"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."
[Ed(Seth): Standard bump]
Best: Falling Back
In addition to Saturday’s game being on Halloween, it also fell on the last day of summer daylight savings time, when we set the clocks back an hour. Colloquially, people call that “falling back” an hour, so you get another hour of sleep (well, for those of us without little children who apparently rise and fall based 100% on sunlight and morning cartoons) in exchange for earlier nights.
For so much of this game, it felt like UM was falling back into the old rut that had formed around the program for nearly a decade. For years now, UM has shown an uncanny ability to fall apart as the season progressed, playing down to competition and letting one loss mushroom into more as the leaves and clocks changed. Last year it was letting understandable losses to Utah and Minnesota submarine a game against Rutgers and, later, Maryland. The year before it was blowing a winnable game against Nebraska following a demolition at MSU, which followed extremely close calls to UConn(!) and Akron(!!). I won’t dredge up the RR years, but you can look up those late-season horror shows if you want. And after the gut-punch that was MSU, UM fans probably shouldn’t have been as confident in a smooth bounce back by the Wolverines.
Certainly, Minnesota looked the part of a pushover. The Gophers, down Jerry Kill at the top and a bunch of skill players from last year’s team, had stumbled into the game, losers of 2 of their last 3, including blowout losses at Northwestern (27-0) and to Nebraska (48-25). They couldn’t really run the ball or pass it (take it away, Jim), had a defense that was scuttling a bit after being the bedrock for the team last year, and generally looked like a team that was playing out the string. But it was also a night game, deep in the heart of Jerrysota, and it was being officiated by B1G refs, which meant that absolutely nothing should be expected to go the way it looked on paper.
On UM’s first drive, Jake Rudock threw an ill-advised shovel pass to Peppers that was picked off, giving Minnesota solid field position that they used (with the help of another recurring element of this game, bat-sh!t crazy passing plays by Minnesota, this one a falling-down 31-yard catch by the receiver between three defenders) to score a FG. Even though UM scored TDs on their next two drives, Minnesota just kept hanging around, scoring another FG and began to stymie the UM offense, forcing a punt and a fumble on consecutive drives. And they continued to have amazing luck in the passing game, with Mitch Leidner completing a 52-yard TD that was both behind and inside his receiver in tight coverage, who then made Jarrod Wilson miss and scored. Minny took a lead into halftime thanks to another nutters long reception, a sure interception that Dymonte Thomas instead volleyballed into the air, for a late FG, and UM was struggling to run the ball (45 yards at HT) or really get anything going in the air (after starting off reasonably accurate, Rudock was completing a bit over 50% of his passes for about 6 ypa).
[Hit THE JUMP to see how many straws we can grasp (hint: one)]
Mlive has a write up about Wilton Speight and Freddy Canteen turning heads. While the Speight news is good to hear and the majority of the article was about him, he probably has little likelihood of playing this year. Canteen would help tremendously in the slot this year.
It's official--we've added seven players to the Michigan family:
- Drake Harris
- Wilton Speight
- Bryan Mone
- Freddy Canteen
- Brandon Watson
- Michael Ferns
- Mason Cole
I believe all seven of these guys are future starters. But who will make an impact in 2014? The guy with the best chance on paper is Bryan Mone, since we don't have any established players at NT. But I'm going to pick Freddy Canteen, who has freakish quickness and good speed (reported to have run a 4.43 40). If he's half the technician he appears to be on tape and is a willing blocker, then his EE conditioning might get him into the line-up early. Drake Harris is another possibility.
Speight is up against two good QBs with game experience, Watson is on a depth chart with a plethora of quality DBs (that felt good to say), Ferns is one of many talented LBs, and, finally, we should be able to redshirt all of our incoming OL, so Cole should get a year of seasoning,
Welcome to the family, and GO BLUE!
Here is Tom's weekly recruiting talk with Brad Galli from WXYZ 7.
Topics include Wilton Speight, Da'Shawn Hand, 2014/15 recruiting and the UConn game.
Q&A at DetNews with Sam Webb and two national recruiting analyst types talking progression of Speight, chances with Adoree Jackson + JuJu Smith (to create the best set of names in a defensive backfield in history), some Drake Harris talk, and Michigan's recruiting as a whole.