1. The defense. Though they slipped a bit by the end of the 3rd quarter, and though we're not quite Alabama yet, this was still one of the better performances by a Michigan defense in years. It felt...right. Like order has been restored to the universe. Mattison even had the front 7 pulling some NFL-style disguised coverages...and doing it right too!
2. Fitz’s first half. Another stellar half game for one of our tailbacks…unfortunately it didn’t last. It was still good enough to power those first two touchdowns, and then he got his mojo back at the end. Good stuff, though I wish he hadn't been stopped for all those losses in-between.
3. JT Floyd’s MASSIVE interception and Gardner’s HUGE touchdown pass. I’ve been down on Gardner for several weeks, but that was a game-saving throw…set up by Floyd’s monster grab. Hope his injury isn’t serious.
1. Our offense from midway through the second quarter on. They went from F1 racecar to Trabant in a hurry. The lack of adjustments to defensive adjustments by good Big 10 defenses is now a trend, and one that goes back to 2009. It's not as bad as it was then, but it may be worse than it was in 2010. We're lucky that we have a defense to count on now, but this feels correctable, and the inability to do so is frustrating. It's what stands between us and really taking it to the next level.
2. Going backwards on offense. We did this much too often today.
2. More stupid turnovers. Self-explanatory.
1. Injuries. Denard’s apparent injury being the worst. He might be in a second-year starter’s slump (think Henne 2005), but he’s still Denard. We need him. Ditto van Bergen and Floyd. All the best to all three.
2. Leaving too many points on the field. Twice denied in the red zone, we should have put this one away, but instead allowed Illinois to hang around. Having started the season uber-efficient in the red zone, we seem to have regressed lately. This is another frustrating phenomenon from the RR era that looked dead and buried, only to return in all its ugliness.
The Immensely Gratifying
1. We finally know, for sure, that we are better than we were last year. Though the offense hasn't been as good as we've hoped, the defense has been better than we could have dreamed. So it’s time to admit this to ourselves: we are better. We. Are. Better. Sure, we are still, as of this moment, only one game better, but we have reached 8 wins for the first time since 2007. Time to break out the cheap bubbly (the good stuff can wait until after we beat Ohio).