Good recap. I'm bummed out about this game, but also kinda encouraged. Knocking on wood here, but is there seriously a better team than ND (who we totally hung with) left on our schedule? At this point I'm not seeing one.
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.
Have you seen the rest of the Big Ten?
Of course it isn't a gimme, but to write off the season after this game is bleach drinking stupid.
Nobody suggested in this sub-thread that the remainder of the season should be written off. Quite the contrary in fact.
MrVociferous sure as hell seems to think the season is wasted at this point. Nobody said we were going to run the table, just that there isn't an unbeatable team on the schedule.
You don't even have to win them all to win the Big Ten.
I came into this game worried about the defense. Michigan's defense was rock solid, especially against the run.
I came into the game worried about the offensive line. Especially in the second half, Michigan's guys came out and bullied ND's huge D linemen.
I did not however come into the game worried about QB play...and it was a tire fire in the first half. But they came out and made adjustments, and Denard's arm started finding the wide open spaces that ND was blitzing from(yeah, quicker adjustments would've been better Al).
Overall, considering that this game really didn't matter, the defense shined, the OL made holes...If we can teach our quarterback to THROW the goddamned ball OUT OF BOUNDS we might just have something here.
WR Devin Gardner's left arm was in a sling as he boarded team bus.
— Kyle Meinke (@kmeinke) September 23, 2012
at least he's got 2 weeks to get healthy.
He injured it on the fade route in the end zone right? Why the heck is a metal stage that close to the endzone? Fade routes are so common, why would they plant that death trap right there? Maybe it's normal to have it there, but it seems unfair to the athletes to have a huge immovable object a few feet from the sideline of an endzone. Hope Gardner is ok and able to play the Boilermakers.
I remember Manningham crashing into the ND band in the 2006 game. Those kinds of things seem to happen a lot at ND. I'm not sure what the deal is about that. We have visiting bands stay on the corner of the field at Michigan Stadium, but there never seem to be any collisions.
The sidelines in South Bend are really, really, really tight. It's very similar to what our stadium was like before the field was lowered in '91, when the seats were relatively close to field level, and not incredibly far from the sidelines. At our stadium today, the visiting band is no longer allowed to wrap around past the end line of the end zone, so you don't get corner routes running directly into the heart of the band anymore. That changed ~2005 when Lloyd was concerned about the possibilities of players getting hurt plowing into the band in the corners of the end zones.
At ND, the gap between the field and the wall before the seating begins is significantly narrower. Heck, in the end zone opposite the tunnel, the seating begins less than ten feet behind the goal post, and it's literally seats sitting on the field level. And the bands are wrapped from the sidelines all the way around the corners into the end zones, and are just about within five feet of the boundaries of the field. There really isn't another way of doing it with the incredibly small amount of real estate they have. It's an extremely compact stadium, and looks a lot smaller in person than it does on TV.
So when Gardner went careening into the bleachers, it wasn't as much surprising for it happening as surprising it doesn't happen more often. It's downright scary how close those things are to the field, and that guys don't get hurt more often. In a stadium that size, putting both bands in the seats means eating up about 1000 seats of a mid-size stadium (their band is freaking massive), which is a goldmine of lost revenue.
So all in all, it's a shame a player had to get hurt for this. And especially awful it's Gardner.
I wonder if this might, ironically enough, lead to the medical redshirt for Gardner we all wanted two years ago.
No, it's 30% of the season or four games (whichever is more). This was the last game he could have played in to receive one.
I want your giant Cheese Wheel!
Kept thinking about that during the game. ND was probably the better team the last 3 years, certainly last year, but we kept stealing wins at the end. Today, felt we were the better team, just killed ourselves. In addition to the 6 to's, we had 5 trips to the red zone, and got a whopping 6 points. Just hitting field goals would have won us this game
Good game fellas. I was impressed with your D's run stopping ability and just as amazed at why Kelly would keep going inside over and over. I really like that Jake Ryan kid, he is a gamer and going to be one of the best by the time he is through.
We just can't seem to put it together. Either its all offense and no defense or the other way around. Glad its defense though, because a game manager can run the offense as needed.
Good luck the rest of the way and please stomp a mud hole in Sparty on your way to the Rose Bowl.
PS: I always love me some Denard, even if he had an off game.
I think ND was due. If you average out Denard's last 3 outings against ND, you get a normal QB performance.
with that Vincent Smith trick pass play on 1st and goal. Michigan had been moving down the field with ease on Denard's running and throwing. Why take the chance on a trick play on 1st and goal??? Even with all the other turnovers, that, literally, thrown away 7 points would have resulted in a tie game and OT at the end.
On the flip side, the defense has come together. I'm sure that they will win some games for the team down the road. And God bless Norfleet. The kid has got it.
Congrats on your 20/20 hindsight. The same play was wide open for a TD against Minnesota last year. I doubt we have anyone to simulate a rushing Te'o on our scout team.
If it worked on a crappy Minnesota team last year, it would surely work on a 3-0 (oops, make that 4-0) Notre Dame team this year. And, really, the point is that, based on how the team was moving down the field, there was no need for Borges to pull a trick play out of his hat.
What works between the 20s doesn't always work in the red zone. Read mtxgoblue's comment below.
Dileo was wide open, everything worked perfectly besides Smith's arm. I like the call assuming Smith makes that throw regularly in practice.
There is a big difference between ND and Minnesota. If you dont know that than of course that play seems like a good idea to you. Also at that point we needed to take advantage of the scoring opportunity. Fire Borgess for taking the ball out of Denards hands. Idiot.
I have no problem with that call. Remember the first play we called on the first RZ opportunity of the game? It was a pitch left to Tous that got nothing. Borges called a pitch right hoping to suck them up again and get a free TD.
I liked the call at the time even though it failed.
Yeah, when Chris Petersen did stuff like that to be Oklahoma in the Fiesta Bowl everyone pretty much dumped on him, too.
That trick play was the most disappointing play for me. Just Why?
You're absolutely right on that. There was just no need for a trick play when Michigan was moving the ball up and down the field at will (particularly at that point in the game).
A lot of this loss was on Borges. Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me five times, shame on may. As the OC, Borges needs to have a better understanding of his QB's very limited pocket passing abilities. It's not like this is anything we haven't seen before. Borges was not prepared for this game.
But how the hell do you blame Denard's 4 interceptions on 4 consecutive pass attempts on Borges? You have to let the quarterback throw at some point.
That trick play was atrocious, but there's so many things that went wrong in this game (almost any one of which could have led to a different result) that it's hard to put this on any one person's shoulders.
Only positive coming out of the game that I saw: The D-line didn't cave nearly as badly as I had expected.
Two weeks to learn from this and move on.
To be fair...denard looked superhuman on that drive before the trick play. That INT put all the momentum in Notre Dame's hands. Would they have had 3 straight interceptions had michigan scored a touchdown on that drive? Maybe, maybe not. All we know is that Denard was not the same after that play call until it was too late
How do you blame Borges and not Denard? You be Brian and bitch about Borges on Twitter...repeatedly, while ignoring the 5 Denard turnovers in the room.
Does Twitter just make everyone who uses it drop 50 IQ points!
I feel much better about Mattison and our defense.
I question Borges more and more. Hard to understand 1st and goal twice from the 10 in the first quarter and we ran a sweep to Touisant, two passes by Denard and a pass by Vincent Smith. I don't feel like he puts Denard in the best position to succeed.
B1G season will be interesting. Who will be the lamb for the PAC 12?
Have to agree, I'm still not convinced Borges is a good OC. I keep telling myself he will be better when we get a more traditional QB, but I sure thought he could have used Denard better.
As for Mattison, great stuff.
I think he will be fine when he gets 'his guys' in there but I also define coaches by what they do with the talent around him...
I see some striking similarities between Borges and RichRod in their steadfast refusal to conform the offense to the individual players talents. the truth is we have weak recievers and a quarterback who is mediocre in the passing game and we are chucking the ball downfield like its Carson Palmer back there...
IDK, I don't want to get to tl;do but Fuck today was frustrating.
was that ND was dropping 8 into coverage and everytime Denard through underneath the coverage he was successful.
But at the end of the day, in fairness to Borges, the offense moved the ball pretty well when Denard (and Smith) wasnt throwing it to the other team.
when Denard wasn't fumbling. Man, it felt like the momentum was changing on that drive and then BAM, fumble.
You're being ridiculous. Denard had four interceptions and a fumble...and that's on Borges? The offense was moving the ball at times, but there's only so much you can do when you don't execute the plays properly.
And I understand Denard isn't a great passer. Borges does too. But as a QB, you need to pass at some point or else you're going to lose the game.
That isn't to say Borges doesn't deserve some criticism...but how much blame can you really give the man when his players coughed the ball up SIX TIMES to the other team?
Players have to make the plays, or at least make the right decisions when a play doesn't go as planned.
Denard is still the offensive leader of this team. No one else is ready to step into his shoes. But I had hoped that by now the passing game against quality defenses would have improved a little more.
It's funny that your comment was marked as "overrated" Apparently dissention is frowned upon in this establishment. Clearly Borges had a bad game. Clearly the mods don't want to hear it.
Borges didn't throw the pitch behind Toussaint. A good pitch and that play gains 5.
Exactly which is why RR benched any kind of pitch option with Denard and Borges benched it early last year as well.
Denard for whatever reason has never really put a pitch where it needs to be. Probably a solid reason for no speed option.
He throws one behind Fitz and then somehow chucks one LOW to 5'6 VS. It is what it is, but you have to know your QB hasn't really been good enough to pitch the ball consistently.
he's putting the pitches right where he needs to in practice? All we see is what happens on Saturday, the coaches see what happens Monday thru Friday.
I agree that the halfback pass with Smith seemed like an unnecessary gamble, but on the whole I thought Borges called a solid game. We converted eight of 15 third downs (and went 1-1 on 4th down) against a very stout defense. We ran the ball much more effectively than I was expecting, especially in the second half. Seven turnovers (the missed FG effectively counts) is something you just can't expect to happen, especially when most are from your senior QB.
coach. Let him go. He doesnt know how to use the talen the has.