Iowa 24, Michigan 21

Submitted by Ace on November 23rd, 2013 at 4:04 PM

I started writing this post at Heiko's apartment before my laptop battery mercifully bailed out, giving me a few minutes to think on the drive home. Time heals all wounds, they say; this wasn't nearly enough time.

Michigan got an early gift when Jake Ryan's crushing hit on Iowa QB Jake Rudock on a play-action rollout—sound familiar?—led to a fluttering pass that Brennen Beyer intercepted and took back seven yards for a touchdown. The defense came away with two other interceptions in the game; Blake Countess baiting Rudock for his second pick led directly to the second Wolverine touchdown, a two-yard pass to A.J. Williams that Iowa had completely dead to rights until Devin Gardner comically stiff-armed Tanner Miller to the ground in the backfield.

Left to its own devices, the Michigan offense could muster just one more score in the game, a nine-yard pass to Jeremy Gallon to give them a 21-7 halftime lead.

The Wolverines finished with 158 yards on 57 plays (2.8 ypp); the Greg Davis-coached Iowa offense managed to tally 407 yards (5.5 ypp) despite freezing temperatures and a howling wind. At one point in the second half, Al Borges called for back-to-back reverses—the first one worked; the second predictably failed miserably. Iowa adjusted to Michigan's fake-bubble-based run game and that was all she wrote; the defense, down both starting linebackers by the end of the game, couldn't stop the inevitable comeback.

Eight three-and-outs. Eight.

Gardner fumbled on a draw play on Michigan's final offensive possession, their first turnover of the game; it was unfortunate, to be sure, but at this point it's pretty tough to blame the guy:

I watch him play and feel no anger, just sadness. Michigan is left with no reasonable option but to put him out there despite the fact that he's obviously not close to the same player he was last year or at the start of this season, clearly hurt, and being put in a position in which few—if any—quarterbacks could succeed. Gardner gives this team the best chance to win; he's also battered, skittish, and quite possibly flat-out injured.

Crazy things happen in football, which is why we keep watching. It'll take something beyond any reasonable expectation of crazy for Michigan to even stay competitive in The Game on Saturday.



November 24th, 2013 at 5:28 PM ^

I watched the while Oregon/Stanford and Oregon could have been up early without a costly dropped pass and red zone mistakes.

At that point it's a very different game...

Beyond that they still could have won if the game was 5 minutes longer.

Last year they lost in overtime because of a short missed FG.

The couple years before that they annihilated Stanford.

Again, you have a narrative and it's irrelevant to michigan and not based in reality.

Oregon and Stanford are both light years ahead of Michigan right now. Bottom line.

Also, Stanford may be "manball" team but they employ read concepts. Hogan and Luck are both athletic and capable scramblers.


November 23rd, 2013 at 5:29 PM ^

This is perhaps the lowest I have ever felt about Michigan Football.  I have tried, but I don't recognize this as a Michigan product, save the uniforms.  The fire, passion, swagger, aggressiveness and confidence that have been the cornerstone of the program for decades, appear nonexistent.  I loved Hoke when he was hired, but have lost all confidence in his coaching staff.  Sadly, would rather see Lloyd Carr coaching this team- that says something because I bitched about Lloyd’s conservative approach for years.  Compared to today's product, Lloyd's offenses were down-right scintillating.  Al is in over his head and his offense is a shit-show.  And the season is now a raging dumpster fire.  Meanwhile, MSU is going to the Big 10 title game with mostly three star scrubs.  And Iowa, who just handed us our asses, is a two and three star squad.  At the end of the day, it's about talent AND player development. We are sorely lacking in the later.  Years of mediocrity, here we come. ll.  


November 23rd, 2013 at 7:10 PM ^

Yes, RR's teams were like the grand experiment that didn't work. Hoke was supposed to be the great remedy to that, promising to build a "Michigan team" the way we all know and remember that to be. So if it's not different and if it's not the same, what is it, aside from not being a winner? 

The Iron Jock

November 23rd, 2013 at 5:36 PM ^

I'd give anything to see Hoke rip Borges' heart out of his chest and kick him down the steps of the Big House next Saturday. Sadly, that won't happen. The team will be the sacrifice, while the fans clad in scarlet and gray chant and waive their arms wildly in the air to the beating drums, and we look on, like Short Round, in utter horror. 


micheal honcho

November 23rd, 2013 at 5:43 PM ^

Its is almost as hard to watch our current offensive futility as it was to Bielema run the ball 19 consecutive times against our RR defense. Almost. BTW RR fanboi's celebrating his lead over oregon like it proves something. Shut up now before you look like fools becaus oregon could still come back and win(playing vs. a "spread" defense) and Stanford beat the pride and stuffing out of them ducks and they will never be the same this year. BTW, Fire Borges asap and lets move forward.


November 23rd, 2013 at 5:51 PM ^

Is the old guard in the athletic department and the old rich alumni that support them. The Michigan Football approach has generated mediocre performance since about 1980. We have consistently been one of the weakest performing traditional college football powers for years. We tried to change this with the Rich Rod hire and the traditionalist did everything they could to resist the change. There lack of support combined with RR's failings doomed that effort.

So of course we go back to our outdated and ineffective approach and get more mediocrity. After Hoke finishes his flameout in another year or two perhaps we can look to hire the best people and not concern ourselves with each persons ties to Michigan or their commitment to Michigan Football (as defined by Bo). Organizations that only hire their buddies who agree with them don't tend to prosper relative to their competitors


November 23rd, 2013 at 6:00 PM ^

Agree. We need a winning coach. If they are looking for a M connection, let us just say we all are Americans and that connection is good enough.

Tired of these rules when we hire someone. RR didn't pan out, but that shouldn't hinder us from hiring a good coach without connection. I would ask them if they know about THE GAME and if they can quote BO. If they haven't, they can learn or watch video. We don't need someone who worships M. We need someone who can win.


November 24th, 2013 at 10:21 AM ^

define mediocrity as the years from 1981 through 2007?  I'm guessing then you define 2008-2010 as the paragon of success?  Not a single losing season through the years of mediocrity and one MNC.  Compare that with the combined "successful" record of 15-24.  Odd ways of defining success and failure.


November 23rd, 2013 at 5:55 PM ^


Ohio State - excellent

Michigan State - very good

Wisconsin - smooth coaching change - still very good

Minnesota - improving

Indiana - improved just a little in 2013

Penn State - pretty darn good, all things considered


Iowa - about the same 

Northwestern -  a lot of heart, good at times

Purdue - is Purdue

Nebraska - pretty good when they play UM


Illinios - woud get a new coach if they could aford to fire Timmy

Michigan - any questions??


November 23rd, 2013 at 10:23 PM ^

The wheels are not falling off of Michigan. If we lose out, we are 1 game worse than last season. And we are way ahead of where we were in 2008-2009. I'm not saying anything good, I'm just saying it is more true that we have reached a mediocre plateau than that the wheels are coming off.


November 23rd, 2013 at 10:40 PM ^

OSU - no transition.

Msu- sr. Defense, built from 7 yrs coaching the same plan. (Recruiting fell off when Hoke came to town). This may be Sparty last hoorah.

Michigan - worse O than ever expected. However, next year will be better. Transition is tuff, people don't like the "young" excuse. But, do freshmen turn into juniors in 6 weeks? Nope. Need more time, see recruiting vs sparty recruiting. (Look at 2010 - current)


November 24th, 2013 at 10:04 AM ^

Recruiting means nothing if you can't develop the players. Kyle Kalis is a five star lineman who was thought to be the next Long/Lewan/77 but he looks totally lost out there. See Ron Zook and Lane Kiffin. Just because you win the recruiting wars doesn't mean it'll translate into wins. It still takes good coaches and the jury is absolutely out on Hoke in that regard.


November 23rd, 2013 at 6:16 PM ^

I was at the CMU game Labor Day weekend.  This team looked invincible and was full of swagger.  Ten games later, I can't believe what I see out there, the regression is mind-boggeling.  When you get a lead, then your challenge is to get a BIGGER lead, not lay down the entire second half and put up a net 45 yards and 0 points.  I am 999% behind our guys in winged helmets - but they need to be coached up.  And it's obvious that they are not being coached up.