"The University of Illinois is also in turmoil. The university sports an Interim Chancellor, an Interim Athletic Director, and an Interim Football Coach; the game will be played at Soldier Field, making this an Illini Interim Home Game."
Lost in the excitement of Michigan's great win at MSU was other victories by Michigan teams today.
- Men's tennis won 4-3 at 10th ranked Mississippi
- #11 Women's tennis beat Virginia Tech 6-1
- #5 Women's gymnastics beat 23rd ranked Ohio State 197.325-195.200 (that's a pretty big win)
- #2 Men's gymanstics is currently leading #4 Stanford and #6 California in the Stanford Open
It's worth noting that gymnastics rankings are based on team averages. The men's team is undefeated and returns an incredible amount of talent from last year's National Championship team. They are very arguably the best team in the country. Oklahoma is ranked #1.
For those interested, at 4:30 on BTN Michigan State travels to Crisler to play Michigan in a Women's Basketball game. Michigan is 11-4 (2-0) on the season with Big Ten wins at Ohio State and at home against Wisconsin. Michigan State is 10-5 (2-0) on the season with wins at Minnesota and home against a good Nebraska team.
I hate to do this, but need some local expertise from the MGoCommunity
My family will be travelling up to Michigan the weekend of the state game. We have a hotel for Friday night and plan to take my oldest kiddos around the campus and to their first Michigan game the next day. I’ve been looking online for tickets and 4 are generally running around $250-400 a-piece with some end zone seats going for $200. I’ve never had a problem finding tickets outside of the stadium before the game, but I certainly don’t want to run into a situation where we get there and can’t find anything. For the regular attenders, would you recommend waiting until game day to purchase tickets or in the wake of the success are the tickets that day in short supply? Is it any cheaper to wait?
Also, we traditionally parked by the radio broadcast booth next to Crisler Arena and with that space now closed for construction, would the next best place to go be the golf course or Pioneer High school?
Many thanks for the advice!!
- MSU (17-11, 5-11, RPI: 33) @ #14 Michigan (22-7, 10-6, RPI: 13)
- Wednesday November 18
- Cliff Keen Arena
- TV: BigTenNetwork
- Radio: MGoBlue
Michigan returns to the floor for it's second Wednesday night special of the season against Michigan State as the two teams set out to battle for the State Pride Flag. Michigan currently leads the race including a 3-0 win over MSU by scores 33-31, 25-22, and 26-24. That's really close for a 3-0 sweep, and by all indications, that'll probably be the case again tonight.
Momentum Coming In
Michigan enters this game on a 3 game winning streak, but all three of those wins came against the 3 of the bottom four teams in the BigTen. To make it sound worse, two of those games involved Michigan squeaking by in 5 sets. That's not the way a top 15 team should be winning.
The Spartans also have struggled of late, including losing 3 of their last four. One of those losses was a respectable sweep by Illinois (the Illini are a top ten team), but the other two came at the hands of Northwestern and Indiana, teams guaranteed to finish the conference season with a losing record.
A little bit has changed since the last time Michigan faced the Spartans. In that last game, Lexi Zimmerman dislocated her thumb, and that has definitely made a noticeable difference in the team's play. While Lexi's thumb should be getting closed to healed. The last time I saw it was two weeks ago, still wrapped in the support brace. In the picture to the right, from mgoblue, you can see the thumb wrap at it's largest. You can also see some excellent control of her body.
Another player that has been missing is middle blocker Courtney Fletcher. While I don't have the exact diagnosis, her being on crutches with the ankle soft cast (or that's what it appeared to be, feel free to leave what you know in the comments) is still a fixture on the sidelines. Karlee Bruck has taken her place on the court, and has done well so far. Bruck was the starter to finish last season and has plenty of experience. She should be a solid replacement on the net.
The real loss with Fletcher's injury is on the serve. Bruck's serve is the reason she lost her starting job to Courtney in the first place. To try and keep a solid 6th server, Coach Rosen has been using Maggie Busch as a defensive specialist as a substitute. Busch has already had 7 service aces on the season, but she's very inconsistent, claiming 7 service errors as well.
What to Watch
While I think Michigan should be a heavy favorite across the board in this game, the Wolverines have been letting too many teams stay in close games. With teams like Indiana and Purdue, our team's talent can pull through. Against Michigan State, they'll have that added motivation which could really hurt Michigan. We need to keep the intensity high and not take the boot off their throats. If Michigan starts to let MSU go on any 5-0 run or better and we haven't called timeout, I'll start to worry.
Oh, and we need to cut down on the service errors.
Again, I'm not sold on these charts yet, but I think they may put a couple things in perspective.
|Serve Errors/Game||2.5||Serve Errors/Game||1.9||MSU|
|Passing Errors||29||Passing Errors||37||Michigan|
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.
All of the Michigan fans who lived down in Michigan land loved Michigan football. Oh, how they loved it all.
The Champions and Best. Every game day test! The Maize and the Blue! They loved it, it’s true.
Yes, it’s safe to say, every Michigan fan felt this way.
On Saturdays they would gather, sit around, talk, chatter. Then the anthem would play, and “Oh say can you see”, they would say. The kickoff ensued, and victory pursued, their minds of just one focus! The players left it on the field, and the fans’ resolve with each win was steeled. They didn’t need a lot of Hocus Pocus.
Yes, It’s safe to say Michigan fans loved Michigan football a lot.
But the Rosenberg, who looked down on Ann Arbor, did not.
How he hated The Victors. How he hated the Big House! How he hated losing! He only liked to get soused. He only liked to go boozing. Yes, Rosenberg liked the green and white. Liked them so much that he stayed up all night. He wanted to help destroy the Blue. But what, oh what could he do?
“I don’t have anything,” he said with a cower. “Why, it’s been days since I even had a shower! I have no talents, no friends. I can’t rally an angry mob.” Then, with a start, he realized, “Hey! I have a job!”
It’s true, he did. Nobody knows quite why. It certainly wasn’t for the best. But the old Rosenberg did indeed write for the old Detroit Free Press. Well… writing is perhaps too kind a term, but he at least put words next to each other, the sniveling little worm.
So to work he set, no research done yet, and pounded his ugly, gnarled hands on his keyboard. He called old players, the ones who couldn’t hack it, and asked if he lied and acted stupidly, would they back it?And when they said yes, his spirit soared.
Why, he even called honest freshmen, after chewing his sweetest breath mint, and whispered sweet lies in their ear.
“I want to write, for your fans, about how hard you work, so they will know how hard to cheer.”
Then he went further, and set his pea sized brain against understanding, again and again! When he would stop? Even he didn't know when!
At last, he had jerked out a truly disgusting masterpiece! No fact was undistorted. Many just went unreported. And then he knew it was time to unleash his beast!
The season was close! Tensions were high! Michigan expectations ran from the ground to the sky.
“Let me release it now,” the old Rosenberg cackled, “and in discord they’ll be shackled! They’ll be mired in argument, controversy; they won’t win a game!” And he was sure, he was positive, it would be just the same. “The fans will abandon. They’ll yell and they’ll jeer! They’ll call for Rodriguez’ head, and definitely won’t cheer.”
And then came the season, and the 4th week. And Rosenberg was so nervous, he could hardly speak.
“I don’t understand! My plan isn’t working! Not even after I did all that pointless ego jerking! Well, it won’t matter. They’ll lose today. Yes, then everything will be okay. Then, finally, Michigan will go away.”
And then the game was played, under the harshest conditions. In the center of Spartan land, so remote and unfinished, it was like an expedition! Cattle wandered the town, with cows in the field. Obscenities were uttered, and cheap, cheap beer was spilled.
And then, oh what happened.
In Ann Arbor it’s thought, in Ann Arbor they say, Michigan whipped Michigan State 35 to 7 that day! And old Rosenberg’s boss, he could take it no more! Rosenberg was fired from his job, left utterly poor.
And the Rosenberg’s final indignity, as he sat on the curb, and pulled his feet back from the street sweeping machine, was just one thought:
“It must be great to be a Michigan Wolverine.”