Michigan State 14, Michigan 10 Comment Count

Ace October 7th, 2017 at 11:53 PM


The final play. [Bryan Fuller]

Death by a thousand self-inflicted cuts.

Michigan State's offense didn't look like it belonged in the same league as Michigan's defense, which forced eight three-and-outs, added a turnover on downs, and didn't allow a point after the 8:07 mark of the second quarter. By those numbers, you'd think the Wolverines would've won this game in a blowout.

But the offense, well, it all went wrong with the offense. They turned the ball over five times: a Ty Isaac fumble that killed any momentum from a promising start, a Sean McKeon fumble when they were driving at the end of the first half, and three John O'Korn interceptions. O'Korn's picks came on consecutive second-half possessions as rain fell from the sky in sheets; the coaches continued to call passes despite O'Korn's struggling and the receivers having a tough time hanging onto the ball.

That was it, really. State needed only one long touchdown drive and another on a short field to get the win while Michigan found new and demoralizing ways to shoot themselves in the foot.

After the game, the quarterback dismissed concerns about the playcalling and the weather, instead putting the loss on his own shoulders.

"I take full ownership for this loss," said John O'Korn. "You can't turn the ball over and expect to win and you can't give them great field position all game and expect to win."

"You've got to execute the plays that are called regardless of the conditions and we didn't do that tonight."

His head coach had a different take.

"Yeah, you can criticize that," Jim Harbaugh said about the playcalling. "We were trying to run the ball. We were trying to piece drives together."

It was a depressingly familiar script. Michigan State had the better, more cohesive gameplan, highlighted by their second touchdown, a gorgeous slip screen off a fake end-around that caught the entire defense on the wrong side of the field. Michigan's pass protection repeatedly broke down; Juwann Bushell-Beatty replaced Nolan Ulizio at right tackle midway through the game with little positive effect. The late-game plays didn't break the right way; MSU all but iced the game when Brian Lewerke dropped a third-down snap, frantically scrambled, and somehow rolled over two players to get the first down before touching the ground.

Another familiar sight—stupid Michigan State penalties—gave Michigan a final shot late, first when a holding call stopped the clock on MSU's final drive, then when senior linebacker Chris Frey committed an obvious late hit on Karan Higdon. Yet again, Michigan committed an unforced error. O'Korn found Eddie McDoom wide open around the MSU 30, only for the ball to clang off McDoom's hands. A couple plays later, O'Korn's Hail Mary heave hit the rain-soaked turf.

The bitter taste from this one is going to linger. Michigan could—should—be 3-0 against MSU under Harbaugh. Instead, they're 1-2. This time around, it was the struggling offense finally costing the team a game this season. Even if we knew that was coming this year, it won't sit well that it happened against the Spartans, especially given the preceding bye week and questionable playcalling.

It's going to be a long week for a lot of people.

Comments

M-Dog

October 8th, 2017 at 12:35 AM ^

He had enough sense to go out and get Joe Moorhead when his offense was not working.

Harbaugh had no problem going out and getting the best DC in college football.

But do you think he would take the same approach on offense and ditch his relatives and old buddies? 

Not a chance.

He has a total blind spot there. 

So we have the best defense in the country coupled with one of the worst offenses.  It's maddening. 

And so unnecessary.

 

 

stephenrjking

October 8th, 2017 at 12:36 AM ^

How do you know?

Harbaugh already made a move to change up the OL situation. Drevno was THE coach of the OL, and then Harbaugh picked up Frey. Seems to me to be a clear sign that: 1. Drev was stretched too thin to effectively coach the whole OL, and 2. Harbaugh recognized this and did something about it.

This is a far cry from Hoke/DB sticking with Funk for four years.

If Drevno is not cutting it in his role, I don't think it's a long shot that Harbaugh makes an adjustment. But it's also worth waiting to see how things play out. Harbaugh understands the issues better than we do.

blueheron

October 8th, 2017 at 10:14 AM ^

Agreed -- I think there was some drifting away from the point there.

But, to the point: My own eyebrows went up when Harbaugh hired his buddy Minick (known to many in Ann Arbor as a reasonably high-functioning alcoholic) for a football job that was realistically outside his wheelhouse.

Outside of the single DUI that didn't prove to be a big deal. Perhaps he even had a positive effect on the culture.

Still, it changes the light on Jaybaugh and Drevno. Maybe Harbaugh is guilty of some cronyism.

JonnyHintz

October 8th, 2017 at 12:04 PM ^

To be fair, Drevno was widely considered to be one of the best offensive line coaches in the country. Having very successful lines at Stanford, San Francisco, and then doing wonders with a young OL at USC.

His son Jay, was highly regarded as an NFL analyst with the Ravens. Did well with tight ends and special teams. And if we are honest, he’s done no worse than Wheatley with the RBs and he’s a plus in recruiting.

If anything it looks like the hire of Hamilton is what hurt this team. Since his arrival, the team hasn’t had any type of identity. We go from I formation one play to five wide set the next. The offense can’t get in any type of rhythm and the result is what we have seen all season. That, with a mixture of youth we have on this team.

Sione's Flow

October 8th, 2017 at 1:01 AM ^

Year 1:The first loss to MSU was a fluke, OSU was the defending national champs, coming off an embarrassing loss to MSU (they looked motivated for the first time all year)
Year 2: Win at MSU. Close loss at OSU with some BS pass interference calls that kept OSU drives alive.
Year 3: A disappointing loss with 5 turno ers by the offense. Few teams win a game like that. OSU TBD.

TrueBlue2003

October 8th, 2017 at 1:55 AM ^

on tonight's game? As if it wasn't largely the fault of the staff that they were -5 TOs against a double digit underdog at home? 

Tonights game is all on them. Last years OSU team wasn't that good.  We were much more talented.  At some point, you have to win road games like that. It's been a failure by the staff in these games.

bamf16

October 8th, 2017 at 8:57 AM ^

We as fans obviously don't know whose primarily in charge of play-calling on offense.

My question is, do the players? The defense has one voice making those calls. The offense has (it seems) 3. By most accounts, Drevno is the primary guy calling plays. He sucks at it, and the position he coaches is underwhelming.

JonnyHintz

October 8th, 2017 at 12:09 PM ^

Well considering the two fumbles were forced by the hit, that’s not really on the staff.

One pick was an overthrow, that’s not on the staff.

One pick took an odd bounce off a player, that’s not on the staff.

One pick was a bad decision by O’Korn after he mishandled the snap.

So yeah. I fail to see how the 5 turnovers falls in the lap of the staff. That’s on player execution.

bamf16

October 8th, 2017 at 5:09 PM ^

Can't blame coaches for the fumbles.

3 picks in 3 possessions after coaches asked the offense to abandon the iso blocking that was working to go back to the failure that is the inside zone and then asked the QB to throw in weather conditions unsuited for passing has to be put on the staff a bit, no?

DairyQueen

October 8th, 2017 at 4:01 AM ^

There's tons of issues, simply because nothing is perfect.

But the #1 issue (and the #1 issue in ALL of football), is that the QB-play could have been much better. Period.

And that's on Harbaugh. That's on Pep. That's the legacy of Fisch (Rudock and Yr. 1 un-injured Speight was an efficiency BEAST)--Harbaugh himself says Fisch is destined to be a head-coach someday.

If we have Speight, even with his flaws, I think we win this game by at least 10, and likely more because of "nerves" not being as much of an issue.

But not having a quality back-up. By year 3. Because it only takes 1 play, and boom, your startign QB is gone. You gotta, gotta, gotta have quality backups (2013 OSU?), you just have to, if you want to win.

That's on Harbaugh.

To be honest, I knew this game wasn't going to be pretty/lost when I say the storm forecast last night.

Noon games only, you f**king money-grubbing NCAA. It took the f**kiing FBI to investigate you because you've operated so corruptly for SO MANY DECADES.

Look, I love Jim, and I'll ride with him to the end of the earth, of course, but it's okay he's only human, but the blame is squarely on him as around year 3 you should be able to come up with at least 2 solid QBs (through transfer, graduated, recruit, or coach'd up inheritance)

steel the spine time.

I'm angry yes, but I'm also drunk too!

JonnyHintz

October 8th, 2017 at 12:46 PM ^

Is the backup QB problem really on Harbaugh? I mean the only two QBs he was able to recruit are both still freshmen. It’s realistic to think they’re just not quite ready yet. Can’t really harp on a coaching staff based on the performance of a couple freshmen.

On the other end of that, Harbaugh inherited a pretty bare cupboard at QB. Only scholarships QBs were a bust Shane Morris, a generic 3* Speight, and incoming Alex Malzone. Harbaugh then did wonders with Rudock and then Speight.

To judge the QBs based on two freshmen seems premature. Some of the best QBs weren’t starting as freshmen or redshirt freshmen.

war-dawg69

October 8th, 2017 at 3:55 AM ^

My man Michigan's offense is a complete and utter embarassment. They have zero idea how to utilize their talent and neutralize a defense. It is the most painful offense to watch ever. They just do not have a fuckin clue what they are doing. Drevno, Hamilton and his son need to go. Well he can keep his son in a recruiting reduced role, but I got negged before for saying what does he know about running the ball and running backs. Harbaugh is the head coach and made a great hire with don brown and zordich hence the defense is good and does not look like a fuckin joke. 

The whole offensive coaching staff is to rosy and soft. We have talented huge lineman that flat out play like cunts, but really get zero help when you run into stacked boxes. I don't think I have ever seen a d-lineman hurt by our o-line. They have zero nasty. Our offense is flat out soft because our coaching staff is soft and to be quite honest stupid. You put that fat fuck moorehead as our coordinator and no one could beat us. It is time for Harbaugh to get professionals like Don Brown coaching the offense. Our offense looks worse than last year and what changed. Hanilton. We don't even run end arounds with Mcdoom, but we run fades to him that have zero chance because he is not a good receiver.

Harbaugh is not calling the plays, drevno and shit show hanilton are and they need to go. Has jay harbaugh ever even played football. We have half of a team. I have never seen that before. The number one defense in the country and a complete fuckin joke of an offense. I blame Harbaugh 100% as he should of got a real coordinator when Fisch left. I personally believe Harbaugh and Drevno are just buddies hanging out having a good time. That shit show I just witnessed is completely unnaceptable and after a bye week or the so called improvement week. That sure is a fuckin joke.

It is time for Manuel to start making some noise about why half of Michigans team is amatuer hour. Harbaugh knows that he has shit for coaches on the offensive side of the ball and flat out refuses to do anything about it.

Michigan has so much more talent than msu it is not even funny, but there offense is soft. There lineman are soft. The running backs can't block. Good job Higdon, who taught him that technique. That's the game right there.

Great defense.....NO offense. That is on you Harbaugh. They brought you here and pay you a rediculous amount of money to win the big ten. Not lose to msu. Harbaugh you owe Michigan half of your slary or more for fielding half of a team every fuckin game. You are starting to look like a real fuckin punk and a joke to me!!!!. Way to fuck over 110,000 people standing in the rain to see your shit show on turf. You and your offensive coaching staff just shit all over all the people who support this team. Dantonio and a way less talented team just bent you over on national t.v.. Way to go...great fuckin job.

 

JonnyHintz

October 8th, 2017 at 12:19 PM ^

Well I’m not defending their point, but the alignment Michigan used in the unspeakable play was a pretty dumb move.

The entire Spartan return team. All 11 were on the line of scrimmage going after the punt. Michigan lined up with 9 blockers. A punter. And one lonely gunner. That’s a critical mistake that could have been the difference

GRRBlue

October 9th, 2017 at 3:12 PM ^

Yes, I have been saying since the end of the '15 game that the loss was on JH..  I was at the game and after UM failed to convert on 3rd down (something we have seen for 40 years to end a game) I was yelling "don't call a timeout, keep the playclock running."  JH did.  Why give MSU time to set-up for a block?  Or extra seconds at game's end?  Run your punt unit out just like you did the entire game.  Then, JH failed to recognize that UM was mismatched at the line of scrimmage and allowed MSU to get pressure from many of its rushers.  Those miscues are on the head coach.

Tuebor

October 8th, 2017 at 1:56 AM ^

Ill gladly take a 3 win season once every 10 years for 3 big ten championships, 11 wins 5 times in 6 years, total domination over your in state rival 8-3 and a 3-4 record againt OSU.

Shit, msu is probably going to be east favorites going in to 2018 given how young they are so long as they win 8 or 9 games this year

war-dawg69

October 8th, 2017 at 4:13 AM ^

It's all business on defense and a big party on offense. Drevno and Frey always so cheerful and rosy and that is how the offense plays. Hamilton, Drevno, Frey and Jay Harbaugh getting paid huge money to field the laughing stock of the big ten. Keep hanging out partying. Harbaugh you going to hold anyone responsible for that joke of a offense you field.....like your fuckin self. How many recruits did we just lose Harbaugh. Once again GREAT FUCKIN JOB!!!    Nine fuckin million dollars. Ya I don't even care anymore.....FUCK YOU HARBAUGH.  I do see kids playing hard but they do not have a clue what they are doing and how to play like a team. Harbaugh that is kind of inportant you fuckin clown. Oh ya nine million dollars....................Fuck you again Harbaugh.

ppeddler

October 8th, 2017 at 1:54 AM ^

So here's my real questions:

* Why is MSU able to get so up for this game and UM is not every fricking year, and who is at fault?

* What in the hell is wrong with the offense, thay just plain sucked in nearly every category tonight even though they have plenty of talent and had two weeks to prepare.  Drevno has not shown any enhancement in offensive capability during his tenure, its time to jettison him and get someone in that can do the job!

* It seemed like MSU understood the weather constarints and Harbaugh and company were clueless.  I'm an old retired wildland firefighter.  I told my wife and daughter before the game even started that whoever was ahead at halftime would likely win, based solely on the belief that that bad weather forcasted in the second half would make offensive scoring very difficult.  Well, I was right.  UM should have understood these second half constraints were likely coming and altered their gameplan in the first half.  It did not happen, but it sure looked like MSU understood, so who is at fault.  Drevno needs to go, simple as that in my mind, or Harbs needs to get more involved with the offense.  It just has not been working on a consistent basis since Harbaugh arrived except for the Jake R. period.

* Was it me or did others notice...... Damn near every time O'Korn was flushed from the pocket, if he had imediately made the read to run, he would have picked up 5 to 10+ yards every time.  But, only rarely did he chose this path, instead choosing almost every time to try to find someone open instead of using his legs.  Seems like a coaching issue to me, especialy in the second half when the weather was playing such a big role in the game.

Enough said, beat me up as you see fit lol!!

 

GomezBlue

October 8th, 2017 at 2:27 AM ^

 

So here's my real questions:

* Why is MSU able to get so up for this game and UM is not every fricking year, and who is at fault?

Read Brian's blog prior to the game.  No respect for MSU.  MSU makes this game a priority--winning the state is a big deal to them, and we think just showing up will give us the win.  We like to laugh and make fun of them for a countdown clock for this game.  We think last year's turd they layed on the entire year would carry over to this year.  Brian even said we should be 3-0 against them under Harbaugh.

Why?  Two years ago was a fluke, but why is this year's game a fluke?  They won, fair and square (sorry for the trite expression).  We give them no respect, and they continually kick our ass.  Yes, 4 points is not bad, but it is a lose.  After MSU's record last year, none of us would think a one point game in their favor could happen.  Well, they won.  They take us seriously.  Brian, and his blog, can say we should be 3-0 against them, except one thing...we are 1-2.  Make excuses, but the truth is MSU has our number.  Until we accept that, we'll lose again.

You Only Live Twice

October 8th, 2017 at 2:53 AM ^

and I can't agree or disagree with any of your observations.

I was alarmed seeing O'Korn get progressively more rattled in one game than what people blasted Speight for, in multiple games and injuries. 

As far as MSU being so "UP" well of course they were.  Isn't that a given? The key is not the rivalry factor, when we knew they had vastly inferior talent.  Rivalry, not rivalry, whatever, just prepare for each week's opponent.  I actually like playing MSU early to expose our weaknesses and work on solutions.