Necessary But Not Sufficient Comment Count

Brian October 7th, 2013 at 12:18 PM

10/5/2013 – Michigan 42, Minnesota 13 – 5-0, 1-0 Big Ten


Eric Upchurch

Jon Falk has a compatriot at Minnesota. He's probably had a dozen over his 40 years as Michigan's equipment manager. Some guy who comes in with the latest Gopher coaching staff, wonders what it's like to hold the jug in his meaty palm, and maybe once gets to shepherd it for a year. Since Falk arrived at Michigan a fresh-faced young thing four years into Bo's career, his opposite number has had this experience three times.

In proof lingo, this means that beating Minnesota—beating up on Minnesota, usually—is a necessary but not sufficient property of Michigan teams that want to do anything with their seasons. Sometimes you can retain the Jug despite not being very good; sometimes you can retain the jug despite being headed for 3-9 because Nick Sheridan has an out-of-body experience. When you're headed for 3-9 you get a little misty about the Jug coming out. When you're not the worst team in Ann Arbor since the 1930s it's a checkbox to fill out.

Michigan did so in perfunctory style, grinding out a second half in which they went from vaguely threatened to bored. Since this came on the heels of narrow escapes against teams that lost 43-3 to Ohio on Saturday and 41-12 to Buffalo last week, it's progress. How much is unknown.


This game settled into a grim fugue state almost from the drop, as Michigan manballed its way into the endzone on a Statement Drive to start the game. Unfortunately, that Statement was "by putting Taylor Lewan next to Michael Schofield we can bull our way down the field against Minnesota." That statement is unlikely to apply to many teams on the schedule. But, hey, progress.

Then Minnesota donned turbans and embarked on the Ishtar Drive. An epic production galaxy-spanning in its dullness that arrived at its destination two hours too late and failed to have the desired impact, it ate up the rest of the quarter. Michigan left it without having attempted a pass.

This was a little dull.

It was the kind of dull that had Space Coyote, the Michigan's blogosphere's resident instant analysis savant, pleading with the masses that the intricacies of a well-blocked power play were just as appealing as, say, watching 175-pound Venric Mark activate his truck stick on an Ohio State safety. I can't imagine there's another Michigan fan in the world more receptive to that argument than yours truly and even I wasn't buying that as the secondary effect of all that manball kicked in: punt, commercial, play, end of quarter, commercial, play play, punt, commercial. Touchdown, commercial, kickoff, commercial—the NFL special. As the teams' attempt to blow through this game in record time was thwarted by the networks, being in Michigan Stadium became the worst concert of all time interrupted by bouts of football-related activity.

It was the kind of thing that made you consider what the purpose of your fandom was. Am I only here to see Michigan end a game with a larger number on the scoreboard than Opponent? Is there any valid goal outside of this? Am I a bad fan for wishing something interesting would happen? Do the people on twitter who scorn you for having feelings other than Go Team have a point? What is the point of any of this, and why can't they make the wifi work?

At halftime, the guys in front of me discussed whether they would bolt for Frazer's, and two did. I'm usually a guy who thinks leaving an athletic event before it's decided is a mortal sin, but I kind of envied the guy in the home-made muscle shirt screwing off to a place where he could get a beer and not hear "Build Me Up, Buttercup." At any other time, I would have thought this man's attendance at Michigan Stadium was a necessary property of a fan that he had just shown was not sufficient by leaving a touchdown game at halftime like he was a sorority girl about to blow a .341. On Saturday, I was with him in spirit.

This is a fearful development. I don't want to think like that. I want to be forever ten years old, excited by everything. On Saturday I had a long look down the elevator shaft.


It'll pass like the moment above did. Someone will do something interesting, and there will be something at stake other than a piece of crockery that just means you're not horrible, and sometimes not even that. I had a bad day, I was pissed at Dave Brandon when I discovered I was thirsty but knew I couldn't do anything about it without missing a large chunk of the game I was there to see even if it was narcoleptic, I was emo after the last few weeks of expectation-depressing terror. It'll pass, and the doors will close on the moment where I reached out and felt the slight outlines of a limit to my fandom.



Michigan won by a lot, eventually.


Completely one-sided highlights:


brady-hoke-epic-double-point_thumb_3[1]Brady Hoke Epic Double Point Of The Week. Has to be Michigan's new favorite worst nightmare at wide receiver: Devin Funchess. Relieved of many blocking duties and deployed on the outside, Funchess displayed fantastic hands on a couple of catches outside of his body, ran routes that got him tons of separation, and went right by a Minnesota cornerback(!) on a straight-up fly route(!) to prove himself Michigan's best deep threat(?). By the end of the game he had newspaper types plumbing the statistical depths for completely invalid comparisons to Jim Mandich, who was a tight end, which Devin Funchess is not.

Honorable mention: No Turnovers, which may be Devin Gardner's temporary name until such point as he turns it over. Schofield and Lewan were mashing as tackle brothers. Blake Countess did have a pick six, albeit one of no importance. James Ross and Desmond Morgan had lots of tackles, usually at the LOS when not facing spread formations.

Epic Double Point Standings.

1.0: Devin Gardner (ND), Jeremy Gallon (ND), Desmond Morgan(UConn), Devin Funchess(Minnesota)
0.5: Cam Gordon (CMU), Brennen Beyer (CMU)


I guess? [Upchurch]

Brady Hoke Epic Double Fist-Pump Of The Week. Wow. Are we at a loss here? We might be at a loss here. Countess's interception was after the game was decided, as was the long Funchess fly route thing. Michigan's longest run went for not many yards. I guess we're going with Fitzgerald Toussaint scoring an easy ten-yard touchdown, as it hinted that Michigan may be able to run the ball forward? Yeah, okay.

Honorable mention: Funchess reception, pick one. Countess pick. Black FF.

Epic Double Fist-Pumps Past.

8/31/2013: Dymonte Thomas introduces himself by blocking a punt.
9/7/2013: Jeremy Gallon spins through four Notre Dame defenders for a 61-yard touchdown.
9/14/2013: Michigan does not lose to Akron. Thanks, Thomas Gordon.
9/21/2013: Desmond Morgan's leaping one-handed spear INT saves Michigan's bacon against UConn.
10/5/2013: Fitzgerald Toussaint runs for ten yards, gets touchdown rather easily.

[After THE JUMP: actual game analysis instead of pathetic emo self-pity mooning!]


Judging things: hard. For one, Minnesota. Minnesota just got worked by Iowa. Iowa followed that up by getting outrushed by Michigan State's punter. For two, Minnesota embarked on a ten-minute drive in the second quarter that restricted both teams to four drives in the first half and set Michigan up with a couple of short fields. Michigan had only eight drives all game, which were:

  1. 35-yard MANBALL touchdown drive
  2. Three-and-out.
  3. 42 yard drive starting from their own 1.
  4. 38-yard touchdown drive
  5. 75-yard touchdown drive
  6. 75-yard touchdown drive
  7. Three-and-out
  8. 69-yard touchdown drive

That's five touchdowns on eight drives and a third productive drive to flip field position. That's massively different picture than 348 yards against Minnesota. The offense was efficient.



It's just about how they were efficient. Michigan did seriously de-emphasize their tight ends… but not how I thought they might. I thought they might use Drew Dileo and Dennis Norfleet more, run some more shotgun/pistol stuff, table the full-on manball for a little later, when they had a TE who could shove a child into a ball pit in three tries or less.

Instead Michigan ran a lot of the same stuff they had been running before except they ran out a ton of unbalanced lines with Schofield and Lewan to the same side of the field, flanking the backside guard with AJ Williams. I may have missed a few of these, but IIRC this was 90% run and about 80% run to the Lewan/Schofield side. This worked, insofar as running for 3.2 YPC against a stacked front is working. This virtually eliminated the tight end from relevant blocks, with results like Michigan's grinding drives to open both halves. Hooray.

Is that going to work against anyone other than Minnesota? I have my doubts. Even Minnesota decided that they were going to fling bodies at the Lewan/Schofield side willy-nilly late and started stuffing things up in ugly fashion. Now that it's on film, what's your upside there once teams overplay it? More waggles. Or drop-back passes with AJ Williams pretending he's a tackle.

Call me Mr. Downerpants, but rolling out the unbalanced line offense against any vaguely competent defense is going to be an exercise in getting your face punched in. Short yardage, sure. Anything else, bler.


Via MVictors

ALL HAIL OUR NEW RECEIVING GOD. Elsewhere in minimizing TE blocking, Devin Funchess got a lot of snaps split wide. How did that go? Just fine, thank you.


Funchess's 46 yarder was a plain old fly route on which he just ran by a guy in press coverage; he had two other receptions on which he turned the corner around and got excellent separation. Minnesota's CBs are not good, granted, but he looked like Junior Hemingway plus a half-foot. Let's leave him out there, plz. A rotation between Gallon, Chesson, and Funchess is threatening, and as a bonus it doesn't tip run hrrrrrd like, say, putting Jeremy Jackson in the slot does.

Even corners that can keep up with Funchess—evidently not all of them—are giving up a half-foot, probably eight or nine inches once Funchess's crazy long arms are factored in. If the guy's over the top, just leave it short. If he's behind, throw it a little short. Enormous WR is what he is. Forever and ever amen.

Funchess remains crazy photgenic, BTW:



All hail our new adequate or better guard. Chris Bryant got smoked for a sack. That was bad, but in the UConn game the guy he replaced got beat on three separate pass protections against UConn. That's an upgrade.

In the run game he seemed better, as well, pulling on the first two plays and getting to the appropriate place and not getting dumped in the backfield even once. Hageman had little impact on the game save for a TFL with four minutes left when Michigan was in full run-run-pass mode as they strove to kill the clock.

so… this happened

Meanwhile, Graham Glasgow hardly seemed to miss a beat as the center. Michigan had one procedure penalty, that a false start on Lewan; Michigan fumbled one exchange. No one tore through Glasgow to eat someone despite the extra complication of snapping, and he's just as responsible as the other two interior OL for neutralizing Hageman. So far so good, and unlike large chunks of the results from this game you can maybe take that seriously since Hageman is a guy projected to go in the first couple rounds of the next NFL draft.

Tentative thumbs up to nouveau offensive line. Penn State should be may be a stiffer test.

Chesson comin'. Jehu Chesson was announced on the video boards as the third WR starter (along with Gallon and Dileo) and his targets reflect that. After only a couple looks his way in the first two games, Chesson probably has ten targets in the last three. He had a couple issues against UConn, but he also had a nice catch and run against Akron and adjusted well to an underthrown ball in this game. This is the kind of progression you hope to see: steady progress leading towards a large role by the end of the year.

Gallon overtargeting complaints goin'. Chesson and Funchess emerging should stop teams from sliding coverage over Jeremy Gallon, which Ace spotted in the press box, and allow Gallon to re-emerge as a frequent, productive Gardner target.


Same drive look as provided for the offense. Because it was weird:

  1. Three and out finished by a fumble.
  2. Epic 16 play, 75-yard touchdown march.
  3. 23 yards, punt.
  4. Three and out.
  5. 9 play, 55 yard FG drive.
  6. 11 play, 51 yard FG drive.
  7. 19 yards, punt.
  8. 29 yards, pick six

That's… fine. The norse saga that was the second drive was very, very frustrating and equally perception-distorting; I still get the vibe that this defense is a lot like Mattison's previous two outfits: good and only good, because they have no real stars. The good news is that Michigan gets Jake Ryan back soon, and he should provide a jolt.


this is a sack yo [Bryan Fuller]

Pass rush check in. It wasn't great but again I think Michigan got shorted in the stats. Jibreel Black clearly forced a fumble behind the LOS to end Minnesota's first drive but did not get credit for a sack in the stats. Brennen Beyer was similarly shorted in the opener on a sack/strip. I just looked this up: unless things have changed since 2011 (page 4), a FF on the QB in the backfield is a sack. Is Michigan's official scorer screwing this up? This is twice now.

Anyway: mediocre at best, again. Two sacks on 21 attempts, both of them flush-and-chases after a moderate amount of time in the pocket. It's okay, I guess? Michigan again laid back and blitzed sparingly, contributing to that. It is what it is at this point. At least Jake Ryan is returning soon.

10107693483_f559b14885_z[1]Man, that looked bad. No official word yet but with Ondre Pipkins coming off the field without putting any weight on his left leg and the general reaction, I'd be surprised if he wasn't done for the year with an ACL tear or something similar. It looked bad.

That's the worst possible timing, as if this had happened in the last game Pipkins would be eligible for a medical redshirt; now he's (seemingly) just lost a season of eligibility and has to rehab his knee while attempting to maintain, if not up, his level of fitness. That's tough if you're Blake Countess, tougher still if you're a 320 pound nose tackle.

Nose tackle is a bad spot to take a hit because of the one-and-a-half starter thing. Michigan may be able to get away with Washington for the majority of the time since they'll lift him in the nickel; Richard Ash and maybe Willie Henry will absorb what snaps Washington can't handle.

[UPDATE: Hoke confirms that Pipkins tore his ACL and is done for the year.]

[Image: Upchurch]



Very conservative. The above is photographic proof that Minnesota did indeed throw it at a wide receiver on a pass that was not the slightly terrifying time Countess got beat over the top and Leidner left it way short. Jibreel Black looks like he's about to help tackle, so that's probably four yards downfield. Minnesota played offense a lot like Michigan: terrified of shooting itself in the face.

Minnesota came in trying to shorten the game, and did so. Michigan conspired to help them by playing soft. It ended up fine, but there were a lot of nervous moments until Michigan pulled away in the second half. It was frustrating to watch, as it didn't seem like Minnesota had any prayer of exploiting hypothetical Michigan blitzes on the regular.

Game theory thing: you're playing into the underdog's hands by playing bend but don't break, as they can shorten the game in a manner similar to Minnesota's. Then if you make a mistake you're in a dogfight instead of slightly annoyed. Unlike UConn, Minnesota was configured to do this sort of thing. If blitzing is EV neutral you should do it, and in this one it seemed unlikely that it could be anything but EV+ going up against a freshman who's not much of a thrower.


Wile seems fixed. Three punts for an average of 52 yards each following five for 42 yards each against UConn. Hopefully the shanks are behind him.

Gibbons irrelevancy parade ho. He's had two attempts the last three weeks: a missed 45-yarder against Akron and the chip shot to take the lead against UConn. 4/5 on the season, and while he'll get some extra opportunities against better defenses it is a tribute to Gardner's red zone skills that he's a bit player at best.

Dileo: what took so long? Drew Dileo may not be the fastest guy in the world but he came in as a guy who was supposedly a punt return specialist, watched Jeremy Gallon make a lot of bad decisions and not return the ball very far very much, and then had a similar experience with Dennis Norfleet. (Norfleet at least looked like a real threat when he got his hands on a returnable punt.)

Dileo has moonlighted as the returner throughout his career but it seems like it took errors from other guys over three years to take and give him the full-time punt return job. He's made two tough catches on line drives that he's returned and has not fumbled or made a bad decision yet. Punt it to Dileo.

Picture Special K trolling. I'm still not sure what it is about "Blurred Lines" that makes it more of a target of feminist ire than every other song in its genre, but if it gets people noticing that a decent chunk of Special K's playlist is about bonin', okay. Daily:

The song was played three times Saturday during Michigan’s 42-13 win over Minnesota. Twice, the song cut out after the lyrics “Everybody get up,” but the third time the song played over the speakers at the Big House, it reached the chorus. This is a chorus that repeats the words, “I know you want it,” over and over again by an artist who clearly knows exactly what all women want by saying, “Nothing like your last guy, he too square for you/ He don’t smack that ass and pull your hair like that.”

Last year, Special K played "Whistle," which in addition to being stupid is obviously about blowjobs in a way that causes 13-year-olds to titter. I'm personally more offended by "Build Me Up, Buttercup" but I've given up on the idea Michigan Stadium will be anything other than a place I grit my teeth and tolerate so I can watch Michigan play football; that's not going away. Can we at least agree that songs with overt sexual content are not appropriate for a football game?


Best And Worst:

Well, listening to this game on ESPN2 was about as much fun as listening to Michael Cole do anything during a match.  By my rough calculations, the announcers droned on about Devin Gardner’s “poor” accuracy for 8.5 quarters of the game, and complained about a 30-yard completion to Gallon because it was behind him. Of course, later in the day the ESPN ticker pointed out that Gardner has the second-best QBR line of the day (94.2), and that included QBs who played against Temple, Georgia State, and Colorado. I know announcers want to add drama to events that organically lack it, and Gardner clearly had some issue throwing the ball at times.  But you could have left the door and some commentors from RCMB and Bucknuts could have taken a turn on the mic without people noticing a difference in quality. I suspect ESPN doesn’t care one bit, but when UM fans are clamoring for Spielman (who is fantastic) and Mason or Herbstreit (less so), you know you’re having troubles in the booth.


Inside The Box Score:

Four Fried Chickens and a Coke
* The four returning linemen joined with newcomer, Chris Bryant, to provide an effective rushing attack. Michigan only fumbled one snap, something that we were all worried about, and gave up only one sack. It was really nice not watching our center get pushed back five yards on nearly every play.
* Besides the 9 yard sack, our o-line only gave up 4 yards worth of TFL's to Minnesota.

And some dry white toast please
* Wile was back to normal, providing all the excitement of dry white toast. He averaged 51.7 yards on three punts, that netted an average of 45.7 yards.


I hate Illinois Nazis
* If you're going to make a Blues Brothers-inspired T-Shirt about one of our longstanding rivals, how is this NOT the shirt?

This is a fair point.


Blog folks. Dooley is of course jug-nuts (jug-nuts!). All of the jug nuts. Jurrg nurts. He is also trying to make "Butt Funch" happen.


More photos from Maize and Blue Nation.

Touch the Banner:

Devin Funchess is the next Braylon Edwards. Sophomore tight end Devin Funchess exploded for 7 catches, 151 yards, and 1 touchdown on Saturday. The coaching staff made the decision to split Funchess out wide for most of the game, rather than using him as a true tight end - which makes some sense because Funchess is a poor blocker.

That's the most enthusiastic Magnus has ever been about anything.

Maize and Blue Nation:

POINT AFTER: The interference non-call
Late in the second quarter, Michigan had a 3rd and 8 where Gardner threw one over the middle for Funchess and he was clearly interfered with and no call was made. That was complete horse radish.

I'm not sure if this is why, but I'm pretty sure that ball took a slight deflection as it passed a linebacker further upfield.

Sap's Decals:

MATT WILE (PUNTER) – I’m giving this to Wile (as a punter and not as a kickoff artist) based on the fact he not only boomed one punt 55 yards, but it ended up being downed at the 1-foot line:

3 punt downing

By flipping the field on the Gophers, UM benefitted from the field position and ended up scoring on the ensuing possession. He also had another punt that was fair caught just inside the Gopher 20-yard line.

The Gopher perspective:

this week I am embarrassed

but last week I was humiliated, so I guess it is an improvement.

Maize and Brew. Hoover Street Rag. Holding The Rope.

Northwestern won Gameday.


Penn State reacts to getting Hoosier-pantsed.

News folks. Player interviews from Maize and Blue News. Lewan:

Lewan on the run game:

“I feel like we found a groove today,” Lewan said. “Every first down we were gaining yards except for one or two. That’s the goal — keep moving the line of scrimmage, keep getting those yards and eventually one of those will pop. Fitz is a great running back. He’s got to get an opportunity to show it. Fitz needs to have at least 100 yards every game in my opinion, he deserves this. He works so hard.”

He does have a point that the consistency has something to say for itself, in the same way that it's worth running instead of passing even though YPA is generally a lot higher than YPC.

No turnovers. No turnovers. Funchess talkin'. More Funchess talkin'. Stock report. I'm not quite sure if it's a resurgent offensive line just yet, but this is an excellent story:

As Gardner tells it, during the week, the line “told me they weren’t going to let me get hit. So I like that.”

Fifth-year senior left tackle Taylor Lewan disputed that, saying he would never pledge something he couldn’t deliver. (“If they bring too many guys, if they bring 11 guys and we have six protecting, I’m not going to be like, ‘OK Devin, good luck!’ ” Lewan said.)

"Can't block" is kind of a big criticism for a TE. Not so much a WR.


Fundamentally, Minnesota isn’t a dramatic step up in terms of competition. But that hardly mattered Saturday, because this was about building confidence as much as it was building an identity,

“We want to run the ball,” coach Brady Hoke said. “And we wanted to send that message.”

And inasmuch as the two go hand-in-hand, Saturday’s message should be well-received.

Baumgardner. Gotta stop the run.



October 7th, 2013 at 4:54 PM ^

More aggressive blitzing, for example would speed up play on defense by increasing play variance. Either it works, and you force Minny to throw even more (taking less time off the clock), or it doesn't work, and they move down the field in larger (but less consistent) chunks.

The big problem was that so many of their 3rd downs were 3rd and 1 or 2, and it's tough to get a team with a big-bodied running QB off the field in that scenario without being super aggressive. Adding aggression on 1st and 2nd downs would have resulted in more long 3rd downs and more opportunities to get Minny off the field. Or it would have resulted in more scoring and more drives overall.

The problem with the low number of drives is how easy it would have been for a pick six or other big play to radically alter the course of the game. If we double the possessions in the 1st half, we build a bigger cushion and it takes more mistakes by Michigan to keep Minny in the game.

The Reeve

October 7th, 2013 at 2:15 PM ^

TWIS has taught me one thing: fans cannot be satisfied. Oh, maybe Alabama fans for a stretch here, maybe USC fans at the height of the Carroll reign, but no one else. I live in Ohio (I accept your condolences), and you should hear them bitch about their team. The new coach hasn't friggin' lost!

I love the team. I like Hoke and think he's on the right path. The reality, IMHO, is that young players have a large variance. Yes, yes, I know, there's this coach and that coach playing with large infants that executes like the German Army. Whatever. MOST coaches struggle with youth, and this coach is no exception. He systematically dismantled weak competition in his first two seasons, and struggled with two this year. That was, again IMO, all turnover based. Saturday was EXACTLY as dangerous a game if we have two or three turnovers. How do you think that game would have gone had we turned it over on one of our two scoring drives in the first half and gave them a pick six?

UConn and Akron would have been an identical score to this game - with the same amount of early tension and late boredom - had we taken care of the ball.



October 7th, 2013 at 2:22 PM ^

Most of us don't have a blog to share our midlife crisis on. Most people go for the red sports car, but I myself am fond of those striped Cameros in yellow...

The team looked good though, eh? Lots of long touchdown drives, lots of rushing yards, some would call it a best case scenario. Michigan has looked good in 3 games(including the two toughest opponents, such as they are) and terrible in two. They've won all 5. I'll take it.


October 7th, 2013 at 2:24 PM ^

As someone whose being going to games since 1979, I dont get the crying about game atmosphere. Michigan has always had a boring, staid atmosphere unless a big rival or sexy team was in town. It's always been boring. In-stadium tradition has always been lacking, compared to other venues. TV timeouts have always been long. Half the games have always been against crappy teams in front of a crowd that barely cheers, unless its to groan that we're not winning by enough. I dont know. I'm 41 and having as much fun as ever going to games. Everyone needs to just start having more fun themselves, the rest takes care of itself


October 7th, 2013 at 2:39 PM ^

It was a bit blah, but weren't we all CELEBRATING blah after Central? (the other game I went to this year).

You may not remember this because of the recent history of Michigan football, but often after one-sided blowouts not against Notre Dame this space will throw up its hands at the idea of crafting an actual column and skip straight to bullets and highlights and whatnot. It's tough to narrate the emotional tenor of a humid August day against a team that never had a chance. MY COLUMN ABOUT THIS FIFTY POINT WIN THAT MADE MY WIFE MAD BECAUSE SHE FELT BAD FOR THE OPPONENT It was kind of boring, but on the other hand it was nice not to be terrified. It was hot and Dave Brandon smells like pee. /column


change for change's sake isn't good. The PA blaring music when the alumni band was trying to play isn't good.

Having high standards is part of what makes us Michigan fans. Whether it's people complaining about Brian's writing or people (myself included) upset that while Dave Brandon has made some excellent "Big Picture" decisions, he seems to be pushing as hard as he can on the little things (until the backlash makes him stop) like: band in Dallas, Noodle, Allstate Ad in the stadium, curly fries, UniformZ, the PA system, mascots, PSLs, ticket prices, the home slate, sexy opponents, seat cushions, etc.

Again, it's not arrogance when you're better than everyone. But having the best "Large stadium gameday experience" means we're having the same "large stadium gameday experience" as everyone else. Everyone plays "Seven Nation Army" so we should play it Bigger and Louder! isn't the same as creating/sustaining a Unique Michigan Stadium experience.



October 7th, 2013 at 3:37 PM ^

Except Michigan isnt better than everybody else. That's a myth. The stadium has a long history of being quiet, being an easy place to play and the MMB regularily is outperformed, that it's's the deal. 2011 ND, OSU, 2012 MSU and 2013 ND were among some of the best single game atmospheres I've witnessed while attending games in five different decades. But the post mortem from Brian and those who take his cue is 'meh' and instead a bittererness about a stupid rock song and pom-poms getting in the way. Screw that, I love the place going full on bananas with pom poms. I love seeing all the olds in my section rock out to 7NA. Thats how a stadium is supposed to roll.


October 7th, 2013 at 3:48 PM ^

I love seeing it too, but how many times would they have needed to play 7NA to make that atmosphere on Saturday better?  200?  300?

Do you concede that at some point playing 7NA actually makes it worse?  As we saw in 2011 UTL, the right music at the right time can take the crowd from an 8 to a 10.  Unfortunately, the same music at a different game can (and does) take the crowd from a 4 to a 2.  That's what we saw on Saturday--a lack of awareness by the stadium DJ of when music will inspire activity and when it will inspire passivity.


October 7th, 2013 at 5:33 PM ^

I live in Atlanta and have been attending one Michigan home game per year since 2007, and have been lucky enough to attend two of their bowl games.  I haven't had the bad experiences that I see other people having.  Granted, my amped excitement for my one weekend trip to AA per year probably overrides some of this, but I haven't had a bad experience with concessions, stadium acousics/musicals, etc.  It's also my experience that a lot of stadiums have gone to hell as far as feeling like they have to entertain the fans every second of the game.  Last season during one college football game I went to they played this youtube video on the sizeable videoboard of someone dressed in a banana saying they are a banana.  I fully acknowledge it gets you out of rah rah football mode.

I'll be up for Nebraska this season, so I'll try to be more observant of dead time procedures at the stadium in order to gain some perspective, before I just recklessly accuse everyone on this thread who has problem with the stadium experience as ornery sourpusses.


October 7th, 2013 at 2:27 PM ^

I didn't really understand the bend don't break against Minnesota either. True freshman starting his second game in the Big House? We could've gotten away with blitzing every single down.


October 7th, 2013 at 2:28 PM ^

I will say I'm glad I wasn't the only one who noticed the passive agressive announcing we were getting when it came to Gardner.

Between the 30 yard completion that was "short" and the 1st down we got "barely" my question was did Devin sleep with the announcer's wife or run over his dog or something?

It was getting ridiculous that at every turn there would be a positive Michigan play followed by some slam against Gardner.

I know he wasn't perfect but come on, positive is positive.  1st downs are 1st downs whether they happen "barely" or not.

Also, on the negativity front, Brian did call this exactly what it was, a necessary beat down of an inferior opponent.  Short of a FSU/Maryland style 63-0 drubbing (can't wait to add that to the B1G), is anything north of "Good job boys...OK, lets move on..." an appropriate response here?



October 7th, 2013 at 2:31 PM ^

It'll be a snarling Nittany mountain lion blarring over the PA system every 40 seconds, not unlike "Welcome to the Jungle!!!!" a few weeks back (gee, thanks UConn!). Kind of unbelievable how both are an improvement over the sewage music selection of DJ Killa Kev a.k.a Special K.   I mean, if Michigan Stadium must have a DJ, seems this could be easily fixed, starting with making Killa Kev redundant and hiring a replacement.


October 7th, 2013 at 2:36 PM ^

As far as football goes....

2nd play of the highlight video 0:30 - It's a zone stretch to the left.  Bryant inexplicably places his head on the RIGHT side of the defender in front of him.  I don't know how he kept the defender from blowing up Green in the backfield, other than possibly holding the guy.  I'm sure that will get fixed in short order.

3rd play 0:40 Kalis is the right guard and Scholfield is the right tackle.  There's a DE shaded outside Scholfield.  For some reason, Kalis' first step is to his right, which slams him right into Schofield.  Kalis gets bumped off his track and into no-man's land, while Schofield ends up eating two defenders and setting a nice seal for Touissant to cut back in and to the end zone.


We still have a lot of work on the OLine, but I thought we played with more physicality and as a unit.

As far as the game day experience, I can't help be an old curmudgeon.

  • I can't stand sitting next to people who are clueless about football.  The old man in front of me kept yelling "That's 2 men in motion.  That's a penalty" when Minnesota would shift their TE, Slot, and FB.
  • I am beyond tired of hearing Carl talk non-fucking-stop.  I know It's not Carl's fault.  Someone is feeding him the script, but it's never ending.  I hope Carl got a raise for the additional work he's had to put in.
  • The person in charge of music is stomping all over the band when it's playing.  The band should trump RAWK MUZIK every single time.
  • The half time "Guinness World Record" attempt was bush league.  The person in charge of putting the words on the scoreboard was one frame ahead the whole time.  This was a SING-ALONG.  If you want people to sing along, keep the words up and stop showing live fans shots of people who aren't singing the words....BECAUSE THE WORDS AREN'T BEING SHOW.

I just don't get that game day excitement like I used to.  It's more like a production rather than a football game. 

God I hate myself for feeling like this.


October 7th, 2013 at 2:47 PM ^

Has anyone written an email to the Athletic Department explaining the inappropriateness of this "Blurred Lines" song?  I'll admit I pay very little attention to the piped-in music so I don't even remember it being played, but it seems like this would be the best way to voice your concern.


October 7th, 2013 at 6:25 PM ^

All I know is when I hear it, I start yelling "Stop it!" and "You're doing it wrong!" Which has the dual benefit of making people laugh and hopefully distracting from the lyrics. I'm mystified that the powers that be have allowed this two games in a row.


October 7th, 2013 at 2:51 PM ^

1965-1972  Unlimited substitution, no limits on scholarships

1973-1977 105 football scholarships/team

1978-1991 95 football scholarships/team

1992-Present  85 football scholarships/team



October 7th, 2013 at 2:51 PM ^

I missed most of the first half - just started watching during the second scoring drive at the end of the first half.  It was an exciting game for me that was pretty much just Michigan dominating.  I guess that Ishtar drive is what sullied it for everyone because the team looked great the rest of the way.

Wine Country W…

October 7th, 2013 at 3:29 PM ^

The Russian word for horseradish (хрен) is slang for penis. Is that the meaning Maize and Blue Nation was invoking in its description of the PI no-call on Funchess? Or should I assume that the no-call burned the nostrils, and left us groping for a glass of milk before the inevitable sneeze?


October 7th, 2013 at 3:40 PM ^

As someone with access to my refrigerator and the "last channel" button, I was decidedly less negative about this unquestionably generic game than was Brian. Nevertheless, I think it's pretty ridicuous to go ape-shit over someone documenting his emotions.

"I found the game boring"

"Bullcrap, you shouldn't have found the game boring"



October 7th, 2013 at 6:40 PM ^

He posted a scene from Mad Men that strongly implied suicidal thoughts after a long diatriabe about coming to accept the fact that he won't get enjoyment out of things the way he used to. Interpreted the wrong way, it has all the hallmarks of a cry for help.

I mean:

<blockquotes>I don't want to think like that. I want to be forever ten years old, excited by everything. On Saturday I had a long look down the elevator shaft</blockquotes>

It was hardly just "I found the game boring."

More than anything, I just feel bad for the guy.


October 7th, 2013 at 6:42 PM ^

He posted a scene from Mad Men that strongly implied suicidal thoughts after a long diatriabe about coming to accept the fact that he won't get enjoyment out of things the way he used to. Interpreted the wrong way, it has all the hallmarks of a cry for help.

I mean:

I don't want to think like that. I want to be forever ten years old, excited by everything. On Saturday I had a long look down the elevator shaft

It was hardly just "I found the game boring."

More than anything, I just feel bad for the guy.

Eye of the Tiger

October 7th, 2013 at 3:43 PM ^

Think you're being a bit unfair on the style part, Brian. I saw a lot of creative play calls from Gorgeous Al, especially in the second half. Minnesota couldn't figure out where our receivers were half the time. Yes, this is Minnesota, but it was (IMO) as creative and interesting an offensive game as we've had this year. 

But I'm not a "spread zealot" and so don't favor one style of offense over another--whatever gets us in the end zone, frequently and consistenty. 


October 7th, 2013 at 4:11 PM ^

I feel sorry for some of you that you can no longer enjoy going to see a Michigan football game in the Big House, I don't have your perspective and feel sorry for you if it's changed this badly from when you first started going.

I was born in Michigan, moved away when I was 9 (1979) and have never had the opportunity to see a game at the Big House.  I guess I'm a Wal-Mart wolverine as I didn't attend the University that I follow so passionately for all sports...

I think I can understand what Brian is getting at and some of the others that have championed his points through the comparative examples; however from my perspective... man I wish I had the opportunity to have those complaints.  I get so revved up to watch these games on my TV at home, in my mind I have a completely different feeling or idea of what the game day experience must be like... I would love to get to see a game, live, and on campus after tailgating.  I've been to games on other campuses only twice to see Michigan play... at LSU (1), Iowa (3), Indiana (4),  and Notre Dame (2) for comparison (game day experience level 1-4) to what I've seen before.

I guess what I'm getting at here is, for those of us that don't have or have never had the experience... please share some good things from time to time (if they happen), so we/I can live vicariously through your Blog and enjoy the team that we are all here to support.  I get what I know from the TV on game day... and from all the board input here and on TTB.

Go Blue!

The FannMan

October 7th, 2013 at 9:30 PM ^

Only happy when we're miserable.

So, your college football Saturday sucked because your team kicked the hell out of the other guys, buy in a way that wasn't sufficiently amusing to you?  



October 7th, 2013 at 10:19 PM ^

Yeah, we won, and by a decent margin. I was happy about that. The offensive line showed improvement. We found out Funch should be a WR, and he can be great there.


If we were going to MANBAWL it, we should have been able to do that all day, and not just on the first drive. Their DEs are slightly larger than safeties on a real defense. If their DTs were such an issue, we should have ran to the outside all day. MANBAWL is also boring. Let's do that to set up the 20-yard completion.

Devin's accuracy still an issue. Better, yes, but a couple balls would have been picks against a better secondary. When he sees the pass rush, there's no telling what he'll revert to.

And once again, Borges gave away an offensive nugget that was best tucked away for the Ohio game, or if not that, then at least for Michigan State or Northwestern. And am I the only one that thinks ol' Al won't utilize Funch as he should? Even the most casual of observers can see Funch needs to be at WR full-time, with 12-15 targets a game. I just look at past results and figure Al will mess this up.

The defense still seems suspect. With no pass rush and getting gashed (once again) by a running quarterback - and not even one as good as 3 or 4 we will face later in the season - one has to wonder. Losing Ondre really, really hurts.

So yeah, it was a good victory. I'd call it "Acceptable but not Sufficient". We really needed 56-3 - dominance - for me to feel good here. Yeah, 5-0, blah blah blah....but look at what's coming. We need better just to avoid 8-4, let alone think about winning the division.



October 7th, 2013 at 10:24 PM ^

There was just something about this game that bored me. I watched at home and kept nodding off despite not drinking or being hungover. I can't explain it. I guess it was the relief of watching our team do what I expected combined with the relief of not having it be like the last couple games. It felt boring but that's OK sometimes. This weekend won't be and most of our other games left won't be boring either.

Go Blue Beat T…

October 7th, 2013 at 11:23 PM ^

So...this blog has been awesome to read. It feels like the football IQ in this place is a solid two standard deviations above the mean...if not more. Having said that, am I the only one who feels like the relentless pursuit of objective evaluation of our team has taken something away from just being able to watch a Michigan football game and enjoy it for what it is? Why can't I just say we beat the crap out of Minnesota with a line that reads "42-13" scrolling harmlessly across the bottom of the screen while you're watching Sportscenter? Why do we have to "wait for the UFR" to see how we really did? 


We ran the ball. 

We scored lots of points. 

They had one drive. 

They didn't score lots of points. 

Classic Michigan Homecoming game against Minnesota (...2005 not withstanding).


Also...what the hell happened to the blogpoll? I've been looking for it all year...the AP and coaches just don't do it for me.