Ok then. If that is the way this season is going to be about things, fine. I'll just keep stabbing myself in the eye with this fork and I won't have to see any more of that.
In all seriousness though, that game was a real gut punch for our team. A one way ticket back to reality. I thought going in that we had every chance of getting a W here but didn't see it as a gimmee. It was a solid toss-up on paper. But great athletes often make all the difference, and this was a prime example.
- For the first time this season, I had to question RR's game stratagies. I admit my lack of coaching experience makes my opinions on this preetty much moot, but still... to me it seemed that we moved away from what was working in the first quarter.
- Threet = no more keepers after the first 2 touchdowns (and he was good those first couple of drives).
- Quick hitting run plays abandoned it seemed, in favor of too-long-to-develop zone stretches (our linemen blow at blocking these).
- Threet started so well and then, all of the sudden, can't hit the broad side of a barn for the next 2 quarters.
- We were lucky to have recovered our first two fumbles or this could have had turnovers to match the previous two games.
- Can we teach Threet to pitch the ball already? I would have thought by this level it would be second nature.
- Aggressive pass rushes may have been the wrong look for such a speedy Illinois team. I love balls to the walls, bring the house blitzes and there weren't really too many of these. I'm more refering to getting sucked in to the screens that killed us over and over.
- Don't we have the personel to put a spy on as mobile a QB as Juice? His ball fakes faked me out most of the time, but to combat this I really expected a dedicated defenseman to contain him. I was really hoping for Mouton in this role and think that what he showed yesterday might make him an excellent cadidate for spying Pryor in The Game.
- Benn really burned us crispy. Our corners may be good, but they aren't quite shut-down status yet.
- What is it with refs throwing horrendous and extremely late flags against Michigan for PI this year? I would think that if the ref has to think about what just happened in front of him for more than 1 second, he shouldn't throw a flag.
- And just to belabor the point, how can we continue, throughout the game, to let Juice beat us to death with his feet and not put a shadow on him?
Hats Off!!! Awards:
- Mark Moundros - Nice to see the big fullback get a TD catch.
- Odoms - Dude was lightning in a bottle. He is always open. Finally Threet hit him a few times. Odoms will be a bonafide star by the end of this year.
- Zoltan! - Crushed the ball all day long. An average of 47 yards per over 8 punts is just, well, inconceivable.
- Juice and Benn - These two really killed us yesterday. They are very gifted athletes. And Michigan's D is seriously un-good against gifted athletes.
- Michigan Kick Returners - We got to see plenty of KOs ;~( and our returns were like night and day from the season so far. It looked like there was actual great blocking going on.
What is there to say, really? Next week is a must win. Michigan doesn't lose to the MAC and just has to have this one. I don't think it will be a tune up by any means. Toledo may have enough offense to give us fits. This will be a pride game for our defense. Giving up more than 20 points would be a crap-tastic performance for them IMO (unless they face turnovers in our redzone all day), and I think they will keep Toledo closer to 10. Our offense shouldn't have probems with the Toledo D but they have plenty of ways to make probems for themselves. If we win this next one I think we will probably be 6-6 with wins over little brother, Purdon't, and Minny. Northwestern should also be winnable, but they are somewhat impressive this season and I forsee us losing that one. If we want 7-5, I think it will have to come vs Penn St, whom we continue to pwn until they prove otherwise. Oh yeah, and I don't really see us beating the Bucks this year but a lot can change obviously. GO BLUE!!!