10/27/2012 – Michigan 9, Nebraska 23 – 5-3, 3-1 Big Ten
Well, it finally happened.
Pundits and opponent fans have been predicting the demise of Denard Robinson ever since he picked up that snap against Western Michigan, but the series of bumps and bruises that frightened Michigan fans every third game had never really cost Michigan anything. In 2010, Tate Forcier came off the bench to lead Michigan to a frenetic victory over Illinois and nearly did the same against Iowa. Last year, Devin Gardner shepherded Michigan through the second half of the Illinois game. When Denard's boo-boos knocked him out for halves instead of plays, Michigan got through just fine.
They were always tempting fate, though, and upped their bet that the football gods' vast malevolence was laser-focused on the Iowa running back situation by moving Devin Gardner to wide receiver in the fall. That seemed like a risk worth taking.
Unfortunately, the containment field is down.
yes, it's true. this man has no elbow.
First it leaked from the Iowa running backs to their offensive line, which suffered two season-ending injuries minutes apart last week. This week, the Big Ten set to murdering football in the morning and afternoon, then this happened to Marcus Lattimore's knee:
By the time Friday night rolled around the ambient malevolence levels in college football were so high that Notre Dame won a marquee matchup to enter the national championship shortlist.
So of course Denard would be knocked out of a potentially fun, definitely important game by falling harmlessly to the turf, thus turning the rest of it into a death-march trudge. AIRBHG is no longer contained. The forces of wheeeee that (mostly) preserved Denard through three years of running at top speed into Manti Te'o have been overrun by the forces of grinding doom football. Now we're all boned. Hail Saban.
And so it came to pass that words never before spoken—words so impossible CFL teams who don't even think it's weird they're all named "Roughriders" cock an eyebrow at their assemblage—came to pass.
Tate Forcier isn't walking through that door.
I don't know, man. I felt ill for most of the second half but it's not like anyone is at fault other than everyone. I mean, if RR doesn't implode or Forcier is a normal person who goes to classes or Michigan doesn't hire Hoke three weeks before signing day, maybe the guy backing up Robinson has a prayer of moving the ball forward. Maybe the wide receiving corps is not so awful that it must include Devin Gardner.
In the aftermath you've got the columns declaring Gardner's move to WR a stupid idea, but I haven't seen anyone reference the column questioning it they wrote before last weekend. It's easy to be a backseat driver after whatever that was. Meanwhile, Gardner is this crappy receiving corps' #2 WR, #1 if you discount Jeremy Gallon's 150-some yards on screens.
Gardner's not good. The alternative is throwing more than four balls in the first half to Jeremy Jackson. They've needed their crappy, crappy receiver who is also a quarterback even if he is dropping a 50-yard pass in most games. Whether Gardner is worth an extra three scores against Nebraska is… debatable. His performances to date suggest he is not.
Michigan was always rolling the dice on Denard's health, and that was the move to make. Didn't work. That's life as a rickety program that's endured two coaching transitions in three years—when you have to go to the bench you get tumbleweeds.
We're now entering the period of time when most program shortcomings can be blamed on Rich Rodriguez's recruiting, which is only a slight transition from the period of time when most program shortcomings could be blamed on Lloyd Carr's recruiting fade and represents very little improvement when the one completely awesome guy at the most important position is removed from the equation. It turns out that Michigan 2012 minus Denard Robinson is pretty much Michigan 2008, and that the only thing saving us from the abyss was Denard staring down a decision to stay or go and not pulling the Mallett.
He stayed, but in the game that probably decided if he would be a champion or not he watched from the sideline because his elbow hit the turf the wrong way. Malevolence is out of control these days.
Injury item. So the thing is this:
It's the same thing that knocked him out briefly against Illinois.
"He's got that nerve (injury), he hits it the wrong way (or) gets hit (and it's hard)," Hoke said. "The difference (today) was he didn't come back in. But, he gets better as the game goes on." …
Asked whether or not he was concerned Robinson wouldn't be available next week, Hoke replied "No." He also said the normal rehabilitation process for this type of injury is mainly rest and time.
He'll probably be fine by Tuesday and start against Gophers. Every time his elbow brushes up against the softest kitten in Minnesota the collective intake of breath will be audible. Sounds fun, and by "fun" I mean "paralyzing."
Frank Clark is also expected to be back next week, which is good because Mario Ojemudia limped off the field Saturday and was spotted in a boot today. He's probably sprained his ankle and won't be available.
Brady Hoke Epic Double Point Of The Week. Craig Roh. Beastmode sack, generally unblockable, got a number of those stat things for himself instead of everyone else, as he usually does.
Honorable mention. Quinton Washington, Desmond Morgan, Kenny Demens.
Epic Double Point standings.
3: Jake Ryan (ND, Purdue, Illinois)
2: Denard Robinson (Air Force, UMass)
1: Jeremy Gallon(Alabama), Drew Dileo (Michigan State), Craig Roh(Nebraska).
We won time of possession! WOOOOOOOOOOOOO
Time of possession is a garbage stat.
That said, there is a clear narrative of decline in the defensive performance. Nebraska's first eight drives gained a total of 148 yards. Their last four gained 178. It's not easy going out there after a blizzard of three-and-outs. This would be better measured by plays instead of TOP.
BLAME BLAME BLAME BLAME. Why are we here at QB? LET'S BLAME PEOPLE WOO
- Rodriguez's horrible recruiting at the skill positions: 40%. If Michigan has a decent deep threat at WR, Gardner is playing QB and Michigan may salvage that game. Instead, RR recruited receivers are… 2011: nobody. 2010: Jeremy Jackson, Ricardo Miller, Jerald Robinson, DJ Williamson. 2009: Je'Ron Stokes. The only one of those guys to see the field is Jackson, and he's essentially a skinny tight end. That 2011 class may not be RR's fault, because there were…
- Unavoidable transition costs: 10%. RR's WR recruiting would look slightly better if Sammy Watkins was included in that group, but once he got fired Watkins was gone.
- Darryl Stonum's inability to just do what the court tells him to: 10%. Relevant to previous two bullets: we're desperate for a guy who has three catches for Baylor. Baylor's offense is pretty good, but he can't even get on the field.
- The Process: 20%. Maybe Michigan gets a guy more ready to play if they're not scrambling with three weeks left. Maybe Michigan recruits one dang WR in 2011.
- Hoke not taking a quarterback last year: 10%. Always take one every year. If Michigan has another freshman around maybe he's better than Bellomy.
- Hoke inexplicably passing on Devin Lucien: 10%. Lucien has 10 catches as a sophomore for 6-2 UCLA and their #12 offense. He still wanted to commit to Michigan after the transition, and Michigan said no by saying they wanted him to play DB.
There. It has been blamed. Seriously, though, the Lucien thing drives me nuts.
I'm not there. As soon as Denard went out and it became clear that Bellomy was light years away from readiness I was pretty much like whatever. There's not much you can do when you already can't run without your QB and the guy you put in is overwhelmed and throwing moonballs.
Before that happened, Michigan was moving the ball decently and poised to score to go up 10-7. That's okay I guess—but we're also talking about a team that is 90th in the country in run defense, so…
I saw this: after Nebraska got torn up by Hundley and Miller it seemed clear they went back to the drawing board and were going to play it safe. When Michigan put 4 WRs on the field, Nebraska responded with two high safeties and 5.5 guys in the box. Michigan ran the ball and got five, six, seven yards virtually every time. That's stealing.
I mean, when I was learning about the spread some years back I watched the videos Rodriguez put out about his offense. When he talked about making a run/pass decision based on the safeties, his general rule was one deep safety was a run, cover zero was pass. The idea that someone would maintain two high safeties against his offense never even crossed his mind. Nebraska was doing it, and Michigan didn't force Nebraska out of it. I don't get it, man.
The truly crappy thing is it's going to be four or five years before we have any real read on whether Borges is any good. At this point, year three is going to be Michigan rolling with a true freshman QB—probably, anyway—and four new OL starters—probably, anyway—with what's likely to be a horrible WR corps. Anything other than an awful offense next year is a point in Borges's favor. Hurrah transition.
But Auburn? No. 2004 Auburn had the following guys on that team: QB Jason Campbell (first round pick), RB Ronnie Brown (first round pick), RB Cadillac Williams (first round pick), OL Ben Grubbs (first round pick), OL Marcus McNeill (second round pick), Ben Obomanu (seventh round pick, still in league, had 37 catches in 2011), Devin Aromashodu (seventh round pick, still in league, had 26 catches in 2011), and Courtney Taylor (sixth round pick, now in CFL after 2008 multiple sclerosis(!) diagnosis). When you can call anything and have future NFL players on both ends of the exchange that doesn't say much either.
First Nebraska touchdown: where is that? Nebraska's first touchdown was a route that exploited Michigan's man coverage. An inside receiver ran a little hitch designed to pick the outside guy, the outside guy ran a post to eliminate the safety over the top, and the inside-inside guy used the pick to get open by yards. It didn't really matter if the receiver who ended up targeted was able to get separation naturally; the play got it for him.
Where is that from Michigan? I can't recall a wide open downfield guy that got open strictly by the play design. Gardner's been open some when DBs fall over or suck up on a double move or something; not so much the play bits.
This wasn't actually a problem last year, when Michigan quarterbacks made sport of ignoring the the wide open guys Borges was machining downfield. Is it just Junior Hemingway's absence?
I think they watched film. Congratulations, Nebraska: you are apparently the only Big Ten team to ever watch tape of the Michigan offense and leap on the throwback screen. It's not exactly hard to find, since the first time Michigan goes under center in any game is virtually guaranteed to be the throwback. It's pretty bad when everyone in the room I was watching said "throwback screen" as soon as Michigan lined up in ace.
Q: why is that play consistently run from under center? There doesn't seem to be anything about it that would require it to be.
Bellomy. Well… that wasn't very good. The most disturbing thing was probably one of Bellomy's few completions—a ten yard wheel-ish route run by Kerridge that picked up a first down and took just decades to get where it was going. Accuracy issues and a tendency to scream in horror during plays themselves (@ right by Upchurch) can be fixed with time. The arm strength deficiency probably can't.
That particular throw made me wonder why Michigan recruited the guy at all since it seems like the #1 thing on Borges's radar screen is the ability to laser it in just inside the sideline. Hurrah Process/unavoidable transition costs. Boy, is next year's offense going to be a wow experience or what I tell ya.
Offensive line. I'm not entirely sure how they did since once Bellomy came in it was open season and Michigan settled into a routine that exposed them to the same "eight of them, five of us" problems that Michigan experienced against MSU. Hoke was not impressed.
Ryan got edged. When Michigan gave up some yards it was often on the edge when various Nebraska players broke contain. The most spectacular incident was when Abdullah broke Cam Gordon's ankles…
…but it happened to Ryan a few times. When Nebraska was not bouncing it outside they were getting very little; excellent day from the interior DL and the LBs.
Roh beastmode. Also Roh, who took the opportunity presented by Abudullah being assigned to block him to destroy Martinez in a hilarious beastmode sack. If you've ever wondered why tailbacks always cut block guys on pass protection, that's why.
Where is Rawls? I don't know what happened to Toussaint but at this point I'm not even irritated at Vincent Smith carries because it's not like Toussaint is consistently making yards past what the blocking gets him. Meanwhile, Rawls ends up watching, even when Michigan deep into Bellomy panic time and trying to run from under center.
I'm sure there's a reason they don't trust him yet; whatever it is it must be pretty bad. If you're down to running power from the I-form—and Michigan was—you might as well find out if your backup guy can break some tackles.
Defense: stepping towards elite. Nebraska entered the game averaging 512 yards and 42 points a game, leading the league in rushing yardage, pass efficiency, total yardage, and points per game. Michigan held the Cornhuskers to 326 yards and 23 points. Six of those points were field goal drives of two and five yards in length. Without turnovers, that's 17 points.
Relative to the quality of opponent, that's their best performance of the year by far and a major step away from criticisms that Michigan's defense hasn't actually stopped anyone. If the offense doesn't implode with Denard out those numbers are undoubtedly better, probably under 300 yards for the game for the Huskers.
Not relevant but worth it. This happened after Northwestern's win over Iowa:
Bo Cisek, walk-on DT and new internet legend
It speaks for itself except for the fact that guy's wearing #1.
Michigan + Nebraska == refereeing atrocity. The Roundtree catch that was overturned was one of those plays where it's not clear either way because of the goofy fuzzy catch rule and should be left to stand, and then you've got that terrible terrible late hit call and some terrible terrible pass interference calls both ways. This combination of teams is not good for ref sanity.
Cats! So hey like if you follow me on twitter I'm sort of sorry for retweeting like 30 cats into your timeline except not really. People started sending them to me, so clearly there was a need. Here is another cat if you are not satiated.
* As bad as we played, the first downs were close, 20-18 in favor of Nebraska. Of course, 6 of our first downs came from Nebraska penalties.
* Nebraska's 20 1st downs translated to 326 total yards, we managed 188 total yards. At least we were efficient with our first downs. Why get 20 or 30 yards when you only need 10?
* We won the TOP, 31:36 to 28:24. Yippee. We did control the clock early, and I was expecting that to pay off in the fourth quarter when we should have been able to grind down their defense, but then, you know, Denard got hurt.
Edit: I forgot the main silver lining, BELLOMY CAN AUDIBLE!
Yeah, what was with that?
Yeoman scans Massey, comes back with Michigan having a 30% shot at winning the division now. Let's go Spartans.
Blog stuff. Sap's decals hand out nothing to the offense. Nebraska fans are far too enthusiastic about snuffing Bellomy out. TTB. Maize and Go Blue. The M Block considers what happens next year at QB.
Duct tape. It's was held together with duct tape, hope, and rolling dice. And now the questions will come for the coaching staff, although any questions to Greg Mattison will likely consist of "Why can't you guys score too?" But we caught a glimpse of a future we will need to face all too soon, a future without Denard Robinson. That future consisted of three field goals total output on offense.
You watched the second half perhaps with some hope that Spring Game Bellomy would emerge but save for a few late first downs it wasn’t really even close. I swear I caught Jeremy Gallon staring off into space after the RS freshman was calling a pass play early in the second half and remember thinking, “Gallon knows this ain’t happening…”
Also, Denard's jacket was old school split M style now verboten.
Probably got it off Jon Falk's back.
Regular stuff. CRISIS ON INFINITE EARTHS. AGGRESSIVE DECISION TO FALL ON HIS ELBOW GENTLY COSTS DENARD ROBINSON. RUSSELL BELLOMY MAY NOT HAVE DONE TOO WELL. ROBINSON'S EXIT REVEALS THAT MICHIGAN IS NOT GOOD AT ANYTHING AND SHOULD PROBABLY JUST DIE. RUSSELL BELLOMY WAS NEVER GETTING PULLED.
Three Bellomy interceptions rushed the defense back onto the field and into quick-change situations. Nebraska started drives in Michigan territory, including one on the four-yard line. There’s a good excuse.
“No,” Kovacs said. “We take pride in that. Our motto is: ‘Spot the ball.’ It doesn’t matter where the ball’s at, just put the ball on the field and we’re going to go play defense and not let them get any yards.”
That's a Rodriguez-era phrase that remains as mysterious today as it was when it was introduced and probably should have gone in the bonfire with GERG's playbooks and stuffed beavers and hair. I guess that's appropriate for the reappearance of the 2008 offense. If someone says "hold the rope" any time soon I'm going to hide under the bed.
Michigan-Nebraska: The Sick Man of Europe
By HoldTheRope on Oct 29, 7:00a
The red balloons floated upward, little harbingers of doom dotting the night sky. I didn't know what to make of it, but it could not have been anything else but that. Or, maybe they were just balloons.
By HoldTheRope on Oct 29, 7:00a
/hides under bed
Predictorama. Everyone predicts Nebraska-Michigan:
- Athlon: M 31-27: "This matchup is relatively even, but a slight edge goes to Michigan. Taylor Martinez and his receivers will test the Wolverines’ secondary, but Nebraska’s defense will struggle to stop Denard Robinson. Expect Michigan’s defense to make one play late in the game that seals the victory for the Wolverines." [NO PRESSURE GREG]
- BWS: Martinez will complete more deep, downfield throws in this game than Michigan has allowed all season, but none of them go for touchdowns; they're heaves to wide receivers who can out-leap and out-muscle Michigan's corners. However, Michigan holds Nebraska to near 150 yards rushing. It's boom-or-bust for Nebraska's offense. Michigan finally gets a good kick/punt return. Nebraska rallies late but Michigan clutches to the win. Michigan 27 - Nebraska 24
- Maize and Brew: Ultimately I think both offenses find some success running the ball, but there are a lot of stalled drives that go 40-50 yards and end in that awkward no-mans-land between "why are you punting" and "why didn't you punt". How the teams approach these situations and who has the most luck on X-and-short will ultimately decide the game. When it comes to this, I like Michigan's odds. Michigan 30 - Nebraska 27
- Holdin' the Rope features Who Are You And Why Do You Care?: Prediction based on everything but football: Nebraska 21 - Michigan 17.
- M&GB: While Nebraska will score some points, Michigan’s offense should be able to move the ball with relative ease. The offensive line will get enough push against an overmatched front seven and pave the way for a big day on the ground. The ‘Huskers have done a good job this season of matching up with opposing receivers, so look for another big day from tight end Devin Funchess as well when Denard does need to pass. Michigan 42 – Nebraska 24. [ed: yow]
The MZone also has their Know Your Foe series featuring Nebraska mascots past:
I'm surprised the entire state isn't a raving insomniac mess after that business and Li'l Red.
All of us are Purdue. Don't ask me to explain.
I award Jerry Kill the Award for Most Walrus-Looking.
in the communnnity
hmmm. Post idea.
Ryan profile. Via Mike Rothstein comes an extended look at Ryan the Barbarian. In retrospect, this was obvious:
Jake noticed that several kids had stuffed animals they had won in an arcade game in the lobby. He put his arm up the drop portal -- the one the toys usually popped out of -- in an attempt to circumvent the system and grab a stuffed animal.
"The guy had to use the butter from the popcorn machine, rub all over his hands, way up there, to get it out," Susan said. "He was stuck up there for a while."
And thus began Michigan's unique strategy of scouting claw machines across the Midwest, offering anyone with their arm stuck up one.
Hyman profile. This from the Daily:
On the way back from Boston, with Boston University the clear leader in the clubhouse, the Hymans detoured to Ann Arbor for a stop.
It would be their last.
Zach and Spencer sat across from Red Berenson in the coach’s office, while Berenson laid out why they should be Wolverines. It didn’t take long.
“Ten minutes into Michigan, we had completely forgotten about every other school,” Spencer said. “It was over. Zach and I were sitting in the (Ross Academic Center) and we looked at each other and it was like, ‘Yeah, we’re going to Michigan.’ ”
Big test tonight for that surging fourth line.
Check on the blocking. Press conference regurgitating here but let's bring that out from behind a jump to confirm that, yeah, Joe Kerridge is in the process of Wally Pipping one Stephen Hopkins:
“I think Joe’s had a pretty daggone good stretch here," coach Brady Hoke said Wednesday. "He’s practiced well. You look at the iso’s and some of the things that he’s doing in practice, and then when he gets out there on the field. That’s a big part of it.”
Hopkins became the starting fullback midway through last season when then-starter John McColgan suffered an injury. He started every game at fullback until sustaining the hamstring injury before the UMass game in Week 3.
Now, it appears he's out of a job.
Brandon Moore isn't playing much after returning from injury either, but I don't think many people are surprised about that.
See no evil no longer works. The NCAA is set to adopt the long-in-the-making penalty revamp that will finally make head coaches responsible for their assistants breaking NCAA rules:
"It's a tougher penalty structure, there's no doubt about it," Southern California athletic director Pat Haden said in an interview conducted prior to USA TODAYSports' acquisition of the document. "The point is, for head coaches -- and this goes for any sport -- you have this responsibility. You need to be constantly vigilant and you need to be constantly coaching your coaches about how important it is to play by the rules." …
Head coaches can avoid penalties for violations committed by their staff if they can document vigilance about potential red flags. For example, the document states that a head coach should ask about how unofficial visits are paid for and advises head coaches to ask their assistants if they suspect a third party or handler is involved in the recruitment.
The rules are supposed to go into effect Tuesday; hopefully they'll have some impact. Always tough to tell.
Puck drop tonight. The CCHA's parting gift to Michigan starts this weekend as what might be the conference series of the year will see the Saturday game bereft since it's on at the same time Nebraska-Michigan is. The athletic department is selling half-price tickets to both games this weekend, which says something about where Yost attendance is when you can't even sell out a 7:35 Friday game against Miami.
Whether Yost is present or not, they'll drop the puck. MHN on the Redhawks:
Miami is led offensively by a strong group of underclassmen. Five of their top six scorers are a freshman and sophomores. Sophomores Blake Coleman (4-1-5 in 4gp), Austin Czarnik (2-3-5 in 4gp), and freshman Riley Barber (3-2-5 in 4gp) are all tied for the team scoring lead.
Like the Wolverines, the RedHawks welcome a pair of freshmen in the crease who have split playing time. Freshman Jay Williams is 2-0-0 with a 1.94 GAA and .915 save percentage. Fellow classmate Ryan McKay is 1-0-1 with a 0.48 GAA and .984 save percentage.
After two weekends in which the play on the ice was dominating against lower-level competition this is an acid test. Racine will get the start for M.
BONUS: The only word we'd had on Michigan's nonconference scheduling after the move to the Big Ten was something Red tossed off about having little desire to continue "so-called rivalries" against Miami and Notre Dame, which was disappointing. Red seems to have reversed his opinion somewhat, though:
Berenson said on Inside Michigan Hockey this week that Miami is interested in scheduling non-conference games after the CCHA disbands.
I'm guessing scheduling ND is out of the question after they ended the football series in the most dickish way possible.
I'm nervous that Michigan's going to run out 14 games against Bentley next year. Any indication they're not is welcome.
Meanwhile, here's my contractually obligated reminder that the Michigan schools and a guest—probably Bowling Green—should ditch the GLI for a State of Michigan Championship that would be awesome. The trophy could be a mitten the size of a man the winning captain has to put on. Yeah.
Squash. It was known at the time that Rick Pitino was theees close to becoming Michigan's basketball coach a while back when the Amaker hire was made, and good Lord what—
“The day that I committed to Louisville, I signed an agreement to be the next head coach of Michigan and I was fired up to be the coach at Michigan," Pitino said. "The athletic director at the time, who’s no longer there (Bill Martin), was playing squash and my wife came up, she just didn’t want me to go to the west coast, UNLV, and be away from the children. She agreed, okay let’s go to Michigan."
She eventually convinced him to change his mind, and due to one of Martin's squash matches, Pitino informed Michigan of his decision via voicemail.
"I tried to call the A.D. at Michigan between 12 and 1," he recalled. "I had a false name. I would give him a fake name and he would call me back. I couldn’t get a hold of him because he was playing squash. The secretary said he demands that he doesn’t get interrupted unless it’s an emergency and if you want you can leave a voicemail.
"I left a voicemail and went to Louisville and I’m really happy I did."
What qualifies as an emergency to Athletic Director Bill Martin?
- 50% off sale at Squash Unlimited
- Opportunity to hire nice man who wears turtlenecks but has no coaching acumen
- Molasses explosion
- 30% off sale at Squash Unlimited
- Member of immediate family diagnosed with rickets or beri-beri, ONLY rickets or beri-beri don't come to me with any of this scurvy business eat an orange for crissakes
- 1975 America's Cup highlights VHS arrives via Pony Express
- Champagne reaches 56.7 degrees
- Anything at all not related to the most important part of his job
People in charge of things are just in charge of them. There is not necessarily a reason.
Lewan draft stock. Doing okay you guys:
Michigan's Taylor Lewan matched the physical challenge presented by hated in-state rival Michigan State and their 6-6, 278 pound defensive end William Gholston. … Just as Lewan did in 2011, the Michigan left tackle controlled Gholston, demonstrating enough lateral agility and balance in his kick-slide to maintain the edge and the great length and strength to lock up his opponent. Gholston lacks the explosive burst to give Lewan a stiff challenge in pass protection but the Spartans also sent smaller, quicker pass rushers against Lewan, including linebackers on the blitz. Having only played on the offensive line since his senior season of high school, Lewan demonstrated the improvement in pass protection scouts are hoping to see from him to warrant the frequent comparisons he's gained to former Wolverine star Jake Long.
Lewan has specifically improved in his patience as a pass blocker, recognizing spin movies and sliding laterally rather than lunging. As he has throughout much of his career, Lewan was also consistently able to knock defenders off the ball in the running game. Despite his height, the 6-7, 310 pound Lewan played with good pad level, winning the battle of leverage against Gholston and other MSU defenders.
Let's hope he stays anyway.
Etc.: Quinton Washington picture pages WSG Campbell, Roh, and Floyd. John Beilein will live forever. John Beilein says things to media members. Downing, Motte, and Compher feature in USHL prospects article. How do improve NCAA rule enforcement: outsource it. How Northwestern busted the 80 yard Venric Mark TD. Denard Robinson's mechanics. Injuries hit Horford (apparently minor) and McGary (minor, still recovering).
Formation notes: Michigan is doing a thing where they have a nickel package in and go with a five-man line and one guy behind it:
The guy on the line at the top of the screen is Avery, in man on the slot guy, so he is not, you know, a lineman. That is denoted 5-1 nickel. A full okie package would also put that LB on the LOS.
Michigan was mostly in the under. This is what happens when the under faced off with a 3-wide formation:
Ryan flared out over the slot and Michigan usually walked one of their safeties down. I still called this a 4-3 under, FWIW.
Substitution notes: Secondary same as it always is until Taylor went out, whereupon Avery moved over to the second corner spot and Jarrod Wilson was the nickelback—in that situation they would move Gordon down over the slot and use Wilson as a safety. This happened once, IIRC.
Linebackers same as they usually are. No freshmen in this one, though, all Morgan/Demens/Ryan. Cam Gordon also was left out of the lineup.
There was some rotation on the line. Black and Pipkins saw some DT snaps, with Black getting both some regular duty and his usual nickel appearances. Heitzman saw a few snaps spotting Roh, and Clark and Beyer rotated regularly. Ojemudia did not appear.
The defense is pretty much settled at this point. The only spot at which there is any debate is WDE, which looks like a Beyer/Clark run/pass platoon until one of them (or Ojemudia) emerges. The other ten spots—eleven if you count nickelback—have rock-solid starters.
|Ln||Dn||Ds||O Form||D Form||Type||Rush||Play||Player||Yards|
|O44||1||10||I-Form 3-wide||4-3 under||Run||N/A||Pitch sweep||Roh||1|
|W/ a slot receiver Ryan is flared out, not on the LOS as he would be against a TE. Roh(+2) beats a crackdown block from a WR who has motioned in and starts flowing down the line. Ryan also beats his block, though not as quickly or authoritatively as Roh. Taylor(+0.5) contains; Gordon(+0.5) beats a cut block and flows to the hole with Demens(+0.5), where those two, Roh, and Ryan gang-tackle.|
|O45||2||9||I-Form 3-wide||4-3 under||Pass||4||Hitch||Taylor||5|
|Ryan comes down late, showing blitz with one high behind it. MSU throws a dink hitch in front of Taylor(+0.5, tackling +1), who makes contact before Burbridge can turn it upfield; Morgan comes over to prevent anyone from falling forward.|
|50||3||4||Shotgun 4-wide||Nickel even||Penalty||N/A||False start||N/A||-5|
|New LT moves early... probably should have been called on M as it looks like Roh entering the neutral zone causes it. Refs +1.|
|O45||3||9||Shotgun 4-wide||Nickel even||Pass||4||Out||Morgan||5|
|Ryan(+1, pressure +1) beats the LT and forces a throw. It's an out short of the sticks that Morgan(+1, cover +1, tackling +1) is out on; looks like they were trying to pick off Taylor and get the corner here but Morgan's all over the circle route from Burbridge. Morgan slings him to the ground with ease.|
|Drive Notes: Punt, 0-0, 12 min 1st Q|
|Ln||Dn||Ds||O Form||D Form||Type||Rush||Play||Player||Yards|
|Maxwell has more time here (pressure -1) to find someone but dumps it down to Bell anyway. Coverage(+2) was good downfield as three MSU guys are blanketed. Ryan(+0.5 tackling +1) comes up to force Bell out of bounds after a minimal gain.|
|O35||2||8||I-Form 3-wide||4-4 under||Run||N/A||Power off tackle||Roh||2|
|Roh(+1) is left unblocked temporarily. He takes on a fullback inside, then disengages to pop the pulling G. Washington(+0.5) has split a double but that's more MSU derp than anything since both guys peel off to do other things, one of them bizarrely. No holes in the center. Ryan(+1) beats another WR block and pops up on the LOS outside of Roh; he tackles(+1).|
|O37||3||6||Shotgun 2-back||5-1 nickel||Pass||3||Wheel||Demens||Inc|
|Demens and Ryan flanking three down linemen with Morgan behind them. Morgan pokes his nose in as if he will blitz; Kovacs comes down; both back out. Michigan only sends the interior guys; both LBs are looking to deal with backs out of the backfield. Caper delays as if to pass block, then goes on a wheel that Demens(+1, cover +1) is able to cover, basically. Despite epic time (pressure -1, three man rush) no one pops open and Maxwell's attempt to hit the wheel is well long. Black(+0.5) did force a flush, FWIW. Everything other than the wheel was covered(+1), FWIW.|
|Drive Notes: Punt, 0-0, 9 min 1st Q|
|Ln||Dn||Ds||O Form||D Form||Type||Rush||Play||Player||Yards|
|O20||1||10||I-Form Big||4-3 under||Run||N/A||Power off tackle||Roh||6|
|They motion a TE and then run away from it. Roh(-2) gets blown out by a double. He lets one guy through and gets shoved as he tries to spin out of his mess to no avail. His attempt to rescue it makes things worse and prevents Washington(+0.5) closing down the hole and Demens(+0.5) popping the lead guard in said hole to matter. Roh's just all out of position and despite everyone else playing it right there's a gap Bell can hit for a few yards before the world converges.|
|O26||2||4||I-Form||4-3 under||Penalty||N/A||Illegal sub||N/A||-5|
|lol cant count lol|
|O21||2||9||Ace 3-wide||4-3 under||Pass||4||Hitch||Floyd||7|
|Same quick hitch. Floyd(-0.5) is a yard or two off and would probably give up the first if Burbridge was more decisive after the catch; he delays and Floyd and Ryan combine to tackle for minimal YAC. No pressure opportunity, cover push.|
|O28||3||2||Shotgun 4-wide||4-3 under||Pass||4||Hitch||Floyd||8|
|Ryan flies down from the edge to blitz, LT biffs, Ryan gets a free run at Maxwell's blind side (pressure +2); Floyd(-1, cover -1) is way off a meh route and gives up a first down completion. Easy.|
|O36||1||10||I-Form twins||4-3 even||Run||N/A||Power off tackle||Morgan||3|
|This is not aligned well from M as they are in an even front with Kovacs overhanging and this looks pretty good for State running at the weak side of the M line without a shift on. Morgan(+2) screams downhill, takes on a free releasing tackle, sheds, comes inside, forces the G outside, makes Bell stop in the hole, and then gets buried. Ryan has come from the slot and Campbell has come through a double thanks to the delay and Bell can only pick up a few. RPS -1; heroic effort from Morgan required to prevent something big. Kovacs(+0.5) helped cut the hole down.|
|O39||2||7||Shotgun trips TE||4-3 even||Run||N/A||Counter||Beyer||2|
|Beyer(+1) beats a TE trying to kick him inside, absorbing the pulling G; Bell decides to go outside. Floyd(+1, tackling +1) fills well, making contact at the LOS and getting Bell to the ground with help from Morgan, who'd had a free flow and is just helping on the bounce so no soup for him. Campbell(-1) got blown up badly on the backside FWIW.|
|O41||3||5||Shotgun trips||Okie one||Pass||5||Fly||Floyd||Inc|
|Michigan shows press with a single high safety, sends five. MSU tests it. Blitz picked up (pressure -1). Floyd(+1) is in decent coverage, but has given up a step or two. Throw is on the money, Burbridge juggles it, and I think Floyd takes the opportunity to whack it out but I can't quite tell with the torrent quality. A bit fortunate, results based charting, was there to futz with the guy's arm, kinda PBU.|
|Drive Notes: Punt, 0-0, EO1Q|
|Ln||Dn||Ds||O Form||D Form||Type||Rush||Play||Player||Yards|
|O25||1||10||Ace twins||4-3 under||Pass||5||Sack||Ryan||-10|
|Ryan(+3, pressure +3) beats Bell as he blitzes up the edge, delivering a thunder-sack. Washington(+1) and Roh(+1) had also beaten blockers and arrive to confirm the kill.|
|O15||2||20||Shotgun 2-back||4-3 even||Pass||4||Fly||Gordon||45|
|Roh(+2, pressure +2) beats the RT around the corner and seems to be held. Maybe enough for a call, maybe not. It slows him down just enough for Maxwell to launch a deep middle of the field fly route as MSU just went three verts against Michigan's coverage. Gordon(-2, cover +1) is step for step, never locates the ball, gets recepted upon, tackles, sad.|
|Inside zone fake to an end around to Burbridge. MSU trying to pull their C, who never gets there. Black(+0.5) may have helped that but mostly incompetence, I'd wager. Floyd(-1, tackling -1) is unblocked as a result and fills behind the LOS at the numbers; Burbridge flings him to the ground and gets some yards before Morgan(+0.5) cleans up after a few.|
|M37||2||7||I-Form Big||4-4 under||Run||N/A||Power off tackle||Morgan||4|
|Kovacs shows man on a TE that goes in motion and is a straight up ninth guy in the box with Gordon also hanging out in there. M pinching down from both ends. Black pops out into a TE, which means a tackle releases but has no angle on Morgan. Heitzman(+0.5) is trying to spill the thing by getting into a lead blocker and jamming up the pulling G. He does an eh job but does delay the puller. Morgan(+0.5) gets into him at the line well. Demens(-1) got caught in the wash after not reading the play. Actually a surprise when this happens now. He's not there when Morgan funnels. Black(+0.5) has spun off a block and come back to help tackle even without the linebacker getting involved; Gordon and Morgan help.|
|M33||3||3||Shotgun 4-wide||3-3-5 nickel||Run||N/A||Quick pitch||Kovacs||3|
|M blitzing and looks like they might get caught but it's sound behind the rushers. Roh shoots inside the guy blocking him extremely fast; he slightly delays the quick trap block outside. Demens can flow free as a result; Kovacs is a free hitter but has to come around Taylor backing off trying to cover the outside WR. Those guys get there to tackle; Bell squeezes out the first down. Um. They can't prevent the conversion but usually three yard runs are a little positive. Half points for Roh and Kovacs.|
|M30||1||10||Shotgun 3||4-3 even||Run||N/A||Power||Pipkins||8|
|Bell's longest run of the day. Pipkins(-2) momentarily doubled until he's shoved out of the hole and pancaked. Roh(+0.5) and Campbell(+0.5) actually do a good job to fight to the now-gaping hole and get in slowing arm-tackle attempts. Morgan is in tough after the G released immediately. He's held a bit—arms outside the shoulder pads by the OL—and can't really disengage to tackle. Floyd(-1, tackling -1) comes in since his WR slanted and kind of flings himself at Bell without using his arms or bringing his feet. Textbook tackling technique... IN HELL. M recovers thanks to the triple slowdown and tackles. Refs -0.5.|
|M22||2||2||I-Form Big||4-4 under||Run||N/A||Power off tackle||Morgan||1|
|Same bit with the other I form big on this drive, but to the other side. Roh(+1) drives outside, disengaging to pick off a lead blocker and getting his 2for1. Gordon(-1) blows that by continuing to head outside and not reacting to what's in front of him. Morgan(+2) is now the next guy inside. He bangs McDonald at the LOS and drives him back, then disengages to grab Bell with an arm... and Bell slows. Wow. I expected him to blow right through this but he's suddenly in molasses, allowing Campbell(+0.5) and Beyer(+0.5) to converge and set up third down.|
|M31||3||1||I-Form||4-4 under||Run||N/A||Inside zone||Ryan||0|
|Roh(+1) and Ryan(+1) shoot under their blocks on the snap, forcing a very slight cutback from Bell. Bell trips over Ryan's guy; Gordon(+1) and Demens(+1) are screaming down behind the slant and put Bell to the ground at the LOS. RPS +2, slant FTW. Inspired a Hokepoints.|
|Drive Notes: Missed FG(38), 5 min 2nd Q.|
|Ln||Dn||Ds||O Form||D Form||Type||Rush||Play||Player||Yards|
|M44||1||10||I-Form 3-wide||4-3 even||Pass||4||Fly||Floyd||Inc|
|Floyd(-1, cover -1) is beat over the top on this, but it's long. No pressure but this is max pro and the ball is out pretty quickly.|
|M44||2||10||Shotgun 3-wide||Okie one||Pass||5||Fade||Taylor||Inc|
|Super aggressive look from with seven guys on the line; two back out into shorter zones. Taylor(+1, cover +1) forces the WR out of bounds as he tries to release upfield on a fade. Kovacs(+0.5) had shoved a RB back and come off underneath to force a throw (pressure +1), which is OOB and may just be a throwaway. Gordon(+0.5) was over the top.|
|M44||3||10||Shotgun empty||Nickel even||Pass||4||Out||Clark||7|
|Stunt gets Clark(+1, pressure +2) in basically clean as Roh(+1) takes the LG way upfield and there's no chance the tackle can do anything with Clark plunging inside. Maxwell has to dump it short of the sticks where Avery(+1, tackling +1) is there to force the punt.|
|Drive Notes: Punt, 3-0, 2 min 2nd Q|
|Ln||Dn||Ds||O Form||D Form||Type||Rush||Play||Player||Yards|
|O25||1||10||Shotgun 3-wide||4-3 even||Pass||4||Flare||Ryan||3|
|A called dink pass as the RT just cuts Roh and the guys on the playside are blocking from the start. Ryan(+2) pops his blocker, comes around him really fast, and eventually forces Bell OOB for minimal yardage.|
|O28||2||7||Shotgun 3-wide||5-1 nickel||Pass||5||Hitch||Taylor||6|
|M sends a blitz that looks like it gets picked up and another dink pass to the flats is fired. Burbridge again hesitates as he turns it up and makes a probable first down into third and short. Taylor(+0.5, tackling +1), I guess.|
|Roh(+0.5) gets under the LT and gets some movement back but not quite enough to take out the pulling G. Ryan(+1) takes on a FB kickout block, chucks the guy past him, and tackles Bell a yard in the backfield. Demens popped the G at the LOS but tries to spin off of it and gives up just a tiny bit of ground, allowing Bell to eke out the first.|
|O35||1||10||Shotgun 3-wide||Nickel even||Pass||4||Slant||Floyd||Inc|
|Floyd(+1, cover +1) is there to bang on the catch and separate Burbridge from the ball. Still could have caught it if the throw was a bit better, so no +2.|
|O35||2||10||Shotgun 3-wide||Nickel even||Pass||4||Fly||Floyd||Inc|
|Roh(+1, pressure +2) stunts around Black and comes through when one of the OL moves to Black and no one pops out on him. Ryan(+0.5) has beat the RT around the corner and threatens to sack, Maxwell must throw. He chucks it deep at Floyd(+2, cover +2), who is step for step with Burbridge and gets a PBU.|
|O35||3||10||Shotgun 3-wide||Okie two||Pass||4||Hitch||Taylor||7|
|Maxwell takes a hitch before the pressure can get there; Taylor(+0.5) escorts the guy OOB before the sticks.|
|Drive Notes: Punt, 6-0, EO1H|
|Ln||Dn||Ds||O Form||D Form||Type||Rush||Play||Player||Yards|
|O20||1||10||I-Form twins||4-3 over||Run||N/A||Iso||Morgan||5|
|Washington(-0.5) gives some ground, allowing Bell time to pick a gap backside or straight up the gut. Morgan(-1) gets cut to the ground by the FB. Campbell(+0.5) comes through his block and initiates the tackle once Bell picks; Morgan is there to grab legs; pile lurches forward.|
|O25||2||5||Ace twins||4-3 over||Pass||4||WR screen||Gordon||5|
|Michigan pretty well prepared for this as Gordon(-1, tackling -1) breaks down at the LOS after the catch. Unfortunately he overran it and the WR can move inside of him for a decent gain.|
|O30||1||10||I-Form||4-3 under||Pass||6||Deep slant||Kovacs||19|
|Michigan with a double A gap blitz of their own right into iso play action. Kovacs(-2, cover -2) sucks up an unreasonably large distance and never starts dropping back into a middle of the field robber zone that seems to be his assignment since Taylor lined up with outside leverage and seemed to expect interior help that was never there. RPS -1.|
|O49||1||10||I-Form 3-wide||4-3 under||Run||N/A||End-around||Kovacs||14|
|Beyer doesn't see this coming and lets the edge guy go. Kovacs(-2) is not prepared, either, and gets blindsided by the WR cracking down. Worse, he gets shoved upfield and Burbridge can get a shove on Morgan when he tries to flow out. Taylor(-1) doesn't read this until way late and can't contain so there's an alley between him and Morgan. RPS –1.|
|M37||1||10||I-Form twins||4-3 under||Pass||5||Out||Taylor||12|
|Both backs stay in, three guys in the route. This is essentially a pick route, with Burbridge going straight upfield and Mumphery cutting out near the sticks and using Burbridge as a screen.. Taylor(-1, cover -1) got beat by that.|
|M25||1||10||Ace twin TE||4-3 under||Run||N/A||Inside zone||Demens||2|
|Gordon rolls up to the LOS. M slants away from the play; Gordon(-1) gets cut by the H-back. His inability to stay up allows Bell to leap over that block away from all the people; Demens(+1) flowed behind the slant quickly, took on a TE trying to peel off onto him, kept his feet, and grabbed Bell at the LOS. Morgan(+1) is also flowing behind, cognizant of the slant, and gets from the backside to Bell, finishing the tackle(+1). Pipkins(+0.5) made it impossible for anyone to get out on Morgan, BTW.|
|M23||2||8||I-Form 3-wide||4-3 under||Pass||4||Hitch||Floyd||7|
|Quick hit in front of Floyd(-0.5), who's a long way off this time. Throw is marginal and takes Burbridge off his feet, so no YAC.|
|M16||3||1||I-Form Big||4-4 under||Run||N/A||Power||Campbell||4|
|Campbell(-1) gets blown back by a double; Washington(-2) is turned and pancaked when he is engaged with the C and takes one shove from the RG. Morgan(+1) nails the two lead blockers in the backfield, which could lead to another stop but the DT dissolution provides a cutback lane for an easy conversion. Bell has to slow down to get around all this traffic, giving various folks time to converge.|
|M12||1||10||I-Form Big||4-4 under||Run||N/A||Trickeration scramble||Ryan||10|
|The reverse throwback play. Gordon(+1, cover +1, RPS +1) has the throwback to the QB covered; Kovacs is shooting directly at the WR trying to throw when he gets blocked... almost in the back. But not quite. His momentum's off now and the WR dodges him. Ryan(-2) has the next shot and overruns it badly; Roh was coming from the edge and got blocked past the play. Now he's all running in a chaotic broken field and gets down to the one.|
|M2||1||G||Goal line||Goal line||Pass||N/A||PA TE corner||Morgan||2|
|Morgan(-1, cover -1, RPS -1) sucks up on the play action, open guy, TD.|
|Drive Notes: Touchdown, 6-7, 7 min 3rd Q|
|Ln||Dn||Ds||O Form||D Form||Type||Rush||Play||Player||Yards|
|O20||1||10||Ace twins||4-3 even||Run||N/A||Inside zone||Washington||1|
|Washington(+1) stands up McDonald; the play is going away from the H-back, who hits a backside gap Morgan is not in. Morgan gets a free flow as a result. Bell decides to run away from that; Washington sheds. That's a TFL but Bell bounces it outside. Roh(+0.5) disengages from the tackle to chase. Floyd(+1, tackling +1) charges up and chops Bell down at the ankles, preventing any YAC.|
|O21||2||9||Shotgun 2-back||4-3 even||Pass||N/A||Screen||Ryan||7|
|A pretty much normal screen with a flare fake to Bell and then Caper slipping out on the other side. Entire DL sucks up with no pursuit except Campbell. Roh(-0.5) and Washington(-0.5) go for the QB and eliminated themselves. Caper now has three blockers in a lot of space. One peels off for Campbell. A second goes for Demens. A third takes Ryan. Ryan(+2) does what he does, which is look like he's going outside and then redirect under a slower player to show up after he cuts upfield. He keeps leverage AND makes the tackle. Boom. Tackling +1; RPS -1. Took a badass play from Ryan to prevent this from being big.|
|O28||3||2||Shotgun twins TE||4-3 under||Pass||4||Throwaway||N/A||Inc|
|Bell motions out for a trips TE look. They roll to the trips. Maxwell biffs here; Taylor(-1, cover -1)) bugs out deep on a guy who is covered deeper and leaves Bell open; Maxwell hesitates, starts rolling further outside the pocket, and chucks it OOB. Had Bell for the first. I guess Beyer(+0.5) gets some credit for holding the edge and getting up in his face.|
|Drive Notes: Punt, 6-7, 4 min 3rd Q|
|Ln||Dn||Ds||O Form||D Form||Type||Rush||Play||Player||Yards|
|O48||1||10||Ace twins||4-3 even||Run||N/A||Inside zone||Pipkins||3|
|Pipkins(-1) gets blown out by a double. Black(+1) and Roh(+1) are single blocked and both take their guys into the space vacated by Washington, closing off the hole before Bell can reach it. Bell stops. He can bounce to the outside because Roh crashed to cut off the hole and Pipkins got blown downfield so the linebackers can't flow. Demens again eats two OL.|
|M49||2||7||I-Form 3-wide||4-3 under press||Pass||5||Hitch||Taylor||3|
|Always going to be a nothing pass as all the routes are hitches against man. Taylor(+1, cover +1) is there to tackle on a three yard catch. Ryan(+0.5) avoided a cut and harassed.|
|M46||3||4||Ace||Nickel even||Pass||4||TE Dig||Black||INT|
|Clark(+0.5) gets a little bit of pressure from the edge, causing Maxwell to step up in the pocket a bit. Black(+0.5, pressure +1) is now leaping at Maxwell as he tries to throw. Avery(+1, cover +1) is in the TE's back pocket here and has a play on almost any well-thrown ball. The ball sails to Tacopants, and eventually falls to Kovacs(+1), who makes the INT.|
|Drive Notes: Interception, 6-7, 2 min 3rd Q|
|Ln||Dn||Ds||O Form||D Form||Type||Rush||Play||Player||Yards|
|O9||1||10||I-Form Big||4-4 under||Run||N/A||Inside zone||Campbell||1|
|Campbell(+2) blasts McDonald back one on one and forces a Bell cutback. Washington has given ground but took two blockers, push. Demens(+0.5) is free and sees the cutback; he tackles in the hole.|
|O10||2||9||Shotgun 3-wide||Nickel even||Run||N/A||Power||Beyer||2|
|Gordon comes down late for a seventh man in the box as M goes man free on the back end. Beyer(+1) knows he's got help outside and fights inside a kickout. Roh(-1) got blown up by a double as a DT, but that'll happen. Beyer rakes the ball out; Morgan(+0.5) and Demens(+0.5) had constricted available space to likely make this a third and medium anyway. MSU somehow recovers.|
|O12||3||7||Shotgun 3-wide||5-1 nickel||Pass||5||Slant||Taylor||10|
|Avery comes down of the slot and blitzes. Maxwell picks the outside slant correctly and hits it. Taylor(-1) came up hard but to the inside, apparently expecting short hitch #1000. RPS -1, Pressure -1... this got picked up.|
|O22||1||10||I-Form twins||4-3 over||Pass||4||Dumpoff||Ryan||Inc|
|Time is good for MSU; Campbell does come under a guy and start moving into the pocket with Clark also arriving (pressure -1) to make it not horrible. Coverage(+2) is excellent downfield, Maxwell checks down to a fullback who drops the ball. He was getting nowhere anyway as Ryan(+0.5) and Demens(+0.5) were about to crush this.|
|O22||2||10||I-Form 3-wide||Nickel even||Run||N/A||Power||Ryan||1|
|Ryan(+1) looks to take on a kickout, pops upfield of it, and falls over as he beats the block, grabbing Bell's leg as he does so. Demens(+1) clubs the pulling G at the LOS and stand him up; Black(+0.5) comes from the backside to wrap up after Bell finally steps through the arm tackle attempt.|
|O23||3||9||Shotgun 2-back||5-1 nickel press||Pass||5||Slant||Floyd||Inc|
|Mumphery against Floyd on the slant; Floyd(+2, cover +1) does give up the inside a bit but rides him and is in position to make a play on the ball as it arrives. Meh throw; didn't really matter.|
|Drive Notes: FAKE punt, 9-7, 10 min 4th Q|
|Ln||Dn||Ds||O Form||D Form||Type||Rush||Play||Player||Yards|
|O49||1||10||I-Form 3-wide||4-3 under press||Pass||5||Fly||Floyd||Inc|
|Burbridge has exactly one step on Floyd(+0.5, cover +1) and this throw would have to be perfect. It's long.|
|O49||2||10||Shotgun trips TE||Nickel even||Pass||4||Slant||Taylor||12|
|M shows man. Taylor(-2, cover -1, tackling -1) takes a crappy angle to the slant and ends up upfield of the WR; his off balance tackle attempt is run through. That is baaaad. Gordon(+1) is there to clean up, thankfully, making a solid tackle that prevents anything big from going down.|
|M39||1||10||I-Form Big||4-4 under||Run||N/A||Power||Beyer||5|
|Beyer(-1) in at SDE and the difference between him and Roh is noticeable. He gets blown off the ball by a double; LBs blocked by the TE and pulling G as FB kicks Ryan. Demens funnels; Morgan takes on a block, folks tackle after five. Basically standard stuff once you've lost that double at the POA.|
|M34||2||5||I-Form Big||4-4 under||Run||N/A||Power||Campbell||4|
|At the other side of the line. Campbell(-0.5) gets creased a little bit. Heitzman(-1) runs straight upfield past the kickout so the gap is pretty big. LBs take on blockers as well as they can but Bell is just running up the backs of his OL and can push the pile.|
|M30||3||1||I-Form Big||4-4 under||Run||N/A||Power||Roh||2|
|M slants playside. Roh(+1) gets under the guard and drives in to the backside of the play, forcing a cutback behind him. Ryan(+0.5) is there in that gap to stall that initial cutback. Demens comes up to start pushing; Bell manages to find a tiny crease and pushes through it.|
|M28||1||10||I-Form Big||4-4 under||Run||N/A||Pitch sweep||Kovacs||2|
|Quick pitch with a motioning TE blocking down as the tackle pulls around him Kovacs(+2) is initially hesitant as he follows the TE motion since he's in man on the guy, then realizes it's a run and attacks outside. WR cracks down on Demens. Ryan(-1) tries to shoot upfield of the pulling T and gets shoved past the play, the T is delayed but continues his pull, dangerous. Floyd(+1) is trying to contain against two guys now. He avoids a cut and spins outside; Kovacs(tackling +1) screams through the gap between the two OL that Floyd helped create by not going down to the cut and needing another blocker to deal with him; he's charging fast but manages to hang on and tackles; everyone's falling forward but whatever, great play.|
|M26||2||8||I-Form Big||4-4 under||Pass||5||Corner||Taylor||14 + 6 Pen|
|Maxwell has to throw as Ryan(+1, pressure +1) is shedding a blocker and about to hit him. Campbell(-1) is also coming from behind after dodging a blocker with agility(!) and would get a plus… if he didn't rough the passer after Maxwell dumps it. Alas. The corner route is to a blanketed receiver; Taylor's got the coverage. He wraps his arm around the guy and gets a penalty call, but he's also in great position. This throw has to be inch perfect and a great catch; it's both. Taylor(-1, cover +1) gets a minus for a legit PI call but he was in the right spot to make a play, which is what coverage attempts to measure. Taylor goes out on this play. Avery replaces him.|
|M6||1||G||I-Form Big||4-4 under||Pass||5||PA TE delay||Gordon||Inc|
|Ryan(+1, pressure +1) beats the RT and hits Maxwell either as or just after he throws. Beyer(+0.5) and Washington(+0.5) also surge up in the pocket, demanding a throw. That throw is a highly delayed pass to the TE that Gordon(+2, cover +2) is waiting for and PBUs.|
|M6||2||G||Ace twins||4-4 under press||Run||N/A||Power||Demens||2|
|TE kicks Ryan; Beyer(+0.5) slants inside the tackle, which makes the tackle hesitate. Demens(+1) plugs the pulling G at the LOS; Morgan(+0.5) is there as Demens funnels to him, many people stop Bell's momentum.|
|M4||3||G||I-Form Big||Goal line||Run||N/A||Inside zone||Floyd||2|
|They motion a TE to Floyd's side and run at him. Floyd(+1) fights outside the block. Morgan(+1) is flowing hard at the play and Bell has no choice but to try and run up the back of the blocker; Floyd and Morgan tackle(+1). Kovacs(+1) shot a gap that made the outside the only possible place to go BTW.|
|Drive Notes: FG(19), 9-10, 5 min 4th Q|
|Ln||Dn||Ds||O Form||D Form||Type||Rush||Play||Player||Yards|
|O9||1||10||I-Form Big||4-4 under||Run||N/A||Outside trap||Campbell||0|
|MSU trying to get a quick trap block on Campbell(+2) by blocking down with the tackle, bringing the G around him, and hitting the bubble between Campbell and Roh. Campbell blows through the down block and gets into the trapper. Roh(+0.5) has contain. Gordon and Morgan are both in the hole against one blocker; Bell tries to cut back and hits the guy blocking Campbell. Beyer(+0.5) avoided a cut and flows down the line to tackle.|
|O9||2||10||I-Form||4-4 under||Pass||4||PA slant||Floyd||Inc|
|Two man route. Primary is a slant Floyd(+1, cover +1) is in excellent position on; Gordon(+1) is rolled up in the box but drops off in time to make a delayed throw a bad idea. WR tries to break back outside, stil covered by Floyd(+1, cover +1) and the ball sails wide. Pressure -1, all day but two man route.|
|O9||3||10||Shotgun trips||3-3-5 nickel||Pass||3||Screen||Morgan||4|
|Morgan(+1) gets outside of the lone OL blocker already out and forces the play back into Ryan(+1) who showed blitz and backed out. Ryan tackles after a meh gain, punching the ball out, MSU gets it back. RPS +2, screen in to three man rush had no chance.|
|Drive Notes: Punt, 9-10, 2 min 4th Q|
I'm already bored with this.
Not enough points. This isn't boringsball. It's football.
You can't be serious.
Whatever happened to games that ended with 70 points being scored?
You mean like last year's OSU game?
You liked giving up 34 points to Jim Bollman.
I wasn't… oh fine.
|Roh||14.5||3.5||11.5||Field day against backup freshman tackle.|
|Campbell||5.5||3.5||2||Big play on final drive.|
|Washington||3.5||3||0.5||Mostly eating doubles on power.|
|Beyer||4.5||1||3.5||Beyer surges into tentative WDE lead on run heavy day.|
|Pipkins||0.5||3||-2.5||Blown up once.|
|TOTAL||34||15||19||Little bit of dropoff from Illinois but not much.|
|Morgan||9||2||7||Remember the athleticism worries with him?|
|Demens||7.5||1||6.5||Four straight +++ games.|
|Ryan||17.5||3||14.5||I AM THE ONE WHO KNOCKS|
|Floyd||12.5||5||7.5||Recovered from meh start to have damn fine day.|
|Avery||2||-||2||May have contributed to INT.|
|Taylor||4||7||-3||Missed a couple slants; MSU switched to targeting him late.|
|Kovacs||5||4||1||Did biff a robber zone, also had awesome Kovacsplay.|
|T. Gordon||7||5||2||Gave up the big one.|
|TOTAL||30.5||21||9.5||As a whole, a pass.|
|Pressure||16||6||10||Even the deep throws were like one two three chuck.|
|Coverage||22||8||14||Maxwell helped here with some indecision.|
|Tackling||12||4||75%||Bell didn't plow anyone.|
This has been an interesting experience since every week I look at the numbers I've collected and then think to myself "oh crap those are too high" and then go check the boxscore and think "actually…"
This week's "Actually"…
- Maxwell averaged a Sheridan-like 5.6 YPC and threw an INT.
- MSU averaged 3.3 YPC once sacks and the fake punt are removed; Bell ran for 2.6 YPC.
- The sole play longer than 20 yards was the bomb to Fowler on which Gordon was in position and neither found the ball nor played the man.
- Michigan forced two fumbles that MSU was fortunate to recover.
- MSU scored 10 points on 12 drives.
So, yeah. The DL numbers are down a bit except for Roh, who didn't do much on the scoresheet but as Ace mentioned on the podcast is becoming a guy running backs cut behind into their doom three times a game. He had a super-easy matchup against MSU's 6'3" backup LT and exploited that to his credit. He is really tough to seal.
I can't be the only guy who saw that first playcall and had flashbacks to last year. Well, Roh is a ton better at not getting put away by WRs (and BJ Cunningham isn't walking through that door) this year and he strings the play out until the cavalry rallies.
Ryan… par for the course. Also both ILBs have shed that early-season hesitation and the pesky freshmen.
As for JT Floyd…
AAAAAH JT FLOYD AAAAAH
Let's talk Floyd. He started off poorly, getting flung to the ground by Burbridge and beaten deep by him—on an incompletion—en route to being –3-ish, and then he ate some spinach. MSU kept going after him with slants
and deep stuff
and this isn't really going after him but this is a nice fill and tackle.
and then they started throwing at Raymon Taylor. Floyd went from targeted weak point to guy Michigan State is avoiding over the course of a quarter or so. It is really rare for a DB to rack up the kind of numbers Floyd does because the kind of guys capable of racking up a +12.5 to the positive at corner never get the opportunity because they don't get thrown at. You can only get there if the opposing offensive coordinator thinks you suck. Floyd proved otherwise against a hyped athlete.
Have the freshmen linebackers been vanquished for good?
Ah yup. As long as Morgan and Demens are playing like they are, it's wait until next year for those guys aside from a few drives a game against not Nebraska or Ohio State where Michigan tries to get them some experience. Last week it was Demens turning in the highlight reel stuff; this time Morgan led the way with a series of you're-done-now tackles. This one on Bell was the best:
Morgan is taking on a block and can only reach out for an arm tackle against LeVeon Bell going north and south, and Bell's momentum evaporates. The delay lets Michigan rally to the ball, sets up a third and short—against which Michigan is still deadly—and on the next play Roh and Ryan slant under to boot State off the field. A missed field goal attempt follows. In a game of inches like this one, you can point to Morgan being able to just about stop a 250-pound mooseback like Bell with one arm as the difference in the game.
That hesitation this site complained about for about a year solid seems gone. Here's Morgan coming from the backside of the play to make a tackle near the LOS:
I'm not sure this happens a few weeks ago. For one, the line has kept the LBs clean. For two, both of the LBs are biasing their motion away from Michigan's DL slant, which is not something they were doing early in the year. Morgan seems to have a better sense of where the ball is going to end up based on the defensive call, and more faith that his defensive line will execute the slant well enough to make the cutback lanes he's hesitated checking for a distant possibility.
With apologies to Wisconsin and Penn State, we may have just seen the two best LB units in the league go head to head. You can make the case, at least, and that's good enough in terms of hot sprotstakes with no definable metric.
Have the last vapors of GERG been chased away?
I think so. Michigan gave up some yards on reverses this game, which okay. Those were 10-12 yard gains. What struck me, though, were three different attempts to fool Michigan into leaving the backside unprotected, none of which succeeded. On the first Kenny Demens was invited to scream into Maxwell's chest, passed, and turned what coulda mighta shoulda been an RPS –2 to play into an incompletion:
Demens ends up getting outrun at the end there and there is a window; he successfully turned that play from an argh-where-is-everybody 20-yard-gain into an extremely difficult downfield completion to a guy who is not a natural receiver.
The second was the trick play that eventually became a first and goal after Lippett ran places and did things; on that one Gordon hung back, taking away the throwback to the QB. Gordon did it again on the final attempt, when MSU released a TE way late and Gordon was there for the PBU. These guys know their assignments and trust that the rest of the defense will execute for them.
A couple years ago we were enduring wheelapalooza against Illinois; these days you get extremely scanty opportunities to hit something easy and pick up free yards. MSU set up one screen that Jake Ryan did his leverage-but-wait-there's-more-FREE-TACKLE thing on that would have been a nice gain and Kovacs sucked up on a post. Other than that, bupkis.
Crappy opponent offenses, sure. Michigan hasn't really blown anything since Air Force, and that was not on Kovacs but a scheme against the triple option that won't be relevant again. That's half a season. Against anyone, that's impressive—ask OSU, which gave up an 83-yard touchdown on the first play from scrimmage against Purdue on Saturday.
Solid, solid, solid. Michigan is about as good as you can be on defense without having an elite pass rusher on the DL.
Let this also inform all judgments levied on the safety numbers. Yes, the individual numbers. Also look at the coverage—Michigan has not been this consistently good at that metric since I started doing this.
We didn't get any pressure. Worry?
I actually thought Michigan did a pretty good job of getting to the quarterback. MSU had a lot of short stuff; their long stuff was as quickly developing as it can be since it was all throwing it to Burbridge as he ran straight downfield. On a number of those attempts, Maxwell was about to get hit. So it wasn't as dire as the single sack implied.
This is never going to be great until Michigan's getting better production out of its WDE spot, but Ryan and Roh coming off the same edge is decent. If you've got a worry, this is it; scanning the teams left on the schedule doesn't reveal a lot of teams that like to just drop back and bomb it deep.
Roh, Ryan, Floyd, and to a somewhat lesser extent the two ILBs.
For a second week: GTFO. You could maybe pick on Taylor but he is a part of that coverage number, so no.
What does it mean for Nebraska and beyond?
Nebraska will be Michigan's stiffest test since Alabama. They're running the ball all over the place and use a wide panoply of different looks that will put that hesitation lack under the microscope. Don't be fooled by the close game against Northwestern, which was the product of an avalanche of special teams miscues. They've put up over 400 yards on Wisconsin and OSU and Taylor Martinez is much improved as a passer—grumble grumble aging makes people better not worse? They will be a stiff test even if Burkhead is out.
I don't really know what to expect. No one has held Nebraska under 29, and that's a tough number to see Michigan's offense exceeding against a team with one of those pulse things these days unless Michigan takes the O out of the garage some, but that's another post.
Michigan will see its entire front seven extensively tested by the run game and will need to win one on one matchups outside if they're going to make Kovacs the tiny linebacker who was so effective last year. I'm 50/50 on whether that will happen—Nebraska's WRs are one of the hidden secrets in the conference and they're coming off a great game.
Touch and go, touch and go. I think Michigan will hold them to a season low in yards and points since they just don't give up anything big on the ground, like, ever—but if they keep Nebraska under 20 that will be a wow experience.
Eleven months ago I used this space to discuss Michigan's crazy success in defensive short situations. That was brought on by a staggering performance against Illinois, at which point Michigan had stopped 15 of 27 3rd- or 4th-and-one situations, and 13 of 19 against real competition. This was up from stopping less than a quarter of such plays the previous two years, and almost as far above the going rate for all defenses.
This was huge. Getting one yard for any offense is far easier that stopping it for any defense—one good block can usually do it. Forcing a 4th down situation from 3rd and 1 or a turnover on downs on 4th and 1 is worth half a turnover or more. Jamie Mac addressed this further in his HTTV article, showing that the stoppage situation was affecting the happy margin between our yards-ceded defense and scoring defense as much as having a ridiculous year in turnover luck.
Michigan last year was really good at stopping the short stuff, but folks chalked it up to Martin and Van Bergen playing to their strengths and figured it was a blip. Except it wasn't just those guys. Here's last year's chart for short situations, through OSU:
|Ryan Van Bergen||6.5||0|
|Craig Roh (right/Heiko)||6||0|
|Campbell, Hawthorne & Heinigner||2.5||0|
|Black, Morgan, and Woolfolk||1||0|
|Herron and Beyer||0||-1|
Two thirds of Michigan's short-down production from last year returned (as did bad refs). Demens, Roh, Ryan, Kovacs, and Campbell were all key role players in that ridiculous shutdown rate, and if the UFR can be trusted, they weren't getting it just because of things the Team 132 seniors were doing.
This doesn't even count things like stopping Ohio State on 3rd and goal from the 2. Actually it doesn't count goal line situations at all, though 1st and goal from the 1 is as hard to stop as 3rd and 1 from the 40. So I revisited when updating the UFR database. Get ready to be happy (through MSU):
|Year||--FCS and MAC removed--||--All Opponents--|
|Stopped!||They got it :(||Stop %||Stopped!||They got it :(||Stop %|
It's still happening. It's happening more. We replaced Martin and RVB with Washington and Campbell, and if anything got better! And like last year Michigan's short defense seems to be getting tougher as the season goes on. Since Big Ten play started, the non-stops have read thusly: Purdue converting with 16 seconds left in the half while down 18, Illinois benefiting from a terrible spot, two plays where Bell was forced to cut back into the pile and just managed to squeak through, and one bust.
[After the jump, what's causing it, and the plays vs. State]
10/21/2012 – Michigan 12, Michigan State 10 – 5-2, 3-0 Big Ten
Denard Robinson is 13 of 29 for 143 yards; he's run 20 times for 96 yards. His team is down a point and has managed to turn 120 seconds into eighteen without moving the ball anywhere near plausible field goal range. A few drives ago Jeremy Gallon was as wide open as you can be on third and goal and Denard blasted it hard and behind the guy—if it was to keep it away from a defender it was because the throw was late—or Michigan would lead by three.
Behind me, some Michigan State meathead has spent the better part of four quarters screaming "throw it, Denard, huh huh huh." Juggalo Nation, reprazent.
"Is this guy really a QB I'll say my mans vento is a better QB lol. S/O to my boy vento by the way."
-Denicos Allen, MSU linebacker, on Denard and MSU walk-on QB Tommy Vento, 9/1/2012
Michigan has second and eleven but more importantly they have seventeen seconds to get in field goal range. State shows a three man rush but also sends Denicos Allen; Allen stunts inside Will Gholston, who Lewan has nerfed, and hits Ricky Barnum at full speed. Barnum gives ground—a lot of ground. Allen is flying up into the pocket, where Denard would be.
Denard has started to roll.
"DENARD IS SOOOO BAD! And it makes me feel so good."
-Kyle Artinian, MSU safety, 9/1/2012
The roll is bad. The roll takes out most of Michigan's routes, spends time Michigan doesn't have, removes downfield possibilities Michigan desperately needs. In the stands, my heart sinks. I have seen this script before, not just watching Michigan, but watching everyone. Michigan's win probability is sinking like a stone with every step Denard takes outside the pocket.
Denard stops. The roll steps have gotten Roy Roundtree a bracket, and made the middle of the field lonely.
Barnum has continued shoving Allen past everything. Gholston, lined up against Lewan, is as relevant to the play as I am. Denard sets his feet.
"I can play quarterback for the school in blue."
-Jamal Lyles, MSU linebacker, 9/1/2012
Denard decides setting his feet is not for him. He starts moving up in the pocket as the State nose tackle sheds Elliot Mealer.
Dileo's head is in a better spot to tackle someone than Gholston
As all of this has occurred with half the people on the field, the other half have been fighting hand-to-hand in remote locations. Drew Dileo has started outside, then come inside of MSU safety Isaiah Lewis. Lewis is tracking, in decent position. Dileo is entering a window between two underneath defenders. It's huge since Denard's temporary roll has caused Max Bullough to chase Roundtree—the roll truly was doomed.
Denard is moving up in a pocket that is less a pocket and more a space occupied by a no-longer-blocked Michigan State defender by the moment. He has not rolled. He is stepping into the future, whatever it brings.
Denard cocks, and throws. The stadium stops. The throw has to be on a line, at Dileo's chest. It's 20 yards downfield. As each frame ticks by, universes begin and end.
"Even a blind squirrel can get a nut ever once in a while...,"
-Nick Hill, MSU running back, 9/1/2012
It's in the number—not numbers. Drew Dileo only has one. It's #9. Denard uses the enclosed space in that number as a bullseye.
Michigan rushes to the line to spike the ball. Mark Dantonio watches Michigan execute a maneuver that cost him a game last week when his team went all John L Smith on it.
I keep thinking about how this clown beat us in the clutch. Sure, we beat ourselves, but for all the times we've shit on him for his arm or lack of, what did he do in the final minute?
Pride comes before... DAMN IT!
-Venomous G. Duck, 10/21/2012
…I mean, the guy knows. He's heard it all, whether he'll admit it or not. In this game the defenses dominated as both quarterbacks struggled to about 5.6 yards per attempt. The difference: Denard outrushed MSU's offense by himself and threw a meaningless interception on an end-of-half Hail Mary while Maxwell chucked one into Kovacs's chest after Michigan State had been set up with good field position. Run and armpunt that, homeboy.
"We've beat Michigan the last four years. So where's the threat?"
-Mark Dantonio, 4/18/2012
The remainder of Michigan State's season is a choice between not going to a bowl game and helping Michigan make the Rose Bowl.
Michigan State found a few nuts when one Michigan coach hung on too long and a second employed Greg Robinson, and couldn't wait to tell everybody every day all day. In the aftermath, they're asking Brady Hoke if they're as important as Ohio State and saying it's a real rivalry and it's level footing now, because Michigan is apparently also busy cutting off recruiting coordinators for no apparent reason and talking trash because Michigan State is losing a game. The little brother thing keeps getting brought up because it is the truest thing anyone has ever said about a 100-year-old football program.
Whatever. Michigan is rounding up a selection of ass-kickers and has its sights set on bigger things than one game against a program that's never been in a BCS bowl and hasn't seen Pasadena in 25 years. It doesn't matter if MSU or Iowa is Iowa. What matters is in Schembechler Hall, and MSU players watching Michigan play Alabama know it.
After the game, DenardX tweeted something about walk-on quarterbacks.
Me and the rest of the QBs after the game with our home boy Paul Bunyan!!! #GoBlue @teamdgizzle @rbellomy
As of press time, Denicos Allen has not given a shoutout to his boy Tommy Vento.
Other highlights from a guy named noonkick. Field level end of game video:
Honorable mention: Jake Ryan (obvs), JT Floyd (they tried but could never bust him), Greg Mattison (I mean, my God), Denard Robinson (HEYYYY COLUMN LADY), Taylor Lewan (Tom Lolston), Kenny Demens (LeVeon Bell, welcome to 2.6 YPC), Jordan Kovacs (ditto).
Epic Double Point standings.
3: Jake Ryan (ND, Purdue, Illinois)
2: Denard Robinson (Air Force, UMass)
1: Jeremy Gallon(Alabama), Drew Dileo (Michigan State)
DEE-FENSE. That image above is just perfect. LeVeon Bell crapped out 2.6 yards a carry against OSU… and 2.6 yards a carry against Michigan. That's all DL stuff and while the Michigan State line had the services of Dan France, they were out two of their three starters for most of the OSU game and did not have Treadwell much; Treadwell went the whole way against M and AFAIK Ethan Ruhland did not make an appearance. Dion Sims was gimpy; other than that it's basically the same performance against the same team.
Bell never got caught behind the line, which makes the 2.6 YPC even more impressive since Michigan didn't RPS their way into any TFLs. Michigan won the battle on third and short against LeVeon Bell. Thumbs up.
CLOCK MANAGEMENT. That was verbatim tweet I sent out Saturday and holy pants, WTF. Some of that was crappy luck and crappy decisions—Toussaint catching the Butterfield/Breaston memorial DON'T YOU DARE CATCH THAT pass, Denard checking down in the first place, but at one point the entire stadium was on its feet screaming SNAP THE BALL at once after Michigan let almost 20 seconds run off the clock for no apparent reason. Michigan had already burned nine seconds before the review on the Denard third-and-two lunge; they burned off a few more before snapping the ball.
If this was a one time thing it would be a one-time thing; after last year's Iowa two-minute debacle it's an issue. I don't think this is much on the players when they're looking to the sideline for a call, especially after Michigan burned two timeouts in this game just trying to get the playcall in.
Michigan huddling for half the playclock is killing me. There's no reason to do it, it doesn't seem to help their attempts to audible out of obvious blitzes, and their lack of practicing at tempo is an obvious detriment when they need to go fast.
Jake Ryan crazy thing of the week. This is not actually the Maxwell sack pictured at right, which came about after Ryan went around the 250-pound Bell like he was not there for Michigan's only TFL of the week. Though that was pretty awesome, you guys.
Even so, the crazy thing Ryan did this week was facing down three blockers on a screen that MSU had set up like whoah, trashing the guy who peeled off to deal with him, and holding Michigan State to seven yards. Michigan booted state off the field on the subsequent third and short.
Totals: 10 tackles, 8 solo, Michigan's only sack. HE'S SLIGHTLY GOOD YOU GUYS SRSLY
JT Floyd. It was clear once MSU started taking regular shots downfield that they had identified JT Floyd as the weak spot on the Michigan defense, but he held tough. The catch-and-YAC five yard hitch first downs from the Purdue game were eliminated entirely; he got beat deep by a step or two each time but was in good enough position that the throws had to be perfect lest he pull the press Michael Floyd and live (or "trail") technique.
The throws weren't perfect, and the only long completions Maxwell managed were against Thomas Gordon (bad play by him on a ball he would have had a play on if he found it) and Raymon Taylor (got an interference call and gave up an admittedly spectacular completion late). Floyd got off without issue.
What's more, MSU's big idea to get a touchdown on short yardage was to line up a fullback over Floyd and run Bell at him. Floyd held up, got the edge, kept leverage at the numbers, and prevented Bell from getting outside, whereupon Desmond Morgan helped him tackle. The guy had a target on his back all day and came through with flying colors.
Fumbles. Are a bitch.
Somehow Michigan did not recover this one, nor the other one, despite having nothing but Michigan players surrounding the Spartan who clutched the ball like it was a nugget of gold.
NOW DO YOU BELIEVE ME NOWWWWWW
Denard, my man. I am totally down with the whole "not getting torn limb from limb by defenses" thing, but…
…dude, there is a time and place to put your body on the line and turning your 44 yard run late in the fourth quarter into 50 is it.
Denard's bad throw to Gallon. Eric got a great shot of it:
Watching the replay, Denard is throwing it in the heart of the window between the two linebackers. Gallon should be sitting between the two guys; he overruns it a bit. My thinking here is influenced by seeing Borges at that coaches clinic, where he mentioned that he wants his QBs to hold up his receivers against zone coverage.
Still, probably at least 75% Denard. He's rifling that at a guy barely ten yards downfield so his margin for error is extremely small; he doesn't read the fact that he is wide, wide open and he can just soft toss it to him.
Matt Wile: most useful backup kicker ever. Matt Wile may not have displaced Keith Stone Sasquatch Brendan Gibbons as Michigan's starting kicker but he's the best third-most-important kicker since I've been watching Michigan football. He:
- kicks most kickoffs into the endzone
- is a pretty effective pooch-punter
- had a good plain-old punting record last year when Hagerup was jittery
- nailed a 48-yard field goal that, along with all other field goals, was the winning margin.
If either kicker got injured he'd step into their shoes. Michigan should be fine on the kicking stuff for a while now. Note foregone pun.
Hagerup confidence : 2012 :: Gibbons confidence : 2011. Whatever happened with Hagerup last year to tack a four-game suspension on to his OSU suspension from 2010 led to a lot of shanks and mortifiedpunter.gif. After a couple of Sugar Bowl shanks, Wile displaced Hagerup for the rest of the game.
At that point it was writin' off time, like Gibbons after 2010. When Hagerup was still atop the depth chart in September, that made people suspicious. It wasn't alarming like Gibbons since Wile was around and fairly established, but it was only 50-50 to stick. Stuck it has. Hagerup's averaging 47.5 yards a kick and would be fourth nationally if he had enough punts to qualify.
Special teams coach: do we have one or not? The fake punt was… frustrating. Michigan's trying to set up a return, which you can't really do against a spread punt anyway, and they're playing a team that loves nothing more than faking punts and field goals. Somehow this combination results in three guys leading the punter and blocking no one at all. Michigan's even got a designated special teams/TEs guy, but they can't cover or block on punts and they got gashed for 30 yards by a punter. WTF.
Michigan did get a big return out of Gallon at the end of the first half but even that emphasized the difference in punt coverage. Gallon had to split two unblocked guys and then run laterally past a second wave. Meanwhile the one Hagerup punt that was not a 48-yard, five-second-hang unreturnable moonball was a free 15 yards for the punt returner since MSU doubled a gunner and no one else on that side of the ball got downfield.
Whatever they're doing with the kickers is great… but is that anything other than hot babes visualization exercises? I'm not sure. Everything else is questionable at best.
Game theory bits. There wasn't a whole lot of interest from my eyes but a couple of decisions have sucked up post-game airtime.
- MSU threw on second down on their last drive. Not even close: right call. LeVeon Bell was averaging 2.6 yards a carry and had just been stuffed for nothing. Maybe you want some slants or a hitch or something instead of what they threw but you can't assume Michigan is going to run the worst successful two minute drill ever. All running on second down accomplishes is spending a Michigan timeout; getting the first down ends the game.
- Michigan punted on fourth and seven from the MSU 42 early. Did not have a problem with this. Not in true no man's land, yardage pretty big, and if you're in the kind of game that ends 12-10 puntosaur technology is the right tech.
- MSU attempted a 38-yard field goal on fourth and one from the 21. This was debatable—one of reasons puntosaur tech makes sense is that even if you get the first down you're probably kicking anyway. Is MSU going to score a TD? Eh… probably not. A 38-yarder is well within the range in which you expect your established PK to hit it. Even so… that was fourth and capital-S Short. If MSU is intimidated by Michigan's short yardage defense… well, I get that. Probably a mistake but in a puntosaur game I get it.
The assumption you're making on those early calls is that you are in a puntosaur game. IME, that was clear from the get-go.
Oh for crap's sake. Dollars to donuts this is new LSJ beatwriter and slappy Graham "Alex Carder Best Quarterback In The State™" Couch:
I don’t know if you guys saw after the game, but I almost got trampled out there. [MGo: -_______-] Have the fans ever trampled the field like that after a Michigan State win? Is this rivalry getting to the level of Ohio State?
[update: Heiko says it was a photographer, not Couch; stuff below stands.]
No, and no.
Couch derided Junior Hemingway—yup, Junior Hemingway—for his classlessness after the game in a tweet, going so far as to hashtag his tweet "#classless," because he interpreted Michigan's rush to get a Paul Bunyan trophy that was on the sideline last year but not this year as taunting. He's since deleted the tweet, because nothing goes better with stupidity than cowardice.
BONUS: This blog already has a "Graham Couch's laughable homerism" tag from his days covering WMU.
Pom poms. I thought I was good when the guy three rows in front of me was an Air Force veteran—so said his hat—who would clearly rather eat glass than wave a pom-pom, but then some Ladies who Just Wanted To Have Fun ended up two rows in front of me. At some point I had to say "please don't wave those so high" because I couldn't see the field, at which point they said "it's a football game" and I said "I KNOW I WOULD LIKE TO SEE IT."
I don't know, man. This isn't an old man thing, it's just… if there are pom poms it is a guarantee that some dip in front of you will forget that there are people behind them and act affronted when you say there are people behind them. This is amazingly consistent in my and my friends experience: ask the kind of person who waves a pom-pom during actual football plays to not do that and you will be subjected to a "whateva, I do what I want" style rant and petulant extra-vigorous pom-pom shaking. And yet if I was to take the pom-pom and stuff it down the pom-pom waver's throat, I would be the one removed from the stadium.
Pom poms suck, because society.
Special K. False hope is worse than death.
What the incentive program should be. Any student who wasn't in the stadium at kickoff shouldn't be allowed to buy tickets next year. I mean, seriously: a 3:30 kick for the only decent home game all year and the upper 20 rows of the student section are half-full means the student section is too big.
We had Witvoet's crew for the game. After calling a penalty on State, he let Hawthorne have it. I'm not sure what Brandin did, but I'm just glad he didn't draw an unsportmanlike penalty call.
* The officials let it be known early that they weren't going to stand for any shenanigans this year, calling Lewan for a somewhat touchy late hit. I wish they would have sent a message by calling a penalty on the team responsible for all the shenanigans last year, but they kept things under control, so no complaints.
bronxbblue has a new thing called Best and Worst:
I’m sure this is a bit of coach-speak, but it is also something that needed to be said. Since, oh, the Eastern Michigan game, I don’t think most people saw MSU as a legitimate Big 10 championship team. The offense was too crippled by a porous line, poor WRs, and a somewhat-shaky QB to keep pace with teams like Wisconsin, UM, OSU, and Nebraska. The Iowa game cemented their ceiling for the year at 7-8 wins, even with an elite defense.
Outside of the Alabama game, though, UM’s ceiling was never defined. Notre Dame was a tough loss but one that felt more self-inflicted than the team meeting a superior opponent. Purdue and Illinois proved only that UM was probably as good as Louisiana Tech and and Marshall. MSU, frankly, was not going to validate UM’s season, but only give them another breakpoint from which to calibrate their potential.
And that’s what Hoke encapsulates in this statement. He recognizes that MSU is a rival and the game mattered, but this wasn’t the season.
Spartanfreude section. The "Post Your Big (Jail) House experience" thread is pretty good from an M standpoint—no one reports much untoward aside from some verbal sparring, and even that is pretty tame.
I was in Section 8 and saw some arguing going on. On the way back to the car had 3 assholes walking in back of us talking shit like everyone above said, "Little brother put back in his place again", "Leveon Bell for Heisman....", "130 seasons of football and 900 wins", "UM is back in their rightful place". This yapping went. on for the whole walk thru the golf course. Mind you that I took my 74 year old dad to the game. I finally blew. Stopped in my tracks and had a few words. That slightly shut them up.
A 74-year-old man had to listen to people describe how many wins Michigan had acquired, and was exposed to the opinion that Michigan State is not as good at football as Michigan. #thugs
Cut my hand open, Michigan fans threatened to "throw me out of the stadium" for cheering, got my backpack stolen, bought macaroni salad on the walk home. Typical saturday. Also I got called ugly a lot. I'm like a 6 let's be real.
Edit: in retrospect, I probably swore around children a lot more than I should have
Also This Guy:
It's an awful place. Will never return after my last visit in 2010, when I had to be retstrained from attacking Walvies who kept telling me to go back to jail. Nothing about the experience is fun, no matter the result.
And this guy made TWIS but you get a taste early:
Rolled out of bed today more upset and sick than last night
This sucks. Facing the world this week with every UM drag sporting that cocky arrogant grin, wearing their colors -unwashed.
I hate this.
Many if you rcmb'rs are too you to remember all the games from late 80's until Dantonio era.... I hate this week. I can't wait for the first one to offer some sort of mild apology or winning with fg's... Kill.
That is the same This Guy who complained about the Michigan fans who had the audacity to tell him the game would be close and Michigan wasn't good last week. If this man was ever exposed to a real taunt his head would disintegrate into a fine mist.
Blog folks. HSR:
Spock: Well, Michigan was quite fortunate to have won that game.
Kirk: Woooo! Don't care! Wooooo! Woooo! Woooo!
Spock: Four field goals is hardly the offensive output necessary over the long term to win the Big Ten Championship.
Kirk: Don't care! Don't care! Woooooo! Woooo! What the Dileo?!? Wooo!
As J. Lehman was interviewing Hoke during pregame (above), I heard a woman on the sideline (with a sideline pass mind you) gesture over to Hoke and ask, “Is that the coach?”. I gave the Jim Halpert stare to anyone who wanted it. And a lot of guys wanted it.
BWS points out that Michigan passed on 7 of 26 first downs, and only 5 of 22 before the two-minute drill. The lack of a reliable play action option really hurt in this one. I'm not sure why Michigan can't throw outs to their slot receivers.
The Only Colors has postgame react from the MSU perspective:
There aren't going to be any four-game winning streaks in this rivalry again for a long time. ("It takes four years. Of course it will be a long time." Shut up, guy). MSU will get the favorable schedule U-M has enjoyed for the next two years, and both teams are starting to stockpile talent. (If you bring up recruiting rankings, I'm going to punch you).
MSU fans are still clinging to the recruiting-rankings-are-meaningless thing. They're in for a harsh reality check once Michigan's recruiting rankings are paired with something other than crippling attrition, lackadaisical talent evaluation, and crappy coaching. Maybe not next year, when Michigan's breaking in a new quarterback and the upperclass talent levels are still relatively even, but after that… back to the salt mines, Sparty. Or maybe Alabama, OSU, and USC are only good because of their helmets.
SBN's Bobby Big Wheel was randomly at the game and randomly ended up on the field and wrote a thing defending being on the field:
…most college kids use "if it feels good, do it" as their main decision-making rule, not a six-factor test. Thus, a few jumped on the field. At first, I smiled and wondered how I'd get out of the stadium, but more people started jumping the fence. Michigan Stadium goes out instead of up, and the student section seems to run 100 rows deep. So, I learned that when you have a mile of drunk, yellow-clad college kids behind you and someone says you're rushing the field, you're rushing the field.
That's how I, a 28-year-old, job-having person, rushed the field at Michigan Stadium. And I did it con gusto. I joined in the chants, yelled "wooooo!" a lot and got my picture taken with the band. It might have been the rum and "Coke" (I suspect that the mixer was either another type of rum or a non-poisonous brand of varnish) that I'd been taking swigs of during the game, but it was still a fantastic experience. Please keep in mind that I have no ties to the University of Michigan beyond a sister in grad school there. Never mind that; running around a football field makes you feel alive.
I have to admit I rolled my eyes at the field-rush, which was epic in its half-assery. The first students over the wall waited for the team to leave the field, basically, and then it was a slow trickle as only 30-40% of the people in the front row at any particular juncture actually wanted to get on the field. The contrast from last year's OSU field rush to this one was appropriately vast.
Q: I can't remember anyone ever rushing the field outside of the 1997 OSU game before the two incidents mentioned above. Can anyone else?
The HSR is figuring out what's going on in the game based on Ace's ability to keep all of his veins in his head. Dr. Sap's decals go to Dileo, Floyd, and Gibbons, plus others. Brady Hoke's Pet Viking reprazent. MVictors did this:
MVictors is pretty cool, yo.
Moments after Michigan's 12-10 win over Michigan State on Saturday in Ann Arbor, Lewan, teammate Roy Roundtree and a host of other Michigan players rushed the field and sprinted toward the Spartan sideline.
They were, of course, searching for the famous Paul Bunyan Trophy. But the effort was futile.
"This was my first time beating Michigan State, so I don't know how this works," Lewan said, believing Michigan was supposed to receive the trophy from MSU after the game. "I ran over there to get the Paul Bunyan Trophy, because I remember (MSU having it on the field once before).
"I didn't see him until I went into the locker room. ... I think they were upset about it."
The Michigan victory brings the trophy back to Ann Arbor for the first time since 2007, even if it wasn't brought onto the field Saturday.
After beating the Wolverines for a fourth straight time last season, Michigan State players were seen celebrating with the massive trophy on the field at Spartan Stadium. On Saturday, though, the exchange was more low-key -- it was done somewhere inside the stadium tunnel, and the trophy was waiting for the Wolverines in their locker room after the game.
More classless behavior.
It is with great pleasure that I welcome you to One Frame At A Time, our new weekly gifs post that will go up each Monday morning after football weekends (and probably continuing into basketball season, too, and whenever else it strikes my fancy).
From here on out, words will be sparse; if one picture is worth a thousand, I won't bother to calculate how many are accounted for by a moving image—bajillions, probably. In that sense, apologies for my wordiness, but the Michigan State game was a treasure trove for gifs. Par exemple:
[Due to the large file sizes, the rest of this week's gifs are after THE JUMP. Remember that you can always hit 'escape' (except in Chrome) to stop the animation.]