Sad Pandas

Submitted by Brian on October 12th, 2009 at 11:39 AM

10/10/2009 – Michigan 28, Iowa 30 – 4-2, 1-2 Big Ten

 tate-forcier-benched denard-robinson-is-a-sad-panda

screenshot via MVictors; Denard Robinson as sad panda from the News via Genuinely Sarcastic and Mike Desimone.

This is probably a time to dispense with the fooferah and get right to the heart of the matter. From our vantage point from the endzone of Kinnick Stadium our instant assumption when Denard Robinson came in was that Forcier had gotten hurt on one of two earlier plays. We couldn't see a whole lot, but we saw a lot of Michigan's third quarter—unfortunately because they spent it next to the wrong endzone. Forcier banged his hand on someone's helmet, then later took a wicked shot from some defensive lineman or another moments after launching another incompletion.

When Robinson came out with around six minutes left, we had a debate about the idea, coming down on the side of "not good." Though Robinson was surprisingly effective driving Michigan for a score-tightening touchdown, the run-based nature of the drive stripped more than three minutes off the clock and saw Michigan attempt an onside kick with about 3:20 left and one timeout. This, too, was seen as a sign that Forcier was hurt: surely if you're going to cast your lot with Denard Robinson on a drive to win you need the ability to run the ball quite a bit. Kicking deep with only Robinson available is tantamount to waving the white flag.

So all that fit together and when Robinson came out after Michigan's defense thwarted Iowa on their attempt to strangle the game, it made sense. Forcier was unavailable, and this was the best Michigan could do. And, hell, it was working all right until Robinson eschewed what looked like a wide open Martavious Odoms in favor of Michigan's third or fourth jump ball into safety coverage. This one did not clatter to the turf harmlessly. As we say in UFR, EOG.

So… yeah. The news that Forcier had to be bodily escorted off the field before Michigan's last drive was less than thrilling. I'm sure this will be breaking no new ground after a couple days of checking in on the blog to see just which items raging about the decision needed to be excised, but for the record:

WHAT

THE

HELL

?

There are a billion comments across the internet calling the decision "indefensible," many of them drawing direct parallels to the last time a Michigan team visited Iowa. John Beilein sat Manny Harris down for overtime, Michigan lost when Iowa hit an array of circus shots and Manny's replacement, David Merritt, continued being a walk-on instead of Manny Harris, and a very large number of people were peeved, livid, or somewhere in between. This space in the aftermath of that decision:

If he thought Michigan had a better chance to win with David Merritt on the floor, he's nuts. More likely he had about reached his limit and sat him in what appears to be a fit of pique. I get that: Harris at the moment is a basketball doppelganger of Braylon Edwards in his afro phase, when he was benched because he and Carr weren't "on the same page" despite his clear superiority to Michigan's other receiving options. Edwards wised up and blew up. Harris? We'll see.

I would have preferred the teachable moment had not come in overtime of a crucial road game, though. You know.

The two incidents are creepily similar, and my opinion about Saturday is about identical to my opinion about the Manny benching: there were a ton of good reasons to make the move that don't come close to outweighing the enormous one that argued against it. If Michigan had gotten that onside kick and Robinson had three minutes to work with, okay. With 1:40 on the clock, no timeouts, and sixty yards to go, no.

------------------------

So where does that leave us? Michigan's just experienced a two point loss on the road against a top-15 team during which they were –4 in turnover margin. They got outgained again. Forcier was pretty terrible. Robinson displayed both his talent and his limitations. Rodriguez made a poor decision in the heat of the moment, bursting this site's obvious hope that he was Jesus Ferguson. They're 4-2 in the league with three games they should win left, which would leave them at 7-5 if they don't pick off one of Penn State, Wisconsin, or Ohio State. A walk-on has permanently ascended to the starting lineup.

Add that all together and you get… I don't know. A jumbled mess that's clearly not as soul-destroying as last year's merry band of incompetence but not in any respect good. Michigan has been significantly outgained in each of four games against teams outside of the MAC, and mitigating factors like special teams and turnovers can no longer patch those gaps up. After all that at the start of the season, Michigan's settled about where everyone expected they'd be: still digging out from nuclear winter, looking towards the future with hope and the present with tolerance, at best.

The emotions I had coming out of Kinnick were as much of a mess as the team is. Michigan shot itself in a thousand different ways, busting coverages on two tight end touchdowns and a third and twenty-five that was more damaging than any of the five (five!) turnovers they gacked up with little assistance from Iowa. It was really frustrating to walk away feeling that Michigan should have won but for their own errors—errors that at this point are obviously a fundamental part of what the team is—but the memory of last year hovered, suggesting that the mere idea that errors were only a part of the whole this time around represented progress. Clearly, there is a long way yet to go.

Bullets

  • I know I make fun of people in the comments who believe I have some sort of crazy power over the fortunes of Michigan football that I only use for evil, but dammit Greg Mathews, not only did you drop a punt, give Iowa the ball at the Michigan 16, and eventually lead to that short-field Tony Moeaki touchdown, you did it mere hours after I suggested that I should stop typing HOLD ON TO THE DAMN BALL as the key matchup in the special teams section. It's hard not to feel personally responsible even though that's completely insane.
  • Have seen a number of complaints about the timeout with 27 seconds left before halftime. I wanted Rodriguez to call it at the time; after some consideration I think that was probably not a good idea either. Even if Michigan gets a stop on that third and ten they'd have the ball somewhere on their side of the field with 12 seconds on the clock or whatever. In general I like the bent of Rodriguez's decisions; that one was wrong.
  • Another TO complaint: Michigan shouldn't have taken one on third and ten from the one and a half. Just take the penalty there and Michigan's got another 40 seconds to work with on their final drive. I understand it's hard to break the natural inclination to take a timeout when the playclock gets way low, though. That's a corner case that doesn't come up much.
  • I don't know exactly whose fault the two busted coverages were but if, as rumored, it was Mike Williams I don't know what you do about it. Woolfolk was physically capable at cornerback and Michigan finally went with the press man they've been talking about since Greg Robinson got hired. Williams definitely let an Iowa receiver behind him on third and twenty-fing-five, and if Moeaki was his guy on either of his touchdowns he's directly responsible for all three Iowa touchdowns. Maybe Iowa would have done something with the last drive, but the first Moeaki TD was on third and twelve; a stop there is a FG attempt. A stop on the third and twenty-five is a punt.
  • Michigan did break out some new stuff, grinding Brandon Minor into the line from the I on a successful, Bo-pleasing late touchdown drive and debuting a quick pitch to the sideline that never looked like it was going anywhere but also never failed to gain four to six yards. The former is something Michigan could have tried against State; the latter was probably hampered by Forcier's shoulder issues.
  • It seemed like after the first interception from Forcier that he refused to throw to receivers who were open. On a couple third downs there were slants available (I think) that Forcier did not take, instead running around as is his wont. I was pretty frustrated by him, and imagine that Rodriguez was ready to strangle the kid.
  • Graham shouldn't be rushing the punter on a punt safe, not that it mattered.

Trip Report Section

City. I can tell you about a lovely Econolodge in Davenport, Iowa, but despite driving out Friday and spending about all of Saturday in Iowa City, I can't tell you much about the city itself. My momentary first impression was that this was a foofy college down as I strolled by some organic eatery down one of those cobbled pedestrian streets you see wherever people are trying to create an area for foot traffic. Then we went in a bar that had six things on the menu, asked if you wanted ranch with your waffle fries, and attempted to purvey something called a "walking taco," which the waitress explained was "um, it's like Doritos in a bag with some meat and cheese and onions and taco stuff thrown in." The stalls in the bathroom didn't have doors on them.

So I was a little confused. I was referring to this experience at the Black Heart Gold Pants tailgate, and I was talking about this place we were, and when asked where, exactly, we were I rakishly pulled out my zinger: "the place with no doors on the stalls." The response was "which one? There are lots of those." So… yeah. Iowa City leans towards the no doors on the stalls. I guess. I saw the inside of a bar, a parking lot, and Kinnick. I am not a one-man Yelp here.

Fans. Excellent. There was the usual dose of meathead yellin' at the guys in the wrong colors—sort of, anyway, the difference between maize and blue and black and gold is not drastic—that you get whenever you go anywhere other than South Bend. Other than that everyone was perfectly nice. At no point did I feel like someone was going to hit me, which is more than I can say for the last few trips to Columbus or East Lansing.

I will note that the male student body of Iowa appears to be 80% meathead.

Kinnick experience, in total. Very classy. All brick exterior, looks like I'd like to see Michigan Stadium end up looking like once they figure out what they're going to do in the endzones:

kinnick-stadium-exterior

Anthony Ciatti

And the interior:

kinnick-stadium-concourse

Anthony Ciatti

The stadium itself was a bit smaller than I'd expected. Our seats were strange: section "NB," which ended up standing for "North Bleachers" and was not listed on the map or at all familiar to the first two people we tried to talk to about just where the hell we were supposed to sit. An usher had clue, though, and directed us to five rows of makeshift metal bleachers that were literally on the field in the endzone. We stood the whole game, which was fine because from appearances so did the rest of the place.

Despite that, it didn't seem particularly noisy. It got loud on important third downs but I thought it was about on part with Michigan Stadium. FWIW. I am apparently terrible at discerning variable noise levels, given my reaction to this year's addition of luxury boxes.

There's a full gallery by Anthony here.

PIPE IT IN BABY. The Iowa marching band might as well not exist. I don't know if this was a homecoming thing, but they didn't even march pregame—the alumni band did—and had a seriously abbreviated halftime show so that a Hawkeye inductee to the CFHOF could get his due. During the game they hardly played, and when they did play they mostly played marching band versions of songs that had already been piped in over the PA.

Oh, also:

This disaster was played incessantly over the PA, and we, not being 14-year-old-girls, didn't know what it was. Friend of Blog joked that it was probably a Jonas Brothers song, and we laughed, and then we thought to ourselves IS that a Jonas Brothers song? It turns out no, but it's by the Black Eyed Peas, which is 95% as emasculating. Hell, this imeem playlist by one Shelby Veppert, who—no foolies—is a 19-year old from Columbus who lists Nickelback(!!!) as one of her favorite bands, has the song sandwiched between two Jonas Brothers songs. If Michigan Stadium ever has anything that can be considered a sort of theme song I'm going to buy out Ann Arbor Torch & Pitchfork, and if it's ever something as terrifyingly fey as that thing, I'll storm the castle myself.

Site note: Michigan's homecoming activities murder Iowa's, chop them up, and put them in a bag. Iowa basically has the alumni band play the fight song and march off the field, then has a tedious announcement of various alumni who helped out and the members of the homecoming court*. And that's it. Michigan has a goofy prohibition-era cheer, awesome flipping 80-year-old alumni cheerleaders, a terrific combined-band halftime show, and that one crazy old drum-major who rips it up every year. I love homecoming at Michigan Stadium, and was excited to get the Iowa version of it. I didn't get it.

*(The homecoming king was a bioengineering (or something along those lines) major named Rohit… Naha… Romin… fromblobololgbogl. The telltale pause from the very Iowan public address announcer after the poorly-pronounced "Rohit" promised three seconds of pure unadulterated awesome, and that promise was delivered upon.)

Comments

Blue in Yarmouth

October 13th, 2009 at 8:37 AM ^

But I will restate it: Tate's apparent concussion supposedly occurred during his last two plays of the game. These errors occurred throughout the whole game so they can't be blamed on a concussion.

Seriously, I didn't blame RR at all for putting DRob in the game and yanking Forcier. I know Brian loves him and I am a fan as well but he made way too many bad decisions IME and I would have done the same thing. Robinson made a bad throw and it was picked off. Forcier made a number that should have been picked and weren't so I don't see how this was all that bad a decision on RR's part.

Yinka Double Dare

October 12th, 2009 at 12:18 PM ^

I was annoyed that two completely unforced turnovers (the Forcier fumble and of course the punt muff) pretty much cost us the game, but I feel like I'm seeing some progress in areas.

I wouldn't be surprised to see Forcier rested and have him ready to go against Penn State. I really think that's one we can win.

Blake

October 12th, 2009 at 12:21 PM ^

Brian apparently never partook in the legend that is the Gordon Food Service supplied elementary school cafeteria. I found the Walking Taco to be halfway decent as far as school lunch food went (though can't say I've ever seen or heard of it being served at an actual bar/restaurant), but just don't ask me to touch the radioactive-looking Fiestada.

Tacopants

October 12th, 2009 at 12:30 PM ^

1. The walking taco was alright. The grilled cheese vendors were amazing. You have many more options other than burritos, pizzas, or burgers.

2. Iowa City had some amazing bars, and a good bar scene. It probably helps that the age to get into bars is 19. The Pedestrian Mall (Ped Mall) was pretty cool, around 20 or so bars located in a large city block.

3. Iowa City has about 200 cabs, and they're apparently all shady. If you ever go, for god's sakes have a designated driver. We spent an hour searching for a cab, who then loaded 10 of us into a Dodge Caravan, took us about 3 miles to our destination, then charged us $50. Awesome.

evilempire

October 12th, 2009 at 12:31 PM ^

Brian I really mean it! I watched on TV, and although they are still making a lot of mental errors, chemistry is coming back to the Oline, the D is actually making plays (sacks, pressure, TFL, Turnovers). I honestly think they are goint to play a couple of games the rest of the way that will really wow people.

M-Wolverine

October 12th, 2009 at 2:13 PM ^

I couldn't believe his column when I saw it today. He had the program falling to pieces after the game this weekend, and now it's all good. I mean, today is more right than the other TWO columns he wrote...but what happened in 24 hours? Did Rich grant him an interview? It's like he got some "inside knowledge" today...which we all know Foster has inside knowledge to NOTHING in this town, Michigan in particular, and changed his mind. I'd listen to him today to find out what's up, but I couldn't put up with Valenti or the time...

Besides, now it seems Brian is in regular competition with their show at 4. :-)

jamiemac

October 12th, 2009 at 12:40 PM ^

How can two smart people be so opposed with their feelings.

This has been one of the most fun seasons for me to watch play out. We clearly have a team and program on the rise. I guess I cant speak for you, but for me seeing the Leap from Year 1 to Year 2 has me giddy to see what happens in years 3,4 and so forth. Cant you see that as well, while enjoying the bumps and bruises in the present? You said the payoff for enduring last season, was that wins over WMU and IU are to be celebrated. So too are night games, on the road, against a top-10 caliber team with D and O-lines among the best in the country and taking them down to the wire.

I am sad panda and heart broken too that they lost, but man I can not wait to watch these guys play next. And I saw so many good things--INCLUDING ROBINSON LEADING A FOURTH QUARTER TD DRIVE WHEN THE TEAM WAS DOWN AND OUT--to know that this team is going places.

We have played 2 teams this season that are good bets for a BCS Bowl right now. We beat one by 4 and lost to the other on the road by 2. Last year? We lost by 28 and 35 points to eventual BCS teams. Yeah, screw progress.

Let me put it a different way. Through 1/2 a season, this has been more fun and satisfying than 3 of the last 4 seasons.

2005----your dubbed Year of Infinte Pain. 2009 has been better and more fun so far. When the season is done, it still will be.

2007---I dont need to explain

2008--I dont need to explain Part 2.

That also covers the history of your blog. Maybe its the illness, maybe its the travel over the weekend, maybe its the pressure of being such a leading and present UM fan that when they lose you get extra shit and mockery coming your way from the likes of the Bellancca's of the world, but this post seems way too pssimistic and a bit skewed emotionally.

Ditch your gray cloud whenever you want, brother, the drinks (and blue haze) are tastier over here and have a little more fun watching this outfit grow in front of you.

To say there's nothing resembling 'good' is a lame assertion, IMO.

Dave B

October 12th, 2009 at 12:54 PM ^

There were a lot of good things in that game. Both lines played great. Woolfolk seemed a vast improvement at corner. Denard got to play with the game on the line and drove us down the field. Sure, he made a mistake on the last play, but Tate throws into coverage as well. The fact we were right there with a top 10 team left me feeling much better than last week.

I came out of it really looking forward to the rest of the season. If we keep improving, cut down on the stupid turnovers, and maybe cover a tight end once in awhile, I still think we could hit 9-3.

a2bluefan

October 12th, 2009 at 1:55 PM ^

You have nailed it.

Sometimes I think Brian acts as if THIS was the year we were supposed to shock the world, go 12-0, and play Florida for all the marbles. I am THRILLED with the difference between this year and last. But I think most of us, including Brian, expected to lose this game anyway. I don't get his negativity. We had a VERY good chance to win this game at the end. On the road. Against a #12 team that, while they may perhaps be a little overrated, certainly seem to have their act together of late. At night. And in a tough and cold place to play.

And I totally agree with you.... win or lose, the first half of this season has been more entertaining than not only the few you mentioned, but most (if not all) of the years I've been a Maize n Blue guy.

Am I bummed we lost? Yeah. Heart broken even, since we were so close. Am I rationalizing a bit? Yup, guilty. But I either rejoice in the good fun we're having this year, or I become a sour puss over young-team mistakes. Sorry, but I did way too much of that last year (and for good reason).

So forgive me if I don't jump on Brian's "sad panda" wagon. I've followed M football for nearly a quarter century. I like what I see, and I'm going to be happy about it dammit!

Number 7

October 12th, 2009 at 2:02 PM ^

More to the point, I still love this team, and not just in a jump-on-the-bandwagon kind of way. Thick-and-thin, man -- thick and thin.

[And, incidentally, I cetainly don't mean to imply that Brian is a bandwagonner. In fact, the only part about the post above with which I disagree is the questionning of Brian's take. I couldn't sleep for two hours after the loss. I don't think that would have been the case with a close loss to Iowa last year, and that's kinda more my point].

M-Wolverine

October 12th, 2009 at 2:29 PM ^

If Iowa or ND sneak into a BCS Bowl with 1 or 2 losses, they'll get killed. I think that's where some of the disappointment comes...Iowa wasn't that good, we beat ourselves. Unlike last week where we had a chance to win, but didn't deserve it, we should have won this game.

I don't know that this season will be any better than 2005 if we end up 7-5 (7-6?) again. Considering we started out 4-0 with the extra creampuff coming this week. And 2007? Sure it started out like crap, and meandered along a little with our 3 best skill position players never playing a full game with each other due to injury and/or trouble, but that team ran off 8 in a row, beat ND, MSU & PSU, and finished with a big win against Florida in a good bowl game (the latter which is more than the 2009 team can accomplish unless it pulls the upset vs. OSU).

Doesn't mean this season is or is doomed to failure. It just takes some really Blue colored glasses to not worry that this could be the 2nd worst season in 20 some years (and sadly, 2 also).

But maybe I remember too much when every loss was the apocalypse for the fanbase, and haven't gotten myself into the they tried hard and will be good someday meme.

COB

October 12th, 2009 at 5:15 PM ^

Assuming ND beats USC this weekend I think is a bit of a reach. As for Iowa, I believe UM exposed them quite alarmingly. To have a +4 TOM and win by 2 at home, at night? Not discrediting UM here, just saying Iowa being a BCS team I believe is also a bit of a reach. We, as big11 fans know one thing... that ONE of us will go to a BCS game, I just am in no way certain as to who that may be in light of recent events.

I have a feeling everyone takes a conference loss this year and we are up for a 3way craptastic finish.

DocV8

October 12th, 2009 at 6:26 PM ^

...after a close game in which we had a good chance at the end. But Brian's reaction is a little surprising to me, given that his own prediction in the game preview was for a 3-point Iowa win. He underestimated the point totals, but just about nailed the outcome. So why all the angst?

Hey, we're 4-2 right now with a legitimate shot at going 3-3 or better the rest of the way. Sounds to me like we're on track for hitting the center of the realistic expectations for this turnaround season.

Jorel

October 12th, 2009 at 12:46 PM ^

He had ok coverage in the flat opposite to where the TEs aligned. That one was on LBs and Kovacs. Kovacs had to have had one of the TEs and was miles from him. A LB had to have the other TE and, while Brown saw the TE release, Ezeh ran in to him (Brown) when both he he (Ezeh) and Mouton bit on the run fake like whoa.

The 3rd & 24 was obviously all on Williams and (maybe) the coaches for such a shallow alignment on 3rd & 24. That led directly to Iowa's 2nd TD.

I'm not sure if Williams did anything wrong on the first TD if the call was for him to blitz if the TE didn't release into a pattern. I think it was their paper to our rock, but sharik and gsimmons85 know better than I.

Jivas

October 12th, 2009 at 12:46 PM ^

I agree that Brian's take was more pessimistic than I had expected, and more pessimistic than my own, but I'll withhold judgement until he's had a chance to review every play in detail. If he's still pessimistic - and convincingly pessimistic - than I'll break out the sad panda look.

wolverine1987

October 12th, 2009 at 1:25 PM ^

(for me he is close), nevertheless I think we would all agree that he has all our respect and that his opinion carries weight. Therefore I hope that those of you who responded to criticism of the Robinson decision by saying "STFU, RR knows more than you and Robinson was the only one who should have been in, you're a moron" can tone down your contempt in the future. Lest I be accused of letting the other side off, if you said "OMG worst decision ever and we're screwed forever' you deserve some of that. But legit questioning was responded to in the former way.

UNCWolverine

October 12th, 2009 at 1:01 PM ^

Brian, this was my first time to Iowa and fortunately I was able to get a little better feel for the campus as one of our crew attended Iowa so she knew the lay of the land. We even reserved a (pricey) room right downtown exactly a year to the day ahead at 6am. I guess that's what you have to do to stay downtown on game days.

As you pointed out the fans were definitely on the good side of the douchebagery scale. Two fun incidents did take place. The night before the game a young Iowa co-ed whose vast understanding of college football consisted of exactly 14 months of knowledge tried to explain to me that they are 12th ranked Iowa and we were only Michigan. She honestly felt bad for me that I was a Michigan fan and that I couldn't share in the delight that is Iowa football. After the game on our walk back to the hotel whenever I would hear the magic words, "F Michigan" I would simply say, "we're still Michigan and you're still Iowa". That didn't necessarily put he fire out but I think my point was made.

We got to town in time to see (avoid) their homecoming parade which was eerily reminiscient (sp?) of my HS homecoming parade, bad floats, public address announcer yelling through what sounded like a bullhorn, etc. We barhopped all night which included going to an '18 and over' college bar that included a "21 and Over" black stamp that covered the entire back of my hand. Friday night bar life was a decent time in Iowa City.

One big difference on game day at Iowa is that they have street food vendors. I managed to eat some chinese food as well as a huge pork tenderloin, delicious. I sat in the Michigan section upper corner. I happened to be right on the aisle next to the Iowa fans so I made a few "friends" throughout the game. Of course when the chips were down it was all business.

When DR went in at the end I was equal parts confused, frustrated, and intrigued. But to your point on that last drive you just HAVE to have Tate in there. I too noticed how much time that previous drive took so with no timeouts left I thought that was probably the one thing that RR will regret looking back at this game.

I didn't see Odoms open to be honest so I cannot comment on that. I will say that the intrigue of having DR in there at the end was purely a result of his puncher's chance speed. I was so hoping to see him roll out, not see anyone open, see a crease, tuck the ball, and run 70 yards in 7 seconds.

Michigan @ Iowa - Check.

Go Blue.

antidaily

October 12th, 2009 at 1:02 PM ^

After the announcement, the Iowa guy next to me says, "What? Apu is our homecoming king!?" and boo'd him.

It should be noted that roughly 75% of the fans I encountered didn't actually go to school at Iowa.

cjpops

October 12th, 2009 at 1:06 PM ^

I'm still laughing at the Black Eyed Peas song. Out loud. In front of my computer screen. That song SUX!

I think Forcier's been hurt much worse than has been let on. His arm was HANGING in the IU game. He's toughed it out for the last few weeks, but, I'm not surprised that he didn't finish the game. Plus, he was underwhelming against Iowa, to be sure.

And, finally: if Denard completes the pass underneath (to Odoms?) instead of launching it downfield, I think UM would've had a shot for a FG to win. Receiver would've caught it at around the UM 45 and had room to run upfield before going OOB.

Let's admit it - we're all spoiled with UM's late heroics this year. I was sure they were going to come back and win again. It can't happen every time.

The big issue on this team is NOT QB. It's defense.

Let Denard Robinson play ALL GAME this Saturday. Let Tate rest and get healthy...

The FannMan

October 12th, 2009 at 1:06 PM ^

Brian, I often read this blog when I eat lunch. Your description of Iowa's homecoming king's name damn near caused me to choke on my sandwich. Wouldn't you have felt awful!

BTW, I agree with others that you are being a bit too down on the team. It is disappointing b/c this was a winnable game. But, on the other hand, this ended up being a winnable game! That is progress and that is good.

WichitanWolverine

October 12th, 2009 at 1:13 PM ^

I'm surprised at how somber your tone is after the game. I thought we put up a hell of a fight and felt fairly good despite the loss.

In my opinion, we lost for 4 reasons:

1. Big (short) pass plays. I agree that Williams is likely to blame for these. Specifically, that first Moeaki (sp?) TD should not have gone for so many yards.

2. Turnovers. Self-explanatory. We were simply making a lot of freshman mistakes. Even our seniors (Mathews, ugh).

3. Forcier. Maybe the kid forgot to pack his swagger, but he seemed to have much more time in the pocket than Iowa's D-Line was supposed to give him, and didn't do much with it.

4. Lack of white pants. Kidding, but I was a bit disappointed after all the hype.

I thought we played well other than that. Graham looked great. Kovacs played well, aside from one blown tackle I saw. Minor ran the ball consistently. Overall a good outing, especially our run defense.

I fear, however, that we may find Iowa is not as good as we'd like. I think they're highly overrated, especially with Stanzi at the helm. Similar to ND and Indiana (who got pasted by Virginia over the weekend, yikes).

WichitanWolverine

October 12th, 2009 at 1:46 PM ^

Iowa is a good team. I am glad we played them tough. But I don't think they deserve their #11 ranking and don't see them contending for a national championship or beating OSU.

Every team we've played so far (except for Iowa) has been shown to be fairly weak. Hopefully Iowa can run the tables and do big things, but I don't see that happening. If Iowa falls apart, which they may, then yes, I would feel worse about this game than I currently do. That's why I said I fear their collapse. I'm not sure I completely follow your question...

Bielfeldt's Calves

October 12th, 2009 at 1:16 PM ^

As I was walking out of Kinnick all I could think of to say to other M fans was "Don't worry, we're fine." and I believe that.

After what happened last season you have to be encouraged. In our two losses we've been in the games until the end despite be gashed on the defensive side of the ball. That's progress my friends.

Blue in Yarmouth

October 13th, 2009 at 9:01 AM ^

Saying we were gashed on the defensive side of the ball against MSU is accurate, saying we were against Iowa isn't, IME. Take away those two plays to the TE and we had an excellent game on D IME. The points are mainly a result of the great field position they were given by our numberous turnovers.

mendrygal

October 12th, 2009 at 1:18 PM ^

12 seconds into the game I predicted that Donovan's pick-6 would be our best offensive play. I think it was. I guaranteed a D-Rob pick in the last drive, and agree that he's a 3 minute drive guy, not a 1:40 guy. As bad as Tate's looked in games, he can pull it together in prevent defense time. With 5 turnovers, playing away at a top 15 team, losing by 2 shouldn't feel bad. But it does.

Blue in Yarmouth

October 13th, 2009 at 9:10 AM ^

I have to say, people who come out and tell everyone how they're predictions were right on the money drive me a little crazy, especially when they only predicted them to themselves.

If you can do simple math you know that UM didn't need drive the length of the field for a TD in 1:40. Couple that with the fact that TF showed just as high an afinity for throwing bad passes in this game that DR has shown in his playing time and I don't see what all the fuss about him playing is about. He made a bad pass and it was picked. What did TF show during this game that gives anyone the confidence that he wouldn't have done the same thing given the chance?

The time was not a huge factor in this case. They needed to get into field goal range and had DR seen Odoms open, he may have gotten them there on that catch with plenty of time to spare. All that is irrelevant now, but lets keep things in perspective, especially when we are implying a proven coach doesn't know how to coach and we do.

hailblue

October 12th, 2009 at 1:24 PM ^

I thought that Minor should have been in there on Michigan's last td drive... When Robinson eventually ran it in for the TD. My friends and I watching the game really wanted some Minor Rage in there to punch it in. Did he get banged up at the end of the game? Was he in the play on that particular TD?

WolverineinTX

October 12th, 2009 at 1:37 PM ^

Two things:

1) I feel personally responsible for the turnovers in this game for some reason... A co-worker of mine was listening to ESPN radio here in Dallas and before every Wade Phillips press conference, they play the 'Yakety Sax' song. On Thursday before the game, I heard the song coming from his speakers... I feared that this was a bad omen but tried to forget about it*.

2) Right before Forcier was pulled, I remember the ABC sideline reporter commenting about how on the previous 3 and out, as Tate was coming off the field, RR was pretty frustrated and Forcier's response (according to the sideline reporter) was "I don't know what you want"... If true, this could have prompted RR's decision to sit Forcier (although I wish he would have put him back in with 1:40 left).

*I know that I personally have no ability to affect the outcome of each play, yet I still feel personally responsible.

Blue in Yarmouth

October 13th, 2009 at 9:15 AM ^

You would rather Tate be injured than be sat because he was a little rattled?? Are you serious? Being rattled is to be expected in a game like this, especially for a true frosh. He will get over that and be better for experiencing it. An injury (especially a concussion) is serious many unknown possibilities. To say you were hoping he was injured rather than simply being sat down because he was rattled is beyond insane IME.

Heisman Epstein

October 12th, 2009 at 1:53 PM ^

Did anyone else in attendance find it a little odd that the students rushed the field after the game (albeit very casually)? My thought was: you beat an unranked team in a game in which you were favored. Act like you've been there before. That said, I also "rushed" the field and took a few pictures with my friends. I wondered if this was just a homecoming thing, but the goalposts were taken down by security and guarded. I guess it will end up being Iowa's biggest home game of the year, but still.