to this year, you're right. But if he's as good as he was last year at throwing the ball, we figured out a way to turn a loss into a win BECAUSE of the jump ball against Notre Dame. If the latter, the coaches should have let Gardner/Funchess make a play against a weak secondary. If the former, Hoke needs to get a better quarterbacks coach.
It was there for the taking.
It was there when Michigan had a first-and-goal on their third possession, when Vincent Smith—yes, Vincent Smith—threw an interception in the end zone.
It was there on each of the next four drives, each ending with a Denard Robinson interception.
It was there when—despite the above—Michigan faced just a ten-point deficit on their first possession of the second half, when they drove to the Notre Dame 16, only to lose a Robinson fumble.
It was there when the defense forced a do-or-die third-and-four with 2:35 on the clock, only to see Tyler Eifert beat J.T. Floyd down the sideline for a 38-yard completion.
In a game that felt like karmic retribution for the last three years, however, Michigan never seized control, instead making error after crippling error until there were no more errors to make. The defense did everything in their power to overcome the offense, holding Notre Dame to just 239 yards on 4.8 yards per play and forcing two interceptions of their own. They could not stop Robinson from turning the ball over, though, and in the end it was a triumphant Tommy Rees kneeling the clock out.
The turnovers overshadowed a stellar defensive effort, one that will sadly be forgotten in the aftermath. Notre Dame starting quarterback Everett Golson was completely ineffective, completing just one fewer pass to Michigan (two) than he did to his own team. The Irish rushing attack never got going, gaining 94 yards on 31 carries. Jordan Kovacs (7 tackles, 1 TFL) and Jake Ryan (5 tackles, all solo) both turned in outstanding games. With no margin for error, however, all it took was two poor plays on third downs—a pass interference by freshman Jarrod Wilson on the goal line and the final pass to Eifert—to foil an otherwise textbook Mattison game.
On offense, the bright spots are fewer and farther between. Fitz Toussaint finally got some holes to run though and looked like his nimble 2011 self when he found them. Roy Roundtree make a few crucial catches after largely disappearing from the offense this year. Al Borges added a promising wrinkle when Devin Gardner took an end-around only to throw downfield to fullback Joe Kerridge, drawing a pass interference on the opening drive. That's about it.
As I'm sure will be said ad nauseam in the coming bye week, all of Michigan's goals are still within reach. The Big Ten is awful and still very much there for the taking. If the Wolverines are to seize that chance, however, they'll have to be far more opportunistic than they were tonight, when a fourth straight victory over the Irish slipped through their fingers and into the hands of a team more willing to take advantage.
I don't know if he regressed from last year. He's on pace for 24 INTs (well beyond his terrible 15 from last year), but I doubt he'll keep up that pace. I just think he's always been a bad "passing" QB. Those jump balls are a great example; the passes were bad but the receivers adjusted and made great catches. I would've liked to have seen him give Gardner and Funchess a chance, but he didn't seem on top of anything on Saturday.
It's not a matter of getting a better QB coach; we just have a QB who makes bad decisions and has an inaccurate arm. That's nothing new. I heard a radio caller on WTKA this morning complaining about the trick play with Vincent Smith. The guy said, "We shouldn't have a RB throwing the ball." Problem is that we always have a RB throwing the ball.
Don't have to watch a game on NBC for another 2 years.
What an interesting case of a football player? His upside to downside continuum stretches so far. I've witnessed things I never thought I would see both good and bad. It is what it is...highs and lows.
Hoping the team can figure out a way to win the Big 10. Next year is kind of already on my mind a bit.
That's why he's the most exciting player in CFB. You just can't look away.
Don't sleep on Denard this year. He'll still have another one of his miracle games this year in a big game.
I can't wait for the Denard pass to Te'o. My wife dropped an f-bomb on that one and she doesn't know shit about football. I have to see if a receiver fell down or made the wrong cut.
Denard was expecting the receiver to stop and turn around. Now, I think Te'o still had a good chance to at least break up that pass, if not intercept it. But when I watched the replay it looked like a situation where Denard expected the receiver to read his coverage and turn around, west-coast style. And the receiver (was it Dileo?) kept on going.
Who was in the wrong is open to question, but Denard was expecting a Michigan player there. And I think it was still a bad choice because he didn't see Te'o sitting on the route.
This traffic sucks!!
He turned Dink and Dunker moxie qb Cade McNown into a first rounder and Jason Campbell into an NFL qb. Borges cant throw the ball for Denard. Borges cant run a better route than Devin Gardner who broke off his route on one of Denard's INTS.
This was just one of those games. We have been on the good end of the them in past and today we weren't.
Defense was encouraging and offense moved the ball. This team will win a lot of games.
When was the last time we didn't score an offensive touchdown ? My goodness, this is so un-Michigan...... we didnt score a td. After that fourth pick he should've been benched for Bellomy. Denard can fly but cerebral he is not, and this is a real problem.
The man has a point. Denard's turnovers are a serious problem.
Funny how I thought our Denard was our rock and our defense was suspect. Tonight was backwards all around. Great seeing the defense step up so many times, though. They did their job, and then some.
actually I'm on my phone so I have no idea if he had been banned.
Looks like he has been, now, finally.
One game at a time.
Disappointed in the loss and all of the turnovers (minus all the points) but as others have said I do think there are positives from this game (defense owning, offense moving the ball pretty well).
Definitely think we can contend in the Big Ten and hope that our coaches and players continue to work to get better over the next 8-9 games in order so we can make the hopeful bowl game interesting.
One game at a time nice time for a bye and take heart I do think we are making progress.
BIG action, I actually think Minnesota and Northwestern have a shot at this division with the right outcomes.
MInne's crossover games are Wisconsin/Purdue/Illinois. Anyone think they can't win all 3 of those with some breaks. Get an upset win or two vs Neb/MSU/UM and they'd be sitting pretty
Northwestern's crossover games are Indiana/Penn State/Illinois. Jesus, they'll probably be favored in those 3.
NW is starting to look like a for-real contender.
as much as I was encouraged by our D tonight. Brian Kelly's puckered up big time after the INT in the endzone, that dude was deathly afraid of doing anything remotely even riskey with the lead. ND made no attempt to challenge our D downfield, or even midfield except for a couple passes blazed over the heads of TE's over the middle.
As much as I'd like to think we improved, Kelly made it pretty easy on them. We tackled better, pursued better and didn't seem to be out of position as much but how much attempt was really made to make our defensive work out there?
Purdue will be another tough struggle, and again it will probably come down to our mistakes, how many, often, and how deadly.
I will say I was disappointed that ND was able to pick up six yards on the ground on its first two plays on the last drive, to set up a manageable 3rd and 4. It was an obvious rushing situation and I thought we could have stood up a little better those two plays. The pass to Eiffert was a great call but the relatively short yardage to go set it up. If it had been say, 3rd and 9, there wouldn't have been the same threat of the run to set him free.
But on the whole, it's hard to fault the D given the number of times it was asked to keep ND from extending the lead. The only time it gave up a TD was on a drive extended by a penalty (on a pass that looked pretty uncatchable IMO).
But if JT doesn't stumble, I'm not sure he's not in position to make a play, even after getting beat on the first step.
Our running game sucks.
It's going to be a long season.
MSU ran for 50 yards against ND. We just ran for 161.
What kind of Michigan fan are you? We lost. Our one-of-a-kind quarterback sucks. Our coaches suck. Our lines suck. Our freshman safeties suck. Our running game sucks.
It is not like we just played the number 11 team in the country and beat them pretty well in all phases of the game except stupid mistakes. Nope, we suck and we'll never get better.
The big ten of which Michigan is certainly a member. :s
If ! equals win, how will you mark the non-Bama Ls?
Very disappointed with Team133 tonight. The good thing is I'm drunk.
I think someone else said this, but Notre Dame is a "traditional power", and while this induces eye rolling in most of us, it gives them the same advantages we have, such as resources and recruiting. Honestly, they're probably a year ahead of us in terms of recruiting talent and the coaching staff setting up their system, etc. They consistently get talent, and once they get a staff that can actually do something with it, they will be good, like they may be starting to be.
Also, we're kind of in a weird transition right now ourselves, as we're split between Rodriguez and Hoke players/schemes/talent/etc. IIRC, Rodriguez' first couple classes were highly regarded, and then they dropped off some later. So, the seniors last year and this year were highly recruited, but many of the underclassmen brought in were not. Hoke's guys are clearly very good, but they're all Freshman (that weird 2011 class doesn't count), and next year a new crop of very good Freshman will come in, combined with this year's class who will be sophomores with experience.
The other thing to think about is that any rivalry worth having is worth being competitive, meaning we should have stiff competition from MSU, OSU, and Notre Dame. That's why they're interesting to watch, and the definition of competitive games is that they can go either way. When we win, it's an accomplishment, because it wasn't easy, but conversely, it means we can lose for one reason or another, and we have to be willing to accept that. This could also be a weird blessing in disguise. Think about last year, where we lost two games we maybe could have won, which kept us out of the B1G championship game, where we would probably have been humiliated by Wisconsin, and who knows if we would have gotten a BCS berth that way. If we had won the two games we lost this year, we could be in the MNC talk, and if for some reason we got there or another really high level bowl, we might get really humiliated.
So if we had beaten Alabama and Notre Dame (two pretty good football teams) we would get humiliated in a bowl game?
Anyone who can play with Alabama can play with anyone else...
Clearly Borges would not have recruited Denard as a QB. But they are stuck with each other this year.
Denard and Al are not a match made in heaven. But I'm still amazed how well Borges, a West Coast offense guy, does make good use of Denard's skills.
People forget that we are still in a coaching transition. Last year's exceptional season, where all the close games went our way, hid a lot of this.
We can't expect Borges to commit to becoming a spread guru for one player. That's not what he was hired to do. He was hired to build a program. So he hodge-podges together some West Coast and Spread elements to work with Denard. What else can he do?
... how can you tell the difference between "Denard self-destructing" and ND shutting him down? He certainly wasn't accurate, but not busting long runs isn't on him self-destructing, it's on T'eo and ND closing off his running lanes.
More to the point, if Denard only has bad days against good opposition, that's not "self-destructing", that's playing to the limits of his talent. I think he's got it in him to be better this year, even if the overall numbers will be awful thanks to ND and Alabama ... but I think that saying it's all on him is doing ND a disservice. T'eo in particular had a monster game under less than ideal circumstances and I'm glad that we won't have to face him again. Good luck on Sundays next fall, sir!
Denard picked an awful day to lead Michigan to a six-turnover night, and for all that we had a puncher's chance to win all night - and he hits hard, as ND knows.
Denard giveth, and Denard taketh away. I hope he brings his A-game for MSU.
Why should i be worried about which guy on the roster is most likely to play QB in the NFL?
It's a college football team trying to win college football games and the Big Ten...and it's clearly a transistion year given the number of freshman seeing time on both sides of the ball. There isn't a better option, and Gardner is probably better at WR than he'd be at QB right now. Bellomy has no signficant experience.
So, no, there are no other options. They'll play the rest of the games, Robinson will finish his career way up in the total yardage list and in a few years most fans won't remember his failings, just the incredible runs and the zany, last second comebacks.
Quit bitching and enjoy what you have while you have it.
I could go for a big cold glass of bleach right now
I had a blast watching that game! I'm sitting here this morning trying to figure out why I'm not more upset. I love the sheer edge-of-my-seat excitement I feel when the ball is in Denard's hands. The unpredictable nature of it is such a rush! We only get 8 more games of watching this kid - that's what sucks.
That was simply the worst display of football (by both teams) I have seen in a long long time. How many "great" plays were in the game ... none! Michigan punted once (first drive) was in the red zone 5 times and score 6 points. Edge of your seat ???? my back was flat against my chair the entire game !!
Although Denard has had many amazing offensive moments I doubt any of us will forget that he now holds the record for most interceptions by a Michigan QB and he has most of the season in front of him. Ugh.
Earlier this very week, another quarterback threw three picks in a single quarter. He didn't get benched, and I'm pretty sure the team is going to ride it out with him. I'm speaking, of course, of Peyton Manning.
Horrible game for Denard. Moving forward . . . .
I didn't see that game. What happened next? Did he throw another INT? Then did he fumble? And what about the "quality" of those INTs? Were they great plays by the defense? Or were they terrible throws that defenders had no choice but to intercept?
If Manning had thrown a fourth pick, I'm sure they would have benched him. "What happened" in that game was the Broncos lost, and Manning's poor performance was a major reason why. If he did that on a regular basis, I'm sure he wouldn't be playing anymore. I have no problem holding Denard to that same standard -- or would you rather turn things over to Bellamy, who threw a pick on his first pass after he took over for Denard in the Alabama game?
I think we're "stuck" with Denard at this point - for better (at times) and for worse (at other times). If it were me, I would never have put Devin at WR. He'd by my backup QB so that he could have been useful in situations where the starter is having the worst game imaginable. I'm concerned that we're setting up a bad choice next year between a QB turned (injured, thanks Denard) WR, a mediocre backup (Bellamy) and a true freshman (Morris).
So, yes, I'd have kept Denard in the game, but I'd also shake my head in disapproval at the Denard lust on this board. For anyone to think he's a legit QB is a joke; we're just stuck because he's currently our best option. It's unfortunate that we didn't split him out instead of Devin. Anyone really think he wouldn't have been more dangerous (to ND, and less to us) if he were a WR/RB yesterday?
maybe Devin has improved significantly over the off season, but over his first two years, he didn't do anything to make me feel that he's suddenly an accurate passer who makes good decisions. So your pretense that he would be an obvious improvement over denard seems misguided
I'm actually not sure that Devin would be an improvement over Denard (this season). I do think that if we didn't put him out at WR, he'd be a solid, well-practiced option to come in during a super bad game for Denard and, at worst, maybe bring a little momentum and confidence for that game.
Long term, I just think Devin presents the best link on the path to Morris.
to say "at least we won't see... again on the rest of schedule"? We heard it after Alabama, we heard it after Air Force and now we have to hear it after ND. I think MSU's defense will feel just as tough as ND's or Alabama's. They really aren't as good, but they play above themselves against us.
The cold hard reality is this team is not the opportunistic, frankly, lucky team of last year. We forced turnovers last year and were able to overcome our own mistakes. Team 133 is not getting those breaks or not making them and it certainly looks like most of the teams on our schedule are better this year than last.
Northwestern and Purdue are definitely better than last year, Nebraska and OSU will be much harder to beat on their turf and MSU will give us everything we can handle. It will take near mistake-free football to win the conference title this year, not because every team is great, but because our offense isn't really any better than last year or the year before; possibly a little worse. The defense seems a little worse, but it's hard to tell because the only team with a guareanteed strong offense was Alabama.
Overall, we still don't know much about good this team is. Assuming the weather will be decent against Purdue, we should find out a lot more. If nothing else the MSU game will be tell us all we need to know. Unfortunately, we are trying to find some way to get our square peg to fit the round hole that is Michigan football.
There are no guarantees left on this schedule. The closest thing to a guarantee left is that every team we will play will have a good chance to win going into the fourth quarter. Whether it's MAs or turnovers or poor decsisions, this team is not dominant in any one area to the point of guaranteeing victory.
Nailed it, Ace. Thanks for this post. Sums up my feelings perfectly.
we go back to a strong O-line, a pocket passer, and a dominant RB. Not that I don't like Denard but after five years of scrambling QBs who can't seem to complete passes it'll be nice to (hopefully) get back to a TEAM that commands the field. As dazzling as he can be I'm tired (and have been well before this debacle) of hanging my hopes on one guy having a great game.
Unfortunately, if he can't pass the ball accurately, we're pretty much stuck with a RB at QB (hence our march up the field three yards and a cloud of dust style late in the game).
That's really offensive. Maybe you should put more thought into your comments.