This Week's Obsession: The JMFR Effect

This Week's Obsession: The JMFR Effect

Submitted by Seth on October 9th, 2013 at 11:36 AM

Upchurch - 8173043148_1c2001efcd_o

Say AAAAAAHHH! [Fuller]

Guess who's back? Back again. Jake is back. We hope he's back. Hope he's back. Hope he's back, hope he's back hope he's back hope he's back…

The Mix:

Upchurch -8646515968_c9243f645e_o
Look at these eyes, baby blue, baby just like yourself, if they were brown, Shady lose, Shady sits on the shelf, but Shady's cute, Shady knew, Shady's dimple's would help.
[Fuller]

Slim Shady: Ace Anbender

The Real Slim Shady: Coach Brown

Almost Famous: Brian Cook

Big Weenie: Seth Fisher

Gatman: Mathlete

Bad Meets Evil: Blue in South Bend

The Most Shady: Heiko Yang

The Question:

Let's talk the return of Jake M.F. Ryan. Does it get us a pass rush? Do we give him a few weeks to regain his edge? What happens to the not-Ryans?

Mathlete: I think when JMFR comes back, we should play him both ways, solves the pass rush and the interior line issues at the same time. He doesn't even have to be a freakish hybrid. This coaching stuff is easy.

The key question for his return is whether or not we are getting the old Jake Ryan back. It seems like there are fewer and fewer cases every year of players who are coming back at less than their previous player. If he comes back at or near his previous level, there is no doubt he will be a big boost for the defense. Right now the defense is really good at one thing, not allowing plays down field. Michigan is allowing an average of 95 yards beyond the sticks a game, which is 15th best in the country. What the defense has lacked to date is much of a legitimate play making threat, and that is exactly what made Jake Ryan into JMFR. If Ryan can even generate a portion of the game changing activity he previously did, it would be a huge surge to a defense that could use a little jolt.

[Jump]

Upon Further Review 2012: Defense vs Minnesota

Upon Further Review 2012: Defense vs Minnesota

Submitted by Brian on November 9th, 2012 at 3:46 PM

Formation notes: Michigan actually spent most of this game in an over front, i.e. shifted their line towards the strength of the line and held Ryan over the slot. Like so:

f-4-3-over

Closeup:

f-4-3-over

Michigan would normally put Ryan over that TE to the top of the screen and shift the line the other way. Not sure why they went with the over this time.

Michigan did this once, too: an under shifted line with Demens on the LOS, Morgan in a more conventional ILB spot, and the SAM (in this case Cam Gordon) over the slot.

4-3 under slide

This was "4-3 under slide." Lingo as per usual is supposed to be consistent and descriptive.

And I clipped this for some reason so here's a reminder of what I mean by "okie":

f-okie-one

Seven guys on the LOS, with one deep safety off the screen and three DB type guys. This is of course zoneblitzapalooza.

Also here is Dooley creepin' on the jug:

dooley

hey baby wanna get painted?

Substitution notes: Secondary as usual. Wilson got a snap or two in a dime package. After a couple weeks of minimal substitution at linebacker, Bolden, Ross, and Cam Gordon got drives. Gordon left early with an injury of some sort and didn't return.

On the line, Clark and Beyer alternated at WDE with Beyer seeming to get slightly more snaps. Black and Campbell were at three-tech and split about evenly; Pipkins got a few snaps behind Washington; Roh actually got a breather or four as Keith Heitzman emerged to get more playing time than he had yet seen. Roh didn't get a lot of points, and that was a reason why. Seemed like Michigan was comfortable with where they were most of the second half and how Heitzman was playing so they let it ride.

[AFTER THE JUMP: the usual destruction of the enemies.]

Picture Pages: Misaligned, Temporarily

Picture Pages: Misaligned, Temporarily

Submitted by Brian on November 7th, 2012 at 12:08 PM

[PROGRAMMING NOTE: Due to a three-pronged failure in various systems I lost the first half of UFR and had to re-do it. I tried, but couldn't get it done for today. 2x UFR tomorrow.]

Minnesota's offense struggled to move the ball most of Saturday. When they did move it was often because Michigan was in a difficult position against spread principles. For example: on Minnesota's first snap, Michigan slid their linebackers way to the field against a trips formation and gave up five yards when the tailback cut all the way behind the defensive line.

I'm not sure if this is actually a problem Michigan should fix or if they're taking away certain things that would otherwise be open and will just open up another hole in the dam. In certain cases, anyway. I caught a second-quarter run—at twelve yards, Minnesota's long run of the day—on which Michigan's alignment had them in trouble from the start. Since the Big Ten Network was running an uncommonly large number of useful replays, we can take a look at it from the end zone.

Begin!

outnumbered-1]

From the dead center of the field Minnesota comes out in a pistol formation with two backs flanking the quarterback. Minnesota has two WRs not shown. When Blue Seoul was pumping out With Pics on the regular he would often point out presnap alignment issues, and Michigan has one here.

This is a balanced formation right smack in the middle of the field, but note that the linebackers are shifted to the left—Demens is left of the center; Morgan is inside the tackle to the right while Ryan is well outside. The line is also shifted left: Washington is inside the guard, Campbell outside. As a result you can draw a line with five Minnesota players to one side and three Michigan defenders:

outnumbered-1

Minnesota will run at this, running the back on the left across the QB and pulling a guard to keep that two-man advantage as the center uses his angle to take care of Campbell.

outnumbered-2

Before the mesh point a few things are clear: the three backside defenders are basically nonentities. Demens has a shot, maybe, but he's getting a free release from a tackle with an excellent angle and is in tough. The two backs are available to take on Clark and Morgan.

At the mesh point and just after, two things. First, Clark:

outnumbered-3outnumbered-4

Clark dives inside the pack trying to get him, which could be a valid move. The second frame there has a pulling guard; if Clark hits him that's two blockers on one guy. Because Michigan was badly aligned that still won't matter, though. Minnesota will run this later at Keith Heitzman; Heitzman will do the same thing and peg the QB, so this was what Mattison wanted… sort of. I'll explain below what he actually wanted, probably.

Second, Demens:

outnumbered-3outnumbered-4

He eats a block, but I'm not even mad when he eats a guy before it's even clear who has the ball. Even if he reads the play on the snap this guy probably gets him since he's got a great angle; if the tackle doesn't the pulling guard literally has no one to block so Demens will again feel the wrath of two different OL on the same play. If Demens is at fault it's for presnap stuff involving this alignment that gets him in trouble.

By the time the back breaks outside, it doesn't really matter what Morgan does, the play is getting yards, whether it's inside or out.

outnumbered-5

But man you still shouldn't get hewed to the ground like this and give up the edge:

outnumbered-6

It was faintly possible that Washington, who beat a down block, gets in some sort of tackle attempt, and you also wouldn't be forcing Kovacs to get on his horse outside like he does. Note that Raymon Taylor is also on his knees after eating a cut block:

outnumbered-7

Kovacs has to take an awkward angle around that block and misses the tackle as a result. He does get the guy off balance; Taylor recovers.

outnumbered-8

Twelve yards.

outnumbered-9

Video

Things And Stuff

I don't really have a big theme here. Often these posts are attempts to explain a general trend—like Michigan not blocking anyone against Nebraska—with some concrete examples. This is just a thing that happened and probably doesn't mean much of anything. These things pop up from time to time; the defense is still really good.

If there is a theme it's that these things tend to get fixed, as we'll see in the next bullet.

Clark is less good at defending the run than other folk/Mattison adjusts fast. There are two main differences between this and a –1 yard run later in the game off this same play. One is Heitzman. Watch the defensive end to the bottom of the screen:

That may be a different playcall that causes Beyer to move down on the tackle and prevent him from releasing. It is more useful than what Clark does above. While that's not a two for one the guy taking Demens is now the pulling guard, who takes a lot longer to get out on him. That allows Demens to get outside of him; a gap further inside James Ross is also playside of that tackle when he finally releases.

The other difference is of course JMFR, who demonstrates what the coaches are talking about when they call him an "unorthodox" player by taking a cut block hard and still managing to fling his off-balance body at the RB for a TFL.

Even if that does not happen Michigan has this covered as this chain…

  1. Beyer holds up T
  2. Demens beats pulling G to outside
  3. Back bounces it outside
  4. Gordon runs past RB with no angle now

…has an unblocked guy waiting to clean up if'n Ryan isn't a wizard or something.

These things tend to get fixed. Note that Michigan's alignment above is even instead of slid to one side or the other.

I am sorry to remind you of our shared, dark past, but remember the GERG defenses when Michigan would frequently get annihilated by the same thing over and over again? In the Oh God Justin Siller game (to be fair, a GERG defense only in spirit, not in letter) it was ten yard outs over and over. In the 2010 Wisconsin game I think the Badgers ran power 28 straight times in the second half, and I am not even sure that's a joke. One of the most frustrating aspects of Michigan's terrible terrible defenses pre-Mattison were the times when the same thing just kept working.

Here Michigan gets burned for a first down. The next two snaps they see out of this formation are runs that go for zero and –1 yards. That's why there's not a theme, because the things that seem to be dodgy with this defense are pure talent issues. Michigan doesn't have an elite pass-rusher or a lot of speed in the secondary. This leads to lots of attempted deep bombs that have not come off yet, mostly.

Minnesota backs and receivers can really cut block. Seriously, our guys could learn something from the Gophers in that department. Michigan CBs and LBs hit the ground a lot in this game, even if sometimes they got up like an unkillable zombie and made the tackle anyway.

Washington: pretty good. He couldn't do anything about the 12 yarder above; he did get off a block and pursue in case he could.

One Frame At A Time: Minnesota

One Frame At A Time: Minnesota

Submitted by Ace on November 5th, 2012 at 11:10 AM

Jeremy Gallon continues to find new ways to confound defenses. First, it was the cloaking device, which made its spectacular debut against Notre Dame last year. Now, he's moved on to rocket shoes:

Dubious legality? Admittedly, yes. Fantastic results? Oh, indeed.

[The rest of the Minnesota game in gifs is after THE JUMP. WARNING: Jake Ryan nightmare fuel ahead.]

Hokepoints: The Defense is Still The Wall

Hokepoints: The Defense is Still The Wall

Submitted by Seth on October 23rd, 2012 at 3:41 PM

stuffin

Stuffing. Upchurch

Eleven months ago I used this space to discuss Michigan's crazy success in defensive short situations. That was brought on by a staggering performance against Illinois, at which point Michigan had stopped 15 of 27 3rd- or 4th-and-one situations, and 13 of 19 against real competition. This was up from stopping less than a quarter of such plays the previous two years, and almost as far above the going rate for all defenses.

This was huge. Getting one yard for any offense is far easier that stopping it for any defense—one good block can usually do it. Forcing a 4th down situation from 3rd and 1 or a turnover on downs on 4th and 1 is worth half a turnover or more. Jamie Mac addressed this further in his HTTV article, showing that the stoppage situation was affecting the happy margin between our yards-ceded defense and scoring defense as much as having a ridiculous year in turnover luck.

Michigan last year was really good at stopping the short stuff, but folks chalked it up to Martin and Van Bergen playing to their strengths and figured it was a blip. Except it wasn't just those guys. Here's last year's chart for short situations, through OSU: BarnumRoundtreeRohSpringGame-Heiko

Player (2011) + -
Kenny Demens 6.5 0
Ryan Van Bergen 6.5 0
Craig Roh (right/Heiko) 6 0
Jake Ryan 5.5 0
Mike Martin 4.5 0
Jordan Kovacs 3 0
Campbell, Hawthorne & Heinigner 2.5 0
Black, Morgan, and Woolfolk 1 0
Herron and Beyer 0 -1
Total 42.5 -2
RPS 7 -2
Refs 0 -2

Two thirds of Michigan's short-down production from last year returned (as did bad refs). Demens, Roh, Ryan, Kovacs, and Campbell were all key role players in that ridiculous shutdown rate, and if the UFR can be trusted, they weren't getting it just because of things the Team 132 seniors were doing.

This doesn't even count things like stopping Ohio State on 3rd and goal from the 2. Actually it doesn't count goal line situations at all, though 1st and goal from the 1 is as hard to stop as 3rd and 1 from the 40. So I revisited when updating the UFR database. Get ready to be happy (through MSU):

Year    --FCS and MAC removed--         --All Opponents--
Stopped! They got it :( Stop % Stopped! They got it :( Stop %
2008 11 14 44% 16 18 47%
2009 3 11 21% 7 16 30%
2010 5 18 22% 11 24 31%
2011 14 10 58% 16 16 50%
2012 10 7 59% 10 8 56%
Total 43 60 42% 60 82 42%

It's still happening. It's happening more. We replaced Martin and RVB with Washington and Campbell, and if anything got better! And like last year Michigan's short defense seems to be getting tougher as the season goes on. Since Big Ten play started, the non-stops have read thusly: Purdue converting with 16 seconds left in the half while down 18, Illinois benefiting from a terrible spot, two plays where Bell was forced to cut back into the pile and just managed to squeak through, and one bust.

[After the jump, what's causing it, and the plays vs. State]

One Frame At A Time: Michigan State

One Frame At A Time: Michigan State

Submitted by Ace on October 22nd, 2012 at 10:30 AM

It is with great pleasure that I welcome you to One Frame At A Time, our new weekly gifs post that will go up each Monday morning after football weekends (and probably continuing into basketball season, too, and whenever else it strikes my fancy).

From here on out, words will be sparse; if one picture is worth a thousand, I won't bother to calculate how many are accounted for by a moving image—bajillions, probably. In that sense, apologies for my wordiness, but the Michigan State game was a treasure trove for gifs. Par exemple:

[Due to the large file sizes, the rest of this week's gifs are after THE JUMP. Remember that you can always hit 'escape' (except in Chrome) to stop the animation.]

The Lamentation Of Their Women

The Lamentation Of Their Women

Submitted by Brian on October 15th, 2012 at 12:18 PM

10/13/2012 – Michigan 45, Illinois 0 – 4-2, 2-0 Big Ten

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Eric Upchurch

Six games into year two of the Hoke and Mattison defensive regime, Michigan stands 10th in total defense. Last year they finished 17th. The year before that they languished in the triple-digits, unsure of who they were, what they were doing, and how life was supposed to have any meaning. Now, they know.

The flow thing is no coincidence.

arnold-schwarzenegger-conan-the-barbarian-movie-image-2[1]x350[1]

RYAN THE BARBARIAN

Yeah, you can use the advanced numbers to push the exact measure of Michigan's improvement to and fro—Michigan is 16th in S&P+ with FEI pending—but who cares? The exact magnitude of the improvement is difficult to measure in the same way an exploding volcano is. It is organized and has long hair and will hit you very hard. Volcanoes. Dig it.

Michigan has not quite swept across the steppes, burning all in its path yet. They're still waiting for a real test after they got run over in the opener and had to survive an option attack they were ill-prepared for. Since those two games they've played UMass, a Notre Dame team that seems to score 13-20 against any opponent more competent than Miami, Purdue, and Illinois. Competent quarterbacks have exited. Chaos reigns even before Michigan gets involved.

But but but, by whatever measures you care to look at Michigan is providing novel horrible experiences to the hapless in their path:

  • Illinois was held to under 150 yards of offense. In blowout losses against Arizona State and Penn State, the former without Scheelhaase, they racked up over 300 and scored. They neared 300 against Wisconsin last week.
  • Purdue's worst yardage output of the season was versus Michigan; they've played ND and Wisconsin.
  • Michigan held Notre Dame to under 250 yards, also their worst output of the season.

When life gives you lemonade stands, all you can do is pillage five-year-olds. Nickels in hand, Michigan faces a recent nemesis this weekend. They've got a real nice stand set up. Would be a shame if something happened to it.

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

It's mostly lemonade stands from here on out. Only two of Michigan's remaining six opponents squeeze into the top half of the total yardage rankings—Ohio State (34th) and Nebraska (12th). Hypothetical Big Ten Championship Game foe Wisconsin is cooling its heels at 87th. Thanks to the BIG TENNNNNN nature of the Big Ten, Michigan's defense can get along despite being rickety in parts.

Six weeks in it's getting hard to figure out what those rickety parts are. Kenny Demens has just spent three weeks attacking third and one with abandon and dropping into all the deep seams. He's been able to do that because the defensive tackles are keeping him clean. Raymon Taylor is being avoided by opponents who would rather go at JT Floyd. Craig Roh's move to strongside end has been successful beyond all reason.

The big hole on the defense is…

…weakside end? Maybe Floyd himself? It's unknown, really.

We do know now what we hoped—maybe suspected—at the beginning of the year: the GERG to Greg turnaround was 10% fumble fluke, 90% sustainable development. I watch Michigan play defense and think about watching Greg Mattison get distracted by an endzone shot of his four DL making the exact same step on a particular cutup at a coaching clinic. The line moves with perfect choreography and Mattison's supposed to be talking about higher-level stuff but is simply incapable of looking at that beautiful synchronicity and not stopping to talk about it:

Mattison did not select the cutups himself—that was delegated to a video coordinator—and didn't know exactly what would come up. This made for an interesting dynamic as he evaluated each play live. He repeatedly digressed from his main topic to note the footwork of his linemen: Van Bergen is getting distance with his first step. All of these guys have identical footwork.

The tape winds back and forth; Mattison beams like a proud father. He fumes at imaginary people who would not direct their weakside end to put his outside foot back when he gets a tight end to him. He passes the geek test.

The same folks who made Will Heininger a key piece of a top 20 defense have reconstituted Michigan's defensive line from a converted OL, a five star at the bottom of the sea, and a 250-pound weakside end. When not battered by a once-in-a-generation outfit in Tuscaloosa, they've stoned everyone they've come up against*. That line is not where Michigan's going, but it's good enough to be amongst the best in the conference.

That is the brick on which Hoke's program is built. They will take whatever they've got and turn it into a well-oiled machine. Some years they will be undersized and coping well. Some years they will be rampant. The next ten years will feature an endless procession of mashing defenses. There will be one blip to the downside and two units that put Michigan in national championship contention.

Year in, year out, lemonade stands across the Midwest will burn. Toddlers in Elmo t-shirts will weep. Winged helmets will look on impassively, knowing what is best in life.

*[Air Force's success was not on the DL, at least not much.]

Media

Highlights from parkinggod:

The Ford presentation:

Also pressers by Hoke, Denard and Desmond Morgan, Jake Ryan and Patrick Omameh, and Kenny Demens and his disco 'stache.

Upchurch photos went up this morning.

Real Bullets

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Ace

brady-hoke-epic-double-point_thumb_3Brady Hoke Epic Double Point of the week. Jake Ryan, come on down. Obviously. He's got a bullet down the page, but: 11 tackles, 3.5 TFL, 1.5 sacks, and a number of plays made that didn't even show up on that statline.

Honorable mention: Denard Robinson (7/11, > 10 YPC, no turnovers), Patrick Omameh (seems to be destroying Akeem Spence on a few of Denard's long runs), Kenny Demens (INT, two third and short thumps), Greg Mattison (knows what is best in life).

Epic Double Point standings.

3: Jake Ryan (ND, Purdue, Illinois)
2: Denard Robinson (Air Force, UMass)
1: Jeremy Gallon(Alabama)

I know, man.

My God, It's Made Of Funchess note of the week. From my vantage point in the stadium, I thought the play-action rollout that eventually turned into the Funchess touchdown had been defeated by coverage. I thought that Denard saw this too and was chunking the ball out of the endzone, which I was pleased with—WOO NO INTERCEPTION—as I saw the ball soar into the stands… at least the dance team… well past Devin Funchess's outstretched… oh.

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Ace made this. ESC to stop it, unless you're on Chrome.

Wow. Is that legal? Should I clap now? Is touchdown? Is touchdown. Clap. Smile. Turn to wife and console her that the Illinois people are probably used to this anyway and she shouldn't feel bad for them because… um. Return to clapping, wait for day when Michigan throws more than 15 passes and Jim Mandich Watch returns.

norfleetwatch. hai guys here's this punt i should probably fair catch this syyyykkkkkkeeeee hey i'm going this way syyyyyyykkke I PUT OUT MY HAND AND YOU STOP BECAUSE I HAVE POWERS goodbye tackler goodbye tackler goodbye tackler hello sideline i am sorry i will never touch you sideline i just don't feel like that about you ZOOOOOOOOOOOOM wait wat is punter

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Upchurch

wat is punter wat is

wat

/dies

RESPAWN

Kicking from the one. Michigan pooted in the shortest possible field goal late in the first quarter, which normally would have driven me bonkers. IMO that was a close enough call that I wasn't super peeved. The situation:

  • Denard is out so you've got a freshman at QB.
  • Barnum is out so you've got your 6'1" walkon at LG.
  • You've just been stuffed twice consecutively since Illinois knows you're not throwing, not least because…
  • It's a rainstorm that could easily degenerate into an MSU-Iowa-ish slopfest in which points are at a premium.

If an 18-yard field goal in the first quarter is ever going to be the right move, it's there. It was really hard to disentangle any emotions about the kick from the momentary dread experienced as I watched Michigan's season circle down the drain in an injury deluge, but before it was a laugher it seemed like the kind of game where the first team to 17 wins and the field goal is defensible.

This is an extension of my being fine with a similar chip shot field goal in last year's Illinois game; that one came later and extended Michigan's lead from 14 to a probably-insurmountable 17. Early in this game any points seemed like a good idea in case the skies truly opened up.

Not that it mattered, but this wouldn't be MGoBlog without minute dissection of every possible game theory decision.

Even if you didn't like the kick you should note with approval that Michigan tried to take their two-minute opportunity at the end of the half only to be foiled by a bad snap after they'd moved the ball 19 yards.

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Upchurch

Never again. Hey, guys, we're past Annual Denard Versus Illinois Injury Scare, and this one was the best of all because Denard came back and Illinois scored no points anyway. High five.

Michigan has now survived half the season with only one major injury, that to Blake Countess. While Wormley and Brink being out strips Michigan of some of its DL depth, neither guy was playing much or projected to play much—hard to imagine Wormley being a major step up from Michigan's current three-tech/SDE production.

That's getting off relatively light. Anyone glancing at Iowa City or East Lansing will get quick confirmation of that. Brady Hoke poops magic, still going strong.

Everything is not a bubble screen. I got a half-dozen tweets after the Gallon touchdown about bubble screens, and I knew that there had been a disturbance in the force due to announcer incompetence. Watching the highlights, I found out: the PBP guy thinks any throw to a wide receiver behind the line of scrimmage is a bubble screen.

That's not true, obviously, and the Gallon touchdown was the Always Works Every Time Except That One Time Against Iowa throwback screen. That play has little to do with the various critiques leveled around here about the lack of edge pressure applied by the Borges spread. It works by getting the playside tackle out on the edge without blocking that DE, and that gets you a chunk of yards. Michigan's broke huge as Michigan picked up +++ downfield blocks from Schofield and Kwiatkowski:

Schofield got a piece of the safety 20 yards downfield. That's a throwback to his days as a guard and a reason Rodriguez was so hyped on acquiring him. Michigan's OL can still get downfield like a boss.

Anyway, the throwback screen has been a strange disconnected bit of the offense that Borges pulls out once a game that picks up between 15 and 70 yards without fail except that one time against Iowa. It's always run from under center; it's obviously a pretty awesome play but it isn't yet anything more than a dime store novelty because the core of the offense remains spread.

Lewan injury scares. Taylor Lewan wasn't the first choice in warmups and again exited before the rest of the offensive line; a couple of people have mentioned to me that he seemed to have a limp as he went back to the locker room at half-time. This is fine, because Lewan is in fact powered by injury. Tom Gholston will rip his leg off, laugh evilly, and turn around only to be faced with a being of unimaginable power created by his very own hands.

PROTIP: let's not try to throw screens over that guy.

Fitz vs Rawls vs Hayes vs Norfleet fight. The Toussaint Job Threat watch is still on after his YPC was the worst of anyone who got more than one carry—and the guy who got that one carry also almost took a punt return 90-some yards.

Rawls has earned some more playing time—if he's not taking over short yardage duties posthaste I'll be surprised—and will be given an opportunity to take some chunk of the carries, but Fitz is going to remain the starter, I'd imagine. Michigan did hand it off to Rawls on an inverted veer, FWIW.

Rotation. Michigan had more of it in this game, especially one Pipkins:

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Upchurch

That started early on Illinois's somewhat annoying early successes straight up the gut. I'll have to see what was going on there in the UFR; live it seemed like a thing that Michigan was not quite expecting but quickly got fixed. Think early Rodriguez offenses in the first half versus the second.

Moore return, maybe not so much. Brandon Moore was back and still apparently behind Kwiatkowski and Funchess, possibly also Williams. I saw him whiff a block badly on one of his limited snaps. I don't think he's getting much playing time back.

Everybody Hates Russell. It was bad enough that Michigan receivers reacted to Russell Bellomy's passes like they were radioactive, but does the media have to pile on? Daily:

Bellomy struggles in spotlight

Apparently the offense couldn’t move a single yard without Robinson under center, and the Wolverines settled for a field goal…

Fans’ expectations for the quarterback position could be a bit exaggerated because they’ve been spoiled by the exhilarating play of Robinson, but Bellomy didn’t do a great job of living up to any expectations in his brief role on Saturday.

On the following drive, he tossed a pair of incomplete passes — granted, the second was dropped by fifth-year wide receiver Roy Roundtree — before Michigan punted on a three-and-out.

Baumgardner:

Russell Bellomy wasn't exactly sparkling in mop up duty for Robinson. He took over with the ball inside the five in the second quarter, and couldn't get Michigan into the end zone. He also lost a fumbled snap in the second half.

TTB:

Michigan's backup quarterback situation is shaky.  Russell Bellomy struggled somewhat.  He let a snap squirt right through his hands, and he completed just 1/3 passes.  I'm not a huge fan of what I've seen out of Devin Gardner as a quarterback, and I do think Bellomy has potential down the road . . . but boy, does he look shaky right now.  He wasn't helped out by his receivers, though, who had their hands on both incompletions; but Bellomy looks afraid to push the ball down the field, and he's not very crisp running the plays.

Come on guys, he handed off a couple times and threw a few passes that were dropped. Given the conditions, the fumbled snap is not a huge surprise—I file Bellomy's performance under incomplete.

Hoke likes him. Yeah.

Another lost shoe. An epidemic. This never happened before. What's the deal?

Roh pretty damn good. Two of Michigan's WDE's switched positions in the offseason, and that was pretty worrying. At least one of those seems to be working out pretty well: SDE Craig Roh. Check out Michigan's first third and short stop. Watch 88, the DE to the top of the screen:

Shift a step before snap to line up right over the TE, get under the TE, move upfield and pop the pulling guard. That's why Demens is free to tackle. That's a full point in UFR that doesn't show up at all in the box score, and Roh has been doing that consistently for the first six games. There's a stretch at 2:14 that's similar: Ryan gets a TFL because Roh beats his guy playside.

Also on that first play Jake Ryan pops his guy back and disengages to make that Demens tackle a matter of stopping an already-falling guy's momentum. Funny how Demens is a lot better now that he's not eating guys on a free release. Speaking of…

JAKE F RYAN. Ryan needs no explanation, and in this game he put up the kind of stat line that makes even distant observers sit up and take notice: 11 tackles, 7 solo, 3.5 TFLs, a sack and a half. He also got some of those Roh plays—the stuffed fourth and inches was Ryan getting the two-for-one with a slant under the tackle and letting Demens roar up into the hole untouched.

Repeat of all things previous about all Big Ten, verge of—the next two weeks will either solidify that or delay it.

A screen worked, to a running back and everything. That's an everything's coming up Milhouse moment.

Scheelhaase out. At least one team in the Big Ten is willing to remove a guy with a concussion. Terry Hawthorne didn't play, either. Objection from UV withdrawn.

OL doing stuff. Big Robinson runs resulted from:

  • Omameh blowing up Spence one on one.
  • Lewan blowing up a DE on the easy Denard draw TD.
  • Omameh blowing up Spence again on the 49-yarder

Student section fight. Michigan State:

aint-nobody-end

Michigan:

crowd2_thumb[1]

Difference is that Michigan was up by a billion in a noncompetitive game, and they look to have about twice the people. Win for Michigan.

Yakety sax pending. THE KIDS ARE PLAYING THEIR TAILS OFF AND THE COACHES ARE SCREWING IT UP

FURMAN DESTROY. My only disappointment with the above highlight reel is that it leaves out a fifteen-yard penalty on Michigan, when Josh Furman went Fresno State on an Illinois punt returner. A personal reaction:

OHHHH HE'S GONNA LIGHT THAT GUY UP

OHHHHHHHH

/ball hits ground

oh?

That punt had ridiculous hangtime, is what I'm saying.

Damn you, Special K. Damn you. You know, you get through two full games without hearing the Dog Groomers play "In The Big House" and you think you're out of the woods and then they bring it back. False hope is worse than death.

I am so with you HSR:

Really, I could have like six anti-Special K bullets here, but will it really do any good?

The weirdest thing was the soulful acoustic guitar thing they played for like an entire commercial break. YEAH I'M FIRED UP HIT ME WITH THE JOSE GONZALEZ I CAME HERE FOR WARRRRRRRR.

Now you can't do it. Ace mentioned the on-field proposal after everyone had cleared out Saturday, and now the gentleman who totally one-upped you passed along the event itself:

Jonathan San declares "I've never made that many girls scream before," and he's got you topped. Unless you're Steve Breaston—in which case respext, you are good at football.

Dang big gap. The MSU line opened at M –11.5 and currently stands at M –10.5.

Here

Inside The Boxscore:

After watching the Spartan fan-fail, I was curious to see how UofM's students would approach the game. Even though the weather was basically the same - rain - the stands looked full to me. There were a few who left the game in the 2nd half, but I'm sure if we would have gone to double OT, the stands would have been full. So even though State may have won the last four games in the series, they have a long way to go to match the University of Michigan on the field, in the classroom, and in the stands.

Also, ST3 goes to badminton practice. MICHIGAN MENZ.

Turd Ferguson kicks off a rivalry week with a dossier of Michigan State's recent achievements, as well:

Michigan State athletics programs have become pioneers in 21st-century teambuilding.  Concerned about the rapid decline of face-to-face contact, MSU athletes have repeated come together, in large groups, to contact the faces of their fellow athletesand classmates.

Spartans are known to generously extend a hand to those in need.  They’ve developed a prison-to-work program seen by many as a model for how to reduce to an absolute minimum the time between prison and work.  Their athletic director moonlights as avolunteer career counselor and their football coach as a public speaking coach, offering their time even to supposed athletic rivals.  When one of their neighbors could use help just stretching his neck, scratching his eye, massaging his arm, or bludgeoning his face, a Spartan is always there to assist.

Elsewhere

Blog folk. MVictors pulls out a Gerald Ford speech from 1975 in an effort to figure out what he might have said if he was around for the event:

As I mentioned a moment ago, I was lucky enough to play football, first on Ferry Field and then in the stadium. And I was lucky enough to start a few games in the football season of 1934–and that was quite a year. The Wolverines on that memorable occasion played Ohio State, and we lost 34 to 0. And to make it even worse, that was the year we lost seven out of eight of our scheduled games. But you know, what really hurt me the most was when my teammates voted me their most valuable player. I didn’t know whether to smile or sue. [Laughter]

MVictors postgame:

It’s seems like a simple expectation but you forget, especially in the aftermath of the Alabama and Notre Dame games, that these coaches have a track record of making players better.  You are seeing it.   The defense confident and fun to watch and they’ve retooled the gameplan with Denard and it’s clearly working.  I’ll take this stat line 24/7: 7-11, 2 TD, 0 INT.

Big House Blog:

If yesterday was a heavyweight title fight it was over in the first round.  The only drama came when the champion hurt his hand because he was hitting the challenger's face too much.  TKO Round 1 - UMass played harder in the Big House.

More HSR:

One thing we do know is the defense put in an amazing performance against Illinois.  They were held to 3.3 yards per carry (with a standard deviation of 5.1 yards). These two stats indicate that not only did the D hold the Illini in check, but that they kept them from pulling off many big runs; in fact, Illinois only had one run of over ten yards all day, the Nathan Scheelhaase dash that knocked him out of the game. If you calculate the standard error about the mean, it's 0.14 yards, suggested that if U-M and Illinois face of again and again, Michigan would hold them to under 3.5 YPC again and again and again. That's consistency. That's dominance.

Maize and Go Blue:

Al Borges continues to pare down his play calling to suit this team, and it has worked the past two weeks as Michigan has run for just under 330 yards per game and thrown the ball only 27 times total. The

Holding The Rope:

When Odysseus* returned home, he was met with a cohort of unruly suitors. Like those suitors, Illinois simply did not have the strength to string the bow and fire.

MICHIGAN MENZ.

MNBN:

RAMROTH FINNEGAN declares Michigan by far his best visit. I know the kid is destined to end up at Cincinnati, where all the best names go, but let's savor this moment when it is just fate, not fact.

The Illinois perspective:

In our last nine Big Ten games, we’ve scored 7, 14, 7, 14, 17, 7, 7, 14, and 0 points. 9.7 points per game. Has to be the worst such stretch since the 1970′s, right? We had huge offensive failings in 2005 and 2003 and 1997 and even 1993. But we’ve never had a stretch like this, have we? I mean, since the days of 0-0 ties with Northwestern and such in the 70′s. Can anyone remember anything this bad?

Less than two years ago, we scored 63 points at Michigan. With Nathan Scheelhaase at quarterback. How could we fall that far in 24 months? Yes, Michigan’s defense has improved tenfold over RichRod’s 2010 defense. But from 63 points to zero? How is that even possible?

TTB awards. M&GB on the RB platoon. Sap's Decals. Photos from MNBN.

Mainstream folk. Grades are somewhat good from Meinke. Daily game story. Smith sat out with a hamstring issue, "boo-boo" resurfaces as nonspecific Denard injury term. Helfand on Michigan's defense. Estes on Kenny Demens. Meinke on MSU week. Baumgardner on lack of turnovers.