Inside the Boxscore - Team 135, Game 7

Inside the Boxscore - Team 135, Game 7

Submitted by ST3 on October 12th, 2014 at 5:27 PM

     As the saying goes, it's always darkest before the dawn, and things have gotten pretty dark around here. Recent events have motivated students to protest on the Diag and in front of the President's house. There have been daily discussions of boycotts, and numerous coaching change threads have blotted out the sun. When darkness is all around, what can one do to restore hope? Should we accept our fate and wallow in the depths of mediocrity? Or should we boycott games, kickoffs, or concessions? Should we question the team's spirit, the coaches' intelligence, or the athletic department's priorities? Should we complain that things were better in our day? Should we cry metaphorical tears at the loss of our Michigan? Games started at 1pm when I was a kid and they should always start at 1pm because Bo said so. Should we blame all our problems on noodles, ticket prices and Special K? I don't know about you, but when things are bleakest for me, I make light of the situation.

     As a result, I decided mid-week to change up the format and give out light-related awards for this game, regardless of the outcome. I really didn't know what to expect from this game, except that there would be lots of punting. Unlike our previous opponents, I was a little familiar with Penn State, having watched them play against UCF and Rutgers. From that, I knew their offensive line was struggling, and Anthony Zettel is really, really good. In a match-up of two good defenses and two suspect offenses, we were treated to exactly what everyone expected. But how often does that occur?

Boxscore link: http://www.mgoblue.com/sports/m-footbl/stats/101114aae.html

Play-by-play link: http://grfx.cstv.com/photos/schools/mich/sports/m-footbl/auto_pdf/2014-15/box_score/stats_20141012aaa.pdf

Flash of Impetus
* I decided to Google "burst of impetus" so I could contrast that to today's award, the "Flash of Impetus." The first two links Google returned were to my diaries of Sept. 25, 2011, and Oct. 2, 2011. So that was no help. Simplifying the search to just "burst," I learned that a burst is an explosion. This makes sense in the context of Doug Nussbaum, sorry, Nussmeier's (darn espn announcers) focus on explosive plays. A week after Rutgers exploded all over our defense, the biggest unknown coming into the game was would Christian Hackenberg have enough time to replicate the Champagne Super Nova from the prior week. Mattison dialed up the pressure and eventually broke Hackenberg. At first, there was a flash of impetus, as a Penn State receiver dropped a pass that Delonte Hollowell scooped up and returned for an apparent touchdown. My heartrate didn't budge, as I was sure that was coming back. Why that replay took any more than 2 seconds is a question for another day. So like a flash, the impetus was there and then gone.

Burst of Impetus
* A definition for impetus is, "the force or energy with which a body moves." So technically speaking, the burst of impetus is an explosive play that moves a body. A body in motion tends to stay in motion, so these plays propel the team forward. In prior weeks, we thought Willie Henry's fatboy TD could be a burst of impetus. But the team didn't respond. There was a flash of excitement, and then nothing. In this game, on a play late in the 3rd quarter, the defense pressured Hackenberg, drew a holding penalty, and forced him to make a poor decision, lofting a ball that Jourdan Lewis intercepted. From then on, the rout was on as Michigan tallied the next three scores and turned a 13-10 deficit into an 18-13 victory. Hey, in this game, a five point advantage is huge.

Blue LEDs
* It was recently announced that three inventors won the Nobel Prize in Physics for their invention of the blue light emitting diode. As this is the top prize in physics, we will give this award to the top performer of the game, the defense.
* The defense held Penn State to 54 yards rushing on 35 attemps for a 1.5 yard average. Penn State was limited to 214 total offense yards on 68 plays, for an average gain per play of 3.1.
* The defense forced 5 punts, did not give up a fourth down conversion on three attempts, and tallied one critical turnover.
* Allow me to share my "cool story bro" story. Back when I was a student at UofM, I gave a paper at the Materials Research Society Meeting in Boston. This meeting had somewhere around 30 parallel sessions going on at the same time (hence, the word parallel.) Some of the more popular topics, like silicon, were granted the larger meeting rooms. Folks like myself who were studying compound semiconductors (like indium phosphide) got to speak in a closet in front of 15-20 people. At this conference, I overheard talk that Shuji Nakamura was giving an invited talk. He is one of the three fellows who just won the Nobel Prize. So I wandered over to that session's conference room. It was a little larger than a closet, but the interest was extraordinary for a compound semiconductor talk. I'm talking standing room only at a technical conference. This guy was already a rock star. This was over 20 years ago, when gallium arsenide was still regarded as the technology of the future ("...and always will be" is how that joke finished up.) Now, everyone's phone has a GaAs power amp and gallium nitride based blue LEDs are ubiquitous. At that time, no one thought a blue LED was possible because the defect density in gallium nitride materials was extreme, and defects cause non-radiative recombination, etc. So halfway through the talk, Nakamura pulled out an array of green LEDs (the pre-cursor to today's blue LEDs) and powered them up. The brightness was more intense than anyone thought possible. The audience was shocked, awed, and amazed. He explained how they were motivated to generate all LED traffic signals, and the green LED was the only thing missing. I had a feeling I was witnessing the future. And now, more than 20 years later, Nakamura has rightly earned his Nobel Prize. I was a witness to this due to my attending the University of Michigan. Damn right, I'm proud to be a Michigan Wolverine.

Lasers
* When a quarterback is on, he's described as throwing lasers. Devin Gardner was 16 for 24 passing for 192 yards. His long pass was a 43 yard arc that was anything but laser-like, but Devin Funchess stepped in front of the defensive back, bobbled it a bit, and then strode into the endzone for a touchdown.
* Gardner also ran 10 times for 18 yards. Of interest, Gardner ran for 121 yards last year against Penn State. This year, through the first six games, he had run for only 131 yards. If the goal was to run Devin less to protect his health, that strategy has failed miserably as he looks as beaten up after 7 games this season as he did after 12 last season.
* I watched Auburn play Mississippi State before our game. Both teams feature a dual-threat QB. I couldn't help but think as I watched that game, "THAT! That is what I want from our offense."

Quantum Cascade Laser Award
* A photon is a single quantum of light, and so this award goes to #1, Devin Funchess.
* Funchess led the receivers with 7 catches for 69 yards and 1 touchdown.

Quantum Dot Laser Award
* What's smaller than a two-dimensional quantum well? The one-dimensional quantum dot, so this award obviously goes to Michigan's smallest player, Dennis Norfleet.
* Norfleet caught one pass for 24 yards, but it was a huge play. The game had settled down into a defensive struggle, and it sure looked like overtime beckoned. Gardner was able to complete one pass downfield to Norfleet and put us in FG range.
* Norfleet also returned two kickoffs for 52 yards and set some sort of record for kick return yardage, but that's not something I want to focus on because of what it implies.

Phosphorescent Light Bulb Award
* The phosphorescent light bulb I'm thinking of is that curly tube like one that replaces the common household incandescent bulb. You know, the one that looks totally out of place.
* Jake Ryan led the team with 10 tackles. He had three TFLs and a sack.
* I'm starting to get used to those compact fluorescents. Jake may be getting used to playing MIKE. We'll find out in 2 weeks.

Red Lights
* The defense tallied 11 TFLs, six sacks, and 2 QHs. I did notice a couple times Hackenberg was able to shake off a potential sack. I hope we practice sacking this week and next. The scout team QB better be needing some serious hot tub time is all I'm saying.

Neon Deion Award
* For the defensive back who played most like shutdown corner, Neon Deion Sanders. I contemplated not giving this out, but Jourdan Lewis did have one huge interception and was credited with 5 tackles. (That's about 4 more than Neon Deion averaged in his career.)
* I watched the end of the Minnesota-Northwestern game (yes, I watched a lot of football yesterday) and Minnesota's defensive backs had more BrUps in the 4th quarter than I think Michigan's had all year. For the game, Minnesota had 6 BrUps. SIX BrUps! Raymon Taylor was credited with Michigan's only BrUp.
* Quick tangent, I've been banging the Gopher drum all year. They are now 5-1 and face Purdue and Illinois next. They scored on a 100 yard kick return that was exceptionally blocked. Norfleet isn't going to bring one all the way back until the 10 guys in front of him execute their assignments. I'd take Minnesota's DB and special teams coaches any day. Gee, I wonder if there was some way to make that happen...

The Phoebus Cartel Award
* IEEE Spectrum has an article about the Phoebus Cartel and their efforts to engineer a shorter life span for the incandescent lightbulb; what we refer to today as planned obsolescence. This award is given to the awful coaching decision of the game, and will be given retroactively as follows:
Vs. Utah - punt with 10 men on the field and give up a punt return TD
Vs. Minnesota - start Shane Morris over Devin Gardner
Vs. Rutgers - hurry-up at the end of half to give Rutgers more time to score
Vs. Penn State - call a timeout with 3 seconds left in the half to allow PSU a risk-free opportunity to throw a Hail Mary. Seriously, what are the odds that we intercept the ball and return it for a score versus Penn State throwing a successful Hail Mary to their 6'7" tight end with their QB who has a rocket arm? Fortunately, we didn't get burned by this decision.

Flashlight Award
* Goes to the program most in need of shining a flashlight in all those dark corners. As bad as things are in Ann Arbor, this award goes to Penn State.

Debbie Boone, "You Light Up My Life" award
* Debbie sings, "And you, light up my life. You give me hope, to carry on."
* The winner of this award is Team 135. Carry on, men.

The Boxscore - Team 135, Game 3

The Boxscore - Team 135, Game 3

Submitted by ST3 on September 14th, 2014 at 4:51 PM

     I'm not going to lie, there's some strange goings-on in Boxscore land. Last week, Michigan outgained Notre Dame and nearly had as many first downs, yet was blown out on the scoreboard. This week, Michigan was statistically superior to Miami (NTM), yet, midway through the third quarter, I'm sure more than a few Michigan fans were having flashbacks to Akron. Miami's coach nearly had an aneurysm when they just barely missed a long pass. He believed they were in the game. Had that connected, well, it didn't so no need to go there. But that's not all. On MGoBlog's recap, Ace delved into the boxscore. Great read, but that's my thing, man. J/K. Brady Hoke even brought up some stats in his press conference. Numbers are flying everywhere. Today, I tried to find the boxscore on MGoBlue.com and notice they've moved it, reformatted it, and stuck a Chick-fil-A add right in the middle of it. Hey, MGoblue.com, haven't you heard, Chick-fil-A's not open on Sundays.

    You may have noticed I changed the title. That's because I'm insanely busy this weekend, and I don't feel like diving into a Michigan-Not that Miami boxscore. I don't care how many Eagles fly overhead, this is just not a "Wow" event. It did get me to thinking back to simpler times. In the 70's and 80's, when Michigan had a stinker on the schedule and there was a threat to the 100,000 streak, we had something called "Band Day." High School bands from all over the tri-county area would be brought in to fill up the endzone seats. I'm talking about bands from Livonia, Novi, Romulus, and even from as far away as Troy. Prior to the game, all those bands would fill up the field and play one or two songs, and then march back to their seats. I always enjoyed the colorful pageantry that was Band Day. I say, if you are going to stick us with non-wow-events like Michigan vs. Not that Miami and there are ~10,000 empty seats, at least bring back Band Day!

Boxscore link: http://www.mgoblue.com/sports/m-footbl/stats/091314aaa.html

Play-by-play link: http://grfx.cstv.com/photos/schools/mich/sports/m-footbl/auto_pdf/2014-15/box_score/stats_20140913aaa.pdf

Burst of Impetus
* The saddest part of this game is that Norfleet's kick return to start the game wasn't sufficient to firmly plant the impetus on our side. Numerous turnovers made this a game for 2 1/2 quarters.
* I think there was a sequence of plays where we may have turned the corner on this running game and left 2013 in the rear-view mirror. With 7:24 to go in the 2nd, Michigan was tied 10-10 with Not that Miami. A pass to Darboh brought the ball to Miami's 40 yard line. After that, Gardner was sacked for a 7 yard loss. I was thinking, "seriously?" My hope is that what happened next is the harbinger of good things to come.
- Green, Derrick rush for 27 yards...
- Green, Derrick rush for 11 yards...
- Green, Derrick rush for 8 yards...
- Green, Derrick rush for 1 yard to the MU0, TOUCHDOWN
Run game established, at least against the Miami's of the world.

Seniors First
* Gardner was 13 for 20 for 184 yards and 2 TDs. He seemed to do well in the absence of Funchess. This could be good in the long run if he's able to build chemistry with Darboh, Chesson, and Butt.
* Jake Ryan had 6 tackles and 2 QHs and may be starting to get a feel for this MIKE thing.

1 and 2
* One week after I questioned what the coaches were seeing in practice to give Derrick Green the nod over De'Veon Smith, Green showed all of us. His vision was much better than last week, and I don't think this is a question of the opponent. The hole is there, and he either hits it or he doesn't. Against Notre Dame, he didn't. Against Miami, he did, over and over again to the tune of 137 yards on 22 carries. My guess is, Green was much more relaxed going against Miami, knowing that they are vastly inferior to Michigan. This allowed him to play with more confidence and his performance improved as a result.
* Smith looked a little slow to me, perhaps he's got a boo-boo. He had a couple negative carries on slow developing east/west type runs. I'd much rather they pound him inside and put him in attack mode. He recovered from a slow start to tally 44 yards on 9 carries for a healthy 4.9 YPC.

24 Points
* Miami did not score 24 points. They only scored 10 because we gave them a short field due to turnovers.
* Joe Bolden led Michigan with 7 tackles, and he had one nice pass breakup.
* The defense is still not filling the boxscore in the dot categories, but we did get 5 QH's, 1 FF, 1 INTC, 2 BrUps, and 1 sack.
* Miami was held to 1 rushing first down and only 33 net yards rushing. I sense a trend developing...

TFLs
* Miami only recorded 3 TFLs all game long; the two wide runs with Smith and the sack, for a total of 10 yards. I so hope this is no longer a thing worth discussing as we move forward.

Miscellaneous
* What look was Miami going for with their helmets? I can't decide if it was warmed-over vomit, or electrified vomit.
* We need Butt. A healthy Butt adds another dimension to our offense.
* Christian Kock punted 8 times for 301 yards. You know how when you apply for a personalized license plate and the DMV has someone review your request to make sure there's nothing offensive about it? Maybe we should do the same thing with peoples' names.
* M. Wamulumba recorded 1 tackle for Miami. Didn't Kid Rock sing a song about him? The lyrics went something like this, "Bawitdaba da diggy diggy Wamulumba da bang da bang." I think the Pewamo-Westphalia High School band played it at Band Day in '92.