FWIW. Michigan doesn't seem inclined to get re-involved.
I decided to review the 1st quarter, mainly because I'm going through one of my frequent bouts of insomnia and college football is the only sport I follow closely.
I'm not pretending to be an expert or have all the football jargon down. I defer the finer points to Mr. Cook and others.
The first quarter of the MSU game really seemed to get people upset (understandably, due to the epic 10 minute drive) and while I have no intention of doing a full blown UFR like Mr. Cook I decided to review that part of the game because it seemed that 10 minute drive of MSU's set the tone for the game. I don't think I'll have time to do the whole game and besides, I'm sure others (Brian Cook) will do a better job than this. I'm just throwing this out there for everyone to review or ignore as they please.
So here goes.
We only ran 6 plays on offense in the first quarter. I'll discuss those in some detail before summarizing what I thought MSU did on offense.
Our first play (after the early INT) was going to be one of these, I believe:
However unlike the ND game, MSU's defensive tackles both penetrate, blowing up the play. Fault lies on Huyge and Dorrestein on this one, IMO.
The next play (2nd and 12) was going to be one of these, I believe:
TE rolls out into flat instead of blocking the DE
But instead of making the DE miss, like in the ND game, the DE gets a piece of Tate and the MSU LB is upon him very quickly (scouted this play well?) and finishes off the tackle.
Here the BTN announcer says something I found funny....
"Tate Forcier's intangibles are off the charts." How does one make a chart to measure intangibles? Anyway...
3rd and 15.
This was the "MY GOD CARLOS TURN AROUND" play. MSU blitzes on 3rd and long, Tate throws to what you'd assume is the hot receiver but Carlos Brown is still running. If he turned around and caught the ball, would have probably easily been 5-10 yards, maybe more.
So, ok, FG.
We didn't get the ball back until 10 minutes into the quarter later...
1st and 10 from the 28 - Schilling doesn't quite make his block on the DT and the DT forces Carlos Brown to cut up, into the unblocked DE. 2 yards. Perhaps Moosman should have at least gotten a piece of the DT before releasing downfield, I don't know.
2 and 8. What looks like could have been a bubble screen to either side, Tate throws to Carlos Brown. Unblocked LB and a safety are on top of Carlos quickly, limiting him to 3 yards. Again, scouting?
3rd and 5. Spartans rush only three with what looks to be 2 LB's acting as spies on Tate. Dorrestein can't keep up with his DE, forces Tate to scramble and into one of the waiting spies. He's forced to throw the ball, incomplete.
So that was it for the offense. Dorrestein didn't play well in that quarter. Which isn't saying a lot since it was only 6 plays. But there it is.
And now here's what I found when I revisited Sparty's epic 10 minute drive...
Just about every time MSU tried to run between the tackles, we stuffed it. Our defense did well in these situations.
We seemed to be playing zone a lot, from what I could tell. Most of MSU's completed passes were their guys moving into a hole in the zone.
Our corners were playing very, very soft, even Warren. This allowed MSU to get some big gains by throwing to a quick bubble screen to the slot WR with the outside WR blocking Warren, forcing the hybrid or safety playing up near the line to chase down the slot WR. This worked every time MSU tried it, fortunately at least a couple times it was negated due to penalties.
By the end of the drive, I don't see Williams. Kovacs is already playing and it's clear that when Woolfolk is in he's got one good arm. We're thin at safety and it appears that both starters are banged up. Not good. Related to playing soft zones? Probably.
The scrambles - the first one, we had good pressure on the QB and had Ezeh not stumbled when the MSU TE/H-back runs into him on a crossing route, Ezeh catches the QB for a minimal gain. But no. It seemed like everyone but the d-line and Ezeh was back deep covering (this was on a 2nd and 25) and so the MSU QB had room to run. The TE running the crossing route who hit Ezeh, kept running, and became a lead blocker and bam, 19 yards.
The second scramble was similar to the first. Good pressure, everyone else back covering WR's, QB just takes off. Not sure what else to say.
Also I think there was one play where the Spartans had an illegal formation, don't the tackles have to be covered? By either a TE or WR? Sparty had one play where I thought the LT wasn't covered by anyone, may have had 5 guys in the backfield.
Note to BTN announcers: It's WOOL-FOLK. Not Whirr-fork. Jesus.
So that's pretty much the first quarter. I have a new found respect for the UFRs, this is actually a lot of work, breaking down each play. Props to you Mr. Cook. Now I know why coaches spend long hours doing what they do.
Lastly, I have a strange urge for queso dip. Ro-tel and Velveeta to be specific. It's 1155pm and I've gotta make a run to the grocery store...