town of West Lafayette. Inside, gold chains were cool, Playboy featured natural breasts, you could lose four-year-olds in your carpet, and mass colorblindness reigned. Hair erupted from everywhere. Do not talk to central Indianans about storm drains.
A Jed Smithson from nearby Frankfort found his balding pate mysteriously replaced with a resplendent afro. Leaping atop a teal Chevy the size of a city block, he proclaimed a quest to fornicate with every hot broad in the county. He was a half-dozen hot broads into this project when the effect dissipated as mysteriously as it had arrived; the aftermath was even more appalling than that of the average middle-aged central Indiana sexual congress. Do not talk to Frankfort residents about what you can find in storm drains.
Unfortunately, due to the remote location of the event the only video evidence of this supernatural phenomenon was a foot-ball game between the University of Michigan and Purdue University in which the former team ran on every down for six yards a carry and the latter meekly accepted its place in the college football firmament. Up eighteen points at halftime, Michigan's head coach groused about his offensive line and said "you can't win football games like that" in reference to a fumble at the end of the first half. His team won by thirty-one. They ran for 300 yards and grudgingly passed for 100.
It was the greatest three hours of Jed Smithson's life, and pretty all right for Michigan fans watching on TV.
Michigan stewed for a week after intercepting away the Notre Dame game and came back resolved to boringly suffocate opponents. Thanks to Greg Mattison's ability to turn anything more coordinated than a tube sock into a functional defensive tackle and those things on Denard Robinson that aren't arms—leargs or something—their first experiment in 1970s death football was a resounding success. There were no interceptions, and one lost fumble. Michigan won by many points.
Iowa fan Adam Jacobi crashed in the guest room en route to and from Blogs With Balls 5; at some point he complained that his job required him to actually watch that incredibly dull game from start to finish, and the two halves of my brain high-fived each other. I have taken walks to the other end of sanity where Michigan beats Illinois 67-65 or loses to Penn State 41-31 and feel like settling down with a vacuum cleaner repair manual for a while just now. There are worse things than boredom.
Call it Lloydball or MANBALL or Every Michigan Game Before 1986 or whatever. The plan was obvious, and executed, and would have resulted in a resounding victory even if Purdue hadn't thrown in a free touchdown. Lloydmanbopigball it was, and it was beautiful for being so ugly.
After Michigan's first drive, a 17-play Viking saga that ended with a one yard plunge into the endzone, I told twitter that was the second half of the Notre Dame game continued. As that expanded into the whole game it seemed like Jesus had indeed been come to by both Al Borges and Denard Robinson. Borges put his head down and rammed various players into the line; Robinson threw the ball away once and pulled the ball on the read option lots.
How long will it last? Ask again later. This was an easy game to get away from your comfort zone as a playcaller, what with the enormous lead and the instant success and the 9.8 YPC from the quarterback. When things get tight and boredom threatens to send Michigan into a grim Big Ten loss with both teams in the teens, will Borges and Denard be able to find a middle ground that does not lead to crippling interceptions? Will folks be blocked, will throws be on, will anything be anything?
We've seen these moments before, moments where Michigan dials it back for Denard. Once that works and everyone's feeling good about themselves, the playbook sets to exploring the exact contours of Denard's competency, usually with slate gray results. Trash Tornado. Iowa. Etc.
At some point this year Michigan may be forced into dropping back and throwing over and over again; let's make sure we give the leisure suit offense every chance to succeed before flinging the doors open to this modernity business. Given the state of the league there's a pretty decent chance that gold chains and chest hair are all you need to make reservations in Pasadena.
Boring, Boring Bullets
Brady Hoke Epic Double Point of the week. This could go to Denard Robinson, obviously, but in the aftermath of a 213 yard performance by the opposing offense it feels more appropriate to hand it to Jake Ryan, whose sack leads this column. He picked up a second TFL, as well; more importantly he was tasked with sitting out on the perimeter against trips sets and annihilating anyone who took a step backwards in preparation for a WR screen.
Purdue was so discombobulated by this their WR-screen-heavy offense was reduced to a series of short passes in front of JT Floyd that were unsustainable as a method for driving the field. Ryan's performing at an All Big Ten level, easy.
Honorable mention: Al Borges (running the damn ball), Brady Hoke (for establishing the tone on the first drive by going for it on fourth down and likely for sitting Borges down and saying "get the gold chains, Al, and run the damn ball"), Denard Robinson (for running the damn ball), Kenny Demens (six solo tackles including the key stuff on Purdue's first three and out), defense in general.
Epic Double Point standings.
2: Denard Robinson (Air Force, UMass), Jake Ryan (ND, Purdue)
1: Jeremy Gallon(Alabama)
I be like dang. When you only throw 16 times, your freshman tight end is not going to get a ton of looks but um guys I think he's pretty good anyway.
That's Funchess's third and long catch that set M up on the goal line, which was impressive on the TV and more so in that shot. Mandich watch still won't return this week—may not return until Michigan has completed the Denard era if the ground game keeps this pace up—but I'm pretty sure he'll get there even with a freshman year detour into a 1970s offense.
Funchess did get pushed out of bounds on a long wheel route later, but I'm not sure if that's on him or just excellent coverage by the Boiler safety checking him.
Shoeless Shoelace. I don't remember more than one or two incidents in Denard's career where his shoe actually came off until this year, when it seems there's a 50-50 shot that any long run will feature one of Denard's socks. Tighten up that velcro, man.
Denard given time. …makes better decisions, and he's often given time because of his legs. Your nervous "oh God is Denard going to throw an INT" sickness was finally—at long last, sir—unnecessary, as on third and long Michigan just dropped back and threw, no funny stuff. The Funchess catch above saw Denard step forward in the pocket and shoot that ball in between three defenders:
Rollouts probably can't be dumped entirely but reducing them, as they were reduced in this game, is a good idea.
If someone on the schedule can stop Michigan's offense from the Purdue game and put up enough points to win, tip your cap and say "well done." I'm not sure anyone in the Big Ten eligible for the postseason can do both.
The Fitz issue. I don't know, man. I think some of his ineffectiveness was on Denard, who gave when he should have kept a couple times. Some of it was on the line, which was not getting creases except when the veer made it easy to do so. And some of it was on Toussaint, who got impatient and started going BOUNCE BOUNCE BOUNCE BOUNCE.
There was a particularly egregious instance in the second half where the line had gotten decent push and he could have gotten three to five by running up the backs of his linemen; he decided to go backwards around a Lewan kickout and got a yard for his trouble. He is getting impatient.
I'm not sure Rawls is going to be much of a solution because the veer is Michigan's best play and a moose like that is not going to be much of a threat going laterally as that play demands the RB do. I wouldn't mind seeing Norfleet get some cracks at that, though.
As for Rawls, Michigan can fit him into the spread offense. Think Brandon Minor: a lot of plays that go right upfield. Michigan tried a couple belly plays against ND and got defeated by shifts into the 3-4; that shouldn't be a problem going forward and is a way to get a power back going straight downhill at the snap.
Where is the stuff that fits with the other stuff? The one lingering issue with the offense was a lack of play action off the plays Michigan actually runs. I count two first down passes in the entire game(!), one of them a bubble to Gallon, the other a long bomb also to Gallon that was IIRC run from under center. Michigan's other attempt to get a big gainer was a shot at Funchess down the sideline that played off the throwback screen that always works (even when it's deflected).
That was covered pretty well, and I get why. After watching Borges for a year and a half he has a tendency to iterate through different things you can do with a new (or recycled from a while back) package. He runs that fly sweep off the veer look, then runs the veer, then runs play action. He runs the throwback screen, then runs play action off that throwback screen. He runs an iso from the gun, then runs play action from iso from the gun. He runs a pitch play, then runs a halfback pass off the pitch. The pattern may be too obvious to get guys wide open downfield.
If you're running play action off stuff you run a lot, not just once, it become a lot harder to say to yourself "okay, this time they're going to fake it." As long as Michigan's staple plays don't have ways to dick with the safeties built in, there will be a lot of Epic Viking Saga drives and not much of the five-play, 80-yard stuff. That could come back to bite M against the better teams in the league.
Here's hoping that Michigan has it but decided to keep all that stuff under wraps for another week since there was no point at which Michigan needed to do anything other than choke the game out after the Taylor INT. I'm still waiting for Michigan to get a wide open dude way downfield.
Speaking of that bomb to Gallon. I'm just like man you gotta be a half-foot taller there, Jeremy Gallon. No excuse for still being 5'9" as a redshirt junior.
Raymon Taylor entered a "free touchdown" coupon code. The game swung from plausible matchup to laugher on the fourth and two on which TerBush throws high and the WR deflects it directly to Taylor's meh coverage for a touchdown—that's 14-7 or 14-3 versus 21-0 and kind of a big deal. Given the yardage disparity, not enough of a big deal that it could have flipped the game but it is a big swing.
Holy pants defense. Film necessary to be sure but the DL kept those linebackers clean and kept contain, which led to a lot of nice sticks in or around the LOS. Kenny Demens set the tone when he shut down an outside run that looked like it was going to pick up a first down for the Boilers; he was allowed to do so because the DTs didn't allow anyone to get to him on the second level. Funny how he looks like a better player when he's not getting cut by multiple 260 pound Air Force guys on the same play.
Purdue's rushing output in this game was awe-inspiringly terrible. Restore seventeen yards lost on two sacks and Purdue still only gets to 73 yards on the day, barely over three yards a carry.
Purdue's only other relevant datapoint comes against a Notre Dame defense that's looking elite after a 41-3 stomping of Miami. Remove sacks and Purdue averaged 4.3 yards an attempt there—point Michigan.
Illinois hasn't put up more than 14 against a BCS opponent yet and have only managed to crest 300 yards once, that thanks to an 87 yard drive at the end of the Penn State game while down 35-7, so expect another outing like the last two before the Michigan State and Nebraska games define Michigan's season.
Kickoff WTF. The wind was not a factor Saturday so why did Wile cease booting things deep into the endzone? Did he get tired? Is he inconsistent? Is Michigan doing this on purpose for some reason, like maybe forcing a turnover when a returner tries to make a tough running catch?
We saw Michigan start screwing around with kickoffs in the UMass game, put all available into the endzone against ND, put all available into the endzone against Purdue until Michigan was up 14, and then more screwing around. Tentative guess is that it's experimentation with the new rules and that wind permitting we won't see anything fancy tried against MSU or Nebraska unless they've got something in their pocket.
A shorter version:
Bryan Fuller's full photoset can be found in a previous post.
Denard didn’t throw any interceptions, and actually threw a ball out of bounds. Whoo-hoo!!!
Remembering the Touchdown Rabbit.
I think it was easy to believe that "Bad Denard" was going to show up because we only tend to remember the last thing we have seen. But Denard's apology after the Notre Dame game, and all of the right things we heard from the team and the coaches during the bye week* brought me to the conclusions that this was going to be an OK day. It didn't make me any less fearful about the game, but I had staked out my position ahead of the game on that ground.
I'm all like man how do you even get Bad Denard when he throws 16 times. It's a lot harder, at least.
Also I can't agree with this bit from Touch The Banner…
Denard Robinson zone read anger. Twice in this game, Robinson held onto the ball too long before pulling it out of the running back's stomach. The first time it worked okay for him because he gained a bunch of yards, even though his running back (Toussaint or Smith, I can't remember) got smoked. The second time it was disastrous because he got Smith crushed and, oh yeah, Robinson fumbled the ball in the process. He gains a lot of yards because he's a dynamic runner, but he's never been adept at running those plays.
…when yanking the ball from his running back was something he did three times for huge gains on the veer. Michigan stayed away from a lot of reads when he was a sophomore and then de-emphasized them when Borges came in; we haven't been given a chance to see what would happen if he is put in a situation where he's doing it all the time. Probably too late now, but declaring anger after ten yards a carry against a DL featuring a first round pick that held ND to like 50 yards rushing… uh.
JAKE RYAN – After watching #47 do his thing again, one word came to mind – MANSTER. In the late ‘70s, Bob Ufer recalled how UM D-Tackle Chris Godfrey was called “manster” by fellow wolverine Ron Simpkins. Why manster? He was half man, half monster. Jake Ryan – ‘nuff said!
Michigan came out and did exactly what I hoped it would do: run, run, run. In my preview post for this game, I predicted (hoped, really) that Borges would call a run-heavy game, something to the tune of a 65:35 run-pass split. The Gorgeous One blew that figure away, with Michigan running it 51 times (not including the kneel downs) and passing only 16 times, good for a 76:24 run-pass split. It was the perfect gameplan for a team like Purdue: good tackles and good corners (with good playmaking ability) but not much else, particularly at linebacker, is basically a flashing neon sign saying RUN DENARD.
This game was also another building block in the not-so-straw house of Michigan's defense. This Boilermaker offense, while not prolific, is still the most recent team to score an offensive touchdown on Notre Dame and had properly rolled the cupcakes you would expect from a good offense (48 against Eastern Kentucky, 54 against Eastern Michigan, and 51 against Marshall). Putting aside Raymon Taylor's gift pick-six* Michigan held Purdue to just 56 yards on 26 carries (2.2 YPC) and only 157 yards through the air on 23/35. Perhaps the most promising stat of the game is that Michigan's top four tacklers were all front-seven guys (Kenny Demens, Jake Ryan, Desmond Morgan, and Craig Roh). Michigan was controlling the line of scrimmage and hitting Purdue ball carriers at the point of attack. When Jordan Kovacs only makes one tackle in a dominating defensive performance, you know things are looking up.
Linking this just for the bizarre headline:
Pur"don’t": A Gravy Train With Biscuit Wheels
iseewhatyoudidthere.jpg AND lolwutpear.jpg in the same headline: well done.
Purdue POV. As you might imagine, the Purdue folk are not taking Saturday well. Purdue: Saturday :: Michigan : Alabama game.
From the opening drive by Michigan yesterday Purdue was simply outmanned, outclassed, and quite frankly outcoached. Purdue looked lost on offense for much of the game and seemed completely baffled that Denard Robinson was running with the ball. Everyone knew coming in that Robinson was THE GUY that Purdue needed to stop in order to defeat Michigan. Purdue failed miserably to do that. Robinson ran for 235 yards in the game. That’s more yardage than Purdue had on offense. Wrap your head around that.
That was an embarrassing display in Ross-Ade Stadium this afternoon. Truly shameful. There's simply no way Michigan is that much better than Purdue. And to lose like that at home? In the first conference game of the season? When there are high hopes and getting off to a good start could quite possibly catapult you into the Big Ten title game? Much more easily than in most years? To come out like that and just stink up the joint so disgracefully?
Aaand Boiled Sports:
If you didn't watch it, congratulations. Those hours that you spent coaching your children, watching better football, gardening, painting, napping or hunting for the perfect pumpkin were hours well-spent. But the three hours that I spent in one of my favorite places in the world, I'll never get back.
Postgame thread from Hammer And Rails:
I love Purdue football and basketball like a battered spouse loves their abuser, which is why I continue to spend my hard earned money to watch games like Saturday’s debacle. I am more disappointed for the program and students than anything. This was a chance to get some fans back. This was an opportunity to win some hearts and minds. No such luck. The fact the game wasn’t sold out was sad. The michigan fans sitting behind me were semi-mocking the stadium and number of fans and I could say nothing because they were right. …
I don't know why some of you guys have to hit the special ed kid in the face. BE NICE.
MSM stuff. Michigan is ranked in the AP poll. I'm not sure where but probably first. Air Force and getting pounded by Alabama still distorting Michigan's pass D stats. Michigan had lots of time of possession, so therefore they outgained Purdue 2-1. I'm pretty sure that's the direction it goes.
Hoke is grumbling about penalties in the manner of an affronted walrus:
"We had some bad penalties, really three dumb penalties," Hoke said. "We don't want to play football that way."
This is a good sign when you have four penalties all game.
Grades of A for everyone! Except you, Fitz. Angelique suggests that maybe the defense is okay. Denard ties Ron Dayne for most B10 offensive player of the week awards. M-MSU won't have a set gametime until October 20th. Also Joe Rexrode should explore the "rotate" option in his friendly local paint program.
ESPN predicts M to the Rose Bowl.