Holy...fucking...shit. Mesmerizing. But so disturbing.
UMass Recap: Pleasantly Routine
Dave Reginek/Getty Images
A half-empty student section, a press box full of beat writers already finishing their game columns, a field littered with walk-ons and freshmen; with eight minutes remaining in the final stanza, Michigan Stadium exhibited all the telltale signs of a blowout. A one-yard touchdown run by Justice Hayes had just given the Wolverines a 63-13 lead, one that stood as the final margin.
After the last two weeks, this was a welcome sight indeed.
Denard Robinson overcame an ugly pick-six to complete 16-of-24 passes for 291 yards and three touchdowns, adding another 105 yards and a touchdown on the ground to lead the way offensively. Robinson spread the ball around to nine different receivers, led by Drew Dileo's 91 yards on three receptions. The stars from last week, Devins Funchess and Gardner, each recorded a touchdown reception—Gardner's on a stellar effort to tightrope the sideline and dive for the pylon—and the enigmatic Roy Roundtree found paydirt for the first time this season.
It was a rebound performance for Fitzgerald Toussaint, as well, as he gained 85 yards on 15 carries, showing off the agility in tight quarters that made him so effective last season; after finding little room to operate against Air Force, Toussaint reached the edge on his 11-yard touchdown in the first quarter with help from an A.J. Williams block. Vincent Smith added a pair of touchdowns from inside the ten, Thomas Rawls doled out more punishment than he took, Justice Hayes recorded his first career score, and Dennis Norfleet made his offensive debut with a 15-yard jet sweep that surely made Brian one very happy blogger.
Michigan fans were even treated to a Fat Guy Touchdown, courtesy of a Taylor Lewan recovery after Denard fumbled into the end zone. Lewan, for his part, appeared more concerned about his quarterback's error than excited for his own fortune, sheepishly pointing his palms towards the sky when the officials belatedly signaled touchdown.
The defense limited UMass to 259 yards of total offense, though there was still reason for concern. The Minutemen doubled their offensive scoring output from their first two games—six points—and strung together three first downs in a drive for the first time this year. This should not cause PANIC, of course—six points, fergodsakes—but there are still issues to be resolved, especially on the interior of the D-line.
UMass got paid. Michigan got a chance to breathe easy and give their backups plenty of run. Now the team can look ahead to Saturday night's matchup with Notre Dame; for today, they can feel content about handling business as expected. With the baby seal emphatically clubbed, it's time to move on to the real season, not unscathed but with the ultimate goal—a Big Ten championship—still within reach.
I showed this to my wife.
She rolled her eyes, huffed, and walked out, muttering about "silly men".
My day is done. :-)
Look at that guy pretending to jerk it on the left...
And Nipple-Rubbing-Guy behind the sign...
Needs MOAR Lloyd Brady
ND stacking the box, daring the pass.
Successful ND pressure with a three man rush.
I believe MI will only win if DR can throw the ball well. (And I don't mean a lucky jump ball circus like last year, although I would gladly take it!)
I'm hoping for a tremendous bubble screen highlight package next week.
I think Denard is growing up this season and it's going to pay big dividends as we go. I think barring injury he is really going to finish his career at Michigan strong. I've never been the biggest Denard fan, as in I really didn't care about his numbers while 2/3 of the team was a dumpster fire. Always thought he was a great kid, just wasn't a fanboi so to speak. Now I'm changing. I see his mannerism's and expressions thoughout the game and I see a kid growing into a man and a leader. Even with the tough start to this season, my gut feeling is good for the team this year. Mostly on the trials & tribulations so to speak, that Denard has faced down.
There is virtually nothing that you can take away from today's UMass game. UMass is terrible this year season. During Denard's tenure, it's fairly straight forward, we look like World Beaters against weak competition. Any time we play a stout defense, we get soundily beat. Denard has not improved as a passer over the past two seasons what so ever. Our O line has no ability to get a push when needed and our D Line can't shed a block. Say what you will, but we are two solid years away from putting a team on the field that will be nationally competitive. The B10 is as usual embarrasingly soft which should cover up most of our issues.
On a positive note, Hoke's staff is doing a great job of putting us in the best position to win each game but there is only so much you can do when you are working with a lack of talent. As stated many times on this board, this is why you see an unusual number of true freshman playing. Furthermore, Hoke is doing an impressive job developing a great foundation for the future.
Any time we play a stout defense, we get soundily beat.
This is one of the statements that I absolutely HATE. Not only is it false, but it really serves no purpose, IMO. We beat ND, Nebraska, OSU, and VT last season, all of whom had stout defenses. Further, and most importantly, you're assuming that past results -- which you erroneously characterize -- is going to continue to manifest in the future. Michigan has played one "stout" defense this season, and they put up more yards than any team has thus far.
Denard has not improved as a passer over the past two seasons what so ever.
Again you're spewing falsehoods. If you cannot see the improvement in Denard's passing, then you're either not watching the games very closely, and/or you have absolutely NO ability to evaluate the passing ability of a QB -- I think it's probably the latter. Even if BOTH of your statements were true -- which they're not -- what would you have the team do? Do you want them to just give up? If not, why the fuck are you bother to say such things?
we are two solid years away from putting a team on the field that will be nationally competitive.
I agree, but again, what do you want them to do about it? It's like you and you whining brethren think that by continually complaining like a bunch of scorned brats that somehow, magically, the team will get better. You can say whatever you want about Denard, but can you possibly imagine how bad Michigan would have been since 2010 if we didn't have him? I could see you having a legitimate beef if, like LSU's issue last year, there were another competent QB that was benched in favor of Denard. As you said, there is only so much that a coaching staff can do when there is a decided lack of talent relative to Michigan's historic levels.
Dude, you see the team how you like. I agree that all Hoke can do is play with the players that we have. These kids are good kids. The coaches are putting them in the best position to win however when you read most of the postings, the posters act like this game was defining and we are back on track. Many postings are stating that Denard's performance against UMass demonstrated that he is a much improved passing QB than he showed in the Bama game. Or because Fitz picked up some yards that our OLine is much improved from the Air Force manhandling.
You reference last years VTech, Nebraska and OSU defense as being stout, I have to challenge that statement. VTech got blown out by Clemson twice last season and the ACC was terrible last season. VTech didn't beat anybody worth a s&^% last year. Last year, OSU went 6-7, yeah that is stout (maybe by your definition 6-7 is stout). Nebraska, real stout, four losses and they didnt beat anybody meaningful. By the way Nebraska's stout defense got routed twice last season.
It's real simple, this Saturday's game with ND will define our season. I would love a win and as last year has shown, we are capable of finding ways to win against superior talent.
Why so negative?
however when you read most of the postings, the posters act like this game was defining and we are back on track.
I don't know what you're reading, all I see is guys that a pleased that Michigan moved the ball efficiently, that we again got the Two Devins involved, and that we put a beat down on a team we were supposed to beat down. Wouldn't you agree that whoppin' up on UMass was better than not?
Many postings are stating that Denard's performance against UMass demonstrated that he is a much improved passing QB than he showed in the Bama game.
How does it NOT demonstrate as much? Because it's not a really good team? He hit is open WR's and only made one bad pass. What more do you want from him? It seems that no matter what he does, some of you guys won't stop complaining about him. If he runs for 200+, he's running too much. If he doesn't, he's not running enough. If he throws for 200+, but has a INT, he's a crappy passer. You guys are really hard to please.
Saturday's game with ND will define our season.
No, the ND will be, well, nothing more than the ND game. Just like the Bama game was a the Bama game, the AF game was he AF game, and the UMass game was the UMass game. Michigan could lose 1000 to 0 and have -1000 yards of offense, and it has no bearing on what happens in the future. I agree that the ND is going to give everyone, including Hoke & Co., a much better idea of where Team 133 in its development, but it is not "defining." The good news is that Hoke & Co. have now had 3 games to get a good feel for Team 133's strengths and weaknesses. Personally, I think Borges needs to scrap the RB running in the traditional sense. I think it's clear that the OL isn't going to get much push against anyone but a UMass type team. I am not saying they stop working on it, but I think Borges needs to play to the strength of the OL, i.e., pass blocking. Air it out, and throw to the RB on short to get them outside the pile.
That even with a loss to Notre Dame Michigan can still rebound to have a good season. In the eighties, two of Bo's better teams started their seasons off with two non-conference losses and went on to win the Rose Bowl (1980 and 1988).
So while a loss to Notre Dame would certainly be discouraging I agree that it is in no way "defining."
You have a lot more patience than I.
what's with all the people with <100 points but fairly long term memberships coming out of the woodwork to proclaim ruination following a 50-point win? Is it Negative Nancy Night?
Yeah, I noticed that. How can you have joined MGoBlog in 2008 and only have a hundred points? Stunning indifference? Or Several trips to Bolivia?
I just don't comment much. Have read the blog since 2008, registered as a user in 2011, and just don't comment that much. As far as the UMass game goes, I was thrilled with the win. Left the Oregon game midway through the 2nd quarter so I could return to the RV to watch Michigan. Also, I love what Denard does AND also find some of the errors extremely frustrating, i.e. turnovers. I also expected a blowout yesterday, which might be limitting my bliss after a dominating win.
The real issue at hand is the Purdue game. I'm glad we have extra time to prepare. Kawann Short and buddies vs. our O-Line is filling me with TEH CONCERN.
I mean, Short's good and so are their corners, but their linebackers and safeties are ballsack. It's Purdue.
I expected this thread to be like the last day of a nice vacation where you don't schedule anything, go for long walks, and relax. Every talks nicely about their favorite parts of the vacation and rest up before going back to real life.
Instead this thread is like the last day of vacation where the kids whine about their sunburn, the adults talk about how much going back to work will suck, and everyone is generally bitchy.
You've met my family, huh? Relaxing and vacation never meet up in the same sentence.
Is that the same as people bitching about other people bitching?
Nice timing for the bye week. Give it everything you've got in South Bend and then take two weeks to prepare for one of the better teams in the Legends Division.
are unique when it comes to games like this. I can't think of another program that has so many self-loathing fans.
When good SEC teams beat up on crappy teams, they get excited for a bit, then they're on to the next game.
When MSU beats teams like Blue Mountain State by like 2 points, they riot like they're the biggest fucking deal on the planet and just beat the world.
When Michigan annihilates a crappy opponent, far too many of us whine that we didn't set historic records in every statistic category that ever existed and therefore we suck.
I am imagining life at DeepBlue 83's house...
Son: "Hi Dad, look at the picture I drew in kindergarten today!"
DeepBlue83: "It's awful. You're two years away from being a respectable artist."
Wife: "How did the job interview go today, honey?"
DeepBlue83: "Well, as soon as I walked into the office, I realized I am way too good for that company. So I walked out."
DeepBlue83: "You call that a bark? Weak. You suck at being a dog. I will call you 'cat.'"
Daughter: "Daddy, a boy asked me to the school dance Friday night. Can I go?"
DeepBlue83: "He only asked you because you dress like a slut. He must think you're an easy lay. You're staying home."
Wife: "By the way, honey, I've been cheating on you."
DeepBlue83: "You do well against lesser competition. But when you go up against stout defenses, you can't get any penetration."
Wife: "That doesn't even make any sense."
DeepBlue83: "I expect a top-20 performance every season. When you have the talent level that we have, the expectation is for the position. The strength of the pack is the wolf. Win every day..."
that the D line and running blocking on the O line are still something of a concern, saying we have no proven talent at RB given Fitz's 1000 yard season last year is just being cranky.
How much "elite" talent did last year's team have on it? Mike Martin? That team went 11-2, improving throughout the year. Why do you assume that this team, with so much young talent, cannot improve throughout the year?
I agree with DeeBlue83. On several drives, UMass easily drove the ball down to the Red Zone only to come away with a couple of field goals. Decent team's would have punched the ball in. For many people of this board our issues will be more clear after the ND game.
It's not all roses by any means, but you and DeepBlue are just doing the opposite of people looking at a UMass clubbing and assuming that everything's great.
You're both assuming that improvement is impossible, even though last year under this regime showed steady improvement (especially on D), key starters got replaced, and there's a lot of really young guys playing.
I swear to God you just might be my brother DeepBlue83. After yesterday's game, when everyone came back to the tailgate all smiles and high-fives, my brother was pissed.....reall pissed and kept yelling in my face "DENARD IS NOT A QUARTERBACK....HE'S A SLOT RECEIVER" over and over again. When read him Denard's stats for the day he said it again. When I read him Denard's career stats he said it again. When I asked him how the offense would be better IF the did make Denard a "slot receiver" as he so desparately wants he simply said it again. No combination of facts was going to influence his emotions after the game.
The reason for my brother's anguish was simple. Denard threw a pick 6 and nothing he did before or after that play registered in my brother's brain. Denard's play at QB was one play and one play only and it was a bad one. Unless you really are my brother then I don't know you but I'm guessing you're somewhat like him. Retain the negatives - discard the positives and hold your pre-existing opinion no matter what really happened.
You see what you want to see.
Teams don't have to be young or instituting a new system for it to happen. It's called jelling. Every year is a new tea. Some take longer than others. Some admittedly never get it. In 2003 you'd have had them marked for death, and they went to the Rose Bowl. Bo teams regularly improved as the season went on, no matter the class/age status. September is for coming together, October is about improving, and November is just win baby, but 1 or 100. The idea that teams in September always resemble what they will in November just shows a lack of understanding of college football. (Or football in general....the NY Giants must drive you nuts. Chargers probably have cost you too.)
Good to see us get back on track and handle UMass the way we were supposed to. I must say I'm proud of my boy from back home Tajae Sharpe who caught two passes for UMass today and is starting for them as a true freshman and someone to watch moving forward. But back to Michigan, good to see Denard throw the ball well and Fitz being productive in the run game. Always nice to see the young guys get on the field and get a chance to make plays in the game. True test - and I believe the barometer for the season and Big Ten play - will come next week when we play Notre Dame in South Bend. I was really impressed with their defense Saturday night against MSU and have been so far this season. Gholson also has a nice showing as well. I believe next week will show us where we really are as a team, and I'm excited to see the matchup unfold. But all in all today's was a solid game, pretty much what everyone expected now its time to look forward to the next game.
There's obviously still work to do, but given the key players that left on both lines that's not a surprise.
Denard was impressive yesterday, and it doesn't matter that it was against Baby Seal U because it wasn't him putting up 250 yards on the ground in designed runs. It was him using good mechanics and zinging the ball to receivers all over the field. It was him knowing when it was best to just throw it away rather than trying force a pass into coverage. And it was him using his legs when he didn't have an open receiver and had room to run. On that TD scramble, he even went so far as to pump fake to freeze the defense for a second before tucking the ball away ... and it was a single motion from pump to tuck so i believe that it was a pump fake all the way.
He stared down one receiver from the snap and paid for it with a pick 6. He overthrew a couple of passes. Change either of those and he would have had an even more monsterous, WCO quarterback kind of day.
Those things won't be as easy against better competition, but with the O line looking pretty good at pass protection in all three games, there a good chance that stacking the box and making Denard beat you with his arm is no longer such a great strategy. Especially if he's taking off when there's pressure or good coverage.
He may be the full DC nightmare this season.
I'm happy with the effort, the preparation, and the coaching staff putting the best players on the field. Will all the freshman making contributions, shows they are recruiting, and those freshman will be experienced sophomores next year, always liked Keith Jackson's "Only a soph o more." I like that Hoke was pissed off during the post game interview, means he's going to make sure Michigan will be prepared for next week. I like seeing big receivers and big tight ends again...no gay. Not that there's anything wrong with that. And that they are contributing and being productive. With the weaknesses on this team, there is still a lot of good, and no dread in watching a Michigan football game.
I agree... I can't wait to get rid of the QB will be the total offense leader in 133 years of Michigan football. That Denard guy really sucks.
2010 - reset the Michigan total offensive record with 502 yards at Notre Dame (accounted for 502 of Michigan's 532 yards); surpassed his school record total of 383 yards set last week against UConn ... set the U-M record with 68 total offensive plays (28 rushing and 40 passing) vs. ND ... his 258 rushing yards against the Irish is the best road performance ever for a Wolverine rusher and is the fifth-best single-game effort in school history ... set career highs in every passing category, completing 24-of-40 passes for 244 yards and one touchdown against the Irish
2011 - Big Ten Offensive Player of the Week, Davey O'Brien Quarterback of the Week, Capital One Cup Impact Performance of the Week and Rivals.com National and Big Ten Player of the Week ... accumulated 446 yards of total offense (337 passing, 117 rushing) for the fourth-best yardage mark in U-M history ... threw for career-high four touchdowns; also ran for a touchdown to tie career high for total TDs (5) for the second time ... passed for career-high 338 yards on 11-for-24; last completion was a 16-yard touchdown to Roy Roundtree to win the game with two seconds left ... ran 16 times for 108 yards and one touchdown.
I'm with you Don, I will miss this guy next year. Unreal.
Alabama . . . "We won't see another team like that for the rest of the season."
Aif Force . . . "We won't see another team like that for the rest of the season."
U Mass . . . "We won't see another team like that for the rest of the season."
We can all start paying attention now.
First off, for those bitching...SHUT. UP. There was VERY little to complain about from yesterday's game.
At the end, it's not about points or yards when you bowl a baby seal out like we did...it's more about EFFECIENCY. We were effecient. The last thing you want is guys "playing down," a lot of punts, missed FGs, stalls in the redzone, etc.
When we got the ball, we scored...that's all you can ask. That's why it was a near "perfect" game.
I look at this game the same way I look at the Minnesota game last year. We did what we had to do, and we moved forward. We tried out some weird stuff on offense, some worked, some didn't...we moved forward. A lot of people played, a lot of people played well.
I just rewatched the game. Here are my thoughts:
- Yes Denard is a better passer (the INT was old Denard)
- Fitz is still too bouncy to the hole, but once he's through...he's breaking ankles.
- Rawls still loves contact, good GAWD!
- WRs finally got open. Gardner is definitely the #1. Joe Reynolds deserves a shoutout for blocking through the whistle - great job!
- Offensive line looked more in sync...backups looked terrible. We have no depth at tackle, and I think we burn a redshirt if we had to play a backup in meaningful minutes. *knocking on wood!*
- Defensive line uses more combinations than Master Lock. Still can't get enough pressure without blitzing. Still too soft in the middle.
- Joe Bolden and Kenny Demens are basically 50/50...I don't think that will change all year. Demens played his best game of the year if you ask me. Ross may not give that starting spot up. Ryan is playing like a first team All-B1G player.
- We moved Floyd to the "wide/field" side and Taylor is now playing the "short/boundary" side. Avery was at Nickel for a lot of snaps. This seems like our best combination. Also for next year, looks like Countess stays on the wide side, Taylor stays on the short...and Avery at NB.
- Marvin Robinson didn't look too bad (even before the big hit), he's no Kovacs but he's moving into "solid." Jarrod Wilson doesn't play a tight enough zone - good experience for him.
- Hagerup is so inconsistent...but when he's on, DAYUM!
Bonus: The biggest difference (and Brian has said this over and over - so credit to him), those turnovers we saw last year aren't coming this year. We have to do a better job of attacking the football.
All in all, VERY good game. I'll probably watch for a third time tonight.
Nice assessment, but you forgot Norfleet getting in the game with the first team offense and getting a carry on a jet sweep. He's going to be a special player, IMO, and I have a feeling we're going to see more of him every week, and by the end of the season he's going to be another weapon for Denard. I'd love to see him get the ball in space, on a quick pass, and see what he can do.
I didn't mention him directly, but clearly when I was referencing the "different" packages we trotted out vs. Minnesota (with Gardner) we took the time to do the same thing this year vs. UMass in a similar game (with Norfleet)
Actually, their offense did NOT double their scoring output. Don't forget the pick six. They scored six points just like against everyone else.
They scored six points in their first two games. Six against Indiana, zero against UConn. Therefore, they scored 3 points per game on average in their last two games, and doubled that against us by scoring six points.
OMG WE GAVE UP SIX POINTZ FIRE TEH GERG MATTISON!!!!11!one!!!
Even Coach Hoke didn't seem very happy with the line play during his presser. I think it's ok for folks to constructively criticize certain aspects of the team. As well as ND played in the trenches last night I think it's going to be a tough game. I hope I'm wrong, and that Denard does what he does to ND.
I agree with you. But I think some people need to learn the difference between constructive criticism and bitching.
When coaches or other knowledgeable people point out specific mistakes and point out what a player needs to improve on, that is constructive. When Brian UFRs the offense and shows how a particular missed block , bad read, or other error led to some disastrous play, that's constructive. When somebody presents a reasoned argument (i.e., one using facts and logic vs. emotion and vitriol) for starting Bolden over Demens or makes case for Avery over Taylor, even that is constructive. Those types of discussions increase our collective interest and understanding of the game (or, at least they seem to).
What I have a problem with are the whiny, "I wish we didn't suck so hard" posts. "Our line can't block and Denard keeps throwing PIX-6 and other teams run though us like shit through goose I'm so ashamed I wanna die aiigh not happy with 8-4 fuuuuh" = not helpful.
Please... people stop whining about what needs to be done. I think we ALREADY understand that both lines need help and the running backs need to pick up their production. Let's focus on the positives in Denard and the surprising wide receiver production from the past two games. I'm saying all of this because let's remember about this time last year, we were all fretting about not only our defensive execution but also whether we were going to have an effective offense with Denard trying to run a more pro style offense, not to mention the unknown future of the running backs (Sound familiar?). But Brady Hoke answered all of these concerns by creating a more effective defensive line, teaching the o-line to create holes for the running backs to navigate, and (mainly Borges) molded the team around Denard to make him more comfortable running the offense. I am confident that Brady will do the same this season as he did last season to address the concerns regarding the offensive and defensive lines. Don't forget that this is only the THIRD GAME and we had similar concerns last season. Let's just enjoy the win and look forward to Notre Dame. GO BLUE!