is questionable to say the least. That INT was absolutely awful. He took a comfortably game and turned it into a nailbiter. He made amends, but he has to improve his situational awareness and decision making. That will come with time.
Please elaborate on the "situational awarness" he lacked. He played a great game from a decision standpoint with the exception of one egregious mistake in my opinion.
Take away seven for the pick-six and it's still a very impressive net 34 against a D that's going to cause most QBs fits. (Not Fitz)
MSU has won two games in which their defense basically outscored their offenses. Those two teams they beat have lost to FCS schools in their other game this year. MSU's in for an awfully rough year
The FCS teams beat Western and USF worst than MSU did too I believe.
To be fair though, you can't really compare MSU's margin of victory to other teams though. We'll say MSU wins by 10 points for instance and a team like Nebraska wins by 13 points. The 13 point win looks more impressive on paper, but do you think it's easier to score 13 against Nebraska or 10 against MSU? I would take Nebraska any day.
MSU doesn't have a great offense by any means. Not even a decent one. However, a lot of people fell into this trap last year. Every game MSU plays will be close because it's just the nature of their team. Not going to claim their great or will go 10-2 or something, but margins of victory probably isn't the best method to use to judge the Spartans.
They are 2-0. We are 2-0.
Lot's of good things to build on there:
- Devin looked in change of a capable offense. He also seems like a genuinely awesome person, which is nice because Denard set the bar high.
- Devin can throw the ball. Accurately.
- The O-line managed against a very tough ND D-line. Plenty of room for improvement there, but still reassuring.
- Very pleased with Al Borges this weekend. Never felt like we were beating ourselves on offense.
- The Defense made plays when they had to. I would like to hear the coaching rationale for all the secondary cushion.
- Everyone in South Bend got knocked down a notch, which they always need.
Pretty awesome way to conclude UM vs. ND in the Big House. It's a shame those bastards were/are/will continue to be too stubborn to do the right thing and join the B10 (when they had the chance.) I will miss frustrating all my South Bend friends.
Texas and USC may be getting on the coaching search soon. Texas was embarassed by BYU (and they've been calling for Mack Brown's head for years already) and USC is in jeaopardy of losing to Washington State currently, a game in which the Trojans were heavily favored.
Something about those lights means that no matter what happens in the first 3 quarters, buckle up cuz some shit's gonna go down in the 4th. It was awesomeness two years ago...not so much tonight. Fortunately, the crazy went Michigan's way in the end again, despite the gnashing of teeth that the game was causing starting with the Devin WTF INT.
The only concern I have on offense is Devin's tendency to spin around and run further back. It works most of the time, but he can't afford to do that again deep in his own territory. Easy fix I think, the experience Devin got from making the mistake will get him to learn real quick. I'm somewhat concerned about the runnning game, but also think that ND was blitzing like crazy to stop the run so it was just one of those things.
The Defense is obviously a concern, but (a) Jake Ryan will be back at some point before more real games come around, (b) Mattison is a genius, the defense will improve because it always does.
I will say Rees played really well. Gardner just played better.
Oh, and anyone else catch their leprechaun saying "our house, our house!" into the camera a few times?
Yeah, fuck that guy in the ear.
ND's stadium is, after all, a minature replica of Michigan Stadium.
Surprised this hasn't been mentioned yet, but our ST Coverage teams were an absolute disaster. We had 3 punts that I remembered. One went about 35 yards in the air and was returned 15 yards to Michigan territory. One pinned them on the 10, but was also only about 35 yards. The final one was a complete shank for 21 yards. In other words, we had a net average punt under 30 yards. Our 2nd half kickoffs put us in a difficult situation. 3 times when we took a 2 score lead, we gave up a return to the 50, gave up a personal foul to bring the ball out past the 40, and kicked the ball out of bounds to the 35. What happened to kicking the ball through the back of the end zone?
Like everyone else I thought that the Defensive game plan was a little strange. It was a classic bend-but-don't-break defense and it worked. Rees made some outstanding throws, some throws that were dropped (especially the back coming out of the backfield). Some bad throws and 2 thank you Rees throws. I thought ND should have run it more. Our LBs were bailing at the snap for deep zone coverage giving up massive runs right up the middle. I was disappointed in our DL play for most of the game. They made a couple great plays, but for most of the night they were pwnd.
QB play on the rest of the schedule doesn't look all that intimidating. Only Unstoppable Throw God will be better. Also perhaps Hackenburg for PSU, but I can't see that conservative of a defensive game plan against a freshman QB.
I think the so-called 'questionable' Pass Interference calls were definite pass interference. Gallon got shoved 5 yards out of the way and Funchess was held the entire play.
I think Kalis and Schofield are going to have a rough day on UFR. Miller and Glosgow held their own. Lewan was outstanding.
Devin MF Gardner. He was the man. ESPN flashed up his stats vs the Blitz and No-Blitz. If ND didn't blitz Gardner was basically perfect (therefore great job by the O-line). ND had to bring pressure. Gardner numbers weren't as good as I thought via the eye test, because he constantly stared down the blitz and stepped into his throws. (One notable exception).
Jeremey Gallon is such a comfort for DMFG. I would like another receiver to step up because I worry what will happen if the opponent can lock him down. Dileo is a fantastic possession receiver on 3rd downs, but I want another big target man. I know I am being picky after picking up 460 yards against a Top 10 type defense.
I loved Chesson's block on the opening TD. Loved it. Get that man the ball.
Also, Hoke made a bad game theory decision. On the DMFG WTF interception, he made a horrible decision to challenge that call. ND missed the extra point, and we lost a timeout all to challenge something that wasn't going to get overturned.
Only defense is the play was such a massive play in the game you are almost forced to challenge it. That said, that was probably the only real bad decision Hoke made.
I actually really disagree with this. First, it looked debateable on the screen in the stadium. I really didn't think it was incomplete. Second, it gave Gardner valuable time to cool down before he had to walk right back onto the field. That was easily worth a timeout.
Disagree. The nd kicker missed only because the ref had blown the whistle prior to the kick, throwing off half the Irish players on the field. That "kick" was never really a kick.
That's how the pros do it when a key man really messes up a play. Not an ideal situation, but I can understand how emotions would be running high at that moment and time would be crucial.
Probably was the wrong move, but it's not all that bad. Why not try the challenge? How was he supposed to predict that ND was about to miss an extra point? It was all pretty bad luck, imo. It worked out in the end, though. I'd rather Hoke take those sorts of calculated risks (that sometimes backfire) than play Ferentz/Tresselball-type conservative.
On the much discussed Gardner brain cramp, if, hypothetically, the refs had overturned the call, could they have then flagged him for grounding evem though the didn't flag he during the play?
How dumb that challenge was? I will never understand how coaches can't communicate with each other and determine when it's appropriate to challenge/not challenge. Challenge success rates should be damn near 100%
At the time it was done, I thought Hoke was planning on a timeout to settle the team down and he just added a challenge to it to make it last a little longer. But why not save the red flag for something happening later?
That could have meant the difference between giving ND two points and giving them seven - a huge difference in the fourth quarter of a game we led by 14. You're not likely going to have a bigger call to challenge than that.
Keep in mind that coaches only have maybe 20-30 seconds to figure out whether it's worth challenging.
Our defensive gameplan to me seemed very conservative and yet it worked go an extent. Wish we could generate more pressure with a 4 man rush but I think the idea was to keep as many men in coverage to force Rees to make good decisions and accurate throws. Rees had a really good game.
Offense was marvelous for most part, aside from Devin's, ahem, incident.
But Rees seemed to check into max protect and the blitzes were picked up. I think Michigan realized that their blitz packages couldn't fool Rees (after all the guy started for like 4 years).
Also, Rees is still like 50/50 on hitting a semi covered WR and is good for a couple of picks a game if he throws a lot. I think M was just counting on Rees' mistakes throwing.
Shout-out to Gibbons, who has become a very reliable kicker no matter the opponent.