this may be of some local interest
Brady Hoke, before he was cool.
Three games in, what about your team is developing well?
“Um. It’s a really good question. I think, uh, we’re progressing a little bit in the two areas that are the most concerning, and that’s up front defensively and up front offensively. I don’t think we’re close to where we should be and where we need to be, so we’ll go back to work and keep working it. I like the attitude our team's had and how they’ve come to work, but I think for us to meet the expectations that we have, we have to get a lot better.”
How would you assess how your offense ran the two-minute drill?
“I thought once we knew we were getting the ball back, we wanted to go, and they did a nice job with it. I’m not going to recite every play to you, but I thought we were good with the timeouts when we took them and what we needed to do.”
How important was it to come out of this game without any injuries? Did you have any reservations about playing Denard when you were up 49-13?
“Well we wanted to play another series, and this is all about trying to get the mindset of a team and the mentality to win a championship, and keeping the offense together was a big part of that, and letting them finish. I don’t know if we got any boo boos today, but we’re having one of those years where a lot of guys are getting dinged up.”
How would you assess Fitz and the running backs?
“I think he did okay. I think we’re a little - there were a couple times where I’d like to see him stick his foot in the ground and be more vertical with some stuff.”
Status of Desmond Morgan and Stephen Hopkins?
“They should be back next week.”
What’s the issue with Morgan’s head?
“Uh, a head thing. I don’t know what they classify him as. Sometimes you just get dinged.”
Is this a type of game that you needed to have before getting into the brunt of your schedule?
“We would have taken any win.”
What did you see from the offensive line today?
“Oh I didn’t think we moved the line of scrimmage as well as we needed to.”
What do you need to see from them in order to accomplish that?
“Well we better play with better leverage, and we better combination block better when we’re doing that, and we better finish.”
Would you contemplate shaking up the starting lineup?
“I think you willl evaluate like you always do.”
Vincent Smith had a couple touchdowns. How did he play?
“Vince is a guy who whenever you call his number, he’s pretty much going to perform. It’s not surprising. When you look at what he’s done for Michigan football and how he comes to work every day, it’s not surprising.”
You don’t sound like a coach that has won by 50 points. Are you disappointed? Can you give an assessment of where you’re at?
“I think we’re getting a feel, but these kids have worked hard, and they’ve worked hard throughout -- since last January, and they have high expectations. It’s our job to be honest and be real and push them to where they can meet those expectations. I told them the same thing I told you. It’s great to win. But if we want to win the Big Ten championship, we need to improve a lot in a lot of areas, and they start up front on both sides of the line of scrimmage.”
What kind of gains can you make from a game like this?
“Well, there’s always a team morale factor, and being able to play a lot of guys, a lot of guys who have worked hard, a lot of guys on the look teams, them having the ability to play in this football team in from of 100,000 family and friends, I think that’s great. That’s what you want to happen. The other gains are not just for those guys who got that opporunity but for us as a team to improve. The kicking game, on offense, and on defense. Turnovers -- we’ve been terrible, terrible, of creating turnovers. If we don’t start creating turnovers, we’re going to get beat because we need to give more opportunities to our offense. Running the football and defending the run. I think they were seven of 17 on third down -- UMass was. We had some opportunities to make some stops and we didn’t make them. I’m either answering your question or I’m rambling …”
Are you at the point where you’re a little frustrated with the offensive line?
“I’m not frustrated with them. I wasn’t frustrated before with them because I know how hard they go to work and how much work they put into it. At the same time we have to do it better. So, frustrated? I’m not frustrated. I like the offensive line. It’s my favorite part of the football team because of the work they do. I put a lot of pressure on them. We put a lot of pressure on them, just like we do with the defensive line. But if your’e going to be good at football, you better be good at your offensive line and your defensive line.”
How important is it to find a playmaker on offense other than Denard?
“That’s a big part of it, and that’s why we need to block better in the traditional run plays with the running back. I think there’s some playmakers on the offense, at receiver, at tight end. Devin’s a guy who -- he’s a freshman, he’s still got a lot to learn, but he’s a playmaker. We have to find more, but trying to get your running back to be a playmaker is blocking at the point of attack.”
It’s very clear you’re not happy with the run defense.
“I think you are to some degree. They had four senior offensive linemen who were pretty good football players. Mike Cox was a scholarship athlete here at the University of Michigan. Mike, when there’s a hole there, he runs it pretty well. Totally? Probably not, when you get into a power running team.”
So were you pleased?
MGoQuestion: It looked like Matt Wile was varying the angle and direction of his kickoffs. Was that part of the plan, and what were you hoping to accomplish with that?
“Yeah we were trying to, just like everything else, your kicking game -- we felt that the first two ball games, we didn’t play as well as we needed to. The Alabama game we had three blocks in the back on kick returns that kills you. And then last week, we didn’t think we were consistent enough. Part of that is trying to place the ball on kickoffs. He did the pooch punting because he had a little pineapple kick -- I don’t know what they call it, that’s what I call it -- but he does it pretty effectively. Yeah we were trying to spread the ball a little bit.”
Drew Dileo. Nice surprise?
“Drew is not the biggest the cat in the world, but he’s a got a heart that’s huge, and he loves the game of football. Every day Drew comes out and we ask him to do a lot, and he does it well for us. So it’s not surprising.”
Here are the photos from the game yesterday vs. UMass
Denard hates shoes, but only his right one (Bryan Fuller)
Devins TD (Upchurch)
Denard to Gallon (Bryan Fuller)
Here is my gallery from the game
Here is a gallery from Bryan Fuller
Bryan Fuller joined me on the sideline to shoot his first Michigan game yesterday. He will be helping us out throughout the year shooting some of the teams that will be in the HTTV preview next year. We're also going to try to get him out to a few basketball games this season.
Another piece of information. If you need to reach me for questions, comments, etc., you can now e-mail me at [email protected]
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.
Something's been missing from Michigan gamedays since the free programs ceased being economically viable: scientific gameday predictions that are not at all preordained by the strictures of a column in which one writer takes a positive tack and the other a negative one. Something like… Punt-Counterpunt.
By Ken “Sky” Walker
In the past year, you’ve gotten a lot of ink for your commitment to have Michigan play the most entertaining schedule they possibly can. And while this season’s schedule has plenty of marquee games, you’ve failed to address the worst inequity facing season ticker holders. This is the dreaded ‘every other year is great’ syndrome. This is something that has to be addressed.
I’m not the first, nor the last, person to point out this feast or famine pattern in the schedule. Last year was fat city; great excitement, record crowds. The Irish, Huskers and Buckeyes; all were gracing the Big House. This year, all we’ve got is Sparty. Now I’m not pooh-poohing the MSU game. It’s arguably one of the biggest games in recent program history – the Wolverines need a win badly. But one big game does not make a season.
If you doubt the lack of interest in this year’s home schedule, look no further than my column-mate, Counterpunt. Counterpunt has yet to attend a home game—and won't be in the stands today. The runt was all fired up to make a last minute, 1200 mile road trip to Dallas. But negotiating the 2.3 miles from his abode to Michigan Stadium has thus far, proven to be an insurmountable task. And what is it that’s kept my esteemed colleague away? Why it’s soccer! Counterpunt would rather attend a tweenies’ girls’ soccer game than make an appearance at Stadium & Main. Who knew? (I guess he’s technically coaching, but that’s a matter of opinion.)
While this might make Counterpunt a candidate for dad of the year, it’s also somewhat of a commentary on the unattractiveness of what’s being presented. Would it be too big of a sacrifice to offer to play two away games in one of these series, just to even out the schedule? Especially, if giving up home games to accommodate “spread the brand” appearances, is going to be the name of the game in the future.
I’ll admit today’s game will be great for those who like blowouts. Frankly, UMass probably isn’t good enough to be in the MAC at this point. I think the only way Michigan doesn’t score half a hundred, is if Coach Hoke starts substituting early and often. Oh well. Guess I’ll just have to enjoy my doublewide, cushioned seat. It’s costing me enough. Go Blue!
Michigan 54 UMass 10
By Nick RouMel
Nearly two years ago today, after starting the season 2-0 including a stirring win at Notre Dame, Michigan played the tiny, insignificant University of Massachusetts “Minute Men” in the Big House. They barely escaped with a 42-37 win, unable to stop UMass, which gained 439 yards and scored 20 points in the 4th quarter.
I fear a similar result today. And yes, I understand UMass is now 0-2, and that Brian calls them the football equivalent of a baby seal. As if we Wolverines are anything so fearsome, padding across the ice floe with our Nerf club in hand, causing said baby seal only mild curiosity.
Which is why, Punt, instead of sitting with you on your cushy, hemorrhoid-resistant stadium cushion, I am choosing to coach my 11th grade girls’ travel soccer team, the MPSA Crush “Fighting Pumas,” in a tournament in Linden, Michigan. (And these 16 year old young women, who for the most part have drivers’ licenses, would take mighty offense at you calling them “tweenies,” if they cared even one whit about the opinions of the self-described “geezer” Punt.)
(Remember last week, when Punt got all excited when a young woman at work admired his maize and blue bulletin board push pins? Punt is much like the old dog on the front porch, who watches the squirrels cavort not twenty feet from his nose, but too tired to actually do anything about it.)
Except to navigate those 2.3 miles to the Big House, and fancy himself active and energetic, wearing his maize and blue checkered “Sans-A-Belt” pants, sitting on his soft cushion, and lifting his bottom six inches when the “wave” comes his way. Punt is as responsive as the Michigan linebackers, when a couple of Minute Men come lumbering their way, turning their heads in apparent surprise, followed several seconds later by the realization that they must give chase.
You, Punt. Go watch those Wolverines, as they barely escape the inexplicably motivated baby seals. In turn, I will pace the sideline of the soccer pitch, cheering on my Pumas, immune from the criticism of blogs, sportswriters, and snarky pseudo-journalists such as myself.
Hmm, maybe I’m actually the one looking for the soft, cushy Saturday, hiding in Linden from our lumbering linebackers, who will get the job done in the end, when they have to.
MICHIGAN 28, UMASS 24
Technically incorrect, which is the best kind of incorrect. This is BWS's UMass preview in full:
Awesome. MVictors and the Hoover Street Rag have collaborated on a historic Michigan calendar that tells you, for instance, that tomorrow is the anniversary of the "Yakety Sacks" game against Jimmy Clausen… and that Sunday tomorrow is the damned Kick It To Rocket anniversary. Also, March 7th is Alijah Bradley's birthday.
How do we wiki this thing?
Speaking of that money. Another reason real games are becoming more viable:
Per MassLive's report, Massachusetts got $390,000 to come to Ann Arbor two seasons ago. …
According to MassLive, Michigan is getting somewhat of a deal this season with regard to UMass' guaranteed money price tag -- as the school will receive roughly $800,000 to play the likes of Notre Dame, Wisconsin and Penn State in the future before grabbing a whopping $1.25 million to play Florida in 2016.
That's inflation far outpacing ticket prices. Since the TV money is essentially negligible—split with the conference—that's a motivator to play real teams to keep fan interest up. That increase is probably how the Oregon State and Colorado games got done. Those will cost more—CU got two million for a one-off with OSU—but not enough to offset the actual opponents bump they bring. Yeah, even Colorado. Death to Hail Marys.
Never forget (not that Never Forget.) Or that other one. This one:
Let us all take the opportunity to reminisce.
We must keep Notre Dame in our lives, people of Michigan. Be you green or blue, you must know this.
Whoah. Via Bring Your Champions, They're Our Meat, the best darn football/cossack blog on the internet:
Understanding the Big Ten's rough weekend really can't be completed without a guide to what disappointed coaches look like when compared to specific Zaporozhian Cossacks.
I don't even know what he's talking about, but I'm still amazed.
Kramer stuff. His jersey will be un-retired this weekend and folks are talking to other folks about stuff:
The Michigan Daily: What are your emotions, what are your family’s emotions as your grandfather’s number is put back into circulation this weekend?
Kelsey Kramer: My family is thrilled. It’s kind of a cool thing for me, being a student here. I know a lot of kids my age don’t necessarily know about him, so for me it’s neat that it’s back on the field. It’s going to draw a lot of attention to that and the memory of him playing here, in a way.
Kramer stories are the best stories; look for a few in Greg Dooley's article in the game program.
ND stuff. They're adding a game or two to their ACC schedule, and more importantly, aren't going to pick who they play. The ACC will do that, and they'll do that by rotating through their entire collection of pretty awful football teams. This puts ND's various Big Ten series in doubt because the really important thing is to keep playing Stanford for some reason. 5 + 3 + 3 == 11, meaning that if ND keeps playing their three (almost) annual Big Ten opponents they'd have only one other slot to hand out, and up to three(!) actually good opponents in any one year—USC, Michigan, and VT/Clemson/FSU.
So ND is rumbling about reducing playing games against MSU (a total of 69 meetings), Purdue (80 meetings), and Michigan (33 meetings, the vast majority of them classics) so they can play Stanford for some reason. Brandon's said he would like to keep the series going…
Michigan athletic director Dave Brandon says he hopes to keep playing football with Notre Dame after their contract expires in 2020. … Brandon says it's up to the Fighting Irish to decide how to schedule the rivalry. The teams meet yearly through 2017 before taking a previously scheduled hiatus in 2018-19.
…but who knows if that will happen.
Anyone who wants to stop playing ND is nuts. It's an easy road trip, the fans there are incredibly nice, you get more credit for beating them than you deserve, and Michigan has feasted on ND hearts for five of the last six years. The Notre Dame series is fantastic, and it's not like you can't schedule a second real team despite having that. Michigan State has Oregon and Alabama lined up in the future, and college football is moving towards a committee approach that has schedule strength as a point of emphasis. ND is not a death knell for playing other interesting opponents going forward.
Meanwhile, think of what Notre Dame has given us. Awful, awful things like Rocket and Harry Oliver. Awesome things like Yakety Sax, Yakety Sax II, "Oh Wide Open," and the last three years. Charlie Weis. Lou Holtz. Freekbass. NDNation. NDNation!
Not playing Notre Dame is stupid. It's stupid that Michigan doesn't play them in basketball and stupid that they seemingly won't be playing much in hockey after the CCHA breaks up. More Notre Dame. Always Notre Dame. They are the perfect foil. I love them, the bastards. Let's never stop playing them. Amen.
Etc.: Freep Deathwatch continued. Tyler Eifert is a WR for ND, mostly. File under "scouting" and "something Devin Funchess might end up doing." Manny Harris to Ukraine. Commence Seinfeld Risk jokes. Brian Kruger discusses Black and Blue on WTKA. Ufer retrospective from the Daily. Nick Saban DB technique. Starting DT off Nebraska team after getting blitzed for 600+ yards by UCLA.
Unbalanced stuff, Denard under center.
First, in this pic from the Air Force Defensive UFR:
The slot receiver would be eligible if he took a step back and the WR at the top took a step forward, correct? So what is the advantage to having this alignment vs. having two players be positioned less than one yard differently? I can’t quite grasp what would compensate for losing an eligible receiver.
Normally, yes. Here Air Force is going to send the WR to the top of the screen in motion until he ends up behind the two guys in the backfield. That makes life easier for Air Force if they want to run to the short side because they've effectively blocked the corner to that side by putting him on the other side of the field.
Defenses can react to this by shifting but it's unnatural for them to do this. Sometimes they mess it up, especially when you're going at speed like Air Force does. The disadvantage created by making that WR ineligible can even be mitigated by sending him on a crazy route that takes him behind the QB. Is the offense going to use this? Probably not. Is the defense going to totally abandon defending this guy? Probably not.
Second, I saw the ESPN article about Denard’s passing from under center being pretty fantastic. Given that, and Denard being Denard, why wouldn’t we run a basic QB draw from that setup on the regular? Or is the passing being so good a result of defenses making sure to take that away?
The numbers here are relatively small—Rothstein charts 62 attempts from under center under Borges, which is two or three games of data. He's done well with those attempts, obviously. I have no idea why, and if you go all Gaussian on things it's clear that there's a lot of jitter in there. Via The Power Rank:
Rothstein does acknowledge the sample size issues. But just because your data is not big enough to be authoritative does not mean it isn't suggestive. Given the numbers, the chances that randomness explains all of the difference is a mere 6%. It's worth figurin' on.
There's a pretty obvious mechanism that makes Michigan's running game more effective from the shotgun—hi my name is Denard's legs. What is the reason Denard's only throwing interceptions from the shotgun? Nothing leaps out. The routes? They're probably the same. The drop-back? In the NFL, the shotgun is a more efficient formation (even accounting for down and distance) despite running quarterbacks being largely absent. Run paranoia? It seems hard to believe that's more of a factor from under center.
Three things do seem like potential mechanisms:
- Pressure. It's easier to max-pro when you've got a couple TEs or a couple backs. Also, it's easier to not tip your snap count against MSU. Denard + pressure == doom. If Denard is getting better protection from under center that would be an obvious way in which under center was really better.
- Situation. Michigan's more likely to go under center in short-yardage situations, making those passes more profitable as the defense expects run. Also a potential factor in "situation": Michigan may run more under-center stuff against easy Ds and default to shotgun when they think they're up against it.
- Luck. Sample size here is small enough that it probably explains some of the difference. It's hard to think TD/INT splits of 12-1 (under center) and 11-17 (shotgun) are totally explainable by luck.
The problem with throwing from under center is that sometimes you have to run it from under center, and that's burning downs at this point.
Seth has all this in a UFR database and will address it in more depth on Tuesday.
Punt versus kick return, fight.
Hey, Brian. I hoping you might be able to shed some light on a question. What is the difference between kick returner and punt returner? Why does Norfleet return kicks and Gallon return punts? Is it to limit their exposure to 11 special teams defensemen running downhill at full speed with the intent of breaking the returner's back? Or are there different skills involved? (Because who wouldn't like to see Norfleet returning punts, too?)
Kick returns are the junior varsity version of punt returns. As a kick returner you have a high-arcing kick travelling 60-70 yards before you camp out under it. If you fumble the thing, the nearest opponents are 20 yards away. You pick it up, you lose a few yards in field position, and no one has a panic attack. Either that or it's a touchback. BFD.
Screwing up a punt, whether it's by fumbling it or failing to field it, has much direr implications. A fumble is almost guaranteed to be a turnover, and we just saw Jeremy Gallon cost Michigan 25 yards by not fielding an Air Force punt. Additionally, punts can come in at all sorts of angles, generally much faster than kicks. Ever seen a kickoff fielded on the run? Maybe if someone is making a terrible decision on one that's going out of bounds. Otherwise, never. On punts it's not uncommon.
In addition to that, there are some different skills involved. Punts often involve dodging guys with little or no opportunity to get up to full speed. On a kickoff you're generally going to have the opportunity to get your motor humming before you have to make a cut. So a guy like Darryl Stonum made an excellent kick returner thanks to his top-end speed and ability to make a shallow cut at speed, but wouldn't have made much of a punt returner.
Gallon and Norfleet both have skills that make them a good fit for both positions. The coaches are currently more comfortable with Gallon back there, but if he keeps bringing out 2010 Gallon and Norfleet proves capable in practice, a switch won't be long in coming. Either way, at least Michigan won't be running a Greg Mathews out there.
I haven’t seen any film on last year’s game between Nebraska and MSU, but I have to believe that Nebraska had a relatively effective day on offense judging from the score and offensive numbers. (24 points and 190 yards on the ground) So with that being said and knowing that Michigan and Nebraska run similar offenses, can Michigan look at that the game film and implement some sort of parallel schemes against MSU that Nebraska executed and have a likewise outcome?
That game was won by Nebraska's defense, which limited the Spartans to under 200 yards. While the Huskers racked up 190 yards rushing it took 58 carries for them to get there—3.3 YPC. Unless Michigan can do the same thing to the Spartan offense they're not likely to win with that kind of rushing output.
Meanwhile, an offense with pitches like Nebraska's is one you have to dedicate yourself to. It's not something you can implement for a single week. You can change your blocking schemes, routes, protections, and playcalling, sure, but when you start asking a guy to make split-second decisions about whether to fumble a ball in the general direction of the running back you're asking for trouble.
FWIW, it does seem like Michigan is at least allowing the center to get his head up and survey the landscape before he snaps the ball these days.
"That was the finest beating I ever took."
Define the scope of the problem. After the Bama game I texted with my best friend Tres. Tres lives deep in SEC country, where the only conversation anyone ever has about college football is about how the SEC is better at it. So of course big Michigan—the Michigan that tripped up Tebow and outscored Shawn Alexander—getting gutted by the Crimson Tide has made his life oh so pleasant the last two weeks. Tres suggested that game was like when Amsterdam first tries to kill the Butcher. Walking into Bill's great big Dallas party and chucking it long to Devin Gardner while not getting Denard lit up was always doomed to fail, and in such a way that not even a moral victory might be claimed. So was going toe to toe and talent for talent with Saban the Butcher. But it's also that point in the movie when you learn what it takes to beat Bill: recruit your own army and come at him from the front.
Here's Ball State's old head coach talking to his players—among them mgouser IncrediblyBLUE—after "quieting the Big House" and losing…
He told us we needed to build on the positives, that we needed to use the energy we had taken with us to Ann Arbor and move forward to the rest of the season. This my friends, is when Coach Hoke told us that "a moral victory is still a .... loss."
This is how far you need to get, and if you don't get there you lose. Let it be a lesson.
I've almost exhausted the amount of times I can be like "I met this football player once" but there's one last important nugget from when I chatted up MSU LB Chris Norman for an hour at an airport. This is about when they played Alabama in that Citrus Bowl a few years ago. It was a blowout but according to Norman it was the most important game they ever played. Paraphrasing, facing Bama showed them exactly how far they needed to get. Players don't care who was a 3-star and who in the Rivals 100—they get on the field with guys like Dont'a Hightower or Courtney Upshaw and see linebacking done right.
We now know how far Michigan needs to get to win Hoke a championship.
More problem solving after the jump
Lovable coaches all around in this one
Since the Fighting Dukakises don't pose a serious threat this week, I decided (okay, Brian decided) that it would be a good idea to take a look ahead with this week's film study. Notre Dame and Purdue faced off last weekend in South Bend, giving us a look at a pair of future opponents; the Irish came away with a 20-17 victory that was closer than expected.
A quick overview: Neither team could get anything going on the ground while Notre Dame's vertical passing attack far outstripped Purdue's dink-and-dunk approach, leading to a 376-288 advantage in total yards for the Irish. The Boilermakers managed to hang around, however, and tied the game at 17 late in the fourth quarter after corner Josh Johnson made a stellar effort to strip the ball from ND QB Everett Golson. Golson was shaken up on the play, so it was much-maligned QB Tommy Rees who led the game-winning drive for a field goal in the waning seconds. Yes, that Tommy Rees. I'm seriously, you guys.
[To the breakdown, after THE JUMP.]
|WHAT||Michigan vs UMass|
|WHERE||Michigan Stadium, Ann Arbor, MI|
|WHEN||3:30 pm Eastern, September 15th2012|
|THE LINE||Michigan –45.5|
|WEATHER||mid-60s, partly cloudy, calm|
Run Offense vs UMass
In their first two games, the Minutemen have given up 147 yards on 43 carries to UConn (which subsequently went out and put up 35 yards on NC State) and 331 yards on 53 carries to Indiana (which needs no additional wow experience appended). They are really not good at containing rushing defenses. Indiana State gave up just over half as many yards as UMass did to Indiana.
If this is not a full-on baby seal massacre, I am disappoint, Michigan rush offense. Air Force wasn't good, but UMass seems a large step down from the organized and veteran Falcons. Denard should break one or two long ones, Toussaint will crack 100 yards at a healthy YPC rate, and we'll get our first distorted looks at what Justice Hayes and Dennis Norfleet look like taking handoffs.
Key Matchup: Michigan cleat traction versus the thick layer of slippery gore laid down by the third quarter. Watch out, Dennis Norfleet! That's probably a broken bone you're cutting on!
[Hit THE JUMP for barely concealed contempt for the opponent.]