This is maaaaybe premature there, ESPN. Maryland #1 FWIW.
- Ezeh looked bad on Cousin's first long scramble
- In the first half, we were slow to adjust to the bubble screen, especially with white lined up in the slot.
- We were bad on third downs in the first half, both ways. maybe due to it being our first road game.
- Kelvin had an awful drop early on, I think the coaches went away from him a little after that
- I liked the call with Tate at WR, but why run a sweep to that side, meaning you are depending on getting a good block from your QB?
- Koger with a drop too, could it be nerves? I hate the first road game.
- Unfortunate timing for a bad snap, 3rd down in the redzone
- Bad tackling, partially due to the rain?
- MSU killed our zones with corner routes. Cousins has a good arm and was much more accurate this week.
- Coulda called timeout with about 30 seconds left in the half. I can understand not doing it, but with stonum having a pretty good year on returns, we might have left 3 points on the field there, but it woulda been unlikely.
- Talk about a fast first half!
I'm loving how I can actually see the team making good adjustments at halftime. In the first half we were burnt on some bubble screens, and then gave up some big yardage on the fake bubble screen counter pitch or handoff. but on MSU's first drive of the second half we had both parts of that play locked down.(nevermind we just gave up a big TD on this same play at the start of the 4th, they caught us on a blitz and mouton completely ignored the fact that his lineman was pulling. grrrrrrrr bad, very bad.)
- But one adjustment I'd like to have seen sooner, was to only rush 3 and have a 4th guy spy cousins or nichol on 3rd and long.
- I also like seeing Minor and Brown in the backfield at the same time, but Minor didn't hold a block after donovan's INT that would have sprung Carlos to the races. We had caught MSU in a run blitz.
- Actually I like it more with Grady (24) in there because he's a better blocker (I think) and still a decent threat to run.
- At the time, I really thought we should have QB sneaked it on 4th and an inch from our 17, because we had been giving up waaaay too much T.o.P. But while watching the replay I could agree more with the punt. The defense was playing much better than I had thought, despite giving up the long drives. Of course, zoltan must have been thinking we should have gone for it too. OOPS.
- Brandon Graham = teh awesome!
- Our right guard got owned a few times.
- I'm impressed by Roh's pass coverage
- Dear all Defensive lineman, when the man across from you pulls FRICKEN FOLLOW HIM! He'll take you right to the play.
- Denard is just not confident enough in his arm yet. He hesitated on both 2nd and 3rd down called passes.
- I thought the game was almost over when Stonum fumbled. The defense really stepped up in the 4th quarter.
- 3 for 11 on 3rd down until Tate's heroics. Not good enough.
- Stevie Brown was playing with anger, just throwing people down. I like, but he coulda been flagged once, lucky it was still during the play, but it was close.
- Mouton took a terrible angle on Cousins long scramble. He looked like he was jogging. He should run sprints for that effort. A complete lack of effort. Just disgusting. I understand that you're coming up from dropping in coverage and the QB just made you drop your jockstrap, but FRICKEN run after the play in case he fumbles it or something. Don't just give up!
- Right after Stonum made the long TD, you can see a glimpse of GERG grabbing RR, I imagine he's making the case for his defense and asking RichRod to kick it deep. I like that. Shows confidence. Of course it's easier to like it since the D delivered.
- Then GERG had the balls to blitz Kovacs twice on short yardage. Nice.
- Can't argue with going for OT, with the rain and Forcier being completely exhausted after that drive.
- I don't know what the hell Mouton was thinking on Caper's final TD. He put his head down and lept at a man who was engaged with another defender.. Ok, so Troy went high on a guy he shouldn't have, but Mouton is a linebacker who needs to clean up that tackle. Keep your legs and run through it. Someone needs to get him to workout with the wrestling team in the offseason and learn a doubleleg takedown
- MSU pulled out a lot of misdirection plays. It's like night and day compared to their Wisconsin game. I wonder if that was because they were saving the plays, or because of the type of defense WISC was playing. Probably a little of both.
- Our YAC was really down this game. I think two things contributed to this, obviously MSU had pretty good coverage, but many of Tate's throws were low, maybe due to his sore shoulder taking off just a tiny bit of his precision.
But it's strange, I actually feel pretty good about the team after this game. I think a lot of questions got answered on defense. I think JT Floyd is an upgrade at corner over an injured Booboo, and Ezeh had a "better" game, even if he did look bad a couple of times. I'm still worried about Mouton. Van Bergen looked like a man possesed and Roh continues to impress.
I think we're going to have a lot of nail biters in conference play. But this team looks so much better than what we were thinking before the season started. If we finish 7-5 it might be a slight dissapointement after starting 4-0, but a bowl game would be nice. If we go 6-6 and miss a bowl, that'll be a huge dissapointment based on the progress I've seen so far.
Anyway, GO BLUE!
Any questions on how By The Numbers works, look here.
This was called out as a 3 point win for Michigan going in. It wasn't. State absolutely shut down the Michigan running game, the final number -4 for the game, but it was worse than that.
Minor was a -2.2 on 4 carries, none of them with positive values. Carlos Brown was -2.0 on 6 carries, with only 2 carries coming out positive. Shoelace posted a pair of negative runs. Odoms one carry was a negative. The only one who did anything on the ground was Forcier (+1.7) and most of his value was on scrambles. 6 of his 11 runs (sacks are excluded) went positive which is not great but for the rest of the teams performance, was far above average this week.
In the preview this was noted as the biggest disparity of any unit in the game. Excluding Stonum's fumble, the passing game was slightly negative (-0.6). The three sacks cost nearly 4 points on the game and the interception in OT was obviously a big deal.
Stonum, apart from the fumble, had a very nice game with 1 point on 3 catches plus over 5 points on the long TD which more than offset the lost value on his fumble.
Matthews was targeted 5 times, none of them complete. We'll have to wait for the UFR to see where the fault lies.
Hemingway picked up 3 catches for a meager +1.
Kogar was 1/4 on targeted balls, but snuck into the positives at +.6.
Odoms had a productive day, picking up nearly 3.5 points in 6 targets with 4 points coming on his 5 catches.
Roundtree's grab in the endzone was worth 3 points after missing on two targets that worth 1.5 points.
Saw this as a point or two disadvantage coming in, and that's about where it netted out, although in a strange way.
Jailbird Glen Winston was -8.6, even with his +3 TD run.
Larry Caper's game deciding run, just put him back to even on the game.
Running QB Keith Nichol ran only twice for little value.
Wow! Kirk Cousins, 5 rushes, all for positive value racking up an incredible +8 on the ground for the game. Wow!
What a bizarre path to an expected outcome.
This was the only segment that was a solid win for Michigan. Coming in, it was expected to be a 2 point disadvantage but it ended up being a 2 point advantage.
The two sacks netted a three point advantage for Michigan, even when taking out the benefit of the fumble.
Strangely enough, Keith Nichol (+2.4) added more value through the air than Kirk Cousins (-.4) did on the day.
Cunningham was the only receiver who managed to post more than a point or two of value for the game with a +7.3.
Even with the turnovers, Michigan failed to have an advantage in field position. The regulation numbers for field position where 24 exp points for MSU and 22 for Michigan. The first down at the 25 for OT is worth just over 4 points, so for the game, MSU scored 1 less point than expected (PAT is assumed) after being -4 in regulation while Michigan was -2 in regulation but -6 on the game.
Other the Zoltan audible, the special teams didn't provide any huge advantages for either side.
Olesnavage had another good game, going +1.9 on his two field goals while Swenson was +.6 on two chippies.
MSU had a +.5 advantage on kickoff teams with Michigan giving up a couple of good returns.
When Michigan was actually punting, the punt teams netted out with no real advantages and MSU had negligible advantage in returns.
A lot of value came Michigan's way via the yellow laundry on Saturday. NO CONSPIRACY!
When Michigan was on offense there was a net pickup of a point of value due to penalties. However, MSU's offense had the should have been killer penalty problems, costing them 5.5 points in value most of which coming on...
The Drive that spanned the globe
Thought I would add a little note on the drive that covered a ton of yardage and could not be stopped.
During the drive, Michigan State rushed 10 times for a value of 3.8, 3 of which coming from Cousins. The Spartans passed 7 times for a value of 5.9. That's 17 plays, adding nearly 10 points in value. Obviously, this was all to offset the ridiculous penalties being accumulated during the drive. Michigan State's 4 penalties cost them 4.3 points on the drive. After the second personal foul, Michigan State's 2nd and 25 put their drive expected points at 1.4, less that what they would have expected when they started the drive. A very strange drive.
This past weekend's UM/MSU game made the Sports Illustrated's Signature Moments in October Rivalries list due to the first back-to-back Sparty wins since 1967. There are other great signature moments on the list. I'm not sure if ours should have been one of them.
I personally am holding out hope for a scoreboard on a billboard on a Motivational Poster on a T-shirt on a car window sticker. Then maybe we will have reached ridiculousness implosion. It's one game, fer chrissakes.
1. The Inability of Michigan's Defense to Stop Michigan State Early.
-On State's first drive, they had 4 penalties for 50 yards. Their drive was 80 yards. That's 130 yards total of offense they had to create. Anytime a team gets a personnel foul 15 yard penalty, it normally KILLS the drive. There are two reasons why it didn't here: Both times it was AFTER the play, so it merely set MSU back, rather than 2nd and 25, it was 1st and 10 from 15 yards back. Second, Michigan failed to make MSU pay for the chop block penalty that set them at 2nd and 25. Instead, they allowed Cousins to scramble and practically erase the penalty. More on that later. Through out the entire first half, Michigan's defense did not stop State on 3rd down until late in their drives, if at all.
2. The Inability of Michigan's Defense to Contain
-A couple plays come to mind: namely every time Cousins scrambled out of the pocket, he picked up at least 10 yards because our defense lost contain and could not close in fast enough. We got KILLED by this the whole game. Give props to Cousins for seeing that massive hole to run through, because it was his for the taking. Our defense just could not stop him at all. And let's not mention that end-around where Michigan had the play resolved and just had to make the tackle, but somehow managed to allow Martin to run around the entire defense and turn a 3-4 yard loss into an 18 yard gain.
3. The Inability of Michigan's Defense to Get Turnovers
-MSU presented plenty of opportunities for the Wolverine's to get a turnover by having I believe three or four fumbles during the game, only one of which was recovered. Granted one bounced literally into the arms of MSU's Grant as he was getting up from a block, but the others were recoverable. We were able to force the turnovers but we just couldn't recover them.
4. The Inability of Michigan's Defense to Get Pressure And Disrupt The Pocket
-This goes hand-in-hand with number 2. Giving Cousins and Nichol over 5 seconds to throw and not coming up with a sack is ridiculous. Giving them over 5 seconds to throw and then letting them scramble for 15 yards is just inexcusable. Our defensive front got beat all day long. Yea you can say they showed poise on the early goalline stand, or the Brandon Graham I'll-Knock-You-Into-Next-Year-When-I-Don't-Get-Blocked tackle on MSU's Winston, but overall they didn't show up.
Okay, enough gripe about the defense, we know they sucked coming into this game, but how about the offense with Tate the Great?
5. The Inability of Michigan's Receivers to Catch a Pass
-Seriously, how many dropped balls did we have in the first half? Like a billion? Ok, only about 4 or so, but still. It seemed like our receivers just could not hang onto the ball or make a catch all game long. Tate would scramble around and make the throw only to have it fall through someone's hands, or be caught and then jarred loose. Give credit again to MSU for delivering big hits on a couple of those, but some had the receiver wide open and they just dropped it.
6. The Inability of Michigan's Offense to Adjust to MSU's Defensive Front
-When you continuously try to run the ball up the middle the whole game, and continuously get stuffed, how does that make a good game plan? Carlos Brown thrives on speed and being able to blow by people, not run up the middle and pound it out; that's Minor's job. Michigan needed to find ways to get Carlos outside in space, rather than have him try to get yards by going forward up the middle.
7. The Inability of Michigan's Offense to Convert Turnovers
-Biggest case, the opening series. Got a great turnover early and a touchdown would have been icing on the cake to start the game. Instead, the most Michigan can muster is a net 5 yard loss and tack up the field goal. Had Michigan scored there, the entire game is different. Then again later in the 3rd quarter, a clutch interception takes away three points, and what does Michigan do? Makes the most confusing play call of all-time.
8. The Worst Play Call of All-Time
-4th and inches, deep in their own territory, Michigan opts to kick it...except not. Instead, Zoltan tries to run from 8 yards deep to get to the first. Normally on fake punts it goes to one of the guys setting up the block, not the punter. And if it does go to the punter, it's normally a pass, because he's so far deep. In that scenario if Michigan truly wanted to go for it, give the ball to Brandon Minor, or have Tate get under center and push. Either way, that play could have changed the game had Michigan's defense not miraculously held MSU to a field goal.
9. Michigan Did Not Want It
-If you watched the game, you could see the hunger and desire in the eyes of the players of MSU. They wanted this win. This win could turn around their season and give them a shot at a Big Ten Title run. This win would define the rest of their season. For Michigan, it seemed the players were content with starting 4-0 (and then 4-1) and the passion was not there as it was for MSU. Granted, it was in East Lansing, but that does not excuse the fact that Michigan's effort was severely lacking compared to MSU the entire game. I don't know if players weren't focused or what, but they just didn't seem as into it as MSU.
10. Tate Can't Do Everything Himself
-Out of the Michigan players, this is the one kid that did want it. His two fourth quarter drives proved it. He wanted to win, and he wanted it badly. He did everything in his power to guide his team to victory, but in the end it wasn't enough. He can't carry the whole team by himself; he needs support from the other players. Tate will be great, of that there is no doubt, as it already has been proven. But every great player has a great supporting cast, and others now need to step up.
Michigan did not win this game, because they had no business being in this game. Those last fourth quarter drives were unearned and Michigan did not deserve to be in overtime with Michigan State. The result is what it should have been, a loss for Michigan. The Wolverine's took their early successes as an excuse to look past MSU, especially given MSU's 3-1 start. But now Michigan needs to regroup and refocus for next week, and continue to take the season one game at a time.
This was a tough loss to handle, especially after tying the game and going into overtime. But next week's game is going to be harder. Iowa brings a defense that is 3rd in the Big Ten behind Penn State (#1) and Ohio State (#2). They won't need to outscore the Wolverine's if their defense does their job, and their offense should be fine against Michigan's porous defense. Michigan needs to step up and find other role players on both sides of the ball that can make plays. This is the spot of college football, and on any given Saturday, any team can win.
A look at all of Michigan's performances this year, opponent adjusted.
Michigan's run game, obviously, hasn't a bad game all year. Their 5.6 overall average is the #5 ranked unit in the country.
As for State, they too have had generally positive performances from a top ranked (17) unit.
Sparty's 2.7 average brings down Michigan's expected performance for the game to a still solid +3 advantage.
|Player||Team||G||Value||Rush||Yards||TD||Rec Yards||Rec TD|
Despite more moderate yardage output, Michigan's passing value has still been solid at +3.1 overall, good for 30th in the nation.
The real opportunity opens up against Sparty's pass defense. Even when adjusting for opponents (like Notre Dame), the unit comes in at 101st in the country, -5.0.
Michigan year to date has passed less than the average MSU opponent, so if Tate and Denard?! put more balls in the air, this could be an 8 point advantage for Michigan. Even at their current passing levels, it is a solid 7 point opportunity, the biggest unit advantage in the game.
|Player||Team||G||Value||Yards||TD||INT||Rush Yards||Rush TD||Att||Comp|
The fears for this unit have been well discussed and the numbers here bare a muted version of the same story.
After a solid opening game, Michigan has regressed and fallen into the second half (67th) of the national ranks.
Without Mr. 50 carries a game, the State offensive focus has shifted and the running game is still above average (43rd) but nothing fearsome at this point.
As MSU has done all season, this shouldn't a gain or liability for either team all season, just a way to slow down BG and Roh on the pass rush.
Look for State to have a point or two advantage in the running game, depending on how much they are willing to shift focus to it vs throwing it.
|Player||Team||G||Value||Rush||Yards||TD||Rec Yards||Rec TD|
|Larry Caper||Michigan State||3||1.14||8.00||35.67||0.67|
|Caulton Ray||Michigan State||3||-0.21||7.33||24.67||0.33|
Despite the justified fear that comes from having but a single DB you feel safe with and a marginal pass rush, Michigan's pass defense has produced fairly well. Ranking 29th nationally, the unit has been worth 3.6 points per game to date, without a single game significantly below average.
The fear returns when looking at what Michigan State has done through the air so far this season (17th).
State has put up very solid numbers in all three game, even if Wisconsin's numbers are padded by a couple late inconsequential drives.
The net of all of this is a 2 point advantage for MSU.
|Player||Team||G||Value||Yards||TD||INT||Rush Yards||Rush TD||Att||Comp|
|Kirk Cousins||Michigan State||3||3.91||222.33||1.33||0.67||2.50||0.00||29.00||17.67|
|Keith Nichol||Michigan State||3||2.40||84.67||1.00||0.67||18.67||0.00||7.67||3.67|
|Mark Dell||Michigan State||2||6.59||3.52||5.50||97.50||0.50|
|B Cunningham||Michigan State||3||6.42||3.37||6.00||79.67||1.00|
|Keshawn Martin||Michigan State||2||5.47||3.35||2.50||76.50||1.00|
|Blair White||Michigan State||3||5.07||3.49||4.67||62.67||0.67|
The specialists should be a 2-3 point advantage for Michigan. We are +2 for the year, good for 12th nationally while MSU is 47 at just below 0 points per game.
Based on this years results, Michigan should have the advantage in every unit with the exception of punt return.
Because no one can have enough predictions, I am adding predictions for all Big 10 games this week.
The numbers say Michigan has a 10 point advantage with the ball, and State a 3 point advantage when they are in possession. Home field is worth, on average about 3 points that is likely offset by Michigan's advantage in special teams and field position.
Michigan 38 MSU 31
Elsewhere in the Big 10:
NW 20 @ Purdue 40
Wisconsin 24 @ Minnesota 25
Arkansas State 7 @ Iowa 43
Penn State 31 @ Illinois 9
Ohio State 27 @ Indiana 17