Blind Squirrels

Submitted by Brian on October 22nd, 2012 at 11:53 AM

10/21/2012 – Michigan 12, Michigan State 10 – 5-2, 3-0 Big Ten



Denard Robinson is 13 of 29 for 143 yards; he's run 20 times for 96 yards. His team is down a point and has managed to turn 120 seconds into eighteen without moving the ball anywhere near plausible field goal range. A few drives ago Jeremy Gallon was as wide open as you can be on third and goal and Denard blasted it hard and behind the guy—if it was to keep it away from a defender it was because the throw was late—or Michigan would lead by three.

Behind me, some Michigan State meathead has spent the better part of four quarters screaming "throw it, Denard, huh huh huh." Juggalo Nation, reprazent.

"Is this guy really a QB I'll say my mans vento is a better QB lol. S/O to my boy vento by the way."

-Denicos Allen, MSU linebacker, on Denard and MSU walk-on QB Tommy Vento, 9/1/2012

Michigan has second and eleven but more importantly they have seventeen seconds to get in field goal range. State shows a three man rush but also sends Denicos Allen; Allen stunts inside Will Gholston, who Lewan has nerfed, and hits Ricky Barnum at full speed. Barnum gives ground—a lot of ground. Allen is flying up into the pocket, where Denard would be.

Denard has started to roll.


"DENARD IS SOOOO BAD! And it makes me feel so good."

-Kyle Artinian, MSU safety, 9/1/2012

The roll is bad. The roll takes out most of Michigan's routes, spends time Michigan doesn't have, removes downfield possibilities Michigan desperately needs. In the stands, my heart sinks. I have seen this script before, not just watching Michigan, but watching everyone. Michigan's win probability is sinking like a stone with every step Denard takes outside the pocket.

Denard stops. The roll steps have gotten Roy Roundtree a bracket, and made the middle of the field lonely.


Barnum has continued shoving Allen past everything. Gholston, lined up against Lewan, is as relevant to the play as I am. Denard sets his feet.

"I can play quarterback for the school in blue."

-Jamal Lyles, MSU linebacker, 9/1/2012

Denard decides setting his feet is not for him. He starts moving up in the pocket as the State nose tackle sheds Elliot Mealer.


Dileo's head is in a better spot to tackle someone than Gholston

As all of this has occurred with half the people on the field, the other half have been fighting hand-to-hand in remote locations. Drew Dileo has started outside, then come inside of MSU safety Isaiah Lewis. Lewis is tracking, in decent position. Dileo is entering a window between two underneath defenders. It's huge since Denard's temporary roll has caused Max Bullough to chase Roundtree—the roll truly was doomed.

Denard is moving up in a pocket that is less a pocket and more a space occupied by a no-longer-blocked Michigan State defender by the moment. He has not rolled. He is stepping into the future, whatever it brings.

Denard cocks, and throws. The stadium stops. The throw has to be on a line, at Dileo's chest. It's 20 yards downfield. As each frame ticks by, universes begin and end.

"Even a blind squirrel can get a nut ever once in a while...,"

-Nick Hill, MSU running back, 9/1/2012

It's in the number—not numbers. Drew Dileo only has one. It's #9. Denard uses the enclosed space in that number as a bullseye.


Michigan rushes to the line to spike the ball. Mark Dantonio watches Michigan execute a maneuver that cost him a game last week when his team went all John L Smith on it.



I keep thinking about how this clown beat us in the clutch. Sure, we beat ourselves, but for all the times we've shit on him for his arm or lack of, what did he do in the final minute?

Pride comes before... DAMN IT!

-Venomous G. Duck, 10/21/2012


…I mean, the guy knows. He's heard it all, whether he'll admit it or not. In this game the defenses dominated as both quarterbacks struggled to about 5.6 yards per attempt. The difference: Denard outrushed MSU's offense by himself and threw a meaningless interception on an end-of-half Hail Mary while Maxwell chucked one into Kovacs's chest after Michigan State had been set up with good field position. Run and armpunt that, homeboy.

"We've beat Michigan the last four years. So where's the threat?"

-Mark Dantonio, 4/18/2012

The remainder of Michigan State's season is a choice between not going to a bowl game and helping Michigan make the Rose Bowl.

Michigan State found a few nuts when one Michigan coach hung on too long and a second employed Greg Robinson, and couldn't wait to tell everybody every day all day. In the aftermath, they're asking Brady Hoke if they're as important as Ohio State and saying it's a real rivalry and it's level footing now, because Michigan is apparently also busy cutting off recruiting coordinators for no apparent reason and talking trash because Michigan State is losing a game. The little brother thing keeps getting brought up because it is the truest thing anyone has ever said about a 100-year-old football program.

Whatever. Michigan is rounding up a selection of ass-kickers and has its sights set on bigger things than one game against a program that's never been in a BCS bowl and hasn't seen Pasadena in 25 years. It doesn't matter if MSU or Iowa is Iowa. What matters is in Schembechler Hall, and MSU players watching Michigan play Alabama know it.


After the game, DenardX tweeted something about walk-on quarterbacks. 

Me and the rest of the QBs after the game with our home boy Paul Bunyan!!! #GoBlue @teamdgizzle @rbellomy


As of press time, Denicos Allen has not given a shoutout to his boy Tommy Vento.


Eric's photoset:

Parkinggod highlights:

Other highlights from a guy named noonkick. Field level end of game video:

Presser videos from mgovideo: HokeLewan/Roh/Roundtree, Dileo/Gibbons, Roundtree is going to love that Paul Bunyan trophy yo. MVictors photos. Maize and Blue Nation photos.




brady-hoke-epic-double-point_thumb_3_thumbBrady Hoke Epic Double Point Of The Week. Come on down, Drew Dileo. You caught over two-thirds of Denard's passing yardage and are now The Threat. Viva slot receivers.

Honorable mention: Jake Ryan (obvs), JT Floyd (they tried but could never bust him), Greg Mattison (I mean, my God), Denard Robinson (HEYYYY COLUMN LADY), Taylor Lewan (Tom Lolston), Kenny Demens (LeVeon Bell, welcome to 2.6 YPC), Jordan Kovacs (ditto).

Epic Double Point standings.

3: Jake Ryan (ND, Purdue, Illinois)
2: Denard Robinson (Air Force, UMass)
1: Jeremy Gallon(Alabama), Drew Dileo (Michigan State)



DEE-FENSE. That image above is just perfect. LeVeon Bell crapped out 2.6 yards a carry against OSU… and 2.6 yards a carry against Michigan. That's all DL stuff and while the Michigan State line had the services of Dan France, they were out two of their three starters for most of the OSU game and did not have Treadwell much; Treadwell went the whole way against M and AFAIK Ethan Ruhland did not make an appearance. Dion Sims was gimpy; other than that it's basically the same performance against the same team.

Bell never got caught behind the line, which makes the 2.6 YPC even more impressive since Michigan didn't RPS their way into any TFLs. Michigan won the battle on third and short against LeVeon Bell. Thumbs up.

CLOCK MANAGEMENT. That was verbatim tweet I sent out Saturday and holy pants, WTF. Some of that was crappy luck and crappy decisions—Toussaint catching the Butterfield/Breaston memorial DON'T YOU DARE CATCH THAT pass, Denard checking down in the first place, but at one point the entire stadium was on its feet screaming SNAP THE BALL at once after Michigan let almost 20 seconds run off the clock for no apparent reason. Michigan had already burned nine seconds before the review on the Denard third-and-two lunge; they burned off a few more before snapping the ball.

If this was a one time thing it would be a one-time thing; after last year's Iowa two-minute debacle it's an issue. I don't think this is much on the players when they're looking to the sideline for a call, especially after Michigan burned two timeouts in this game just trying to get the playcall in.

Michigan huddling for half the playclock is killing me. There's no reason to do it, it doesn't seem to help their attempts to audible out of obvious blitzes, and their lack of practicing at tempo is an obvious detriment when they need to go fast.

8106512600_8361189f20_z[1]Jake Ryan crazy thing of the week. This is not actually the Maxwell sack pictured at right, which came about after Ryan went around the 250-pound Bell like he was not there for Michigan's only TFL of the week. Though that was pretty awesome, you guys.

Even so, the crazy thing Ryan did this week was facing down three blockers on a screen that MSU had set up like whoah, trashing the guy who peeled off to deal with him, and holding Michigan State to seven yards. Michigan booted state off the field on the subsequent third and short.

Totals: 10 tackles, 8 solo, Michigan's only sack. HE'S SLIGHTLY GOOD YOU GUYS SRSLY

JT Floyd. It was clear once MSU started taking regular shots downfield that they had identified JT Floyd as the weak spot on the Michigan defense, but he held tough. The catch-and-YAC five yard hitch first downs from the Purdue game were eliminated entirely; he got beat deep by a step or two each time but was in good enough position that the throws had to be perfect lest he pull the press Michael Floyd and live (or "trail") technique.

The throws weren't perfect, and the only long completions Maxwell managed were against Thomas Gordon (bad play by him on a ball he would have had a play on if he found it) and Raymon Taylor (got an interference call and gave up an admittedly spectacular completion late). Floyd got off without issue.

What's more, MSU's big idea to get a touchdown on short yardage was to line up a fullback over Floyd and run Bell at him. Floyd held up, got the edge, kept leverage at the numbers, and prevented Bell from getting outside, whereupon Desmond Morgan helped him tackle. The guy had a target on his back all day and came through with flying colors.

Fumbles. Are a bitch.



Somehow Michigan did not recover this one, nor the other one, despite having nothing but Michigan players surrounding the Spartan who clutched the ball like it was a nugget of gold.


Denard, my man. I am totally down with the whole "not getting torn limb from limb by defenses" thing, but…



…dude, there is a time and place to put your body on the line and turning your 44 yard run late in the fourth quarter into 50 is it.

Denard's bad throw to Gallon. Eric got a great shot of it:



Watching the replay, Denard is throwing it in the heart of the window between the two linebackers. Gallon should be sitting between the two guys; he overruns it a bit. My thinking here is influenced by seeing Borges at that coaches clinic, where he mentioned that he wants his QBs to hold up his receivers against zone coverage.

Still, probably at least 75% Denard. He's rifling that at a guy barely ten yards downfield so his margin for error is extremely small; he doesn't read the fact that he is wide, wide open and he can just soft toss it to him.

Matt Wile: most useful backup kicker ever. Matt Wile may not have displaced Keith Stone Sasquatch Brendan Gibbons as Michigan's starting kicker but he's the best third-most-important kicker since I've been watching Michigan football. He:

  • kicks most kickoffs into the endzone
  • is a pretty effective pooch-punter
  • had a good plain-old punting record last year when Hagerup was jittery
  • nailed a 48-yard field goal that, along with all other field goals, was the winning margin.

If either kicker got injured he'd step into their shoes. Michigan should be fine on the kicking stuff for a while now. Note foregone pun.

Hagerup confidence : 2012 :: Gibbons confidence : 2011. Whatever happened with Hagerup last year to tack a four-game suspension on to his OSU suspension from 2010 led to a lot of shanks and mortifiedpunter.gif. After a couple of Sugar Bowl shanks, Wile displaced Hagerup for the rest of the game.

At that point it was writin' off time, like Gibbons after 2010. When Hagerup was still atop the depth chart in September, that made people suspicious. It wasn't alarming like Gibbons since Wile was around and fairly established, but it was only 50-50 to stick. Stuck it has. Hagerup's averaging 47.5 yards a kick and would be fourth nationally if he had enough punts to qualify.

Special teams coach: do we have one or not? The fake punt was… frustrating. Michigan's trying to set up a return, which you can't really do against a spread punt anyway, and they're playing a team that loves nothing more than faking punts and field goals. Somehow this combination results in three guys leading the punter and blocking no one at all. Michigan's even got a designated special teams/TEs guy, but they can't cover or block on punts and they got gashed for 30 yards by a punter. WTF.

Michigan did get a big return out of Gallon at the end of the first half but even that emphasized the difference in punt coverage. Gallon had to split two unblocked guys and then run laterally past a second wave. Meanwhile the one Hagerup punt that was not a 48-yard, five-second-hang unreturnable moonball was a free 15 yards for the punt returner since MSU doubled a gunner and no one else on that side of the ball got downfield.

Whatever they're doing with the kickers is great… but is that anything other than hot babes visualization exercises? I'm not sure. Everything else is questionable at best.



Game theory bits. There wasn't a whole lot of interest from my eyes but a couple of decisions have sucked up post-game airtime.

  • MSU threw on second down on their last drive. Not even close: right call. LeVeon Bell was averaging 2.6 yards a carry and had just been stuffed for nothing. Maybe you want some slants or a hitch or something instead of what they threw but you can't assume Michigan is going to run the worst successful two minute drill ever. All running on second down accomplishes is spending a Michigan timeout; getting the first down ends the game.
  • Michigan punted on fourth and seven from the MSU 42 early. Did not have a problem with this. Not in true no man's land, yardage pretty big, and if you're in the kind of game that ends 12-10 puntosaur technology is the right tech.
  • MSU attempted a 38-yard field goal on fourth and one from the 21. This was debatable—one of reasons puntosaur tech makes sense is that even if you get the first down you're probably kicking anyway. Is MSU going to score a TD? Eh… probably not. A 38-yarder is well within the range in which you expect your established PK to hit it. Even so… that was fourth and capital-S Short. If MSU is intimidated by Michigan's short yardage defense… well, I get that. Probably a mistake but in a puntosaur game I get it.

The assumption you're making on those early calls is that you are in a puntosaur game. IME, that was clear from the get-go.

Oh for crap's sake. Dollars to donuts this is new LSJ beatwriter and slappy Graham "Alex Carder Best Quarterback In The State™" Couch:

I don’t know if you guys saw after the game, but I almost got trampled out there. [MGo: -_______-] Have the fans ever trampled the field like that after a Michigan State win? Is this rivalry getting to the level of Ohio State?

[update: Heiko says it was a photographer, not Couch; stuff below stands.]

No, and no.

Couch derided Junior Hemingway—yup, Junior Hemingway—for his classlessness after the game in a tweet, going so far as to hashtag his tweet "#classless," because he interpreted Michigan's rush to get a Paul Bunyan trophy that was on the sideline last year but not this year as taunting. He's since deleted the tweet, because nothing goes better with stupidity than cowardice.

BONUS: This blog already has a "Graham Couch's laughable homerism" tag from his days covering WMU.

Pom poms. I thought I was good when the guy three rows in front of me was an Air Force veteran—so said his hat—who would clearly rather eat glass than wave a pom-pom, but then some Ladies who Just Wanted To Have Fun ended up two rows in front of me. At some point I had to say "please don't wave those so high" because I couldn't see the field, at which point they said "it's a football game" and I said "I KNOW I WOULD LIKE TO SEE IT."

I don't know, man. This isn't an old man thing, it's just… if there are pom poms it is a guarantee that some dip in front of you will forget that there are people behind them and act affronted when you say there are people behind them. This is amazingly consistent in my and my friends experience: ask the kind of person who waves a pom-pom during actual football plays to not do that and you will be subjected to a "whateva, I do what I want" style rant and petulant extra-vigorous pom-pom shaking. And yet if I was to take the pom-pom and stuff it down the pom-pom waver's throat, I would be the one removed from the stadium.

Pom poms suck, because society.

Special K. False hope is worse than death.

What the incentive program should be. Any student who wasn't in the stadium at kickoff shouldn't be allowed to buy tickets next year. I mean, seriously: a 3:30 kick for the only decent home game all year and the upper 20 rows of the student section are half-full means the student section is too big.


Inside The Box Score:

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.

bronxbblue has a new thing called Best and Worst:

Best:  “It’s an in-state rival. But we have bigger expectations

I’m sure this is a bit of coach-speak, but it is also something that needed to be said. Since, oh, the Eastern Michigan game, I don’t think most people saw MSU as a legitimate Big 10 championship team. The offense was too crippled by a porous line, poor WRs, and a somewhat-shaky QB to keep pace with teams like Wisconsin, UM, OSU, and Nebraska. The Iowa game cemented their ceiling for the year at 7-8 wins, even with an elite defense.

Outside of the Alabama game, though, UM’s ceiling was never defined.  Notre Dame was a tough loss but one that felt more self-inflicted than the team meeting a superior opponent. Purdue and Illinois proved only that UM was probably as good as Louisiana Tech and and Marshall. MSU, frankly, was not going to validate UM’s season, but only give them another breakpoint from which to calibrate their potential.

And that’s what Hoke encapsulates in this statement.  He recognizes that MSU is a rival and the game mattered, but this wasn’t the season.


Spartanfreude section. The "Post Your Big (Jail) House experience" thread is pretty good from an M standpoint—no one reports much untoward aside from some verbal sparring, and even that is pretty tame.

I was in Section 8 and saw some arguing going on. On the way back to the car had 3 assholes walking in back of us talking shit like everyone above said, "Little brother put back in his place again", "Leveon Bell for Heisman....", "130 seasons of football and 900 wins", "UM is back in their rightful place". This yapping went. on for the whole walk thru the golf course. Mind you that I took my 74 year old dad to the game. I finally blew. Stopped in my tracks and had a few words. That slightly shut them up.

A 74-year-old man had to listen to people describe how many wins Michigan had acquired, and was exposed to the opinion that Michigan State is not as good at football as Michigan. #thugs

This Guy:

Cut my hand open, Michigan fans threatened to "throw me out of the stadium" for cheering, got my backpack stolen, bought macaroni salad on the walk home. Typical saturday. Also I got called ugly a lot. I'm like a 6 let's be real.

Edit: in retrospect, I probably swore around children a lot more than I should have

Also This Guy:

It's an awful place. Will never return after my last visit in 2010, when I had to be retstrained from attacking Walvies who kept telling me to go back to jail. Nothing about the experience is fun, no matter the result.

And this guy made TWIS but you get a taste early:

Rolled out of bed today more upset and sick than last night

This sucks. Facing the world this week with every UM drag sporting that cocky arrogant grin, wearing their colors -unwashed.
I hate this.

Many if you rcmb'rs are too you to remember all the games from late 80's until Dantonio era.... I hate this week. I can't wait for the first one to offer some sort of mild apology or winning with fg's... Kill.

That is the same This Guy who complained about the Michigan fans who had the audacity to tell him the game would be close and Michigan wasn't good last week. If this man was ever exposed to a real taunt his head would disintegrate into a fine mist.

Blog folks. HSR:

Spock: Well, Michigan was quite fortunate to have won that game.

Kirk: Woooo!  Don't care!  Wooooo!  Woooo!  Woooo!

Spock: Four field goals is hardly the offensive output necessary over the long term to win the Big Ten Championship.

Kirk: Don't care!  Don't care!  Woooooo!  Woooo!  What the Dileo?!?  Wooo!


As J. Lehman was interviewing Hoke during pregame (above), I heard a woman on the sideline (with a sideline pass mind you) gesture over to Hoke and ask, “Is that the coach?”. I gave the Jim Halpert stare to anyone who wanted it. And a lot of guys wanted it.

BWS points out that Michigan passed on 7 of 26 first downs, and only 5 of 22 before the two-minute drill. The lack of a reliable play action option really hurt in this one. I'm not sure why Michigan can't throw outs to their slot receivers.

The MZone has wallpaper and shiny helmet taunting. Five takes from MNBN. Holding the Rope. Maize and Go Blue. TTB.

The Only Colors has postgame react from the MSU perspective:

There aren't going to be any four-game winning streaks in this rivalry again for a long time. ("It takes four years. Of course it will be a long time." Shut up, guy). MSU will get the favorable schedule U-M has enjoyed for the next two years, and both teams are starting to stockpile talent. (If you bring up recruiting rankings, I'm going to punch you).

MSU fans are still clinging to the recruiting-rankings-are-meaningless thing. They're in for a harsh reality check once Michigan's recruiting rankings are paired with something other than crippling attrition, lackadaisical talent evaluation, and crappy coaching. Maybe not next year, when Michigan's breaking in a new quarterback and the upperclass talent levels are still relatively even, but after that… back to the salt mines, Sparty. Or maybe Alabama, OSU, and USC are only good because of their helmets.

SBN's Bobby Big Wheel was randomly at the game and randomly ended up on the field and wrote a thing defending being on the field:

…most college kids use "if it feels good, do it" as their main decision-making rule, not a six-factor test. Thus, a few jumped on the field. At first, I smiled and wondered how I'd get out of the stadium, but more people started jumping the fence. Michigan Stadium goes out instead of up, and the student section seems to run 100 rows deep. So, I learned that when you have a mile of drunk, yellow-clad college kids behind you and someone says you're rushing the field, you're rushing the field.

That's how I, a 28-year-old, job-having person, rushed the field at Michigan Stadium. And I did it con gusto. I joined in the chants, yelled "wooooo!" a lot and got my picture taken with the band. It might have been the rum and "Coke" (I suspect that the mixer was either another type of rum or a non-poisonous brand of varnish) that I'd been taking swigs of during the game, but it was still a fantastic experience. Please keep in mind that I have no ties to the University of Michigan beyond a sister in grad school there. Never mind that; running around a football field makes you feel alive.

I have to admit I rolled my eyes at the field-rush, which was epic in its half-assery. The first students over the wall waited for the team to leave the field, basically, and then it was a slow trickle as only 30-40% of the people in the front row at any particular juncture actually wanted to get on the field. The contrast from last year's OSU field rush to this one was appropriately vast.

Q: I can't remember anyone ever rushing the field outside of the 1997 OSU game before the two incidents mentioned above. Can anyone else?

The HSR is figuring out what's going on in the game based on Ace's ability to keep all of his veins in his head. Dr. Sap's decals go to Dileo, Floyd, and Gibbons, plus others. Brady Hoke's Pet Viking reprazent. MVictors did this:


MVictors is pretty cool, yo.

There is another Wangler. Not Jack Wangler. Another another Wangler. Michigan picked up a commit from a guy who makes Logan Tuley-Tillman seem small.

Media folks. Nesbitt column. Baumgardner explains what happened at the end of the game with the "classless" business hopeless unprofessional slappy Couch mentioned:

Moments after Michigan's 12-10 win over Michigan State on Saturday in Ann Arbor, Lewan, teammate Roy Roundtree and a host of other Michigan players rushed the field and sprinted toward the Spartan sideline.

They were, of course, searching for the famous Paul Bunyan Trophy. But the effort was futile.

"This was my first time beating Michigan State, so I don't know how this works," Lewan said, believing Michigan was supposed to receive the trophy from MSU after the game. "I ran over there to get the Paul Bunyan Trophy, because I remember (MSU having it on the field once before).

"I didn't see him until I went into the locker room. ... I think they were upset about it."

The Michigan victory brings the trophy back to Ann Arbor for the first time since 2007, even if it wasn't brought onto the field Saturday.

After beating the Wolverines for a fourth straight time last season, Michigan State players were seen celebrating with the massive trophy on the field at Spartan Stadium. On Saturday, though, the exchange was more low-key -- it was done somewhere inside the stadium tunnel, and the trophy was waiting for the Wolverines in their locker room after the game.

More classless behavior.

Wojo. Gibbons called the attempt to ice him "pointless." You've come a long way, baby. Chengelis no doubt jinxes Gibbons.

Michigan is 20th in both polls. Jennings on The Threat, who is a football player. Grades. Numbers. Avoiding predictability.



October 22nd, 2012 at 12:40 PM ^

I came across this:


"And Nike/Adidas/Scool ADs, just because you call it a "special" jersey, fans aren't stupid enough to spend $80 to buy another one with an extra stripe or two each season (tell me you're not stupid enough)."


Except every time I watch a game all the way from Korea and see someone wearing a UTL or Bumblebee jersey and I have to relive yet another painful childhood memory because I've rolled my eyes that far into my head.


October 22nd, 2012 at 12:40 PM ^

Student here: I understand the sentiment of decreasing the student section size because the top half of the stadium "looks" empty at kickoff but you have to realize no one sits in their assigned seat. If you have the tippy top row and you get to the game 25 minutes early you are sneaking down to row 50. In my eyes by getting there early you have earned that right. This process happens repeatedly and repeatedly and the outcome is a super packed spoonfest in lower section and a seemingly empty/sparsely populated student section.


Also, anoher factor to consider is how many students show up to the big house on time but have to wait in lines for 20 minutes while people too old to know what twitter  is try to scan your ticket and check your MCard. 



The FannMan

October 22nd, 2012 at 1:06 PM ^

Not to be the old guy who says, "back in my day" but, back in my day, no one ever sat if their seats either.  ("My day" started with the 1989 season, FWIW.)  It was all the staff could do to keep us in our own sections, and that was only marginally sucessful at best.  As far as I know, this has always been the case.  Also, twenty minutes is the same wait that I remember, if not shorter.  However, the student section still filled up with the late arrivals getting the nose-bleed seats.

I have no idea what is going on, but there are noticable areas of the student section that are empty for every game.  This is something new.  (For the last 12 seasons or so I have had seats in Section 9, so I have a great view of it.)  Something has changed.  Not sitting in your seats and long lines are not that something.


October 22nd, 2012 at 2:45 PM ^

What's changed, I think, is they figured out how to prevent students who can't go to the game from selling their tickets.

I had tickets every year but one (not my fault, that) and stil had to miss about a game a year. Three times a game fell on a high holy day (I went to one). A few times my dad came and I sat with him instead of in my Row 80 corner spot.

Each time, however, it was no big deal because I could sell my ticket to some alum or away fan. There were always plenty of non-students spattered around our section, and plenty of students who had things come up, or had too big of a weekend workload, or whose parents have a box and invited them up.

Today for a student to sell their ticket it has to get validated. That means the student fronting the difference and figuring out where to go to make it happen (something they're not gonna do for any game but MSU) or finding another student to buy it.

I would expect the alumni sections feature even higher attrition, but there's no similar restriction for passing along the tickets, and since most sit in their own seats the spaces are scattered around the stadium and filled in by relaxed shoulders and non-compressed rumps. In the student section everyone present squishes down, and the empties are left for all to see.

The FannMan

October 22nd, 2012 at 5:01 PM ^

You may be onto something. However, I recall our tickets in the 90s as being one pack where your seat number was on the very back. Each game was torn off the packet as you went in, but you had to have the whole season, including the back with your section and seat number, to get in. That way you had to either sell the whole pack or really trust the person to bring the rest of the season back if you sold one game.

There is no doubt that us alums sell more games than students. (There are some obvious reasons for that.) Barriers to secondary sales of student tickets may account for some empty seats. Still that is not new and the empty seat thing does seem to be a recent issue.


October 24th, 2012 at 12:40 AM ^

Definitely don't remember any "packet" rules--must be before my time. I arrived with the Halo.

I pulled out some of my old tickets from the late '90s and early '00s to make the lead image for the ticket bubble article in HTTV. The student tickets were really cheap old fashioned looking tickets that ripped off each other and had ads on the backs for things like Free Babino Bread from Papa Romanos or a Pepsi at Olga's.

One of my tickets didn't match my seats from that year and had a phone number on it, and I finally figured out it was a girl I ran into who gave me her number by writing it on her ticket. The # had to be photoshopped out of HTTV. I don't think I ever called her. Sorry mystery 1999 girl at 734-764-xxxx!


October 22nd, 2012 at 1:08 PM ^

I agree with this 100%. I was in the student section in row 18 and I can tell you it was packed to the gills 10 minutes before kickoff. No one in the nosebleeds is going to sit up there if they can help it, especially when there is zero enforcement against moving around.


October 22nd, 2012 at 1:31 PM ^

This wasn't "everyone tries to get close so a couple of rows in the back are empty."  At kickoff for the biggest home game of the year the student section was probably a quarter empty. You can't fit THAT many people into front rows, especially on a jacket and sweatshirt weather day.

I will say in the students mild defense, the whole Stadium seemed to be a slow fill Saturday. At the start it didn't seem completely full, and the aisles weren't full of people trying to get down. When I got there I expected a line already for a game this big, but I pretty much walked to the gate.  And I wasn't an hour early.

Maybe this game has become enough of an entertainment hub that people are socializing later.  I know it may not have matched the insanity of two years ago, but this year I not only had people park in front of my house (which only happens maybe once or twice a year) but people tailgating in the street in front of my house. (Hey, it was cool, just a surprise when I went to check for mail).

Not that any of that is an excuse to not be there for THIS game on time.


October 22nd, 2012 at 1:40 PM ^

That's just it though. If a non-student section was only 75%-80% filled, you'd probably never notice since everyone is in their seats and the lack of density isn't nearly as noticeable as the 80% of students crammed into 70% of the available space, with the other 30% open.

I don't think not everyone being in the stands at kick off is new, nor really even realistic. But when I was a student (99-03), the ushers at least made sure you were supposed to be either heading up from the entrance or down. Now people are literally running down as low as they can until the aisles are plugged up and filtering out from there to take up any available space. 


October 22nd, 2012 at 2:15 PM ^

Row 37 just behind the band, as well as 10 rows +/- each had 20 extra students packed in their row. Luckily, my small group noticed it was starting to fill up (10 min to kickoff) so we held our ground. We standed with reasonable space, while 10 kids next to us were standing side ways, between 4 seats. All this so they could be with each other. 

Also, our aisle ways were flooded, and you couldn't even go up the steps. 


I hate to say this, but they should make it like MSU. Students who arrive early get the better seats, while the late people get worse seats. Have Seniors at least get their section with guarenteed best seating, while the others fight for the middle ground.


or, just start making people that sit on the top, have to go to the top. And keep them there. They had no problem doing so 2 years ago it seemed...


October 22nd, 2012 at 12:41 PM ^

I appreciate the early preview of TWIS and I cannot wait until the full TWIS goes up later this week.  I figure they'll get the tears of unfathomable sadness, but I wouldn't be surprised if they have the Scott Tenorman as well.  


October 22nd, 2012 at 1:40 PM ^

...after the 1985 win over Ohio. The wall was lower then so it was much easier to reach the field surface.

There was even an unsuccessful attempt to pull down the south end zone goal post. After a few minutes of non-intervention, the cops started deploying under the goal post with night sticks drawn and begain yanking down kids who were hanging from the crossbar.

Good times. Srsly.

lexus larry

October 22nd, 2012 at 1:55 PM ^

To Hammer:  Not too many other occurrences of field rushes since the turn of the millenium, that I'm aware of, if any others.

To MGS:  Same with Purdue '82, except we were successful in taking down one of the uprights (maybe both?), which wouldn't come down until someone leapt onto the thing, causing it to come down FAST...luckily no one was in the landing path.  And that accordion/domino effect of people falling over, immobilizing those in the general area can be disconcerting (though with enough lingering effects of your favorite beverage, you're willing to ride it out).


October 22nd, 2012 at 2:18 PM ^

My very first game at the stadium ended with a field rush. 1985 vs Iowa, a last-second game-winning FG. The year before, the two teams were ranked #1&2, and they had won with a FG at the end, so this return of the favor was pretty sweet. That was a good rivalry back then between those Bo and Hayden Frye teams.

Seems lowering the field has made a pretty big difference.

Per espn 'college game day final', "Michigan should never rush the field. They're the only program with 900 wins."


October 22nd, 2012 at 12:46 PM ^

Dantonio has certainly done a decent job of taking a handful of mid 3-star, and maybe one or two 2-star guys and turning them into decent Big Ten players, or like Worthy and Bell, great players.  

But here's the problem.  Even if you believe with all your heart that recruiting rankings mean nothing, Michigan is still getting virtually everyone they want, and Dantonio has to resort to snagging directional-Michigans' top targets when guys like James Ross and Devin Funchess, and pretty much everyone else go to Michigan.

Johnny Blood

October 22nd, 2012 at 1:37 PM ^

An interesting aside to that is that it actually seems like MSU does better with its lower ranked players than it's top-billing guys -- Gholston hasn't developed at all and LT is now a TE or something like that and doesn't see the field.

It might just be that Dantonio is better at developing guys with a chip on their shoulder than coaching up and keeping motivated the top-tier talents.

Yeah, I know 2 data points don't mean a whole lot... which is why I'm just calling it an "interesting aside".

lexus larry

October 22nd, 2012 at 1:59 PM ^

That recruiting chart showing the "Iowa-ness" of MSU recruiting really nailed the subj matter.  Iowa, Wisconsin, Nebraska and MSU all cluster in that not-great-recruits-but-could-do-good-things region, which has sadly bitten U-M in the butt (too many seasons since the mid-90's) more often than most of us care to remember...


October 22nd, 2012 at 1:07 PM ^

The tweets interspersed were perfect.

The guy who claims he's a 6 didn't make TWIS? That almost made me spill on my keyboard.

Re: the rivalry, they're now our 2nd biggest rival with ND running home scared. They aren't our 1st. Deal with it MSU. They're also not 9th. Deal with it, us.

Re: Rushing the field. 900th win celebration was justification enough. I don't think it was about beating MSU, we've done that 68 times and 8 out of the last 12. /math'd

EDIT: Re the Vincent Smith Throwback Screen that Works Every Time: It didn't work this time. I also called the play once I saw Vince in the I from section 8. I'm guessing MSU's coaches called the play too.


October 22nd, 2012 at 12:57 PM ^

I am someone who thinks that rushing the field should be reserved for once-in-a-generation type of moments, which is why I supported it in 1997.  Last year against OSU was on the fringe of being tolerable since it had been so long.  But if you want to think of yourself as an elite program, rushing the field should be reserved for elite moments - and beating a solid but not great MSU team does not qualify. 


As for play action, I saw two great calls by Borges during the first half of the game.  One was the pass to the walk-on TE down the sideline that worked great and the other was a perfect screen to Fitz where he had three blockers - which was defeated thanks to an excellent effort by the MSU safety and a shaky pass by Denard that held up Fitz too long.  I think we should have seen more of it throughout the game, but there were moments. 


What I am perhaps more bothered by is the lack of play changing before the snap.  I realize that this is the way Borges does things, that Denard might not be great at it, and that the WR are supposed to adjust their routes as needed.....but it sucks seeing MSU shift their defense or the OL call out blitzes only to run a play right into it anyway.  When a corner tips blitz too early you need to make him pay.  When the LB shift to the side of the formation you're planning to run a sweep, change the play!! 


October 22nd, 2012 at 1:41 PM ^

My 9yo son just started going after the questions of "will they get arrested?" and "are the cops stopping them?" I followed, he asked, we went onto the field. When you have a chance like that, as a dad, you just DO IT. You can all take away my fandom badges (and my M degrees...since so few of us are alums, right, sparty?) if you want, MGoCommunity. I stand by my decision. I had fun with my son and that's what matters in a rivalry (I said it) like this one.

And I do recall the rush really happening after the 900 win announcement that most of us knew was coming even before the 899 in the open.

NOTE: Two Sparty fans at work called in sick today. Ha.


October 22nd, 2012 at 1:28 PM ^

I am someone who thinks that rushing the field should be reserved for once-in-a-generation type of moments, which is why I supported it in 1997. Last year against OSU was on the fringe of being tolerable since it had been so long. But if you want to think of yourself as an elite program, rushing the field should be reserved for elite moments - and beating a solid but not great MSU team does not qualify.

I can't say what was going through the heads of everyone else, but I got the distinct impression rushing the field was in response to the 900th win, or at least that pushed it over the edge. When they put that up on the board, the student section went nuts. That's why it seemed kinda half assed, only occurring after the players had already left the field.

I dunno, I kinda agree with you the standard for rushing the field has been lowered, but on the other hand, I can't blame the students that were around during the RR years for getting caught up in the moment. Like it or not, we've had a historic down period that include a record tying losing streak against State. As much as we like to think of them losing as taking "their rightful place" that just hasn't been the reality for some time now. Hopefully when this year's freshman are seniors, they'll be able to look back and reflect on how silly rushing the field against Sparty seemed in retrospect.


October 22nd, 2012 at 1:11 PM ^

Denard can be maddening with his sloppy throwing mechanics and iffy footwork . . . but damned if he isn't money when it counts.  That was an NFL throw to Dileo.



October 22nd, 2012 at 1:12 PM ^

A few rushed in '97 after beating OSU.  The police pepper sprayed some of the students that year (including my roommate at the time).  I think that the administration was absolutely terrified of fans/students rushing the field after the Wisconsin fan crushing incident that happened in Madison in 1993 after UW beat MIchigan.  .  ..


October 22nd, 2012 at 1:24 PM ^

My roommate got sprayed as well in '97. That was a really dangerous policy.

The Wisconsin field rush showed that the worst possible thing is any kind of barrier that blocks people or can give way once a rush begins (also see Hillsborough). The second worst is people panicing when they can't move. Pepper-spraying was idiotic, because it does little to prevent the true danger, which comes from the weight of bodies above, and creates panic low in the stands that the police have no ability to control. The most responsible thing to do is wade in their and help people onto the field when a rush becomes imminent, so that nobody gets pinned or trampled, which was what seemed to happen against OSU last year (though I was on the other side of the stadium from the students and couldn't tell for sure).

The Squid

October 22nd, 2012 at 1:22 PM ^

I was on the field as a student once. I can't remember exactly when - I think it was Iowa in 1986. It also seems to me that it was vaguely half-assed. We ran around whooping it up for a couple of minutes and then scrambled back over the wall and went home.


October 22nd, 2012 at 1:25 PM ^

I said it on an earlier thread, but aside from Mike Hart's "Little Brother" comment, has any Michigan representative been as publicly disrespectful of Michigan State as Mark Dantonio and the Twitter illuminati has been to MIchigan the past 5 years?

I'm sorry, but part of recruiting is winning over parents and I can't imagine that many parents who would want their sons to be part of some of the boorish behavior exhibited by the Spartan coaches and players in recent years.  They definately haven't handled success well.  Not saying this is why MSU has turned so little of their excellence equity from the past couple of seasons into recruiting gold, but it can't help.

Enjoy the slow slide to the middle fellas.


October 22nd, 2012 at 1:26 PM ^

I understand the negatives on pom-poms, but I have to say that, on TV, when it's a big moment and 7NA is playing and everyone is in rythm, it looks pretty sweet.  It's like the whole stadium is pulsating.

Blue boy johnson

October 22nd, 2012 at 1:47 PM ^

JT Floyd helped save the game with his pass coverage on Burbridge on MSU's last possession. Burbridge could not have been better defended. Hail JT!

Not that it matters, but a strong case could be made that Toussaint's right foot was out of bounds when he made the catch. If it wasn't out of bounds it was as close as you can get.

Oh yeah, and how about 22, Jarrod Wilson, crushing the guy on M's last kick-off, to put MSU out of their misery. I loved that hit.