The defense was pretty mediocre this year but Mattison gets a pass for what he did in year 1. Talent right now is limited and further hurt by injury. I think D will be ok going forward. Also, Carlos Hyde is really good.
Ohio State 42, Michigan 41
The lasting image of this game will be Devin Gardner, injured, spent, and devastated, flat on his back after his pass on the potential game-winning two-point conversion found Buckeye instead of Wolverine.
It's a shame, really, as Gardner gave one of great performances in the history of The Game today, leading a Michigan offensive explosion beyond anybody's wildest predictions. Gardner threw for 451 yards and four touchdowns, rushed for 34 yards and another score (above, Upchurch), and did all this despite clearly playing at less than 100%. The trio of running backs combined for 137 yards and another score on 24 carries; Al Borges, the offensive line, and the skill position players all had their best performances in over a month—603 total yards against the 13th-ranked defense in the country.
After Gardner lobbed a two-yard jump ball to Devin Funchess to make the score 42-41, Brady Hoke asked his seniors if they wanted to go for two and the win; Taylor Lewan said after the game that, to a man, the answer was yes. In a game that calls for cliché, they left it all on the field.
The Buckeyes did too, of course. The Michigan defense simply couldn't find a way to stop Braxton Miller (153 yards and three rushing TDs) and Carlos Hyde (226 yards and a score on 27 carries) on the ground; when OSU went to the air, they didn't hit often—Miller finished just 6/15 on the day—but when they did it went big, as Miller's six completions went for 133 yards and two more touchdowns. Missing safety Jarrod Wilson and weakside LB James Ross, not to mention focusing heavily on stopping the run, the defense repeatedly allowed big plays over the middle. By the time the Buckeyes got the ball with five minutes left and the game knotted at 35, the defense looked gassed and played like it, ceding a one-yard scoring plunge by Hyde to cap a six-play, 65-yard drive that featured exclusively runs.
Gardner was masterful in the two-minute drill, finding Funchess, then Drew Dileo twice, then Joe Reynolds, Justice Hayes, and Toussaint to move the Wolverines 82 yards before netting the final two and six points on the lob to Funchess. Michigan tried to free up a receiver on a rub route on the two-point conversion; the Buckeyes had it covered, though, and Gardner's hopeful throw landed in the arms of Tyvis Powell.
Michigan didn't just give Ohio State a fight—quite literally, in a couple instances (above, Fuller)—they played their part in an instant classic. Devin Gardner might've ended the game on his back; I'll remember all the times he got up before that, and what he did while he was standing, above all else.
I don't believe in moral victories, but if they did exist, this would be it. I can't imagine the team or the fans will hang their heads for long about that loss, lowered expectations or not. They left it all out there and as cliched as it is, this is truly one of those games where it's a shame someone has to lose.
I can't wait to see what this team looks like healthy and with another month to iron out some kinks in the bowl game. I don't think I could have predicted that before this game that I would be this excited for whatever bowl game we end up at.
It's what happens with young players. Inconsistency, blown assignments, and sometimes just getting manhandled by older, stronger players. Today it happened on defense instead of offense.
I'm glad Borges, and Hoke, and Brandon, and Mattison ignore AA Torch & Pitchfork and the rabid fan base. I completely do NOT believe Michigan is settling for mediocrity with Borges, and I believe that 2015 is the year.
- With all of Gardner's experience, and Morris having two full years of practice, and Speight coming in as well,
- with Harris and Ways being added as Wide Receivers, and Campbell in 2015,
- with the Offensive Line solidifying and several great guys coming in every class,
- with Green and Smith at RB, and Harris coming in 2015,
our offense is going to be not just fine, but great. Michigan is not going to be easy for MSU and Nebraska and Penn State and Iowa to push around. While we won't be all there by next year, the team is going to be vastly different, and soon. Our record next year will improve, and we'll be competing for the Big 10 title by 2015, bigger things by 2016.
Most of the positives you listed are recruitimg based. What has Borges dkne to ahow he can effectively use and improve existing talent. I saww nothing in that regard over the season. Playcalling has also been really bad for large chunks of the season. 27 for 27 etc.
I don't agree with the call to go for it. At home I say you play for OT when anything can happen instead of risking everything on one play. But I understand why Hoke did it and wished we would have pulled off the upset of the ages. To come so close and lose is a bitter pill.
What is so frustrating is that it seems for the last ten years, Ohio State finds ways to win games like this and we find ways to lose. They win ugly,
When was the last time Michigan actually pulled off the big upset? Feels like forever.
Going for it guarantees the game is decided on your most favorable matchup (M Offense vs OSU Defense) that has gone well all day.
I don't mind the play call either, the timing route is a solid choice when your QB has been playing well and you want to be able to get the ball off fast, understanding that your offensive line won't hold up that well and that OSU has been gunning for the rollout/option all day.
I think going for the jugular here was correct.
Also, overtime is a bad idea when your kicker isn't 100%.
I think the short field favors the team that can run better, and that was clearly OSU. Also, as you mention, we were shaky from a field goal perspective. i was hoping they went for 2, and kind of surprised when they did. But the only way I think we could have won in overtime would have been to force a turnover. I think our odds of completing the 2 point-conversion were better than our odds of forcing a turnover before they beat us in overtime.
These seniors should be proud. They never gave up. It could have gotten ugly down two scores in the second half. The amount of young guys making an impact in this game shows plenty of promise for next year.
With the call to go for two. Well, I was okay with it if we could catch them off guard, but after they have a TO to set up. No. However . . . if the players called it, then I guess it's forgivable.
You don't really think we had a shot in OT without Gibbons and a hobbling Gardner? That was the time to win the game.
There is that as well.
asked the seniors what they wanted to do. These seniors have been through a lot. He has a great knack for being in tune with these kids. Just needs to get a better handle on what is happening on the offensive side of the ball. If he can accomplish that he will be a complete coach.
The decision to go for 2 was probably already made in Hoke's mind before he asked the seniors - the players are always going to say "go for the win" - you only ask if that is what you are going to do anyways
Exactly. You don't ask them unless ur already going for it. You know they are going to say yes.
Man, would've been awesome if we'd won
We played much better but not good enough and I'm never happy, losing to the Evil empire!
I predicted our offense would stay dead. My final score prediction was OSU 38, Michigan 6. So Devin and the offense obviously gave me some hope. Very proud of them. It was annoying as hell that Borges waited until the 12th game of the season to try some different things but that's not exactly surprising either.
The truly sad part is even if we had scored on that 2-point conversion, I could still picture OSU marching straight down the field, just like they had all day, in the 30 seconds they would have had left to kick the field goal to win it. Braxton is dangerous, but the D made it too easy for him. He barely had to try on two of his touchdown runs. Just take two steps to the left, and he's walking into the end zone untouched.
The defense was the biggest and most shocking disappointment this year. They made Akron look like world beaters, they made 18 year old Christian Hackenburgh look like Tom Brady, they made Indiana's offense look like Pete Carrol's USC teams, they didn't have a prayer against OSU. It was just really heartbreaking all year long. Defense was supposed to be the strength of this team. We knew going into the season that the O-line was going to be a major issue.
I love Michigan. I will always root for them no matter what stroke inducing thing they do to me. But it was really depressing watching how much they regressed throughout the season and then to finish their final season game like...that. I hated the fact that I wanted football season to be over in mid-October....which is something I always said when RichRod was here. I just hate this feeling.
GO BLUE always.
I'll probably get torn a new asshole shortly, but...
This team is short on expereince on both side of the ball. REALLY short. That's been our biggest issue all year. The trajectory is up as a result as we return a huge percentage of starters/two deep.
Thanks, though, for recognizing that there were frustrations coming from Not Al Borges during the season.
I agree with everything you said. Maybe it takes old and grouchy people to have a bit of perspective.
but gtfo my lawn nonetheless ;-)
I said it when we scored to tie, left too much time on the clock. Figuring they get the ball on the 25 with 32 seconds left, I absolutely believe they would have taken the ball the 40-50 yards needed to attempt a field goal. Whether they make it, who knows, obviously would have loved to find out but our defense was hemorrhaging huge chucks of yardage all game, especially in the 2nd half.
so I didn't have to try to say what I am so pleased others said. I was watching with someone who is of the "we didn't win, so it's over" school. I was fine with Hoke going for 2, and thrilled to hear that's what the team wanted. And for those who berate these players for proving they could have played better at other games, they've never bought into the "they're young and have to learn and get better" idea, but maybe that's exactly what's been happening. Last week they lost a couple defensive starters in the 2nd half (didn't know it at the time) and yes, the defense was less successful in the 2nd half. Didn't know Ross and Wilson were out today, and the team wore down in the 2nd half again. Was that why? Was it that youngsters were thrown into the fire and passing expectations, learning and improving and just not able to close out against a team that was expected to blow us out? No moral victories. Well, I'm one of those softies who thinks there are.
so proud of the team and the brass balls of the coach to win it right here. If DG weren't broken, and Ohio runners were stoppable, OT would have been reasonable, but he was and they weren't.
FWIW, the OSU hate is so strong out here the talking heads on sports radio are bitching about the go for two because it didn't work and Ohio won.
They showed great heart, desire, and toughness all the way to the end. Our D was overmatched by their offense, yet we were still in a position to win it all. This game was a classic in the series. One day soon, we're going to start winning these games. Hopefully starting next year.
Were you dropped on your head as a child?
True Blue Grit has been a solid and respectful contributor for a long time and certainly doesn't deserve this kind of nonsense. If you disagree with him, say so and explain yourself respectfully. He deserves no less.
or leave this blog. You are adding nothing to the disussion. This was a classic game. What were you watching?
I'm guessing this was not directed at me.
Thanks for the laugh. Been a long time since I got challenged to a bar fight, and here I am in my living room. Kind of incogruous.
Oh wait...that's probably a little hard for you. How about..."Fuck you, man. You wanna go, just give your purse to your boyfriend and step outside." That better?
Considering the abject failures in last few games, no reason to hang your head in shame after this game. If it makes you feel better to wear sackcloth and ashes, go ahead.
You sir are a fucking jack-ass. You are the loser.
You'd have to first have morals to have a moral victory.
Know how the game will play out, but with Gibbons having his tweak, quite probably three points were left on the field.
I told my brother when they went ahead that we would go down, score and then try to win with the 2. It's too bad we didn't convert, but considering Wile's inconsistency and in OT kicking being so important, the 2 was the right call. The players were completely behind it, so I am behind the decision. We had some tough calls and a replay that should have been overturned, but the kids fought hard, and Devin was ballin all day. With what we have seen the last 8 weeks, this performance was exceptional. I agree with Ace's view that the defense was not the same with Wilson and Ross out, and they OT gashed, but they also came up with the fumble that got us back in it.
I am never happy with a loss, but this was a classic and we had every opportunity to win, just didn't happen. Love the effort and just wish we played with this passion all season, we probably would have a much better record.
I see the trolls and idiots are out in force. Heck of a game, happy with the loss I am not. Happy with how they played for 60 minutes, yes.
to be frustrated with losing to OSU after scoring 41 points and amassing over 600 yards of offense? Maybe you shouldnt be so fast to label those frustrated with a defense that was non-existent allowing 8.5 yards a carry. Seriously if you are objective, that defensive performance was one of the worst in the programs history. How can you feel good about OSU only passing one time in the 2nd half (a touchdown) and yet UM not having any chance to slow down the run? This was reminiscent of the Wisconsin game from a few years ago when they ran like twenty some straight times. DEMORALIZING. You can go celebrate this loss if you like, but dont label those not whistleing past the graveyard. 7-5 YAY
Who are you talking to?
Good post above. Couldn't have said it better. Would have been great to get this win but what a great game to watch and a great effort. Where have ya been offense? I so was glad they went for 2 .
Can we build on this game?
Definitely think we need to give Hoke his 2 years and stop talking about it.
Can't think of a time when I have been prouder even if the defense couldn't stop them...
Trolls trolls trolls.
Says the guy who watched the game on his couch, to a bunch of kids who have been slaving away for years for the chance to duke that game out on tv for free. Grow up. It's a football game played by college students.
Value to this blog or waste of oxygen? There's nothing in between.
I was pleased with the way the game went, as were most people. It was enjoyable to watch up until the failed two-point attempt.
That said, I think it's fair to question the sentiment. People are taking hell here for saying that we shouldn't be happy with any type of loss to OSU, but I agree with the minority, too. We just lost our chance to hold serve and stop the bleeding against OSU. Yeah, we were underdogs, but you could argue that we were underdogs by our own doing. Everyone on this board, during the preseason, predicted we'd beat OSU. We have the players. Our expectations were lowered by virtue of our terrible in-season performance.
Good for the guys for going out and playing to their potential today. But that should be the expectation.
I'm not sure who you're including in your statement that "Everyone on this board, during the preseason, predicted we'd beat OSU," but my recollection is almost everyone predicted at least 2-3 losses, including a likely loss against OSU. Yes, the team has fallen short of expectations for the season by a few games, but anyone who preseason thought this would be an undefeated or one loss team by this point in the season was delusional.
I was exaggerating, but I remember all the preseason prediction threads, and virtually no one on here had us losing to OSU. My point is just that our expectations in the week leading up to this game had been historically lowered by our awful performance. It's the rare point in time that Michigan fans are happy with a loss at home to OSU. And that says something about where our program is.
Everyone had us losing to OSU last week, the week before, the week before that, after our shaky fear-inducing wins against crappy opponents; even after CMU & ND people still figured this might be a loss.
Hell, at the end of LAST SEASON most people thought it might be a loss, and at best the odds were 50/50.
Everyone seemed to notice they were undefeated last year, right?
I don't think I'm nuts. My point is that at the end of LAST SEASON most people either thought it might be a loss, the odds would be 50/50, or that we would win.
Nobody, before the Akron game this year, predicted we'd get crushed by OSU. Those predictions and expectations came after we self-destructed. Which was mostly our staff's doing, in my opinion.
In all fairness that was before we saw them play. I was on record for thinking we'd go 9-3 and lose to ND, NW, and OSU. I also thought we could beat PSU, MSU, and Iowa which didn't happen. But, that was all based on paper. We have never really seen a team just like this one before so it was somewhat of a mystery. Remember we had all these question marks that could either way, like the o-line, the RB, the pass rush, the safeties, etc? Those predictions were before we realized the offseason hype on the defense was just that, before we realized how bad our interior o-line is, and how little help our experienced tackles are to them. I'm not sure anyone would have expected the season long regression of the offense and the offensive line. That's coaching. Before the season I thought we'd lose a close game because I believed if the 2012 game was at home I thought we would have won and both teams were pretty similar coming back this year. But, prior to the start of the game I thought we'd get blown out based on what this team has shown us most of the year.