“On the offense last year, they had great spacing. That’s what I remember. Great spacing, great shooters, like Nik Stauskas, who’s not there right now. But they always have someone to fill the roles. They have a cutting offense, kind of hard to guard.”
"Northwestern fans can be both heartened and disheartened by the loss to Minnesota just like how nineteenth-century resurrectionists were heartened when they pried a heart from a freshly-buried corpse and then disheartened it when they sold it to a disreputable anatomist."
This is a graph of what I thought our chances of winning were throughout the game. That really erratic part at the end is the reason why my neighbors knew I was watching a sporting event.
I don't really know what to say that hasn't already been said, and I don't know where to start. All I know is that it was amazing, and horrifying, and awesome, and I wish I had been there. So I guess I'll just start at the beginning.
Buckle in kids, this is going to be a long ride (warning some NSFW language).
Maybe? I don't know. Home field, under the lights, Brady Hoke's Magical Golden Poop. So what if they got higher rated recruits and have had an extra year of experience in that system. We got Denard and Mattison, so the defense CAN'T POSSIBLY be as bad as last year. With so many unknowns, it might as well be a coin toss, but vegas favored ND. Vegas is almost always wrong in this series.
Three and out on the opening drive, no reason to panic yet.
Desmond Morgan didn't look very good early. He started the game with 2 missed tackles in 2 plays
A fumbled snap! Maybe they still have ball handling problems. (heh, heh, "ball handling")
Riddick TD. That looked a lot like last week. But it's still early, no big deal.
Another 3 and out. Ummmmm.... Borges?
At least Mike Martin is still playing well.
He beats his man to play and just out muscles the ND center.
Roh is also there in good outside shoulder technique to prevent Gray from bouncing outside. I know Roh has gotten a little lost in the shuffle, but he's still got lots of upside.
[Ed-M: We're doing more breaks so you don't have to scroll so much. Much more after the jump]
Wood TD. That was a depressing drive. We're getting our asses kicked but it's still early...
Eifert is lined up at WR, so there's really 3 TE in the game. He comes in motion and stops right in front of the bubble in the defense. I feel like the DE is in the wrong spot since Ryan has contain, and we don't really need a deep safety when it's 3 TE.
The ND line gets a good push at the point of attack, Eiffert scrapes off his block to seal the safety. Neither CB is in a position to do much of anything.
FINALLY, Denard runs and gets our first 1st down.
Denard Interception. Ewww, so much for that drive.
We make them go 3 and out. Ok. The defense is settling down. Nice stuff on 3rd down.
Denard runs for another 1st down. Borges is not an idiot.
11:06 Kovacs INT 40%
The heart and soul of our defense. Nice call by Mattison
Hopkins is not the answer at RB.
He lacks the vision to see the whole, and he's too slow to bounce things outside. #44 Calibrise does a great job of stuffing the lead blocker and Hopkins runs into the two of them.
Hemmingway TD! Jump ball, but he went up and made a play. And that's what Jr. Hemmingway does.
ND driving into the redzone
J.T. Floyd INT! Another sweet call by Mattison. ND is starting to revert to last week's mistakes. We might have a chance yet.
But then we go 3 and out. That could have gone better.
ND driving, getting RPS. Teeth are starting to get gnashed.
Rees Makes an audible when he sees that we're cheating the pass.
In the first half if he audibled and then fapped with two hands, it was a run. If he only fapped with one hand it was a pass. I'm sure they changed it for next week, but if there're any MSU coaches or players reading this, be aware that you might be able to steal some signs. I think they changed the signals at halftime too. But if you're quick you might catch one.
The draw is a perfect RPS + 3 here since we get caught in a zone blitz. With our NT peeling out, Gray has his choice of holes for the 1st down.
No two minute drill. Ok. I guess... : / Better to make the adjustments than risk another turnover and score. But still... grumble, rabble, rabble, ....
And then I remember that ND get's the 2nd half kickoff
Nice stop on 3rd and 1. That was probably not a great call by Kelly, as we've already shown we could stop them in short yardage.
That looked real close to being a downed ball.
But it wasn't.
Denard big run to midfield!
He seems stronger this year. Here he just carries 3 guys for 10 yards.
Beast mode. Or maybe that's just his fan club...
If he ever wins the Heisman or gets into the CFB Hall of Fame, they should make a statue of this moment.
But then we have to punt.
And we managed to screw that up.
Jonas Gray gets a big run
Wood fumbles! WTH? Totally unforced. He just ran into the back of his own man.
But it looks like he might have cramps in his arm or something...
My sisters get cramps...
Denard's 2nd INT. You live by the sword, you die by the sword.
Jones TD. Fuck.
Hemmingway big catch and run! Wow, Denard is showing some crazy leg strength this game. We're not dead yet!
Denard almost TD
But it's not a TD
I like the reactions of the cheerleaders. But I'm not sure which caption is better.
FUMBLE! Oh Noo~
~ooo Oh YES! TD! Johnny on the spot.
Riddick can't field the kickoff. I wish he was still returning punts.
3 and out. Defense is looking good. Hawthorne just felt his way through the line and met the RB before he could get going.
And a short punt too.
TD Gallon! Jump ball to the short guy? Hey, if it works!
The crowd and Mattison force ND to take a time out. Maybe our homefield advantage is worth something afterall.
Eifert conversion on 3rd and long. Nice catch. Damnit.
Floyd converts the first. He's killed us all game. The clock is becoming a factor
BULLSHIT PASS INTERFERENCE.
But it does make up for one we got away with earlier.
LOL Fumble! Really?!? Wow. That's 100% on Rees. I think Kelly is too dumbfounded to go ballistic.
I do the same thing to fake out my dog.
Hemmingway! and Penalty! That looked suspiciously like a bad decision and a poor throw. But hey, if it works...
4:24 20 %
Denard 3rd INT. Hrrrmph.... went to the well one too many times. Very sad. But let's have some fun by trying to read the expressions of these fans.
1. Can't watch the replay
3. Why?! Why did you throw that?!
5. I can't believe it.
7. I need a drink
8. I need to see the replay
9. I'm gonna be sick
10. That figures...
11. Oh darn, I'm gonna lose my bet
12. Are you kidding me?
13. Football pants are sexy.
14. I am now casting a curse on all the ND defensive backs. Whispers "Avadra ....."
15. Why didn't anyone else wear their tank tops like they said they would?
ND is having issues with clock management.
Or maybe they were just allowing time for an audible...
Woo! Huge 3 and out. That was the worst playcall of the game by Kelly. We've stopped them on 3rd and short several times.
This play call didn't surprise anyone. Jake Ryan is so quick coming off the edge, but Demens and the other OLB are all over this play.
These guys are big, but they're not that big.
Gallon punt return close to midfield. We got our chance. Let's hope it doesn't come down to a field goal...
Conversion on 3rd and 2
It was close.
But I think it's exactly in the right spot.
The nose is just barely touching the yellow line.
But so were the sticks.
Grady to the 20!
TD Smith! Holy Shit Balls!
Just an awesome play call. RPS + a lot. Even though, two of our linemen completely whiff on their block and Molk barely gets a piece of his man. Roundtree has got their backs.
Did I mention that Vincent is elusive?
And that is just a textbook sustain and pancake block. When Roy says he's a team player, I believe him.
Let's get some more fan reactions.
1. I've seen this before...
2. Why does god never answer my prayers?
3. . . .
Riddick to the 40. "Special" teams.
PI on Floyd. No disputing that call.
Eifert 1st down. C'mon D!
Incomplete pass brings up 3rd down! You can do it! Just two more plays!
Gallon WIDE OPEN!!! HOLY SHIT! WE CAN KICK A FG TO TIE! Oh shit. Not a field goal....
OMG IT'S A JUMP BALL! NOOOOOoooooooo
OMG HE CAUGHT IT, YES YES YES, OMG!
Fuck, they're reviewing it
Not that it matters.
But yes, that should have been a TD. He's got possesion here.
The ref winds the clock seeing the possession. Then comes the hit and the fumble. If that had happened at some other point in the game, it would have been reviewed and whatever call was made on the field would have stood because it was that close. But it was a TD.
He landed flat on his chest. His legs were in the air. He has possesion of the ball. the ball is over the goal line. But w/e WE WON! So it's just a Moo Point.
I know they've grown on some people, especially considering how memorable the game will be, but let's never use these again.
I mean, seriously.
WTF is that? It looks like he's wearing a bar code.
And they look even worse on the cheerleaders.
And this is coming from a guy that usually likes to see a girl in a Jersey. They were that bad.
It's true that they aren't as hideous in the wide angles. But that's not a compliment. Imagine if you tried to use that rationale when describing your boyfriend or girlfriend...'If you don't stand too close, she's not really that ugly.'
Let's not kid ourselves. They looked awful. But at least they are made of crappy material
and tear apart easily (yes I know Jersey's are supposed to do that, /sarcasm)
And someone should remind ND that it's 4 leaf clovers that are rare and lucky. 3 leaf clovers are common, nothing special, weeds that animals take a dump on because they make nice soft patches.
Not that having a 4 leaf clover on their helmets would have made a difference. If even Jesus is not helping you win, then some silly superstition won't help either. But I repeat myself.
Rees's Pieces (yes I went there)
So I basked in the delightful tears of sorrow on some ND message boards. And I'm amazed that they can pile so much hate onto Tommy Rees. Yes the guy had 3 turnovers. But only one of them was really bad. (But it was a doozy!) The kid had 2 INTs in the first half both of which I credit to Mattison messing with his (sophomore) head. And his team was still up by 2 scores.
He completed his first 8 passes, made a ton of big third down conversions, and walked off the field with 30 seconds left, after leading his team to an apparent victory. He was 27 of fricken 39, for 300+ yards, 3 TD's, and that's not counting the pass interference penalties we commited.
And on top of that, he audibled like a boss.
Early in the game, it's a pass on 2nd and long. He sees the blitz coming.
We've got 4 guys on the short side of the line, so he calls a run sweep to go away from it.
You can tell it's a run audible because the WR's have no idea what's going on and Rees doesn't seem intent on telling them.
The rush comes, but his fake is just enough to hold the blitzers from tackling the HB. (bad assignment football on our part. If you've got lots of rushers over there, one guy should always be punishing the running back.
From behind the play we can better see what Rees saw. I'm guessing he can count and realized that four is a lot more than zero.
When they talk about holes you could drive a truck through, this is one of those.
Later, in the 2nd quarter He sees that we've got no MLB.
This was a risky call by Mattison, but I think it's just part of his setup for third down.
But Rees is smart enough to take what's being given, so he audibles out of the pass to a draw play.
When we get more advanced and experienced, this is when the defense should do the double check and re-audible just to screw with the QB and maybe force him to call a time out. But I guess we need to focus on more basic things right now.
Because it's a draw play, the D-linemen still read pass protection. Mike Martin flies out of there. And it turns into a huge gain.
Coaching Styles, Hoke vs. Kelly
After one of Denard's interceptions, this is Hoke having a chat with him.
Let's see if you can spot the difference compared to Brian Kelly of a week ago.
(BTW Meta: I'm glad people like my screencap. But how am I not the first link?
And would it kill ya to link back or put some credit?)
The point is this; which coach do you think does a better job of getting through to his players?
For most people, they can only get yelled at so many times before it starts to just roll off them. It's good to develop a little bit of a thick skin, but you don't want your players to develop thick heads.
Scoreboard stats seemed improved this week.
This story about Desmond meeting Denard is just all kinds of wonderful
The trajectory on the xtra points looks better this week. And props to the holder who snagged a lot of off center snaps and got them down in time.
Demens and Hawthorne look like real B1G linebackers.
The secondary is still raw but improving.
If you're a 5* running back, we've got a scholarship waiting for you, and playing time up for grabs.
Michael Floyd, dude dominated us. JT put up a good fight, but wow. I only M. Floyd take one play off, (but I noticed it because the RB coulda had another 20 yards if Floyd hadn't been standing around) when Rees audibled to a run. I almost feel sorry for the guy. After losing a game like that, I bet he could use a drink. He's a first rounder for sure.
Also, pom poms!
Pom poms make everything better.
They can even hid those horrible "throwback" (fictional) jerseys with the cracked M.
for helping cut the game down to bare bones. I always enjoy reading your perspective on games. As a part-time MS Painter myself, I thoroughly enjoy your fine annotations to screencaps.
Also, Michigan Stadium looks like an NFL stadium in that picture.
It makes me laugh when ND fans use the yellow line as gospel (lols) for the first down marker. They complain that Denard didn't convert on that 3rd and 2. The yellow line isn't really on the field, that's just for the TV audience, and I'm pretty sure it's approximated (and pretty thick too). The sticks and the spot said otherwise, so quit whining, especially when Cierre (girl's name) converted a 3rd where he didn't even make it back to the LOS because of a generous spot.
Mike Martin told me he loves me. My life is quite possibly complete.
Does the win % graph remind anyone else of the trajectory of human history where you have to zoom in on the last little tiny bit of the time line to see recorded history? 58:47 minutes go by, but all the last 1:12 is what we all will remember.