Michigan State 29, Michigan 6

Submitted by Ace on November 2nd, 2013 at 7:41 PM

Bryan Fuller/MGoBlog

Michigan had two weeks to prepare for Michigan State. This resulted in a record-setting day.

It takes a special kind of failure to achieve such lows: complete, utter failure from top to bottom. The gameplan from Al Borges lacked coherence, an issue that's plagued him during his entire tenure at Michigan. The play-action from under center isn't fooling anyone and still gets brought out several times a game, yet the shotgun runs somehow lack any sort of constraint or misdirection. A piecemeal offense isn't going to beat MSU's defense.

The offensive line couldn't open up holes for the running game, nor could they keep Devin Gardner upright. MSU registered nine sacks, and even with that yardage removed along with kneeldowns and a negative-20-yard bad snap, the Wolverines mustered 1.3 yards per carry.

Gardner often held the ball too long, for his part, and missed some open receivers, then capped the performance with an ugly interception when he hucked a designed back-shoulder fade three yards in front of Jeremy Gallon. By that point, however, he'd earned considerable respect simply for standing up and facing the inevitable beating.

Eric Upchurch/MGoBlog

Michigan mustered 168 yards on a meager 2.8 yards per play despite Gardner averaging nearly eight yards per pass when he could actually get one off. The defense fought valiantly, holding the Spartans to just 237 yards and 16 points through three quarters and setting up the offense with a chance to make it a game when Raymon Taylor picked off Connor Cook and returned it to the MSU 41. The Wolverines subsequently took a five-yard loss on an blown-up option followed by consecutive sacks—burning a timeout before the second one—to lose 21 yards in three plays; a Matt Wile punt, his eighth of the afternoon, opened the fourth quarter.

By the time Jeremy Langford capped the scoring with a 40-yard touchdown run, Devin Gardner's day was done—it would've been unconscionable to put him out there for another possession—and fans from both sides steadily streamed out of Spartan Stadium.

On Michigan's final offensive play of the game, Shane Morris tried to scramble on fourth-and-four, only to faceplant at the line of scrimmage. It was a fitting coda to a miserable day.


Mpfnfu Ford

November 2nd, 2013 at 10:19 PM ^

But when I see that offense, I don't think, "The OC is an all time idiot." I say, "God fire the S&C coach NOW, and tell the OL coach to put his resume out on the market."

We are in year 3 of the RETURN TO MANBALL yet Michigan can't block ANYONE and they get their asses kicked on the reg. You can't still play the, "We're in transition!" and "the last coach sucked!" in year 3. At some point you have to hold people accountable for doing a poor job. And maybe Borges should be looked at, but the major failures on this team are on the OL, and that's not within his job. He's altered his game plan to compensate for how bad they are and it just doesn't matter because they're so worthless.


November 2nd, 2013 at 10:25 PM ^

Glad BB starts in a week and hockey looks good.

They ran a bubble screen for 8 yards. Yes, that is my answer. Of course that was followed by a poorly designed run that lost 4.


November 2nd, 2013 at 10:46 PM ^

Anyone who believes Michigan could have "game planned" a win believes in fairy tales and/or is relying on video game kknowledge. MSU's front seven was way too much for UM. They would win 10 of 10 against UM.


November 2nd, 2013 at 10:51 PM ^

My heart fell in my stomach at the end of the game. Mistakes and all, devin has been a warrior on the field , but when I saw him stop and pause when he clearly could have gotten a first down, I knew his spirit had been broken. He could not bear taking one more hit. I left the room at that point. The offensive line and the coaching staff, including hoke, have failed him miserably.


November 2nd, 2013 at 11:38 PM ^

You can't hate on the players man. I completely understand your frustration. But these boys are putting there lives and their football careers in the hands of the coaches to teach them the ins and outs of the game. They're giving 100% of themselves to the greatest college football program in the history of the sport and they do everything they can to execute the schemes and game plans that these coaches are trying to instill in them to push them to the next level... The blame lies on the coaching staff because we do have the talent but it's apparent that this group of coaches are dropping the ball on fundamental drills and leadership.

The FannMan

November 3rd, 2013 at 10:46 AM ^

I am pretty sure they feel like crap today - especially Devin who took a total beating.  Going on about how "ashamed" you are of them is over the top.  Just my opinion, but can you tone down the moral outrage? 


November 2nd, 2013 at 11:48 PM ^

I watched and taped the game and after watching the first quarter live and seeing 4 QB sacks, negative rushing yardage, I was thankfully called away to rake leaves by a friend. Upon my return, my first impressions had been confirmed.  I can feel all your pain.  

This game went downhill during the first half, although the score was close for a while.  A dominant MSU defense, which was way more adaptable and intelligent, was not to be denied.  Michigan's defense lasted for about three quarters, then the turnovers and dumb luck prevailed.

 I yield to other people's analytical statistics, but my gut says Borges had a bad day, much like Jerry Kill and his U of MN team has a bad day, when he has a seizure on the field.  On good days, Borges is competitive, but this team has a morale problem, which was obvious in the fourth quarter.  No medical problems as an excuse for Borges.  Not sure what to call it.  Michigan lacks any consistency on offense and their leadership on the field is getting overwhelmed.  You can analyze the plays as much as you want, but I will leave that to Brian in his UFR segments to come.  

I do feel Dantonio should get more respect in the national polls, but they seem biased against his style of offense and disregard his superior defense.  MSU vs OSU should be an interesting game, if MSU can develop some kind of offense, but OSU is looking like a juggernaut right now.

As a Michigan football fan since 1970, I feel sorry for these kids right now.  They deserve better, at least on offense, and even with Mattison, player's experience and strength matters. I also believe this MSU team has matured a lot since their loss to Notre Dame, which was also on the rebound from their loss in Michigan.  I think the emotional component of the game has been underrated.  This blog along with many others sensed a predetermined imminent failure, and when a team feels destined to lose, it usually does.  Just take look at the recent game between FSU and Clemson for comparison.  Michigan seems like a much better team on paper, but little of their potential was evident in their play today.  They deserved better. 


November 2nd, 2013 at 11:47 PM ^

1. Offensive Line Blocking - it looks like the scheme is confusing the linemen.  Why is the OL coach not simplifying the scheme to keep targets obvious for them?

2. Defensive Backs not Looking Back - this seems to be coached into them, too.  I notice them in position to make plays on the deep routes, but not seeing the ball and thus getting hands up to block the pass over the shoulder/head.

One more minor Item - lack of pressure with 4-5 rushers from the D-line, too. Not sure why because they seem pretty stout, in general.


November 2nd, 2013 at 11:59 PM ^

I think too much attention is being given to the playcalling. There's no magical play that erases terrible blocking. The problem is that our O-line is historically bad. Yeah, we're young on the interior, but we also have two proven veterans at the tackles. Youth explains why we're not great, it doesn't explain why we're terrible. At this point you gotta think something's wrong with the coaching.

The transition from RichRod to Hoke is an interesting little case study in coaching. In one year, the defense went from terrible to above-average (with mostly the same players), and the offense went from very good to average-ish. Our gameplans on offense have been headscratch-y for awhile, and while I was willing to give the benefit of the doubt at first, consistently weird decisions plus consistently bad results has to add up to bad coaching. If we continue to recruit as well as we have been, we're going to win a lot of football games eventually, but the offensive brain trust just does not seem that bright.

You know who's looking pretty good right now? Lloyd Carr.


November 3rd, 2013 at 12:13 AM ^

    So the O-Line is awful.  But you know what?  Mattison has been here 3 years too, just like Borges, whom everyone hates.  He's had 3 years to build a competent D-line, hell, he coaches them with Hoke, so he's like a Funorges in this regard.  And yet, they suck at rushing the passer.  Rushing 4 means see if the linebackers and secondary can cover for 30 seconds.  They are ok (and only ok) against the run.  They aren't that young, why aren't they good?


November 3rd, 2013 at 6:35 PM ^

I had no idea giving up a crippiling TD at the end of the first half was considered "keeping it close", as well as the FG drive at the start of the 2rd quarter.. The ONLY chance Michigan had to win was to have a lead or be down by no more than 3 or 4 throughout. They were in decent position to have a chance, until MSU has a 10-play, 75 yard TD drive at the end of the 1st half and a 10 play, 46 yard drive for a FG in the 2nd half, making it a 10 point game. Defense failed big time in those instances. To go from a tie game to down by 10 before the offense gets the ball again is just not good enough. Yeah, I kow the defense is young, but they shouldn't get a pass for that considering many here are raking the Oline over the coals too (and they're just as inexperience, if not moreso, than teh defense)

The fact that NO ONE is talking about defensive failures is driving me nuts. The team, as a whole, failed yesterday. Do not pin it on just the offense...they made some plays in the first half against a tough defense, despite a completely incompetent Oline. 

Ron Utah

November 3rd, 2013 at 12:14 AM ^

Play-calling wasn't the issue today.  Scheme wasn't the issue. 

When you can't block a running or a passing play, you can't move the ball.  When you can't get a pass rush on defense, you can't stop the pass.

This season was always going to come down to our success in the trenches.  Our lines--on both sides--aren't good enough.  We don't have a single game-breaker on defense.

On offense, we have some weapons, but when you can't block, you can't play football.  Fitz was awful in pass pro, the young middle was awful...game over.

I am not excusing the coaches.  It's their job to coach-up our kids and maximize their talent.  I don't think we're getting that.  But AB's gameplan had NOTHING to do with our loss today.  In fact, I liked most of his calls.  You cannot execute anything if you can't block--that is on the coaches and the players.  And it's awfully hard to play defense if your line can't pressure the QB--we can't.  Quite honestly, I was more frustrated with Mattison's calls than AB's today.

The FannMan

November 3rd, 2013 at 10:51 AM ^

They ran quick passes to Funchess over the middle out of the gun with max protect.  Devin still was hurried.  

If you want to blam PSU on Al, fine.  But you just can't game plan around the fact that two or three guys were screaming up the middle on almost each snap.  Nothing will work in that situation.

It is not a matter of fire Al and its all good.  We are just not that damn good right now becuase the interior of our line in both young and, more important, inexperienced.


November 3rd, 2013 at 2:25 PM ^

to run plays that haven't worked all year, and are a putting the team in a position to fail (running against a stacked box, play action pass against a defense that doesn't have to respect the run); or to run plays that work ~50/50 and fail due to execution (drops and overthrows)?

Ron Utah

November 3rd, 2013 at 12:19 AM ^

There was some good news, and it's worth mentioning.  There are a few guys that played well, and suggest that our future may be...well, at least not this:

  • Willie Henry.  This guy was everywhere today, and looked like a man among boys.  If he can play like that consistently, that is a huge boost for us in the middle of our D-Line.
  • JMFR is back.  Strong performance from him.
  • Jehu Chesson.  The situation didn't bother him; he did what he was asked to do and made some plays.

I hate looking forward to next year.  But there is reason for hope.  In my mind--assuming we win at least a couple more games--Hoke deserves at least one more year before he's judged too harshly.  Next year he'll have a roster mostly full of his guys, and he needs to produce, even on the road in EL and Columbus.


November 3rd, 2013 at 12:21 AM ^

I can't believe some posters are complaining about Fitz, dude was a1000 yard rusher before this staff. To say he falls on first contact is laughable. The funny thing is that's Green's role, I've seen that guy fall when a defender looked at him too hard. I don't buy the argument he's a freshmen I've watched some pretty decent backs across the country who are freshmen. The offensive game plan just sucks. The plays the whole idea. It sucks too see the very thing hoke wants to go away from offensively always seems to gets the team going or down the field. For all those who want to say Gardner sucks, I say go to go hell, just imagine the rushing totals this season without Him ( ouch). Utilize the talent on the team instead of forcing something that just doesn't work. If the o-line can't block for long periods of time, then get the ball out quicker. Stop it with this deep double move go routes that I like use on the video game. I saw a play with Jackson going deep, I'm seating watching it like for real


November 4th, 2013 at 7:36 AM ^

green fall like that? He hasn't carried the ball this year at all so I am not sure that is a statement capable of substantiation.

Fitz is a no 2 back. Might get 1000 yards in right scheme or with competent line but a back should get that in those situations. We are 8 games in and just had the worst rushing game in history. "Might" be a time to give some other guys some run. Competition remember?


November 3rd, 2013 at 1:05 AM ^

Who I blame, but starting 5 freshman on offense isn't a good thing very often. This isn't basketball.

We knew this was going to be a difficult year before it started and it has proven so.


November 3rd, 2013 at 3:19 AM ^

After reading all the comments I have noticed a very large amount of trolling going on, with that said it is to be expected , Michigan got their ass kicked plain and simple.

However for all you State fans that are trolling I have one thing to say to you, watch out. Your school is a stepping stool program, history has proven that. Dantonio is a hell of a coach but make no mistake if he was 10 years younger he would have left at the first chance he had. Just ask Saban, also I highly doubt you have Pat Narduzzi after this year.

The wheels will once again fall off at MSU when the game finally passes Dantonio by, and it will. I for one will from now on not take for granted a win streak over MSU there will be a time in the near future that Michigan will beat you 6 years in a row and I will flaunt it every chance I get.

I have also heard from many state fans that even if Narduzzi leaves for a head coaching job MSU will just hire him back when Dantonio retires, if he turns out to be a good head coach there is no way he comes back to East Lansing. You are and always will be in football a stepping stool program.

Go Blue there will be brighter days and they are not that far away!

Hi Gang

November 4th, 2013 at 6:40 PM ^

MSU has lost two coaches since the MD hire - hired as head coaches.

MSU is finally paying their big-time coordinators/position coaches.

And not only are people saying Narduzzi loves it here, it's becoming more and more clear that he's MSU's heir apparent head coach.


Ahhh, the high school recruiting *'s.  You guys still follow that?  It must be far beyond disappointing by now.  Can't see how you could still get excited about a 4/5 star verbal.


Dennard and Waynes - both 2*'s. Best CB tandem in the country. Drummond - 3*.

Taiwan Jones and Denicos Allen - both 3*'s. Yeah, Bullough was a 4*, but those 3 are the best trio in the bigten.  Backups Ed Davis and Darien Harris - 3*'s.  Ed Davis was the guy that got those sacks on Saturday - and was at the right place and time all game.

Isiah Lewis is a 4*.

Backup S Williamson - 3*.

DE's: Calhoun, 3*.  Rush, 3*. Drone and Heath are 3*'s. 

DT's Reynolds and Hoover - 3*s.   Scarpanito and Knox - 3*'s. I believe Kittredge was also  3*.  He transfered from Vandy.

That's the #1 rated D in the nation - starters and subs.

Since star ratings began, UofM has never had starters and subs rated that low as recruits.  Probably not even close.

And as far as offense - MSU plays two true freshman RB's.  Their star ratings added nearly equal you're one freshman RB, and he can't beat out Fitz.  And Fitz can't block.  Oh, Lanford is also a 3*.

OL?  MSU is STARTING a RSFR left tackle.  He was a 2*.  RSSoph Jack Allen - 3*.  Young guys can actually play OL.

BTW, many of those players mentioned above were recruited when they were 2*'s and got a bump up to 3*, often long after they verballed.

Here's one for you...MSU just today picked up Madre London - 3* RB, ranked #49 RB overall. He'll sign with another 3* RB in this class - a Caulcrick type of back.  I'm completely satisfied with picking up both of them.  I used to be concerned with stars and ratings, and that UofM was out recruiting MSU, but now I am perfectly content with the guys MD picks up.

Yes, UofM does have a lot of underclassmen.  But other than your WR and TE (or is he a WR now), and probably Ross, I'm not seeing anything positive from Hoke's all-world recruiting classes.  Oh, I'll give it up to Countess too.  He'd likely be a two deep guy at MSU.

And you're bottom heavy.  You want to spread it out.  If these amazing classes don't pan out - and I'm hardly sold on the assumption that it will happen, it's gonna get really rough, and very few ships to offer.  But, on the bright side, you will be really young again in about 5 years.  So go ahead and get another 10 rated class.  It doesn't matter anymore.  Considering the recruiting, I (and you) figured you'd have a monster running game by now, with a future Heisman QB doing more than just getting his feet wet and falling face down.  Maybe Magnuson and Braden pan out.  Granted, they do have as much experience as Conklin (the 2* RSFR), but they are still young. 

But back to my subject title - been hearing this for years.  The only thing different now is instead of the next year mantra, this troll has gathering enough input to assume that you folks are now thinking two years from now.

My final input is that UofM needs to stop the, "Sorry if this is arrogant, but we're Michigan", attitude.  You haven't been that Michigan for a decade.  You need more 3* Jake Ryan types, and less hype.




November 3rd, 2013 at 8:21 AM ^

He is Terrible..... Borges....I mean. Gardner is the least prepared or least intelligent Player I have ever seen play the position!!!!!!! and I'm old.... They will not win another game without Diloe and Gallon on the field at the same time!!!!!!!!!!! Mark My Words!!!!!!!!!!!

Oh and PS, I told you they would not win!!


November 3rd, 2013 at 9:12 AM ^

Most people don't realize that there is a reason for everything coaches do and that we usually have no idea how reasonable what they are doing really is. All that said, I have a hard time believing that Brady can let this post season go by without making a change at OC. I really think Al is a good one, but he is out if his comfort zone and waiting for him to find it may result in three more losses to Sparty and Ohio.

The evil bastards are going to embarrass us in a few weeks.

Both on the road next year, two more losses.

The year after that we will have a first year starter at QB. Could be two more losses. This run of bad luck against the two biggest punks on our schedule is not soon to end.


November 3rd, 2013 at 10:45 AM ^

We obviously need to stick with Hoke. I think in the long run well be fine. On the other side of that coin I really think that he needs to have some real tight reins on his positional coaches. I understand we have a lot of youth on this team but my god there are areas where we just look downright awful. I mean how is our O line tht bad? And I don't know about the rest of you but I'm losing faith and respect for Borges with each week. I think he's just trying to be balanced for the sake of saying UM is balanced. There is no physicality anywhere on this offense. There's no toughness. That's one thing I like about dantonio is that he goes into the year saying sob we are goin to RUN the ball and be physical if it kills me. And they may not look real efficient at it the first few games but by god by the middle of the season those guys understand what kind of toughness to bring to te table and they compete and have a personal pride about that. UM has absolutely 0 of that right now. I said it before and I'll say it again UM and it's coaches more so on the offensive side of the ball are too damn soft and finesse. Borges is too soft! Funk has to be evaluated.

With tht I think that UM is a year or so away from being really good, but Hoke has to establish an identity. And quite frankly I don't know if Borges and funk are helping in those efforts.


November 3rd, 2013 at 11:07 AM ^

I DONT want Hoke doing anything he doesnt understand. He hires people above his competence level and that should remain the case. Its a good thing he does and a credit to him, and anyone like him. Hoke is a great DL coach and a figurehead who is the HC. Thats pretty much it. There is beauty in that simplicity, until it changes and you have someone whos extent of offensive knowledge is " the power play" trying to put a governor on the position coaches, i think youre asking for a worse outcome.


November 3rd, 2013 at 11:43 AM ^

This was the tipping point for me. This coaching staff cannot win on the road. Not sure how many more of these type of games we have to endure until Brandon makes a move. It's time to woo Harbaugh. Throw the dough at him, give him the control and let the good times roll. He is the answer.