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 2:09 AM ^

I'll take wins over ND UTL 1 & 2, stopping a 4 game losing skid to State and beating Ohio St for the first time in over a decade... Oh, and a Sugar Bowl win over a pretty good Va Tech team over a meaningless regular season win over an Oregon program who hasn't done anything significant in college football outside of wearing a different uniform combo every game. Is Oregon good and fun to watch? Absolutely. But they haven't achieved anything and get exposed regularly every time they play big, talented, physical teams... Much like RichRod when he coached here ironically enough! Boise St, Auburn, LSU, Ohio St and Stanford have all made Oregon look very different than all of their other regular season cupcakes... They were even very fortunate to beat Wisconsin on a flukey TO.


November 23rd, 2013 at 11:20 PM ^

To talking about the hardships it's players are playing through. Hoke is done. I now think it happens this year. The team continues to regress the more it becomes Hoke's team. Such an epic fail. After year 3 of Rich Rod you at least thought things could get better. Not so under Hoke.


November 23rd, 2013 at 11:41 PM ^

Okay......UM gets a turnover in the Red Zone late in the Nebraska game, right?  The score is tied 10-10, right?  What's the deal?  Borges tries three futile runs, obviously trying to play it safe and set up a go-ahead field goal.  

After the game, somebody asks Bogres why he went for 3.  His answer?  "Cause I couldn't go for two........."





hey, don't look at me, he's the one who can't call plays



November 24th, 2013 at 4:10 AM ^

We should hire a sky writer to write "Sorry!" over Ohio Stadium this week. It used to be we were irrelevant nationally. Now we're also irrelevant in the Big Ten. We haven't been keeping up and because of it, OSU will have to run up the score to maximize their BCS standing. Can't blame them it either.


November 24th, 2013 at 3:21 AM ^

Yeah, ok, so stop with the "what if RR would have been able to get someone like mattison" scenarios. The fact is, it never happened, and this is real life. Yeah, I have played it out in my own head, and see student sections lined with brunettes while hearing the victors being pumped through millions of televisions across the world in January. 

I cannot stand to watch this, and I am not even mad


I feel bad for the kids out there, the ones that I KNOW have the talent to succeed. I feel BAD for Gardner, while he has made his big mistakes, he has also taken so many hits that I'd have a hard time blaming him if he just walked away from this team and never came back. 

David Brandon hired hoke like a true business man, as a marketing move. Hoke LOOKED and SOUNDED like MICHIGAN MANBALL. WE. WILL WALK. TO. MICHIGAN. 

Oh, how the geriatric  boosters love you, good sir. Let us hope that you can win football games as well.


Bless the F'n hearts of the defense of this team. They are way better than given credit for, have stats that look like crap because they are constantly starting on their heels and get off the field for just long enough to take a piss before they get Borgess'd back onto the field. 

Ya know, I think Hoke COULD be the answer, but borges/funk gotta go. This athletic department made a coaching decision based on what would market best to the boosters hearing aids.   I am sick of manball, I am sick of tradition. Ohio has managed to keep tradition while evolving a bit.  Just watching how electric their crowds are on TV makes me sad.  This school took a short term fix to their problem and now the younger generation in Ann Arbor is starting to not even care about this program. Are we going to start taking away rows when these gasbags start dying off and nobody is there to replace them as season ticket holders? 

What has this coaching staff done, anyways? Took RR's class (which was thin because of ATTRITION) and managed to win a BCS game the first year solely because of mattison ship-shaping up the defense? 


Ok, full-out rambling has commenced. I am just sick of this. I hate manbawl, I hate no free programs, I hate everything. This team has an obvious lack of faith in their offensive coaching staff. Morale is low, I almost cried watching DG on TV after the game -- call me a pussy. I don't care, this is crap.   It is absolutely SAD that I was able to procure ROW A tickets on the michigan sideline for next weekend for well under 200 dollars....  a game where we are playing a team that has won almost two dozen straight games.  This should be an exciting week. We should be talking about the huge game next week, even in a down season....down DECADE, next week usually still feels like a game that rivals the superbowl.

Right now, next week feels like I do not even care anymore. Right now all i can think is "hear, hear" as  I read through all of the posts. Right now I look at the tweets, the blogs, the faceboooks, and am dejected at the people lashing out at our quarterback, because I just cannot help but to think that this kid is way better than is being shown, and I feel like I am watching Varsity Blues every time I watch Devin limp off the field.


This is the first time i have almost not even cared about next week's game, but I will go, and I will support this team, but I cannot support this coaching staff (with the exception of the defense) or the administration that marketed them as the second coming of Bo. 





November 24th, 2013 at 11:22 AM ^

Yes it is all Devin's fault.  An immobile pocket-passer would do so much better with guys in his face all day.

At least Devin is able to bail us out of shit calls and telegraphed plays the defense has knows is coming two days prior (eg the TD pass to AJ Williams)

Fuck off and die.


November 24th, 2013 at 4:11 AM ^

Oh, and to the apologists making light of RR losing to washington state as to try to dull out the fact that his squad just took out oregon... Let us not forget that we barely managed to get past AKRON and UCONN, then having to watch the game against PSU be thrown away.. Maybe "thrown" is not the right word.  Bottom line is, the Arizona fan base is a hell of a lot more optimistic about their program than our fanbase --- That is not just because "THIS IS MICHIGAN," but because it really is that bad. 


We have talent that has shown itself of being capable of breaking school/conference/NCAA records, but still cannot find cohesion. This is coaching. 

This is a new low, lower than it felt every time denard came into the game last year at QB after the injury knowing it was going to be a designed run every single time. Knowing he was being set up to fail.  Watching these kids at skill positions play their hearts out for a staff that is raking in millions with thieir heads up their asses. Every minute of every game this year has felt like the 2nd half of the Ohio game last year....At least monkey rodeo was entertaining. This just makes me pissed off and depressed. Maybe I shouldn't have came here and read this after coming home from a night out at the pub, This sucks, and I hope it gets better for the players, and for the sake of the school.  


November 24th, 2013 at 5:23 AM ^

The offense could never get any rythm this year with Gardner.  The defense would eventually get tired and make some mistakes.  Do I think coaching had a part to play in Gardners play?  Absolutley,  but for the most part my gut tells me this coaching staff did everything they could to prepare Gardner every week but he just couldnt cut it.  He made terrible TERRIBLE decisions over and over again.  The one thing that sealed the deal for me though was I havent seen any leadership from Gardner.  Never saw him yelling or trying to pump guys up.  His body language was always emotionless.  Sure he would do some celebrations when we scored.  But why nothing to try and pump his guys up to set up long drives?  You always saw stuff from Denard,  leadership qualities.  And poise under pressure. I do believe Gardner would have performed much better if we could actually run the ball,  something I put on the coaches and inexperience.  Keeping Fitz in the game over Deveon Smith though?  Thats a terrible call by hoke,  Jackson?  I dont know but just a terrible call. Fitz hasnt been the same since 2011.  I dont give a shit if he was the hardest worker and a great example for the younger guys or whatever other reason they decided to leave him in there,  the guy wasnt performing.  For the most part I saw good pass blocking today.  Giving Gardner adequite time to find someone.  It never happened.  Or recievers dropped balls,  but in that weather you gotta cut them some slack.  Theres no way were firing Hoke just yet,  and it would be stupid.  Also,  and i know people will think im insane but my gut tells me to let Borges have one more year.  I just believe Gardner has been the main problem this year,  for the most part.    


November 24th, 2013 at 12:18 PM ^

then we have had two star QBs that regressed under these coaches.  we also have numerous offensive linemen who haven't gotten better or are perceived to have gotten worse on the field.  we have a slew of RBs, TEs and WRs who are terrible at blocking.  at some point we should realize that all of these players are not uncoachable.  we have some coaches who probably just can't coach/teach.


November 24th, 2013 at 8:19 AM ^

Does anyone else feel like we are going NOWHERE? How can next year be much better?

I guess the most concerning part besides our oline and qb is the fact that I have no idea where we are in the grand scheme of hoke and his staff. It's starting to look more like epic fail than building a juggernaut.

Shouldn't we have at least a glimpse of the product hoke and his staff want to be almost into our FOURTH year. I don't see it.

I don't know guys....we have a LONG way to go. I'm not sure it's going to happen next year with another new look oline and our qb running for his life.

Hope we don't lose recruits.



November 24th, 2013 at 8:22 AM ^

Borges cannot get another year. He did the same thing last year. We had a few good games last year with some deep balls. Borges will be really good as long as the DEF knows what is coming and they still can't stop anyway. Look at Bama and what Manzel did to them. No DEF is going to shut down in a league like ours, unless it is Purdue...

Hoke seems like a great guy and runs a clean program. But Borges needs to go and we should hire a OC from another Manball colleges that is successful. Hoke is not running spread, ever.

If we still are in the same place, go hire a head coach that has a successful Resume in CFB big league or in NFL. Make him the highest paid coach. Make some splash. Or hire one of those commentators from ESPN who used to coach. May be they will love M then.

Higher standards should not mean less success in Football field (Looking at you ND, NW). If that is what it means and people look at Football only and don't care about the academics, then just go hire someone who will win at all cost.

It is ok not to be Alabama, as long as we get to say that we are the most successful program with high academics in public schools. It does not mean we can't tweak our coaches, but I would rather be proud of our academics, a few BCS wins every decade and generally a top 15 football program. A few bad years, like this one, is fine, as long as we address the issues with tweaks.


November 24th, 2013 at 8:22 AM ^

For those of you cheering for an ohio win next week, or hoping for one  EFFFFFFF YOU! Go Blue! It's been painful to watch the offense sputter but this shit from our base is just as pathetic. I'm a Michigan snob that thinks we should be great every year and loses like this years, even some of the wins, leave me down and out for a couple days. But to not want to beat ohio because you want another coaching change?> What about the seniors that have put more in to this program than you ever will?  Seriously and I mean this from the bottom of my heart EFFFFF YOU!


Blue in Yarmouth

November 24th, 2013 at 9:30 AM ^

Even if a loss to Ohio would solidify the fact the AB would be fired (which I absolutely want) I still would never root for my team to lose.

The reason I love this team and follow this program is the players. I couldn't care less who coaches, so long as they give them the best chance to win and I just don't believe this offensive staff does that. If they did I could get past the boring (at least to me) brand of football they want to run.

At the end of the day, I think it's fairly certain that even if we do lose to Ohio (which is pretty much certain at this point) I'm afraid Al isn't going anywhere.

Dr. Emil Shuffhausen

November 24th, 2013 at 8:27 AM ^

is the friggin' arrogance and stubborness of Hoke.  Now, with our big rival game next Saturday, when Gardner can't walk or throw or anything because he gave it his all, we will have a Zero experience quarterback to throw to the wolves.  Great job Jackass!


Not having a legitimate 2nd stringer to come in from time to time this season to try to avoid going 3 and out every friggin' series is an absolute glaring failure of this arrogant, fat , idiot loser who will be fired after we get pasted by the obviously better team from the south. 

It makes me sick!  The free pass is so over with this guy,  get some Real Football people in here to run the decision making for our program.  Not these corporate yes men pieces of shit who only care about $$$.


The Football Culture is so F#cked right now in Ann Arbor, who will be the hero to come in and save our beloved football program?  Does it NEED to be a former player?  A True Michigan Man? ( whatever that really means anyway ).   I say who gives a shit, get the best Football Minds together and let's put a Real Program together.  All this loyalty to mediocrity is unacceptable.


- when the quarterback is sucking balls, you put in another guy ( and don't say there isn't another guy )

- when play calling is predictable and ineffective, you get on the damn headset and chew your OC's head off DURING THE GAME and make him run something else!

- well coached players rarely make the same mistakes twice, especially all season long

- a coach who throws his players under the bus, ever, is on his way out because he has failed and is grasping at anything to prolong his employement.



When Hoke is fired, nobody in DIV 1A will hire him, NOBODY.  He is FINISHED.


November 25th, 2013 at 8:45 AM ^

You are right. This whole community needs to step away from the ledge.

The most important thing Hoke and his staff are doing is re-stocking the pond. They are hitting it out of the park in that area.

This team will grow up, and when they do they will be frightening.

Blue in Yarmouth

November 24th, 2013 at 9:41 AM ^

I thought the game thread yesterday was a disgrace and I read very little of the posts, but someone said something pretty interesting (at least to me).

They mentioned that after 3 seasons RR was 7-5 and got canned. In those three years he improved in record every season and there wasn't much doubt he would have improved the next year too. Despite that he still got the boot.

Hoke in his third year is most likely going 7-5.while showing steady regression each year. Many will point to his overall record as a reason he should stay (and I wouldn't argue with that) but the bottom line is after three seasons under each coach we are in the same mess, though with this staff it looks to be getting worse instead of better.

Now I honestly don't think Hoke should go (just like I didn't believe RR should have been canned after three years) but I think he should be given the same ultimatum I thought RR should have been your coordinator or find another job.


November 24th, 2013 at 10:05 AM ^

that Hoke was too successful early on?  Actually though it is dark now, the incoming classes, along with the classes of 2012 and 2013, are far and away superior to anything RR had. Michigan football this year is a product of hollow recruiting during the RR administration, things will get better.  Or do you believe that the same coaching staff that was 11-2 in 2011 is incapable of repeating that success? 


November 24th, 2013 at 11:47 AM ^

Uhm the 2011 team was RR's TEAM!!!! Hoke cannot take any credit for that OTHER then the Defense changes / success. RR would have went 11 - 1 if he was allowed one more season! Fat ass Borges, Funk and Fred Jackson Need their collective asses CANNED.

Blue in Yarmouth

November 24th, 2013 at 5:37 PM ^

but let me get this straight...You want to give credit to this staff for the 11-2 season they had in their first year with an entire team of players who were coached and developed by a different coach, and you also want to blame that previous coach for the losses this staff is having three years after the fact? Do you see how absolutely ridiculous your position is? 

To answer your question though, I do believe this coaching staff (as it stands now) is incapable of repeating that success. 

Oh, and my point wasn't that Hoke was too successful early, it was that the team under his coaching has steadily regressed. 


November 25th, 2013 at 8:33 AM ^

Not ridiculous if you take the time to look at the OL depth chart. RR's catastrophic OL recruiting was a roster time bomb - you don't see the impact of it until the OL he should have brought in would have been upperclassmen. For us, that time is now.

To make matters worse, TE's are also babies, since RR barely recruited that position.

Net result: our JV can't block the other team's varsity. Go figure.

Are you seriously suggesting that the measure of Borges and Funk as coaches is whether or not they can "coach up" freshmen and RS freshmen to manhandle juniors and seniors?

Let's not get on a never ending 3-year-cycle coaching carrousel. The dif between Hoke and RR is the quality of the recruits that Hoke is bringing in.


November 24th, 2013 at 11:22 AM ^

RR was not given extra money to hire top coordinators, not even enough to lure Casteel from WVU (and since he is with RR at Arizona, it seems certain he would have come here for more money), and Hoke was given enough to hire the very best.  He used his money wisely with Greg Mattison and not so wisely with Borges.  If RR had been given the go ahead to hire a Greg Mattison or even a Casteel, he would have had a fighting chance.  He wasn't, and he didn't.  Now its time to insure that Borges is gone!


November 24th, 2013 at 12:12 PM ^

RR should have suggested to Martin that he would forgo some salary to hire a better DC.  Although as it turns out Greg Robinson is doing okay in Texas.  Maybe RR shouldn't have dictated to the DC about things he knew little about.


November 24th, 2013 at 9:50 AM ^

Now this is like watching lions throwing 7 yards when they need 10 and it is the last play.

They do not know how to finish. The DEF played heck of a game. If I am GMatt, I walk over to AB and smack him in his head and ask him what the hell are you thinking when we need one frigging drive.

I knew it is over when they started Fitz. It didn't matter how much lead they had. When you don't take the momentum from previous game and use the RBs who did something and tell them that even if you had a good game in the last 4 weeks, I am going with my senior, because this is a pee vee league. That would not have happened with Meyer or Saban. You need a killer instinct. It does not mean you dump Fitz. Put him on a few plays as the third back. This whole loyalty crap is getting old. Same thing goes for DG. I feel for DG, but he did not make good decisions. It all started with ND game interception. It is in his head now. Either you got it or you don't. Watch Tom Brady or Peyton on the sidelines. They have the killer instinct.

All those drops by WRs didn't help either. Our coach just stands there and claps his hands. Watch Belichick after a bad series. He will be with his guys talking to them about the game plan and educating them. That guy has won more than anyone I can think of. May be Saban. A good leader will be hands-off until the time they need to intervene. None of these coordinators are going to ask you during the game. They have too much pride. You need to step in and help them out.

This whole thing starts at the top. Hoke needs to think with his brain and not with his heart. He needs to be critical of himself and his staff and decide. If he does that, I believe the guy will make changes. He is a good enough guy to do that. I really hoped that he will be talked as BO by generations to come. He just loves UM. But, it doesn't look good. He can still turn this around by tweaking his staff and changing certain philosophies (such as playing the best players, providing input during the games etc.)


November 24th, 2013 at 10:01 AM ^

Devin has 10 TDs to 3 int in B10 play, all be it he should have thrown 4 against Northwestern, not bad for a guy that probably has an average of 1.5 seconds to scan the field. If only he could learn to throw the ball away he could minimize the crazy down and distances we've faced this year.  I'm not ready to throw this staff under the bus yet, even Al, I'd just like to see how we do w/ a true PP at QB and an O-line that's been in a strength and cond. program for more than 2 years.   If Morris plays and plays well against ohio I hope there is an open competition for the spot next year, if only because real competition and the threat of losing your spot makes you a little more thoughtful of how you make decisions w/ the ball on the field.




November 24th, 2013 at 12:22 PM ^

there's all this sympathy for Gardner.  He's a QB on a 7-4 team who runs away from contact (runs backwards several times a game), arm-punts passess into the wind to avoid more contact, and then runs with the ball in the wrong arm.  Why doesn't Michigan play someone who wants to be on the field and respect the game with appropriate technique?

There are teams everywhere with losing records and no talent (neither condition applies to Michigan) who field gritty QBs who try to play the game right.  This guy took a dive against MSU and has been running away from his job ever since.



November 25th, 2013 at 12:40 PM ^

The only time he snapped was to defend his o line. That is pretty amazing since they are constantly getting him killed. Clearly he is not even close to 100% healthy. If you think otherwise, I just have to assume you never played a sport. Due to his being injured the defenses now completely disregard the threat of his legs. This makes it harder on his passing because if nothing's open it is harder for him to make a big play; keep the defense honest. We also make it worse when we use two TE and a FB to max protect due to our o line. This means Gardner only has two proven options both with two guys on them. He now has to throw into much tighter windows and feels like that is the only option because he can no longer run from the beating he has taken. Now add in the fact that a high school team could get through our o line he now has to throw before he is set, especially when we decide to have him turn his back!!(play action on 2nd and 3rd and long) this causes him to make quick bad reads and look even worse.

Gardners strengths was never to "throw like Peyton manning" so already he needs other skills to compensate for his weakness. He's lost those go to strengths. He's a kid who has gone jittery which can you blame him wholeheartedly? Maybe he could handle it better yes and maybe he could have better pocket presence yes, but now do you see why we have such sympathy for him? He is a trooper. But continue to call a college kid out who has withstood more pain than you have ever gone through. He is a kid who has given his all that was never going to be perfect, that the coaches in turn got him destroyed. This is why we feel as we do. If you still cannot see this I do not know what to tell you my friend...


November 24th, 2013 at 8:57 PM ^

DG has played extremely hard and has taken unbelievable punishment without complaining. For that I give him mad props. On the other hand, his QB skills--especially decision-making, are frankly just not very good. Now whether that's his fault personally or the coaching, we really will never know.


November 24th, 2013 at 9:50 PM ^

Everyone attacking DG at all ---  



Rationalize the fact that he has acatually gotten WORSE under this staff, and so did our previous quarterback.

Denard was never going to be Johnny fucking Moxon, but imagine those years WITHOUT Denard. Imagine Morris in these games gettting hit like DG has been hit. Do you think he'd be able to keep composure? Name some quarterbacks that have to work with what DG has had to work with in regards to protection that would still even be WALKING without crutches at this point in the season. Look what happened to Morris when he had to fill denard's shoes against Nebraska, and 


The one game where DG got time and wasn't running for his life, RECORDS WERE SET. I don't give two craps who the oppoenent was. Every team plays worse oppoents year in and year out and doesn't set those records. 


Denard was special, he might not have been what you wanted, but his last years were under coaches who made him worse rather than better. The coaches who forced him to play to his own weaknesses while the losses piled up, and in the end didn't have a backup plan for when he did eventually go down. When he did make it back into the lineup, they misused him and set him up for even greater failure. They even found a way to bring him into the games when he came back and put up yards, then STOPPED USING WHAT WORKED. That kid WAS MICHIGAN FOOTBALL. He stuck with it, trusted his coaches, and got worse at the expense of what "the team" asked of him.  Fuck anyone who says otherwise. 


How much more evidence is needed? Am I delusional with this line of thought?