Nebraska 17, Michigan 13

Submitted by Ace on November 9th, 2013 at 7:14 PM

This was the high point, both from a football and comedic standpoint.

If this isn't rock bottom, it's damn close. Michigan faced a Nebraska rush defense that's done this...

Opponent Att Yds TD YPC
Wyoming 30 219 1 7.3
UCLA 50 216 2 4.3
South Dakota State 33 271 2 8.2
Illinois 45 211 2 4.7
Purdue 20 82 0 4.1
Minnesota 53 272 3 5.1
Northwestern 43 283 3 6.6

...and, with sacks removed, rushed for 22 yards on 29 attempts. Oh, and a combination of poor play-calling, poor line play, poor blitz pickup, and one understandably skittish quarterback allowed seven sacks that knocked the offense back 49 yards.

Brady Hoke's home winning streak is dead; that's not really the story. It wasn't hard to see this coming, not after the narrow escape against Akron, and certainly not after last week's debacle. When Drew Dileo dropped a fourth-down pass on Michigan's last-gasp drive, it felt depressingly fitting—of course the sure-handed receiver would let one slip through his grasp at precisely the wrong time, because that's just how this season has gone.

Bryan Fuller/MGoBlog

When Michigan attained a first down for the first time in the game, only three plays before the end of the first quarter, the Big House crowd erupted with the loudest Bronx cheer I've ever heard in this building. The sarcastic cheers turned to boos by the end of the first half, at which time the Wolverines, down 10-3, had 60 yards of offense on 29 plays.

Those boos only grew louder by the end of the game. Al Borges orchestrated a great drive to open the second half, featuring a big play for Fitz Toussaint on a slip screen, a slick pop-pass to Jake Butt against a heavy blitz, and a touchdown to a wide-open Devin Funchess on a post-curl-corner route combination.

Thus ended the offensive renaissance. That ten-play, 75-yard drive represented 43% of Michigan's total output on the afternoon, and Michigan resumed slamming their heads against stacked fronts and allowing wave after wave of pressure to hit home.

The defense did what they could, holding the Huskers to 273 yards—75 of which came on their game-winning drive—on just 4.1 yards per play despite two new starters at safety: Courtney Avery and Josh Furman, who replaced Jarrod Wilson and Thomas Gordon.* When Frank Clark lost contain and James Ross was late getting out on an option pitch (of sorts, since it went forwards) to Ameer Abdullah, who waltzed five yards into the end zone, there wasn't anger in Michigan Stadium—instead, apathy reigned, and a healthy number of fans streamed for the exits despite the Wolverines being down four with two minutes left and all their timeouts. Five plays later, those fans were proven—at least for today—to be justified in their actions.

"Well, we just didn't execute," said Brady Hoke after the game. That is 2013 Michigan Football's epitaph, and at some point it isn't going to be enough to save everyone's job.

*According to Hoke in the post-game presser, Gordon had an unspecified ankle injury, while Wilson's absense from the lineup was an attempt to shake things up.



November 9th, 2013 at 7:19 PM ^

This is the first time in my lifelong Michigan fandom I'm beginning to feel apathetic about the team. What's the point when the staff is such a clusterf*ck.

Thomas Sulliva…

November 9th, 2013 at 9:21 PM ^

I'm not. But I feel compelled to post an email I sent to Dave Brandon:

Dear Mr. Brandon,

I am a class of 2000 graduate. There are few things in life I love more than Michigan football. I take multiple trips to Ann Arbor every year to watch our Wolverines, even though it is economically uncomfortable (as an educator) for me to do so. I have been loyal to a fault; I supported the program even during Rich Rodriguez's darkest hours. I attended the game today with my family, making the trek all the way from Winona, Minnesota.

Today was the breaking point. In short, our program is a relic. We live off of a brand name that was the best in the market 20 years ago. Now, our football brand stands only for underachievement and ineptitude. We are married to an offensive model that is completely outdated, supervised by a CEO head coach with no discernible expertise. I cannot believe that an institution with our history and financial resources cannot hire a strong head coach with contemporary ideologies. I am beyond fatigued of consistently getting pummeled by our rivals, who scoff at our antiquity.

With all due respect, sir, I will not return to Michigan Stadium until we become as committed to winning as Ohio State. Invest in a elite coaching staff worthy of this institution. Otherwise, we will continue to remain irrelevant. I will no longer pay Wolfgang Puck prices for Little Caesar's pizza.

Please do what is best for the Michigan football program. You are the only one who can.


November 9th, 2013 at 11:48 PM ^

was absolutely the right call. Little Caesar's is unarguably the worst pizza out there, and Dominoes would've been alienating the audience he is clearly trying to persuade. I thought bringing up pizza indirectly was a nice call, though, because it was an implicit jab, although reaching beneath Dominoes.


November 9th, 2013 at 11:17 PM ^

But I'm reading your letter while Alabama disassembles LSU by running the Power I.   We had a HC that brought a new fangled offense to Ann Arbor and promptly failed.  Now we have Hoke trying to return to pre-2008, and is failing.  Maybe it isn't the offensive system, maybe it really is execution.  And by execution I mean performance from the Head Coach on down through the depth chart.

Swayze Howell Sheen

November 10th, 2013 at 7:49 AM ^

this so misses the point. if you think Hoke and his staff can in ANY WAY be compared to Saban and Alabama, you are a bit off in the head (no offense). 

Saban is one of the most sought after coaches in the entire world; even Belichick would call him to get advice on football.

Hoke and co., well, pretty sure Belichick won't be asking him about football any time soon.



November 10th, 2013 at 2:43 PM ^

Alabama is primarily a zone blocking team. We run some zone but I don't think I'm off base saying Hoke/Borges are in love with pulling lineman, man blocking, etc.  To a fault.  They haven't been able to run the power O against a decent defense in 3 years despite the fact that it's supposed to be our bread and butter.  Think about that for a minute.

Even when Borges is forced to run plays from the gun or "spread" he tries very hard to run them with man blocking principles and pulling lineman.  


November 10th, 2013 at 11:55 AM ^

I am with you, and wish a lot of the fan base would do the same.  We need to be committed to winning and stop hiring retarded coaches.  Hoke needs to be fired after this season and a proper coaching search should be conducted.  Like interview multiple canadidate with proper resume.  I would start by trying to get the albama def coordinator, and dont do that crap move and go talk to les knowing he will not come here, so fuck les and interview that are more intellegent than him and have a good footall resume.  Even look in the NFL, even if it is coordinators but they have to be awesome at what they do


November 10th, 2013 at 5:03 PM ^

or ask rather if Brandon was going to give a 3 year evaluation review with Hoke, as he did with Rich Rod? If he has any consistency about himself he will fire Hoke on the spot (not saying he should, but if he uses the same criteria he did with RR he should). Granted, RR's start was dismal, however, he got better each year. Hoke has done the exact opposite. And both coaches did not fully have players for their system yet - so no excuses for Hoke. In fact, Hoke did better with RR's recruit than he is with his own. Sad days.


November 10th, 2013 at 10:14 AM ^

"We had a good week of practice"
"I thought they competed well"
"We just didn't execute"
Rinse. Repeat.

I sold my Nebraska and OSU tickets after I got home from the MSU game. I am a fanatical Michigan supporter. I was never as apathetic about Michigan football at RR's worst as I am know. 2 loses in a row and I don't care at all.


November 10th, 2013 at 12:01 PM ^

Hoke will continue saying that until he get his ass fired.  I hope at the  end of this season.  I cant watch hoke teams any more.  He is a liar and slow and mis-manage games. I cant stand behind a team like this one.  Before the game I  know we are at disadvantage due to our coaching.  That cant be good.  Every coach in the b10 are thanking dave brandon for hiring this joke HOKE, they can eat his lunch all day


November 9th, 2013 at 8:01 PM ^

I feel bad for the players and understand why they are beginning to look apathetic. Their coach throws them under the bus after every loss and shows little accountability or desire to hold his staff accountable. If Hoke and Co cant get them to execute they need to go. Not executing is not a valid excuse after about the 2nd time when you have two byes to change the execution