Reasons for Winning
I am so glad Michigan won, but this game kept me on pins and needles. I had a sick feeling in my stomach, and the resolve of the team in pulling this out was tremendous.
There are so many different things to credit for the win. And there are also numerous things NOT to credit. To wit,
- Our running game was virtually non-existent. Between our OL, their blitzes, RPS, we barely got off any signficant runs.
- We kind of stopped their running, but I saw a lot of missed tackles, and both Wilson and Thomas got a significant amount of yardage.
- Our passing stunk. While Hemingway's TD catches were great, those were thrown up for grabs, really jump balls, and the first one could easily have been an interception. We were fortunate that one interception was called interference (correctly,), and that a second pick was called back because of the ground.
- Their passing was decent. It seemed they shredded our secondary quite a bit. We were fortunate that other than Posey and Ohio, (and ND somewhat,) we didn't face too many accurate QB's combined with tall, fast receivers. Our secondary has got to improve.
Given our non-existent running, our sketchy passing, their running, and Thomas's ability to be patient and find receivers, I would never have believed we would win. (oh ye of little faith.) I remember thinking with a couple minutes left in the first half how fortunate we were to only be down six, and how VT really was very vulnerable by not scoring any TD's.
Why did we win? Well, there are all kinds of reasons.
- The special teams. That's too general, especially given the poor punting we began with. But we caused and recovered a fumble just before the first half. We stopped them on a trick play in the second half. We benefited greatly from the roughing the kicker penalty. Gibbons hit three field goals and missed none. (yeah Brunettes!!)
- Turnovers. Between their fumble and Clark's interception, we scored 10 points. Huge turn around. You also could include the two interceptions they had which were overturned by official review.
- Red Zone defense. Stopping them at the four yard line was huge.
- Good fortune, or making the most of your opportunities. Not only did we get turnovers and stop them several times on fourth down, Michigan capitalized on these opportunities.
I loved this game, and hope it is a great portent of things to come.