Rutgers 26, Michigan 24

Submitted by Seth on October 4th, 2014 at 11:59 PM

at the People's Climate March on Sept. 21 in New York City. (Adam Glanzman)

Adam Glanzman/special to MGoBlog

Human beings, and not just those associated with Michigan, are capable of extraordinary incompetence. The biggest brain fart tonight was when a guy watched Amara Darboh make a catch, take two steps, dive out of bounds, and place the ball on the ground, then “confirmed” it “incomplete.” The call on the field was malpractice; getting it wrong with the benefit of a DVR and HDTV is so staggeringly separated from reality that most fanbases will go for sinister explanations.

A Michigan Man knows better. Watching this program try to manage a clock, manage an offense, or manage a press release is the kind of thorough education in the extent of the human capacity for ineptitude that you’ve come to expect from the nation’s top public university.

“Blame the refs!” explains why Wile had to attempt a 56-yarder—which Rutgers blocked—and why Michigan had just one timeout to throw against a 1st down-and-kneel drive to end the game. It doesn’t explain why Michigan manipulated the clock to leave their opponent a comfortable 120 seconds to drive at the end of the first half. Or why they forgot they had Funchess for two quarters. Or why a heretofore deep and competent secondary gave up 404 yards to Gary Nova, overcoming a record previously held by the John L. Smith Razorbacks.

Michigan stayed in it, partly because Rutgers is Rutgers. Also because Devin Gardner laughed off two tackle attempts en route to a 19-yard 4th quarter touchdown that needs to be put to Autumn Thunder immediately. I feel awful about how this guy’s career has gone. Given the schedule from here, the Wolverines would be lucky to go 6-6 and unlikely to win four. When the team is this bad and the coaches’ meat this dead, we can check out, or just enjoy the occasional exploits of those who won’t.

People are just stupid sometimes; even Unpossible Throw God Gary Nova himself took a false start(!) this game. This will be important to remember whenever it’s time to commence  a headhunt as inevitable as the Big Ten’s empty apology. Humans are only tenuously rational creatures, and as soon as a coaching search commences, all contact with reality is lost.


snarling wolverine

October 5th, 2014 at 1:50 AM ^

Let's be honest.  Most people didn't care or rationalized away that stuff when it seemed that Brady Hoke was a viable option as our football coach.  Once that stopped being true, suddenly those things became added to the pile of evidence against Brandon.  But his biggest black mark, by a mile, is his poor handling of the football program.  Hiring Harbaugh eliminates that concern and turns it into a positive.




October 5th, 2014 at 8:53 AM ^

Any dumbass can say, gee, Jim Harbaugh is successful coach and a guy a lot of people want lets hire him. Brandon would earn no more credit for that than a man successfully choosing between "win a million dollars" and "smear peanut butter on your nuts and shove a rabid badger down your pants".

That randomly selected dumbass would probably not do the other stupid crap Brandon has done, and would thus be an improvement. Michigan needs an elite AD, not a minimally competent one.


October 5th, 2014 at 1:07 AM ^

If he hired Jim Harbaugh, YES!

I'm not a big John Harbaugh fan. I want a coach with recent college coaching experience. Jim has everything we could want(great recruiter who knows the area, develops QB's and was a star here) plus he has a fiery personality that we really need right now. The man has a big ego and I'm sure he would love nothing more than to bring back Michigan. He could be like Bo, coming in to rescue a once great program.


October 5th, 2014 at 1:20 AM ^

I've reached a point in this season where I know longer have much hope for bowling. I'm resigned to the fact that we are a team that has shown confusion, misnagement and absolute mediocrity. I haven't missed a game. I have turned them off, but I inevitably turn them back on.

I think, for a moment, Michigan fans and alumni, such as myself, need to take a step back and be prudent. What we have on our hands is a terrible season wrought with controversy and embarassing losses. Let's consider, however, the alternative: There is no need for one.

Hoke's building a culture. He needs one more year after this. Forget the record -- drop the history bullshit. Regardless of Brandon's excercises, Hoke needs more time to truly let his team develop. New OC, great DC, terrible clock management. Next year we have a more traditional QB who will be more effective in the pocket than Gardner, God bless his soul.

We, as Michigan fans, need to learn some humility. Ultimately, what is more important: Wins and Losses, or building a program that is respectable, plays by the rules, plays tough regardless of the score, and sticks with each other. 

I hear no controversy in the locker room and believe the players are fully behind Hoke. Can we please take a moment, take a breath, and have some patience? What kind of fans are we if we don't support our team? You can't be a fan because it's convenient. SUPPORT THIS TEAM. We aren't the program we once were in 2006 (it hasn't been that long); I'd rather have a locker room of true student-athletes before a locker room of NFL draftees. When the former comes, the latter will inevitably happen.

Now let's play some god dern football.


October 5th, 2014 at 1:33 AM ^

Great DC? Maybe we thought that in 2011, but what has Mattison shown the last 3 years to make anybody believe that now. Was it the torching of the secondary tonight by a mediocre QB?

Also newsflash, no QB is going to be effective in the pocket if you can't protect him. The core problem is not the QB position. At this point, having a guy with DG's legs is the only thing keeping some plays alive, it would only get worse with a true pocket passer. DG also made good throws from the pocket tonight, on the rare occasions there was one.

I still fully support this team, the players that is, and that is exactly why a change is needed. They may personally like Hoke, but that is a irrelevant. This staff is doing the players a disservice by not fully developing/utilizing their talent and potential. DG is probally the best example of that, among others.


October 5th, 2014 at 7:53 AM ^

I don't Look, the team as a whole has clearly quit and is underperforming. Players aren't really improving that much, especially when contrasted against other teams. The team culture frankly sucks and I'm hesitant to call Mattisons a great DC anymore. None of that argues for another year of this horrible, horrible bullshit. I stopped watching this team in the Minnesota game and won't for the rest of the year and I never thought I'd get to this point. Hoke HAS to go, if he gets one more year the program really will break forever(if it hasn't already which I'm scared it has).


October 5th, 2014 at 7:55 AM ^

It was interesting for me to watch yesterday, since I assumed they would lose and didn't have a whole lot of emotion about it.  I was as close to a passive observer as I can be.

In that state it is simply clear as day to me that this is simply a poorly coached football team, in all phases.  I don't know how else to put it.

Given that, I can't disagree with you more.  This isn't about creating a culture.  It is about a group of coaches who aren't very good at coaching.


October 5th, 2014 at 9:36 AM ^

This the fundamental issue. All the other stuff about heart and desire and emotion are secondary to the fact that we don't block, tackle, throw, catch, cover, and run as well as our opponents do, and on top of that our coaches appear to be repeatedly out-thought and out-schemed by the opposing coaches. Once you're in that situation you're doomed against anybody but tomato cans, and even then it's frequently a struggle.

The canary in the coal mine for me during RR's last year was the UMass game, in which we escaped with a 5-point win at home, giving up big yardage and 37 points against a team that was still FCS at the time. Regardless how well our offense appeared to perform at times, that defense was horrible beyond belief.

For Hoke, it was the Akron and UConn games last year—games that on paper shouldn't have been close were nail-biters at the very end against bad teams. We were all hoping those games were just anomalies, but unfortunately they were blinking neon signs of what was to come.


October 6th, 2014 at 2:32 PM ^

WE have good recruits entering into a few years in the system.... and they are flubbing on the fundamentals. Mattison and Nuss had success everywhere else in the past, but now our O is just horrible at stuff like blocking and tackling and our D is not close to where I thought it was. THis staff has had the full support of the athletic department. No on is undercutting them. 

The reason this scares me is that it opens up a whole hell of alot of uncertainty in the coming coaching search. Why did these guys fail? It can't all be Hoke. He's the HC sure but he's not teaching the basic fundamentals of each position. And further, despite Hoke's pedestrian background, he never seemed to be a guy whose teams fell apart in the basics. 


Where is the failure? How do we avoid it with a new coach?


October 5th, 2014 at 2:01 PM ^

Not trolling. I'm saying put away the pitchforks for one second and support this team during the season. At the end, we'll see. And as I've said in other replies to people: what's the alternative? WHO CAN TURN THIS PROGRAM AROUND? And how long will it take? You lose recruits. Players came here to play for Hoke. Fine, fire him, but don't complain when we're in the same situation in six years.


October 5th, 2014 at 11:29 PM ^

No. He'd probably make a better AD than Brandon, though.

It's the venimous attitude from Michigan fans, from fans giving up, from fans totallly throwing their hands up in the air in forfeiture because, OH GOSH, we don't like Alabama. Especially when we've been in a similar situation just 4 to 5 years ago. Have we learned nothing? Give things time, even if that time is only 6 to 8 weeks.


October 5th, 2014 at 2:13 PM ^

Not particularly a supporter. I just think we, as Michigan fans, need to stop being such arrogant fans. All these things people have said are true, I don't disagree. But what I don't like to see is a fan base that wants to bring out the guillotine in the middle of a season.


October 5th, 2014 at 4:01 AM ^

I think they said that if the receiver is going to the ground during the catch that he has to control it for it to count.  In this case, the ball was caught by the receiver, he took at least two steps and then dove for the first down marker.  He didn't drop the ball while diving during the catch.  DiNardo is wrong.


October 5th, 2014 at 1:44 AM ^

One purpose of the having the replay booth is to overturn obviously bad calls.  It seems that in the last couple of seasons in particular, the booth officials fail to, you know, do their jobs.  If the people in the replay booth can't do a better job, then get rid of the replay booth. 


October 5th, 2014 at 1:49 AM ^

Were so callous about the rest of the Big Ten.  I was always one to root for all the teams not playing M for the good of the conference. BUT NOW I FUCKING GET IT. This game tonight was a fucking joke.  As soon as Blue was in position to win this they get fucked, and yes, in super slow motion, they got fucked on that replay.  ANd again, it is so compelling to Delaney that we have a 5-1 Rutgers team in this new and exciting market! And if a historically bad 2-4 M team is trying to pull itself up off the canvas and show some grit, well fuck them.  Screw BIG. Please go  zero for fucking everything in the bowl season. Can't wait!


October 5th, 2014 at 10:06 AM ^

bump out of a route on a Michigan receiver by the Rutgers' db after the ball had been thrown?  I realize the Rutgers fans were booing but that call wasn't close.  

/apologies if that's not the one you were talking about.  I haven't a seen a "every play" cut up yet in order to confirm.  

G. Gulo of the Dale

October 5th, 2014 at 11:57 AM ^

... that went both ways.  The OP is referring to a call that went our way on the right sideline when both our WR and their DB were coming back to the ball.  The ref behind the play had a bad angle that did make it look like pass interference against Rutgers--but it seemed like the wrong call.   With that being said, the refs blew an obvious pass interference call earlier in the game when the Rutgers DB hit Chesson while the ball was in the air.  And, as always, there were many overlooked holding calls--and a pretty questionable one against MIller.

Insisting that we shouldn't be upset about the Darboh incompletion because there were calls in our favor seems unreasonable to me, since, again, there were many bad calls both ways, and everyone knows how critical the Darboh call was--and it occurred at a point where we couldn't overcome it.  I think there are a number of people overlooking the bad call as a way of placing more blame on the coaching staff.  While I wish we could beat Rutgers by multiple TDs, we're not that kind of team right now.  And I don't buy this "Losing to Rutgers... LOL" sentiment either.  Rutgers circa 2014 is not absolutely horrible, even if a good Michigan team should beat them.  They played in a bowl game last year (even if a bad one), and were at home in a very loud stadium.  Unless you're a top-ten power house team, you take road wins against teams like Rutgers any way you can get them.  The loss at home to Minnesota was embarrassing, was completely on us, and we quit in the second half.  The loss to Rutgers was competitive, and painful, and a horrible call was a contributing factor--even if by no means the only one.  The players deserved better.  Despite all of their failings, even the coaches deserved better.  If the refs make the right call, and we lose anyway, so be it.    


October 5th, 2014 at 8:32 AM ^

It was Michigan vs Rutgers. We should have never been it that position in the first place. While I do agree with you that it was a bad call...there were over 150 other plays that impacted the game.

I think blaming the refs is an easy excuse for terrible play overall.

I am sure the coaching staff would love that narrative about this game going forward, as it takes the heat off them a bit.

G. Gulo of the Dale

October 5th, 2014 at 3:45 PM ^

Mike, I'm glad that you don't want to make excuses, and Michigan did plenty of things wrong in this game, but I think people are being a bit overly dramatic when saying things like "this is Michigan and Rutgers" (implied "fergodsakes").  While Rutgers hasn't exactly been playing in the SEC the last eight years, they've been winning more than we have.  Rutgers has won at least eight games six of the last eight seasons and may do the same this year.  From 1988-2004 Rutgers enjoyed exactly one (!) winning season.  Since then, they've gone 9-4 three times and 11-2 once.  From what I can tell, a number of people are hearing "Michigan and Rutgers" and thinking it's 1997.  From my perspective, no Michigan team should be complaining about winning a close game in a hostile environment against a team that's gone to a bowl seven of the last eight years.  This is the kind of game that even a healthy Michigan program drops once in a while.  In the end, our defense played very poorly, yes, but I thought the whole team played less than terribly "in a vacuum"--unfortunately, when you remove the vacuum, we are 2-4 and coming off an unacceptable season.   



October 5th, 2014 at 8:37 PM ^

Rutgers' final Sagarin rating the last four years: #100 (2013), #53 (2012), #36 (2011), #90 (2010).

Yes, they had some solid teams -- when Schiano was coach and in a conference worse than the current B1G.  Schiano is no longer there.  Recent history is:  they are stretching to reach the bottom end of the top 40 once in four years, and among the worst teams in FBS twice as often as that.

So let's say that this is a good year for them and they're #40-ish (current rating of #74 notwithstanding, loss to a sanction-depleted Penn State notwithstanding).  Even granting that, that makes them only about as good as Iowa or Maryland.  Perhaps that's the "kind of game that even a healthy Michgian program drops once in a while."   But that would be a lot easier to swallow at 4-2 with the only other loss being a non-blowout to Notre Dame.

On a somewhat related topic:  If someone had come to you in August and forced you to bet something precious on Michigan's record through the first half of the 2014 campaign... what would you have picked?  I'd have looked at the schedule and would have seen:

  • Appalachian State, expected to be among the worst FBS teams.
  • Notre Dame, who should be pretty good
  • Miami-Ohio, who's picked towards the bottom of the MAC
  • Utah, who's picked towards the bottom of the PAC-12
  • Minnesota, who's picked towards the bottom of the B1G West
  • Rutgers, who's picked towards the bottom of the B1G East

I think I'd have gone with 5-1.  In my mind the possibility of a win over Notre Dame would be somewhat canceled by the (relatively slight) possibility of a loss to one of the other five.

There's still plenty of football left to be played.  The glass-half-full types can try to convince themselves that Minnesota is going to win the B1G West, Miami-NTM is going to finish near the top of the MAC, Rutgers is going to be much better than everyone expected, Notre Dame is going to be a playoff team, etc.

But I have a hard time buying that.  I think it's more parsimonious to suspect that a single team is much worse than expected, than it is to expect that six different opponents all turned out much better.


October 5th, 2014 at 2:04 AM ^

It's not like the refs screwed up a call that directly cost us a TD.  Yes, it sucked that it didn't go our way, but we still had to either put in a FG or TD if we had got a first down.  Given how this year has gone so far, getting out of there with a win was still questionable.   


October 5th, 2014 at 2:10 AM ^

This is the rule as amended last year with relevant parts bolded:

ARTICLE 3. a. To catch a ball means that a player: 1. Secures control of a live ball in flight with his hands or arms before the ball touches the ground, and 2. Touches the ground in bounds with any part of his body, and then 3. Maintains control of the ball long enough to enable him to perform an act common to the game, i.e., long enough to pitch or hand the ball, advance it, avoid or ward off an opponent, etc., and 4. Satisfies paragraphs b, c, and d below.

b. If a player goes to the ground in the act of catching a pass (with or without contact by an opponent) he must maintain complete and continuous control of the ball throughout the process of contacting the ground, whether in the field of play or in the end zone. This is also required for a player attempting to make a catch at the sideline and going to the ground out of bounds. If he loses control of the ball which then touches the ground before he regains control, it is not a catch. If he regains control inbounds prior to the ball touching the ground it is a catch.

c. If the player loses control of the ball while simultaneously touching the ground with any part of his body, or if there is doubt that the acts were simultaneous, it is not a catch. If a player has control of the ball, a slight movement of the ball, even if it touches the ground, will not be considered loss of possession; he must lose control of the ball in order for there to be a loss of possession.

d. If the ball touches the ground after the player secures control and continues to maintain control, and the elements above are satisfied, it is a catch.

For it not to be a catch the refs would have to argue that shifting the ball to under his arm, taking two steps downfield, then reaching it out for the first down marker did not constitute any "act common to the game." IE the refs are saying Darboh was only doing those things in order to make the catch.

Anyone arguing that wasn't a catch is 100% WRONG, and you should assume their sanity, their intelligence, and/or their credibility has been comprised.