Upon Further Review: Offense vs Michigan State Comment Count

Brian October 8th, 2009 at 12:58 PM

Personnel notes: I don't think I saw Webb or Savoy all game. The offensive line was the same as the Indiana game but at some point in the second half Huyge got pulled for Ferrara, at least briefly.

Ln Dn Ds O Form RB TE WR D Form Type Play Player Yards
O14 1 10 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 Base 4-3 Run Zone read stretch Brown -2
Okay, so 1) State's response to the bubble is the same as Indiana's: have the safety freak out about it as soon as he sees the route. With MSU in press coverage that really invites Michigan to go over the top; they never really do. 2) On the run here State's defensive tackles slant inside, coming around the attempted stretch blocks way too quickly for Michigan to handle and getting right into the backfield. This play is specifically designed to combat stretch blocking, but State doesn't run it again.
O16 2 12 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 Base 4-3 Pass Sack Koger -3
Basically the zone read fake into the Koger flat route; State is prepared for this, too, with the DE shooting right past Koger without waiting and forcing Forcier upfield, where he gets sacked. (PR, 0, protection N/A)
O19 3 15 Shotgun Trips 1 1 3 3-3-5 Nickel Pass Wheel Brown Inc
Michigan State blitzes and has an umbrella behind it, getting a guy in unblocked. Forcier's hot read is Brown coming out of the backfield; he doesn't look for the ball and it falls incomplete. (CA, 3, protection 0/2, team -2)
Drive Notes: FG(36), 3-0, 12 min 1st Q. Very disappointing; clearly Dantonio has gameplans for the exact things Michigan has shown so far and Michigan just plays into them. Same stuff happened last year. Just gap block some stuff and bring out new plays against Michigan State; they obviously spent Wisconsin week preparing for M. They weren't preparing for Wisconsin.
Ln Dn Ds O Form RB TE WR D Form Type Play Player Yards
M28 1 10 Shotgun 4-wide 1 1 3 Base 4-3 Run Zone read inside Brown 2
Backside DT shoots upfield immediately on the snap, driving Schilling back and forcing Brown to cut it upfield, where a crashing defensive end tackles him for a minimal gain. Safety had the bubble, WLB the contain.
M30 2 8 Shotgun empty 1 1 3 Base 4-3 Pass Bubble screen Brown 3
Michigan empties the backfield and tries to use this to run a bubble to the short side of the field. Brown picks up like three yards; he's got no room since it's the short side of the field. (CA, 3, screen)
M33 3 5 Shotgun 4-wide 1 1 3 3-3-5 Nickel Pass Throwaway -- Inc
Anderson comes crashing around the end but there's a very nice pocket for Forcier to step up into and throw; instead he peels out to the sideline, finding no one and throwing the ball away. These looked like deep routes, maybe four verticals; the unnecessary scramble likely killed the play. (TA, 0, protection 2/2)
Drive Notes: Punt, 3-7, 1 min 1st Q. 
Ln Dn Ds O Form RB TE WR D Form Type Play Player Yards
M8 1 10 Ace 1 2 2 Base 4-3 Pass Waggle Post Koger Inc
Zone fake into a rollout with some decent pressure but Forcier's able to get a pass off to Koger. Koger's got a step and throw that's a little bit upfield or arced a little more might be complete but the coverage is very good and the safety makes a play on the ball. Good all around. (CA, 1, protection 1/1)
M8 2 10 I-Form 3-wide 2 0 3 4-3 Under Pass Rollout out Grady Inc
Plenty of room as Michigan is attacking the fact that safeties are in man against Michigan's slot receivers. Grady(19) is wide open for a first down, hit in the hands, and... drop. Bler. (CA, 3, protection 2/2)
M8 3 10 Shotgun 2-back 2 0 3 3-3-5 Nickel Pass Improv bomb Koger 41
Really weird D from State as the three DL rush and then three(!) linebackers just kind of hang out at the LOS. Very odd. I know you want to contain Forcier but jeez. Grady pops a DE—he's in pass protect because the waiting LBs have drawn a couple of OL. DE then gets outside, avoiding a Minor block and causing Forcier to flush. Forcier chucks it up and Koger adjusts to his back shoulder, dragging in a big gainer. (DO?, 1, protection 2/3, Minor -1)
M49 1 10 Shotgun 2TE 3-wide 0 2 3 Base 4-3 Run QB off tackle Robinson 0
Robinson in; Forcier spread wide. I think this is supposed to and should go outside the tackle as the TE comes off to seal the SLB and it would be Robinson and a safety one-on-one but he cuts it up into no room. Jones got playside of the backside guard and there's not much in the way of creases.
M49 2 10 Shotgun Trips 1 1 3 Nickel Pass Slant Koger Inc
Playing off the bubble over-reaction, this is wide open and will go for near first-down yardage; Koger drops it. (CA, 3, protection 1/1)
M49 3 10 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 3-3-5 Nickel Pass Scramble Forcier 10
State sends five and drops a couple guys off into zones; field is pretty open. Forcier(+1) sees it open up and decisively decides to step up in the pocket and take off, picking up the first down, albeit barely. So decisive that I thought this was a QB draw at first; it's not. Not charting this as a TA, FWIW.
O41 1 10 Ace Twins 1 2 2 Base 4-3 Run Inside Zone Brown 1
Backside scoop goes all wrong as Huyge(-1) doesn't get much push and actually falls a bit, leaving Dorrestein no angle to block his guy and letting said guy playside and into the backfield. Brown's reaction is to cut back into an unblocked linebacker/DB; these are true eight-man fronts they're running against.
O40 2 9 Shotgun Diamond 1 1 3 Base 4-3 Pass Improv Hitch Stonum 7
Fake bubble with the trio of guys going into pass routes; that's Forcier's first read. Not there, and then an MSU stunt sees Dorrestein(-1) whiff outside, then take a diving whiff inside. First whiff causes Forcier to start scrambling out; should just step up and fire or something. He eventually finds Stonum on the backside of the formation for a decent gain. (CA, 3, protection 1/2, Dorrestein -1)
O33 3 2 Shotgun empty 1 1 3 Nickel Pass Hitch Odoms 4
Quick tempo sees State align in a two-deep shell, which leaves one guy trying to cover two on one side of the formation. Forcier reads it and throws a quick hitch to Odoms for the first down. It's low and unnecessarily difficult for Odoms; he digs it out. (MA, ,2, protection 1/1)
O29 1 10 Shotgun Trips 1 1 3 Nickel Pass Sack -- 0
PA fake into what looks like the same bubble fake to slant we saw earlier; backside defensive end sits there and then shoots up as Forcier hesitates. DE's on him and he has to cut it up, attempting to lose as little as possible. (PR, NA, NA)
O29 2 10 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 Base 4-3 Pass Rollout out Odoms 11
So here's one advantage of the backside DE trying to contain the zone counter dive: he delays instead of trying to get out on Forcier, allowing Minor to chop him easily. This is the same play as the earlier Grady drop: slot out can't be covered by a safety, hit between the numbers. This time it's caught. (CA, 3, protection 1/1)
O18 1 10 Shotgun 2-back 2 0 3 Base 4-3 Run Minor Yakety Minor -4
Not really sure what the intent is here since Brown and Minor collide soon after Minor grabs a handoff; he ends up tackled in the backfield because of the delay.
O22 2 14 Shotgun 4-wide 1 1 3 Base 4-3 Penalty Offsides -- 5
O17 2 9 Shotgun 4-wide 1 1 3 Base 4-3 Run Draw Brown 6
Wow, this opens up cavernously as Moosman kicks one of the DTs out the intended hole and the other one rushes himself out o the play. Huyge(-1) pulls around and is one-on-one with Jones; Jones ninjitsus him and makes a tackle on Brown a few yards downfield. Pile falls forward; a Jones block is probably first and goal. Brown could get some blame for not setting this block up, too.
O11 3 3 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 Base 4-3 Pass Sack -- -10
Forcier fumbles a poor snap on an intended rollout, which allows a blitzing linebacker to close and tackle. On Moosman. (PR, NA, pressure 0/2, team -1, Moosman -1) Odoms was open for the first if this snap was efficiently delivered.
Drive Notes: FG(42), 6-7, 4 min 2nd Q. Aigh Molk donde esta?
Ln Dn Ds O Form RB TE WR D Form Type Play Player Yards
M20 1 10 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 Nickel Pass PA Sack -- -7
Hard to tell if this is supposed to set up in the pocket or get outside; I think outside because they're pulling Schilling around to give some backside pass blocking on Anderson. Huyge(-2) gets pushed back, delaying Schilling, and then gets spun off of; when Forcier cuts back inside because Anderson is outside of Schilling the DT is there to sack. (PR, 0, protection 0/2, Huyge -2). Note Huyge is at RG and Dorrestein RT.
M13 2 17 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 Nickel Run Zone read stretch Brown -1
Ortmann and Schilling actually get a crease here but Koger(-1), who's set up as the H-back but dives inside of Ortmann, runs right by Gordon, which means he's sitting in the hole unblocked and tackles.
M12 3 18 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 3-3-5 Nickel Pass Fly Mathews Inc
Max protect and three fly routes into lots of coverage. State is again doing that weird thing where they just leave three linebackers sitting a couple yards downfield; if Michigan was running a post or something here maybe they get an opportunity to make a first down. Instead its all covered fly routes and Forcier just chucks one well upfield of a covered Mathews. (IN, 0, protection 2/2)
Drive Notes: Punt, 6-10, 13 min 3rd Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form RB TE WR D Form Type Play Player Yards
M7 1 10 Shotgun 2-back 2 0 3 Nickel Run Zone read stretch Brown 7
Argh. State's blitzing both linebackers right up the middle and Michigan runs by it, doubling the playside DT because there's no one to block on the second level anyway. Schilling(+1) does get a good crease for Brown. Brown is into the secondary and has a lead blocker in Minor; Minor(-1) is one-on-one with the filling safety with a block likely to spring Brown for 93... he whiffs.
M14 2 3 Shotgun 2-back 2 0 3 Nickel Run Zone read stretch Brown 2
Same play. State's playside DT does a better job of flowing down the line and prevents himself from getting creased. Worthy avoids a lame Dorrestein(-1) attempt at a cut, flows down the line, and tackles on the cutback. A block from Dorrestein also gets Brown a lot of yards here.
M16 3 1 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 Nickel Run QB off tackle Forcier 1
On Huyge(-1) and Moosman, who get no push on Worthy and make no crease here. This is not really State being prepared for this play or doing something special, it's just the OL being inadequate. Forcier cuts it up, hitting the back of Huyge and going down like an inch short of the first down.
M17 4 In Punt - - - - Run BLERG Zoltan BLERG
BLLERG. Note: a reader suggested this was not really Mesko's fault because state guys got in too fast and would have blocked a rugby punt. On review: no way. Mesko had plenty of time to get a punt off but brought it down immediately to run. Just an unbelievable brain explosion. The protection was sliding, so it was a called rugby punt a la the Notre Dame fake from a year ago; Mesko's head blew up.
Drive Notes: Turnover on Downs, 6-10, 7 min 3rd Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form RB TE WR D Form Type Play Player Yards
M11 1 10 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 Nickel Pass Flare screen Brown 5
I don't know, I always think the timing on this is messed up but it works sometimes. Odoms(+1) cuts the nickelback to the ground and Schilling gets Jones, but a quick-filling safety is up on Brown before he can get much in the way of yardage. (CA, 3 , screen)
M16 2 5 Shotgun 2-back 2 0 3 Nickel Pass Rollout out Odoms 9
A freeze play where M catches State offsides; Forcier rolls out and finds Odoms on an out as he reaches the sideline. (CA, 2, protection N/A)
M25 1 10 Shotgun 2-back 2 0 3 Base 4-3 Run Zone read stretch Minor 2
State shifted away from this and Michigan should have a good opportunity to pick up some yards here but Minor(-1) misses a massive cutback opportunity as Ortmann had cut the backside DT to pieces and the frontside has been slanted to and jammed; Brown runs by a couple of guys outside of their blockers and lets Anderson and Gordon track Minor down as he passes the LOS.
M27 2 8 Shotgun 4-wide 1 1 3 Base 4-3 Pass Sack -- -3
Ferrara(-3) straight up smoked by an MSU DT, yielding quick pressure up the middle and a sack. (PR, 0, protection 0/3, Ferrara -3) Also note that it's Huyge who's gotten pulled, with Dorrestein still at tackle.
M30 3 11 Shotgun Trips 1 1 3 3-3-5 Nickel Pass Improv Stonum 10
Dorrestein(-2) smoked by Anderson, forcing Forcier out of the pocket. He manages to find Stonum on the move and zing one to him despite tight coverage; it's low and Stonum digs it out (DO, 1, protection 0/2, Dorrestein -2)
Drive Notes: Punt, 6-13, 3 min 3rd Q. Yes, the Molk injury single-handedly killed this drive.
Ln Dn Ds O Form RB TE WR D Form Type Play Player Yards
M33 1 10 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 Base 4-3 Run Reverse Odoms -4
Robinson in. This is on Odoms(-1), who fails to recognize that he can cut it upfield into a lot of space and be one-on-one with a safety for the house until way too late; he then slips to the turf trying to make that cut way too late.
M29 2 14 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 Base 4-3 Pass Rollout scramble -- 2
Robinson rolls out, finds no one, and starts running around as the rollout has run out of time. He eventually gets to the line of scrimmage-ish. (TA, 0, protection 1/1)
M31 3 12 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 3-3-5 Nickel Pass Sack -- -12
Somewhat decent time but not great time as Dorrestein(-1) and Minor(-1) eventually lose guys at the same time; Robinson can scramble away from one but only into the other. (TA, 0, protection 2/4, Minor -1, Dorrestein -1)
Drive Notes: Punt, 6-20, 13 min 4th Q. Forcier should have come back after the first down loss.
Ln Dn Ds O Form RB TE WR D Form Type Play Player Yards
O46 1 10 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 Nickel Pass Improv cross Hemingway 9 + 15
Forcier scrambles up as the MSU DEs come screaming around the corner; this may actually be intended to flush Forcier outside like this because MSU has a spy who takes off after him as he breaks the pocket. Hemingway has run a little crossing route and the screamin' linebacker has vacated that area, so Forcier hits him; Hemingway can turn up for some YAC. (CA, 3, protection 2/2, but tentative) State gets a roughing call afterwards. It's pretty terrible, as Hemingway wasn't down and I didn't hear a whistle.
O22 1 10 Shotgun Trips 1 1 3 Nickel Pass Rollout hitch Stonum 11
Forcier rolls out with the aid of an excellent block from Minor on the corner, finding Stonum open along the sideline for about seven. Stonum jukes the first guy, picks up a first down, and fumbles the ball as he's going to ground. Argh. (CA, 3, protection 2/2)
Drive Notes: Fumble, 10 min 4th Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form RB TE WR D Form Type Play Player Yards
M31 1 10 Shotgun 4-wide 1 1 3 Nickel Pass Post Roundtree Inc
Roundtree? Ok, I guess. Good pocket this time allows Forcier to step up and fire just as Roundtree's break to the inside gets him clear of his man. Could be a big gainer but it's just in front of him. (IN, 0, protection 2/2)
M31 2 10 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 Nickel Pass RB Hitch? Minor Inc
Er? This is basically a wheel route from Minor except he stops on it two yards downfield. Hitch, I guess. Another good pocket and the coverage gets run off, leaving Minor wide open. Forcier goes to him... just as he falls down for no reason. Ack. (CA, um... 1, protection 2/2)
M31 3 10 Shotgun empty 1 1 3 Nickel Pass Improv Roundtree Inc
Forcier can't find anyone; sort of looks like he's got a slant or two here but he doesn't throw it, allowing pressure to eventually break through, at least sort of. He starts running around, possibly without needing to, and eventually pulls up to hit Roundtree a couple yards short of the first. It's on the money but late, so Roundtree gets pounded as the ball arrives and drops it. (CA, 2, protection 2/2)
Drive Notes: Punt, 6-20, 8 min 4th Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form RB TE WR D Form Type Play Player Yards
M32 1 10 Shotgun empty 1 1 3 Nickel Pass Improv Hitch Hemingway 9
A vast panoply of time sees Forcier sit and survey forever, finding no one. Pressure finally comes and he has to scramble out. As he reaches the sideline he chucks it at Hemingway and not incidentally a Michigan State safety, who has this covered and could possibly intercept but doesn't as Hemingway yanks it away for nine yards. Brilliant? Idiotic? I don't know. I'm filing this a BR. (BR, 2, protection 2/2)
M41 2 1 Shotgun Trips 1 1 3 Nickel Pass TE Seam Koger Inc
Zone read fake to the bubble fake to the TE slant Michigan's run a lot. State has a guy sitting on it in a zone; a slant is either broken up or a pick six. In what looks like a brilliant adjustment by both Forcier and Koger, Koger shoots upfield a bit, turning this into a seam, and Forcier lets it fly, hitting Koger between the numbers in a tight window between the corner and safety. Koger... drops it. Aigh. Safety coming over to blast him helped. (DO, 2, protection NA)
M41 3 1 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 Nickel Pass Rollout deep Hitch Stonum 59
Minor gets a block on the edge defender and Stonum bursts open 20 yards downfield with only a late-arriving safety attempting to rein him in. He scoots inside of him, loping for the endzone. At the ten he stiffarms the last resistance and glides in. (DO, 3, protection 2/2) Replay.
Drive Notes: Touchdown, 13-20, 4 min 4th Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form RB TE WR D Form Type Play Player Yards
M8 1 10 Shotgun 4-wide 1 1 3 3-3-5 Nickel Pass Hitch Stonum 9
State playing way off, which would be GERG BUBBLE frustrating to me as an MSU fan. Stonum just runs a hitch and is wide open despite no one throwing him the ball for a while. Forcier surveys, does not find anything he likes, and then flushes a bit, finding Stonum on the sideline for nine. He gets OOB. (CA, 3, protection 2/2)
M17 2 1 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 3-3-5 Nickel Pass Rollout out Odoms Inc
Shorter out than the other outs as MSU is in zone but Forcier finds Odoms open for what should a first down; he throws it low and Odoms can't dig out a tough catch. (MA, 1, protection 1/1)
M17 3 1 Shotgun Trips 1 1 3 Nickel Run Zone read keeper Forcier 10
So there's no slot to Forcier's side of the field on this and therefore no contain defender out there; the DE slides down the line as he's been coached to do all week because of the zone counter dive, leaving the corner open. Forcier pulls it out and grabs the first down plus a good bit more.
M27 1 10 Shotgun Trips 1 1 3 3-3-5 Nickel Pass Wheel Brown 2 (Pen +15)
Michigan gets MSU to jump. Spartan players come in unimpeded because of the freeze play, forcing Forcier to dump it to Brown, who gets lit up, dropping the ball. (CA, 1, protection NA) No matter. State also gets a roughing call afterwards. They take the roughing.
M42 1 10 Shotgun Trips 1 1 3 3-3-5 Nickel Pass Bubble counter Odoms 9
Finally they run this and M catches it. This is a variant of their flare screen type thing where Odoms goes on a bubble route, drawing the requisite bubble freak out, then dives inside for a jailbreak screen. And this is open for days and days but for Moosman's inability to block or cut the LB spying on Forcier. Odoms has to cut behind the mess and gets tracked down just short of the sticks. (CA, 3, screen)
O49 2 1 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 3-3-5 Nickel Run Zone read keeper Forcier 12
Same thing, with the DE crashing down like a mother and no State contain in their pass D package opening up tons of space for Forcier. He would have 10, 20 more if he didn't slip on the turf due to the rain.
O37 1 10 Shotgun empty 1 1 3 3-3-5 Nickel Pass Unicorn dust Stonum 12
Jesus H Hopscotching Christ. Forcier has no protection because of the empty set, can't handle a low, wet snap from Moosman, and has an unblocked corner coming in ready to provide certain doom. He manages to grab the ball, slide up in the pocket past two blitzers, abort a planned scramble when another linebacker comes charging up, and peg Stonum for a first down. Jebus. (DO++, 2, protection 0/2, team)
O25 1 10 Shotgun 2-back 2 0 3 Nickel Pass Post Mathews Inc
Aigh! Forcier's first read is Brown on the wheel but he delays coming out of the backfield, faking a block on a DE, and gets covered as a result. Forcier comes off him, zipping forward in the pocket past a rusher and unleashing a ball at a wide open Mathews in the endzone... it's to Tacopants. (IN, 0, protection 2/2)
O25 2 10 Shotgun Trips 1 1 3 Nickel Pass Fly Mathews Inc
Actually comes with a half-roll to the opposite side of the field. Forcier pulls up and comes back to the near side of the field—no safeties. Mathews, as per usual, is pretty covered, but he does have a step on his guy. Ball is OOB. (IN, 0, protection 2/2)
O25 3 10 Shotgun Trips 1 1 3 3-3-5 Nickel Pass Rollout scramble Forcier 14
Rollout sucks everyone to the wide side of the field; Ortmann(-1) lets an MSU DE by that Schilling(+1) manages to dive at and take off his feet with help from the slippery track. Forcier looks over to avoid him, notices the wide open space to that side, and takes off. He's nearing the first down but not there yet when he spins inside a linebacker and still gets OOB. (TA, 0, protection 1/2, Ortmann -1)
O11 1 10 Shotgun Trips 1 1 3 3-3-5 Nickel Pass Rollout scramble Forcier 2
A very similar play to the last one with a rollout and Forcier looking back for Mathews but deciding he's covered. He sees an opening to the side opposite the rollout; this time a DT has peeled around to chase him and tackles at the ankles. Forcier fumbles out of bounds... Michigan was screwed otherwise, because he was coming down in bounds. (TA, NA, protection 2/2)
O9 2 8 Shotgun empty 1 1 3 3-3-5 Nickel Pass AIGH NO Mathews Inc
Forcier fumbles the snap, can't pick it up, finally gets it, no pressure, but he's panicking, and just lofts one into a zillion people that ACTUALLY HITS MATHEWS IN THE FACE MASK, but is dropped. What the hell? If this is complete everyone would explode. (BR, 2, protection 2/2)
O9 3 8 Shotgun empty 1 1 3 3-3-5 Nickel Pass Deep slant Roundtree 9
Epic coverage bust, Forcier rollout, reads it, hits it, touchdown, I know we lost but I need a cigarette and I don't smoke. (CA, 2, protection 1/1)
Drive Notes: Touchdown, 20-20, EOG. Overtime.
Ln Dn Ds O Form RB TE WR D Form Type Play Player Yards
O25 1 10 Shotgun Trips 1 1 3 Nickel Run Zone read keeper Forcier 5
State's contain guy here is actually a safety, so he's away from the LOS. This allows Forcier some room; safety forms up and tackles.
O20 2 5 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 Base 4-3 Pass Rollout out Odoms 7
State lining up a LB inside of Odoms in preparation for a run; Michigan rolls the pocket and has Odoms run an out. Open, Forcier throws, Odoms grabs it as he nears the sidelines. (CA, 3, protection 1/1)
O13 1 10 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 Base 4-3 Run Zone read keeper Forcier 3
State blitzes a linebacker inside and then stunts a defensive end outside of the tackle; the play here is actually the veer Michigan's run a lot and Minor could be poised to zip up into the safeties if he just gets the damn ball; Forcier keeps it. He does have the good sense to see the two guys outside and use Minor as a lead blocker, picking up four . Minor would have been quicker to the hole and more likely to pound someone; if this was actually a read Forcier messed it up.
O10 2 7 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 Nickel Run Zone read veer Minor 2
Um. So again Minor is shooting right upfield with an intent to hit it up quickly when the D overreacts to the stretch, and Michigan pulls Koger around to block the backside DE... Koger just runs right by him. So the DE tackles.
O8 3 5 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 Base 4-3 Pass Rollout deep cross Odoms Int
Michigan rolls the pocket and floods one side the the field; Forcier needs to get rid of it because a blitz confuses the OL and lets Worthy through unblocked. (Ortmann -2, his missed pickup). Forcier might have Koger on a short cross for first down yardage; instead, pressured, he chucks it at a very covered Odoms. Things happen afterwards that are not good. (BR, 0, protection 0/2, Ortmann -2). On replay you can see Odoms slowing up, possibly preparing to break back the other way if Forcier gets scrambly, which allows the safety to overtake him. Error on his part?
Drive Notes: Interception, 20-20, end of first overtime


Yeah. Hamburgers.


Yeah. Charts.

(Hennechart legend; MA is "marginal", screen results are in parens.)


Western Michigan 2 14 1 2 1 2 - 3
Notre Dame 5 20 (6) 2 4 3 3 - 4
Eastern Michigan 1 8 (2) 1 1 (1) 1 4 (1) - -
Indiana 3 13 (3) 1 (1) 2 5 3 - 2
Michigan State 5 19 (3) 2 4 3 3 - 5


Western Michigan - 1 1 1 2 - - -
Eastern Michigan - 1 1 (1) 2 (1) - - - -
Indiana - 1 1 (1) - - - - -
Michigan State - - - - - 2 - -

Goddamn. You wouldn't know it because of all the pressure and the drops killing his stats, but Forcier had a spectacular day. His downfield success rate* was 71%, which is up there with Chad Henne's best game. Chad Henne's best games didn't come with game-killing overtime interceptions, sure. He made three and a half terrible decisions throwing the ball (with the half being the bomb to Koger) and some additional ones in the ground game.

But does anyone remember the "Sheridan Might Start!" meme? Will anyone own up to actually advancing that point of view? No? No.

*((DO + CA) / All Throws Not Marked MA or PR)

There are two man reasons Forcier's numbers didn't live up to the chart above. Reason the first:

This Game Totals
Player 0 1 2 3 0 1 2 3
Hemingway - - 1/1 1/1 2 - 1/1 6/6
Mathews 2 - 0/1 - 7 1/4 1/2 6/6
Stonum - 1/1 1/1 4/4 1 1/2 3/4 8/8
Savoy - - - - 2 - 0/1 3/3
Odoms - 0/1 2/2 3/3 3 1/2 3/4 10/11
Grady-19 - - - 0/1 2 - 1/1 8/11
Roundtree 1 - 1/2 - 1 - 1/2 -
Rogers - - - - - - - -
Koger - 1/2 0/1 0/1 - 2/3 2/3 5/6
Webb - - - - 1 - - 2/3
Minor - - - - - - - -
Brown - 0/1 - 2/3 - 1/3 1/1 5/6
Shaw - - - - - - 0/1 -
Smith - - - - - - - -
Moundros - - - - - - - -

That is three flat drops (Brown's "drop" was not looking for the hot route) and three catchable balls that were not brought in. Add the drops and maybe one or two of the tougher catches and Forcier is now at 22/32 for 260-280 yards and his performance looks almost identical to the Notre Dame game where he unleashed his inner Superman.

Reason the second:

PROTECTION METRIC: 37/57, Team –5, Dorrestein –4, Ortmann –4, Ferrara –3, Huyge –2, Minor –2, Moosman –1.

That is terrible, and large parts of it can be blamed on the absence of one David Molk. People who would not have been playing otherwise picked up –7 and one bad Moosman snap was given –1: more than half of the 15 negative points assigned to specific players on the line are attributable in ways direct or indirect to Molk's foot. And that's not even considering his keenly-felt absence from the run game.

Not going out on a limb: if Molk is healthy Michigan wins. When he got injured and Rodriguez called him Michigan's best player on offense he wasn't kidding. He might not be right, but he was serious.

So the right side of the line just can't block?

It appears so. Michigan again went with Huyge and Dorrestein on the right side and got so discontent with this arrangement that Huyge got pulled for Ferrara, who immediately gave up a crushing sack. GS's run chart is up early enough to directly reference it this week, so: both Huyge and Dorrestein ended up –2, with Ferrara picking up a –1. It's not like the rest of the team covered themselves in glory—your winner on the OL is +1 Ortmann—but there were major problems on the right side of the line in both pass protection and against the run.

All this invites one question: where is supposed new mega-star Patrick Omamaeh? Omameh was the projected starter at right tackle in the spring and now can't find the field despite serious issues over yonder. He remains a redshirt freshman and shouldn't be written off but if he was going to be an uber-star he'd find his way onto the field before a journeyman like Dorrestein. As per usual, the preseason hype machine run by mysterious insiders is of questionable validity.

Is that what happened to the ground game?

Partially. It was odd. On the first play of the game Michigan State brought out this crazy slant that came around the stretch blocks from the other side and crushed Michigan's first offensive play.

I've seen a couple other teams try this—the team foremost in my mind was Penn State last year—get gashed doing it, and then quit. Wisconsin and Penn State used to do this against the DeBord stretch all the time and since Michigan had very little in the way of counters, it worked very well. But IIRC this was about the only time State brought that out.

So it didn't seem that schematic. What I saw happen: Michigan got a reduced number of opportunities because of the game situation and on those limited opportunities there was a ton of terrible execution. Forcier kept the ball when he should have handed it off, most painfully on Michigan's overtime drive where a veer play absolutely had State for a ton of yards and maybe a touchdown but Forcier kept it and was forced to follow Minor into the hole for only four. Twice Brown burst into the open field with a lead blocker and naught but one player between him and the endzone and both times Brown and the lead blocker failed to beat that one guy. Martavious Odoms took a reverse and had absolutely cavernous space to cut up into but did not realize it until far too late and slipped making his cut. On several plays State had left themselves open for a big cutback run behind the center but the tailbacks did not take it. And, yes, the right side of the line repeatedly failed to crease State's DL or chop the backside DT when plays went away from it. State did a good job—on both of those potential big gainers the State player in question made a huge, touchdown saving tackle—but Michigan left a ton of yards on the field. Chalk that up to youth, first road game, rain, injury, whatever.

Why can't we throw the bubble? Everyone else can.

This is why:

Opposing safeties are zooming down into the box to handle it as soon as they see the fake there. Michigan needs to counter this, and quickly, but not with the outside receiver, which is a play that works but doesn't put the fear of God into opponents. Michigan broke out the counter screen to this on the 92-yard drive to tie the game:

And that's something that if it catches the right defense and the right safety/LB freakout will bust for a touchdown. Look for it more.


Tate. Tate Tate Tate. Also Stonum.


The right side of the line. Also Stonum for fumbling. And Greg Mathews has a remarkable knack for getting Forcier to overthrow him or target him in situations where he absolutely should not be targeted.

What does it mean for Iowa and beyond?

Tate is still working on becoming a pocket passer but he put in another Notre Dame-level performance last weekend and every game we get like that is further evidence that he just plays at that level and will do so in the future. Yes, he remains a freshman too prone to scramble out of the pocket and too ready to chuck it into a mess of opponents. There is almost nothing else to criticize.

The run game had a horrible, largely self-inflicted day in a limited sample size. Adjustments should be lowered a bit, especially for the Iowa game, but going forward Michigan should do much better than they did against State. Getting Molk back is key.

Michigan got some clarity on the wide receiver positions: Savoy was not targeted and Grady took a seat after his initial drop. Odoms, Mathews, Stonum, and Hemingway appear to be the main guys there, with Stonum the man who gad the most looks (6). Could he be emerging into the deep threat he was reputed to be? Let's hope so.



October 8th, 2009 at 1:29 PM ^

to really have a chance against Iowa, we're going to need to go to a lot of 4 WR sets (especially Trips) and that really puts the onus on the offensive line...which just had it's worst game of the season. We'll probably have to continue to roll protections instead of being able to drop back normally and cuts down half the field against a team that already plays good zone coverage. If there's no running game on Saturday, it could get rough. Needz moar unicorn dust plz.


October 8th, 2009 at 1:39 PM ^

You could have saved yourself a lot of time by just writing this: "What I saw happen: Michigan got a reduced number of opportunities because of the game situation and on those limited opportunities there was a ton of terrible execution. "

I would say those exact words to anyone who didn't see the game. Great analysis. Those are e-facts right there.


October 8th, 2009 at 1:46 PM ^

It seemed to me State was stacking the box to stop the run/scramble and daring the deep ball. It missed a few times, and on the throw to Koger for big yards it looked like Tate's shoulder was a bit sore and his throw lacked some pop.

I think his arm coupled with the rain limited our ability to make State pay - and let them spy, stop the run and crash bubble screens.

Had we made the plays Brian mentioned it wouldn't have mattered and we still could have pulled out the win, but a healthy Tate makes their terrible secondary pay I think.


October 8th, 2009 at 2:24 PM ^

MSU is basically daring Tate to throw the ball deep. Tate's shoulder was not 100% so it's reasonable for Dantonio to make that assumption. Plus Michigan was top 5 in rushing offense at the time so MSU has reason to sell out against the run especially in the rain where the running team typically has the advantage.


October 8th, 2009 at 1:47 PM ^

Thanks Brian.

On Molk, I don't question his value one bit, or that his absence might have been the *reason* why we lost, and my fingers are crossed that we get him back for PSU. But it absolutely is NOT an *excuse* (note - I'm not suggesting that you said it was). The players replacing him - Dorrestein and Ferrara - are reasonably experienced; if some strange set of circumstances led us to throw a ThreetSheridammit out there to replace him, I'd be more willing to pull out the excuse card. But we should be able to win with our 2nd through 6th best linemen in the game.


October 8th, 2009 at 2:01 PM ^

From the FAQ: (CAPS mine)

"Tacopants is Jason Avant's eleven-foot tall imaginary friend. Chad Henne spent much of 2005 hitting him between the numbers, which are unfortunately eight feet off the ground and made of dreams. Blessed with INFINITE ELIGIBILITY and the ability to sneak on and off the field without alerting the referees -- made of dreams, remember -- Tacopants has taken a lesser role in the offense as Henne matures but still pops up at inopportune times. "

So he'll never run out of eligibility.

03 Blue 07

October 9th, 2009 at 10:56 AM ^

I LIKE it...it's GENIUS. (Old School? Anyone? Anyone?)

I'm on board for Muddy Bottoms. It stays with the "pants" type of theme, and reminds me of blues guitarist Muddy Waters. Very good.

Also, Tacopants lives in Fayetteville, AR. He is roommies/besties with Ryan Mallett. I just hope he's not frenemies with Tate. Those kids and their frenemies these days...

Apparently, he (TP) took a vacation to come up to East Lansing. I wonder if Ryan Mallett was there hanging out with Jeff Smoker's dealer; if that was the catalyst for the trip. I mean, if so, then they clearly have good rock in EL.


October 8th, 2009 at 2:00 PM ^

LOL. I had no idea this was a play.... ha

On a slightly serious note, when I watch the very first play when M was on offense, it really seemed to me that the MSU DT's knew when the ball was going to be snapped. I mean they pretty much both did the same move at the same time to beat the UM O line.

Also about the MSU defense, on the 3rd down throwaway pass (UM's second drive) it looked to me that the MSU LB's were again working as spies / containing Tate. My point is they did that at least 2-3 times during the game.


October 8th, 2009 at 2:00 PM ^

... who thought Mesko, after having taken three steps to his left, may have done the right thing by running because the State guys were in on him and would have blocked the ruby-style roll-out punt. I was wrong.

The end zone camera (used for replay; not lightboxed here) made it seem like the MSU defenders were closer than they actually were. It's clear from the live-action sideline angle that Mesko could have gotten the punt off. I should have, you know, re-watched the live action angle before making that comment. My bad.

I was wrong here, but the note is a good one to keep: on those rugby-style roll-out run/punt option plays, the punter is asked to roll three (or so) steps one way before making the decision. If there happens to be a guy right up in the punter's face, neither option is a good one and the play is doomed. That's not what happened here, though. Mea culpa.

Shalom Lansky

October 8th, 2009 at 2:14 PM ^

Wolverines often laugh at Spartans whose sole focus is the Michigan game. Their head coach scarificed games to Wisconsin and CMU just to work on stopping Michigan, we all laughed. However, once Michigan lost I stopped laughing. Such things are only funny when you win. We lost. As Brian hints at in his post, MSU prepared looks/schemes specifically to stop Michigan. Does/should Michigan do the same? (I'm sure Michigan watched game film on MSU and had a plan going in but from general internet chatter it doesn't sound as if Michigan's approach is as opponent specific).

Is there a point where Michigan should take this into account and prepare for MSU with a bit more focus or are most people of the opinion that within a few years Michigan's team will be so good that Sparty's extra prep. won't matter?

los barcos

October 8th, 2009 at 2:25 PM ^

they havent sacrificed the rest of the season yet, theres still a few more games to be played. lets see how they finish the year before we claim they've given up on the season now that they beat michigan.

los barcos

October 8th, 2009 at 2:37 PM ^

its hard for me to believe this meme that sparty gave away their cmu, nd, and wisc games to beat michigan. other than a mgoblog poster assuming this was the case, and a few new looks and wrinkles during the mich game, i dont see how that argument holds up.

los barcos

October 8th, 2009 at 2:58 PM ^

states remaining schedule:
Western Mich
Penn State

i think they finish 6-6 or 7-5, with the illinois game being a big test whether or not they have a huge emotional let down the rest of the year. i dont see them beating PSU or iowa, even though the games are at home.

FWIW, i still think we finish with at least the same record if not better.


October 8th, 2009 at 3:20 PM ^

And they get them at home. It would be a let down to lose to anybody else on that schedule, underperforming relative to the talent level. This year is a pretty good test of Dantonio's coaching abilities because I think he's working at a relatively minimal talent disparity. If they pick off Penn State, that'll be pretty impressive and gets them to 8-4.


October 8th, 2009 at 2:46 PM ^

I was responding to the Shalom's post where he said MSU did sacrifice, and then asked if M should do the same.

Maybe they didn't focus too much on M and maybe they did. Really only the MSU players/staff will ever know.

los barcos

October 8th, 2009 at 2:53 PM ^

sorry, i wasnt directing that blast at you, just the general sentiment of what ive heard the past few days. i just dont think it holds up.

take a look at what dr detroit copied up at the top of this thread from the spartan blog

"As far as MSU prepping explicitly for this game. They don't. That is the shitty defense they have run all year. The shitty defense I have been reviewing. The shitty defense I have been bitching about. It didn't change. Against Wisconsin, MSU added the wrinkle of having the DBs line up in tight coverage. Other than that, it was the same against CMU and ND. The only change that was added for Michigan was how far out the third LB would split when Michigan had trips to one side.

Like I said in my UFR, the difference between the first 55 minutes and the last 5 minutes was Michigan finally started executing. All of the Michigan miscues are what cost them this game. "

we cant really say that msu sold out the season for this, as much as we can say we played the worst game of the year so far...

Shalom Lansky

October 8th, 2009 at 3:51 PM ^

I may have exaggerated a bit, I didn't literally mean that State didn't pay attention to their other opponents at all and studied Michigan film on the sideline during other games, but if (IF!) State does a little extra to prepare for Michigan, does Michigan do a little extra to prepare for State? And if not, does 2 straight losses to MSU mean they should?


October 8th, 2009 at 2:43 PM ^

Sorry, I guess I was sort of going to the next logical step.

If MSU would sacrifice their previous games to prepare for their #1 rival (us), then would we sacrifice our early games to prepare for our #1 rival (OSU, which would be the last game of the season, thus sacrificing the whole season).

I know that's a bit of hyperbole, but I could see somebody going there eventually.


October 8th, 2009 at 2:25 PM ^

I felt watching the game that our line was doing a terrible job blocking but I didn't realize our TE and RBs had such a terrible day too. I still see a glimmer of hope since we weren't just beaten by a lack of talent but had a lot of poor execution. Let's hope this is the low point for blocking from here on. And may Molk's bone stimulator continue to heal the foot of destiny.


October 8th, 2009 at 2:30 PM ^

Any idea why Rodriguez wasn't using a fullback at all in the two-back sets? Although I only saw two specific instances in the UFR, it seemed like a few missed blocks by Minor or Brown held down bigger gains, and a fullback might have made that block. The specific plays in the UFR are the first play of the fifth drive and then the third play of the sixth drive. Why wouldn't he put in someone who would make those blocks? Does the lack of flexibility to run either direction offset the extra blocking ability?


October 8th, 2009 at 3:01 PM ^

is a fullback when he lead blocks for Brown. He was the #1 fullback in the nation as a highschooler. And normally, he is very solid when it comes to blocking. When you combine the danger he adds in running and catching, I think the Brown/Minor backfield is our most versatile and dangerous without giving up any blocking. He just had a bad day.


October 8th, 2009 at 2:40 PM ^

that we were still able to force OT given the level of stink we saw all day ofensively. the line was horrific. that is where it begins and ends. this team has had too many 3 & outs the last 2 weeks. i wish we ran the OT drive like we did the drive to tie at the end of regulation. they had no answers when we spread them out 4 or 5 wide.


October 8th, 2009 at 2:41 PM ^

I have been waiting all week for this!!!!

The Other Side:


On why Michigan can't throw the bubble screen. Offensive Analysis 2 of 17, MSU blitzes the two LBs in the box. Everyone else is in man coverage which is why the safety rushes towards the LOS and the slot receiver. 34 Denson, the other player highlighted, has man coverage on Brown which is why he heads towards the play.

As far as MSU prepping explicitly for this game. They don't. That is the shitty defense they have run all year. The shitty defense I have been reviewing. The shitty defense I have been bitching about. It didn't change. Against Wisconsin, MSU added the wrinkle of having the DBs line up in tight coverage. Other than that, it was the same against CMU and ND. The only change that was added for Michigan was how far out the third LB would split when Michigan had trips to one side.

Like I said in my UFR, the difference between the first 55 minutes and the last 5 minutes was Michigan finally started executing. All of the Michigan miscues are what cost them this game.


October 8th, 2009 at 2:51 PM ^

You say "As far as MSU prepping explicitly for this game. They don't. That is the shitty defense they have run all year."

That doesn't prove that they haven't been prepping explicitly for this game. It could even give evidence that they have been.

If they installed this defense specifically to counter Michigan (not saying they did, just IF), then they would be running it all year to learn it better to prep for Michigan. Otherwise they would have tailored their defense to the specific offense they were playing.


October 8th, 2009 at 2:50 PM ^

you know, this game was really disappointing in that we didn't win but there's just so much to be proud of!!!1 these guys r going to turn it around 4 sure and i kno we'll all be watching and cheering lol


October 8th, 2009 at 3:06 PM ^

Odoms, Mathews, Stonum, and Hemingway appear to be the man guys there, with Stonum the man who gad the most looks (6).

I like it! Beats having Chick Guys at the position!

Just teasing, obviously. Great stuff, as always, Brian!

Greg McMurtry

October 8th, 2009 at 3:22 PM ^

about the final offensive play for UM. Pause the vid right when the camera angle changes to the end zone camera and take a look. Odoms is ahead of his man, Tate sees it and instantly begins his throwing motion. Then, right about the time the ball is leaving Tate's hand, Odoms looks like he wants to cut and reverse direction. I believe that Odoms' view of Tate is blocked until he sees the ball in the air. However, he has already lost his position on the defender and we know the outcome. You can't blame Tate on this as it may have been a TD if Odoms continues his route, and it's difficult to blame Odoms on this other than the fact that as a receiver he should not cut away from the rolling QB (meaning cut left.) It's just one of those things that happens in a game of inches.


October 8th, 2009 at 3:41 PM ^

Quote: "*((DO + CA) / All Throws Not Marked MA or PR)"

Since BA is the fault of the line, and therefore should not be counted in total throws, and MA is the fault of the QB, and therefore should be counted in total throws?


October 9th, 2009 at 9:29 AM ^

If MSU does something specific to prep for Michigan, then evidently the offense has not changed much from 2007.


Watch the 4th quarter come back and you will see the same awesome defensive sets MSU used against Lloyd Carr's team as they used against RichRod's the last two years.

Three LBs on the field at all times. Nickel package involves removing a defensive lineman, best shot of that is on Henne's last TD pass.