I Don't Hate Your Corpse Any Less And I Don't Want Store Credit

I Don't Hate Your Corpse Any Less And I Don't Want Store Credit Comment Count

Brian November 5th, 2018 at 1:16 PM

11/3/2018 – Michigan 42, Penn State 7 – 8-1, 6-0 Big Ten

The jarring thing was this: they didn't seem drunk. There were two dudes crossing Stadium at about the same time I did, and they were not drunk, and they were singing something very loud. It was a faintly familiar verse, the kind of thing that tickles the back of your brain and, if left unaddressed, leads to the kind of frantic wikipedia search that either relieves you of your memory burden or leaves you staring at a list of defenestrations, wondering which rabbit holes you'd fallen through to arrive at this place.

Fortunately(?) this was not required. The verse led into a chorus that is intimately familiar to anyone who is extremely online. It culminated, with elaborate hand gestures. It was beefy, hammy. You may already hear this in your head: "GIVE ME YOUR HEART, make it real, OR ELSE FORGET ABOUT IT."

Across the street, people booed. They were being Smooth-rolled. It seemed like they'd just parted, and this was a parting shot. As I veered off onto the side street that held my car the dudes chortled to each other, victorious.

This was not a black pit. It was… it was a brightly lit mesa of trolling your friends with Santana/Robb Thomas collaborations.

Nine weeks ago those guys were not merrily inflicting music-type substances on their friends. They were sitting in a dark basement, saying nothing, grateful that the other guy had enough damned sense to say nothing. When the moon rose the men silently, separately resolved to destroy it.

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

Elsewhere: fulminations. Jim Harbaugh challenged a fourth down catch with three minutes left in a 42-0 game, causing the "harbaugh class" search to disgorge great heaps of rotted fish onto the internet. Penn State scored on that drive, so the camera had cause to cut to a defensive coordinator in the process of holding a ranked opponent under 200 yards for the third straight game. This is what he looked like:

image

He looked grim. Disappointed. 58 minutes of wholesale obliteration was not enough. Don Brown is a hater.

Don Brown keeps receipts. In the run-up to this game he and his players repeatedly mentioned Penn State running plays up 42-13 with under 40 seconds left, and how that stuck with them. Brown didn't send his second team line out until the last gasps, and film review will be hell for them this week.

Donovan Peoples-Jones keeps receipts, and increases the volume of his hatin-ass touchdown celebrations weekly. He will fire the cannon if when he scores against Rutgers.

Chase Winovich keeps receipts, and will tell anyone that yes, that is our little brother, and yes, this is our revenge tour, and yes he very respectfully stole Trace McSorley's celebration and he's apologizing for nothing.

Rashan Gary keeps receipts. He keeps them on his face.

45655312642_cf8eb01713_k

[Fuller]

Rashan Gary's mom keeps receipts. Some of you on the internet are in trouble.

So yes, this is a petty team. This is an angry team. This is a petty, angry fanbase with a petty, angry DJ. Nobody is apologizing for anything. Michigan is handing out receipts itself, because it's got too damn many to deal with right now. Hold some of these along with the L.

It is time to hear the lamentation of their message boards. It is time to belt out the chorus to "Smooth" at maximum volume no matter how damaging it is to the souls around you. We've sat in the dark plotting the downfall of celestial objects for too long to have any dignity about blowing up the moon.

Someone else can be angry for a time now. Someone else can sit in the black pit of negative expectations after one drive with Michigan players pouring through the line, seemingly untouched.

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

The postgame handshake between coaches was brief and seemingly cordial, but afterwards James Franklin stopped and turned back to Harbaugh. Harbaugh was already jogging into the tunnel. Franklin stared a hole in his back for a good five seconds before turning back to the field, seething. It was like the end of Lost In Translation, if Bill Murray had said something that made Scarlett Johansson into a barely-contained ragebot.

I wonder what it was. I keep inventing pettier, crueler things. The exact content is irrelevant though, because the thrust is this: we regret nothing. We have many more receipts.

AWARDS

Known Friends and Trusted Agents Of The Week

45703472461_75ac65f492_k

[Upchurch]

-2535ac8789d1b499[1]you're the man now, dog

#1(t) Chase Winovich and Josh Uche. Thunderous back-to-back sacks on Penn State's opening drive set the tone, and the pressure did not stop until they got pulled late. Winovich made PFF's team of the week, nationally, and Uche probably missed largely because of snap count. Two points each, made up and don't matter.

#2(t) Jon Runyan Jr and Ben Bredeson. Very little pressure from PSU's DL and Michigan mashed their run defense with a heavy emphasis on the left side of the line.

#3 Shea Patterson. Only 17 attempts but 144 yards and 2 TDs on those attempts, plus 10 carries for 50 yards. Seemed to get pull/keep decisions right the whole day, and juked a couple guys to pick up chunks.

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.

KFaTAotW Standings.

10: Chase Winovich (#1 ND, #3 SMU, #1 NW, T2 MSU, T1 PSU)
5: Karan Higdon (#1 WMU, #3 Nebraska, #3 Wisconsin), Shea Patterson (#3 WMU, #1 Maryland, #3 PSU).
4: Devin Bush(#3 ND, #1 Nebraska), Rashan Gary(#2 WMU, #2 Nebraska), David Long(#2 Wisconsin, T1 Michigan State), Josh Uche (T2 NW, T2 MSU, T1 PSU), Jon Runyan Jr (T1 Wisconsin, T2 PSU).
3: Zach Gentry(T1 SMU, #2 Maryland), Juwann Bushell-Beatty(T1 Wisconsin), Jon Runyan Jr(T1 Wisconsin), Donovan Peoples-Jones(T1 SMU, #3 MSU).
2: Ambry Thomas (#2 ND), Josh Metellus(#2 SMU), Brandon Watson(T1 MSU), Lavert Hill(T1 MSU).
1: Will Hart (#3 NW), Mike Dwumfour (T2 NW), Kwity Paye (T2 NW), Khaleke Hudson(#3 Maryland), Ben Bredeson(T2 PSU).

Who's Got It Better Than Us(?) Of The Week

Brandon Watson intercepts a ball to absolutely no one, returns it for a TD, and puts the final nail in an already extensively-nailed coffin.

Honorable mention: Eight-play all-run TD drive to kick things off; Patterson finds DPJ on a throw that may indicate he's getting more comfortable; Uche and Winovich slash into the backfield; DPJ nearly brings back two punts.

image​MARCUS HALL EPIC DOUBLE BIRD OF THE WEEK.

PSU escapes the shutout.

Honorable mention: Blocked FG momentarily provides PSU a touchdown. Uh… the end?

[After THE JUMP: chaos reigns]

Comments

WTKA Roundtable 9/27/2018: Keep Steve Welmer

WTKA Roundtable 9/27/2018: Keep Steve Welmer Comment Count

Seth September 28th, 2018 at 7:10 AM

Things discussed:

  • Nebraska is in Year Zero: don't take this game too seriously
  • Michigan's offensive identity: Down G? The thing about Down G is if the LB reads it right the defense has it dead to rights
  • The Down G wrinkles keep it viable. Bubble screen off Down G action and Jet Sweep and Flaring a TE
  • Dylan McCaffrey has grown up a lot at Michigan—good to see his arm gets downfield
  • Nebraska's pass rush is the worst we'll face.
  • Warinner/Ruiz effect: unblocked guys not getting through as much. Stopping the Gaz is another matter
  • The officials: A lot of curious calls. O'Neill Crew calls a facemask thanks to replay guy.
  • Craig says the safety call was correct (made by someone upstairs) because what if someone catches it? Throwing is directing it not establishing possession.
  • Targeting/Not Targeting: Hudson puts his helmet in the QB's chest. Sam thinks last week wasn't this week was because he's leading with the head (does facemask count?). Two NFL quarterbacks got freak injuries so you can't hit low on the quarterback now. They totally missed the very real targeting on Ben Mason
  • NW: Clayton Thorson is the Mitch Leidner of this year's Big Ten. The Gaz. "Paddy Fisher."
  • Nick Bosa: Is he going to take the whole year off, or just every game but The one?
  • Brian had a daughter in the middle of preview season and forgot to tell anybody

You can catch the entire episode on Michigan Insider's podcast stream on Podbean.

Segment two is here. Segment three is here.

THE USUAL LINKS

When the shaving cream dries she's arrested for public indecency

Comments

I Ate My Own Heart Out Of Contempt For Your Feebleness

I Ate My Own Heart Out Of Contempt For Your Feebleness Comment Count

Brian September 24th, 2018 at 1:16 PM

[Eric Upchurch]

9/22/2018 – Michigan 56, Nebraska 10 – 3-1, 1-0 Big Ten

In the aftermath of an implausible beatdown there is always a race to identify the most emblematic stat of the day. I have participated. I have scoured the box score. I have consulted with the learned elders. This one takes the cake. Prepare thyself. Ensconce. All right: Adrian Martinez had 22 passing yards with a long of 32.

You rn:

fa6082d94a6ddd621c0dc3b5d7e6fd35

Those 32 yards came when a hunted Martinez hurled a 500 ball skyward that one of his receivers was accidentally in position to come back to. Michigan was one arm punt away from a statistic that would implode the fundamental nature of football. Alas.

At least they won? And Martinez finished with negative total yards?

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

The strangest thing about a game like this is how the goalposts move in the middle of the first quarter. If Nebraska had been moderately feisty and the defensive tackles had been a major factor in a 3.0 YPC day from the Cornhusker ground game, we'd be talking about how they passed a major test against a couple of senior guards who Big Ten coaches thought were pretty good. Instead Michigan held Nebraska's top three backs to ten yards total.

Nebraska now proves nothing. It might prove something later, if the tough-luck Nebraska that outgained Colorado by 150 yards but conspired to lose thanks to Laviska Shenault making absurd plays re-emerges. If Michigan also continues looking like a juggernaut instead of the sad mess that took on Notre Dame, this game will be retroactively upgraded from "accidentally played another MAC team" to the turning point when the Warinner hit and the corner got turned.

For now this was the sort of game where your sack celebration is ripping out and eating your own heart, because nothing else is going to be a challenge.

Precisely calibrating exactly how much to take from an unexpected hamblasting of a Big Ten team is far more pleasant than many things you can do after a football game. But we have been here before. With the exception of last year Harbaugh's Michigan teams have paved lower-tier teams flat. This is good! This tends to fling you up very far in predictive ranking systems. Michigan is now 5th in S&P+, like they seemingly always are, and S&P+ is designed to tell you who will win football games in the future. Paving people flat is a characteristic of very good football teams that win many games and leave you with a rich satisfied feeling that we are assured is something football fans can feel after the conclusion of a season.

But because of Certain Events and Certain Circumstances Leading To Third-String Quarterbacks all that feels hollow even if you're gripping onto the random, bloody-minded universe theory with everything you've got. We've been taught that paving folks doesn't correlate with winning the games that might cause the most annoying people in the universe to shut up for at least three seconds. That's not rational, but it sure as hell is sports.

The goalposts are going to keep moving until someone, probably Devin Bush, tackles them and glues them to the floor. Michigan has one more friendly double-digit spread next week against Northwestern, and then we get to play the games that will determine your state of mind, and, perhaps most importantly, the tenor of the takes we will have to endure for eight months of barren, dumb offseason.

Have fun storming the castle! Or paving it! Please pave it.

HIGHLIGHTS

AWARDS

Known Friends And Trusted Agents Of The Week

44848817331_be9f16189f_k

[Upchurch]

-2535ac8789d1b499[1]you're the man now, dog

#1 Devin Bush. Bush's main accomplishment was getting up to nine tackles on a day where Michigan's constant rotation and Nebraska's inability to stay on the field spread defensive stats incredibly thin. Michigan's next highest tackler had four; 12 different guys had TFLs. Bush had 2.5 of his own, a sack, and got sideline to sideline to blow up Nebraska's perimeter run game. He is reaching the Mo Hurst level where he is so consistently excellent it's hard to find new talking points about him.

#2 Rashan Gary. Just a half of play from him but it was a monster half. He's got his own section below. Felt terrifying in the way we were hoping he would before the season.

#3 Karan Higdon. The holes were there for him. He took advantage. His power was welcome after some YAC struggles last week, and if he hits the open field he'll outrun a lot of angles. Also he was the only offensive player to, like, feature.

Honorable mention: Will Hart is gonna get on the board if Michigan ever punts six times in a game. DPJ had a punt return TD. The tackles didn't give up a pressure? Is that true? I think it might be. The 10 guys with TFLs not mentioned.

KFaTAotW Standings.

4: Chase Winovich (#1 ND, #3 SMU), Devin Bush(#3 ND, #1 Nebraska), Rashan Gary(#2 WMU, #2 Nebraska), Karan Higdon (#1 WMU, #3 Nebraska)
2: Ambry Thomas (#2 ND), Rashan Gary(#2 WMU), Donovan Peoples-Jones(T1 SMU), Zach Gentry(T1 SMU), Josh Metellus(#2 SMU).
1: Devin Bush(#3 ND), Shea Patterson(#3 WMU)

Who's Got It Better Than Us(?) Of The Week

You gotta put some style points on it.

Honorable mention: The first half.

imageMARCUS HALL EPIC DOUBLE BIRD OF THE WEEK.

Khaleke Hudson is ejected on a dubious targeting call and will miss the first half against Northwestern.

Honorable mention: Injury worries for Gary, who was holding his shoulder, and Kwity Paye. Harbaugh passes on a potential program-record field goal. Four commercial breaks in the first eight minutes of gametime.

[After THE JUMP: Ol' Murderback]

Comments

Upon Further Review 2018: Defense vs SMU

Upon Further Review 2018: Defense vs SMU Comment Count

Brian September 21st, 2018 at 10:57 AM

image-6_thumb_thumb5_thumbSPONSOR NOTE: If you need a tailgate location and a mortgage at the same time there's only one place to go: the Charity Tailgate at 327 East Hoover (if you were at the preseason MGoEvents this year and last it's the same place). Food trucks! Beer! A home lending expert! TV! Watched Nebraska lose to Troy there last week, which was certainly a thing of relevance this week.

FORMATION NOTES: Just 15 3-3-5 snaps versus 51 with four DL, and almost all of those 3-3-5 instances were passing down exotics. All but two, in fact. And they got gashed on one. Thus explaining the lack of that.

I should probably stop noting "press" since every single Michigan snap is press coverage, but the split between one (slash zero) and two high is a good proxy for zone snaps versus man snaps. Michigan was in a two-high look for about a third of its snaps.

SUBSTITUTION NOTES: Less rotation on the DL, which was in its new normal setup of Gary/Mone/Kemp/Winovich backed up by Paye, Hutchinson, and Dwumfour. Dwumfour's snaps in this game were almost exclusively pass rush DT in the 3-3-5. Without Solomon there was no real backup NT; Donovan Jeter only got in on the last drive. Marshall dressed IIRC but did not play.

The usual at LB with Bush omnipresent save injury and Gil and Ross splitting snaps approximately down the middle; Jordan Glasgow came in for Hudson after the targeting call. Furbush was the extra guy when Michigan added a pass rush LB. Uche did not play.

Usual CB rotation with Long ahead of the game in snaps slightly; Ambry Thomas got maybe a dozen snaps late. Brad Hawkins rotated in behind Metellus and Kinnel, with reduced playing time after the big bust. Jaylen Kelly-Powell, who's been quietly hurt, got snaps on the last drive.

[After THE JUMP: slant slant slant slant]

Comments

We Have To Talk About How Attending Games Kinda Sucks Now

We Have To Talk About How Attending Games Kinda Sucks Now Comment Count

Brian September 17th, 2018 at 2:09 PM

obvious thing preceded and followed by eons of nothing [Eric Upchurch]

9/15/2018 – Michigan 45, SMU 20 – 2-1

The sequence that really, truly broke me was in the middle of the second quarter. For some reason, Sonny Dykes thought that if his team was prepared it could stop a Michigan fullback dive. So he called timeout. Then he saw Michigan had cannily lined up in the exact same way they had before the timeout. Sensing a trap, he called timeout again. This became the dreaded Full Media Timeout.

In the stands, I baked. Because Michigan has made no attempt to improve connectivity in the stadium I held up my phone as it told me it could not retrieve tweets. The clock ticked down.

Michigan took the field again and lined up in the exact same way, but Dykes could not respond—he'd used all his timeouts. Ben Mason scored from the one-inch line, extra point... Full Media Timeout.

I baked further. It sucked. It was hot and boring and also hot and also boring.

Because I was so bored I started counting commercial breaks, finally giving up when the number hit a staggering eight in the first 22 minutes of game clock. There are eight commercial breaks in the entirety of a 40-minute basketball game, plus some timeout-induced ones. And that frequently feels excessive; a couple of years ago the problem seemed so severe the NCAA even stripped coaches of one of their precious timeouts. Football is now throwing up timeouts at almost twice the rate of basketball, a sport where the clock only runs if something is actually happening.

This is close to intolerable when it's nice outside. When it is not, and when there is a steady stream of baffling penalties from the part-time refs from a podunk league, and replays to fix some of the baffling issues the part-time refs are creating, and many more stoppages for injuries—one of which takes a long time and then gets a Full Media Timeout appended to the end of it—you wonder why you're doing this instead of sitting at home with air conditioning and connectivity. Several years ago I probably would have yammered about the students leaving early. Now I just envy anyone with the common sense to bail when they are so clearly being told to bail.

Falling attendance is a nationwide problem often blamed on The Youngs for being addicted to their phones, but the folks behind us show up maybe twice a year and sell their other tickets for whatever they can get. There's a noticeable variance in section density between the many garbage games (hi, division-mates Rutgers and Maryland) on the schedule and the actually worthwhile ones, and there are no students where I'm at. When the Wall Street Journal FOIAed actual ticket scans they found that 21%(!) of Michigan's announced attendance was fictional, tickets that sold but did not scan. This is actually pretty good in the wider context of college football, which says somethin' about somethin'.

It says that college football used to be a great bargain. Tickets were relatively inexpensive, games were fun and not largely spent watching people have conferences. Great fanbases sprung up around the teams starting in the 1960s, when Don Canham was packing bands into the stadium so it would be sort of full, and lasted more or less through 2000 without being seriously impinged upon. Ticket prices were absurdly stable. Television was more of a boon than a hindrance because its proliferation allowed you to watch more road games; breaks were relatively rare and tolerable.

Then things got monetized. Ticket prices approximately tripled in 13 years and have kept going up since. The commercial breaks have proliferated madly. Unsatisfied with their massive uplift in revenue, the athletic department has continued to nickel and dime the fanbase even after the departure of Dave Brandon. And for what? For who? For the benefit of ever more absurdly over-compensated coaches, staffers, and especially executives. Every commercial break is Jim Delany—the man who ruined the conference—giving me the middle finger while he dumps another gold brick on the Big Ten's grave.

Delany and his fellow parasites have latched onto the great oilbeds men like Canham laid down and are sucking them dry without regard to what happens after they're done. They don't care. They'll be dead. Michigan will still be playing Rutgers.

I dunno man. This would certainly be more tolerable if Michigan had won some more games over the past ten years. But probably not that much more. There's nothing I can do, really, but I'll tell you one thing: I'm never buying any fucking Rotel again. Until there's a cap on the number of ad breaks, every single college football TV advertiser can die in a fire for all I care. I've had it.

HIGHLIGHTS

AWARDS

Known Friends And Trusted Agents Of The Week

43988670894_01c735f480_k

[Upchurch]

-2535ac8789d1b499[1]you're the man now, dog

#1(t) Donovan Peoples-Jones and Zach Gentry. Gentry had a drop but also rescued a ball that would have been an IN if thrown at anyone else. Four catches for 95 yards from a nominal tight end is a thing and if anything Patterson didn't take full advantage of his height to make his other catches indefensible. DPJ scored three touchdowns, completely imploding that stat. Two were relatively simple, sure. The fade was not. DPJ and Gentry get two points each because they're made up and don't matter.

#2 Josh Metellus. INT and weaving TD return were the difference between a relatively comfortable second half and a full on terror-dome. PI on him was iffy; he had another PBU and seven tackles; did get hit a bit on those slants but Kinnel was SMU's preferred target.

#3 Chase Winovich. Ten tackles, three for loss. Had a really impressive track-back on a third and long screen that looked set up for the first down. Also knocked down another screen on third down earlier in the game. Now the subject of a hilarious meme.

Honorable mention: Will Hart added two more 50-yard punts to his collection. Bryan Mone and Carlo Kemp made SMU runs up the middle, which were oddly frequent, entirely futile. Devin Bush exists and is still Devin Bush. Tru Wilson had some more lethal blitz pickups.

KFaTAotW Standings.

4: Chase Winovich (#1 ND, #3 SMU)
3: Karan Higdon (#1 WMU)
2: Ambry Thomas (#2 ND), Rashan Gary(#2 WMU), Donovan Peoples-Jones(T1 SMU), Zach Genty(T1 SMU), Josh Metellus(#2 SMU).
1: Devin Bush(#3 ND), Shea Patterson(#3 WMU)

Who's Got It Better Than Us(?) Of The Week

Metellus's TD return.

Honorable mention: Shea Patterson hits DPJ for TD, Shea Patterson hits DPJ for TD, Shea Patterson hits DPJ for TD.

imageMARCUS HALL EPIC DOUBLE BIRD OF THE WEEK.

Patterson is intercepted near the goal line to keep the score at 0-0 and seriously threaten One Of Those Games again.

Honorable mention: Almost everything Patterson did prior to that (and nothing afterwards). Coverage mixup gives James Proche an opportunity to score, which he takes.

[After THE JUMP: Tru Wilson has blocked you from seeing this content]

Comments

Superhero Origin Story

Superhero Origin Story Comment Count

Brian September 25th, 2017 at 1:52 PM

9/23/2017 – Michigan 28, Purdue 10 – 4-0, 1-0 Big Ten

37018688650_b0fd1180ee_z

POW! WHAP! [Bryan Fuller]

That has never happened before. Never in the 200-year history of the University of Michigan has a person done something so very badly for three hours, and then emerged some time later doing the same thing so well. James Earl Jones never sounded like a pimple-faced teenager. Lawrence Kasdan did not write Happy Gilmore before Empire Strikes Back. Gerald Ford was not also Dick Nixon. HH Holmes did not accidentally build a Mildly Annoying Castle.

When you progress, it is gradually, not all at once. And maybe John O'Korn has done that, away from the glare of the public. Maybe last year's Indiana game was an outlier amongst all of O'Korn's throws since he lost the starting job at Houston. Maybe we are have too little data and are making it big.

Or maybe dude got bit by a radioactive spider. Maybe he spent the offseason creating a powerful electromagnet that works on leather. Maybe he did a bunch of cool ninja stuff in the Himalayas and then brooded in a cave a bunch. Maybe there's about to be a bunch of John O'Korn sequels and reboots and superfriends movies.

Whatever it is, take it and run.

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

Because I am a Michigan fan I can think of players that went the other way, mostly because of Brady Hoke. Blake Countess was asked to go from a zone corner to a man corner, guided by a linebacker who'd never coached DBs. He went from an All Big Ten player to Will Fuller toast. Devin Gardner's thrilling debut as #98 against the Irish was matched only by his performance in the 42-41 barnburner against OSU; in between he was a battered shell of himself.

No one has gone the right way so suddenly and dramatically. Nick Sheridan's blip against Minnesota is probably the closest thing, but that was clearly a blip at the time. O'Korn's eventually-confident performance against Purdue looks much more sustainable.

Gone was the Madden infinite dropback disease, except once when it made sense on the Gentry touchdown. Early, rough attempts to break the pocket seemed like an inability to read what was in front of him until he spectacularly avoided a sack, formed up, and found Grant Perry over the middle:

This was the moment when it was clear Indiana 2.0 was not happening. O'Korn saw he had nothing to the outside and decided on another plan despite the likelihood someone was going to annihilate him from behind. It was a remarkably aware, mature play for a guy we last saw completing twenty-yard passes that were somehow at the line of scrimmage.

O'Korn would execute two other improvisational plays when his protection broke down, and on one scramble he dodged a tackler before plowing over another one for a first down. Michigan twitter cried out in unison on this run, because they were suddenly terrified of losing him.

When executing within the confines of the offense O'Korn was just as good, hitting a couple of deep shots to his tight ends and checking down when that was appropriate. Errors were acceptably few and mostly benign; even the interception was the kind of throw that ends up a tough catch or incomplete 9 of 10 times. The stats are in line with the performance: 18 of 26 for 270 yards, little of it cheap.

If you're not gob-smacked you're not paying attention. I don't know how or why, I only know what. And what I saw Saturday was a new starting quarterback emerging from a lagoon of nuclear slime, or being rebuilt out of old Soviet tanks, or finishing up a montage set to "Take It To The Limit."

Is it a mirage? Possibly. Will our new hero run out of spinach and flag alarmingly? Almost certainly at some point, yes. Is there anything to do but forge ahead and hope the new guy wasn't constructed of baling wire and North Korean electronics? No. So here we go, Mr. O'Korn. It's your show now.

[After THE JUMP: Devin the destroyer... but where are the bucket hats]

Comments

Just A Shirt I Wear To Work

Just A Shirt I Wear To Work Comment Count

Brian September 4th, 2017 at 12:50 PM

9/2/2017 – Michigan 33, Florida 17, 1-0

36853316681_e57cb1dab4_z_thumb

can you target ribs though [Christopher Cook]

I felt pretty good about this game for a long time, and continued to feel better as we approached it. First Jim McElwain freaked out about someone on the internet facetiously claiming that he laid upon a shark in the nude. Then some Florida guy said this about the Michigan defensive line:

"They don't move well sideline to sideline, so I think we should take advantage of things like that."

Allegedly paying some SEO outfit 70,000 clams to scrub your Google results of a twitter joke that nobody would have remembered 24 hours later if you hadn't gone full Streisand Effect is one thing. Declaring Michigan's defensive line to lack Southern Speed is another.

The former is insane, yes, but insane manias are not just encouraged but required for high-level college football coaches. Telling your team that Mo Hurst, Chase Winovich, and Rashan Gary can't run is plain old laziness.Gary and Hurst made tackles on WR screens...

And Winovich, well:

A Michigan team that sent so much to the NFL a year ago could have been the subject of many, many legitimate critiques to be expressed in the media. For Florida Man to settle on that one, and say it out loud, was proof that the Gators' internal monologue was indistinguishable from any random SEC SPEED message board. Before this game they talked like one; during this game they played like one; after this game they probably imploded like one. Florida talked that work, got that work, and talked about getting worked.

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

Reporter: I saw you had a work type shirt with your name on it? What's that?
Harbaugh: It's my work shirt.
Reporter: Is there more of a story to it?
Harbaugh: No, just a shirt I wear to work.

Jim Harbaugh is accused of stunts, antics, and bids for media relevancy on the regular. These are mostly true. The subtext, however, is that Harbaugh's profile-raising activities eat into time otherwise spent on the boring work of making a football team. That is not true. Harbaugh and his coaches are also doing that.

Michigan spent most of this game in a bonafide 3-3-5 that they had hardly shown on film last year, baffling Florida's blocking schemes and showing two unprepared quarterbacks a glimpse of hell. Hell is Rashan Gary closing on you unblocked. The proper response is to fall over and pretend you died of rabies, as Felipe Franks did.

On offense Michigan's backs repeatedly burst outside to find that Florida had neglected to deploy a force player. The consistency with which this happened was baffling at first and then felt like a thing Michigan saw and prepared to exploit. Probably 60% of their rushing yards came on the 10-12 carries that started inside and ended outside. At one point I thought about that sideline video from the Stanford-VT Orange Bowl where Harbaugh's telling his back the backside cut is there, and sure enough.

36184701273_dfac63f2e5_z

Mike Shaw would have kicked ass in this game [Cook]

In the aftermath, McElwain talked about how his team got beat up and pushed around by a bigger, stronger Michigan team... you know, the one deploying 10 new starters on defense and a receiving corps consisting entirely of baby lambs stretching their legs. That's default coach talk after taking it on the chin, but Florida didn't lose a bench press competition. They lost because Michigan presented them with a puzzle they could not solve.

Many teams have done that to Florida these last seven years. The Gators are now in the exact same place Michigan was during the dolorous late Hoke era. Spencer:

This is laughable, like openly contemptible. Consider the list of teams that with meager resources and worse recruiting footprints and every other curse imaginable have built top 30 offenses out of nothing. That list based on 2016 alone is hilariously bad given what Florida spends on their head coach alone, not to mention the resources surrounding the football program, one that even after all that spending has topped out at a recent ceiling of “sort-of fleshed-out secondary character with an inflated reputation who makes it into the second act of the Western before being killed in a gunfight when he runs out of bullets.”

Michigan is now on the other side of this equation and when Florida hires Jeff Brohm next year they will be too, and if you're not pulling for that you are a cold person indeed.

For Michigan, a fog of nervousness now evaporated. Your author spent 50k words talking about why he wasn't worried about Michigan's incredible outflux of starters, but as some guy named Foug walked up for the opening kickoff there were butterflies all the same. The difference between "should be" and "is" has bitten Michigan fans too many times in the last decade, and at kickoff all that practice talk is just talk.

Foug could have put that ball straight out of bounds and kicked off a clownshow. At one point, after three separate game-losing disasters in a row, it felt like he had. Michigan did not waver, and once the disasters stopped raining down they asserted themselves as one would.

"This is Michigan" no longer feels like a cruelly oblivious thing to proclaim. They lost the world, and they are still here, being Michigan. Working at it every day.

HIGHLIGHTS

Parking God:

Full game tight cut:

Postgame presser from Harbaugh:

AWARDS

Known Friends And Trusted Agents Of The Week

-2535ac8789d1b499[1]you're the man now, dog

#1 Devin Bush. This space has asserted that Devin Bush was accidentally the perfect Don Brown linebacker recruit, and it took one game for that to become obvious. Bush got two sacks in this game and had a few more instances of QB terror; he takes angles that normally mean you lose and wins with them; he shows up in the QB's chest with a quickness that seems to shock them. He is a missile.

#2 Ty Isaac. Not sure how much this is going to translate to opponents that either make sure to have a force guy and pay attention to a run threat on third down, but Isaac was mansome in game one. He converted two third and longs on the ground, embarrassed a couple of would-be tacklers, and kinda looked five-star-ish against a very fast defense.

#3 Quinn Nordin. Nordin missing a 32-yarder was the only thing preventing him from ending up #1 on the list. One game into his Michigan career he's already tied for third in career 50+ yard field goals, with 50 and 55 yarders to his name. He also grooved a couple shorter ones down the middle. His other miss, from 52, was eminently understandable.

Honorable mention: Tarik Black's two catches went for 80+ yards; DPJ nearly broke two different punt returns; Winovich, Hurst, and Gary were all between good and dominant, also the entire rest of the defense.

KFaTAotW Standings.

3: Devin Bush (#1, Florida)
2: Ty Isaac (#2, Florida)
1: Quinn Nordin (#3, Florida)

Who's Got It Better Than Us Of The Week

Embedded above: Chase Winovich seals the game in the most appropriate fashion possible.

Honorable mention: Nordin bangs in 55-yarder; Nordin bangs in a 50-yarder; Tarik Black is wide open for a deep touchdown; Nick Eubanks is a very fast quasi-TE; Ambry Thomas rips the ball out on a kick return; various and sundry assaults on Florida QB sanity.

imageMARCUS HALL EPIC DOUBLE BIRD OF THE WEEK.

Pick six #2. This was the moment during the game when a loss felt most plausible, because every subsequent Michigan drive was destined to end in a pick six. Feels bad man!

Honorable mention: Pick six #1; punt block after pick six #2; Speight checks Michigan into the perfect play and he misses an easy TD; a couple of completions where Hill was in good position but couldn't get his head around and react.

[After THE JUMP: a play from the 2012 Nebraska game.]

Comments

Unverified Voracity Dorfs It A Bit

Unverified Voracity Dorfs It A Bit Comment Count

Brian February 22nd, 2017 at 12:47 PM

32985513666_f10234a435_z

photo does not fit with theme of bullet [Patrick Barron]

Pretty grim. Mark Titus on the state of Big Ten basketball:

We’re only four years removed from the Big Ten’s incredible 2012–13 campaign, when six different teams cracked the top 10 of the AP poll and the regular-season title came down to the final shot on the final day of conference play. A Big Ten national title seemed imminent then, if not in the 2013 tournament then certainly in the immediate years to come. Now, coming off a tourney in which the league’s champion got blasted in the Sweet 16 and its best team lost to a no. 15 seed, the Big Ten could fare even worse in 2016–17; its only hope of remaining in title contention by the end of the tournament’s opening weekend could hinge on Purdue, a team that blew a 14-point lead with five minutes to play against Arkansas–Little Rock in the first round of the 2016 tournament.

It's not great, Bob. Simultaneous collapses by OSU, MSU, Indiana, and (to a slightly lesser extent) Michigan have sapped the top of the conference. A few years ago there were 6 or 7 teams as good as any of the top end contenders this year and one to three teams who were legitimately elite.

Injuries play a role, but Matta seems to have hit a wall; Izzo and Beilein are 62 and 64, respectively, and may be slowing down as they near the end of their careers. Crean may be gone after this year.

Donnal departure is already agreed to, apparently. It's not like it's a huge surprise but Mark Donnal taking a grad transfer next year has migrated past "open secret" and reached "fait accompli":

Donnal is not being offered a fifth year at Michigan.

"There have been a lot of ups and downs," he said. "I really think my career here shaped me as a better person. Now I'm moving on."

Michigan has three recruits coming in and Donnal is the third senior. Without attrition they'd be full next year, but attrition is always a possibility. [CORRECTION: Michigan still has an open slot.]

Today in Big Ten refs. How did Iowa-Indiana go last night?

God, shucks, there were a lot of those, huh? 57 (!!) total in this game, with four Indiana players fouling out — something that likely cost a thin Indiana team this contest, ultimately.

Both sides of this game have reps on my twitter feed and both sides were incredulous at what they were watching. An explanation is not forthcoming.

Seriously, MLive asked after the Minnesota debacle and got this response from the league:

MLive requested a comment or clarification regarding the technical. Via a Minnesota spokesman, the Big Ten stated that the technical was a judgment call and, thus, the night's head official, Rob Riley, would not be made available for comment.

"We question the judgment of your officials."
"The judgment of our officials is not in question, the end."

This is gaslighting, right? Did I do that correctly? I'm not good with words and stuff.

The last unicorn. Indiana RB coach Deland McCullough is off to USC. With that move, Indiana has now lost the entirety of Kevin Wilson's braintrust. Almost everybody moved up. Greg Frey ended up at Michigan, McCullough at USC, Wilson himself ended up as OSU's OC, etc., etc.

Indiana responded by bringing in Mike Debord. While that's going to be bad for anyone who liked #chaosteam—and as a fan of a Big Ten team that managed not to lose to them—it's going to be great for anyone who wants to see what happens when you put a sloth in a NASCAR race. Let's gooooooo (not very fast). 

The nation's foremost water-carrier. Tony Barnhart has always been a reliable mouthpiece for any rich guy involved in college athletics but this takes the cake. He writes an article about the spate of post-Signing Day coaching moves, which are cynically delayed until players are locked in to a LOI. He lists several examples, and then:

I did some calling around and the feedback I got essentially was this: “If this bothers you, then you’re being pretty naïve. Coaches leaving, or being asked to leave, right after signing day is just a fact of life in college football.”

Who did he talk to? Mack Brown and Rick Neuheisel. Both those guys—shock—think it's no big deal. This is like asking the head of Big Ten officials whether he sucks at his job. It's the full Greenstein right here.

Annual targeting revamp. Via Get the Picture, the NCAA is going to tweak targeting again:

As targeting ejections have doubled over three years, the NCAA Football Rules Committee is looking at changing the replay standards so a targeting ejection only occurs if the penalty is confirmed. Currently, if replay doesn’t have enough evidence to confirm targeting but can’t rule it’s not targeting, the call on the field stands and the player gets ejected.

There could be three different outcomes to targeting reviews:

  1. Confirmed: ejection, 15 yards.
  2. Stands: no ejection, 15 yards.
  3. Overturned: no penalty.

I'm not sure how many targeting penalties fall into that gray area in the middle, but we're about to find out. I guess a way to get calls like that Penn State targeting ejection less wrong is good?

Good ol' boys. It's still 1975 in Louisiana:

After FSU and Baylor and Tennessee you'd think these kinds of wink-wink nudge-nudge events would be frowned upon. There are clear costs that have resulted in far worse things than the occasional drunken escapade on a stolen moped.

Indiana parallels. In depth piece on Indiana basketball finding its footing in a world where it's no longer the 1970s at the Crimson Quarry:

The factors that made Indiana a great job 30 years ago simply don’t hold as much water today. We live in a world that is now smaller due to cheaper travel, social media, national AAU programs and circuits, prep schools. Indiana is far less cordoned off than it once was, and college basketball in the state and nationally is far deeper than it was in the peak of the Bob Knight era. Bloomington isn’t an NBA market like Los Angeles. Indianapolis is known for quality, not necessarily quantity, in producing top-level recruits that power programs to titles.

The comparisons between Indiana basketball and Michigan football over the past 40 or so years aren't dead on but there are some parallel tracks:

  • Bo and Bob Knight are both cantankerous program legends who cast a long shadow for anyone who follows.
  • Immediate successors are assistants promoted to the head job. Gary Moeller is the hand-picked successor; Mike Davis is an interim after Knight goes off the rails late who eventually gets the head job. Both have decent teams that aren't good enough to keep people from yelling for their heads and don't last.
  • Controversial outsiders Rich Rodriguez and Kelvin Sampson are brought in, have short, tumultuous reigns featuring NCAA trouble. (Sampson's are much worse, resulting in a five-year show cause penalty.) Both last just three years.
  • Dorfy-looking head coaches with somewhat questionable credentials are next. Major difference here is that Crean inherited a disaster zone and Hoke inherited Denard Robinson, so Hoke's tenure looks like a man careening downhill on moguls he doesn't know how to ski and Crean had an upward trajectory until recently. Still: dorfy.

It's rough when you've done things one way for a million years and then have to adapt.

Etc.: More croot profiles: J'Marick Woods, Kwity Paye, Luiji Vilain, Deron Irving-Bey, Ambry Thomas. Nevermind on Michael Johnson, who took a WR job at Oregon because he is terribly unqualified. What if Michigan never returned to the Big Ten?

Comments

Unverified Voracity Preps For A Road Test

Unverified Voracity Preps For A Road Test Comment Count

Brian October 4th, 2016 at 1:19 PM

A little on the nose there, God. Let's check in with goings-on in West Lafayette:

Purdue Football is Literally Being Sucked Into The Earth

It is either a busted pipe or a hellmouth opening to end our misery

It is strongly implied that Hammer and Rails would prefer the latter.

What is your favorite color?. It's coming up: a visit to Cable Subscribers Stadium.

ANN ARBOR – Facing fourth-and-goal from the 1-yard line, Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh kept his offense on the field.

He also provided an assist by waving his arms to quiet the Michigan Stadium crowd, and they obliged, just before Khalid Hill plunged into the end zone to cap the Wolverines' opening drive in a 49-10 win over Penn State two weeks ago.

Crowd control is just one benefit of playing at home, which the No. 4 Wolverines (5-0, 2-0 Big Ten) won't have for the first time this season when they travel to Rutgers (2-3, 0-2 Big Ten) for Saturday's 7 p.m. kickoff.

A valiant attempt to inject some interesting into a game with a four-touchdown spread, but that stadium will be half Michigan fans. Michigan won't get its first real road test until the Michigan State game, and, uh... I am not going to put some #disrespekt on it just yet. Suffice it to say that that doesn't seem like quite as high of a mountain five weeks into the season.

The gently rising foothills that will take us to The Game. S&P+ likes us. S&P+ does not like Michigan State and Iowa, and hoo boy did Bill Connelly hear a lot about that latter this offseason. With both those teams underperforming even the modest expectations placed on them by fancystats, Michigan's journey to Football Armageddon II looks downright likely. Absurdly so, in fact.

image

Michigan is a better than two-touchdown favorite and 87%+ to win all of those games except the trip to Iowa City. OSU has a near-identical closing stretch, with the part of potential spoiler played by Wisconsin.

MSU? Well, if those numbers hold they'll be striving for something all season.

Probability of finishing 11-1 or better: 0.0%

Probability of finishing 6-6 or better: 44.7%

Bowl eligibility.

This is going to go well. Immovable object, meet a breathy gasp:

Rutgers can't throw the football
And with Janarion Grant out for the year, there aren't many great options to catch it either. The Scarlet Knights have basically had a pitiful passing attack all year. But last week against Ohio State had to be rock bottom. Rutgers was just 3 of 16 for 33 yards. As a team, the Scarlet Knights are completing 47.4 percent of their passes.

I wonder if we'll see this at some point. Per a Harbaugh interview on 97.1 last week, Jabrill Peppers is inventing new ways to football:

"We put a different play in with him yesterday in practice. Then he got it in the meeting and he left, went back to the defensive meeting and came out to practice," Harbaugh said Thursday on 97.1-FM. "He was a running back and his assignment was to block. But he blocked and then he went out for a route. He got his blocking assignment done and then he continued out into a route. We threw it to him, which was not the design, but from now on -- and we've been running this play for 10 years -- (it will be).

"In 10 years, we've never had a back who got his blocking assignment done (on that play) and got into the route at the same time and he did it the first time like that was the way the play should've been run for the last 10 years. That's the kind of stuff he does. It breaks the mold darn near every time he does something."

We'd have to see Peppers actually get a touch to do so, grumble grumble.

An interesting thing on "team opens at X". Last week I told people that Michigan opened at –9 and moved to –10.5. This turns out to not be accurate. These days most people are hitting up Vegas Insider for their odds, and what happens is one obscure online sportsbook getting out in front of the pack:

Lots of people bet online even though it’s super illegal, and that’s probably where Vegas Insider is getting their info, and that’s what Joe Truthteller means by “Vegas.” You are kind of right:

vegasinsider2

It’s mostly blank spaces on that chart, too. The only major sports book offering anything is on-the-nose-named BetOnline, which rushes to get their lines out before anyone else each Sunday. ...

BetOnline knows they are taking a major risk by offering super early lines, which is why they ramp down the maximum bets until the other (sharper) line originators have a chance to chime in. ...

The main reason I object to referring to the BetOnline number as the opening line, however, is because every single week, the same annoying pattern plays out. BetOnline will release a relatively weak line on many games. A few hours later, the major Vegas originators will weigh in with sharper lines that differ by maybe as many as six points. Twitter people will then talk about how “sharps have pounded the line down to X” or “Vegas has moved the line already.”

A quick shift in the odds is an early line that is superseded by the heavy hitters. Michigan really opened at –10.5 and stuck there, but you could get a small bet in at a dubious online casino at –9. The end.

This week in targeting roulette. Penn State's Curtis Cothran got the boot for a hit almost identical to Branch on Morelli minus about half the force:

That was upheld despite an apparent lack of helmet to helmet contact. Meanwhile Malik McDowell was ejected for making sure his helmet was well out of the quarterback's strike zone:

Sometimes you can't win: Cothran hit with his eyes on the target and got booted. McDowell seemingly went out of his way to keep his head down and got booted.

I've seen some assertions that the McDowell hit was indeed targeting because McDowell lowered his head like that (and hit the guy with his shoulder), but the rule seems to specifically state that targeting requires a hit to the head:

No player shall target and make forcible contact to the head or neck area of a defenseless opponent (See Note 2 below) with the helmet, forearm, hand, fist, elbow or shoulder. This foul requires that there be at least one indicator of targeting (See Note 1 below).

It then goes on to clarify what hits to the head are covered by this in note 1, where the crown of helmet thing comes in:

Note 1: "Targeting" means that a player takes aim at an opponent for purposes of attacking with forcible contact that goes beyond making a legal tackle or a legal block or playing the ball. Some indicators of targeting include but are not limited to:

  • Launch—a player leaving his feet to attack an opponent by an upward and forward thrust of the body to make forcible contact in the head or neck area
  • A crouch followed by an upward and forward thrust to attack with forcible contact at the head or neck area, even though one or both feet are still on the ground
  • Leading with helmet, shoulder, forearm, fist, hand or elbow to attack with forcible contact at the head or neck area
  • Lowering the head before attacking by initiating forcible contact with the crown of the helmet

I guess the fourth bullet point here does not mention the head and neck, therefore any contact with the crown is targeting, and that's why McDowell got booted? If so that's some terrible wording. It should probably be a similar penalty with its own definition, because lumping what McDowell did in with a rule otherwise very specifically about whacking people in the head is bound to cause confusion.

Etc.: Early NHL draft rankings include four Michigan players and commits. The Supreme Court will not hear the O'Bannon case, leaving both sides disappointed. The NCAA has been declared in violation of anti-trust laws but the 9th Circuit decision leaves everyone in limbo. Trevor Siemian! Still happening! Trying to find OSU weaknesses. Indiana's win over MSU was not a fluke. Minnesota focused on taking out the most dangerous part of PSU's team. Basketball media day takeaways.

Comments

Goth James Franklin Eats Some Arby's

Goth James Franklin Eats Some Arby's Comment Count

Brian September 26th, 2016 at 12:47 PM

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

29282449013_bce2555e63_z

[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

29794912002_fcc290d2c1_z

[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.]

Comments