Michigan 61, Montana 47

Michigan 61, Montana 47

Submitted by Ace on March 16th, 2018 at 1:34 AM

(Left) Charles Matthews' dunks were a (the?) bright spot.
(Right) That game, the feeling. [Photos: J.D. Scott/MGoBlog]

Queme los game film.

Make sure the audio track burns, too.

In the Before Time, when I could still hear pitches above a high B-flat, Montana jumped out to a 10-0 lead over a Michigan squad that very much looked like it'd had an extended layoff. The Wolverines adjusted to the aggressive trapping Grizzlies defense and held a three-point lead at halftime. A woman screamed as if she, also, was trapped by grizzlies.

Hopeless. [Scott]

The second half barely got started before the scorer's table lost power, causing a long delay. Just after the clocks returned to working order, TBS went to a media timeout. The screaming continued. Someone help her, please.

Montana went 34 minutes of real time—and ten minutes of game time—without a basket. In the interim, we all moved one day closer to death.

While Michigan didn't look a whole lot better on offense, they were at least capable of occasionally putting the ball in the basket. Charles Matthews mostly dunked his way to 20 points to lead all scorers. Muhammad-Ali Abdur-Rahkman chipped in 11 as the only other Wolverine in double figures. Others contributed. The screaming grew louder as the arena emptied. Both teams, haunted by visions of murder, failed to crack a point per possession.

The Wolverines face Houston, winners over San Diego State, at approximately 9:50 pm on Saturday. May the wailing of cursed souls cease by then.

[Hit THE JUMP for the box score.]

Fee Fi Foe Film: Cincinnati Defense

Fee Fi Foe Film: Cincinnati Defense

Submitted by Seth on September 8th, 2017 at 10:45 AM

Previously: Cincinnati Offense

No YOU begged to write the Cincy FFFF just so you could watch abominable football and call it work.

I did not slow this down that’s just how fast they move.

The team Cincinnati played last week is literally the worst football team you can play. Austin Peay is on a historic losing streak that was last interrupted when Doug Nussmeier was Michigan’s offensive coordinator, and bad news for Toys R Us meant some negative publicity over their line of Breaking Bad action figures. That streak (Peay’s) continues, but only because Cincinnati went 4-1 in turnover luck when the Bearcats’ offense could only muster 248 yards.

Getting a read on the defense is a bit harder, because Peay’s quarterbacks are the kind of passers you make stand in the driveway so you’re not always chasing the ball into the neighbor’s garden. They still might miss the barn:

I’ve analyzed the Peay tape and while some of the things in it are indeed disturbing, there is nothing here that constitutes a threat to national security. That makes extrapolating applicable things from Peay’s offense to Michigan’s rather difficult. Also difficult: not cackling. I promise to do my best on the former.

Personnel: My diagram [click to embiggen]:


I tried not to be too harsh with the cyan circles because it’s all relative, even if this whole scout was literally relative to the worst team in the kindest definition of Division I football. On any other FFFF the strong safety and the HSP would have circles too; they get a reprieve for playing opposite whatever the opposite of shields are.

Given Peay’s passing I have to punt on the corners but one note: David Pierce was a surprise starter last week over incumbent senior Grant Coleman, who’d been starting since he Wally Pipp’d the job from… [everyone put on your Rich Rod defensive recruit radiation jackets]… Adrian Witty in 2014. Pierce was a safety last year and deep into fall camp. Coleman was a walk-on. Again, Peay had no way to test this, but heuristically last-minute position switches are ill omens.

[After THE JUMP: I was probably too harsh on a kid who’s doing something way more amazing than I ever will]

Fee Fi Foe Film: Cincinnati Offense

Fee Fi Foe Film: Cincinnati Offense

Submitted by Seth on September 6th, 2017 at 4:10 PM

Austin Peay did not win a game in 2016. They did not win a game in 2015 either. Nor did they win a game in 2013. In fact in their last 47 tries their lone victory was October 18, 2014, versus Murray State. Remember when Michigan planted a railroad spike in East Lansing, then Brady Hoke apologized? That is more recent than Austin Peay winning a football game. The closest they’ve come since: last Saturday at Cincinnati.

Michigan’s next opponent was outgained 313 (Detroit!) to 248 (Cranbrook!), and needed a big fourth quarter touchdown drive and two end-of-half turnovers near their goal line to kick off the Luke Fickell era with a victory over literally the worst team in the most charitable definition of Division I. The same Governors (FYI: Austin Peay are the Governors), who gave up an average of 46 points vs FCS schools last year were able to hold the Cincinnati attack to 3.3 YPC, 5.4 YPA, and 3/11 on first downs.

Yeah, football results are not always transitive. But this might be:

if this is accurate there are only five unblocked defenders around

I find beauty in atrocious football. It’s yet to be seen if we can find much of use. Welcome back to foe film.

Personnel. My diagram [click to embiggen]:


Oreo offense: hard cookie outside with a soft, gooey center.

There wasn’t that much I could glean from watching them play Peay. The offensive line returned one starter and the new kids got zero push against Peay’s DL. The right tackle, a JUCO transfer, is large but really stiff and a complete turnstile against the pass rush. The center got overpowered on the regular but seemed to know what he was doing. Both guards had trouble in all departments, getting little to no push, blowing zone combos, and occasionally providing entertainment of the “'I’m glad it’s not our guys” variety. For example try to guess who the pulling guard, #64, will block on this play.


If you went with “unblocked guy right in front of him,” you lose. The other LB near the tight end? Wrong. That cornerback? Nope. “Nobody?” You’re giving him too much credit.


Fortunately it’s not an illegal block in the back if it’s your own tight end so this was just a tackle for no gain.

[After THE JUMP this is some bad football right here]

Obligatory Freeze Takes

Obligatory Freeze Takes

Submitted by Brian on July 21st, 2017 at 11:41 AM


Prevail and Ride

I was going to write about Hugh Freeze today, but then I realized I'd already said most of the things I think about this kind of stuff. There's a post from a few months back specifically on the Ole Miss situation, in which the world's worst burglars decided to steal college football's biggest diamonds:

1. Brazen. Ole Miss's problem is that they made it blindingly obvious. People are dumb but they ain't stupid, and when a nobody with one year of college head coaching experience shows up in Oxford and acquires

  • the #1 player in the country
  • a five-star offensive tackle from Florida, and
  • most egregiously, a five-star wide receiver from Chicago

it's just a matter of time before the walls cave in. Nobody in the history of Chicago has ever thought to themselves "Yes! Mississippi! Especially the bit where not having a plantation owner as a mascot is controversial!" …

2. There are only two options for Hugh Freeze. Option A, which is by far the more likely, is that he was fully aware of what was going on from the drop and is a brazen liar. The alternative is that he is so impossibly naïve and delusional that he thought his very presence was sufficient to turn around the history of Ole Miss football. The Machiavellian interpretation is kinder, but this is a guy who compared Ole Miss's struggles to Jesus's trials on the cross so it certainly could be the latter.

Point for the brazen liar theory after an FOIA request from Houston Nutt turned up a call to an escort service. Freeze tried to pass off as a misdial; his athletic director conducted a broader search and turned up a "disturbing pattern." But also points for naiveté and delusion. All theories are correct.

Freeze's most laudable trait was his stupidity. Enough guys like him mucking up the works with Wile E. Coyote plots and the amateurism edifice will collapse on itself.

A more general take on folks who are publicly confrontational about their faith or goodness or your lack thereof was written after Penn State's awful scandal ground its principals into dust:

Just lug the damn refrigerator. Stop telling everyone how great of a job you're doing of pulling the refrigerator. Maybe someone will notice, maybe not, but once you start talking about it yourself your self-regard starts chipping away at the core.

If Penn State had not been posited as a Grand Experiment, it's possible that one of the four adult-type substances who could have put Sandusky's second career to a stop a decade before it did would have had more regard for the possibility children would be raped* than for what people would think about them. It's too late for all of them, perpetrator and victims alike, now. But to me the lesson is to shut up about yourself and get on with it. It will help you not make terrible mistakes because you are trying to preserve what people think about you in the face of what you really are.

Freeze spent the entirety of his tenure tweeting out psalms about what a good refrigerator-lugger he was, the best refrigerator-lugger, really. His dissolution is the least surprising public humiliation of a smarmy doofus since Jamie Horowitz a few weeks ago. Horowitz fell prey to the iron "you're doing dirt if you invoke your kids as a shield" law merely by surrounding himself with their photos when it came time for a NYT photographer to capture his inner essence. Freeze straight up used his as a shield so he could get holier than thou about satellite camps, of all things:

"I'll never apologize for wanting to be a father and a husband," Freeze said when asked about vacation time. "I miss enough volleyball games (and other things), that is a priority for me. ... I think we work very hard, I don't think working hard is an issue. If you're asking me if I want to add more nights away from my wife and kids, I do not. That window is closing for me to be a husband and a father and I think the kids that play in our system need to see me in that role an awful lot."

I immediately think "deranged sex criminal" whenever anyone does this and suggest you do the same.

Freeze schadenfreude roundup! Don't act like you're above it. Dan Wetzel:

There was never a concern for an injured party – be it Houston Nutt or all the recruits and their parents who the misdirection was designed to fool. They were the ones conned into sticking with the Rebels, led to believe everything was fine, when in truth bowl bans and sanctions that will crush competitiveness were coming. They were sold a false promise.

Freeze didn’t care about them, let alone Houston Nutt. Pumped up on hubris, he couldn’t do the simplest things – say he was sorry, tell the truth, admit his mistakes. He thought he could lie and preach his way through that one, too.


The record shows Freeze presided over a football program that committed numerous NCAA violations.

The record shows he called at least one escort service and likely more.

The record shows he did all this on his university-issued cell phone.

The record shows he did it while tweeting daily Bible verses.

The record shows that Ole Miss will now be in the awkward position of appearing before the NCAA and defending the integrity of a program whose coach just resigned because of moral turpitude.

The record shows a rise and a fall that will be remembered in these parts for a very long time.

Was Freeze a fraud?

Let's let him answer that.

“Because of Him, you don't need to fear unrighteousness," he recently tweeted. "It’s our delusion of righteousness that we should fear.”


Meanwhile Dennis Dodd manages to go too far:

Let's start with this being the single most embarrassing moment in the history of Ole Miss athletics.

If that history started with Freeze's hire this would still be incorrect. Ole Miss announced they'd stop playing "Dixie" at games last year.

This Week's Obsession: Ridikuhlis

This Week's Obsession: Ridikuhlis

Submitted by Seth on November 12th, 2014 at 12:05 PM

A man in my position cannot afford to be made to look ridikuhlis.

Ace: Brian and I did a segment on this week's podcast in which we each listed our top five most ridiculous games of the Hoke era. Not only were our bottom three picks entirely different, but between Twitter and the comments at least a dozen games that didn't make the cut were suggested as meriting inclusion, and... it was really hard to argue with a lot of them.

So let's try this again. List and explain your top five, perhaps mention a few dishonorable mentions, and feel free to explain your methodology—I'm intentionally leaving "ridiculous" open to interpretation.


BiSB: I just drew up a quick list of candidates. There are 16 games on that list. I HATE ALL THE THINGS.


Ace: Now remember that the very first game Hoke coached featured two Brandon Herron touchdowns and was called due to a biblical storm before the third quarter ended...

Even the wins, man. Even the wins.


[After the jump: we discuss 60% of the games under Hoke]

Michigan 10, Northwestern 9

Michigan 10, Northwestern 9

Submitted by Ace on November 8th, 2014 at 7:39 PM

De'Veon Smith broke the scoreless tie with 6:49 left in the third on a three-yard plunge, ruining the aesthetic, but this will forever be known as The M00N Game:

If it involved futility, this game had it. Northwestern lost on a failed two-point conversion with three seconds left when quarterback Trevor Siemian rolled out, saw Frank Clark, and fell over. That was just the final pratfall in this slapstick, however.

It started right away, with Northwestern taking an illegal formation penalty to negate a third-and-one conversion on the game's first drive. Devin Funchess returned the favor by dropping a third-down pass on Michigan's opening salvo.

The two teams proceeded in such fashion for the duration of the game. Michigan's final three possessions of the first half started inside Northwestern territory. They netted 29 yards and zero points, failing in three different ways: a punt, a pick, and a blocked field goal as the half mercifully expired.

The Wildcats pulled the same trick in the second half, missing a field goal, turning it over on downs, and punting on a negative-28-yard drive on their three possessions beginning on the Wolverines end of the field. The teams finished with a combined 504 yards; 256 for Northwestern, 248 for Michigan.

Somewhere in the middle of all that, Devin Gardner threw a second interception when he stared down Jake Butt, Michigan lost a fumble when Jack Miller's snap bounced off a motioning Devin Funchess, and defensive tackle Matt Godin picked off Siemian after Clark tipped a pass.

Bryan Fuller/MGoBlog

We should all be thanking Pat Fitzgerald for his fourth-quarter decision-making. After punter Will Hagerup pinned Northwestern just outside their goal line, Siemian engineered a 19-play drive that covered 95 yards, only for Fitzgerald to call for the field goal unit on fourth-and-goal from the four. The field goal cut Michigan's lead to 7-3. The Wildcats had literally just doubled their yardage total in one drive. Under seven minutes remained on the clock. He kicked anyway.

Michigan nearly managed to ice the game on the next drive, chewing up 4:16 and all three Northwestern timeouts on a 54-yard drive that ended with a Matt Wile field goal.

The Wildcats marched right back down the field, cutting the M lead to 10-9 on a three-yard throw from Siemian to Tony Jones. Fitzgerald, slightly more bold than before—or perhaps just wanting the game to end—sent the offense back on the field. Michigan's pass rush had landed home all night, sacking Siemian six times, and they anticipated the Northwestern call to roll the pocket right; Clark shot past two blockers and Siemian slipped in an effective but fruitless attempt to avoid him.

One kneel later, the game ended. Nobody was sad to see it go.