12/4/2018 – Michigan 62, Northwestern 60 – 8-0, 2-0 Big Ten
A: You should look at it as a compliment.
Q: I'm supposed to use the greatest invention in the history of humanity to go back seven hundred years in time to… I don't even know?
A: You guys have already repaired all of the really bad stuff. Nobody outside of this organization knows anything about World War II, Larry Culpepper, or Michigan Football from 2007-2037. This… this is what's left.
Q: And we have to spend our allocation or…?
A: Exactly. We get less next year.
Q: And this is what you want.
A: I mean… they made GIFs and everything. Look at it:
Q: I'm still unclear on the mission. Kill Hitler. Make Pitbull the permanent intergalactic president. Brain-swap Rich Rodriguez and Nick Saban. These are all defined goals. How am I supposed to prevent… that?
A: You could have a stern talk with him about the essential dignity of humanity and the importance of its preservation?
A: I see you've been on a college basketball head coach mission before.
Q: Yes, President Pitbull. The Izzident is the darkest day in our organization's history.
A: "First, do no harm."
Q: Violated. The first and only time.
A: Look, just change the refereeing structure of college basketball to be fundamentally less sycophantic to little Hitlers. Any coach venturing onto the court during play gets a tech.
Q: Now that's the kind of timeline revision I can get behind.
A: Make it so. Dale.
[After THE JUMP: the post gets marginally less silly]
12/1/2018 – Michigan 76, Purdue 57 – 8-0, 1-0 Big Ten
Bigs are the college basketball equivalent of offensive linemen. They're hard to project. They take a significant amount of time to refine into their final product. Also they are big.
Once you get outside the rarefied air of the kids who go to basketball factories so fake they can't even bother to come up with a real name—there is now a place called "Spire Academy" which naturally now houses LaMelo Ball—when centers arrive on campus they've mostly spent their time raining fire on 6'3" guys who keep asking the ref if they can use pitchforks against it. Also, they are big, so they've been slotted into basketball teams whether or not they really care to be. The bigger the person, the more foreordained it is that they will play center despite a total lack of basketball-related skills. There's a 7'6" dude from Dakar named Tacko Fall who plays for UCF and shoots 27% on free throws. QED.
So when you hear the new big who looks like a newborn deer during the brief moments he's permitted on the court is nicknamed "The Big Sleep," well… this is our concern. Not even the guy with literal narcolepsy got called The Big Sleep.
Two years later, Purdue has switched Carsen Edwards onto The Big Sleep. This is a thing Purdue just does on instinct at this point. Does the tall man's jersey read "Michigan"? Okay, switch a firefly onto him because the one thing Michigan never does is post up. This gambit has waned in its effectiveness over time but usually because the Boilermaker on the guard is a great lumbering thing or, now, a Frenchman on a dilapidated bicycle. Michigan still doesn't post up, basically ever.
This time Jon Teske puts Edwards on his back, receives an entry pass, and dunks. Edwards shrugs afterwards. His face says "what I am supposed to do with that?" He knows the answer is nothing.
This is Teske now, with the rough edges sanded down. He puts up 17 points on 8 shot equivalents. He spearheads the #1 defense in college basketball. There are a lot of reasons that opponents are hitting 36% of their twos, but the foremost among them is Teske. When he's on the court teams are hitting 31 percent. 31! When he goes to the bench opponents get 13 percentage points worth of relief. Teske got switched onto Nassir Little in the last game and matched Little's drive to the basket. That ball ended up in the stands.
Teske roared afterward, much like he does in the photo that leads this post. That came when he put poor Grady Eifert on a poster:
At the top, Simpson is doing his Big Mood walk despite having no involvement in the play. And that's right too. Teske deserves to roar; he deserves all the chest-bumps and weird awkward arm-lock thingies Michigan is doing this year.
He still looks like the nice boy down the street after you increased his pixel count by 50%, and that's why he'll always be Big Sleep to me. Saddi Washington attempted to rebrand Teske as "Big Nasty" last year, but let's keep The Big Sleep around. Big Nasty is taken by Corliss Williamson and generic anyway. Ain't nobody named Big Sleep.
We just have to look at it a different way. The Big Sleep isn't about what Jon Teske is. It's about what he does to your offense, and sometimes your defense. The Big Sleep is a noir movie. The Big Sleep is a wrestling finisher. The Big Sleep is what happens when you tell Cement Ricky you'll have his money in two weeks and don't.
The Big Sleep is what happens when you manage to get past the forest of poking arms around Michigan's perimeter: a giant man in a trenchcoat throws you over his head into the water.
[After THE JUMP: cat and mouse between Beilein and Painter]
Last year's game against North Carolina was a familiar script for Michigan fans. When one of college basketball's blue bloods deigns to play Michigan, it's the old college try for a while. Then the fact that the large men can jump over your head wins out, as it tends to in basketball games.
Sometimes Michigan stayed in contact until the very end, like they did in the Elite Eight against Kentucky. Sometimes they won the damn game, like they did in the Sweet Sixteen versus Kansas. Other times not so much. But even when the positive version of these events were transpiring every lead the opposition got felt like a million points; every Michigan basket was trying to empty the ocean bucket by bucket. Last year it was 20-20 in a flash because Michigan was hitting everything, but even then I was waiting for the bottom to drop out. North Carolina was taking a bunch of good shots. Michigan was taking… shots. They weren't all bad. They weren't all good. They were just shots.
When the lull inevitably came the deficit piled up quickly. Michigan never managed to eat into it. And that was the least unusual thing in the world.
Last night Roy Williams got madder and madder and madder until he was Yosemite Sam in a suit. He was so furious about a four-point first-half deficit that he kept his team in the locker room for the full duration of halftime; when the second half started his team was so sped up that they were taking literally any shot they could get up without devolving into half-court offense. These were universally bricks.
Michigan responded with slick pick-and-roll baskets and open threes. Williams became beet-red at the neck, with the redness inching ever-higher. Jon Teske—honest friar Jon Teske—leveled the basket on an alley-oop dunk that I still do not believe happened; the red flew up Roy's forehead. The meter filled up shortly after. Williams pulled the ultimate high school move: all five starters on the bench, looking forlorn as their backups booted balls into the stands and threw up the kind of shots that are hard to rebound because they come off the backboard so fast they feel like bullets. By the time the starters returned the lead was well and truly insurmountable.
"It was because they stunk it up," Williams said when asked about the lineup change. "Every one of them stunk it up, and so did I." …
"I've got no positive things," Williams said. "If you want positive things, you'd better go out and find someone on the street. I've got no positive for me, no positives for my team."
This was unusual. Michigan has exasperated coaches before. They've rained death from above against half the country. They've never comprehensively whooped one of college basketball's upper crust on both ends. If Michigan could hit a dang free throw they would have cracked 1.3 points per possession. UNC was held under one on the other end.
This wasn't Michigan scrapping out a victory with pluck and an improbable three pointer launched nearly from halfcourt. From the 12 minute mark in the first half on it was a +27 beatdown in which Michigan felt like the better team in everything except getting shots up (but not down) fast. This year it was UNC hitting just shots for a while, and then the bottom dropped out on them. Their vaunted transition game was more curse than gift. Once in the halfcourt they looked around for one on one opportunities and executed far too few of them.
This is a new world.
When a Yaklich defense shoots like a Beilein offense, forget it
John Beilein's Michigan teams are known for scuffling through early rough patches as the complicated offense comes together with new folks in new roles. Then they hit the warp speed button. Sometimes in January, sometimes in February, but usually around halfway through the year.
What happens when a Beilein team that has ripped Villanova and North Carolina hits the go button? Is there even a button left to push? Where can they even go from here? What's the hole to patch? Okay, other than free throws? I have no idea what the answer to these questions are. I project finding out is going to be fun.
11/24/2018 – Michigan 39, Ohio State 62 – 10-2, 8-1 Big Ten
From the start this blog has sought to detach itself from the furies of gameday. This column shows up Monday noonish and is thus the last one to appear. It usually tries to get a grip on the emotional tenor of what happened once whatever red mists have passed. Most games that are not abject humiliations are broken down play-by-play in an attempt to explain what actually happened, and gesture towards why.
So it's natural that people would ask me what happened; I am a person who would be able to venture some guess as to what caused the #1 defense in the country to give up 700 yards and more points than Michigan ever had to Ohio State. And, sure, there are some answers to be had. Ohio State ruthlessly exploited Brandon Watson and Devin Gil. Michigan's game plan was terrible because when you're the #1 defense in the country it's impossible to think your approach needs to be entirely different.
But these are weak justifications for the towering, Lovecraftian whole. They do not begin to explain what happened on Saturday. I struggled to put together anything that would be remotely satisfying. Then I figured it out: the fact that makes all the puzzle pieces slot together.
This is Hell.
I am being punished for some sin so colossal that it justifies me reliving my life over and over again, except the end of every football season has been replaced with every flavor of pain football can hand out. This may be my sin, and the simulation will reveal it to me at the very end. I will be permitted a brief moment of knowing the totality of my existence before being thrown back into the rebooted whole.
Or I may be a person who has committed grievous crimes against football and is being punished by living through this existence as someone who holds my true self in utter contempt. This would in fact be justice for Jim Delany's sordid existence: to bear the brunt of every money-grubbing decision on an annual basis and then get a metaphorical kick to the junk so powerful it might as well be real. The reveal at the end, as I download this into whatever qualifies as a soul before being moving into another college football fan, would be the kind of devastation that you really rely on Hell to dish out.
Other candidates to be placed in this particular hell include everyone involved with replacing Pitbull with Larry Culpepper, that one FOX executive who surrounded himself with prophylactic pictures of his kids and sexually harassed his way out of a job, and people who post pictures of their dogs with captions like "OHHHH WHO'S A GOOD DOGGO" somewhere other than Instagram.
So, good news: you don't exist. Or bad news: if the demons have decided that they can cram all of the above into the same simulation for efficiency's sake, your existence implies that you have sinned powerfully and long, and respite is not coming.
But they messed up, you see. I don't buy this latest one. Oh, I was willing to accept the one where the quarterback breaks his foot in the middle of the game and still nearly carries Michigan to a win, even though the offensive coordinator called the same play he had on before after an OSU timeout. I was willing to accept the one lost by a literal unknowable inch. I was willing to accept DJ Durkin checking out a week early and not being too bright to start with.
I don't buy this one. The one where Ohio State fires one of their coaches for abusing his wife before the season, and Urban Meyer skates. The one where Ohio State loses by 29 to Purdue and barely squeaks out victories over half the Big Ten that Michigan is simultaneously paving. The one where the same team that came one three yard pass to a wide open receiver away from losing to Maryland waltzes through, yes, the #1 defense in the country like it is not there. I know, now. I know this is not a random universe that happens to fall into a maximally painful configuration. I know this is one specifically directed to cause pain, and in that knowledge is… well, not exactly power, but mitigation.
COLUMBUS — “Wish I could have got a couple wins in it,” Tyree Kinnel said, four minutes into the most excruciating press conference of his life. “That’s the toughest part, I guess. I’m gonna have to sleep on it for the rest of my life, that I did not get a win in this game.”
Then his voice cracked.
“Other than that,” he continued, ultimately keeping composure, “I’m blessed to be here.”
It’s not easy to lose this game under any circumstance. In this specific circumstance, it couldn’t have been any harder.
11/17/2018 – Michigan 31, Indiana 20 – 10-1, 8-0 Big Ten
Indiana was defeated. It was annoying, as per usual. The method was different this time.
It's here, again. Football Armageddon. The last time I called a game Football Armageddon it was 12 years ago, when Michigan and Ohio State were both undefeated. Michigan ripped off a slick touchdown drive to start things off, and in the Ohio State student section I thought to myself "we're a third of the way home."
This was incorrect. Michigan's defense played three inside linebackers the whole game against Troy Smith, gave up 500 yards and 42 points, and blew an opportunity to get the ball back when Shawn Crable hit Smith in the helmet on a scramble. The 2006 defense featured Alan Branch, Lamarr Woodley, Leon Hall, David Harris, four guys with decade-long NFL careers. They whooped up on everyone, but within were the seeds of the past decade of Michigan football. Michigan had one cornerback: Hall. Morgan Trent couldn't change direction with a sail and a headwind, and when the starters got pulled against Ball State two weeks prior the Cardinals mounted a comeback that ended in Michigan's redzone down only 8.
The two corners who came in against Ball State were Chris Richards, the defensive coordinator's godson, and Johnny Sears, a kid from Fresno who'd never played a varsity game when Michigan offered him. They saw him at practice. (Practice! We're talking about practice!) Eight months later Michigan would field Sears as a starter in The Horror, in which a cut-rate Troy Smith exploited the same tactical naivete Smith had to hand Michigan the worst upset of all time.
Football Armageddon really was Armageddon for Michigan, not because of anything Ohio State did to them in that one game but because they'd fallen behind the curve out of their own arrogance. Michigan's recruiting was increasingly lazy, dependent on guys who bothered to come to camp and random, uninformed guesses about players based on not enough scouting. They'd get about half a class of well-regarded and then pluck random dudes out of the ether for the rest. They'd singularly failed to adapt to the prevalence of the spread across college football, kicking off the Ohio State dominance that extends to the modern day.
When Lloyd Carr retired he asked the athletic director to interview the two sturdiest branches on his coaching tree: his coordinators. One, Ron English, had never been a head coach and was the architect of the Horror. The other, Mike DeBord, was 12-34 at Central Michigan before quitting because he wasn't a head coach. These were the options to keep it in the family.
2006 Michigan was Indiana Jones on a rope bridge. Ohio State was the guy with the machete leering from the safety of land, but it didn't create the situation.
Incredibly, improbably, amazingly: Ohio State looks like it might be on a bridge of its own devising. Michigan's culture caught up to them in a slow-motion avalanche that took half a decade. OSU's got blown up in a week by Brett McMurphy and Urban Meyer's callous disregard for anything but winning.
Since Zach Smith was exposed, Ohio State's house has morphed from bricks to cards. Every week (except Michigan State) brings a new sordid depth to their defensive issues. With JT Barrett off to pick up YAC in the Estonian league, the offense frequently fails to convert buckets of yards into points. There was a fourth and goal wide receiver screen against Purdue. Not incidentally, a 5-6 Purdue team that's going into the Bucket game looking for a bowl berth boatraced OSU 49-20.
The nature of the series with Michigan has already changed in the post-Durkin landscape. Michigan lost by a literal inch the last time they were in Columbus despite Wilton Speight fumbling on the goal line and throwing two miserable interceptions. Last's game was 21 Michigan players outplaying the opposition and the third-string quarterback tossing up a 14.3 QBR. This isn't Michigan scrapping and clawing because "throw the records out" and we'll go for two at the end of the game because we know what's what. It's Michigan getting hit by a red shell rounding the last corner.
They're there. They're good enough. They're legitimately elite by any metric you want to poke. Now they just have to do the damn thing. The consequences of failure do not bear thinking about. It's armageddon, again. Ohio State is a rope over an abyss. Sharpen your knives.
you're the man now, dog
#1 Devin Bush. Michigan lined him up next to Gary for a blitz and that seemed unfair and also please continue doing that forever. Twelve tackles, one of them to destroy a fake punt, and one critical fourth down PBU. Run issues were mostly things he was trying to mitigate and not things that could be plausibly put on him. Update: still good.
#2 Shea Patterson. Another game of almost ten yards an attempt. There were some hiccups, but the interception was an open guy on an RPO and it sailed because he got clobbered. The Gentry throw in the endzone… not so much. But the one after escaping the pocket, yeah buddy. Also chipped in 68 yards rushing. Which is a lot of yards.
#3 Rashan Gary. Had half that sack mentioned above plus a thunderous speed to power rush; 7 other tackles besides when Michigan really needed DL to step up.
Honorable mention: Zach Gentry had two big receptions and got interfered with twice… but maybe probably should have grabbed that ball in the endzone. Higdon had a workmanlike performance with some key broken tackles on short stuff.
Nick Eubanks scores his first touchdown at Michigan. An important moment in the game, sure. But his reaction afterward was a prayer to his late mom.
Honorable mention: Post-game news about Edwards and Winovich is positive. Moody hits a field goal X6. Rashan Gary stops Indiana's last drive before it starts.
MARCUS HALL EPIC DOUBLE BIRD OF THE WEEK.
Berkeley Edwards suffers the scariest injury in Michigan Stadium in living memory after a cheap targeting hit on a kickoff return. Edwards is probably going to be fine, per Braylon, and he's tweeting, so… that's a mixed blessing. But mostly good!
Honorable mention: Chase Winovich is knocked out after a different cheap shot and is maybe unavailable for next week. The end of half debacle.
Sort of but also no. "Death from above" is a particular genre of Beilein win where Nik Stauskas sticks contested threes in your face and no amount of scoring you manage is ever enough to climb up the Sisyphean treadmill that Michigan's offense presents you. Halfway through the first half your official twitter account issues a shruggie. The danger comes from the high-arcing artillery shells Michigan fires with unerring accuracy, and then a Lithuanian-Canadian dude dunks on your face.
That's Death From Above. This was different, except for the Lithuanian-Canadian dude. This was a shiv in the dark.
Michigan was most dangerous in the low places, where Zavier Simpson's fingers are stickiest and Ignas Brazdeikis's defense most implausible. The closest thing to a consistent perimeter threat Michigan presented came from Charles Matthews jumpers that started just outside the restricted circle and ended just inside the three-point line. The very, very burly Eric Paschall is going to hit 65% from two in conference play; he was just 3 of 13 against against a true freshman wing giving up 40 pounds.
At the same time Michigan was turning an All Big East C into a pumpkin they limited Villanova (VILLANOVA!) to 3 of 15 from behind the arc, on shots that were about 95% contested. Six different guys had steals. Zavier Simpson had five himself. Villanova had three turnovers for every assist.
At some point Gus Johnson said that Michigan was known for ferocious defense and a near-total lack of turnovers. I thought about tweeting out something in the "lol that's half-right" genre, and then stopped. Stopped like a wildebeest trying to drive the lane against Michigan. Maybe it's true. Or, at least, it's is going to be true.
And like, I don't know, fine? Let's go? I don't have the fingers to deal with this.
Never in the history of humanity has a program undergone such a dramatic 180 in how they get things done without losing its fundamental personality. And make no mistake: Zavier Simpson is as good of a Beilein-at-Michigan avatar as anyone despite the fact he'll hit 30% of his threes this year if he's lucky. He is not without precedent. He is the continuation of a theme. Seven years ago Darius Morris told Michigan State to "get the fuck off my court." Nik Stauskas terrified Kentucky fans despite Kentucky having 16 seven-foot jumping jacks. Charles Matthews?
Charles Matthews spent the entire first half doing this to various Villanova Wildcats. Everyone wanted to punch him and someone almost did.
These guys have always been assassins. Just not this kind. They've been guys who line your head up in a targeting reticle from two miles away. Now they knock on the front door and ask if anyone wants to play with all these knives they brought. You can say no all you want. The question is rhetorical.
Yes. Michigan is going to stab you until a palpably depressed Gus Johnson can no longer inject any life into the game. And then they're going to stab you one last time, because maybe you deserved it.
[After THE JUMP: some bullets and react from elsewhere]
I’m writing this — a football column on Michigan’s 42-7 win over Rutgers, in Piscataway — from the Crisler Center press box. And, well, the basketball game was more competitive. If you didn’t think it would be, you probably either overestimated the basketball team, or underestimated how terribly bad the Scarlet Knights are at playing football.
Jim Harbaugh tried his best to praise Rutgers after the game. He really, truly, tried his hardest. After being asked a question about the large contingent of Michigan fans that showed up in New Jersey, he turned it around to praise Scarlet Knights’ fans, and by proxy, the Scarlet Knights.
“Rutgers has a — that was a good — I thought their home fan base was really good,” Harbaugh said. “The team was really improved and competitive. That’s a competitive football team. They did as good a job of anybody at containing our running game and also really impressed with their young backs. And they run hard, those guys. Quarterback looked good, too. He made some real plays. That was a competitive game. Knew it would be, going in. We saw the way they played Northwestern. Saw the way they played Indiana. That’s a team that’s very close to breaking through and winning multiple games, consecutive games. Rob does a really good job with the team. Thought they had a really good plan offensively and defensively.”
10/20/2018 – Michigan 21, Michigan State 7 – 7-1, 5-0 Big Ten
No ghosts, no magic, no secret sauce: there's nothing hidden in Michigan State's recent run with Paul Bunyan. Most of the time they were a better football team than Michigan, and better football teams tend to win football games. All the noise was just that. Michigan lost games because they were bad football teams run by bad football coaches.
But holy hell, you just try to believe that when it's 7-7 despite a second quarter spent entirely on the Michigan State side of the field and it's raining and Michigan's fumbling like Urban Meyer trying to get his story straight and MSU's backup punter spears a disaster snap out of the air with one hand.
Then he hits a 60 yard punt, which is nearly double his season average. If the Black Pit of Negative Expectations didn't rise up and claim you then, you are a better human than I. The rain, and the turnovers, and the improbable thing by the guy in the thing with the rain… etc.
Fortunately, it turns out that being a vastly superior football team is still a good way to win football games. The rain cleared, the five-star quarterback threw a pass to the five-star wide receiver for a 79-yard touchdown, and that was more or less that. All over but the shouting.
But this is Michigan-Michigan State, so the shouting is the main event.
Jim Harbaugh described the pre-game dust up as "bush league," and that was about right. If you are a human like me who has been infected with the Lebowski virus your immediate thought was the Jesus ranting about BUSH LEAGUE PSYCH-OUT STUFF. And that's what it was.
There is no other reason to roll out on to the field in helmets and no pads—because that's a thing people do—ten minutes late, when you know various Michigan players will be on the field for their allotted whatever. And there's no other reason to walk through those players with your arms locked. Hell, it probably worked. Devin Bush went full Rick James on the Spartan logo at midfield shortly after; he picked up a mystery unsportsmanlike conduct flag in the first half.
In the aftermath, MSU beat writers are going into more detail about a confrontation that doesn't even warrant the term "kerfuffle" than any one of the many incidents that ESPN turned up when they investigated the Spartan athletic programs in the aftermath of Larry Nassar. The word "class" has been uttered. This is all a distraction.
Shouting is warranted. Shouting about some goons holding green bones trying to pull an imaginary one over on a team that will hold them to 93 yards of offense in the near future is not. Michigan State is, has been, and will be trash. Shout about that. Michigan State deserves no respect and should be treated with nothing but contempt.
This has always been true. An event like the above happens about every third year. That, too, is a sideshow.
This weekend on WTKA, Lorenzo White openly joked about the giant piles of steroids MSU was doing the last time they were relevant. This is a widely-reported fact that did not prevent George Perles from becoming an MSU trustee. An internal investigation cleared Perles; in 2008 Tony Mandarich admitted his steroid use and told Armen Keteyian that by the time he reached the NFL he was addicted to painkillers. It is an open secret that MSU did zillions of steroids in the early 1990s and that Mandarich exited Michigan State a ticking timebomb. Not only did MSU let that guy escape with his undeserved dignity intact, they put that guy on the board of trustees.
I mean, why not, right? The rest of the board consists of former football players, infamous slumlord/booster Joel Ferguson, the grandson of the guy the basketball arena is named after, and a couple people who don't even have a good reason to be a shameless lickspittle in the face of incontrovertible evidence that the institution they nominally govern is a failed enterprise. Collectively they said Lou Anna Simon should keep her job after the worst sexual assault scandal in the history of the United States.
So fuck Michigan State. Fuck their football and basketball teams especially, as they are the main drivers of the deranged culture that enabled Larry Nassar. There is a straight line to draw between Perles and the rest of his board to Mark Hollis to Lou Anna Simon, all of it enabled because Michigan State got to beat big brother in some sports sometimes. Nobody in power at that university cares about the woman subjected to Keith Appling and Adriean Payne's charms, or Auston Robertson's victim, or Travis Walton's, or the various people subjected to the presence of Michigan State players in events that weren't sexual violence but were sure as hell violent. So why would they care about insistent reports dating back 20 years about a doctor abusing gymnasts?
Well, you see, sometimes we get to rub the big in-state school's nose in it. So, obviously. It's all good.
There's an undercurrent in the Michigan fanbase that MSU is beneath notice. This is wrong, but I get it. There was a point in time in the past when the best revenge was celebrating with Paul Bunyan in the locker room. This is no longer the time we have, for various reasons. One is Michigan having various bad football teams. The other is what happens when MSU is beneath notice.
You've been noticed. We see you for what you are.
Well Jim Harbaugh just doubled down on calling Michigan State "bush league." Pulled out a piece of paper and read an old quote from Mark Dantonio: "It's not a product of the team. It's a product of the program."
#1(t) David Long, Lavert Hill, and Brandon Watson. The main drivers of a 5/25 passing performance. Joel Klatt, a former quarterback, reached untold depths of despair when trying to describe what Brian Lewerke was seeing downfield: absolutely nothing. Two points each because they're made up and don't matter and this section probably should have highlighted them more this season but doesn't because they barely get thrown at.
#2(t) Chase Winovich and Josh Uche. The other half of the dominant pass performance; three sacks between them, with Chase chipping in his usual level of run pursuit.
#3 Donovan Peoples-Jones. It was just one catch, but it was a good one.
Honorable mention: Karan Higdon had a Chris Perry kind of day. Shea Patterson had ups and downs but his legs are now a thing. (Don't tell any DCs about that.) The OL got another collective W.
Donovan Peoples-Jones gives Michigan the winning margin in one giant play when everyone in the world thought a coinflip slog was in the offing.
Honorable mention: Jordan Glasgow rakes out a fumble. BPONE mitigated by a couple of deflected catches. Patterson stands in and hits Collins for a first-half TD.
MARCUS HALL EPIC DOUBLE BIRD OF THE WEEK.
Chris Evans fumbles to set Michigan State up at the 7, leading to a tie game and many sufferers of BPONE.
Honorable mention: Karan Higdon stumbles into the mesh point for another fumble. MSU's punter goes combo OBJ/Orin Incandenza. Patterson dorfs a couple of fairly easy TDs. The entire second quarter of implausibly not scoring.
By the time Lavert Hill took a one-handed interception into the end zone, ending Wisconsin in every way that didn’t involve a clock hitting zero, every question you had about Michigan coming into a game of this magnitude had already been answered.