Professor Chaos

Submitted by Brian on November 16th, 2015 at 12:29 PM

11/14/2015 – Michigan 48, Indiana 41 (2OT) – 8-2, 5-1 Big Ten

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[Bryan Fuller]

Other things happened on Saturday.

Florida played South Carolina, for one. As of 11 AM on November 14th Florida is 8-1, already the SEC East champions, and a fringe playoff contender. South Carolina is 3-6 and has already seen Steve Spurrier bolt for the golf course midseason. An ESPN reporter catches up with first-year Florida head coach Jim McElwain for an interview. He asks McElwain if Florida plans on beating South Carolina's head in so that the playoff committee will like them more.

This is a dumb question for a lot of reasons. For one, if Florida wins out the only thing that will keep them out of the playoff is the apocalypse. For two, only one coach is going to respond "oh sure, definitely" when asked he is going to beat a noble opponent until they look like Jared Leto in Fight Club. Unfortunately Spurrier is that man, and he is now a pro-am golfer. For three, Florida just beat Vanderbilt 9-7.

Anyway McElwain gives this reporter an eyebrow cock and laughs out an answer. It's a good answer: "we're not at the point in this program where we can think like that."

Three hours later the Gamecocks fire in two quick touchdowns to pull within 17-14. Florida fends off further scoring from an Ichabod Crane program and rips off a big run while they're trying to kill the clock; 24-14 is the final but a bounce here or there and, well, you know.

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Michigan isn't at the point in their program where they can take much of anything for granted. This goes both ways. Suddenly the defense's fiery dominance is very much in question, but as compensation Jake Rudock is accounting for 500 yards of total offense. Jake Rudock is throwing the ball well downfield and it is going swimmingly. Jake Rudock is saying "eff it" and punting it up to Jehu Chesson to get Michigan down to the one. Jake Rudock has sweet nunchucks, and he is no longer hitting himself in the face with them.

Meanwhile, Michigan has finally run out of people to throw at opponents on the defensive line. Michigan has a very good starting 22 but the defense goes about 16 guys deep before a cliff. Michigan has three ILBs and then… uh. They have four CBs and then nah. They have eight… seven… six… five DL, and if there is ever a wrong time to be short-handed on the defensive line it is against high-tempo, crazy-ass Indiana when they have a healthy Jordan Howard.

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pictured: anime Jordan Howard

So Kevin Wilson had a plan, or at least half of a plan. The plan: be on the field forever going fast and get Michigan tired out and then get guys who had never played before locked on the field. Sometimes the other half of the plan consisted of watching Michigan score quick touchdowns, but this quickly devolved into a replay of that one Denard-vs-Indiana game. You know, the one where Indiana went on Ishtar-length scoring drives. After those drives Michigan would get the ball back and Denard would immediately run 75 yards. Repeat until dizzy. Continue repeating until vomiting. Implement yet further repeating until unconscious.

Michigan did have a ten play touchdown drive at the beginning of the second quarter, but the rest of their drives before the one-minute drill lasted 4, 3, 2, and 3 plays. Two of those were touchdowns, so hooray for that, but as that was going on this is what Indiana was doing:

  • 9 plays, 29 yards
  • 11 plays, 53 yards
  • 17(!) plays, 71 yards
  • 8 plays, 41 yards
  • 5 plays, 24 yards
  • 7 plays, 61 yards

None of those drives took as long as the Michigan 10 plays drive; Indiana got that 17 play drive off in just 5:22 of clock time.

The pace and inability to get off the field murdered the beat-up Michigan defensive line. Wilson's decision to go for three separate fourth down attempts, two of which succeeded, contributed to the downward spiral of the Michigan defense and directly led to Michigan's punch-drunk second half. On the third, Wilson threw a screen on third and ten with every intention of going for it on the ensuing fourth and short.

Fire Kevin Wilson immediately, please.

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Michigan came out the other end of that game, shook up but unscathed. Indiana does this to everyone. OSU was fortunate to not get hit with a pass interference penalty on a thirty-yard heave that would have tied that game. Indiana was driving for the lead halfway through the fourth quarter against MSU. Indiana lost to Rutgers.

Even if I don't think it's going to happen this time, I am now thoroughly used to the mid-game shift from "this is a football game against Indiana" to "this is a METH BENDER against THE CRAZED RACCOON MAFIA." By the end of the first quarter I was holding onto my butts. By the fourth quarter I had chewed a small hole in the earth's crust. Overtime was spent peeking through split fingers.

Michigan eventually held, though, demonstrating why it's better to have a struggling defense than a notional one. And here we are again: for Michigan, exhausted and victorious. For Indiana, heartbroken and half-blind.

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Indiana should definitely never stop doing this, but they should stop doing this. Fire Kevin Wilson. Replace him with Gerry DiNardo. Have the same record but lose by 30 points every game. For your heart, Indiana, and mine.

HIGHLIGHTS

Michigan-centric from Parking God:

This one has some things Indiana did if you can stand the buttrock soundtrack:

AWARDS

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hoofin' it [Fuller]

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Known Friends And Trusted Agents Of The Week

you're the man now, dog

#1 Jake Rudock set an (overtime-aided) Michigan record for touchdown passes, and just about hit 10 YPA on a 46-attempt, 440 yard day, and added in 64 rushing yards for good measure. The interception was unfortunate but other than that he crushed it.

#2 Jehu Chesson was Rudock's favorite target, grabbing a deep in route on the fly and taking it to the house for a 64 yard touchdown. Rudock hit him twice on the touchdown drive that ended regulation, once on the kind of floated ball he's had trouble adjusting to so far in his career. No problems there and none on the subsequent fourth-and-five catch where two different guys blew him up.

#3 Delano Hill couldn't be held responsible for most of the bad things that happened to the defense because he wasn't out there for a lot of it, but after Dymonte Thomas was knocked out he entered to make 10 tackles, 8 of them solo. He made the plays that stopped Indiana in double over time, first blitzing to tackle Howard on second down, then tackling Sudfeld in space on third down, and finally winning man press coverage against a slot guy for the win.

Honorable mention: Amara Darboh and Jake Butt also racked up piles of yards on the receiving end of Rudock passes; Jourdan Lewis just about had two interceptions and was very difficult to beat as per usual; the offensive line couldn't get much push on the ground but they were great in pass protection.

KFaTAotW Standings.

9: Jourdan Lewis (#1 UNLV, #1 Northwestern, #1 MSU), Jabrill Peppers(#2 BYU, #2 Northwestern, #2 MSU, #1 Minnesota)
7: Jake Rudock (#3 Northwestern, #1 Rutgers, #1 Indiana)
6: Chris Wormley(#2 Utah, #1 Oregon State, #3 Rutgers)
5: Jake Butt(#1 Utah, #2 Rutgers)
4: Maurice Hurst (#2 Maryland, #2 Minnesota),
3: De'Veon Smith(#2 Oregon State, #3 BYU), Ryan Glasgow (#1 BYU), Desmond Morgan (#1 Maryland),
2: Ty Isaac(#2 UNLV), Willie Henry(#3 Utah, #3 MSU), Jehu Chesson(#2 Indiana)
1: AJ Williams (#3 Oregon State), Channing Stribling(#3 UNLV), Blake O'Neill(#3 Maryland), Drake Johnson(#3 Minnesota), Delano Hill(#3 Indiana).

Who's Got It Better Than Us Of The Week

This week's best thing ever.

Last play wins tend to have the last play feature in this section.

Honorable mention: Any number of Jake Rudock passing TDs—six to be specific. A looping pass to Butt gets Michigan into a manageable third down after second and twenty nine.

WGIBTUs Past.

Utah: Crazy #buttdown.
Oregon State: #tacopunts.
UNLV: Ty Isaac's 76 yard touchdown.
BYU: De'Veon Smith's illicit teleporter run.
Maryland: Jehu Chesson jet sweeps past you.
Northwestern: Chesson opening KO TD.
MSU: the bit where they won until they didn't.
Minnesota: form a f-ing wall.
Rutgers: Peppers as Denard.
Indiana: Delano Hill seals it with a PBU.

imageMARCUS HALL EPIC DOUBLE BIRD OF THE WEEK.

This week's worst thing ever.

Indiana has nineteen straight runs in the second half, reminding everyone of that RichRod game against Wisconsin, which is the last game I ever expected to be reminded of this week.

Honorable mention: Channing Stribling's very bad tackle attempt leads to a PR TD; Rudock throws an INT at an inopportune moment.

PREVIOUS EDBs

Utah: circle route pick six.
Oregon State: Rudock fumbles after blitz bust.
UNLV: Rudock matches 2014 INT total in game 3.
BYU: BYU manages to get to triple digit yards in the last minutes of the game.
Maryland: Slog extended by deflected interception at Houma.
Northwestern: KLINSMANN OUT
MSU: Obvious.
Minnesota: The bit where the lost it until they didn't.
Rutgers: KO return given up.
Indiana: run run run run run run run run run run run run.

[After THE JUMP: if bad Rudock is Ruddock how do you subtract more Ds from his name than one]

OFFENSE

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[Fuller]

The instrument is frickin' righteous. Theory: two weeks ago Jim Harbaugh and some flunkies bundled Jake Rudock into an unmarked van, took him to a secure location, and hypnotized him by repeating "you are an NFL quarterback" over and over again. Rudock rode to the rescue as the defense disintegrated. The numbers are bonkers (440 yards on 46 attempts, 6 TD, 1 INT) and that's without an inch-perfect 55-yard post on which Amara Darboh lost the ball when he hit the ground. Oh, and he ran for 71 yards.

After weeks and weeks and weeks on which Rudock couldn't hit anything longer than about 20 yards he finally made this summer's UFRs of his 2014 look like they had any relationship to reality. He nailed Jehu Chesson on a freebie fade…

…to open his deep ball account on the season and did not look back. A few drives later he threw Jehu Chesson open on a 64-yard touchdown that Tom Brady would have high-fived himself about:

That is a 20 yard dig on which Chesson has not even gotten in his break when Rudock decides to throw it.

Rudock was very confident in his reads. He again punted one up into the #buttzone where only Jake Butt can get the ball. He threw back shoulder fades—I have never seen him attempt those before. On the final drive a blitzer had him dead to rights and he chucked one up in the general direction of Chesson, who adjusted and caught the ball. The fourth and five touchdown was also a #buttzone throw, even though it was to Chesson.

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[Fuller]

Basically every complaint I've had about him this year was fixed.

The opponent, you say? Well, yes. When you leave a guy wide open on a 20-yard corner route that's going to help things out. But also no. A number of #buttzone throws were indefensible and accuracy is accuracy.

Penn State will be a much stiffer test. I kind of think he might pass it now.

A couple of blips to the negative. Rudock absolutely had Grant Perry on a little angle route on Michigan's shot at the endzone just before halftime. He hesitated, got pressured, and then tried to Mallet it in there. I'm pretty sure he knew he'd screwed up as he attempted that; that's the kind of regret throw you make when you belatedly realized your primary read was open.

And then the interception. He should not have thrown that ball. But also…

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this guy ain't there on first and ten [Fuller]

The ghost of Borges possessed the offensive staff. That interception came from a big set. Michigan ran play action. It was second and twenty. If it's first and ten I bet Williams is open. On second and twenty with just one wideout on the field nobody is buying that play action. It's one thing if the PA is just there to slow the pass rush a little or whatever play action on passing downs is supposed to do; it's another when the primary read on the play is supposed to be open because someone's going to bite.

That's the first play all year where I was completely baffled. A bunch of stuff hasn't worked but mostly it made sense. That made no damn sense.

Frippery: not so much. Michigan attempted tight end screens to Jake Butt that lost 8 and 10 yards; a Jabrill Peppers end-around also ended up losing ten as Peppers tried to get around a corner that was full of Hoosiers. As I said on twitter, against a D like Indiana the best trick play is running a route. I'd rather save the fancy business for teams that it's tougher to move the ball against without some misdirection.

Michigan did get a first down on a Jabrill Peppers screen, but that wasn't frippery so much as running a basic play with your superfreak.

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[Fuller]

#Buttzone. Jake Butt has an even 500 yards receiving, which is the most in the country for a Power 5 TE. (The NCAA's website lists UCLA's Thomas Duarte as a TE, which caused me to do a double-take and google him since I've seen a fair number of UCLA games this year—dude is 225.) There are a few guys from South Alabama and the like slightly ahead of him, but he's really picked up the pace the last couple weeks.

It is time for an appreciation of Butt's skills. He has dropped exactly one pass that was reasonably catchable and his frame and leaping ability mean that he's great in contested or semi-contested situations. Back when Devin Funchess was posited as a tight end I kept an eye on Michigan's all-time TE receiving record, which is currently in the hands of Jim Mandich. Butt is around 300 yards away from breaking that record. That is a dead certainty should he return for his senior season… and he might even do it this year if things break right.

(Just sayin' but Georgia's top tight end has fewer yards than AJ Williams.)

Cannot run. Michigan hit 5 YPA in this game thanks in large part to the two long Rudock scrambles. De'Veon Smith managed 4.8; everything else was pretty bleak. I dunno, man. Indiana is not a good run defense at all and Michigan mostly struggled.

One particular De'Veon Smith run featured him spinning out of a tackle attempt for a good gain; on replay that's pretty much his year. There was a huge cutback lane that he didn't take until the defense literally forced him into it. But he did spin through that tackle.

There were a couple of other Smith carries that looked promising on the edge on which he was chopped down meekly; get him going side to side and you're going to have a good time as a defense. His lack of raw speed, running ability, and terrific blocking makes me wonder if he might be a candidate for fullback next year. Michigan would have to find some confidence in someone, anyone else as a primary ball carrier, though.

On the other hand. Indiana was weirdly aggressive against the run for such a bad secondary. They constantly had eight in the box with a safety rolled up maybe eight or ten yards deep. The Indiana D never really broke that run first mentality even when Michigan had gone to almost all passing in the second half.

Receivers are suddenly fine. Questions about the receivers were rife going into the year and I think they've been answered pretty well. Chesson isn't the most polished guy yet but he is getting there; he has been very tough for anyone to cover deep. Michigan hadn't hit him before this game. It isn't hard to envision an alternate universe in which Chesson is nearing a thousand yards and is drawing piles of Manningham comparisons.

Meanwhile Darboh had the unfortunate drop on a long ball but was otherwise the tough chain-moving underneath receiver he was promised as. Twice in this game he ended up short of the sticks on third and long only to carry a tackler past them. He doesn't have A+ hands like Avant but he is a reasonable facsimile.

Add Butt and you've got a troika that is solidly above average. Next year's QB will have a veteran group to work with.

DEFENSE

On the other hand. So that went not well at all. But, uh, Michigan's defense only gave up 20 points in regulation? That's not actually that bad.

Yesterday I was watching one of the Big 12 point explosions. In that game the PBP guy related one of the conversations they'd had with the head coach or DC of one of the schools in the game. The gist was that these days he doesn't care about yards, only points. To some extent I agree—Michigan got bled down the field but forced 4 FGAs and only gave up a touchdown on the last drive.

To some extent I don't, because when you're supposed to be elite that doesn't happen to you. But, I mean…

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NOT GREAT, BOB [Fuller]

The worst game in which to lose Glasgow. Michigan was forced to move Tom Strobel for the nth time in his career. He saw his first meaningful playing time in this game, as a nose tackle against a potential All-American in Dan Feeney. Maurice Hurst and Willie Henry both struggled to cope with the Indiana line; Strobel and a still-wonky Matt Godin got blown up, and when they got out there Indiana could lock them on the field by not substituting.

This was in fact exactly like that OSU game a few years ago when Michigan was down to scraps at DT. In my cursory rewatch of the game Strobel got handled on every snap he was in for, and Godin wasn't much better.

This is the way to think about it: since NTs rotate so much, Michigan didn't replace Glasgow with Hurst. They replaced him with Strobel. That is a massive, massive hit.

Indiana kind of does this to everyone. Howard went off against Iowa last week; Zander Diamont played big chunks of a game in which OSU's defense gave up 27 points. The only game in which Indiana's offense got clunked was Penn State. Sudfeld didn't play and Diamont was knocked out with a concussion. (Now consider what Michigan's offense would look like with the third-string quarterback.)

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Slight hold there. [Fuller]

Holding? For a rule that is so fuzzy I think holding is actually something refs get right almost all the time. I've been reviewing games for ten or so years and the number of material holds that I think the refs get wrong is very low. Holding is the thing with the lowest justified to unjustified complaint ratio in sports.

I haven't looked at in detail  but I understand why Harbaugh was constantly badgering the refs about holding in this one; there are a ton of arms outside the shoulder pads. To some extent rubbin' is racin' when it comes to holding. If they're not calling it then it ain't a hold. I do think it got a little out of hand here.

O Delano, my Delano. We've given Delano Hill a bit of stick here of late for blowing some things. The coaching staff agreed, pulling him from the starting lineup in favor of Dymonte Thomas. But man, when Thomas went out with an odd injury* and Hill was called back into duty he did about as well as could be expected. This came into sharp focus in the second overtime, when Hill made the play on each of the last three downs, as described in the Awards section above.

Meanwhile Thomas didn't have time to do that much but he did have one impressive close and tackle on a short pass.

*[He left in considerable pain with what looked like a significant injury only to return later in the game.]

SPECIAL TEAMS

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[Fuller]

Dorf. The above was the missed 42-yarder on which the snap came in on the ground; you can see that Allen has been thrown off stride and is not kicking the ball at all naturally. That's not on him. O'Neill did rescue another iffy snap on an extra point.

It should be mentioned that Scott Sypniewski has a broken finger sustained when MSU blew him up on the final play of that game.

On the other hand in re: refs. Thanks for the quick whistle on the Jourdan Lewis KO return fumble. Refs +3.

Punt return TD. Barking Carnival's Scipio Tex summed up how I felt about that as he discussed Texas's TO-heavy loss to West Virginia:

Our problem was largely rooted in bad outcomes, not necessarily bad play calls or tactical preparation.

Michigan had that returner penned in after a directional punt nearly to the sideline, whereupon Channing Stribling tried to tackle a 5'7" guy above the shoulders and RJS completely lost the edge. Tackling is not under the purview of Baxter.

MISCELLANEOUS

No reason. But here is a photo.

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[Fuller]

Very aggressive. Harbaugh has shown zero inclination to treat an opportunity late in the first half as anything other than a full-fledged possession, whether it's bombing it deep even when up multiple scores in obviously uncompetitive games or trying out that intent to deceive play against Rutgers.

That impulse served Michigan well in this game. Given under a minute after Indiana scored to draw within 21-16, Michigan bombed downfield for a field goal. That field goal would get Michigan to overtime and save them from a loss. It could have been a touchdown if Rudock had read that angle route right.

Harbaugh's made just about all the right decisions so far. Some of the fourth and short punts are calls I normally wouldn't like, but O'Neill's ability to punt directionally and the defense's general excellence (while not playing Indiana) change the math there; those are at least defensible.

Disallowing the same drive from the opposition. Michigan completed a pass down to the one on the touchdown drive that got them to overtime, whereupon they ran Sione Houma into the line for no gain. Then they waited. That drained the clock from over a minute to around 20 seconds; at that point Michigan three downs and two timeouts. They could run whatever they wanted; Indiana would have no time for a riposte.

While I'd rather Michigan was able to punch it in on three runs from the one against Indiana than make sure you drain the very last seconds, the clock management there was on point.

Better to die quickly and have time to rise from the dead. Michigan had three minutes on the clock to start that drive mostly because they gave up a 20-some yard touchdown just as Indiana was settling into chip-shot field goal range with an unstoppable run game. It's not hard to see that playing out with Indiana kicking a virtual extra point to win.

Michigan had one more set of downs to try to stop Indiana when that play started. Once Howard busted past the initial resistance, such as it was, I immediately flipped to "please score."

Well done, various stony Michigan fans in the crowd. Boy, the video guys really really wanted to get some shots of Michigan fans losing their religion. What they universally got was a kind of frozen nothingness surrounded by IU fans going bonkers. This guy and his Christmas sweater is a prime example:

I don't remember any crowd shots of pissed off Indiana fans.

Announcers: woof. The Bob Wischusen and Brock Huard team that got this game was brutally bad. I get that announcers tend to pull for the underdog because they want a chance to let their inner Gus Johnson fly, but Huard was way over the top. Meanwhile Wischusen spent most of the game repeating the same statistics about the Michigan defense over and over.

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this was not interference because ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ [Fuller]

Pass interference is whatever too. The Big Ten Ref Random Number Generator took when it extended an Indiana drive on what looked like a perfect PBU by Jarrod Wilson, and then it gave when a very slight pushoff negated a big downfield completion. The net result was negative for Michigan since Indiana would have had to punt (I mean, probably) if neither refereeing catastrophe happens; instead they hit a 51-yard field goal.

Then the above thing happened. That was right at the end of the first half and wouldn't have changed much—Michigan would have had one play from the 2 instead of the 4 before it was FG time, but Chesson is straight up getting mugged there.

HERE

Best And Worst:

Worst:  Owners of a [Broken] Heart

I want to take a minute to, I don’t know, empathize with the IU fans for another heart-breaking loss in a season marked by an absurd number of them.  Yes, I recognize that virtually all of the losses are due to fundamental weaknesses of the Hoosiers, namely on defense; as the announcers kept pointing out, IU has one of the best scoring margins in the 3rd quarter (something like +7 points) and the worst in the 4th (a bit over –8 points).  Coming into the game, IU’s defense gave up about 500 yards of total offense a game, and their advanced stats aren’t much better.  But still, to lose games to UM, Rutgers, OSU, MSU, and Iowa that you were definitely in a position to win late in the 4th quarter has to be dispiriting.  And at least in this game, it wasn’t some massive brain fart or self-inflicted wound that did them in, unless you consider “defense” being that injury.  They ran the ball about as well as possible against an undermanned-but-still-game UM defense, threw the ball decently enough, and even picked up a punt return to start the comeback in the second half.

Inside the Box Score:

The Two Jakes
* Indiana's QB threw for 220 yards and their running back ran for 238 yards.
* Jake Rudock threw for 440 yards.
* Jake Rudock ran for 64 yards.
* Jake Rudock gained more yards than Indiana's prolific tandem of Sudfeld and Howard. Jake Rudock gained 504 yards running and throwing. Those are Denard Robinson numbers.
* Jake Buttttttt caught seven passes for 82 yards. He could have approached 100 yards if Rudock had turfed a couple obvious negative plays instead of throwing to Butt with a man all over him. This is a minor quibble considering the, you know, 504 yards and 6 touchdowns.

Impressions from a gentleman who took the trip down:

4. Their PA announcer is the most egregiously irritating person I have ever heard. Each time they got a first down he shouted "First down HOOOOOSIERS!" The fans all echo him when he says "Hoosiers." When they are on defense he would excitedly say "stand up fans! It's THIRD DOWN!!!"

5. Canadian Cowbell Girl Michigan fan. Has anyone else tailgated near this group? They are apparently from Canada, and one of their group is a girl who appears to be about 20-25 years old. She wears striped maize and blue pants and a maize cape with a blue maple leaf on it. She can hold an insane amount of alcohol. During the game she ran all around the stadium with her cowbell tapping out the bit before everyone says "Go Blue!" I was fascinated, horrified, and inspired by her. Does she go to all the games? It seems she must. I thought she would be passed out in a pool of her own vomit by halftime, but she was going strong the whole game with that cowbell.

ELSEWHERE

Sap's Decals:

OFFENSIVE CHAMPION – When things start to click, your game becomes one with your teammates.  Plays that weren’t being made before, suddenly look like old hat.  Jake Rudock is starting to click, but more importantly, he’s clicking with Jehu Chesson.  That deep threat wasn’t there earlier in the season, but in these last two games, especially against Indiana, Jake Rudock to Jehu Chesson has been money.  The two had record-setting performances Saturday night and it’s a perfect time in the season for this to happen.  The threat of a deep passing game can only help the Michigan offense these next two games.  Jake to Jehu – sounds much like another great Michigan QB to WR combination: Benny (Friedman) to Bennie (Oosterbaan).

HSR:

Popular history books, or at least a certain genre of them, make a living on people who survive seemingly insurmountable odds and survive to recount the story.  There's a logic to this that makes sense.  The old nautical saying "Dead men tell no tales" applies.  We don't know how well someone fought, even unto death, unless someone else can emerge on the other side to tell the circumstances.

In three of Michigan's last four games, the ending has been in doubt up to and including the final play. 

MVictors. Talking with Drake Johnson and Desmond Morgan. Actually those previous links are more like giving them a piece of paper to write on and then putting that paper on the internet. Touch the Banner.

Baumgardner:

Two terrific individual efforts for a defense that appeared gassed, and in desperate need of one big moment.

"Find a way, find one stop," Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh said. "We found it. I saw the quarterback look over at the slot and he had what he wanted, he had the matchup he wanted against Delano Hill. I knew that's where it was going.

"But Delano really competed for the ball, contested it the whole way. Looked like he slapped it away. Really, really happy for Delano Hill. And us. All of us."

I want a name. I bet it is "Doyel":

Saturday night, moments after Michigan scored a 48-41 double-overtime victory over the Hoosiers, an Indiana-based reporter asked Harbaugh a question about the Indianapolis Colts.

Specifically, if Harbaugh would ever consider taking the Colts head coaching job, should it come back open again.

The reporter never had a chance to finish the question.

As Harbaugh put his hand up and cut him off midway through a sentence.

"Stop. Just stop yourself," Harbaugh said. "No comment."

Radio call. PSU at noon.

Comments

J.

November 16th, 2015 at 12:45 PM ^

Unless that sentence ended with "this season."  :-)

Also, obviously "only" 4 of those were in regulation -- OT makes counting stats extra meaningless.  Still, hats off to Jake and to the passing game plan.  Finally I have some confidence that when the next team sells out to stop Michigan's run attack, there's an answer ready.

JeepinBen

November 16th, 2015 at 12:52 PM ^

And that final drive Poise as well. There was no panic from the offense. Rudock was in command, took snaps, made reads, got up to the line, etc. That aspect was not dissimilar from what Tom Brady did yesterday on an as-time-is-expiring drive. It's not often seen in college. There's worry, there's panic, the play clock running down, etc. The poise was impressive.

ST3

November 16th, 2015 at 3:29 PM ^

My son started Tae Kwon Do when he was 5 years old. He persevered through 14 belt tests, breaking boards with his hands, feet, elbows and knees along the way. He couldn't do a good push up to save his life, but he figured out some posture that allowed him to fake it. After four plus years of two, sometimes three practices a week, he finally made it to the black belt. The one thing that kept him going was the thought of getting his nunchucks. So he gets the black belt and he's ready to quit when they tell him, nope, you don't get the nunchucks yet, you need to get to yellow-stripe black belt level. So we sign him up for another 4 months of TKD and he finally gets his nunchucks. Kid is so excited, he's swinging them all over the place. We take him to McD's for his celebratory dinner, get home, he shows the nunchucks to grandma, and that's the last I ever saw of those nunchucks. I suppose they're out in the garage somewhere collecting dust.

I was sorely tempted to write up something about Strobel in my diary, but as an amateur blogger, I try not to criticize the kids who are stepping up trying to help the team when they are put in positions they don't really belong. Brian, as a pro blogger had to say something and I think he did well pointing out the problems with the d-line.

Someone made a post about moving Smith to fullback and he got lambasted for it. I agreed with the guy. Now Brian suggests the same thing. Hmmm...

Goggles Paisano

November 16th, 2015 at 5:39 PM ^

I never really thought about it, but it is a fantastic idea.  That position requires someone with a nasty attitude and he has it.  He can run with power, catch out the backfield and loves to hit. I don't like him at TB as the full-time TB because of his lack of vision and speed.  The TB position needs much more juice.  I could see De'Veon and maybe Shallman taking on that duty next year.   

alum96

November 16th, 2015 at 6:22 PM ^

Brian immediately brought up the very small matter of finding an actual running back to take his place.

That's the issue - we have nothing proven to take his place.  Drake hasnt been able to last a year healthy and right now seems to lack his late 2014 explosiveness most games.  Behind Drake is a vast nothingness consisting of a freshman with a few carries who plays a position freshman can star, and two 5 stars - one whose main role is to be a human victory cigar; the other stapled to the bench for 6 games. 

So yeah if we had Jordan Howard here.... Smith to FB sounds cool.  But we have no real TB option who has any durability.

Mich OC

November 16th, 2015 at 6:42 PM ^

Right, and I agree with that and acknowledged that. But it's not at all out of the realm of possibility we get 1-2 people at the level smith is this year by next year. He hasn't been that good and it's not too hard to find a mediocre tailback.

And then we have a kickass fullback.

To be clear, I appreciated the reasonable arguments against it like you provided, but I didn't quite understand all the negging or lumping it in with the "move Derrick Green to FB" posts.

wolverine1987

November 16th, 2015 at 12:52 PM ^

I'm repeating a post that I intitiated after Ruthgers, but I see very few holes opening in the running game, and that was against now two of the worst run defenses in the conference, and just bad defenses. period. What the hell. Pass defense is good, but we seem to making no progress and arguably, regressing. 

BornInAA

November 16th, 2015 at 1:08 PM ^

Yeah, 8 guys in the box with 3 trying zone coverage on 4 receivers - that was their gameplan and they stuck to it. This was the MO for all teams against Michigan the last number of years. Make them beat us with the pass. It worked well against the Borges offense and because Denard/Gardner were run 1st QBs.

 

alum96

November 16th, 2015 at 1:10 PM ^

I dont think that is the whole reason

Indiana DBs are pretty bad in general.  Jeremy Gallon cloaking device 2 yrs ago anyone?

There were some plays the Indiana DB is not even in the TV picture - just like 2 years ago.

Indiana rush D is something like 110th in nation - even if they "sell out" you should be able to run on them.  Iowa had 234 yds rushing on them last week - their top rb had 12 carries for 122 yds.  2nd string had 78 yds.

Our run game is not good - accept it.

alum96

November 16th, 2015 at 1:19 PM ^

I didnt say anything about the total offense.  I said the run O.  You appear one of the few who thought it was a good night running the ball. That is one of the worst defenses in P5. 

Passing O was very good - run game was way below what it should be.  If we could functionally run the ball on them we'd keep it away from them with TOP as every team tries vs that type of offense.  We couldnt do that so we went to the air.  Which was fine in the end but not ideal.   We had a tired D all night because of that rushing issue.

wolverine1987

November 16th, 2015 at 1:21 PM ^

Come on--the point was about run offense specifically--if you disagree that the line is a concern for run offense, then do so. It's not about bitching at all, sunshine. 

Jake was the leading rusher, and any objective watching of the game shows very few holes--it's legitimate to ask the question, and to point out Indiana's run defense is bad.

Hulk Henne

November 16th, 2015 at 2:50 PM ^

Who cares how we did it as long as we keep winning. This site goes overboard with analytics.

Indiana rush D is something like 110th in nation - even if they "sell out" you should be able to run on them. Iowa had 234 yds rushing on them last week - their top rb had 12 carries for 122 yds. 2nd string had 78 yds.

Probably because Iowa stuck with the run. They had only 233 yards passing on the worst secondary in the B1G. As the old saying goes...there's more than one way to skin a cat.

 

    hunterjoe

    November 16th, 2015 at 1:17 PM ^

    It's poor because we have no breakaway ability at RB.  There's no home run threat.  I specifically remember a run by Smith that he tried to bounce outside, which was the right move, but couldn't get to the corner due to lack of explosiveness/speed in which he was brought down from behind by (I believe a DL'man).  If he hits that corner, it's a big gain, but he doesn't have the wheels to get it.  So teams don't have to worry about the edge of the lines because we just can't get there. 

    alum96

    November 16th, 2015 at 1:22 PM ^

    I dont even think its the breakaway thing that kills us. Its the inability to get a consistent 5-6 which you do vs this type of D.   We get 2nd and 8 instead of 2nd and 5 that most teams do whn running vs rutgers or indiana types.  Inability to get that consistent chunk of yardage hurts IMO.

    Howard was 2 yds down the field before he even got touched - our rbs rarely get that.   Their OL was re-establishing the LOS 2-3 yds down the field the entire 4th Q post snap.  Our OL is not there at this point for whatever reason and obviously we dont have a Howard Ellliott type.

    That said its an improvement from past when we'd be in 2nd and 11 a lot.  So silver lining.

    Reader71

    November 16th, 2015 at 2:31 PM ^

    Yep. Indiana didn't hit any home runs. Their longest run was 25 yards or so, and it was just the one. But they consistently moved the line of scrimmage and gained yards.

    We haven't been able to do that. That's the problem, not the home run threat. Home run threat would be gravy. That's what would make us great. The pushing back of the defense is missing, and it is what is keeping us from being good.

    StephenRKass

    November 16th, 2015 at 1:25 PM ^

    I agree with you for the most part about our running game. Michgan's offensive line, and their running backs, just aren't that good. However, for the OL, they are doing ok with pass protection. If Rudock is good, and a bit lucky, and is shredding PSU and even Ohio State with passing, this shifts the equation. And opens up running game.

    Honestly, given the first half of the season, it made complete sense for any team facing Michigan to crowd the line. Put 8 in the box. Force Michigan to beat you deep and with passing. The word was that Rudock couldn't do it. Well, with the troika of Chesson, Darboh, and Butt, and supporting cast of Williams, Harris, and Perry, along with the scattered pass to Houma, Smith, et al, the passing game appears to be solid. I'm a bit terrified of Ohio State's DL. But if our OL gives pass pro, OSU's LB corps and secondary can't cheat the line. This, more than anything else, will open up running lanes, especially for Drake Johnson. No one is going to be able to run through the crowd of 8 on the line. But just 3 or 4 DL? Now our running backs have a chance, at least at 3 - 4 yards a pop.

    alum96

    November 16th, 2015 at 12:56 PM ^

    Couldnt keep the ball away from Indiana because couldnt play ball control offense.  It is what it is in a Joe Bolden way.  Dont run block well, dont have plus running backs.  Turning to FB as #2 rb in game 10.  It is what it is.

    Defense played bad between the 20s in 1st half but at least stiffened in red zone and that saved the game -all those early FGs rather than TDs saved 12 pts.

    Will be very curious how Jake does vs a defense with an actual 4 star somewhere in the lineup this week.  We wont be able to run on PSU - their DL is 50x that of Indiana or rutgers. Same for OSU.  Gonna all be on Jake's shoulders and hopefully the Peppers plays work better than this week.  As you said - 2 shit defenses but accuracy is accuracy and confidence is everything in sports.

    Team is doing amazing things considering it is completely deficient in 1 part of offense.  Magnus wrote yest we have the worst set of backs in the Big 10.  While I disagree slightly (Maryland is worse - ross is basically Smith and they have no Drake) its bottom 2-3 for sure.  Sad considering so many stars.  Even Drake doesnt look like Drake late 2014.  Wish we had snagged Howard - so cool to see a power back with speed to him.  Looked like Tim B back in the day.

    Chesson looked amazing - might be his coming out party.  He has physical skills Darboh just doesnt have in terms of speed so if he has turned the corner could finally be that massive playmaker we searched for all year.

    As I wrote in comments elsewhere D was destroyed in Q1 - 37 plays in 1Q projects to nearly 150 a game.  Once you become tired in sports you never truly recover.  That was seen in 2nd half.  Indiana didnt run a crazy ammount of plays in the end, it was just so front loaded it killed the D.  And we could not play keep away in 1st half due to not being abe to run.

    Harbaugh will look at that 4th Q and will only drive him all summer.  We got Stanfordized by a spread team.  Beaten man on man all quarter.  Knew what they would do - couldnt stop it.  That was very Hokeish.  First time this year we got physically beat constantly on D.  Bad flashbacks.

    Survive and advance.  PSU matches up better for our D.  OSU if smart will play at Indiana pace in 1st half.  Hopefully they are not smart.

    NoVaWolverine

    November 16th, 2015 at 3:02 PM ^

    Sorry if someone on the blog's already mentioned this possibility, but perhaps it's time to recognize that the notorious Angry Iowa Running Back Hating God (AIRBHG) has a brother deity, the Angry Michigan Nose Tackle Hating God. Consider:

    * Ondre Pipkins, who looked like a sure-fire 5-star NT coming out of high school, has his already disappointing Michigan career ended by an accumulation of injuries (ACL, concussion(s?), etc.)

    * Bryan Mone goes down late in fall practice with what was a pretty freak injury as described by Harbaugh (broke his leg blocking on a return of a blocked FG)

    * Ryan Glasgow's now out for the year because he just barely managed to get a hand on that Rutgers guy. Damn.

    Maurice Hurst, please be careful... 

    AA2 at heart

    November 16th, 2015 at 1:00 PM ^

    Was at the game in the middle of some Hoosiers who were kind of blah even in the second half and OT. They all said that they were just waiting for IU to screw up the win. That they perpetually live through what we did the last few years actually made me feel bad for them. Well almost.

    FidelioHorelick

    November 16th, 2015 at 1:02 PM ^

    Glad to see the 2nd and 29 pass to Butt get honorable mention. To me, that was the WGITBU play of the game, not only for executing it, but more for what it represents. Allowing the QB to throw while standing in the endzone and actually attempting to convert a 1st down was just amazing. Soooo many times in the past, over quite a few coaches, this series would been 3 runs and a punt. The change of mindset, the trust of letting the players play, it was amazing. 

    meddler

    November 16th, 2015 at 1:04 PM ^

    I have said this before: If the broadcast is in Dolby Digital and you have a 5-channel (or better) system, simply unplug the center channel to disable the announcers.

    I had the game cranked to +10 dB for the entire 2nd half and OT. The crowd was hype. It sounded great.