Submitted by Ace on November 24th, 2012 at 4:14 PM

Bryan Fuller/MGoBlog

21 plays. 60 yards. Zero points.

That was Michigan's second-half offensive output, after Denard Robinson averaged over 20 yards per carry and Devin Gardner a hair under ten yards per pass in the first half. The Wolverine defense held Ohio State to two field goals in that same span despite three drives starting in their own territory, but it was for naught in a 26-21 heartbreaker.

It's too easy to pin a game on a coach, but after this game it's tough to figure out who else is to blame—Al Borges's second-half playcalling is the story today. Michigan's running backs, ineffective the entire year even with a healthy Denard Robinson and Fitzgerald Toussaint, were stymied on three third down attempts in the final 30 minutes. In the end, Vincent Smith mustered just 12 yards on five carries, Thomas Rawls a mere two on his five. That enabled Ohio State to load up against Robinson, still apparently unable to throw the ball, when he entered the game as a quarterback.

There were other problems, of course. Fumbles by Robinson and Gardner prematurely ended drives in the final half; Michigan's last drive finished with a Gardner interception. While the defense put forth a heroic effort late, they were repeatedly burned early by Braxton Miller—who finished with 189 yards on 14-of-18 passing—and had trouble stopping Carlos Hyde (146 yards on 26 carries) up the middle.

This despite prospects looking good early. A 75-yard touchdown pass to Roy Roundtree answered a Hyde score on the opening Buckeye drive. The Wolverines took a 14-10 lead on a goal-line plunge by Gardner. And Michigan's 21-20 halftime edge came courtesy of a spectacular 67-yard scamper by Robinson, who shed simultaneous tackling attempts by Christian Bryant and Travis Howard and broke free from the pack for a vintage Denard touchdown.


But the tides turned on Michigan's opening drive of the third quarter, when Brady Hoke took a timeout after initially sending out the punt team following a zero-yard Rawls run on third-and-three. It was Robinson who took the field at quarterback for fourth down; the blocking broke down inside, leaving him no crease to reach the sticks as Ryan Shazier brought him down for a two-yard loss.

From that point forward, turnovers and questionable playcalls doomed the offense. Two Drew Basil field goals represented the entire scoring output of the second half; that was all the Buckeyes needed to secure their sixth straight home victory against Michigan and an undefeated season, one which ended today thanks to a postseason bad.

Michigan will play on, but it won't be in a BCS bowl. The question before this season was whether Al Borges was the right offensive coordinator for Denard Robinson. After this game, the question might expand, to whether or not he's the right offensive coordinator for this program moving forward.



November 25th, 2012 at 8:39 PM ^

Because the head coach says we are going to play man ball. Do we have an OC that can present an effective game plan against good teams? NO Do we have an Offensive Line Coach that is capable of teaching basic run blocking? NO


Pure and simple if you didn't like RR's defense there is noway you can like the current offense.

eamus_caeruli (not verified)

November 25th, 2012 at 1:23 PM ^

I took a day off from the blog, simply because after reading the comments below, it seems we are once again a divided house. It easy to blame. I never understand why when a political candidate losses, or your favorite team loses, etc. people automatically want to explain said loss on one person.

I watched the game yesterday just like everyone else. It hurt. Still troubled by it. But, and my only real point to make here, I am getting over the loss much faster because of one simple fact: we have overachieved for two straight seasons. 19 wins from a mash low talent unit. That is the product of dedication and hard work by both the players and the coaching staff.

Kudos to them!

We get to go to NY's citrus or outback bowl and play a damn tough sec team. These are good things and going in the right direction. Denard clearly couldn't be trusted in the second half because of either injury or some other reason we will never know.


November 25th, 2012 at 2:34 PM ^

With the exception of SDSU, Borges has been run out town with lit torches at almost every school. (Which is a lot of places with short tenures) OCs' have short shelf-lives in general, but Borges's turnover and the circumstances behind it are alarming. I can't  imagine giving the ball to Rawls or Smith being a better option than having it in Devin's or Denard's hand on a bootleg or wide run respectively. Also, the excessive and not very credible play action, and rolling Devin to his weak side drove me nuts.

Without "the burden" of a bowl game, Urban can capitalize on the momentum and hit the recruiting trail.People like being associated with 'the winner'. With 2 national championships and a 19-2 record in rivalry games, he can simply ask recruits who they think the dominant side will be in this rivalry given the current coaching staffs. The answer is not one I want to hear.


November 25th, 2012 at 2:38 PM ^

Throwing Al under the bus already? I realize today is not a good one for any of us, but to post what you did is ridiculous. Think MAYBE we can give him a chance with HIS players, not a hybrid of what was and what will be. The future is bright. We got beat. We should not have. Maybe if we had Al on the O-line things would have been different. PLEASE!. Last week he was the zen master, this week, FIRE HIM!!!! Sounds waaay to much like an ohio fan to me. Calvary is on its way---Remember? 



November 26th, 2012 at 7:09 AM ^

I agree with posters who are defending Al.  This is a big game against an undefeated OSU in the shoe.  If we won this game it would have been an upset.  I'm disappointed, but it is frustrating to see people so consumed by their emotion that they want to blame it all on one guy.  That's a cop out.  I was definitely more disappointed by the loss in the shoe in 2006.  That was our game, we were much closer to winning that game than this one and the loss certainly hurts less.

I for one am content with where we are sitting at the moment.  We will likely get an SEC match-up in a bowl game, and likely one more chance to beat someone in the Top 10.  I'm excited for next year with DG at QB and new talent coming in. 

OSU will always be our nemesis, but I for one can't stand people blaming the coaches when things don't go our way.  This is a team game, everyone is accountable, and there can be only one winner and I think we must accept the reality that this game will be a battle.  We were in this game until the end, and a bounce here or there and we win this game.



November 25th, 2012 at 4:52 PM ^

"Yeah, we kind of knew what was coming when Denard was in and knew what was
coming when [Gardner] was in," Ohio State defensive lineman Adolphus Washington said. 

Watching the game I had a funny feeling ... I'd seen this before; in boxing. If the OC was sending signals to the other teams defense, he called a perfect half. As for BH, he may be the only one in the stadium who didn't realize the fix was in - who was under center.

As for those here blaming the players, try running against a team that knows exactly where you're going and see how far you get.


November 25th, 2012 at 5:38 PM ^

The only thing I have to say is if it ain't broke don't fix it. When Devin Gardner throws the ball to Roundtree and Gallon good things happen. Like why take Garnder out the game to bring in Denard for waisted plays then bring Gardner back in on 3rd and 20 and expect him to keep rhythm? He did that in the first half then Borges comes out in the 2nd with that shit? I mean Borges..... If running a halfback or QB up the middle on 3rd or 4th down doesn't work twice... WHY KEEP DOING IT? He let our seniors and defense down. Hoke needs to wear a headset and help Borges make better decisions when we play good teams. 4 good teams an 4 losses when Borges calls scared as plays. Of course Hoke will remain loyal to him. And Borges kept trying to e loyal to Denard, fuck that we need to win. With 2 fucking minutes on the clock then Hoke sneaks on a damn headset with the game out of reach. Like what kind of coaches are we hiring? He looks like a fuckin strength and fitness coach on the sideline. Mattison is the only coach as far as I'm concerned that how's up every game and consistently gets results. Hoke says headsets are overrated. Michigan one of the top defenses and 1st against the pass under Mattison. By the way Hoke, he wears a headset.


November 25th, 2012 at 6:54 PM ^

... the board can be summed up as follows:
Gordon: Oh, by the way, for what it's worth, I'm right with you on this Rostenkowski thing.
Casey: Thank you.
Gordon: It was a terrible call.
Casey: Lost the game.
Gordon: I don't know how he made that call. Any idiot knows you hand it to Jermaine, you send him up the middle.
Casey: Yeah -- well, you're not gonna go up the middle against an 8-man front, but still...
Gordon: Oh, still, maybe you run a play-action fake, you toss it off to the tight end out in the flat.
Casey: The problem with that is that without establishing a running game first, no one's gonna bite down on the play fake.
Gordon: Oh, but still.
Casey: Still...
Gordon: A post pattern, a slant...
Casey: He'd be going against a defensive back who was second-team All-American as a true freshman.
Gordon: What would you have called?
Casey: Me?
Gordon: Yeah.
Casey: The thing is, I haven't watched film all week. I haven't seen scouting reports. I don't have an offensive coordinator talking in my ear. I don't have 80,000 fans screaming in my face. So it's easy for me -- I don't have 10 million people watching at home on TV, including a pack of rabid alumni. I've had three days to think about it. He had seven seconds. So it's a lot easier for me to make that decision than it was for him. But since you asked me what play I would have called, I'll tell you. Now that I think about it, I have no idea.
"Sports Night", The Head Coach, Dinner, and The Morning Mail


November 25th, 2012 at 10:50 PM ^

For fuck's sake, read my goddamn comment again. Nowhere in it do I say, or imply, that Jamie Morris was agreeing with any criticism of any member of the coaching staff; I simply asked him about the reactions he was getting from other players. Period. Don't put words in his mouth that I didn't write.

Y'alls reading comprehension sucks.


November 25th, 2012 at 11:03 PM ^

Jamie Morris is a jealous little troll and an outted inveterate liar. Use your own judgement on whether you put stock in his view. Also, on what agenda he may have for saying something.

Here is a quote from Brandon's termination letter:

“You have been discharged from the University of Michigan for work misconduct which includes a failure to appropriately manage a significant aspect of your work responsibilities, the demonstration of extremely poor judgment, willful deception, an unethical effort to engage others in an attempt to cover-up the truth, and a deliberate misrepresentation of facts to your direct supervisor,” Brandon wrote just over a month after he took over as athletic director. The three-page letter says Morris will not be recommended for rehire.


November 26th, 2012 at 8:50 AM ^

When Michigan goes 8-4 and ND and OSU go 12-0 it is not a good season.

Thats the price you pay for being Michigan

2012 is a lost season, which is too bad. Cant even play for the Big 10 title in the worst Big 10 ever.

I feel the program is a good hands long term, but its hard not feeling we're stuck in the mud this morning


November 26th, 2012 at 9:44 AM ^

Borges was the main issue in this game, his playing calling stunk, his scheme sucked.

He had a bad day, should he be fired?  No IMO, but Hoke should be the HC and call him out on his play calling.  BTW this is not just one game, this appears to be an Issue with AL on away games against tougher teams.




November 26th, 2012 at 12:09 PM ^

If we learned anything from the RR years, it would be to not do this......

This staff is in their second year and has hardly had a chance to do their best work and implement any kind of system with 'their' players on the field. 

In most cases it takes time to swich an entire team from one scheme/philosophy to another and we are still within that timeframe with Hoke and Co.