10/11/2010 – Michigan 17, Michigan State 34 – 5-1, 1-1 Big Ten
This just popped into my head in the same way a chorus of angels singing hosannas delivered calculus to Newton: they were probably Juggalos.
There were two of them, and they were walking south down the train tracks just east of the stadium as Michigan State bled the final minutes off the clock. I was in the midst of a stream of mostly Michigan folk who'd had enough—my breaking point was the running into the kicker penalty—moving east with the intent of hitting State Street and parts beyond after following the pathway between the field hockey stadium and football's practice field.
I don't remember much in the way of Juggalo-identifying characteristics except the hats. They were those oversized baseball caps with an enormous, off-center Old English D surrounded by graphic frippery I'm pretty sure designers call "grunge." They were carefully placed on the head, maybe 15 degrees from straight. This has been scientifically determined to be the angle that communicates maximum defiance.
The hats, man. These were the hat equivalent of chrome skulls, because apparently the best way to destroy your credit rating is to buy a bunch of chrome skulls. Maybe this is an urban legend but it's too good not to be true: men in a tall building somewhere have determined that credit card purchases of chrome skulls are inevitably followed by default, and will cease lending money to people who make them. If defiant hat angles left a paper trail these guys wouldn't have been able to get a loan in Zimbabwe.
The rest of it was just a way of confirming the hats. These were guys who had thought to themselves "wait, how do fuckin' magnets work?" They may have been blazed out of their minds at the time but no one can tell the difference any more. The reader will be utterly unsurprised to find out that as these guys approached the intersection with the Michigan fans one of them shouted "who's the little brother now?"
You. Still you. Always you.
Someone in front of me who was either a really pissed off 6'5" guy with a beard or the living manifestation of my id got into it with them. I get why. I mean, you're an adult with a family and a dishwasher. You've never thrown a rock at Tila Tequila. And these guys—who almost certainly didn't even go to the game because they couldn't afford it given the hats, the time and the direction they're walking*—start talking shit to you.
After the path to State Street intersects the tracks it jogs right to give the football field room. So there is this stream of slowly-moving Michigan fans including me and id guy separated from the Juggalos by just a few feet and a fence. For what was probably only a minute but seemed like forever, then, I'm listening to the back and forth between these guys. It's the usual—id guy is repeatedly asked where he went to school until he defiantly points in the direction of campus and says "here," then says his major is "FINANCIAL MATHEMATICS!!!" when pressed.
That was Saturday: financial mathematicians screaming at Juggalos, and the Juggalos winning. The State meathead directly behind me literally said "bitch! fuck you!" whenever MSU tackled Denard Robinson for less than five yards. On Friday, Tim came back to his apartment to find a trail of blood leading to a passed-out State meathead who'd broken in. The same guys who clumsily spray-painted a bedsheet in 2008 to declare their glorious victory over the worst Michigan team in 50 years reprised their genius. As I walked home every glassy-eyed Stiffler that passed me upped the amplitude of my anger/depression cocktail. Jesus, they were everywhere. They came to Ann Arbor cocky and stupid and left cocky and stupid. Enduring it was brutal. In their eyes, that was probably the point.
That's why Mike Hart's comment cut to the quick so much that three years later it's still the first, last, and only thing on the Juggalo mind. If coaching doesn't work out, Hart should start a consulting agency that visits bitter people on their deathbeds and devises things to say that just stick, nagging, sitting on your shoulder and telling you that's really not okay.
As for the current Michigan program, they took a grim step back against Stiffler U and are now poised on the edge of the same cliff no one knew they were falling from until the Illinois game last year. It is really hard to step back and say "it's just one game" after that travesty at Michigan Stadium, both inside and out, but long experience has taught me that gritting your teeth and just getting on with it is better than screaming the name of your major to the world at large.
*(The tracks are mostly fenced and anyone walking down them at that point is coming from well north of the stadium.)
And FUCK ROBINSON because it was more than him, Michigan State BEAT THE SHIT out of Michigan across the board, offense, defense, special teams, YOU NAME IT. WE BEAT THE YELLOW BELLY ASS UP AND DOWN THE FIELD.
I feel bad for the MSU fans I know, all fine people who don't own SHAGGY 2 DOPE jerseys, and the guys at The Only Colors but Christ, man. Normal-ish MSU fans were outnumbered ten to one.
Forgotten kindness. I meant to mention this in the aftermath of the Notre Dame game but it slipped my mind until the events of the weekend made me wish I was on the road in South Bend instead of at home against Michigan State: ND fans really are the nicest in the country. There are always Those Guys. In South Bend we had one in the row in front of us a few seats over who kept looking back at us and doing the usual dumbass fan taunting routine. The ND fans around us made fun of him for it. ND spawns the kind of pathology that makes ND Nation the most unintentionally entertaining message board on the internet but the vast majority of the fanbase are just nice people sad about their team.
With Weis gone, I'm not rooting against them in an active way until they're threatening for BCS bowls.
Also something I've forgotten to mention a lot. Drum major David Hines, Jr., probably has the best pregame back bend I've ever seen, and since I remember when the drum majors went from taking off the hat only for big games to doing it all the time, that's probably an all-time record.
This was always going to happen. People complaining about the defense, and there are many: WTF, are you surprised? Are you? Did you sit down at the beginning of the season and look over the post-Woolfolk secondary depth chart and think to yourself "boy, this looks like an average unit we've got right here?" This was already always going to happen last year, when the Decimated Defense Diaries and a simple count of available upperclassmen would have revealed that there was a giant gaping dropoff from the legitimate first-stringers Michigan had at maybe 8 or 9 positions to the second string. Then Donovan Warren, Justin Turner, and Troy Woolfolk departed Michigan's thinnest position. This was entirely predictable:
Plugging the enormous hole at safety would be great, but even if you make the reasonable assumption that Gordon/Kovacs/Robinson is going to be way better than Williams/Kovacs, the massive downgrade at corner means you're probably just treading water. Treading horrible, polluted, razor-blade-filled, despair-laden water.
The defense is off from hopeful expectations in that post but the reason is obvious. The depth chart is what it is.
The doom. I never thought Denard Robinson's problem throwing the ball would be a refusal to take off and run after the timer in the head expires. On all three interceptions he should have just run after he sat in the pocket for two or three beats. The second one was just death—pump-fake, hesitation, slant on the goal line? Guh. I think we all expected Denard would have some issues throwing the ball but three huge mistakes in one game is fatal unless you're going up against a team making those mistakes back at you. Michigan gained 263 yards in a half and had ten points from it.
The frustration. The game's killer sequence occurred when Jordan Kovacs tackled an MSU TE three yards short on third and ten only for MSU to catch a break on a false start. On the ensuing third and fifteen Michigan couldn't tackle Keshawn Martin after he caught like a five-yard hitch and they converted. The ensuing touchdown drive was the distance that put Michigan in desperation mode. That's a ferret-puncher right there. Makes you want to go find a ferret, and punch it.
Also you can add many drops, a hopeless MSU pass getting deflected to a receiver, and another missed field goal.
Punt? I know you're down seventeen and it looks grim but a comeback isn't totally out of the realm of possibility… until you punt with like seven minutes on the clock. Apparently Rodriguez owned up to that as a mistake afterwards.
Long runs. I'm going to have a lot of fun figuring out the basic off-tackle runs that Michigan State hit for touchdowns. I'm just hoping Ezeh was not involved so that someone else can come in for the tsking. I do know that on the second one the right side of the line was Patterson and JB Fitzgerald at DE, which got run directly at and did about as well as you would expect. That one's probably on the DL at least somewhat. I'm sure Cam is at fault, too, because I said I like him and he would be important and that he was really good at filling on run plays. This is how the world works.
Cam also had an opportunity to undercut a receiver and intercept a long pass that he did not take; I believe that drive was the one on which MSU ended up in third and thirty-two, so it didn't end up mattering much.
The usual Vincent Smith complaining and counter-complaining and etc. You probably don't want Smith ever getting another third and one carry whether you're on Team Smith or Team Whoever Else. I couldn't believe Michigan 1) went with another inside zone to a back who almost never gets one yard after contact, let alone yards, and 2) didn't get it. Hopkins may have fumbling problems but at some point Michigan's fail on third and one is just as damaging.
Also, the difference between Smith and Shaw was painfully apparent and relevant on a run during one of Michigan's early drives when he broke into the open field with nothing between him and the endzone and got tackled by a linebacker coming from the inside. Shaw probably scores there; Michigan got a field goal on that drive IIRC.
Maybe you get spoiled. Because the internet is, theoretically, self-selective, you can cocoon yourself in a certain level of high-mindedness and discourse. The problem with going out in to the real world, to have real experiences with real people is that there are far too many people who, frankly, suck.
To whomever it was that suggested the best way to deal with any loss is to acknowledge the quality effort by the other side, point out one or two keen observations about your own team's failings, and wish them well, by goodness, it works. It totally works. The reasonable will discuss with you further, but usually in the rational, measured tones of conversation, and the trash talkers will move on to more fertile ground.
That said, if I had seen a cinder block wall with Greg Robinson's picture on it after the game on Saturday, I would have punched it, consequences be damned.
first post here and I'm sure it will ruffle feathers. Does anyone think that our offense would be better NEXT year, given the lack of a homerun threat at RB, if Denard is our feature RB and Devin is the QB? Think of the possibliites you would have with run/pass options with Denard taking a lateral or handoff? Defenses will have a nightmare trying to defend Devin's run/pass threat in addition to having to worry about Denard in the run/pass game as well. That would leave our WR's open for a field day. Also, does anyone think that Denard would have been caught from behind by a linebacker like Smith was in the MSU game? I just think we need to get our best, most explosive atheletes on the field at the same time.
Honestly dude I appreciate the thought but the answer is no for a lot of reasons. First off, we will have better speed next year at RB unless injuries destroy us. Second, Denard probably wouldn't be very durable as a RB.
I just think we're missing that home run threat at RB. Shaw seems to fragil to me, Smith too slow. Maybe next year Hart will be that guy, but he'll be just a true freshmen. Whether Denard is the RB or QB or slot, I'm all for getting him as many touches as possible, I just think that Devin is also a major run threat from the QB positon, it would behove us to have two major threats on the field at the same time.
This is stupid. The only way Gardner should start next year is if he is a better QUARTERBACK than Robinson. The qb will always be the most important player for a Rodriguez offense and we should have our best qb at that position and nowhere else. That doesn't even account for the fact that Shaw, who is decent, Toussaint, who is injured but has potential, and Hart will all be here next year. One of those guys will be a very good running back for us next year.
I don't think it's entirely out of the question....
Look, I love Denard at QB, he's won us games this year that we woudn't have won otherwise. I think with another year under his belt, Devin will be as good as Denard is and Denard at RB would be awesome. Toussaint looks slow to me as well. Didn't he get caught from behind by a BG player on his long run? Could be because of the brace he's wearing or lingering effects of the injury. He also seems injury prone to me as well.
I feel like right now the only thing that Gardner can do better than Robinson is throw the deep ball. I also feel like Shaw and even Smith right now are better running than Gardner. I am not saying Gardner won't be a good runner but right now he doesn't understand the speed of the game or know the blocking assignments well enough. So, if we are just talking about running, I would rather have Shaw and Robinson than Gardner and Robinson.
I only want Gardner to replace him if he is the better qb, because of how important the qb is. If next year Gardner is better at running this offense, then put Robinson at a different position and let Tate back him up.
But I don't agree with the idea that we have to have the best 11 atheletes out there regardless of position. We need to put the best players at each position out there. If it just happens that two of the best are at qb, oh well.
of Robinson's ability to block. Run blocking. Pass blocking. Picking up blitzing LBs. Trying to chip someone like Ryan Kerrigan.
or burrowing into the line on a third-and-short from about five yards deep, then lying at the bottom of a pile of players.
RB is not just about running the ball. Robinson is an excellent athlete, but I do not think he has the build to be a running back in this offense, and he certainly doesn't have the background.
Why would we put our second-best (or third-best) passer at QB and put someone who can't block at RB? There's enough misdirection in a standard RR offense; we don't need gimmicks like two-QB formations unless it involves a high school QB who moved to WR.
Dear GOD (Allah, Buddha, Scientology deity, what have you), can we ever make a tackle? This system with the smaller, faster guys seems to completely fall apart when we can't tackle for anything. Sure, we slow up the running back for a gain of two, but the missed tackles and him falling forward turns it into nine! This was one of the most frustrating things for me. I am so thankful I didn't have to deal with SpartyBroz, because that would've set off my RAGEmode.
At least the waitress was cute at the sports bar. And I totally got her number. This prevented too much depression.
The tackling isn't great, but it just seems like every 2-3 yard gain ends up being 6-8 even though we have the ballcarrier wrapped up. And on a related note, it seems like the harder Cam Gordon thumps someone, the less likely that guy is to actually go down. It just looks like he is trying to tackle guys with his chest/shoulder rather than wrapping them up with his arms.
Agreed that someone needs to teach Cam Gordon how to tackle (and his inability to do so thus far falls clearly on the coaching staff). It's great that he can fly to the ball and potentially hit the ballcarrier hard, but he's yet to do it to any real effect thus far, and I counted a number of occasions on Saturday in which he'd just bounce right off the runner and fall down, while the guy who got hit continued to move. Every time that happened, I died a little inside. Wrap up Cam!
Denard threw behind the receivers on the two end zone plays. The first one was an easy touchdown to Roundtree if he makes it. The second one... probably shouldn't have been thrown. There was a window, but only a tiny one. He threw behind and Rucker picked it.
On another topic, I think the clear remedy to all of our Michigan State problems is to put The Enlightened Spartan back into the Blog poll. He can hilliariously over rank MSU, make them winners of the CK award time and time again, and curse them to a late collapse every year.
Do it Brian, you know that this will be the best solution for all involved.
Normally after a loss these things cheer me up a bit but man do I hate everything right now.
Some time in the fourth quarter I think I saw a block in the back or a hold or something on an msu bubble screen or something of the like, I'll remember when I see the UFR, but I saw this and even sitting (ok standing) in the student section I screamed with such vitriol and anger in my heart after most of the people around me had kind of resigned themselves that I got looks not of annoyance but actual fear that I was deranged. I won't write what I screamed at the official here but suffice to say there was cursing involved. It was during, not after the play, and I actually put my hand up and apologized, saying "sorry, it's been a frustrating game."
Is that with MSU, you just get the disease, and none of the perks.
I literally was surrounded by MSU fans. The guys next to me gave their tickets to their son or someone, who brought an MSU student with them. He was ok. On my right was the law firm from the west side of the State who always gives their tickets to customers, usually opposing fans for big games (fuck you guys), who started by saying "I'm a Michigan fan's worst nightmare! I know ALL about your team", as he slurred it, drunkenly. But other than woo-wooing, wasn't too bad, and he had his hot girlfriend between me and him, so alright. Some Michigan fan who apparently left his balls in a jar with his wife at home, because his kids was all decked out in MSU gear (little kid was a little kid and ok...but dad, really, child abuse). Then the two separate guys behind me...the one who shouted and cheered each play like Denard could do nothing, and the utter domination he was seeing was unprecedented (ok, maybe he was right...and when he bumped me, he was nice about it. I told him good luck the rest of the way after the game). But then there was the same guy Brian had sitting behind him sitting right behind me (which I thought was impossible, since I think Brian sits on the opposite side of the Stadium than me, but whatever). And yes, he was uttering every f-bomb slurring and taunting for 3 and a half hours. Since for some reason I stayed for the whole f'ing thing.
I'm glad Brian, after 2 days of the "it's just one game, and it didn't mean anymore than that" is on the side of "that was more, and a bad loss". Not world ending. But bad, man. And really, I don't want to hear anyone else from California or Delaware or whatever tell me it wasn't.
Yes, other than the student section, which, you know, anywhere...ND fans are the most like Michigan fans. It's the one really the only place I've been to on the road where I see a lot of us in there, and you can usually deal with the other fans. I mean you can at Northwestern too, but most years they're just hoping not to get waxed, and 2/3's of the Stadium is Michigan fans anyway.
Funny that you mention this after this week's game...watching the drum major, I was hit with the thought at the game how it's just expected to take the hat off, and I remember when they used to touch while still wearing that huge hat, a much less impressive feat. And I remember the guy who changed it too. Lived in my dorm.
Defense- it's not good. We all know that. Saying that, I thought it wasn't a horrible game by them. They played better than in a lot of them. I think if we were scoring points, it might have even made them look better. Not good, but better. This one was on the offense.
I too felt when the "stop them replay the down on an offensive penalty they get the first down" sequence was done, at that point I kinda figured we were doomed. Hung around to see us be doomed, but yeah, that's when I lost hope.
I don't think you're going to like the Obi film on those runs....
Oh, and on the ferret punching? Be careful....ferrets punch back...
I do believe Ezeh was at fault on the first(?) long touchdown run. If I recall, he misread the gap, over-pursued, and the got caught up in the chaos. By this time, the RB was already past the secondary.
On one of those runs, Ezeh did something totally bizarre by running far to his right to try to fill a non-existent gap between the LT and the TE, who Kovacs was already engaged with. Ezeh wound up turning his hips away from the center of the field, and the tackle just gave Ezeh a shove to continue his momentum. There was an enormous hole that the back sprinted through. Ezeh wound up facing the sideline with his back to the play. Cam Gordon put the cherry on the top by creeping up too far in to the middle of the field and then taking a poor angle that removed any possibility of him making a play.
I'm thinking about writing a diary about the nature of the rivalry, and the role geography plays. I know a lot of Spartans' opinions about Michigan fans are informed by the Michigan fans in the Lansing area, and a lot of Michigan fans' impressions of Spartan fans are formed by . . . well, juggalos.
This is not a fire Rodriguez post, but Brian misses the point
At some point, the team is RR's, as are the results on the field. Maybe you can make the case in year three that it isn't, but I think year four has to be that tipping point, at the latest. Most of these players are his. Sobering fact of the day: since he arrived, RR has recruited no one who can play linebacker better than Obi Ezeh.
On that same note, the frustrating thing about this game was not how easily MSU threw the ball against our secondary. We knew that was coming. Instead, I think it was how our dline and linebackers were eaten alive by MSU. The fighting brahs could have foregone the forward pass and still won the game. Before the game, I would have argued that our D could at least stop the run, if we were willing to give up massive gains through the air. Now it is clear that, even stacking 8-9 guys in the box, we cannot stop the run against an above average (but by no means great) offensive line with any consistency.
That does not bode well for Iowa, who is good to excellent on both sides of the ball in the trenches. I'm hoping I'm wrong, but Iowa does not look winnable unless we're +2-3 in TOM.
"out of these tunnels will come the meanest, toughest sonsabitches ever to put on pads"
RR has done a pretty good job of restocking the cupboard on offense (Denard, Forcier, Shaw, Roundtree, Odoms, Omameh, Lewan), but defensively it's a different story. The only real solid player so far on the defensive side of the ball that RR has recruited seems to be Roh. Hopefully, next year when some of the young guys have another year in the system that will change.
Will Campbell not having an instant BG type impact? Turner & a million others leaving or sucking ass? Injuries etc. ect. . . I am not saying there isn't any blame on the current staff but damn if they haven't been shit on by horrible timing. Hopefully after this season of Michigan Football we have seen the worst for years to come. I am still an optimist at this point.
One note for those who are inevitably starting up the FIRE RODRIGUEZ UNACCEPTABLE bandwagon once again -- I hope you also noticed Stanford's defense got absolutely strafed the last two weeks too.
That said, while the defense was always going to be a problem, I'm not so sure it should be this spectacularly bad. They don't just suck at the things you'd expect inexperienced guys to suck at, they suck at basic fundamentals too. We absolutely have a talent problem, but I think it's pretty clear that we also have some coaching issues on that side of the ball.
Credit where due though: the defense did come out nicely in the first quarter. Let's hope the coaches can get more of that out of them next time instead of just one quarter of it.
Did anybody else happen to witness the scene after the game on Division, between Hill & Packard? There was basically a group of ~50 MSU fans celebrating right in the middle of Division as people in cars were trying to, you know, drive through the street. They were basically mobbing every single car that was trying to drive through, backing up traffic all the way back to Hoover. Absolutely ridiculous.
I would love to hear somebody try to defend the behavior of some of the MSU fans that were in AA Saturday. I'm not saying that all MSU fans were acting like idiots (the vast majority of the ones I was around before & during the game were well-behaved), but the ones that did were an absolute disgrace.
Sometimes I think it's a sin
When I feel like I'm winnin when I'm losin again
...as I witnessed some really great examples of this.
Giving some of these fans the benefit of the doubt went out the window with the grace of Hancock. I'm not a big fan of hate, but when my wife repeatedly was pushed over the boiling point and wanted to whip some ass, you know you've crossed a line or three.
They had an opportunity to take the high ground for once; show a little class, decorum and even gain some respect from seeing their team perform at a very high level. Smart fans would have given it too them.
Instead, a lot of these idiots put a meteor-impact sized stamp on the fact that they indeed will always be little brother. Or more like an unliked second cousin that gets his ass kicked at the annual family picknic just to keep the order of things.
That game was brutal. I had six people I graduated with in town for our annual get together. The weather was perfect. The pregame was great. A Spartan friend of mine asked me how I was feeling and I said "I think it will be a great game" And she looked at me and said "you're nervous" She was right.
It was like my worst fears were realized. Yes the defense and special teams are just as bad as you feared. No, the offense isn't really as good as it looked for the first five games. Maybe this is just like last year and Rodriguez will be fired and Michigan is fucked for a long time.
I am shocked we played so poorly on offense. Of course, it could be just a bad game for the qb. He could rebound and play better. But the sad thing is that MSU is not a top ten team. Even if Robinson had played perfect, it would have been a nailbitter.
Before the defensive backfield implosion, I picked Michigan to go 9-3 back in the spring. Then after Woolfolk went down I switched to 7-5. I still think we can do that, and I am really hoping for 8-4, but that game has me worried.
Despite how upset I was with the loss, when I look back on it now, I must say that I am somewhat heartened by the fact that it took no mistakes from MSU, 3 Michigan INTs, some bad luck as far as penalties go, two shoestring tackles on Shaw and Roundtree early in the game that likely would have gone the distance…all that and we still only got beat by what people are calling a top 10 team and a dark horse contender for the national title by 17 points.
The game's killer sequence occurred when Jordan Kovacs tackled an MSU TE three yards short on third and ten only for MSU to catch a break on a false start. On the ensuing third and fifteen Michigan couldn't tackle Keshawn Martin after he caught like a five-yard hitch and they converted.
Amen, brother. Raise your hand if you knew this was going to happen the moment you saw they were going to get another third down try. Everybody, right? Yeah me too.
With many others, I agree about the ND fans. Northwestern, too.
- - -
I was surrounded by Spartans, too. The ones in front were great and I heard them say "most awesome stadium I've ever seen" or something to that effect several times. In back? Mixed bag. Behind me to my left I had an MSU student (okay guy) and his more cognitively challenged brother (student at a compass-point school that will not be named here). I engaged the former in conversation a couple of times after plays and he was OK. His brother looked at me with a dim "Me think him might be h0m0" look on his face. Odd mixture of fear, anger, and uncertainty. Directly behind me were a couple of 40-something meatheads (mouth breathers, both -- I could feel it on my tightly-shorn scalp) who spent the whole game screaming "STICK HIM / KILL HIM" whenever Denard got the ball. I also heard "THAT N1@@3R DOESN'T KNOW WHAT HE'S DOING!"
- - -
Part Two, which might be worth an MGoBoard post, concerns the most obnoxious fans in the immediate area. They had maize shirts.
You honestly heard a person yell the N word in a public setting? I don't care what fan base they were part of, what stadium or even the situation. There is no situation were that is okay. If I heard that I would be in jail and they would be in the hospital.
Are you a park ranger at Yellowstone? Say hi to Yogi Bear for me. - the_big_house 500th
I lived in Augusta, GA for 3 years when I was in the Navy. I heard n***** more than a few times in public.
I never liked the SEC, but grew to despite it while living in the south. Auburn fans were actually ok. Worst fans ever? Hands down, Tennessee. They're still wanting to fight the Second Civil War over Woodson winning the Heisman over Manning...