900. 68-32-5. 113,833. 12-0. 40-3.
Those are the most important numbers this weekend, and only one of them showed up in the boxscore. 900, of course, is the total number of wins that the University of Michigan football teams 1 through 133 have accumulated. That's against only 312 losses and 36 ties. Michigan State, by comparison, has 629 wins. That's more than I thought, but still, cue Nelson Muntz:
68-32-5 is our record against MSU. My dad is always ready to answer two questions. One, "how many days are there to kickoff?" and, two, "What is Michigan's record against MSU?" That's a helpful way to survive living in East Lansing. It's nice to see that 67 change to a 68. Let's not wait that long to make it 69.
113,833 was the attendance for the game. It was the third most attended game in Michigan history, which makes it the most attended game in MSU history. 12-0 is now Brady Hoke's record as head coach at Michigan Stadium. He's given us a few scares over the past season and a half, but so far, he remains perfect.
40-3 is the record of the team that gained the most yards rushing in this game, in the last 43 games. For some reason, the TV-types have chosen to look at the past 43 games which coincides with the number of games I've been alive for. Maybe that's why I'm a defense-loving, MANBALL enthusiast. OK, you've been patient enough. Here's your link.
Burst of Impetus
* Holy impetus, Batman, where do I begin? After two conference cakewalks, we had to battle down to the last 0:05 seconds. However, I didn't get the feeling that either team ever got much momentum going. The defenses were just too strong.
* That said, there were several plays where momentum COULD have been seized, for example, if we had recovered either of State's fourth quarter fumbles, I thought we could have put them away. If Toussaint or Robinson's long runs had gone to the house, we might have broken them. Instead, we had to settle for FGs.
* State's fake punt was a huge play, but they lost the game, didn't they, so I guess it wasn't that big. Suck it, Dantonio.
* Defensively, the Kovacs interception was big, but the biggest play of the game was 3rd and goal, when State ran to the wide side of the field and our defense knocked Bell out of bounds short of the goal line. Last year, they scored TDs twice (I believe) on similar plays. Not this year.
* Le'Veon Bell was held to 68 yards on 26 carries, for a 2.6 YPC average.
* I remember in Ron Dayne's Heisman season, when he gained 1800+ yards and was in total beast mode all season, we held him to 88 yards. Le'Veon Bell isn't Ron Dayne, but he is one powerful runner, and the Michigan Defense shut him down.
* 19 players registered a defensive stat, lead by Desmond Morgan with 11 tackles. Keep that up, and we're going to forget all about Gerald WhatsHisName...
* Ryan was second with 10 tackles. I'm thrilled that sparties around sparty nation - basically East Lansing and parts of Bath, Pewamo and Westphalia - are dreading that they have to face Morgan and Ryan for two more years.
* Ryan got the lone sack on the day and forced one of State's two fumbles.
* Dernard carried 20 times for 96 yards, for a 4.8 YPC average, helped out immensely by his 44 yard run. I know we want Denard to stay healthy, but in the 4th quarter against state, I want every yard we can get. The plays following his long run backfired and we were left with no choice but to punt.
* Denard didn't quite get to 50% passing, but he did just enough for us to win, and avoided the costly turnover. (The one INT was at the end of the half, and basically meaningless.)
* The TEAM had one incomplete pass. I don't remember the TEAM throwing that pass.
Bunches of Funchess
* Dileo was the star of the day with 4 catches for 92 yards.
* Fitz caught 3 passes for 2 yards. Ugh. The last one he should have let fall to the turf. Instead, the clock kept running and we had to burn our last timeout.
* Funchess only caught one pass and wasn't a big part of the offense. That was basically true for all the younger guys. Brady and Borges put this game in their veterans hands, and they came through.
And Justice for Rawls
* Last week, I asked for suggestions for this section title. I was thinking of going with a Ben-Jarvis Green-Ellis inspired name, and call it FitzJustice Smith-Rawls. I emailed that to my brother and he responed with "And Justice for Rawls." It seems fitting, considering how much time we wasted playing air guitar to that album.
* The section title would have worked a lot better last week, when Justice Hayes and Thomas Rawls actually got some carries, but at least between this and Bunches of Funchess, I've got two sections covered for a few years.
* Fitz chipped in 52 yards, most coming on a 38 yard run. I had nightmares last night of Fitz getting the ball 6 yards behind the LOS, and immediately facing two spartan defenders.
* Vincent Smith had one huge 12 yard gain late in the game, where Borges went against tendency and actually ran someone other than Fitz or Denard.
Norf and Souf
* Punts were 7-290 for State, and 7-295 for us. They did have a slightly longer net, FWIW. Each team only returned one punt.
* Norfleet had one KR for 21 yards.
* Over the years, it seems the one advantage State has consistently had over us was in the kicking game. This goes way back to Morten Andersen. But this time, we hit the long FG, we made all our attempts, and they missed an easy one.
* We had Witvoet's crew for the game. After calling a penalty on State, he let Hawthorne have it. I'm not sure what Brandin did, but I'm just glad he didn't draw an unsportmanlike penalty call.
* The officials let it be known early that they weren't going to stand for any shenanigans this year, calling Lewan for a somewhat touchy late hit. I wish they would have sent a message by calling a penalty on the team responsible for all the shenanigans last year, but they kept things under control, so no complaints.
* Penalty yards were roughly even, 50 for them, 55 against us.
* I thought they let the defensive backs play aggressively, which I'm fine with, but that seems to benefit State's defensive approach more than ours.
I’ll Take Bullets for a Thousand, Alex
* First downs were even, 16-16. Each team had 7 rushing, 8 passing and 1 by penalty. Yeah, it was that close.
* Even though the rushing first downs were even, because of the two long runs, We outgained them on the ground 163-112, and as a result, won the game. History don't lie.
* Turnovers were even (Boy, do I feel like I'm repeating myself) at 1 apiece, but their's was much more costly.
* Third down conversions were almost the same, as they were 6 of 17 (~1/3) and we were 5 of 15 (exactly 1/3.)
Outside the Boxscore
* A win is a win, and this was a particularly huge one, but I'm a little concerned about the mental errors late in the game. Roundtree had a false start penalty, Fitz caught that pass with 19 seconds left, the punt defense let a gaping hole open for state's punter, and the guys had a penalty for excessive celebration at the end. I'm sure Brady will address these and other points this week. The Legends Division is there for the taking, but we've got to cut out the mistakes.
* With about 8 1/2 minutes left in the game, I saw Lloyd Brady for the first time this season. Lloyd, where have you been? At that point, I knew we were going to win, because even AIRBHG isn't mean enough to make Lloyd Brady sad. That would be like kicking a cat or something.
Announcers’ Derpity Derp
* Glen Mason claimed that Dantonio called a timeout to remind his defenders not to "rough the holder." After thinking about it for second, I figured he was probably correct, because you can never be sure about who sparties are going to rough.
* Can they just replace Glen Mason with J Leman, is that possible?