Unverified Voracity Enters A World Of Pain

Unverified Voracity Enters A World Of Pain

Submitted by Brian on December 28th, 2017 at 12:16 PM

mark it zero 2

this is a completely normal bowling event

I honestly don't know how anyone goes bowling and doesn't get in a massive brawl. You've just spent several hours of your time flinging a ball at various inanimate objects and the objects generally win. You are losing to some smug-ass ovoid shapes. In such circumstances, it is only natural to become so irrationally angry that you start a yell-fight over the circumstances you find yourself in.

And lo, it has happened to football teams.

This makes total sense. I do enjoy how bored the cops look. Because this happens every time they're in a bowling alley.

These are unrelated, but I wish they weren't. Mo Hurst will play in the bowl game. Probably less than he has in most games, for a ton of reasons. Here's hoping he gets through it okay.

God bless Mike Leach. And God bless the reporter who absolutely nailed the zoom-out reveal midway through:

This is art on par with the raptor gif. And they said bowl season didn't mean anything.

You cannot understand the Brohm of it all. Purdue beat Arizona in an extremely entertaining game that featured one of those college-only back-to-back-to-back touchdowns in the last few minutes to swing the game to and fro. In the end Purdue's margin depended heavily on this play at the end of the first half:

That is a perfectly legal play that I've seen Auburn and Arkansas execute over the past few years. People are describing it as a "fake kneel," though, and they do have a point: Purdue had a guy lined up as the traditional we're-gonna-kneel "safety" on the play. Shame on Arizona for biting on that after Purdue got the ball back with almost a minute left...

...oh.

[/mentions fill up with "intent to deceive" outrage]

Well... you're not wrong. If a team is going to line up in a formation that causes the refs to demand the opposition stop playing they should stop playing too. One dollar says that there's a new rule covering running actual plays from a kneel-down formation next year. Which is a shame:

Most importantly, when Gus Malzahn runs this play, the call on the field is “THERE’S A SNAKE IN MY BOOT!” because the name of the fake kneel is “Woody,” it almost always involves the smallest running back on the team getting the ball, and because anytime one can take an excuse to yell “THERE’S A SNAKE IN MY BOOT!” on a football field, one should.

RIP.

Interesting Michigan-related item:

M apparently had this scouted.

Random bits from Zach Shaw. Shaw has been poking around the 24/7 database for article on various Michigan units, and has come across a number of things that look promising for next year's defense:

  • On the DL, Aubrey Solomon had a "stop rate"—tackles at or near the LOS—of just over 10%, which was on par with Hurst and Winovich. Nearly identical to both, in fact. Those guys were 10th and 11th nationally in that stat. If Solomon maintains that productivity he should be at least good and, with some extra pass rush, potentially great next year.
  • At linebacker, Khaleke Hudson and Devin Bush Jr. missed just three tackles each all year. Both guys had a ton of QB pressures but not many stops—probably because the DL was crushing so many plays before they could even get to the LBs.
  • The cornerbacks did this: "Michigan’s three cornerbacks — all first-year starters — allowed 32 of 81 passes for 478 yards, 0 touchdowns, 4 interceptions and 16 pass breakups." That is, of course, bonkers. Like having Jourdan Lewis clones coming out of your ears.
  • The safeties were good-ish. In the aftermath of a tough game for Metellus against Ohio State there have been a lot of criticisms of the safeties, and by implication departed safeties coach Brian Smith. But collectively there were middle of the pack when targeted and had an acceptable missed tackle rate—Metellus's was more acceptable than Kinnel's. The individual stats don't take into account the general lack of huge plays against M. Michigan gave up quite a few 20+ yard plays (59th) but relatively few 30+ (22nd); a lot of those longer plays were the inevitable result of Michigan's very aggressive defense cracking. The safeties mostly held down those opportunities.

If Solomon improves as much as most rising sophomores he could be only a reasonable step back from Mo Hurst, and then Michigan just has to find a linebacker from 5-6 options and a develop some DL depth to have the kind of defense that could be #1 nationally. Again.

One downer: per Football Outsiders Michigan's punting efficiency was 121st nationally, and the early shanks from Will hart didn't have much of an impact. Brad Robbins's net yardage was 121st. Shoulda got an Aussie.

Etc.: Graham Couch is at it again! If you've seen various Lars Von Trier movies the reference to him in this article will go 1% of the way towards restoring your lost time and/or sanity. Marcus Ray departs WTKA. The Blind Pig will carry on. Patterson officially in; the other two guys are officially not. Ted Janes of the Daily talks to John O'Korn. Jourdan Lewis: still good.

One-Play One-on-One: Tyree Kinnel

One-Play One-on-One: Tyree Kinnel

Submitted by Adam Schnepp on November 21st, 2017 at 2:53 PM

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[Fuller]

It’s been a slow season when it comes to the addition of new phrases to Harbaugh’s vernacular, but one thing he’s mentioned a few times this season that has stuck with me is one’s “football sensibilities.” This is very much a feel thing, and it’s the reason I picked this play. Wisconsin blocks this as well as they can; there’s a Mack-truck-sized lane for the back with one guy to shake. Each guy has an opportunity; someone will succeed, someone will fail. It’s binary. It’s brutal. It’s decisive. That appeals to my football sensibilities.

What were you expecting from them at that point?

“I had a read and I seen the fullback come to my side off a little short motion, and then I just read off the fullback and I tried to get down to the line of scrimmage as fast as I could. So as soon as I came down there and read the fullback’s block I tried to fit the hole as fast as I could and get my arms on the running back and tried to get him down as fast as I could, so that was pretty much my read on that play.”

It was 2nd-and-6 at that point, so pretty much everything’s available to them. Were they tipping anything as far as run or pass goes?

“Oh yeah. We seen how heavy their hands were on the ground with the linemen, and the D-line gives the linebackers the checks and the linebackers give us the check and we read that really well and I came down and executed the play really well.”

The receiver on the outside was running a drag. Did you see him and have to get underneath him first or was he not really an issue?

“On that play I did not. Josh Metellus was in the back helping the corner with that coverage.”

You were talking about the fullback earlier. Once he motions over, you basically know where the play’s going to go?

“Yeah, yeah. Watched film on them all week and saw that type of motion. They had more plays out of that type of motion, but I was very confident on that play. Got down there and trusted my gut feeling and made the play.”

That hole opened up perfectly for you to make the tackle, but were you expecting, based on what you’d watched on film, the back to bounce?

“I was expecting him to hit the hole harder, I thought, a little bit at me. I didn’t expect him to bounce it back inside, which he tried to do, and then I just tried to trace it back and get my arms on him, which I did. I did expect him to hit that hole. Like you said, it was wide open, and I tried to get down there as fast as I could to close it because, you know, once it’s not closed you know he has room and he’s a good back. He can make you miss, so I just tried to get down there as fast as I could.”

So when he decided to bounce he saw that you were in the hole and there was nowhere else to go and last minute he decided to cut?

“Yeah, I don’t know what he seen but yeah, I think that might have been the reason why. Me getting down there so fast, he wanted to cut it back. So, like I said, I just tried to get down there and just fill the hole as fast as I could.”

Technique-wise, what’s most important when you’ve got pretty much a free hit like that?

“You just want to bring your feet and shoulders to the tackle. When you make contact you want to keep your feet going, especially with a back like that. He’s big, and once he gets contact  he’s going to keep his feet moving, so you want to get your body on his body and keep your feet moving and just wait for your guys to get there to finish it off.”

Monday Presser 11-20-17: Players

Monday Presser 11-20-17: Players

Submitted by Adam Schnepp on November 21st, 2017 at 8:46 AM

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[Fuller]

Chase Winovich

How does five losses in a row weigh on this team?

“You don’t think about that stuff. You just play it one year at a time, one game at a time, and if you look back even in our history, if you look at the 1969 year Michigan beat Ohio State. You don’t look so much at the fact that we had lost to Michigan State that year and other teams, you look at the fact that we had beat a really good Ohio State football team. It’s kind of that same thing. It doesn’t matter how this season has went so far, the fact that we lost a couple games in the past. It just matters what we do in this game, and that’s what we’re going to focus on.”

With Don Brown, I think it’s pretty interesting that he’s 62 years old and yet he’s able to connect with guys like you. How does he do that?

“He just does it because, I mean, he’s 62 in age but he’s got a young soul, I’ll tell you that. One of the best feelings is when you’ll be out there and you’ll do something good he’ll call you ‘bro.’ ‘You’re an animal, bro!’ Yeah, one of the highest compliments I’ve probably received here.”

Coach Harbaugh was kind of saying he brings the energy and passion kind of exactly like you were saying, like a younger guy. Does that kind of emotion rub off on everybody on the unit?

“Oh, for sure. Everyone loves coach Brown. Like, he’s notoriously liked and respected across the board. There’s other coaches that players kind of schluff off but definitely not coach Brown. He’s earned our respect. He’s a wizard when it comes to knowing football and just preparing for games and I’m just excited to play under him in this game.”

[After THE JUMP: Cole, McCray, Kinnel, Hurst, and Higdon]

Upon Further Review 2017: Defense vs Rutgers

Upon Further Review 2017: Defense vs Rutgers

Submitted by Brian on November 2nd, 2017 at 4:35 PM

2017 logoo_thumbSPONSOR NOTE. Boy it's a little depressing to play a team that brings nothing other than disinterested New Yorkers who mostly spend their time watching Guy Fieri instead of football. Rutgers purports to be an athletic program but it's really just a way to reach into someone's pockets. Unlike HomeSure Lending, which does exactly what it purports to: sure, lend for homes. It's in the name and everything. Like if Rutgers's mascot really was the Cable Subscribers.

That's truth in advertising, and quick excellent rates for you, the discerning Michigan fan.

FORMATION NOTES. Michigan almost entirely shelved the 3-3-5 in this game. There were nine snaps with a three-man line, but eight of those were passing downs. The rest of the day Michigan played a 4-2-5. Usually that saw Michigan with two definite ILBs and Hudson following the tight end around, often a couple yards deeper than the LB crew:

image

You will be happy to know that Michigan did not put either ILB outside in coverage. When someone got pulled out of the box it was always Hudson. Here Rutgers puts their tight end out wide and he's the guy in man coverage to the bottom of the shot.

image

Rutgers didn't go empty, which would force one of the LBs out of the box if Michigan was going to play man.

SUBSTITUTION NOTES. Biggest change was a ton of second DT snaps, the vast majority of which went to Solomon. Michigan had 38 4-2-5 snaps and he got 30 of them, with Dwumfour getting five late and Mone getting just spot duty. The rest of the defense was as before, with the secondary the same five guys rotating through, McCray and Bush omnipresent, and Hurst, Gary, and Winovich the rest of the front.

Kemp, Jones, Dwumfour, and Paye got some snaps late on the line. Uche got in a little bit late, as did Gil.

[After THE JUMP: the usual]

Upon Further Review 2017: Defense vs PSU

Upon Further Review 2017: Defense vs PSU

Submitted by Brian on October 25th, 2017 at 4:56 PM

2017 logoo_thumbSPONSOR NOTE. You've had to deal with a lot of disappointment lately. Don't let that bleed over into getting mortgage, which should be a painless process executed with a beer in hand from the comfort of your own home. A fast quote from a guy we've heard nothing but excellent things about for the duration of his sponsorship is in the offing, and once that happens you no longer have to think about anything else other than your extremely pleasant experience with Matt.

Of this I assure you.

FORMATION NOTES. Nothing that unusual from Michigan, which alternated between one and two high, with a focus on one-high, and played most of the game in their 3-3-5. Penn State was a 3-wide shotgun literally the whole game, with occasional forays into empty or four-wide with the same personnel.

And then of course what I called the Sa-Gun, because I am a clever boy.

image

This was a gimmick that didn't really work but sort of did?

SUBSTITUTION NOTES. A lot more rotation on the DL in this game as Michigan either got tired or looked for answers. Kwity Paye got a significant amount of time; Winovich got pulled after a late hit for a bit and then he got some second-half run. Mone had some early struggles and Dwumfour was tried out; that didn't work much better. Solomon got some scattered snaps; Kemp saw a number in Gary's place.

The CB rotation was the same; I don't think Thomas got in on D. Glasgow got at least one snap for reasons unknown; otherwise it was the starting safeties the whole way. Bush, Furbush, and McCray got all available LB snaps. Hudson was the only viper.

[After THE JUMP: a slightly different outcome than we are used to.]

Penn State 42, Michigan 13

Penn State 42, Michigan 13

Submitted by Ace on October 22nd, 2017 at 12:03 AM


A matchup problem. [Patrick Barron]

Michigan has weaknesses that playoff teams lack. Tonight, those weaknesses were brutally exposed by a Penn State squad that sure looked like a playoff team themselves.

This game looked all but over in the opening five minutes. On the second play from scrimmage, future Heisman winner Saquon Barkley shifted over to quarterback, ran a read option with quarterback Trace McSorley acting as the running back, and gutted Michigan for a 69-yard touchdown. The Wolverines, on the other hand, went backwards on their opening possession, then watched as Barkley finished off a four-play, 78-yard drive with a 15-yard touchdown off a speed option pitch. Michigan, again, had negative yardage on the following drive.

A miscommunication between McSorley and tight end Mike Gesicki resulted in a David Long interception that briefly gave the Wolverines new life. After marching down to the PSU three, it took four cracks for Karan Higdon to finally break the plane. Quinn Nordin, getting booed by a crowd that never forgets a slight, missed the extra point. Michigan's counterpunch brought the defense to life; Khaleke Hudson nearly picked off a screen pass in the end zone.

Also a matchup problem. [Eric Upchurch]

The teams traded punts until a flurry of action at the end of the half. First, an unlikely connection from John O'Korn to Kekoa Crawford set up a six-yard Ty Isaac touchdown to bring Michigan within a point. Then McSorley threw Penn State down the field in the blink of an eye before finishing the drive on a three-yard keeper.

While the Wolverines went into the half down only 21-13, the numbers were foreboding. PSU amassed 302 total yards in the first half, more than Michigan had allowed in a full game this season. The safeties, steady to this point, were exploited in space by Barkley and McSorley. The offense mustered only 141 yards on five fewer plays, still hampered by poor blocking and a lack of trust in the passing game.

Given all that, it probably shouldn't have surprised too many people when Penn State blew the game wide open in the second half. Issues new and old appeared on PSU's first possession of the half. Tyree Kinnel got dusted one-on-one by DaeSean Hamilton on a slant for 26 yards; Barkley dropped a big gain after easily beating Mike McCray on a wheel route; McSorley seemingly juked half the defense to find the end zone on a beautifully designed inverted veer that had Barkley motion before the snap, drawing much of the defense's attention. Just like that, PSU took a commanding 28-13 lead.


Once again, John O'Korn couldn't generate much in the passing game. [Upchurch]

From then on, it was a merciless beating. On offense, O'Korn was improved from last week's woeful outing but still only managed 5.9 yards per attempt. Any hopes of a comeback were dashed when cornerback Christian Campbell beat Karan Higdon around the edge and ripped the ball away from O'Korn. They were really dashed when Barkley toasted McCray in man coverage for a juggling 48-yard touchdown two plays later; McCray had no hope of keeping pace, yet the normally unassailable Don Brown kept allowing that matchup to play out. 

It was academic from there. McSorley added another rushing touchdown with 7:53 to play. Michigan's final possession ended in appropriately inept fashion. Facing fourth-and-nine, the coaches pulled right tackle Juwann Bushell-Beattly, who allowed consistent pressure, to insert Nolan Ulizio as an apparent pass-protection specialist. Before they could snap the ball, O'Korn took a delay of game. After the penalty, redshirt freshman backup Shaka Toney ran right around Mason Cole to sack O'Korn for the coup de gras.

Michigan can only fix so much this season. With the schedule letting up considerably over the next few week, they're likely to try some new patches, potentially including one fans have wanted for weeks. Quarterback Brandon Peters was warming up on the sideline before O'Korn ultimately took the field for M's last drive. Given how that drive played out, that was probably for the best. Now that the conference title is essentially out of reach and a top-ten defense isn't facing M's O-line, it's time to see what Peters has got. While that won't solve everything, it could be the spark this offense desperately needs.

Many of tonight's other issues will be taken care of for this year, at least, by not having to face Joe Moorhead and this Nittany Lions offense again.

They want Bama. They can have them.

Upon Further Review 2017: Defense vs Indiana

Upon Further Review 2017: Defense vs Indiana

Submitted by Brian on October 19th, 2017 at 3:31 PM

2017 logoo_thumbSPONSOR NOTES. Matt's on his way to Penn State as we speak, thinking no doubt about various ways in which US Soccer's surplus can be spent effectively: reducing the cost of A-level coaching licenses, supporting youth clubs that produce USMNT players, building a giant statue of Sunil Gulati being devoured by wolves. Maybe I'm projecting. I'm probably projecting.

Matt's probably thinking about ways to get your mortgage quote even faster, like inventing a time machine or hiring really fast donkeys. Because he gets you quotes fast, like a competent person not in charge of US soccer does.

FORMATION NOTES. Another 60-40 split between the stack package and a four-man line. 31 four man line snaps of which Mone probably got 25, with Dwumfour in on passing downs. 4-3 snaps went down 3 against a spread offense.

Michigan is deploying some dime now, with all three CBs on the field simultaneously. I had them for 11 dime snaps.

Indiana was all spread, never under center. Here is a picture of Indiana:

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Other than the usual diet of weird line alignments on passing downs this was basically what you'd expect.

SUBSTITUTION NOTES. Secondary was the usual: Kinnel and Metellus omnipresent except for a play or two after Kinnel got dinged when Woods came in. Thomas and Glasgow both got a few snaps. CBs rotated through snaps, with a half-dozen or so snaps where all three were on the field.

Bush was omnipresent; McCray nearly so except in the immediate aftermath of a cut block when Gil got a play.

Michigan again rotated between two of Hudson, Furbush, and Mone, with the 3-3-5 set far more common than alternatives. Uche got a few of Hudson/Furbush's snaps in the second quarter. The DL did see some rotation, with Solomon, Kemp, Marshall and Dwumfour all getting scattered snaps. Winovich did not come off the field; Dwumfour was usually in as a fourth DL on passing downs instead of Mone.

[After THE JUMP: bolded alter-ego can't maintain the fiction any longer!]

Game Over, Insert Freshman To Continue

Game Over, Insert Freshman To Continue

Submitted by Brian on October 16th, 2017 at 1:01 PM

10/14/2017 – Michigan 27, Indiana 20 (OT) – 5-1, 2-1 Big Ten

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[Bryan Fuller]

I am at stage five. I have passed through denial, anger, bargaining, and depression. And here we are: acceptance. Michigan is not very good this year. I accept that they are rebuilding.

Well... wait. Let me rephrase that. 60% of Michigan is righteous. 20% is questionable but encouraging. 20% is a deep, black pit of infinite depth that you fall through for hours at a time. The walls murmur foul, unspeakable red-zone stats. You yell "I DON'T BELIEVE RED ZONE OFFENSE IS MEANINGFULLY DIFFERENT FROM OVERALL OFFENSE"; the walls ignore you. Occasionally a gust of wind buffets you from below, braking your descent. It doesn't really matter, though. Terminal velocity or soon-to-reach terminal velocity are functionally identical when you are dropping forever in an inky expanse of nothing, waiting for the sickening crunch that will never come except when it does about every 365 days.

Woe! Woe! Fire and flame, death and brimstone! Woe. Dolorous woe.

...is what you might have said like 15 years ago when this stuff still had the capacity to hurt you. Now? Nah. Some Indiana fan sent me a picture of scoreboard from The Horror on Saturday and I just snorted. This is no longer a fanbase that considers 7-5 the "Year of Infinite Pain," as this site did way back in the ancient past. Michigan's going to lose some more games this year and end up in Florida on New Year's Day.

That's more or less fine. They return something like 21 starters next year, give or take QB. This depends on whether or not Brandon Peters can humorously conk John O'Korn in the head and sneakily don his jersey at some point in the next few weeks.

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

You've probably figured it out already but the righteous bits are the run defense,  the pass defense, and special teams. The questionable-but-encouraging bit is a ground game that appears to be waking up and putting things together. And the black, infinite, inky pit is the passing offense.

O'Korn's 10-for-20, 58 yard performance was actually worse than last year's Indiana game, when he managed 59 yards on 16 throws. Michigan completed three passes for four yards in the second half—two of them screens—and did not even think about involving O'Korn in their attempts to put away the game. It got so bad that on one of Michigan's few downfield attempts of the fourth quarter that Official Journalists were barely concealing their bewilderment:

Very same, Zach Gentry. A quick glance at the photo that leads this column will confirm how very, very covered Kekoa Crawford was. And yet.

Meanwhile Harbaugh almost lost his mind on the sideline when Michigan pulled out a shovel pass they hadn't put on film, saw it break for a first down and more, and then had it called back because O'Korn didn't get the snap off in time. Harbaugh's clearly toning down his sideline behavior this year after the PF in Columbus and the supposed extra focus on coach behavior; that was a moment where he just about relapsed. But did not!

Also this:

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somehow not an INT [Fuller]

So here we are. That's three of four O'Korn games with extended playing time where he's been horrible. I have no idea what happened against Purdue, but if you're asking me to project future performance it's more in line with the last two weeks than the outlier. Teams are now preparing for a guy who's only good when he breaks the pocket, and there goes the efficiency of that gambit.

It's bad, man. It's so bad that Michigan spent half of its dropbacks presenting O'Korn with just two guys—or even one—in a downfield pattern. The interception he threw at a dominated Eddie McDoom was third and seven; Michigan had outside receivers run fades. Nobody else was in a pattern. O'Korn somehow still threw the wrong fade, choosing the 5'11" guy being checked by Indiana's best cornerback. Michigan dumbed down their passing offense to an extraordinary extent in this game, and their quarterback still couldn't keep up.

Game over, man. Game over.

It turns out there is a difficulty level too hard on the Jim Harbaugh Quarterback Constructor video game, and it's "Houston transfer who lost his job as a sophomore." Noted, and forgiven. Michigan's desperate scramble for quarterbacks upon Harbaugh's arrival turned up a strike in Jake Rudock, and a... not strike in O'Korn.

Michigan still has their goals in front of them, and maybe O'Korn has another Purdue game in him somewhere. I doubt it, personally, but we'd all written off the Brown Jug in 2008 just in time for Nick Sheridan to put up 200 passing yards in a 29-6 win. You can just barely cobble together a justification for continuing with O'Korn for another week, because a road night game at Penn State is next and we don't want to send our baby lamb to slaughter.

But win or lose against PSU, it's hard to imagine Michigan not taking Brandon Peters out for a test drive against Rutgers. Because Michigan's future is extraordinarily bright if they can find a QB. Even if O'Korn turns it around he's not going to be part of that future. Meanwhile it's hard to imagine production worse than what they've currently got. Here is where people say "it can always be worse": I submit that it cannot. Two point nine yard an attempt and two shoulda-been interceptions, people.

Game over. Insert freshman to continue.

AWARDS

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go go go go [Marc-Gregor Campredon]

Known Friends And Trusted Agents Of The Week

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

#1 Karan Higdon. Yeah, maybe several defensive players had better individual games in chart-world. All of those guys reinforce each other, though. Higdon's efforts were emphatically not reinforced by Michigan's passing game and he still put up Michigan's first 200 yard RB game since Mike freakin' Hart. He earned all 25 of Michigan's overtime yards, showed legit deep speed on his long touchdown, and ground out countless YAC without much, if anything, in the way of a missed read.

#2(t) Rashan Gary and Mo Hurst. Gary's 2.5 TFLs coulda shoulda been 4.5; he was robbed of a couple more sack by bloody circumstance but for the first time felt like an omnipresent terror. Meanwhile Hurst continued being Hurst, repeatedly whipping guys and getting pressure directly up the middle. The downgrade when both gents were out on the first IU touchdown drive was obvious. Both guys get two points, because I want them to have these points.

#3 Lavert Hill, Brandon Watson, and David Long. Michgian's CB crew all but erased Simmie Cobbs, and Hill turned in a Jourdan Lewis-esque INT. Most completions were to guys they were not in coverage on. Also: I mean, 40 yards for Cobbs. Get it.

Honorable mention: Chase Winovich wasn't far off his DL mates. Devin Bush turned in another very good outing, albeit one without fireworks. Ty Isaac chipped in eight productive carries. The OL was excellent on the ground and gave up zero sacks... narrowly.

KFaTAotW Standings.

8: Devin Bush (#1 Florida, T2 Cincinnati, T2 Air Force, #1 Purdue)
5: Chase Winovich(#1 Air Force, #2a Purdue), Mo Hurst (#1 MSU, #2(T), Indiana) 
3: Mason Cole (#1, Cincinnati), Ty Isaac (#2, Florida, #3 Cincinnati), Lavert Hill(#2 MSU, T3 Indiana), Karan Higdon (#1 Indiana)
2: Quinn Nordin (#3 Florida, #3 Air Force), John O'Korn (#2 Purdue), Rashan Gary(T2 Indiana).   
1: Khaleke Hudson (T2 Cincinnati), Tyree Kinnel (T2 Cincinnati), Mike McCray(T2 Air Force), Sean McKeon(T3 Purdue), Zach Gentry (T3 Purdue), Brad Robbins(#3 MSU), Brandon Watson (T3 Indiana), David Long (T3 Indiana).

Who's Got It Better Than Us Of The Week

Michigan busts out a new counter look on a fourth-quarter drive, running it three times on a five-play drive that ended with a 59-yard Higdon touchdown. Don't stop:

Honorable mention: Michigan wins the game with a goal-line stand from the two. Higdon bounces outside for an OT touchdown. Higdon bounces outside for a first-half touchdown.

imageMARCUS HALL EPIC DOUBLE BIRD OF THE WEEK.

John O'Korn throws to a double-covered Kekoa Crawford instead of finding the other guy on a two man route. That guy, Zach Gentry, was open for a 40-yard catch and run touchdown. Also he was the only other guy in a route.

Honorable mention: Indiana breaks off a punt return that gets them to overtime; various absurd calls after the mean man yelled at the refs but especially the Cam Cheesman "hold" that was critical for IU's tying FG drive; Michigan picks up a bunch of legitimate penalties, including PFs against Kekoa Crawford and Josh Metellus (unless Drake Harris is on the punt return team).

[After THE JUMP: How can Peters be behind this guy?]

Michigan 27, Indiana 20 (OT)

Michigan 27, Indiana 20 (OT)

Submitted by Ace on October 14th, 2017 at 5:18 PM


Tyree Kinnel's fourth-down interception (finally) ended the game. [Bryan Fuller]

Stop me if you've heard this one before: Indiana put a harrowing scare into Michigan, only to lose in heartbreaking fashion.

A game that initially looked like it'd result in a comfortable Wolverines win got increasingly distressful. Two Quinn Nordin field goals and a 12-yard Karan Higdon touchdown run got Michigan out to an early 13-0 lead. While the Hoosiers netted a field goal shortly before halftime, the game felt fully in M's control; they held a 166-112 edge in total yardage and had a huge advantage on the ground. Sure, you could complain about the 11 penalties and the underwhelming passing attack, but the Hoosiers were having trouble just moving the football downfield.

Whatever was said at halftime, however, should probably never be spoken again.

An ugly Michigan three-and-out, capped by a John O'Korn completion to Jim Harbaugh, gave IU the ball with a chance to cut it to a one-score game. They did just that on a drive in which Mike DeBord and his offense utilized tempo to lock backup defensive linemen Aubrey Solomon and Carlo Kemp on the field in place of the dominant duo of Maurice Hurst and Rashan Gary. Hoosiers running back Morgan Ellison rushed for 45 yards on the drive, going virtually untouched on an eight-yard touchdown.

The game slowed to a slog. O'Korn missed a golden opportunity on the ensuing drive when Zach Gentry broke open downfield on a two-man route; O'Korn instead chose to throw at a well-covered Kekoa Crawford, and two plays later Michigan brought on the punt team. That'd become a familar sight for both squads; the next seven drives, four for IU and three for M, went three-and-out.

Higdon, who had a star-making afternoon, finally broke the drought when Michigan went to a ground-only attack. After four rushes gained a pair of first downs, the coaches broke out a slick new counter play to spring Higdon for a 59-yard touchdown early in the fourth quarter.


Dare I say Woodson-esque? [Fuller]

With Michigan now holding a 20-10 advantage, it looked like they'd ice the game when Lavert Hill intercepted Peyton Ramsey on a play reminiscent of the great Michigan cornerbacks of my lifetime. Indiana had already burned two of their timeouts on defense. A first down would've effectively put it away, but the offense bogged down, and the game suddenly turned sphincter-tightening when J-Shun Harris nearly housed Robbins's punt. Josh Metellus made a desperation tackle at the 16-yard line, but six plays later Ramsey hit Whop Philyor (a real name, that) for an eight-yard score.

Then things got really wild. With no timeouts left and 3:28 on the clock, Indiana went for an onsides kick, which took a high bounce that eluded Kekoa Crawford and went straight to IU's Simmie Cobbs for an apparent recovery. Cobbs, however, bobbled the ball ever so slightly as he stepped out of bounds, which the officials spotted live and upheld upon review—Michigan ball.

That allowed Higdon to run the clock down to 1:11, but he didn't convert a first down, and IU got the ball back on their 30-yard line after Michigan's school-record-setting 16th penalty added ten yards to a Robbins touchback. Two big pass plays by Ramsey, one to Luke Timian and the other to Cobbs, gave kicker Griffin Oakes a shot to send the game to overtime; his kick snuck just inside the right upright.


When Karan Higdon saw paydirt, he wouldn't be denied. [Marc-Gregor Campredon]

But Indiana remains Indiana. Michigan started with the ball in overtime and the Hoosiers initially stymied the first play. Higdon, who finished with 200 yards on 25 carries, eluded a defensive lineman in the backfield and bounced to the backside, gaining the edge and bolting down the sideline for his third touchdown.

"He was phenomenal," said Harbaugh. "I don't know how many yards he got after contact but those were tough yards. It looked like there'd be a tackle for loss, a small gain or no gain and he found a way to get four of five yards out of it."

The Hoosiers quickly worked their way to first-and-goal from the three. Gary surged though the line for a tackle for loss on first down, and after Ramsey missed J-Shun Harris in the end zone, he combined with Noah Furbush to stymie a Ramsey keeper. With the game down to one play, Chase Winovich put Ramsey under immediate pressure, and a desperation heave to Cobbs ended up in the hands of Tyree Kinnel. For the second time in as many trips to Memorial Stadium, the defense won the game with a goal-line stand.

"We were going to have to dig down deep to do it," said Harbaugh. "We responded with two tackles for loss, incompletion and an interception on the quarterback option route. It was a great four plays for us."

It sure wasn't pretty, and for large swaths it sure wasn't fun, but Michigan found a way to hold on and move to 5-1 on the season. Next weekend's trip to Happy Valley looms large, however, and could ugly fast if the Wolverines can't get a whole lot more out of John O'Korn, who managed only 58 yards passing on 20 attempts and had a horrible interception negated by an iffy pass interference call. Harbaugh probably has to stick with O'Korn at this point lest he want to throw a redshirt freshman QB behind a porous offensive line on the road against a top-five team. One way or the other, winning at Penn State is a tall order. For the time being, though, Michigan can at least enjoy the ride home.

"We move on to a big road game next week," said Harbaugh. "But this was a big game for our team. Mistakes were made, but it's something we can really grow from."

Upon Further Review 2017: Defense vs MSU

Upon Further Review 2017: Defense vs MSU

Submitted by Brian on October 13th, 2017 at 2:53 PM

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FORMATION NOTES. Michigan did slide more heavily towards a four man front against a manball outfit. Michigan had 27 3-3-5 snaps; they had 35 in a four-man front, almost all of which feature Mone. Those 4-X snaps were split 15/20 between 4-2-5s featuring Hudson and 4-3-4s featuring Furbush.

They also had 3 dime snaps, one in a 3-2-6 and two in a 4-1-6.

vlcsnap-2017-10-13-03h27m54s933

Here is a picture.

SUBSTITUTION NOTES. Formation notes prove spoiler: Michigan had about 35 Mone snaps, give or take a substitution. Michigan chose to put out two of Mone, Hudson, and Furbush depending on the situation and Don Brown's whim. Mone got about 60% of the snaps; Hudson and Furbush 70%.

The rest of the defense was almost entirely static. Winovich, Hurst, Bush, McCray, Metellus, and Kinnel did not leave the field. Gary got almost all the snaps with just a few for Kemp. The cornerbacks rotated through their top three of Hill, Long, and Watson.

The defense had zero margin for error in this game and they deployed like that was the case.

[After THE JUMP: the inverse Fielding Yost: a point per drive.]