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 7:21 PM ^

Fuck that, Hoke. We didn't execute? I hope "we" means the coaching staff. What happened to all of that accountability talk? Just fucking talk. All talk. That's what UM Football has been for too many years. That's what this fan base deserves for their bullshit Michigan Man obsession. We don't need an orator. We need some coaches.


November 10th, 2013 at 12:19 PM ^

lol, you will get big portion of this fan base to defend hoke and say give him more chances.  I think people on here talk like they know their x and o, but they dont watch michigan.  This team doesn't pass the eye test you can break down plays and say this coaching staff is doing an okay job or whatever.  When you watch them they are not doing their job, it is clear as day.  I cant understand how anyone can tell me that HOKE has been doing his job since he got here.  YOu say the line is young.  HOKE has been here for three year, I dont give a fuck if the line is young or not.  As a leader you should have a vision for this program and look ahead in your year 1 and 2 to make sure you are not in the posiition that you are in.  YOu know your roster best.  PLayers development should have been in your fucking forefront of anytihyng you do here.  So you are not in this positioin. QB development, denard didn't develop under borges, a good sign he isn't a proper qb quartback, so no you have no qb that doesn't even trust himself to throw the ball.  This is again on hoke. You lacked in receiver recruiting and development.  that one guy goes down then that position is crap.  Where is the hell is the planning and the go forward plans.  Where the work that HOKE put in there to make sure he isn't in this situation.  You will not see any.  That is why I cant see him as a coach and he cant fix it. you can say whtever you want but there is zero player development and fuck that even lewan has declined this year and his stock has been dropping throughout the year

The Iron Jock

November 9th, 2013 at 7:24 PM ^

If you believe that Michigan has recruited good players, then the problem must be that they are incongruent with the game plans this year. And that falls squarely on the coaches. Borges is either dumb as a box of rocks, or too arrogant to call a game that is compatible with the collective skill set of his players. There is no other explanation. I don't see Michigan winning another game this year, as much as it hurts to say that. 

My closing argument is this:

We never got a suitable explanation for what happened in Columbus last year.

Running Fitz into a brick wall 27 times in the loss to Penn State was the definition of insanity.

Devin was thrown to the wolves against Sparty, forced into a drop-back long passing game when the coaches had to know the offensive line had no chance of protecting him.

Today was just more of the same. Nothing inspired. Looking scared and unprepared. Borges running amuck with unimaginative plays and Hoke doing nothing about it.

The answer is clear. Fire Al Borges. Fire Al Borges now. 


The Iron Jock

November 9th, 2013 at 9:10 PM ^

I get that the players are young but you have young players all over the country outperforming our young players. 

Now if you're just saying they're mediocre football players with a low (well, mediocre) ceiling, then yeah, that's another problem with the coaches. Hoke is hanging his hat on recruiting, and the Sugar Bowl win. If the players are truly mediocre, then it's time for big, ugly changes. 


MI Expat NY

November 9th, 2013 at 11:06 PM ^

If the schedule wasn't insanely easy, I might agree with you.  The schedule has one great team.  The next best team only plays on one side of the ball, the only other "good" team is Notre Dame, everyone else is mediocre to bad.  The talent is better than 7-5 against our schedule.  We've already dropped two games to poor teams.  That's two too many.  


November 9th, 2013 at 9:25 PM ^

I am sorry, but that excuse just does not fly. If your line us young, you employ schemes to minimize that weakness, three step passes, screens, simple blocking schemes that does not require your line to hold up for more than five seconds. When we did that today, we scored. Then we never saw it again.

This is all on coaching.

Kevin Holtsberry

November 9th, 2013 at 7:24 PM ^

I am not sure how you can have confidence in anyone at this point. It is one thing to get beat it is another to look absolutely clueless and lost at home for a critical conference game.  I have not been on the fire Borges train but that game was attrocious.  Key turnover and two runs for lost yards?  That is just like giving up. And they just kept doing it over and over. Madness.

Yes, the oline is a dumpster fire but a creative coach has to find a way to use the talent he has effectively. It is not like Nebraska is Alabama. As Ace notes, one drive of creativity and then hang on and hope not to lose?

How can you possibly pick this team to win any of the game left? And then what? I am wondering just where the bottoum is at this point.


November 10th, 2013 at 1:26 AM ^

when all the recruits bail out. may happen yet. if it does then we can only brag about academics. maybe we can join the ivy league  and leave the big 1g to teams that are only incompetent.we are a tiny fisn in a puddle. at least on 2008 i knew we were not likely to get worse.


November 9th, 2013 at 7:25 PM ^

Wilson removed to shake things up?? The offense can't move the ball across the street even if they had help from a fucking crossing guard, and we're benching serviceable safeties to shake things up.....


November 9th, 2013 at 7:26 PM ^

Going 0 for November is an extremely real possibility:  Two road games, one of which Northwestern will play out of their minds for because why the fuck not and the other takes place at Kinnick (sigh).  One home game against OSU.

I can't see this staff staying intact if this happens.  If the team quits down the stretch ala 2010 Rich Rod, I think Hoke is gone too.


November 9th, 2013 at 7:30 PM ^

After last week's Slaughter of the Innocents, I had a feeling I knew what was coming this week. I watched the 1st Quarter and left for church about midway through the 2nd. Normally, I can't watch at all because I get so wound up watching M play that it poses a health problem.

Not so tonight. I saw the final score after returning from dinner and realized that I just don't care anymore. There's no tension, no regret, no anger. I can't even muster up a shrugged shoulder. 

This team is deserving of pity ... And better coaches. Fire them all.

Magnum P.I.

November 9th, 2013 at 7:30 PM ^

I lost faith in Borges after OSU last year. Now I've lost faith in Hoke. He might turn it around, but what assistants are gonna want to come coach here after this debacle? It's the same situation we were in with the DC hire under Rodriguez. Hoke imposes a ridiculous manball edict on his OC. Hoke's own clock is ticking. We're going to end up having to pick from the GERGs of offensive coaches.

I'm sick.

snarling wolverine

November 9th, 2013 at 8:24 PM ^

It's the same situation we were in with the DC hire under Rodriguez. Hoke imposes a ridiculous manball edict on his OC.

You're making a lot of assumptions there. I saw Hoke's teams at BSU - they ran a passing spread in 2008, when they won 12 games. At SDSU they ran a lot of formations and were closer to the WCO than we've been. He has not insisted on power football everywhere.


November 10th, 2013 at 4:50 AM ^

I guarantee you Hoke didn't have the personnel to run power football at Ball State or SDSU, especially in the MAC where everyone has to run the spread to maximize the low level of available talent.  So he must have adjusted his desired scheme (MANBALL) to something that fit the players at his disposal in a best effort to win football games.


I guess he sort of did that with Denard in 2011.  2012 started a slow change to pro-style-ish, and 2013 has been a fucking mishmash of gobbledgook.

It is now 4:50 and I have been awake for 20 hours.  I have no idea why I am not asleep and at this point I have no clue if anything I just wrote makes any goddamn sense in the world.  It probably doesn't.  I'm still typing for some reason unknown to even me.  OK, bye.


November 9th, 2013 at 7:31 PM ^

Do people really believe that firing Borges and keeping Hoke will lead to a massive improvement? (which is what is needed at this point just to be competitive let alone elite)?


November 9th, 2013 at 7:51 PM ^

He's a player's coach, he recruits well, we haven't had much in the way of off-the-field problems, he brought in Mattison, record-wise he's not doing that badly and he fixed the kicker.  He doesn't understand offense well enough to meddle so, for better or worse, he doesn't.  He's happy to delegate the job to the OC, which in this case may seem a bit of a curse but it's not like micromanagement is the cure here.  I know the dinosaur punts annoy everyone but if we operate on the premise that no coach is perfect, as a weakness I'll take it.

Borges is his Achilles' Heel.  An amateur can scheme against him.  It's not to say that he doesn't understand football as a concept, but he's still coaching like it's 1990 or something.  He doesn't seem to realize that you can't run a play with an obvious tip and then run it again four weeks later and still have everyone fooled.  He openly said he doesn't understand high-tech stuff, but technology is precisely what's killing him.  This is a day and age where you HAVE to use constraints and counters because a ten-buck intern will have your playbook edited and compiled for the DC's review in a day's work.  It's not a matter of stylistic preference; it's something any OC needs to do to stay employed.  It's not like a 21st century offense will turn this team around, but we could at least have a rush offense on par with Minnesota's.

Having said that, Borges' job is safe through the end of the season and to avoid distractions they're not going to give so much as a whiff of internal staffing shake-ups until after that, if not the bowl game.  One would hope they're putting Borges in the hot seat, but firing him NOW would basically take the pile of tires that is the offense and ignite it.


You Only Live Twice

November 9th, 2013 at 10:25 PM ^

so much admiration for your post, Dragonchild.

If he knows tech is his weakness it should not be difficult for him to get an assistant to help.


I don't have the football brain like you but my son does, and today, sitting next to him in Section 43, he said, "Oh no, not the inverted veer!"  I waited to ask him about it until we were walking home and he explained that was Denard Robinson's play.  And that it should not still be in the playbook.