Upon Further Review 2016: Offense vs Rutgers

Upon Further Review 2016: Offense vs Rutgers

Submitted by Brian on October 20th, 2016 at 1:43 PM

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SPONSOR NOTES: Oh man if I keep talking about this trailer thing it'll be a thing and then I can see some dang games at tailgates. This has always been a downfall of tailgating: not seeing things. By repeatedly bringing it up here I may force Matt to do this thing. Yes. Yes. I have the power!

In addition to being a gentleman replete with Michigan tickets and possibly a trailer, Matt is also a good man to know if you need a mortgage. It's striking that we actually get non-astroturfed comments about positive experiences with Matt not infrequently.

If you're buying a home or refinancing, he's the right guy to call.

FORMATION NOTES: Pepcat!

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This concludes your formation notes.

PERSONNEL NOTES: A ton of rotation in the second half. Speight got the first half and then Morris and O'Korn alternated the rest of the way. Bushell-Beatty started at LT and was briefly knocked out; Michigan moved Cole to LT and inserted Kugler at C in response. The second string line was Ulizio-Bredeson-Kugler-Ownenu-Dawson, FWIW.

RB snaps split just about equally; ditto FB with Henderson getting a third of the snaps behind Poggi and Hill. Probably the most interesting depth chart item was snaps past the starters at WR. Those went Ways 19, Crawford 14, Harris 12, McDoom 7, Gentry 6.

[After THE JUMP: trinitite.]

Midseason Expectations Revamp: Offensive Backfield

Midseason Expectations Revamp: Offensive Backfield

Submitted by Brian on October 14th, 2016 at 12:01 PM

QUARTERBACK

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[Bryan Fuller]

SEASON PREVIEW TAKE: Some concern generally overridden by Harbaugh's flawless track record as a QB coach and developer:

On one level, "who is the starting quarterback?" is the single most critical question about the 2016 Michigan Wolverines. On another level, eh, it'll be fine.

By the time the preview was published Speight was expected to start, and he has indeed started. The "expectations" section pointed out that Speight had just as much experience in Harbaugh's system as Rudock did even then, so a repeat of Early Rudock was probably not on the cards. On the other hand:

It's probably irrational to believe that the starter will be late-season Rudock. Despite Rudock's early struggles this is a guy who was a solid two-year starter at Iowa prior to his arrival. Speight has about two quarters of on-field experience, and O'Korn's season and a half ended in disaster.

...The end result should be somewhere near last year's outcome: 60% completions, 8 YPA, 2:1 TD-INT. The ride there should be far less turbulent.

I offered some clarification as I projected a new starter would be one of the most efficient QBs in the league: the Big Ten has no quarterbacks.

NUMBERS AT THE HALFWAY MARK: Close to preseason projections. He's at 62%, 7.5 YPA, and an 11-2 TD-INT ratio. The YPA is a bit off the target mark, but Speight's done a good job avoiding interceptions. He's also been fortunate that a number of throws against Wisconsin didn't get picked off. S&P+ has an "expected turnover margin" metric; Michigan is +6 on the season but expected to be +3; I'd imagine most of this is a gap between the number of PBUs the other team has gotten without picking the ball off.

Otherwise, fancystats are oddly enthusiastic, with S&P+ declaring Michigan the #26 passing offense thus far despite peripheral numbers that are mediocre. They do capture Speight's tendency to start slow:

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Michigan has a spate of average-or-worse P5 passing defenses coming up (Illinois, MSU, Indiana, and Iowa are all in a band between 46th and 68th in S&P+, with Indiana(!!!) leading the way at 46) along with a good Maryland outfit (that is terrible at run defense, surprise) and the looming monstrosity that is Ohio State. The schedule doesn't uptick until the Game and whatever postseason Michigan arrives at; Speight should reach the end of the regular season with numbers at least equal to his current production.

FEELINGSBALL: It's hard to tell if we're genuinely disappointed in Speight's performance as a redshirt sophomore first-year starter or if we just don't have anything else to complain about. UFRs and PFF suggest the former, however. Speight's shown a couple of nice attributes—he's got excellent pocket presence and will find second and third reads—that are offset by spates of iffy accuracy, especially early.

This certainly doesn't feel like a passing offense on the verge of the top 25 nationally, and Speight stands out as the single biggest fixable problem Michigan has.

UP OR DOWN OR EH: I'd say this is a slight downgrade, because Speight's actually gone slightly backward from a strong start. The trajectory has been flat over the past few games, and he's increasingly unlikely to take off a la Rudock.

RUNNING BACK

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[Eric Upchurch]

SEASON PREVIEW TAKE: De'Veon Smith was projected as the main man, flanked by Ty Isaac and Drake Johnson, the two veteran options. Smith was "a good bet to be Michigan's first 1,000 yard back since Fitz Toussaint" after a second half surge in 2015, but I did use "plurality" instead of "majority" when describing his workload.

Ty Isaac was expected to emerge after a rough 2015 largely based on practice hype and Harbaugh press conference pronouncements; I expected him to be the clear #2 and heir apparent. Chris Evans actually got quite a lot of airtime for someone listed as a backup to Jabrill Peppers at the "spread H" position I made up so I could shoehorn Peppers into the RB post, because the practice chatter about him had been nonstop.

Karan Higdon, on the other hand, was shoved in with the freshmen and mostly forgotten about.

NUMBERS AT THE HALFWAY MARK: Drake Johnson's recovery from the forklift thing was apparently exaggerated; he has not played. Smith has gotten the plurality of carries and might have a slight majority of snaps but it's a lot more even than we thought it would be preseason. This is partially because Michigan's been on the friendly end of a lot of blowouts; it is partially because the top four backs are all producing. The four milkmen:

  • Smith: 61 carries, 5.5 YPC
  • Ty Isaac: 53 carries, 5.5 YPC
  • Evans: 48 carries, 8.3(!) YPC
  • Higdon: 35 carries, 7.4 YPC

This is, how you say, unsustainable. Higdon in particular has been handed multiple offset draw touchdowns so easy that most readers of this blog could have picked up a first down on them. The fancystats that ignore garbage time have Michigan 21st as a rush offense.

FEELINGSBALL: Along with the linebackers this unit is the most pleasant surprise of the season. Smith has mostly picked up where he left off in the bowl game. There have been a few iffy cuts but those are the exceptions rather than the rule; he seems to have learned to press the hole and put himself in another gap. His pass protection may have fallen off a bit and he fumbled against Rutgers; otherwise he's been close to the best version of himself.

Meanwhile the other three guys are revelations. And yes, three. Since Isaac did little last year and nothing after his fumbles against Maryland this is actually three players bursting onto the scene, not two. And burst they have. Each guy brings a slightly different package of skills to the table. Isaac is huge and can weave from one hole to the next, stiffarming the first DB he meets into a pile of sludge. Evans is lightning quick and will turn five yards into 50 more consistently than other options—he's averaging 10.3(!) yards a play after he gets those first five, which is a bonkers number. Higdon is the best guy for a power play, a shifty guy who runs low to the ground and bounces off tackles.

All of them have looked like capable feature backs. Ty Wheatley's found some traction with his charges this year.

UP OR DOWN OR EH: Major upgrade. Michigan entered the season still a little suspicious of Smith and uncertain if there was anything high-quality behind him. Six games into this season Michigan appears to have four good to very good backs.

Man Versus Printer

Man Versus Printer

Submitted by Brian on October 10th, 2016 at 12:32 PM

10/8/2016 – Michigan 78, Rutgers 0 – 6-0, 3-0 Big Ten

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A first down is gained [Patrick Barron]

Like many a mysterious drifter who's spent the past seven years wondering whether to drink whiskey or bleach, I don't really want to linger on the past. But when Michigan plays at Rutgers and a play by play guy desperate to inject any intrigue into a man-versus-printer situation keeps bringing up the 2014 game, it's hard to get away. And when you're already inclined to think about the radical shift in Michigan's fortunes, running across an article titled "Brady Hoke discusses monumental loss" is game over, man. There's nothing for it.

So let's talk about it.

Entering week six in 2016, Michigan was 5-0, favored by 30, coached by Jim Harbaugh and athletically directed by Warde Manuel. Manuel has probably been about as visible as your average athletic director; in the aftermath of Dave Brandon he feels like a ninja with an invisibility cloak since I haven't thought about him much outside of a few interviews and the resumption of the Notre Dame series.

Exiting week six Michigan is a top five team that just beat Rutgers so badly that they're causing existential crises amongst Cable Subscribers fans. The Daily's Jacob Gase caught up with the stragglers in the student section and got a quote for the ages:

“I like these kinds of games where we’re losing by a lot,” Kasia said, “because if we get a touchdown in the last four minutes, everyone is so happy to have anything that it’s really exciting.”

Rutgers only got a touchdown briefly. When the referees took it away it was a sign that the cosmos itself had decided that they were emphasizing the "win with cruelty" bit of Jim Harbaugh's favorite dichotomy. Everything about a blowout so epic it broke records set just before the University of Chicago decided football wasn't for them was expected.

Two years ago Michigan left for Rutgers after a week of incompetence so sheer that there was a well-attended rally on the Diag demanding Dave Brandon's ouster. Shane Morris had just been probably mildly concussed, the coverup was worse than the crime, and Brandon's "my personality is to the best of my ability" media blitz ended with this:

rutgers2014

A phalanx of athletic department staffers dragooned into wishing the team well as they departed. Brandon was front and center, naturally.

Upon arriving in Piscataway a person named Gary Nova bombed a secondary featuring Jourdan Lewis and NFL draft pick Blake Countess, a reigning first-team All Big Ten corner, for 404 passing yards. Michigan's featured pass rushers were current NFL stalwarts Jake Ryan and Frank Clark.

Brady Hoke had his cornerbacks coach install a press man system before the 2014 season. The minor flaw with this plan is that the cornerbacks coach was a linebacker who had never coached corners. This is how you lose to Rutgers.

-------------------------

I no longer know how you lose to Rutgers. There was no combination of parlous events that sees this game end up competitive, even vaguely so. The first time Rutgers crossed the first down line their quarterback was immediately crushed by Delano Hill, fumbling back behind the line to gain. The second time Rutgers crossed the first down line, deep into the fourth quarter, a Rutgers fan hugged it out with a Michigan fan. Various people on twitter bemusedly reported that ESPN's live win percentage tracker was stuck on 99.9%. My "harbaugh class" search started garnering hits early in the second quarter.

This was a blowout so comprehensive it went from boring to notable. And, yes, since two years ago this week I was posting The Kids In The Hall "Each Day We Work" sketch with the "there is no time off until I am crushed by the black hand" line and generally mooning about, it's worth noting that this is not that and that these are the rewards of finally getting some people in charge of things for a reason.

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there is no time off until Rutgers scores [Barron]

Michigan's cornerbacks coach is now a guy who played safety in the NFL for a decade, their athletic director has athletically directed at two other schools prior to this stop, and Jim Harbaugh is the head coach. Reasons veritably abound.

College programs can be steady for decades at a time as long as the core remains, and then lurch wildly about when that thing no longer suffices. See post-Bear 'Bama, the current situation at Texas,—which is playing out exactly like Lloyd Carr/RichRod—the last 20 years of Notre Dame football, etc. Michigan is no different. (Ohio State was incredibly lucky that when Jim Tressel got himself fired, Urban Meyer just happened to be waiting around.)

Today is a fine time to reflect on the bad old days, as we stand amidst a fine red mist that used to be the Rutgers football program, and appreciate that they got fixed. "Each day we work" has a different meaning now. So too does having an average weekend. It means the other team averages 18 inches a play.

HIGHLIGHTS

WD:

parkinggod:

More at MGoVideo.

AWARDS

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[Barron]

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Known Friends And Trusted Agents Of The Week

you're the man now, dog

#1 (tie) Taco Charlton, Ben Gedeon, and Chris Wormley were first amongst equals on defense. Charlton had two insta-sacks. Gedeon ran over a running back for a sack of his own and had a Don Brown special TFL on which he crushed a guy five yards in the backfield. Wormley continues to crush all tight ends and had a sack that should not be possible.

#2 Jabrill Peppers did some defense things. He also should have had a punt return touchdown. He did have a 63-yard run on a broken play and two very easy wildcat touchdowns, one of which was supposed to be a throw. 

#3 Devin Asiasi popped out on a cursory rewatch as an absolutely mauling blocker; virtually very big run Evans had was facilitated by Asiasi blowing one or two dudes out.

Honorable mention: everybody!

KFaTAotW Standings.

7: Jabrill Peppers(T2, Hawaii; #3 UCF, #1 Colorado, #2 Rutgers)
5: Ryan Glasgow(#2 UCF, #1 UW).
3: Mike McCray(#1, Hawaii), Wilton Speight (#1 UCF), Ben Gedeon(#3 Colorado, #3 PSU, three-way T1 Rutgers).
2: Jake Butt(#2 Colorado), Kyle Kalis (#2 UW), Chris Wormley (three-way T1, PSU, same vs Rutgers), Taco Charlton(three-way T1, PSU, same vs Rutgers).
1: Delano Hill (T2, Hawaii), Chris Evans (T3, Hawaii, four-way T2, PSU),  Maurice Hurst (three-way T1, PSU), Jourdan Lewis (#3 UW), Devin Asiasi(#3 Rutgers).
0.5: Mason Cole(T3, Hawaii), De'Veon Smith (four-way T2, PSU), Ty Isaac (four-way T2, PSU), Karan Higdon(four-way T2, PSU).

Who's Got It Better Than Us Of The Week

This week's best thing ever.

Peppers takes off for the huge run that opened the floodgates.

Honorable mention: Everything that happened after the first seven minutes.

WGIBTUs Past.

Hawaii: Laughter-inducing Peppers punt return.
UCF: Speight opens his Rex Grossman account.
Colorado: Peppers cashes it in.
PSU: Wormley's sack establishes a theme.
UW: Darboh puts Michigan ahead for good.
Rutgers: Peppers presses "on".

imageMARCUS HALL EPIC DOUBLE BIRD OF THE WEEK.

This week's worst thing ever.

A bonkers Jabrill Peppers punt return is called back for an extremely dubious block in the back penalty. I mean, for real. They never give a number because in their great shame they forget everything including the name, but the only thing that seems even slightly plausible is Delano Hill putting one hand (one hand!) on a punt returner who falls over in sheer awe of Peppers:

The only appropriate statement in that situation is "sorry sorry I'm trying to delete it."

Honorable mention: N/A.

PREVIOUS EPIC DOUBLE BIRDs

Hawaii: Not Mone again.
UCF: Uh, Dymonte, you may want to either tackle or at least lightly brush that guy.
Colorado: Speight blindsided.
PSU: Clark's noncontact ACL injury.
UW: Newsome joins the ranks of the injured.
Rutgers: you can't call back the Mona Lisa of punt returns, man.

[After THE JUMP: winning with cruelty]

Rutgers Postgame Presser: Players

Rutgers Postgame Presser: Players

Submitted by Adam Schnepp on October 10th, 2016 at 10:04 AM

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[Barron/MGoBlog]

As with yesterday’s Harbaugh presser, the lovely people in Rutgers’ Athletic Communications department provided us with transcribed highlights of the players’ press conference for your perusal.

Michigan linebacker/defensive back Jabrill Peppers

On his performance: “Whenever you get the balls in your hands you just wanted to make something positive happen. Today God had his hand on me today on some of those plays. I just have to give it up to the blocking and the coaching scheme. They set the guys up in positions to excel so we just went out there and handled business today.


On his reaction of the score at the end of the game: “Just wow. I’ve never been part of a victory this massive. But you still have to handle it with class and just keep improving for the next week. You can’t stay on your high horse. Our game against Rutgers is over so we just have to prepare during our bye week for the game after that.”


On Juwann Bushell-Beatty and his performance: “I was really happy for him. I know that he’s battle a lot of injuries and some weight problems. I’ve been playing with him since high school so I’ve seen him grow into who he is today. For him to start in front of the home crowd; I know he went down early but he got back up and was able to finish out the game. I was really excited for him.”


On what keep them going even after going up big: “You know, there are no backups. Every time you’re out there you’re expected to play like you’re a starter. We don’t look at the scoreboard. We just want to impose our will as fast and long as we can. I think the younger guys are starting to adapt to that. It’s up to us the veterans to set up that foundation. I think they’re starting to buy in and trust the coaches. We tell them that you have to play like you want to win the game until you win the game. This is college football and crazy things happen. It’s just our mindset.”

[After THE JUMP: Gedeon, Evans, Magnuson, Hill]

Rutgers Postgame Presser: Jim Harbaugh

Rutgers Postgame Presser: Jim Harbaugh

Submitted by Adam Schnepp on October 9th, 2016 at 12:13 PM

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[Upchurch/MGoBlog]

Our friends in Rutgers’ Athletic Communications department were kind enough to send out a transcript of the highlights from Jim Harbaugh’s postgame presser (in the middle of the night, no less), so even though I wasn’t at the game you still have some Sunday content to consume.

On the play of Jabrill Peppers and Chris Evans: “We put some plays in for (Peppers) last week where he was operating as a quarterback and then more this week, because he’s just so darn good at it. That was really the turning part of the game, I thought was his long run. The first downs were coming hard. It was looked like it was going to be one of those nights. His speed was dramatically different than everyone else on the field. Chris Evans, he showed early he was going to be tough to bring down. He was lightning fast and quick tonight. To me, that’s what broke the game open was Jabrill’s and Chris’ play. Chris said something really interesting in practice. He didn’t say it to me, he said it to my dad and Al Glick. He later told me that, quote from Chris Evans, ‘it’s a sin to be good, when you are sent to be great.’ That was really profound. He was really dynamite tonight.”

On limiting Rutgers’ first downs: “I don’t know how many three and outs it was. I know there were only two first downs and not until late in the game. We were playing on half the field all night. The guys up front had a great game. There was constant pressure. The team has been tremendous. Didn’t allow a third down conversion all night defensively. There’s been incredible play on third down. (Defensive Coordinator) Don Brown is an amazing coach. I know I’ve been saying that a lot. It’s obvious to everyone, to our team, to our whole defensive staff.

On the intensity of the backups: “As a coach, the two weeks you worry about are the week going into a bye week. We call it an improvement week, but still that week you are going in and the week you are coming off that bye week. Our players were as focused as I’ve seen them. To your point, when the two’s got in there, they were playing with the same kind of motivation, the same kind of fire. They wanted to show what they can do. A lot of freshmen were playing in this ball game and playing well. There wasn’t any real sign of drop off when our two’s were in the there. Our two’s were in the entire second half, except for a series on offense and a series on defense.

[After THE JUMP: the darndest thing Harbaugh’s ever seen]

Upon Further Review 2016: Offense vs Wisconsin

Upon Further Review 2016: Offense vs Wisconsin

Submitted by Brian on October 5th, 2016 at 3:24 PM

HomeSure-Lending_logo_tagSPONSOR NOTES: Was talking with Matt at the Marlin tailgate on Saturday when he broached the idea of buying one of those tailgate trailers with TVs and whatnot for next year. I am strongly encouraging this idea in the sponsor notes of the game column because then I can watch more of the noon games. Do it for your country, Matt.

In addition to being a gentleman replete with Michigan tickets and possibly a trailer, Matt is also a good man to know if you need a mortgage. It's striking that we actually get non-astroturfed comments about positive experiences with Matt not infrequently.

If you're buying a home or refinancing, he's the right guy to call.

FORMATION NOTES: Just a couple of oddities other than the train. This was "Ace 3-wide offset." As you can see, the back is... offset.

ace 3-wide offset

And Michigan lined up in that formation with Chesson at TE again. Here he is running down the middle of the field.

offset i wr hide

These formations get appended with "WR hide."

PERSONNEL NOTES: OL and QB as you would expect, with Bushell-Beatty replacing Newsome when he got hurt. Michigan went much more WR-heavy in this game, with around 60 snaps for both Chesson and Darboh out of 77 possible. Perry, Crawford, and McDoom combined for another 38; with Butt near-omnipresent that meant Michigan was without a fullback for about half the snaps.

Smith got about 50% of the RB snaps with Evans and Isaac splitting the rest; Peppers got five snaps, four as a wildcat QB and one as a slot. Asiasi got 23 snaps as the #2 TE with Bunting injured; Wheatley and Michael Jocz(!) got 3 and 2 snaps, respectively.

[After THE JUMP: come on ride the train.] 

Upon Further Review 2016: Offense vs Penn State

Upon Further Review 2016: Offense vs Penn State

Submitted by Brian on September 29th, 2016 at 3:49 PM

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SPONSOR NOTES: I feel I should start talking about the other clothing items that are completely optional when you get a mortgage from Matt. Bowler hats, because who wears those anymore? T-shirts expounding bands you're embarrassed you ever liked—I bet Seth's got some Barenaked Ladies shirts he doesn't wear around the house that he can get a loan while not wearing.

In addition to being a gentleman replete with Michigan tickets, Matt is also a good man to know if you need a mortgage. It's striking that we actually get non-astroturfed comments about positive experiences with Matt not infrequently.

If you're buying a home or refinancing, he's the right guy to call.

FORMATION NOTES: Not too much other than some extra empty stuff. This was "quad tight bunch." In my world a bunch is three guys and I'll tell you if it's not.

 ace empty quad

This was "ace empty TE hide":

image

Newsome is in the slot with Butt your nominal left tackle.  This is obviously a stunt to get Butt open, and it worked.

PERSONNEL NOTES: The OL battle seems settled, as Braden got every snap with the first team. Early Bredeson playing time probably injury-related. Speight obviously went the whole way.

Despite the profusion of RBs getting carries, Smith still got about 60% of the snaps, with Higdon, Isaac, and Evans splitting the rest about equally. Darboh and Butt were the most frequently deployed receiver types; Chesson got exactly half the 80 snaps before the second string came in. (Remember that he missed a chunk of the game after he got dinged up on Higdon's first run.) Asiasi got 36, as Bunting went out with an injury early. Grant Perry got 25 snaps; Crawford 16, McDoom 8.

[After THE JUMP: cruelty.]

Goth James Franklin Eats Some Arby's

Goth James Franklin Eats Some Arby's

Submitted by Brian on September 26th, 2016 at 12:47 PM

9/24/2016 – Michigan 49, Penn State 10 – 4-0, 1-0 Big Ten

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[Bryan Fuller]

Two years ago this game featured Dennis Norfleet dancing, a lot of bad football, and a series of increasingly boggling in-game decisions. Brady Hoke and James Franklin engaged in bad decision tennis, lobbing ever more ludicrous balls over the net and daring the opposition to top it. There was no winner—there is never a winner in bad decision tennis—but Michigan did not lose. They won the game, and the tennis match was called on account of forgetting to breathe sometimes.

Fast forward two years and things are a little different for one of these teams. Jim Harbaugh's taking timeout in case Jabrill Peppers can get a punt return in and asking to review a legitimately dodgy fourth-down spot despite being up a gorillion; James Franklin sees a fourth and goal from the two down 28-0 and decides on a field goal... wait, no, he's taking a timeout because he realizes that is a terrible decision. And now he's sending out...

Still the field goal team.

...

So this is a dumb fake—nope they kicked it.

Now they are down four scores, which is a notable improvement from being down four scores. James Franklin has lobbed this one good and high. This is an Eschaton-worthy parabola.

After they kicked it the camera cut to Jim Harbaugh on the sidelines, looking equal parts perplexed and offended on behalf of the game of football:

I had a similar look on my face. This is not good hard friendly competition. This was turtling. Signaled by their coach, Penn State promptly laid down. According to Wilton Speight, Michigan ran the same play eight consecutive times at one point Saturday. While that doesn't seem 100% accurate—there was a sweep in there—the bit in the box score where Penn State lays itself on the altar and hands the squiggly knife to Harbaugh is obvious:

image

Franklin told them to quit and they quit. I'm not surprised. One year ago this column was all about how pleasant it was to watch a Penn State game and not be stupefied by the things occurring in front of my face, and Penn State's held up its end of the bargain in that department over the last few years.

But I am also kind of surprised that James Franklin, who made Vanderbilt decent, would just roll over and die. You'd think that the kind of person who could stare the history of Vandy football in the face and make the Commodores one of the feistiest teams in the country would at least spit in his executioner's eye, for what little that would help him. Not today, and thus Michigan entered to the "win with cruelty" portion of the proceedings.

And, lo, it was cruel. Michigan acquired 13 tackles for loss and six sacks; they ran for over 300 yards with a carousel of running backs. Michigan threw to Eddie McDoom with less than half the fourth quarter to go, because a rep is a rep is a rep. It's not that Michigan was trying to embarrass or humiliate Penn State; it's just that they didn't care if that happened. Lo, it did. Meanwhile across the country in Autzen Stadium, a Colorado quarterback who was 0/7 with –4 rushing yards last week was spearheading a stunning upset by accounting for 500 yards of offense by himself.

Remember spinning around in circles about this defense last week? You should continue doing that, but for the opposite reason. Lost in the piles of viscera that are all that remain of the Penn State offense: PSU was an efficient, prolific offensive team headed into this game, with 39 and 34 points the last two weeks. It was even one seemingly well-suited to mitigate Michigan's advantages, with Trace McSorley throwing a ton of passes close to the line of scrimmage and completing 80% of them.

It didn't matter. Nothing mattered. James Franklin woke up this morning in a Cure shirt and eyeliner, because halfway through a game against Michigan he decided life wasn't worth living anymore. Just, like, whatever, man. Three points, seven points. It all leads to one place: the grave. First, Arby's. Then the grave. 

HIGHIGHTS

Parkinggod:

MGoVideo has some other highlight reels if you don't have time for the above.

AWARDS

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[Fuller]

-2535ac8789d1b499[1]

Known Friends And Trusted Agents Of The Week

you're the man now, dog

It was this kind of game:

#1 (tie) Chris Wormley, Maurice Hurst, and Taco Charlton nose ahead of everyone else on a defensive line that set the tone early and never let up, racking up six sacks and a trajillion TFLs. Hurst turned in the most impressive individual play of the day when he came from a nose tackle spot all the way around a guard and got in McSorley's business for a sack; Wormley was the most consistent entrant into the backfield, and Charlton's return helped seal the rush lanes that UCF exploited shut. Also he got a sack and a half. Welcome back.

#2 (tie) De'Veon Smith and Ty Isaac and Karan Higdon and Chris Evans were all between good an excellent as they combined for 40 carries for 318 yards, with seemingly nobody getting consecutive carries. Each guy ripped off a 20+ yard run; each guy made big chunks of yards for himself with good vision or broken tackles. Easy sledding but Michigan maximized their opportunities in ways that had not always been the case early this year.

#3 Ben Gedeon was the closest thing to a one on one matchup Michigan had with Saquon Barkley and that went all right. Gedeon tracked PSU RBs in space repeatedly, had a couple of impressive sideline-to-sideline tackles, and got in the backfield for 1.5 TFLs amongst his 11 total tackles. Barkley got his yards mostly on screens and shovels and the like, a couple of them on Gedeon. This was still a win against one of the top backs in the country.

Honorable mention: The right side of the offensive line was the main area Michigan attacked on the ground. Khalid Hill had another solid all-round FB performance. Channing Stribling and Jourdan Lewis helped shut down the PSU receivers on the rare occasions PSU managed to target them.

KFaTAotW Standings.

5: Jabrill Peppers(T2, Hawaii; #3 UCF, #1 Colorado).
3: Mike McCray(#1, Hawaii), Wilton Speight (#1 UCF).
2: Ryan Glasgow(#2 UCF), Jake Butt(#2 Colorado), Ben Gedeon(#3 Colorado, #3 PSU).
1: Delano Hill (T2, Hawaii), Chris Evans (T3, Hawaii, four-way T2, PSU), Chris Wormley (three-way T1, PSU), Maurice Hurst (three-way T1, PSU), Taco Charlton(three-way T1, PSU).
0.5: Mason Cole(T3, Hawaii), De'Veon Smith (four-way T2, PSU), Ty Isaac (four-way T2, PSU), Karan Higdon(four-way T2, PSU).

Who's Got It Better Than Us Of The Week

This week's best thing ever.

Taco Charlton and Chris Worley combine to sack Trace McSorley on the third play from scrimmage:

That set up the ensuing Peppers punt return and was an emphatic declaration of the way the game was going to go.

Honorable mention: Karan Higdon rips off an offset draw touchdown; Peppers decoy sends Smith into the secondary, where he goes stomp. Any one of Michigan's 12(!!!) other TFLs. Peppers returns a punt and windmills down to the nine.

WGIBTUs Past.

Hawaii: Laughter-inducing Peppers punt return.
UCF: Speight opens his Rex Grossman account.
Colorado: Peppers cashes it in.
PSU: Wormley's sack establishes a theme.

imageMARCUS HALL EPIC DOUBLE BIRD OF THE WEEK.

This week's worst thing ever.

Jeremy Clark ends a kickoff return on the ground, writhing, and is almost certainly lost for the year.

Honorable mention: Michigan fails to gain every yard available to them when Jehu Chesson drops a ball on fourth and two.

PREVIOUS EPIC DOUBLE BIRDs

Hawaii: Not Mone again.
UCF: Uh, Dymonte, you may want to either tackle or at least lightly brush that guy.
Colorado: Speight blindsided.
PSU: Clark's noncontact ACL injury.

[After THE JUMP: Speight is still on his fourth-down scramble.]

Upon Further Review 2016: Offense vs Colorado

Upon Further Review 2016: Offense vs Colorado

Submitted by Brian on September 22nd, 2016 at 2:36 PM

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SPONSOR NOTES: Sauce Castillo may just be off the hook since Iowa lost to NDSU and does not look like a psycho killer this year. But if Michigan does lose to Iowa, hoo boy you're going to be a pariah! A persona non-grata! That'll show you to skip the ads.

In addition to being a gentleman replete with Michigan tickets, he is also a good man to know if you need a mortgage. It's striking that we actually get non-astroturfed comments about positive experiences with Matt not infrequently.

If you're buying a home or refinancing, he's the right guy to call.

FORMATION NOTES: Michigan was very heavy in this game, with only a quarter of their snaps featuring 3 or more wideouts. 27 of them had 0 or 1. CU was very consistent with their formations, running a pure 3-4 on all non-passing downs:

base CU D

They ran a standard nickel on passing downs.

SUBSTITUTION NOTES: OL the expected starting five with the exception of one drive for Bredeson in the first half. Smith got about half the snaps at RB with Evans and Isaac getting the rest; FB once again split just about down the middle between Hill and Poggi.

Butt and Darboh were just about omnipresent; Chesson only got slightly more than half the snaps since Darboh was preferred in one-WR formations. Bunting got about half the snaps; Perry and Asiasi both got about a dozen. Various other guys got 1-5 snaps.

[After THE JUMP: I'm fretting.] 

Wednesday Presser 9-14-16: Tyrone Wheatley

Wednesday Presser 9-14-16: Tyrone Wheatley

Submitted by Adam Schnepp on September 15th, 2016 at 10:02 AM

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[Upchurch]

Kyle [Kalis] last night was saying people shouldn’t panic about the run game after Saturday.

“No! You know, I was truly flattered, to tell you the truth. When you load the box like that and you send that many pressures it means you’ve done something. You’re doing something that’s making people take notice. Most defensive coordinators, hell or high water, they will not let you beat them running the ball. It’s a demoralizing feeling to be beat up front in the run game, so most people say, ‘If you’re going to beat us, beat us in the pass game.’

“Like I told my backs, I said, ‘Look, don’t look at the numbers on the board. Look at what they did to take this away, and take that in pride and [to] heart. The offensive line is blocking like madmen up front for us and we’re taking holes and making them into big gains. Take that to heart. Feel good about that.’ Hey, when a team comes in saying ‘we want to stop the run,’ that means you’re doing something. So the run game, not worried about it.”

You spread the carries around; no one had more than 10. Was that just to see if anyone had a different take on it and could do something, or was that--

“No, that was just something Coach Harbaugh came up with and just wanted to keep the guys rolling, keep them fresh. No more than that.”

Were there things that you saw that they did that maybe we couldn’t notice in terms of what they did? I guess De’Veon breaking the tackles was significant, but--

“Each guy kind of—Chris [Evans] is quick. He gets in there, made a couple of moves. Been able to use his ability in terms of quickness to make some guys miss [and] create some separation. Ty [Isaac] is a guy that can lean on some people and push the pile. But anything or one thing in particular that separated them? Not really. It was just a game where we just needed to get the tough yards. There was going to be some creases in there where if it was three it was going to be a tough three. The old three yards and a cloud of dust, that’s basically what it was. Or a cloud of rubber, rather, as a matter of fact. That’s what it was.”

What do you see from the rest of the room when you put the tape on and De’Veon, he’s breaking seven tackles and getting a first down on that one run. Do you tell the guys ‘This is it, right here’?

“In terms of what?”

[Hit THE JUMP to resolve this cliffhanger, as well as more on the Four Horsemen or Four-Headed Monster or whatever you prefer calling Michigan’s stable of RBs]