“There is no "I" in team, but there is in win.”
September 22, his 22nd birthday, his final game against the one rival he has owned the torn-out hearts of for 3 years... it must have felt like the stars had aligned. He came out confident, running the ball with purpose to the sideline for 5 yards (never mind the gimmicky fake reverse). Then a perfectly thrown pass down the sideline was interfered with (never mind that it wasn't him throwing it). Run, (incomplete), run... first down. Time to throw it... Dang, punt.
Oh look what the defense has given us! Destiny awaits!
Then the rest of the game happened. I'm sure you all saw it and I don't care to relive it. It went something like this...
Learn from yesterday...
I am not going to be long-winded with this, it is best to forget that game and move on. Bullets then...
- Michigan was the better team yesterday and if you remove the ridiculous number of turnovers, they kill the Irish.
- The offensive line looked great all game, giving Denard tons of time and opening up running lanes. Michigan probably could have ridden the O-line to victory easily. They dominated the much-heralded ND front seven.
- Borges went gimmicky far too early, IMO. The Devin Gardner pass was a nice play, but also a harbinger of things to come. The Vincent Smith HB-pass was far too cute. Hopefully looking at the film from this game will lead to more confidence and more straight-forward game planning in BIG season.
- The defense is getting much better up front and controlled the game yesterday. Tackles were spread evenly throughout the team, with the LBs and DTs accounting for a good percentage. No sacks is disappointing though.
Live for Today…
- Desmond Morgon and Kenny Demens - They were everywhere hauling down Irish backs. Nice to see the veterans (Kovacs too) leading the defense in tackles.
- Roy Roundtree and Jeremy Gallon - Several key receptions on third down for these two.
- Elliot Mealer - Looked very good opening holes for the run game. Props to Schofield as well for superior protection on passing downs.
- Denard's Feet - Take out the 3 sacks and you get 23 carries for 111 yards, or nearly 5 yards per carry.
- Norfleet - Hard running on returns put Michigan in good field position. Still awaiting the inevitable.
Hope for Tomorrow
The results of this game and a record of 2-2 are not indicative of the abilities of this team, and it would do every Michigan fan good to forget about what has happened and to concentrate instead on what can be accomplished in the BIG. I rest easier after seeing the O and D-lines gel and play very well. Denard will bounce back.
The rest of the BIG continues to look shaky, to say the least, and Michigan should be licking their chops against the likes of Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota, and I dare say Michigan St at this point. Ohio has obvious problems as well, letting UAB run wild on them. Michigan should have distinct talent advantages against Northwestern and Purdue.
I don't like the matchup on the road against Nebraska, but the Cornhuskers seem like a lesser team somehow than the one Michigan throttled last year in Ann Arbor.
The biggest hope I have going forward lies in the fact that Michigan has Hoke and Mattison, and that I think we are starting to see the defense play as a cohesive unit that should be able to slow down any offense left on the schedule.
I would still bet on Michigan as the favorite to win the Legends Division and make the BIG championship game. Who is better?