Michigan 34, Miami (NTM) 10 Comment Count

Ace September 13th, 2014 at 7:28 PM

WITH AUTHORITY [Eric Upchurch/MGoBlog]

The gulf between box score and eye test is vast this evening.

The box score says Michigan gave hapless Miami their 19th straight loss with authority, outgaining the RedHawks 460-198, moving the ball well on the ground (6.1 YPC) and through the air (8.4 YPA), and ultimately cruising to a 24-point victory.

My eyes saw Michigan cough up three turnovers in the second quarter, allowing Hapless Miami to tie the game at ten apiece and hang around for a while.

The box score shows that Miami scored ten points against the Wolverine defense, but the eyes know those should be charged against Michigan's offense, as those scoring drives covered all of 26 and 21 yards following U-M turnovers.

The box score doesn't contain a giant red "WTF" flag. My eyes saw this at the end of the first half:

You can click to enlarge that picture, or I can just tell you that Michigan ran a four-minute drill with zero urgency or effectiveness. After Michigan tried to run a quick play on fourth-and-1, only for Miami to call a timeout before the snap, Brady Hoke decided to punt on 4th-and-6 from the Miami 37 when the Wolverines took a delay of game penalty coming out of that timeout. The decison to punt was so surprising Miami didn't put out a returner, then called a timeout of the "you can't be serious" variety. Finally, U-M took another delay of game to give Will Hagerup more room to boom a punt that hit the end zone on the fly.* Insert giant red "WTF" flag here.

The box score shows Devin Gardner had an efficient 184 yards and two TDs on 20 attempts, with one lone interception blemishing his stat line. The eyes saw his mechanics, which are all over the place, and at least two should-be interceptions hit the turf or, in the case of Jake Butt's first catch, get rescued by a great effort on the receiver's part. In fairness to Gardner, the box score also doesn't show that his interception was tipped at the line.

A crease, that. [Upchurch]

The box score and eye test agree on a couple things, at least. The offensive line did a fine job opening up holes after Miami stopped packing the box with eight defenders; when the RedHawks had to adjust to account for Michigan's wide-open receivers, Derrick Green went off, finishing the game with 137 yards and a pair of scoring runs on 22 carries. Green showed off patience, vision, and the decisive cuts necessary for success in a zone running scheme, and the numbers say as much.

Amara Darboh also looked good as he stepped into a starting role with Devin Funchess in street clothes; the redshirt sophomore caught six passes for 88 yards and Michigan's first touchdown—when he caught a quick slant and powered through a tackle to poke the ball across the plane—though he did lose a fumble during that stressful second quarter. Jake Butt looked healthy after playing sparingly against Notre Dame, finishing with three catches for 59 yards and a score on a clever fake screen called by Doug Nussmeier.

The defense thoroughly dominated Miami. RedHawks QB Andrew Hendrix could only muster 165 yards with one TD and one INT on 26 passes. The Miami passing game fared a whole lot better than their running game, which managed a paltry 33 yards on 24 attempts. The defensive front looked great, and even without starters Ray Taylor and Jarrod Wilson, the secondary held strong. Jourdan Lewis recorded his first career interception with a leaping grab on the sideline, while Jabrill Peppers impressed with his physical man coverage, forcing throw after throw to sail into the sideline.

The box score, which must be taken into account—our lyin' eyes being what they are—says Michigan turned in a dominant performance, with the final score a bit deceiving thanks to those turnovers. While it took longer than anyone hoped or expected, the Wolverines ultimately dispatched a bad team with relative ease.

On my drive home, however, I'll remember the groans that accompanied Hagerup's ill-fated punt, and the boos that followed the team into the tunnel, and I'll wonder what that kind of first-half performance would result in next week, when a plucky Utah squad coming off a bye week visits the Big House. The mental image isn't a pleasant one.

*Apologies for initially screwing up this sequence of events; now edited for accuracy, though the general "WTF" feeling stands, of course. This was horrible clock management and an infuriatingly conservative call in a one-score game against an overmatched opponent.



September 13th, 2014 at 8:56 PM ^

This is exactly correct. Right after the Canteen catch the ran to the line. This would lead you to believe they had 2 plays called which would be seemingly pretty good for the coaching staff. Miami called a timeout to keep them from running the play.


They also lined up to go for it on 4th and 1 after the timeout.


Unfortunately it seemed, based on the UM coaches reaction, that play clock was reset incorrectly. Now why someone wasn't watching to call a timeout if this is the case is beyond me but that isn't the first time they have botched clock management.


September 14th, 2014 at 8:41 AM ^

What happened on 4th down wasn't the worst of it.  The fact is that the entire last possession of the first half was played without any urgency to score.  We had the ball with something like 4 minutes on the clock on Miami's side of the field.  If we'd have managed the clock better in the first two minutes, the 4th down thing with a minute left probably wouldn't have happened.  Instead, the tempo was as if there was no time constraint at all.  I watched in disbelief as Gardner let the play clock run down to single digits on snap after snap.  Hoke was either lost or has no killer instinct.  Can anyone imagine Urban Meyer or Nick Saban wasting an opportunity to score in that situation, especially when we had to give the ball back to Miami to start the second half? I have been patient but I am rapidly losing confidence in our HC's ability to manage a game.


September 14th, 2014 at 9:48 AM ^

There was still about 1:00 remaining when M lined up for the 4th down.  Had we converted, the ball would have been inside the +35 yard line with at least a momentary clock stoppage to move the chains.  Part of what made the delay of game gaffe so frustrating was that there was adequate time to score a TD or move into chip-shot FG range, so I don't really have a problem with the clock management leading up to that point.


September 14th, 2014 at 11:41 AM ^

end of a half, up until the clock blunder (I'm still pretty sure it wasn't reset properly).  

You want to drive the length of the field, kill the clock and score.  It's not because you're afraid that the other team will score.  It's because, why let them even get the chance if you don't have to?  

If Hoke is ever successful in establishing an offense that can work like this against decent opponents Michigan will be more than a decent team.  

I realize that's a big if.  


September 13th, 2014 at 7:38 PM ^

Nice article Ace. Did you write most of it at half time? That was a quick turnaround.

Dumb play calls again. Special teams was a disaster. I have no idea why the wrong returned was trying to cut in twice during the return. DG needs to throw better. At this point, I expect him to have at least one turnover every game.

Green looked great. Nice vision. How did he learn that in one week? Dude looked like a different RB. Probably a bad opponent. Still he had some nice cuts.

CBs still need some work. I felt that the game looked different when Butt came in to the game.

Overall, depressing performance on offense. Defense looks good, Green hype machine should start, and Butt looked good.

Some improvement. We will see next week.


September 13th, 2014 at 7:39 PM ^

They'll be ready.

Michigan will need to play its best football of the season to win that game.

I predicted a blowout today. I was wrong.

Michigan is still years away from dominance.

Blue in Yarmouth

September 15th, 2014 at 8:53 AM ^

I think you're both right. The potential is there but the coaches haven't really inspired a lot of confidence where developing that potential is concerned. People keep saying Hoke and staff should stay on (I'm not making this about whether he should or not, that's another debate), hence this guy thinks they are still years away. I think you're both actualy agreeing with eachother here. 


September 13th, 2014 at 7:39 PM ^

The students who tried starting the wave with six minutes remaining in the third quarter need to get a clue. Those people who had tickets and let them go to waste need to get a clue as well

Sent from MGoBlog HD for iPhone & iPad

Maize and Blue…

September 13th, 2014 at 8:50 PM ^

with their tickets.  Quite frankly, that was pretty bad football and my absolute final straw with Hoke.  The team was booed off the field at half though I think most of those may have been directed at Brady.  It is really bad when the thing I use to look forward to every Saturday I'm starting to dread because it is unwatchable. Up 7at half to one of the worst teams in the FBS is pretty embarrassing.



September 13th, 2014 at 7:40 PM ^

Hoke didnt decide to punt on 4th and 1 from 32 like you stated. They were lined up to go for it. Once they got the first delay of game penalty pushing ball back to 37, that is when they decided to punt. Clearly they should have gone for it regardless but punting on 4th and 6 from 37 is a bit less disturbing than punting on 4th and 1 from the 32 which you suggest.