11/1/2014 – Michigan 34, Indiana 10 – 4-5, 2-3 Big Ten
This happened. The end. [Eric Upchurch]
Sometimes there's a game that does not have anything to say about it. This was that game. Michigan won 34-10, the same score they beat Miami (Not That Miami) by, and it felt a lot like a replay of that throwaway nonconference game.
The opposing offense wasn't going anywhere unless Michigan busted something. Michigan's running game alternated between frustrating lack of holes and lanes so open you could drive a truck through. The defensive backs could have spent the entire afternoon reading The Economist and sipping Kermit tea and nothing would have changed. Indiana had eight attempts. This game was almost literally none of their business.
Michigan thudded out to a 17-0 lead with the help of a couple fumbles that somehow benched Tevin Coleman, and then the game was over. Indiana turned a Gardner interception that ended up inside the Michigan ten into a doinked field goal. Thereupon a giant pig descended from the sky to proclaim the game state.
Brady Hoke knew it, so he ran the ball a couple times to end the first half instead of attempting to score.
I knew it, so I wasn't even a tiny bit peeved by that. Devin Gardner had just demonstrated the only way Indiana was going to get back in the game by not quite giftwrapping a pick six. Just before that Gardner had not quite giftwrapped another pick six. Michigan could have run the ball on every remaining down and won, and it was cold and I have to UFR these things. Run that clock down. Fine by me.
Everyone in the crowd knew it, so an awful lot of them left at halftime.
Non-student areas weren't a whole lot better. [Bryan Fuller]
At this point I'm not blaming anyone. It was cold, Michigan is playing for a berth in the kind of bowl where the gift bags include broken Swatches from 1985, and the game was already decided. I stayed because I write these columns and your soapbox is a little higher if you stayed like a True Fan™. I am enjoying the extra centimeter right now. Mighty fine view it's providing.
The game being what it was, about the only thing of interest over the weekend was a smattering of pissy comments from current and former players.
Desmond Howard decried Michigan's "mob mentality" on Gameday. Taylor Lewan called the Daily's Alejandro Zuniga a "moron" after Zuniga's appearance on BTN. Drew Dileo used air quotes around 'loyal' en route to stating that Dave Brandon and Brady Hoke weren't the problem—causing responders to respectfully ask what, then, the problem might be. Elliot Mealer referred to "the muggles that attend the University of Michigan" suddenly knowing something about the athletic department. Shane Morris provided a shout-out to the few students that made it to the end of the game and helpfully informed the ones who didn't that Michigan won.
It's like they went to bed and universal suffrage happened overnight.
INT. HOUSE OF COMMONS
A raucous scene, as a bill has just come up for vote. Enter AN ASSORTMENT OF LORDS.
EARL OF MEALER
Good heavens, what are they doing?
HOWARD, DUKE OF HEISMAN
They seem to be voicing their opinions.
MARQUIS DI LEO
EARL OF MEALER
Say, you, boy: what is all this ruckus?
The bill of attainder is up for vote; these are
final arguments before a decision is made.
Also, I don't think 'boy' is the preferred nomenclature.
HOWARD, DUKE OF HEISMAN
You have the vote? What nonsense!
MARQUIS DI LEO
/frantically dips snuff
EARL OF MEALER
Disaster! Woe! Surely we will topple like saplings in a typhoon!
HOWARD, DUKE OF HEISMAN
How long has… this been going on?
Approximately 600 years?
MARQUIS DI LEO
HOWARD, DUKE OF HEISMAN
WHY WEREN'T WE TOLD?!
We assumed you knew.
EARL OF MEALER
Our doom is at hand! Flee! I'll die on the squash courts if I can make it!
/exit MEALER, HOWARD
MARQUIS DI LEO
MARQUIS DI LEO
Michigan fans always had the vote; never before had they been pressed so hard as to think about using it. When there's an epic wait list you can find another team and the edifice doesn't notice. Not so much anymore.
The ironic thing about all of this is it's actually the students—sorry, "muggles"—leading the way towards positive change. Brandon implements the worst possible version of general admission; Mike Proppe's CSG negotiates a more sensible arrangement that provides better seats to better fans. Brandon blames the new policy for the drop in attendance instead of prices; Bobby Dishell's CSG negotiates a 40% slashing of ticket prices. El-Kilani's petition laid out the case against Brandon concisely and far more authoritatively than any defenses mounted by the House of Lords, which generally amount to "nuh-uh, you don't know."
It is true that we don't know the face Brandon showed to the student-athletes. I do know that one day he got in front of his department and quizzed them as to who their customers were. The answer: "student-athletes." So he probably acted like a human to them.
That's not enough when he is a six-foot phallus to everyone else. You just don't know that unless you're outside the program, looking at a 150-dollar ticket that you could have had for 20 bucks, watching grim quasi-football that means nothing in the freezing cold. Bon Jovi is playing, for some reason.
Here's the thing. This is a large group of people. Every large group of people is basically a bell curve. Michigan has pushed the prices up to the point where they're going to hit the downside of that bell curve without serious change.
That's a disaster that cannot be allowed to happen. Maybe it won't be for the people in the program right now, or the people who have been through it. It is one for the people who are thinking about 30 years from now, who are thinking about what it's going to be like for their kids.
Michigan, the program, can do little to change the group of people. They will remain the same people. They can only change themselves to fit the people. Step one is firing the coach, because the crushing blow to season ticket sales that results from his retention is unacceptable. Also he is not good at coaching.
Step two is not being dicks to people outside the program. I know y'all learned it from Brandon. Unlearn it. The next AD is going to be just as fantastic to increasingly pampered student-athletes without being loathed by everyone else on the planet. The Al Bundy patrol talking down to a fanbase on the edge of deserting in droves is hilariously out of touch. Michigan revenue vs Michigan performance. QED.
It's time to stop interpreting "The Team The Team The Team" as a moat between 115 players and 113,000 fans.
[After THE JUMP: hawt babes, and why are you trying to be a fey English twit]
Awards are still discontinued. Look man I can't really pick out a moment that was particularly good or bad because games are now perceived in a fugue state. Henri and all that. Lo siento.
seinfeld reference [Upchurch]
THE DRAKE. I think we need to slow our roll here. Johnson came off the bench and looked a lot like he has in our brief glimpses in the past: quite fast in a straight line, not much wiggle, eh power. Michigan wrecked Appalachian State and Miami (Not That Miami) in similar ways with Smith and Green; I bet that the bloom comes off the rose here pretty quick. If I had to bet this will be "that Drake Johnson game" in the same way there was the Jerome Jackson game and the Walter Cross game.
Great story, though, and he'll get some time in the next few games to see if it's for real or just a flash in the pan.
I did enjoy how everyone was like AAAARGH FRED JACKSON after. I know I've given him a ton of crap for post-Hart RB performance, but man the guy can't win for losing. He brings the guy in on a total flier and everyone's like AAAARGH FRED JACKSON CAN'T ID TALENT and then he goes off against Indiana and everyone's like AAAARGH FRED JACKSON CAN'T ID TALENT.
But that's none of my business.
/Fred Jackson sips tea, Diet Coke, water, and Fresca simultaneously
Justice will find you. Speaking of AAAARGH FRED JACKSON: great game for Hayes in pass protection, which is 1) nice to see and 2) raises the obvious question about whether he got a million times better in one year or Michigan decided he wasn't a better option than… that… last year. Since he was a junior, not a freshman, the latter is as likely as the former.
In conclusion, anything that happens ever again can be blamed on Fred Jackson.
OFFICIAL: Ryan Glasgow is no longer a walk-on. BISB exhorted me to give the guy the Order of St. Kovacs after his sack/strip/recovery in the second half, which hurts me and my family. Glasgow was given the Order two or three games ago.
I am ambivalent about Jake Ryan. He's racking up big TFL numbers but watching him closely I think he's struggling to read and react, which is a big factor in the gaping holes Michigan leaves in the middle of their coverage. I did not get to post the MSU D UFR because of some things that came up, but it is mostly done and my impression from that game was that Ryan did not do so hot.
He did have an excellent game here. This was tuned to his specialty since the "is it a pass" decision process went "lol no let's go Viking some dudes".
Jabrill Peppers is hurt and he is hurt and he is hurt please for the love of God stop asking about this. Anyone watching him limp out to the banner pre-game, make an unwise decision to leap at the thing and then painfully hop a couple steps knows his knee is hurt and there's no way he's returning before the end of the season.
ALL OF THE GAPS. Weird gambit from Michigan in this game: a lot of Stanford-like formations on which Michigan had one guy in the backfield and then nine across the front, usually after motioning a wide receiver in. This was not particularly successful. It still feels like anything Michigan does that adds another blocker to the mix is just providing another opportunity to screw up a block.
explodes in any direction [Upchurch]
Gardner: is Gardner. A highly accurate day on which he looked very good except for the two horrible throws that were nine yards and one catch away from being 14 Indiana points. This is why "it is what it is" was invented.
Man, you gotta feel bad for Indiana. A few months ago they had Sudfeld, Tre Roberson, and Cam Coffman. Now they are down to a 170-pound true freshman who looks more like Ace than any football player should. He did not get broken in half. This is a win for the Hoosiers. Meanwhile, Roberson is tearing it up at Illinois State. Michigan would be playing either Speight or Bellomy (depending on who you think is #4 long-term) if the same had happened to them.
Magnuson: TE. Okay, whatever, I guess. Q: if a guard gets hurt can Magnuson put on an OL number mid-game? I'd imagine so.
A gap, a palpable gap [Fuller]
Darboh: when separated rather good. Like Johnson it's hard to tell whether Darboh's excellent game was harbinger of things to come or a blip made possible by rubbing up against Indiana's pillowy soft defense. Here, too, I kind of think it's a blip. Darboh has struggled to get anything approximating separation all year, and when he faces better DBs it's easy to see them getting in his grill to make things very difficult.
Norfleet just wants to dance man. Norfleet dropped a bubble screen that would have picked up an easy first down because that's just how Michigan rolls, but on the next play he gunned down the field and then did a great, hilarious job of stalking the returner back and forth until the cavalry game about a quarter later.
If were are talking punts I guess I should mention the 30-yard return on which Indiana's returner didn't have a guy within ten yards on the catch, because I am a broken record.
Man dem babes is hawt you guys. Dadboner, the playcall.
actually the inverse of Dadboner the playcall but you get what I mean. [Fuller]
Indiana also had a sign that was a really fierce panda that was so Indiana football:
hi man just eatin' some bamboo because if I ever stop eating bamboo ima die I am so cute and cuddly RAWRRR HATE U MIZZOU
Unfortunately no one got a shot of Fierce Panda.
The worst thing about "muggles." A reader who was a varsity athlete in the 90s posted in the relevant thread that the previous version of this term was "civilian," which I can accept. Being an athlete is a lot like being in boot camp for four years.
"Muggle" means that Michigan athletes are now positing themselves as f-ing mutants who flit around on brooms playing quidditch and turning apples into cartoon hearts with the power of their mind. Or whatever. I haven't read Harry Potter because I'd spend every page disappointed that Harry doesn't get dismembered by unspeakable things from beyond time.
I AM NOT A ROLE MODEL
I'm just sayin' that if the offensive line wasn't aspiring to be a dork wearing John Lennon glasses maybe they'd be better at blocking. #hot #take #boom
Love the Drake
* I thought the story of the running game this year was going to be the battle between Derrick Green and De'Veon Smith. With Green out for the year, and Smith dinged up in the first half, Michigan turned to Drake Johnson. Johnson carried 16 times for 122 yards and two touchdowns. Even subtracting his long run of 32 yards leaves him with 90 yards on 15 carries for an even 6.0 yards per carry. That was a solid performance.
* Smith and Hayes combined for 42 yards on 13 carries against the same Indiana defense, so I'm inclined to be optimistic that we may have stumbled on something positive in the running game. Time will tell.
Worst: The Offense is Still Broken
Yes, Michigan just put up 404 yards on Indiana, and recorded both their first 200-yard passing game of the year (!) and first 100-yard rusher game in the B1G since the last time UM played IU (!!), but man is it hard to get excited. For one thing, Indiana has a turrible defense that gives up huge plays to everyone, yet Michigan's longest play was a 34-yard strike to Darboh that featured Gardner having to bypass the rush, step into a lane, stutter-step about a million times, and still have to throw a tight throw to Amara as he finally shook off the IU defensive back. It was a good play and helped get Michigan in position for an opening score, but Jeremy Gallon had 369 yards receiving on his own last year against effectively the same IU defense, including multiple 50+ yard receptions. It remains an offense bereft of "playmakers", which I know is absolutely the most cliche thing to say but is kinda true.
RYAN GLASGOW – It was obvious that the Michigan defense came to play this game and made sure there was going to be no repeat of last year’s basketball-like score against IU. That all starts up front, and while there were several guys who played lights out by keeping the Hoosiers under 200 yards of total offense, I singled out Glasgow because of his strip and fumble recovery – all in the same play. These guys in the trenches don’t often get the glory, but you had to like what Glasgow did.
In the grand scheme of things, this game won't mean much, and likely won't be remembered in the annals of Michigan football lore. But, if I do remember this game, it will likely be "the Drake Johnson game". That makes me happy for a kid who crossed Main Street from Pioneer to the Big House, for a kid whose mom has been Michigan's cheerleading coach for over three decades, to get not one but two touchdowns, and looking good doing it, I'm happy for him. Some day in the future, he'll be able to tell people that in the depths of Michigan's despair, he had his number called and he stepped up and provided a spark. Most players will tell you that they just want to do what they can to help the team, and Drake Johnson, wearing the #20, did just that yesterday. Good for him.
Re: Big Dave – Ultimately what did Brandon in weren’t the changes he made to the athletic program. Even the biggest haters would admit there were some things he did that worked. For me, I’ll fondly remember his role in smoothing out the practice-gate mess (even before he was AD), bringing in the night games and adding the Legends Program. What sunk Brandon was that he treated people like crap.
As I’ve seen (and heard behind the scenes), being an outsider, President Schlissel took a look under the covers during these past few weeks he found a very conspicuous lack of people standing up to defend Big Dave. Take Hoke. You are probably tired of hearing how he is a such good dude. While very few (if any) people think Brady will be coaching next year, when he’s evaluated I’m certain he’ll have many folks to throw support his way in some form or another, because he’s down to earth, lacks a noticeable ego and relates to people. You can be a strong leader and make major changes without being a complete cock.
That was just a complete rush of emotion," Johnson said afterward, beaming like that scoreboard he used to run at. "I jumped up there and was like, wait, wait, I need to get down. I don't want to do anything dumb. I think the first touchdown was ... I can't think of any word but magical."
Mom was there to see it, as she has been for most of the last three decades. A 1976 U-M graduate, Pam St. John was among the first women to serve as a cheerleader at U-M in the mid-70s. Since then, she hasn't gone far, working in the athletic department as the head coach of the Michigan cheer team.
Drake Johnson, her youngest son, grew up on the U-M sidelines. As an 8-year-old, he'd taunt Wolverine players, telling them he'd not only be a Michigan player, but that he'd be better than them.
A lot of credit being offered to Michigan for "keeping their focus," which… okay. Seems like anything more organized than a sack of cats would have done the same thing to the Hoosiers.