I saw on another diary that people were talking about Ezeh's game and I thought it'd be interesting to see who people thought were the best 5 and worst 5 today.
1. Denard: Duh! 3 TDs and 0 turnovers. He averaged 7.38 yards per play (502 total yards / (40 passes + 28 runs), which is just sick. Stretched ND out and put pressure on ND's defense. Forced the safeties to come down allowing 1 on 1 coverage outside. I had a ton of confidence he'd drive down the field and score when we needed a TD late.
2. Roh/Martin/RVB Combo: Constantly got to the 3 QBs. Even when we sent just 3. Even on the 95 yard TD throw these 3 forced Crist to move his feet and allowed Michigan to drop 8 into coverage. Unless I am incorrect most of the game Roh put his hand down, which is pretty interesting and probably in response to ND's spread offense. Martin blew up his double team at least 50% of the time, RVB knocked down numerous passes and chased down Allen when he ran to the right, and Roh burned the LT time and time again. They helped create 2 of the turnovers, knocked the QB down and just made sure the QBS were never really comfortable in the pocket.
3. Mouton: Huge momentum turning pick. Good job reading the QBs and dropping deep into zone coverage. Very few open targets across the middle for ND. Had a couple of huge hits and helped blitz the quarterback successfully. Seems to really be stepping it up. Only had a couple of plays where his aggressiveness took him out of position.
4. GERG Robinson: Not only did he decide (correctly) to move Roh up front but he also decided that those 3 could handle the OL most of the time. He also clearly went after Crist on the first drive and while ND did score on that drive, they clearly knocked him out before the TD sneak. On the 2 big touchdowns he had guys in that area and clearly had the right protection/coverage on. Players just messed up. Did a good job with what he had. Also, decided to not let the RBs beat them. Especially when Crist got knocked out. Held Floyd to 66 yards (and 0 TDs) and 4.8 yards per carry.
5. Kovacs and Thomas Gordon: Kovacs had a great pick and almost grabbed another. He got beat a couple of times but nothing deep. Barely heard him or Thomas Gordon mentioned, which is a great thing for a safety. Gordon was impressive, had a nice sack, and some big hits. He also never got beat deep. Very good first start for him. I think we might see a 2 0 2 out of him on the UFR.
* Disclaimer: While I might list these guys as the worst 5 I do realize that they are all kids and I am not attacking them personally. It's just my observation and yes I do realize that I couldn't touch 1 of these guys as a football player.
1. Gibbons: You can't miss 2 mid-range FGs. 1/4 on the year is bad. This game reminded me of Washington from 2002. You can't miss a FG within 40 yards in a game like this, nevermind twice. He clearly has a good leg, now we need some accuracy. I know he's a RS Freshman, but he has 1 job to do, make FGs. With that said, he did a good job on kickoffs.
2. Gordon: I know he's young and not a natural FS but you can't let anyone behind you when you are the last line of defense. I was hoping his size and WR skills would let him pick off the 95 yard TD pass. He seems like he doesn't trust his skills yet. He jumped on the 53 yard TD but was well short of the ball (and let Jones behind him). At the end of the first half he also completely ignored the wheel route and helped double team the seam route, leaving Riddick wide open for Montana. ND should have gotten 3 here. So (and I hate writing this) about 17 points are on him. I really know he has the talent and size to be good at that spot. He just needs to realize he is the last guy back and give up a 20 yard catch instead of going for the pick. That or actually get the pick.
3. Omameh: Another bad game. Really did a bad job in my mind. He got pushed around and picked up dumb penalties. Our middle 3 didn't do great but Molk and Shilling at least blocked their guy 90% of the time. Omameh getting blown up constantly killed the inside draw on the QB read. He also slowed up Molk, not allowing him to slip to the 2nd level, meaning the ND LBs got more shots on Denard then they should have. The third and inches stop was on him and Molk getting beat back. 3rd and inches. AHHH.
4. Banks/Sagesse: It's not what they did, it's what they didn't do. When one of these guys was up front instead of RVB or Martin the D-line did nothing. We had tons of pressure when they weren't on and it disappeared when we subbed on one of these guys. They just don't have the pass rushing skills that the other 3 do, which I think is why GREG kept them off the field as much as possible. We need them to be better from here on out. We'll need to be able to sub for Martin and RVB when we are playing teams like Wisconsin and OSU.
5. Christian: 1 play and 1 huge mistake. Yeah, the shot wasn't hard and the guy was just barely out but you can't do that. I know he's really young and super excited to be out there playing, but he can't take a personal foul there then. The play goes from a so-so 15 yards gained to 30. ND moved from the 42 to the 27. From the 42 ND might not be able to get the ball into the endzone besides just throwing it up. There are plenty of college passes that gain 27 yards. Changes the chances of success from 1 in 50 (god damn you Kordell) to 1 in what 15? 20? Big difference, especially when it's Michigan-ND, and we have Rich Rod's luck.