They're pushing each other, and if anything, when the ball's in the air the receiver pushes him off in the back.
Michigan 28, Akron 24
This afternoon in front of a late-arriving, non-sellout crowd at the Big House, Michigan faced off against an Akron team that went 1-11, 1-11, and 1-11 in the last three seasons, started the year with a 38-7 loss to UCF, spent last weekend getting outgained and nearly outscored by FCS James Madison, and is considered the worst team in the FBS. This was a game to work out the kinks in the playbook, get in some good reps for the backups, and give a good show for the fans who probably paid $5 for a ticket from their friend who likes to sleep in on Saturdays.
At first, it looked like all would go as expected; Michigan forced an Akron punt on their opening drive, and after Fitz Toussaint rushed for a two-yard loss, Devin Gardner completed five consecutive passes, capped by a 48-yard toss to Devin Funchess, who outran the entire Akron secondary en route to the end zone.
Concern started to grow when Michigan's next drive netted zero yards. The first quarter ended with the score at 7-3, Wolverines; surely, Michigan would pull away any time now.
Then Brendan Gibbons missed a 45-yard field goal to start the second quarter, snapping his streak of 16 consecutive makes. After the defense forced a three-and-out, the Wolverines drove deep into Zips territory, only for Devin Gardner to fumble away the possession on a speed option—a play in which Fitz Toussaint had a clear touchdown if Gardner would've pitched. The defense again picked up the offense, as Blake Countess intercepted a Kyle Pohl pass and returned it all the way to the Akron 20-yard line. Any time now...
Three plays later, Gardner forced a pass into coverage that Akron's DeAndre Scott intercepted easily. The Zips were able to mount a plodding drive that oozed into Michigan territory; after taking a delay of game on fourth-and-one, however, Robert Stein's 45-yard field goal clanged off the left upright. Any time now...
Two plays later, Gardner threw the ball to a well-covered Jeremy Gallon; Akron's Justin March came away with the interception. Luckily for Michigan, only 29 seconds remained on the clock. Stein's 55-yard attempt with 0:05 left in the half went wide left, and the Wolverines were happy to kneel out the clock and regroup at halftime. Any time now...
The second half began inauspiciously, with the Wolverines gaining just one yard on three plays before a Matt Wile punt. Akron's ensuing possession went 75 yards in eight plays, ending in a 28-yard touchdown from Pohl to a wide-open Zach D'Orazio, who went unmolested up the seam as the linebackers failed to get depth on their drops and the safeties couldn't close the gap. Akron 10, Michigan 7. ANY TIME NOW...
Devin Gardner bounced back from his turnovers and gave U-M fans a brief respite from PANIC on the next possession, scoring on a 36-yard inverted veer keeper—for seemingly the first time all day, Michigan got great blocking up front, and Jeremy Jackson guaranteed the score by wiping out three Akron defenders downfield. The defense held up their end, too, forcing another three-and-out, and the Wolverines took a 21-10 lead when Jehu Chesson took his first career reception on a crossing route, broke through a few (poor) tackling attempts by the Akron secondary, and jetted into the corner of the end zone. After Michigan came up with another stop, disaster averted, right?
Wrong. Two plays into the fourth quarter, Al Borges tried to set up a screen pass on third-and-9. Facing heavy pressure, Gardner sidearmed a horribly ill-advised throw directly into the arms of Justin March; as noted earlier, March plays for Akron. He waltzed 27 yards untouched into the end zone. ANY TIME NOW...
Michigan's next drive went nowhere, and Wile didn't help matters by booting a 35-yard punt—not even among his two worst on the day—to set up the Zips on their own 39. A 43-yard pass from Pohl to L.T. Smith set up Akron at the Michigan seven. The Wolverines caught a huge break two plays later, when Pohl threw a play-action pass right to Jarrod Wilson (above, Upchurch). Wilson smartly took a knee in the end zone, giving Michigan the ball on the 20. Time to run out the clock, yes?
Well, not quite. Fitz Toussaint started the drive with a 16-yard run, but his two ensuing carries netted a lone yard. After Gardner's third-down pass to Gallon came up just short of the sticks, Wile shanked a 22-yard punt. The Zips went on an 11-play march down the field, and after getting stuffed twice at the goal line, scored the go-ahead touchdown when they spread the field—Pohl rolled right and found receiver Tyrell Goodman all alone. 24-21, Akron. 4:10 left on the clock. Full-blown PANIC.
Gardner went back to what he'd done best all game, run the football, taking off for a 35-yard gain to move Michigan into Akron territory on the next possession. He found Gallon on the sideline for a 20-yard gain on the very next play, and Michigan got another first down when Gardner's throw to Jake Butt in the end zone drew a pass interference call. Toussaint found a big hole on the left side of the line and took advantage for a two-yard touchdown on the next play. 28-24, Michigan. 2:49 left. Now was the time, yes?
Well, kinda. First, Pohl found Jerrod Dillard for a 24-yard gain, and the Zips moved into Michigan territory two plays later when Blake Countess jumped offsides on a blitz. A 19-yard run by Conor Hundley on third-and-five gave the Zips a first down at the Michigan 27. Despite a holding call moving them back ten yards, Akron kept pushing downfield, with Pohl finding Smith all alone at the 11-yard line after escaping the pocket. Another pass to Smith gave Akron a third-and-one on the Michigan two as the clock ticked down to 0:15. An ill-advised toss play to Jawon Chisholm moved the ball back two yards; the Zips burned their final timeout. Fourth down, five seconds left, ball on the Michigan four.
Greg Mattison dialed up a heavy blitz, and Pohl's desperation pass found only fieldturf, perhaps helped by a missed holding call in the Michigan secondary. The time had finally come, with zero seconds on the clock. Michigan 28, Akron 24, The Horror II narrowly avoided.
In the end, Michigan outgained the worst FBS team outside of Georgia State by seven yards—seven very critical yards, as it turned out. Gardner's 248 passing yards and 103 rushing yards were offset by his four turnovers, including his second pick-six in as many games. The offensive line struggled to open up holes against a very small Akron defensive front. The defense, for their part, allowed far too many passes over the middle and couldn't muster a good pass rush until the game's final play; they gave up big plays, too, as both Raymon Taylor and Jourdan Lewis were beat for big gains over the top.
"This is an embarrassment," Taylor Lewan said after the game. Even with the victory, there's no argument here.
We've long since lived through The Horror (and I have no desire to revisit that).
Do we call the The Fiasco?
That nickname really tied this room together, does it not?
The Horror III: The Letdown
Well, you do have a point. The sequels are almost never as good as the originals. Like Police Academy.
I can agree that this near fiasco would definetely full under the "Horror" category.
It is almost like a John Carpenter trilogy:
Appy State was the original "Horror"
Toledo qualifies as "The Horror II"
This game would have most certainly made it as "The Horror III: The Season of the Zips".
Today's contest was extremely frustrating to watch. It brought me to wonder: Did Michigan just not prepare very well for this contest? I mean, I can see the mindset: Beat ND in a thriller, facing a team that has won 3 games in 3 seasons(!). Said opponent was rolled by Central Florida and went toe-to-toe with some guy named James Madison.
So, was practice time spent working on future opponents? Did the 2nd teamers/back-ups get more reps than usual because of foreseen blowout? I don't know.
I will say that Bowden has assembled a good coaching crew around him. The Zips SHOULD get better, but I was thinking 2-3 years from now. And when I mean good I mean MAC-LEVEL good, not beat Michigan good.No way should Akron have kept this game this close.
It woulda been The Horror Trilogy A-Z starting with The Fightin Appy's and ending with The Zippidy Dooda's... Slogan for the series on DVD "Bad shit happens in threes"
I high fived against Akron after third quarter and swore I wouldn't do it again... Until the last play.
High five...against Akron...gee whiz!
We all almost had to drink glass that had been smashed into powder. Glad we won.
Said this in the live blog but Mattison should forfeit his game check. He called a shocker and I still see no point in lifting the nose against spread teams. Soft coverage against MAC-letes, not disguising blitzes and generally being out-coached. Terrible.
You bring up a good point, our defense is lousy at disguising blitzes. Another issue is after the QB clearly identifies the blitz and changes the play, we are not capable of switching our defensive call. Not impressed with Mattison in this area so far this year.
Yeah, I'm surprised we did not check out of a few of those. That needs to be fixed before the B1G.
- who normally makes that call, the sideline or the MLB? Maybe this is an area where we miss Kovacs?
I absolutely love the picture/meme at the top of this post. Ace, or whoever created it, well done.
Al Borgess is trying to FORCE his Pro Style Offense, when obviously we are NOT there yet no matter how many flashes of awesome we see. We do not have the receivers and we do not have the running backs for his Pro Style Offense. As a result, Gardner was placed in too many 3rd and long scenarios and out of his comfort zone.
I'm not mad at Borgess for doing this because we want to keep our QB healthy, but after Gardner leaves, we are going to be a little screwed if the passing or running game fails to improve.
The Defense is solid, but I don't want to have to depend on them to win us the game like they did today.
You could start by spelling his name correctly.
When we were averaging 50 points a game the first two weeks?
Just an awful game. I hate Al Borges. It's Akron, after the first INTs, go to 2-3 TE sets WITH a fullback and just run the ball out of the I. Play action? Sprinkle it in! DEBORD WHERE ARE YOU!?!
Brady, find a god damn headset and put it on.
It was Akron. The O-line merely existing had more than enough meat to just push past them. We did it against CMU, did you forget? We kept scoring points with reserves on zone stretches even though Borges wouldn't exploit the safeties completely selling out on it. Why would it work against CMU and not against Akron? It's the same line.
The kids didn't have their goddamn heads in the game.
Michigan has holes. Every team in the Midwest has holes.... inclusive of Ohio. Michigan has a solution to the holes it has, and its name is Devin. When Devin plays like Vince Young 2.0. That was last Saturday. When he plays like Denard 2.0 those holes become exposed. That was today. It really comes down to that. When Devin is on we can win any game on our schedule. When Devin is off we can lost (most? any?) games on our schedule. I dont expect a worse game from him this year than this. I expect 1-2 more games like ND, preferably in November when we most need it. We are not Alabama NOR EVEN CLOSE (key point) where an average Devin means we beat good teams. A.J. can be average for Alabama and they can still win. It is as simple as that.
The OL is what it is - throwing Bryant in there might help one spot but thus far it has been just ok against MAC level schools, and frankly got trounced in the interior by Nix... no issue there, he is a top 15 pick. But Noah Spence and Adolphus Washington are going to rip it apart again and Devin is going to need a "ND game" to help Michigan stick around in that game. Heck NW and MSU D-lines are going to cause major issues for this OL ... Nebraska just sucks on defense so not them.
As for the defense any deficiences in the back 7 can be helped by the front 4. We just dont have that much talent there or what is there is young. Frank Clark is a paper dragon. Heitzman's offer sheet is all MAC teams and also rans like Indiana in the Big 10. He is a Purdue type player who STARTS at Michigan. Which means no one is better than him at that position. (yes I know I know - Jake Ryan and his offer sheet but for every 1 Ryan you get 20 guys who well, are equal to their offer sheet). Maybe Taco and Mario and those guys will one day be studs but not today. That is your defensive ends. Your tackles did ok, esp Black today. I thought Washintgon would be better overall - he has been on and off. Pipkins, I don't know - I will wait for Brian's analysis. But whatever the individual grades this DL has been gashed by both CMU and Akron in the run game and cannot create a pash rush with 4 guys. Why? Because apparently a lot of players are of MAC caliber or lower Big 10 caliber i.e. Purdue/Indiana. That's reality and no amount of "coaching" is going to fix that in 5 weeks. If you want to blame FUNK for the OL blame HOKE AND MATTISON for the DL - otherwise your criticism is unfair. You want FUNK fired for OL deficiency but you gloss over the DL deficiency? Then you are not facing the reality.
I thought the LBs would be better because of CMU - today they didnt flash against MAC talent. A few nice plays here or there but one wonders if the lack of DL coverage causes them a lot of issues - i.e. they have to do too much to cover for the DL weakness. The secondary I dont think is the issue - if you have a DL it covers up weaknesses in DB. There are 3 big powers in the Midwest folks - compare the DL's of the 3 powers - one has Nix and Tuitt, another has Spence and Washintgon (and that team lost guys like Simon last year who was an All Big 10 stud)... and we have.... (crickets chirping). Folks it is not all coaching, right now we dont have the talent at some key positions and the ghost of Tom Landry is not going to fix that. We HOPE the talent is there in the younger crew but right now it is not ready for prime time.
So it all circles back to the first portion of this long winded piece - it will fall on Devin Gardner being Vince Young 2.0 to have a 10 win type of season since there are major issues in our trenches.
Last point, everyone is overlooking the horror that is our punting game. The punt returns scare me each time Northfleet is out there but that side is at least somewhat ok; the kicking game? Horrid. Wile is costing us 10-15 yards on almost every punt of field position... he has shanked 1-2 kicks every game. He had one very good punt this game...one. When we are playing MSU which lives on defense, or Nebraska which lives on offense or OSU or NW he will cost us a game or 2 since 3 pts means the world in those games. Today he cost us 3 points in the 1st quarter with his shank... All YSU had to do was get 1-2 first downs and they had a FG. We didnt care at the time because LOL ITS AKRON, but at the end of the game his shank opened a window to lose. 1 or 2 first downs from the other team's own 25-30 means nothing, 1-2 first downs when your punter sucks and shanks it means a FG opportunity. Don't forget this while we skewer everyone else. THat is all. /rantanalysis
what was that thing you said before the other thing?
we were going to get better decisions with Devin at QB. I'm not seeing it. I see a guy who thinks he can make something out of nothing every play. I also see a guy who has almost immediate pressure when he snaps the ball because of this O line. Hell, we had to go with QB draws to gain any rushing yards ... against Akron. I guess the worst part is I naively thought we had gotten back to the point where we slapped MAC teams silly without too much trouble and moved along. Apparently not.
offense, defense and special teams. Devin looked so sharp early in the game, but when he gets pressure he still makes poor decisions. I am not jumping off the bandwagon, but hopefully he gets this worked out before November 3rd. We were lucky to win today.
Now, we are going to become Alabama. I don't see that happening for a few years. In between is going to be a long, painful transition.
This team is more worrying than 2008 and more disgraceful than 2007. I hope they have lots of stairs to run and 5AM workouts this upcoming week.
This is maybe the biggest overraction I've seen. Chill out, was a terrible game but we will be fine.
Damn....more worrying than the 2008 squad? The team that began the season with Nick Sheridan at QB? More disgraceful than the 2007 squad that began the year ranked #5 and lost to App St?
This game sucked ass but Michigan won.
Congratulations, you made "This Week In Schadenfreude."
During the late stages, I was questioning myself if the team would have been better with the duck or the Ancient Chinese philosopher-general.
He still lacks experience, but he has all the tools to be a great QB. Today's game should be a wake up call. He has a great attitude, and I think he'll learn from his mistakes and improve. I don't know why so many posters are so down on him, he's still only started how many games now? Garder and Borges shoulder most of the blame for the performance today, but most of the issues are very fixable.
needs to spend more time coaching & less time shopping at Tim Hortons.
They were woefully unprepared in every aspect of the game today.
Both lines, offensive skill, d-backs and ALL of special teams.
This is not the result of a key star player or two having a bad game, and the Zips didn't actually play lights out either.
Michigan was bad everywhere, and that can only be on the coaches.
This game sucked. It would have sucked a hell of a lot more had we lost. The team didn't play well or with focus and it almost cost us. Today was NOT indicative of the talent level the team posesses. No one will or ought to get fired based on this game. If you were expecting us to go 12-0 and roll the Big Ten, then yes you need to adjust your expectations. If you (like me and most fans in the preseason), expected a 9 win season with the possibility of something more if we get lucky and a little less if we're unlucky, nothing really ought to have changed. Season still comes to if we can take at least 2 out of 3 of @MSU, @Northwester, and Nebraska.
Totally agree. Plus Jake Ryan and Avery aren't back yet. Sad game, big deal, it's a win, move on.
I feel like this game came at a good time. It knocks all the "national title" hopes out of a lot of people's heads. We need to block, tackle, execute and play aggressive , but have to mentally prepare for every game every week more than all of those things.
The talent showed in the CMU game. We basically ran the same play over and over and still kept scoring. My expectation is not for an undefeated season; my expectation is that these kids play hard, because that's what the coaches preach every chance they get.
Today was indicative of attitude -- sloth, carelessness, lack of cohesion, lack of composure, lack of preparation, immaturity, laziness. You know, what you'd basically expect from a bunch of 18-22-year-olds that tasted some success. You know, it happens.
But that's EXACTLY why it needs to be fixed, stat. Wins aside, boys don't become men by getting away with being irresponsible -- especially when they have as much talent as these kids do. When a kid's attitude is his own worst enemy, it's well within everyone's rights to be pissed.
I just keep telling myself that Alabama almost lost to Georgia Southern once and then I feel better! Sure, I mean, yeah, Alabama built up a 17 point cushion before relaxing a bit... Sure, they also ended up winning by 24 points and the game was never closer than two scores... Sure, they also didn't turn the ball over once... But 'Bama won a championship so just imagine what we can do!
(...Look, everyone, I've been drinking heavily for a few hours now and the lady of the house has hidden every sharp object in the house, including the #2 pencils. I need this...)
the local cbus sports radio last year after a couple of those early squeakers sounded pretty much like what I heard on WTKA after today's game. This isn't the end of the world.
Bad Devin showed up for about 65% of this game. We need to have bad Devin and his pick 6's exorcised to Cleveland!
We won't be a top five (or 10) team anytime soon...but you know who willl...yeah, you know.
that was bad, Now if any offense coordinator left on M's schedule doesn't know how to attack a M defense he should resign and sell Mary Kay. It's easy --- just block the rushless four and have your QB drop a step or two and dink and dunk your way down the field. And at least a couple times a game you can depend on the M QB to give you good field position through a fumble or an ill-considered INT. Seriously though, I give Raymon Taylor a pass (!) on those two long bombs. They were perfectly thrown and the receiver had to make great catches both times, which he did. Now I'll spend the entire week dreading the mighty Connecticut Huskies, let alone the Gophers and the Lions. I hope Steve Ross doesn't ask for a refund, and I hope Jake Ryan gets well soon. Lionsthe
You are of course assuming that Mattison's gameplan today was indicative of how he'll call games all year.
You do realize that Jordan Lewis got beat on the one, right?
Hold me JMFR...
It was an awful game, but we got the W. 3 or 4 weeks from now pollsters will be thinking about some upset that actually happened and forget about this game. We may drop to 15 at worst in the rankings but we've got plenty of opportunities to climb up when we play OSU, NW, Neb, MSU, etc.
The only way this hurts us is if we are one of 3 undefeateds we might not get the championship bid. I think we proved today we aren't ready for the big stage quite yet.
After barely beating a team that has gone 3-33 over the last three seasons, including a 5-YEAR road losing stream, AT HOME, now is NOT the time to be thinking about rankings.
You know how this hurts us? It doesn't. We're just fans. But that team -- look, what bothers be even more than if they lost is just how immature that was. THAT was complacence. Sophomorism. Slacking off. It does happen, they're young. Lord knows I'm in no position to talk. But it should piss you off to see it every time, because it's not exactly humanity's good side. Not that they wouldn't want to have won, but THAT unacceptable piece-of-shit performance out there was MORE offensive to Akron than if they beat them by 80 points. Akron played their goddamn hearts out, and for that (and Michigan's lack of preparation) they deserved to win. And as a Michigan fan, nothing fills me with more disgust than to have to admit such a thing, because that means Michigan did things to not deserve to win. And they did.
The rankings are the LEAST of Michigan's worries right now. This team needs to grow up fast, or they're not going anywhere. B1G championships shouldn't even be on their minds; they need to play their goddamned best against Connecticut to have a hope of winning. We all just saw what happens when they don't.
There are two ways to look at a game like this:
1) Call the team terrible, the season a bust, fret over it for the next week or so.
2) Chalk this up to some combination of the players riding the ND high and just not focusing on the game in front of them and also some crazy voodoo horseshit, proceed to burn the tape and forget this ever happened, and focus like hell on destroying the will of whoever is fool enough to stand in front of our wrath.
I consider myself an optimist, so I'm going to believe in option 2. Plus, I don't want to spend the next week getting myself all worked up by talking myself into believing that this team isn't still the very good outfit who beat a good ND team.
This should stop all the Gardner to the NFL after this year talk. He's good with a high ceiling but, has a long way to go. He'll give atleast 1 WTF play a game lol or atleast has in the first 3 games. The O line is playing worse than last years unit. Do we look at the staff, the players or strength and conditioning? If a change is needed then make it but getting man handled by Akron is unacceptable. Hopefully this is a wake up call! Hoke should show video of the Horror to every Michigan team before a "cupcake" team. If they would have lost this game I would have sworn off college football
Well, that was pretty awful - basically, 55 minutes of being annoyed that the game is close followed by five minutes of realizing that we could actually lose. Ugh.
Today's performance was unsettling in a lot of ways. Still, if we come out in seven days and pound the crap out of UConn, we can forget about it. Sometimes you do just have a terrible game out of nowhere. The team has the chance next week to prove to us that today was just a fluke.
50 minutes of being annoyed the game was close (the entire first half, most of 3rd quarter, 4th after the pick 6)
5 minutes thinking that good, they're finally pulling away (when it was 21-10)
4 minutes realizing they could actually lose (any time Akron had a lead or was driving for a lead in the 2nd half)
1 minute thinking they were going to lose. My inner Henri makes an appearance for the first time in a long while.