Upon Further Review 2015: Defense vs Indiana

Submitted by Brian on November 19th, 2015 at 2:50 PM

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FORMATION NOTES: When I say "nickel under" I do mean a 4-3 under with nickel personnel.

nickel under zero

Bolden is standing up on the LOS as the SAM with Hill filling in as a second ILB. Wilson is off the screen as a very deep S as per usual.

M occasionally tucked a linebacker inside one of their DEs, which is a "bear" front:

nickel bear

Nickel buck denotes the buck LB right behind the nose. This was rare.

nickel buck

Ross got in as a buck and stood up and I'm just pretending he's a DE, okay?  That's what I'm pretending.

nickel even ross buck

PERSONNEL NOTES: Michigan spent almost the entire game in a nickel aside from some goal line sets and a few dime packages. With Glasgow out, Hurst started. Strobel was his backup at first. He got two or three stretches of playing time and did poorly. Late Michigan started playing Henry at nose a lot. There was palpable frustration with Hurst on stretch plays. Godin also returned, though he had a very bad day.

Bolden/Morgan at LB except for two drives with Gedeon replacing Bolden and one with Gedeon replacing Morgan.

The secondary saw Thomas start over Hill again. When Thomas was hurt in the first quarter Hill got the bulk of the game. Clark and Stribling are still splitting time but it is increasingly clear that Clark has won the job.

[After THE JUMP: seriously, Kevin Wilson, I hate you]

Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Rush Play Player Yards
O25 1 10 Pistol trips Nickel even press Run N/A Zone stretch Henry 5
Henry(-2) slashed to the ground by a cut block and out of the play; big gap even though Hurst and Wormley(+0.5) do an okay job to cut off the frontside. Hurst does need to fight back when he sees where the play is going. Morgan(+1) and Bolden both get quick releasing blockers with good angles; Morgan does a good job to avoid a cut, stay upright, and make a tackle(+1) in a tough situation. Bolden(+0.5) also got off a block to help tackle.
O30 2 5 Shotgun 3-wide 30 nickel slide Pass 4 Hitch Lewis 2
This looks like a screen on which the WR blocking doesn't get the call and runs a route downfield. Miscommunication between Lewis and Peppers sees Peppers let the guy go downfield for what could be a huge bust TD, but the ball is already well on its way when the WR breaks deep. Lewis(+0.5) cleans up the not-screen. Not minusing Peppers because when the WR breaks the ball is gone; confusion there might be understandable. RPS +1.
O32 3 3 Shotgun 3-wide Nickel even press Run N/A Pin and pull Bolden 5
Jet action with a handoff the other way. C and playside G pull around as tackle blocks down on Henry. I think M plans on blitzing Bolden(-2) on this play with Morgan covering behind. Bolden's blitz is not timed well even with the jet snap count tip and he ends up eating a pulling blocker. He catches a block at the LOS and ends up four yards downfield; he does not funnel to Morgan or disconnect. Morgan tries to shoot the gap on the interior and almost makes the play but can't grab Howard's ankles; RJS(-0.5) got kicked too far upfield and provides a gap too large for Morgan to shut down; Thomas has little chance to hold up to an OL but does at least maintain force. RPS -1.
O37 1 10 Shotgun trips TE 30 nickel slide Pass 4 Rollout out Wilson 8
M shows an obvious zone look; Sudfeld gets no pressure (-2) on a sprint out that brings him closer to the guy he's targeting. Clark and Peppers take two of the three WRs; Wilson(+1) actually does a good job to drive on the out, but he has to respect the possibility it'll go deep so he can't do much more than tackle immediately. RPS -1.
O43 2 2 Pistol 3-wide 30 nickel slide Run N/A Zone stretch Hurst 5
Henry(-1) blasted off the line by a double that deposits him well downfield. Hurst(+1) gets a single block and just about closes the gap, getting in a tackle attempt in the backfield. RJS(+0.5) also peels back but with no linebacker support Howard can grind forward for the first down. Linebackers had little chance because Henry got blown out and Morgan takes a chop block the referees(-2) miss.
O48 1 10 Shotgun 3-wide Nickel even Pass 4 PA comeback Clark Inc
Plenty of time(pressure -2) after the PA; second or third read for Sudfeld; Clark(+2, cover +2) in WR's grill, getting a PBU.
O48 2 10 Shotgun 4-wide Nickel buck Pass 4 Screen Thomas 2
Only one OL releases; believe the RG busts here, but possible they're trying to sell the DL that it's not a screen. Thomas(+1, tackling +1) is rolled up to the LOS, in zone, and reads the play to make a nice tackle in space.
50 3 8 Shotgun trips Nickel even Run N/A Zone stretch Morgan 6
Henry(-2) just stands up on the outside and gets kicked out; with RJS out there this is definitely not his gap. Bolden fires out hard to fill a gap further outside on a blitz; Hurst(-1) fired upfield as well. Hurst never reads or gets back to this gap. Morgan (+2) is all alone in a bunch of space with a blocker; he chucks Feeney past him and makes a tough tackle in space with help from a pursuing RJS(+0.5).
M44 4 2 Shotgun 3-wide Nickel under one Run N/A Inside zone Hurst -1
Bolden at SAM with Wilson filling in at LB; man press across the board. This finally looks like the M line with Hurst(+2) firing the LG yards in the backfield and forcing a cutback. Wormley(+1) slanted past a T and Bolden gets a free run at the back; he gets nailed. Henry(+1) also fired his guy back; there's nothing here anywhere. RPS +1; free Bolden hit on the back as M ran a successful scrape exchange.
Drive Notes: Turnover on downs, 0-0, 12 min 3rd Q. All this took 2:32.
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Rush Play Player Yards
O25 1 10 Shotgun 4-wide Nickel even Pass 4 Slant Bolden 10
Quick slant; after the PA the LBs are dropping into short zones. Bolden(-1, tackling -1) has an opportunity to hold this to six; misses a tackle. WR squeezes out a first down.
O35 1 10 Pistol 4-wide 3-2-6 dime Run N/A Zone stretch Strobel 16
M shows a five man box with Charlton, Strobel, and Godin. Oookay. Indiana runs at it. Strobel(-2) runs upfield and gets reached by a guard after lining head up on the center. That's a crease, and with Charlton forcing it back that's two blockers for Morgan(-1). He takes a hit from one in a desperate situation and can't recover his balance in time to get a tackle in. I can't blame him too much but he did get run by to the outside. Not that it would have mattered since Bolden(-2) runs upfield of a block, getting shoved upfield past the LOS and has zero impact on the play. RPS -3; wtf did they think was going to happen?
M49 1 10 Pistol 3-wide Nickel even Run N/A Inside zone Strobel 4
Strobel and Godin(-1) driven off the ball by extended doubles, with Godin's lasting longer. Strobel(+0.5) gets sealed out for a second but does come through to initiate a tackle as he hadn't given a ton of ground and the back hit his blocker. Ross(+0.5) did a good job to help constrict space as well, as a buck.
M45 2 6 Shotgun 3-wide Nickel even Pass 4 PA rollout Bolden 3
Nobody on the edge(pressure -2) but the coverage(+2) holds up and Sudfeld eventually trundles across the LOS. Bolden is there after a few; Sudfeld slides.
M42 3 3 Pistol 3-wide Nickel even Run N/A Inside zone Strobel 6
This isn't the worst as the crease here is pretty small. It is enough, though, as neither Godin(-0.5) or Strobel(-1) can drive enough against single blocks to get this closed. W/ Bolden blitzing off the back Strobel should be slanting past the G; he kicks him. C releases directly to Morgan; Morgan(+0.5) stands him up and makes a tackle but with no other support the combined power of Howard and the OL bowls him over.
M34 1 10 Shotgun trips TE Nickel over Penalty N/A Offsides Godin 5
Godin -1. This allows M to substitute, at least?
M29 1 5 Pistol trips TE Nickel over Run N/A Zone stretch Henry 1
Henry(+1) drives the C back enough that he ends up filling the lane the back tries to hit. Charlton(+0.5) comes off the force block to tackle. Wormley(+1) cut off backside lanes despite taking a pretty good hit fro ma guy trying to release.
M28 2 4 Pistol 3-wide Nickel even Run N/A Inside zone RJS 14
Despite getting to the line late, M stuff this up pretty well with Wormley(+1) and Charlton(+1) winning blocks to force the back into a pile of nothing. Redding bails to the backside. RJS(-2) lost contain as he attempted to get to the ball and Morgan(-1) did the same; I think Morgan is held but he ripped to the middle of the field and even if not this is going to break. Bolden(-1) should have been able to end this in the backfield as he is again sent on a blitz unblocked but instead of ripping at the back, he's late to his spot and then hesitates, as he is wont to do. RPS -1, tempoed.
M14 1 10 Shotgun trips tight bunch Nickel even Run N/A Zone stretch Morgan 1
RB misses the cut as Wormley(-1) lines up too far away from the C and gets sealed away. RB extends past this; Charlton(-1) gets sealed inside and RB should definitely bounce but he instead cuts it up. Henry(+1) did a good job to drive and extend and Morgan(+1) flowed well, getting past a block to show in the hole and make a tackle. Somewhat fortunate.
M13 2 9 Shotgun trips tight bunch Nickel even Run N/A Pin and pull Lewis 2
Wormley(+1) surges into the backfield and forces a puller to deal with him; the second puller is delayed by this. Lewis(+2, tackling +1) executes a Peppers-like move to run around a blocker and get to the feet of the back for a tackle; thanks to the Wormley play Morgan and Peppers were there to clean up without much molestation. Bolden misread this play and fights inside as the entire play flows outside, FWIW.
M11 3 7 Shotgun trips Nickel even Pass 4 Sack Henry -11
Coverage(+3) is excellent all around with Bolden(+1) getting a wheel pickup out of the backfield. Rush initially stymied but a hard drive from Henry(+1) disrupts the entire pocket and allows RJS(+1, pressure +1) to discard a blocker and surge up the middle. He manages to sack; Sudfeld's clutziness helps out.
Drive Notes: FG(40), 7-3, 7 min 1st Q. M goes three and out after this. Thomas gets hurt on the punt and is out for a while.
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Rush Play Player Yards
O11 1 10 Shotgun trips TE Nickel over Run N/A Zone stretch Godin 4
M blitzing off the backside; Godin(-1) does not slant hard and ends up having to hop over a cut block; he gets cut off by a second guy. Cutback lane exists behind the hard slant of Hurst. Ross is unblocked and manages to track the back down. Bolden didn't get a great hit on the OL releasing to him but did get off to tackle along with Ross and Morgan. Morgan(+0.5) got there first and hit the OL harder.
O15 2 6 Pistol 3-wide Nickel over Run N/A Zone stretch Hurst 9
This should be a stop but Hurst(+1) is flagrantly held by an OL and cannot quite close the gap off. Refs -2. Wormley(+1) did a good job to extend and extend outside against a long double; Wilson comes around the outside as the force and gets a tackle attempt in that Howard runs through. Bolden got cut off but very understandably this time; Morgan(-1, tackling -1) ends up overrunning the play when the Wilson tackle attempt delays the back a hair. Ross(-0.5) grabs Howard and gets dragged 5 yards.
O24 1 10 Pistol 3-wide Nickel even Run N/A Zone stretch Ross 11
Backside looks like a stunt with Godin heading outside and Ross(-2) coming under, but Ross hesitates, doesn't know what to do and ends up sealed out of a play that should really work. Other possibility is that it's on Godin but I don't think so. Hurst(-1) drives straight upfield and gets sealed out, so there's a a crease between him and the force guy; Morgan(+1) runs up and nails the G; back has to hold up and actually runs into the OL as he tries to cut back. Bolden(-1) runs up past an OL and is the next guy. OL comes back to him because he hesitates and gives the OL a chance to recover; he ends up pancaked. RPS –1.
O35 1 10 Shotgun 3-wide Nickel buck Pass 4 Out N/A 6
Sudfeld has all day (pressure -3). Eventually he finds a short out in front of Peppers but given the situation that's pretty good coverage(+1).
O41 2 4 Pistol 3-wide Nickel under Run N/A Inside zone Henry 3
Morgan reads the IZ action and tries to shoot a gap; OL comes off on him. This does prevent a long double on Henry; Henry(+0.5), Hurst(+0.5) and Wormley(+0.5) all push guys back and jam it up; Henry tackles but the back manages to fall forward as Feeney eventually bulls the much smaller Morgan over.
O44 3 1 Shotgun 3-wide Nickel under Pass 4 Fade Lewis Inc
Lewis close-ish but not in super coverage; the back shoulder attempt has a little room. Sudfeld misses. Push. Pressure(-2) again not coming.
O44 4 1 Shotgun twins twin TE Nickel under Run N/A Power C Bolden 5
Bolden sent in to knock the wing TE in and hopefully pick off the lead blocker. He goes high; lead guy gets around after a minimal delay, and then Bolden is held really obviously held as he tries to fight back to the hole. This is one of those hand on the shoulder obviously affecting the play things. Refs -2. Without that maybe he gets the stick. Meanwhile Hill(-1) can and needs to do better here. He's got a pulling G who's been delayed and he has Clark containing. If he forces the back to bounce Clark has a pretty good shot at the stop; instead he neither decisively forces or makes the bounce and there's a gap.
O49 1 10 Shotgun twins twin TE Nickel even? Pass 4 Fade Peppers Inc
Another back shoulder attempt that Indiana cannot pull off. Peppers(+0.5, cover +1) makes this tough, and Henry(+1, pressure +1) gets through the line to force a throw.
O49 2 10 Shotgun empty Nickel even Pass 4 Tunnel screen Hurst Inc
Hurst(+1) reads this and drops out; OL keeps blocking him but that prevents anyone from getting to Bolden(+0.5), who runs at the WR free; WR drops it.
O49 3 10 Shotgun trips Nickel even Pass N/A RB flat Morgan 8
This would be OPI but the throw is behind the LOS; Morgan(+0.5) gets around the down block from the TE but that's still a delay and the back has the corner. He strings it out until Wilson can come up and tackle. RPS -1 despite the nominal third down stop because this was an easy 7 that sets up the subsequent play.
M43 4 2 Shotgun 3-wide Nickel under Run N/A Zone read keeper RJS 3
Henry(+1) shoots the C back and constricts space; Sudfeld keeps, which is a bit odd. RJS(-2) puts himself in the wrong gap, gets decisively on one side of a block and cannot repair things when he tries to explode upfield of that guy. He ends up making a tackle attempt that Sudfeld runs through. Hill cannot close it down close enough to prevent the first down.
M40 1 10 Shotgun 3-wide Nickel over Pass 4 PA comeback Stribling 17
No replay because Indiana; this is a long, long throw from one hash to the field that is 20 yards downfield and Stribling(-2, cover -2) gets beat on. Henry(+0.5) did come around to pressure(+1) Sudfeld.
M23 1 10 Pistol trips TE Nickel over Run N/A Inside zone Strobel 5
Godin(-1) gets blown out by a double. Strobel(-1) blown out by a double. M is blitzing Hill from the backside and M should be slanting to the play but neither guy gets there. Big gaps, Howard just runs up the back of his OL.
M18 2 5 Shotgun trips TE Nickel over Pass 4 Fade Godin INT (Pen +5)
Godin(-1) jumps offside and Sudfeld takes his free shot. Lewis(+2, cover +2) picks it off.
M13 1 10 Pistol 3-wide Nickel even Run N/A Pin and pull Charlton 3
Charlton(+1) fires the TE back and the rips inside, forcing the back away from his blocking and Strobel. Wilson scrapes over the top and gets a tackle in that allows the back to fall forward, but he didn't have help.
M10 2 7 Shotgun 3-wide Nickel over Pass 4 Rollout flat Charlton Inc
Bubble fake to one side and then waggle type action to the other; Charlton(+1, pressure +1) bursts upfield as soon as he realizes Sudfeld has the ball still and gets quick pressure. Gedeon is in position on the back before falling down(-1, cover -1) but Sudfeld doesn't have time to realize that has happened and just turfs it.
M10 3 7 Shotgun 4-wide Okie zero Penalty N/A False start N/A -5
M15 3 12 Shotgun trips Nickel even Penalty N/A False start N/A -5
M20 3 17 Shotgun trips Dime even Run N/A Zone stretch 2
Give up and FG with Wormley(+1) and Henry(+0.5) shutting down lanes. Gedeon(+0.5) had a hit on an OL that helped thing as well.
Drive Notes: FG(35), 7-6, EO1Q
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Rush Play Player Yards
O25 1 10 Shotgun 3-wide Nickel even Pass 4 Slant Lewis 21
Hurst(+1, pressure +1) gets good drive on the C and ends up forcing that OL to hit Sudfeld just about as he throws. Ball still accurate; Lewis(-2, cover -1, tackling -1) gets beat on a slant and then misses a tackle. First bit is a first down, second is another ten.
O46 1 10 Pistol 3-wide Nickel even Run N/A Zone stretch Gedeon 0
Henry(+1) does not get reached. He doesn't do much more than that, but since he doesn't Gedeon(+1) has the opportunity to read and fire to the gap, where he tackles. Hurst(+1) didn't get blocked on the backside; he flows to help fore the back to Gedeon.
O46 2 10 Pistol 3-wide H 30 nickel slide Run N/A Split zone RJS -2
M slants under; RJS(+1) runs through an OL who discards him to go look for work further outside but there is no one to pick him up as Henry(+0.5) draws a double. Hurst(+2) blows into the LG, eliminating cutback lanes and allowing RJS to get a TFL without much trouble. RPS +1.
O44 3 12 Shotgun trips Nickel even Pass 5 Drag Wilson Inc (Pen +10)
M blitzes, with Morgan(+0.5) arcing around unblocked to just about get there. Sudfeld has to throw at a covered TE; Jarrod Wilson(+1, cover +1) gets a PBU that looks absolutely clean on replay (refs -2) that gives Indiana a first down and keeps M's D on the field. Pressure +1.
M46 1 10 Pistol 3-wide Nickel even Run N/A Power O Gedeon 15
Very weird play, as the LG steps like he's going to pull and then changes his mind. Guess: Gedeon(-1) tipped a blitz, and when he does come the OL is ready to abort the pull and stymie him in the gap. With Henry(+1) surging through a double Morgan and Hill can flow free to the hole, which they do. Howard stops, hops, and then finds a crease as Gedeon(-2) has tried to fight back to the hole and rips to the playside of the guy blocking him. This puts him in the same gap with the other two guys, and when three guys are in the same gap there's a gap that doesn't have someone in it. Howard finds it, which is pretty bad ass on his part, and bursts to the secondary.
M31 1 10 Shotgun trips TE Nickel even Run N/A Inside zone Gedeon 3 (Pen -10)
Gedeon(+1) does a nice job to run up and blast an OL before he can release off of Henry. With Hurst(+1) extending and shedding on the frontside Howard has to cut back into Gedeon. Hurst draws a holding call.
M41 1 20 Shotgun 3-wide Nickel over Pass 4 Fade Clark 35 (Pen -15)
The big OPI call. Henry(+1, pressure +1) drives through the G, could draw another hold, and forces a throw. Live I thought this was a terrible call but when you watch it again the WR has zero separation and then pushes off Clark's chest and has the separation he needs to make the catch. I'm surprised they had the balls to throw this flag but It is probably correct. Huard will never stop bitching about this call. Push on the coverage. I see what I did there.
O44 1 35 Pistol 4-wide Nickel even Pass 4 PA hitch Clark 7
Zero pressure(-2); Sudfeld checks down to a short throw that Clark and Bolden have. Coverage(+3) good given the situation.
M49 2 28 Shotgun 4-wide 3-2-6 dime Pass 3 Out Clark 15
Ridiculous missed hold on Hurst(+1, pressure +1, refs -2) as he rips right past the center and is all but taken to the ground. Out opens up as Clark(-2, cover -2) gets beat.
M34 3 13 Shotgun 4-wide Okie one Pass 6 Fade Clark Inc
Blitz gets through as Wormley(+1, pressure +2) comes under as T disengages for Morgan. Sudfeld throws a tough fade down the sideline that Clark(+1, cover +1) has given almost no room. Great throw, great catch, but out of bounds anyway.
Drive Notes: FG(51), 14-9, 6 min 2nd Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Rush Play Player Yards
O25 1 10 Pistol 3-wide H 30 nickel slide Run N/A Split zone Charlton 9
Charlton(-2) is unblocked at first and ends up taking a hit from the H-back who comes to the backside. If he hits it hard and undercuts the guy Howard has to bounce to Peppers. He gets annihilated. This gets Howard to the LB level, which doesn't go well. Gedeon caught a block but he at least fights to the right side of it and is there to tackle. He does not tackle because Bolden(-1) gets blocked by a guy who fell as he released, fights to the wrong side of the block and Howard cuts behind his blocker to turn a medium length run into a nice one. Stribling(-1) misses a tackle(-1); Hill(+1, tackling +1) comes up and makes a nice ankle tackle to hold down the damage.
O34 2 1 Pistol 3-wide 30 nickel slide Pass 4 PA TE Flat Gedeon 8
Honestly on second and one whatever. Gedeon(-1, cover -1) does get sucked in by the PA long after the TE pulls across his face and adds a number of YAC.
O42 1 10 Shotgun 3-wide H 30 nickel slide Pass 4 PA Fly Lewis Inc
RJS(+2, pressure +2) dips inside a tackle and gets quick pressure on Sudfeld; he loads and fires a bad idea pass to a guy Lewis has covered. Lewis(+2, cover +2) gets 95% of an INT here but can't quite keep the ball off the turf.
O42 2 10 Shotgun 4-wide Nickel even Pass 5 Circle Hill 7
Hill(-0.5) bites on the inside move but dose recover in time to force the WR out just a couple yards after our 5 yard push zone. Bolden tipped a blitz up the gut and got picked up(pressure -1)
O49 3 3 Shotgun 4-wide Nickel under Pass 4 PA RB flat Bolden Inc
Bolden(+2, cover +2) all over this and makes a play on the ball, though he treads the line as far as PI goes (refs +1). Ross(+1, pressure +1) read the rollout and blew upfield to force the inadvisable throw.
Drive Notes: Punt, 21-9, 4 min 2nd Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Rush Play Player Yards
O39 1 10 Shotgun 4-wide Nickel even Run N/A Zone stretch Hurst 21
Hurst(-3) is lined up directly over the G and gets reached by the C. This is a disaster for any D against a stretch. Both LBs flow hard and get blockers and can't make plays but this is on the DL. Bolden might flow too hard when Wormley is containing and Morgan(-1) should be able to get off the block and force it back but this is just bad news for both of them.
M40 1 10 Shotgun trips TE 30 nickel slide Run N/A Power O Hurst 10 (Pen -10)
Bolden(+1) runs up and plugs the pulling G at the LOS and cuts off attractive lanes. RB cuts it back and picks up a big gain but it comes back because Henry(+1) draws a holding call on an OL. Hurst(-2) on the backside fought to one side, forgot his job, gave a ton of ground, and was the reason the backside gap was there.
50 1 20 Shotgun trips TE Nickel even Pass 4 Slant Peppers 21
Peppers(-2, cover -2) bites on the bubble fake and opens up a huge gap in a zone for the slant to get the first down.
M29 1 10 Shotgun trips TE 30 nickel slide Run N/A Power O Godin 2
Godin(+2) hurls away his blocker, takes a second hit from the pulling G, and still disconnects to tackle in the gap. Henry(+0.5) won a one on one block and helped tackle.
M27 2 8 Shotgun trips TE Nickel even Pass 5 Rollout corner Peppers Inc
Pocket good(pressure -2); Believe that Sudfeld just dumps this OOB because everything is covered(+3); Peppers(+1) is on the relevant route very well.
M27 3 8 Shotgun trips Nickel even Pass 6 Hitch Lewis 15
Morgan(+0.5, pressure +1) loops through and forces a throw. Lewis(+0.5, cover +1) is literally sitting right on top of a stopped WR but his attempt to swipe the ball out somehow misses. Huge swing play here.
M12 1 10 Shotgun trips Nickel even Pass 4 Fade Lewis Inc
Perfectly placed as Lewis is just not tall enough to deal with the 6'4 guy, but he drops it. Cover push, small window and difficult completion but vulnerability obvious.
M12 2 10 Shotgun trips Nickel even Penalty N/A Offsides Bolden 5
A very very dumb penalty. There are three seconds on the clock. Wait like one or two more buddy. Bolden -1.
M7 2 5 Shotgun trips Nickel under Pass 4 Screen Hill 7
Hill(-2, cover -2) never reads the WR blocking Bolden and this has no shot at being defended as a result.
Drive Notes: Touchdown, 21-16, 1 min 2nd Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Rush Play Player Yards
O24 1 10 Shotgun 4-wide 30 nickel slide Run N/A Zone read keeper RJS 7
RJS(-0.5) crashes down on the back; Bolden(-0.5) doesn't realize it's a pull until well after he should. Sudfeld being Sudfeld this doesn't mean as many yards as it otherwise might, so I get it from both players.
O31 2 3 Shotgun 4-wide 3-2-6 dime Penalty N/A Offsides Hurst 5
Hurst -1.
O36 1 10 Shotgun 4-wide Nickel even Pass 5 Out Hill 4
Little pick play that Hill(+1, cover +1) does a good job to get out on and tackle immediately despite having to work his way through some traffic.
O40 2 6 Pistol 4-wide Dime even Penalty N/A False start N/A -5
O35 2 11 Shotgun 4-wide 30 dime slide Pass 4 Fade Clark 44
Pressure(-2) not extant. Clark(-3, cover -3) in good position but when he tries to get his head around he cannot find the ball, which is well short, and the WR cuts under him for the catch.
M21 1 10 Shotgun 4-wide Dime over Pass 4 Hitch Clark Inc
No pressure(-2); Clark(+0.5, cover +1) in decent coverage but will give up a 6-yard hitch if the WR doesn't drop it. Clark does tackle quick enough to turn the bobble into an incompletion.
M21 2 10 Pistol FB twins Nickel under Run N/A Split zone Henry 13
Henry(-2) gets blown out by a double. Hurst(-1) also gets sealed away but doesn't give as much ground. Morgan runs up to hit one of Hurst's guys and closes the space reasonably well but can't do it himself. Hill(-1) is playing LB on this play as Bolden is at SAM and puts himself in the wrong gap. Clark(-1, tackling -1) misses a tackle; Wilson cleans up.
M8 1 G Pistol FB twins Nickel bear Run N/A Split zone Hurst 1
Bolden tucked inside of RJS on the LOS. W/ most linemen covered no doubles on the DTs and they win. Hurst(+2) and Henry(+1) both blast their guys into the backfield. Howard should probably try to head outside and looks like he will but then he cuts back when Morgan scrapes around Wormley. DTs eat him, with Hurst shedding to tackle first.
M7 2 G Shotgun 3-wide Nickel even Run N/A Pin and pull Henry 0
Jet fake with a pin and pull behind it. Henry(+3) gets a down block from the tackle and powers through it to the gap to make a tackle for zilch. Tough, very good play.
M7 3 G Shotgun 3-wide Okie zero Pass 6 Slant Hill Inc
Blitz up the guy as RJS(+1, pressure +2) gets a free run as M sends six. Hill jams the TE and TE shoves off to get separation but the ball has to be out so fast the ball is on him as soon as he looks and he can only get a hand out. Hill looks beat but did disrupt the timing here, push.
Drive Notes: FG(24), 24-26, 7 min 3rd Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Rush Play Player Yards
O14 1 10 Pistol 3-wide H Nickel buck Run N/A Split zone RJS 3
M puts RJS over a guard and blitzes him. M puts up a front with no gaps in it as Hurst(+0.5), Wormley(+0.5) and RJS(+0.5) stand up single blocks. Howard manages to bull for a few yards.
O17 2 7 Shotgun 3-wide Nickel over Run N/A Zone stretch Hurst 13
Hurst(-2) flies upfield and gets reached, huge gap to try to shut down. Henry(-2) goes straight upfield and is irrelevant so both LBs get completely unfettered OL in massive gaps. Morgan forces it back. Gedeon(-1) gets sealed and never gets off the block, period.
O30 1 10 Shotgun trips TE Nickel buck Run N/A Pin and pull Lewis 10
M actually strings this out well. Henry(+1) rips through a down block and occupies a second blocker. Gedeon runs up and hits the other puller. Howard has to bounce it to an unblocked Lewis(-2, tackling -2), who whiffs, turning a short gain into a first down.
O40 1 10 Pistol trips TE 30 nickel slide Run N/A Zone stretch RJS 0
M slants to the play and shoots RJS down the line as the unblocked backside guy. Strobel(+1) doesn't get sealed and stands up the C. Morgan(+1) blasts through a guard; RJS(+0.5) runs down the back of the play and tackles. Other two guys prevent YAC. RPS +1.
O40 2 10 Shotgun 4-wide 30 nickel slide Pass 4 Out Hill 3
Another attempted pick play that Hill(+1, cover +1) gets around to make an immediate tackle.
O43 3 7 Shotgun trips ??? Pass 6 Cross Peppers 10
Peppers(+1, cover +1) is all over this and makes this a really difficult catch but his swipe misses the ball and the IU guy manages to bring it in.
M47 1 10 Shotgun twins twin TE Nickel even Pass 4 Out Clark 4
Big cushion on the outside, long throw, complete, immediate tackle. Pressure -1; Clark(+0.5, cover +1)
M43 2 6 Shotgun twins twin TE Nickel over Pass 4 Fade Peppers Inc
Pressure nowhere near(-3); Sudfeld can read a book. He throws a fade that Peppers(+1, cover +1) is in excellent position on; overthrown.
M43 3 6 Pistol 3-wide H Nickel buck Run N/A Pin and pull RJS -1
Alignment of RJS(+1) makes it hard for IU to deal with him on this play. Wormley(+0.5) forces it back quick as RJS flows from just behind Henry to get outside of the second puller. Back can't cut back because Charlton(+0.5) is flowing downfield. He hesitates and gets tackled. RPS +2.
Drive Notes: Punt, 24-26, 13 min 4th Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Rush Play Player Yards
O31 1 10 Pistol trips TE 30 nickel slide Run N/A Zone stretch Godin 19
M again too aggressive upfield. Henry(-2) gets reached and turned around. Morgan(+1) gets enough of a hit on an OL to convince the back to cut back behind a successful reach block; Henry is in no shape to stop it. Godin(-2) meanwhile got cut and delayed sufficiently for a big gap to open up anyway.
50 1 10 Pistol trips TE Nickel even Run N/A Pin and pull Henry 4
Wormley(-2) turned inside and gone, which never happens when he gets blocked by a TE. Henry(+2) rescues it by getting outside super fast and running up to pick off one of the pullers. This gives Bolden a free run at the tailback with the other puller kicking Lewis out. He gets a bit too vertical; back pushes outside and Lewis has to tackle him. He does; YAC.
M46 2 6 Pistol trips TE Nickel even Run N/A Zone stretch Godin 4
Leaving two deep safeties now is completely bonkers and I'm on the verge of RPSing it. Godin(-2) cut to the ground by a guy behind him, immediate release to the LB for a G. Henry(+1) does a nice job to win his block and come back off of itto tackle at or near the LOS, with help from RJS. Bolden(-0.5) chopped to the ground and no use.
M42 3 2 Pistol 3-wide H Nickel under Run N/A Inside zone Godin 4
This is just straight up the gut. M doesn't do anything fancy. Henry gets a little penetration. Godin(-0.5) gets driven back a little. There's a small crease between them. Morgan runs up and hits the free releasing C and stands him up, but when Howard hits the pile lurches. Not much he can do. RPS -1; slant, blitz, this is so passive.
M38 1 10 Shotgun trips tight bunch Nickel even Run N/A Split zone Strobel 4
Strobel(-1) blown off the ball and to the ground. Hard to stop a play when that happens. Bolden eats a block and can't get off it. Morgan checks the keep before coming back to it; Wilson comes down to fill. Strobel did grab a leg.
M34 2 6 Shotgun trips tight bunch Nickel over 8 Run N/A Split zone keeper Peppers 4
Peppers(-1, tackling -1) has QB responsibility here and is hesitant; he should be able to get to this sooner; his tackle is a shoulder block that allows YAC.,
M30 3 2 Shotgun twins twin TE Nickel under Run N/A Inside zone Godin 6
Godin(-1) takes a long double and gets blown off the ball. RJS(-1) puts himself in the wrong gap. Hill(-1, tackling -1) throws a weak shoulder block that is fortunate to get Howard down and offers up extra YAC.
M24 1 10 Shotgun twins twin TE Nickel over Run N/A Pin and pull Bolden 24
Michigan only has three guys in the box to the left of the C, where IU has four blockers. So of course this goes badly. Bolden(-2) gets turned in and eliminated by a wing TE, and that is all. If he takes a more conservative angle and forces it back maybe this goes better. Morgan is blocked in the back(refs -2) and shoved off balance for a guy to shoulder-block him to the ground but that guy had the angle anyway. RPS -3.
M3 2PT Shotgun 3-wide Nickel even Run N/A Inside zone Henry 3
Henry(-2) pancaked. No excuse not to load up and come after this instead of sitting passively. RPS -2.
Drive Notes: Touchdown(2PT), 34-27, 3 min 4th Q. Really disappointing from Durkin here. He didn't call a single run blitz on this drive. Just ate it the whole time. No Hurst on this drive at all.
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Rush Play Player Yards
M25 1 10 Shotgun trips TE Nickel even Run N/A Zone stretch Charlton 16
Charlton(-2) fails to hold the edge and that's all she wrote. Howard reads that so quickly and follows up on it; I am so intensely jealous. Wormley(+1) had driven through and was going to make this a non-gain otherwise. RPS -1; M had a real dilemma given the way they aligned here.
M9 1 G Shotgun 3-wide Nickel even Run N/A Reverse RJS 7
RJS(-1) gives up the corner somewhat understandably. RPS -2.
M2 2 G Shotgun twins H Nickel bear Run N/A Split zone Hurst 0
Slant from M. Hurst(+1) gets to the gap. Morgan(+1) manages to slide under a free releasing blocker and put himself in Howard's way to prevent YAC.
M2 3 G Pistol trips tight bunch Nickel bear over Run N/A Power O Hill 1
Hill(+0.5) ducks behind Wormley for a minute as he crashes in, and then he pops back out after the pulling G runs by. He forces a cutback but cannot even get a hand on Howard. Push, I guess. This sends Howard at Wormley; Wormley(+1) initiates a tackle at two yards and Howard almost carries 300 pounds to the endzone; Henry(-1) unable to help at all, M needed one more tackler
M1 4 G Pistol trips tight bunch Goal line Penalty N/A Offsides Henry 0
Whatever man.
M1 4 G Pistol trips tight bunch Goal line Run N/A Inside zone Henry 1
Line does a fine job to get penetration all around with the exception of Strobel, who gets stood up and provides the crease, and Henry(-1) who gets put on the ground and prevents the LBs from getting a clean path.
Drive Notes: Touchdown, 41-34, EO1OT
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Form Type Rush Play Player Yards
M25 1 10 Shotgun trips TE Nickel over Run N/A Zone stretch Wormley 17
This time it's Wormley(-2) giving up the edge. Exact same problem where the force guy to the trips side has a major problem from the drop. RPS -1.
M8 1 G Shotgun 3-wide Nickel bear zero Run N/A Zone stretch Wormley 3
M forces single blocks by alignment and not much room as a result. Wormley(+1) drives a G back and forces the cutback. Cutback kind of there as Hurst(-0.5) flows too far. Henry(+0.5) gets down the line with an arm tackle and Hill, playing ILB, hits to finish with some help from Morgan.
M5 2 G Shotgun 3-wide Nickel under zero Run N/A Split zone Henry 0
Henry(+2) dives through the line and puts himself at the back's feet. Cutback required. Peppers(+1) managed to leap over a cut block and get into the legs of the back so no YAC.,
M5 3 G Shotgun 3-wide H Nickel over Run N/A Zone read keeper Hill 3
RJS(+0.5) is looking back at first, expecting a split zone block. He does manage to bend Sudfeld out enough to give Hill(+1, tackling +1) time to realize it's a run and come up to tackle in the open field.
M2 4 G Shotgun 3-wide Goal line Pass 5 Out Hill Inc
Hill(+2, cover +2) dominates the route, gets in to the WR as he tries to make a catch, and rakes it out.
Drive Notes: Turnover on downs, 48-41, EOG.


Yeah, Kevin Wilson can go straight to hell.

What even happened?

Lets go to the

chart chart chart chart chart chart chart chart chart chart chart chart chart chart chart chart chart chart chart

did you just say chart 19 straight times

yes yes yes—

I hate you almost as much as Kevin Wilson.

So, 90 snaps, big amplitude, make sure you check the pressure metric:

Defensive Line
Player + - T Notes
Henry 22 13 9 A couple mansome plays in OT.
Glasgow DNP
Wormley 10 5 5 Mostly not the guy getting cut past.
RJS 8.5 7 1.5 Very much up and down.
Charlton 3 5 -2 Couldn't hold up.
Hurst 15 11.5 3.5 Up and down, bad on stretches, good otherwise.
Godin 2 10 -8 Blow'd up
Strobel 1.5 5 -3.5 Also blow'd up
Ross 1.5 2.5 -1 Now buck.
TOTAL 64.5 59 5.5 Remember, zero is bad for DL, ton of snaps mean this is very close to zero, and pressure is a loss this week.
Player + - T Notes
Morgan 10.5 4 6.5 Holding off orcs at the gates of Moria
Bolden 5 12 -7 is what it is
Gedeon 2.5 6 -3.5 Not much help.
Wangler DNP
TOTAL 18 22 -4 Extensive discussion.
Player + - T Notes
Lewis 5 4 1 Beat once badly, also missed a tackle. Near INT, called back INT.
Stribling 3 -3
Peppers 4.5 2 2.5 No separation. Underneath coverage improved.
Wilson 2 2 Back to boring.
Hill 6.5 5.5 1 Some minuses on uncomfortable quasi LB stuff.
Clark 4 6 -2 Long throw on which he got undercut.
Thomas 1 1 Slashed down a guy on a screen.
TOTAL 23 20.5 2.5 No pressure made life difficult.
Pressure 15 24 -9 Not great bob
Coverage 29 14 15 A few more cracks than the last couple weeks but Sudfeld is a pro
Tackling 5 9 -4 Howard a problem.
RPS 6 18 -12 Very frustrated at passivity in second half.

So. LBs and DTs are discussed below. Before we get to that, the RPS number. Indiana got some stuff on tempo when Michigan couldn't align fast enough. To start each OT they called stretches to a trips side n which the playside end got edged with no help. I was frustrated with Michigan sitting back and taking it on the last drive; the TD was M badly misaligned.

If, on the other hand, you think giving up that TD was a tactical move take that RPS –3 and make it +3. Even so, Michigan had few answers tactically for what IU was doing. Not a great day for Durkin. Steve Sharik has some more details. Michigan is used to winning up front down a man and did not adjust once that was no longer the case.

So… that DL number. It's positive? WTF?

I haven't had to explain myself about the numbers in a bit, so: DL need to be positive to be average. In a normal length game I expect any particular DL to be +4 or so if he's on okay player. This was a very long game so that number might be 6 or 7 or 8. So when you put all the number together and come up with +5.5 that is a bad day. When the pressure metric is –9 that is a very bad day.

I'm considering putting the pressure minuses into the DL totals to provide a better picture in that one number. Do that and M is –19. Feel more accurate?

Well, what happened there? I mean, other than Glasgow.

Michigan's DTs got shredded for the most part. IU alternated outside and inside zone with some pin and pull stuff. Michigan was more or less okay against the latter two and horrendous against zone stretches. They were horrendous against the stretch largely because one of the DTs would get reached or chopped damn near every time.

When that happens, your linebackers are boned. Trust me, I broke down the Molk era: DTs getting reach blocked is doom for your run defense. Way too often in this game guys lined up a gap "behind" a DT ended up blocking them. When that happens the guy releasing to the second level has a terrific angle on a linebacker.

When the DTs don't get reached, the LB has the advantage and can flow free to the relevant gap. There is a crease here that is superficially similar to many of the successful run plays Michigan had, but because Henry is forcing the guard to block him instead of the center, Ben Gedeon is unimpeded and goes and hits Howard at the LOS.

This did not happen very often.

The same instincts that have served Michigan very well against everything except the stretch this year popped up a lot when Indiana tried to go straight ahead. Here Hurst blows his man in the backfield and Michigan crushes the first IU drive:

That happened a lot when Indiana tried to go straight ahead. Indiana only found limited success with other plays until late, when Michigan was dead tired. Those kept Michigan honest; the stretch was their bread and butter.

But that heavy vertical action leads to creases on the stretch:

While Hurst was still explosive and dangerous, Indiana exposed a major weakness in his game. He will spend the next two weeks trying to get a lot better at it, because OSU is going to run a ton of zone stretch after watching this tape. (Penn State? I'm not sure they want to try that given their OL.)

Later in the game everything kind of went to hell, but Michigan's inability to stop the stretch is what put those legs in a state of despair.

But the linebackers were terrible!

I've seen a bunch of this take in the aftermath of the game. I think they were basically what they've been all year in a much more difficult environment. Mike Spath put out an article citing Desmond Morgan for missing seven tackles that I think misses the point entirely. Morgan may have been unable to do more than get an arm on a passing Howard frequently, but when you get free releasing linemen with an angle to block you on damn near every play the quality of your play is more about mitigating the damage than making tackles. Morgan did a lot of that. And sometimes made tackles.

Indiana stopped cutting Morgan pretty quick and instead just blocked him straight up. Morgan frequently was asked to make tough plays against free releasers in a ton of space:

Maybe that's a missed tackle, too. It's a +2 in my book. Betting that that one time Michigan put five in the box with Strobel at NT and IU had two blockers for Morgan is filed as a missed tackle too.

I mean. What are you supposed to do there? You die. You fling yourself at the back in case, but you die. Or, if you're Joe Bolden, you passively run upfield of the block and quit running.

Morgan was very good at running up and plastering guys who released directly to him to force the ball back to other parts of the defense. This is thankless work, especially when one DT gets reached and the other is so irrelevant that two guys run past him—which is some sort of super ultra reach.

This was a heroic rearguard action for him.

Since this section will probably draw accusations of bias in favor of Morgan, who has been a fave-rave around these parts for a long time, let me remind you that he racked up a –12 against Minnesota two games ago. A number of the above plays did see Morgan come in for minuses even though I think they're brutally difficult plays to make, and he made up for it by tirelessly hitting people 60 pounds heavier than him in the face.

Meanwhile Bolden was a disaster. The difference in the two ILB's ability to take on blocks was brought into sharp relief by the faltering DL. Contrast any of the contact Morgan makes in the clips above with this:

Bolden gets and stays blocked way too much.

That probably went on Morgan's missed tackle count and is a great example of how a missed tackle is often a guy almost making a difficult play because someone else didn't do their job. (Note: sometimes I ding guys for going upfield of blocks when they don't make a play; Morgan got a minus half-point here but shooting this gap is the only way this gets to fourth down, so go for it.) If Bolden only missed two tackles to Morgan's seven it's because Bolden wasn't close enough to the play to even attempt a tackle very much.

Here's an example of that. Hurst gets reached. Free release to Morgan. He thumps the OL, forcing the back him to cut behind that dude while still in the backfield. Bolden runs around a block and then doesn't have the courage of his convictions to really shoot the gap, and he gets plowed for his troubles.

There is a version of Bolden that does scream upfield of that block and gets a tackle at the LOS, but we've only seen him in spring games. I think this is the part where I say "it is what it is."

Here his guy actually falls down and Bolden still gets blocked, in part because he fights to the same gap Gedeon does and is unprepared when Howard cuts behind him.

He gets bowled over. Again. By a guy who fell over.

That play is also frustrating because of what it says about Bolden's ability to understand what he should do. Peppers is in the box. Gedeon should fight to this side of the block because Peppers is there behind him. Bolden should expect that exact cutback. Indiana's late fourth quarter touchdown was even worse. Literally the only person outside of Bolden to the boundary is a cornerback, and he just kind of farts his way inside of a blocker:

If that's not a deliberate attempt to let Indiana score it's horrendous. If it is, nevermind.

Can Gedeon save us?

I'd find out, but probably not. Sam Webb reported yesterday that Gedeon was getting a bunch of first team snaps in place of Morgan, which would be insane. I'm hoping/guessing that something was lost in translation there and that it's Bolden. Gedeon is okay. He will hit guys.

Sometimes he makes errors, like he did on a Jordan Howard run we'll discuss in the part about how Jordan Howard is good. But at least he'll hit somebody.

"Gets to fourth down" is not "induces a punt."

No. Kevin Wilson, accursed be his name, went for three early fourth downs, getting two of them. He was not dissuaded after the first one failed. He in fact used the third downs before that with every intention of going on fourth down:

  • On third and eight, Indiana runs a zone stretch to set up fourth and two.
  • On third and one, Indiana throws a 30-yard pass (at Jourdan Lewis, which is not smart).
  • On third and ten, Indiana runs a one-blocker screen to the RB in the flat, again setting up fourth and two.

He's either setting up fourth and short or taking a shot when he's already in a short yardage situation. The latter two fourth down attempts succeeded on a 17-play field goal drive that was a major catalyst for the exhaustion that would set in late. I wonder how different this game feels if Wilson's nerve leaves him.

Wilson's style of offense also managed to lock Godin and Strobel on the field for long stretches of play. On Indiana's second drive that DT pairing was getting torn up but could not exit the field on third and three; IU converted.

All of these things rely on your ability to get yards, but once the avalanche starts Indiana is terrific at keeping it going. It's impossible to quantify just how much dead legs hurt Michigan, but 19 straight runs at the end of the game suggests "a lot". By the second half guys were erratic. Henry has not been blown out like this much, if at all, so far this year:

Is that the Indiana OL or Henry screwing up or the relentless march of time? Probably some of all three. A few plays later Henry would obliterate a down block, but maybe they have to marshal their energy.

Speaking of Strobel and Godin… uh…

Well, it's not like I expected anything different. Strobel was a backup right guard last week and has always been alarmingly undersized for defensive tackle. Throwing him out there is like throwing Nick Sheridan out there. It is not going to go well. It is not worth getting upset about because it couldn't have gone well.

Godin's performance was a disappointment after he put in good work for large portions of the year. I'm not surprised he got blown off the ball a lot since that has been a weakness for him. I do wonder what he was thinking quite a lot. Michigan started slanting a bunch but he either didn't get the memo or wasn't all there:

That blitz from the backside means that Godin absolutely should not be getting cut off at the pass like that.

Hopefully this is an after-effect of his injury and he'll get better as time passes.

Holding though?

Yeah, the refs did miss a few glaringly obvious ones. I'm talking "hand on the outside of the shoulder pads clearly preventing a relevant defender from making the play" kind of stuff. On the other hand they gave Jourdan Lewis a break on that KO fumble. So… yeah. The incompetence balanced out, which is about all you can hope for these days.

I am painfully jealous of Jordan Howard.

You and me both, buddy. Howard is legit. He has De'Veon Smith's ability to drag guys. I mean:

Meanwhile he is much faster and was excellent at finding the creases wherever they happened to be.

This run in particular was Howard rescuing a zero yard play. Michigan tips a blitz and runs it, which absorbs the lead blocker. Henry takes a double well, leaving two guys unblocked at the POA. Howard waits:

Gedeon should not be there. Gedeon's job is to fill the gap he blitzes to. Gedeon got hammered for this play.

But so many backs, including all of Michigan's backs, run directly at the unblocked guys. Howard slows up in case something pops up and then finds it when it does. That is terrific. That's what people nattering about "patience"—including yours truly—mean. If you gear down for a step or two sometimes a door appears.

Why yes, this means Indiana has had consecutive tailbacks better than any Michigan back since at least Mike Hart and probably Tim Biakabutuka. I'm going to go rock in the corner now.

And I guess there was passing and stuff?

Yeah. The constant zone running nerfed Michigan's pass rush. It's tough to stunt against stretch plays because very frequently the guy running to the playside will get cut off and then the looping gentleman runs himself out of the play, creating a huge gap for free. (Check Godin and Ross on the backside of this play for an example.)

So when Sudfeld dropped to pass he had all day:

Michigan does not have natural pass rushers and has managed to cover up for that most of the year since they're really good at pushing the pocket and that makes stunts very effective. Remove that and that weakness we projected preseason comes roaring back to life. (This is actually a nice reminder that the staff has done a great job covering for a deficiency most of the year.)

Here too is a place where Wilson's tendency to use fourth down helped him: even on mid-length passing downs like third and seven Michigan was hesitant to stunt, because a run that could induce a fourth down try was a possibility.

Coverage was mostly good, but the lack of pass rush allowed Sudfeld to survey and find holes. The redzone was an exception, as Michigan went into attack mode with good success.

When Michigan had nothing left to lose they rose to the occasion, forcing a series of field goal attempts.

Clark got most of the playing time at the other corner spot, getting lost on a punt downfield once and otherwise playing just fine. He had a nice PBU and I do think the offensive pass interference call was legitimate after looking at it a few times. Clark is in the WR's hip pocket until he takes a pushoff in the chest that prevents him from a SHORYUKEN. Later on the same drive he'd give no window on the same route:

The undercut was bad, but understandable. For all the GET YOUR HEAD AROUND yellers, this is the cost of that occasionally:

WR looks so Clark looks, and in that split second the WR sees the ball is underthrown and adjusts before Clark can. Accurate ball is probably a PBU or INT; Clark loses the plot thanks to the (probably not deliberately) underthrown ball.

Lewis did get beat once on a slant and missed a tackle and is terrible so the NFL should not even look at him. This near INT did not happen.

Lewis did somehow manage to not PBU this critical third and eight:

That was (probably) a field goal attempt if Lewis bats the ball away and instead turned into a touchdown. That's just one of those things.

Hill didn't come in as positively as someone who was a Known Friend and Trusted Ally should.

Hill was very important on the final two plays, but it wasn't all roses. The screen touchdown at the end of the first half saw him fail to read that his guy was blocking and replace Bolden:

There were some missed tackles and a couple of bad plays on which Hill was pressed into LB duty that was unfamiliar to him. I think a slant play on which it looked like Hill was beat is actually okay-ish, though. M sent the house and got a guy right up the gut. Hill chucks the TE to break up the route timing and that's just enough:

Hill forces the TE to focus on him just long enough so that the ball is on top of him when he does get his head around.

And this is a great play. WR doesn't really sell a route here but Hill dominates the route and gets his PBU.

Harbaugh thought that's where they were going to go, I thought that's where they were going to go, Sudfeld thought it, Wilson thought it, and he won it.

And while we're talking about the projected safeties for next year, Dymonte Thomas got knocked out early and didn't figure in much. (He returned late and is fine.) He did make one nice open field tackle on a screen.


Henry dug deep and had some big plays late. Morgan was putting out fires in a fire factory. Hill made big plays late.

Maybe not so heroic?

The backup DTs were overwhelmed. Bolden was nowhere to be found. Hurst was too up and down for a player of his quality.

What does it mean for Penn State and the future?

TEXAS SWEAR LADY ABOUT GLASGOW. Remove Joey Bosa from OSU. That is the relative impact. Michigan has to figure some things out. They cannot go with Strobel there. It's not happening. Henry played a bunch of nose late and was up for all the snaps. I think they have to lean on him heavily. Hurst will start; Henry is now the backup NT and hope that Godin is still on the recovery trail and can play a bunch of DE snaps.

Morgan is a tough hombre and if you complain about him you are bad and should feel bad. I feel very strongly about this, thus all the clips. He is doing all that he can. He is not a superhero LB, but he is a rock.

Bolden is bad. Nevermind that stuff about how he was okay. He is bad, and the DL covered it up. Very, very frustrating player.

Hill bounced back. I don't really blame him for a number of the minuses since he was drafted to play LB against Jordan Howard. Thomas also showed a flash of talent.

I don't think this will hurt us too much against PSU… they are a very slow tempo team with a bad offensive line that Hurst can probably dominate and then get off the field against.

…but our chances of beating OSU probably halved. Oh look it's a team perfectly suited to take advantage of the weakness that was just ruthlessly exposed.



November 21st, 2015 at 6:48 AM ^

Bolden's problem isn't that he's too slow, it's that he's not good at a linebacker's only essential skill: he doesn't know where to be as a play develops. He consistently puts himself in the wrong place, fires the wrong gap, just can't find the football game on the field.


November 19th, 2015 at 4:14 PM ^

One of my co-workers is an IU grad. Just got off the phone with him and we talked about this game ( I did "accidently" text him early Saturday evening a GO BLUE txt) for the first time this week.

IU fans are so sick of Kevin Wilson, they want him gone. I felt weird defending the guy, but as an objective observer that guy is doing pretty good for IU.  I know there record is bad, but if they can become bowl eligible, I would not want to be the team to face them.

He mentioned how they are happy with the offense but frustrated that he can't get a defense. As he was ranting about this fact, I had to interrupt him and remind of our RR days sans Jeff Casteel.  Who can forget the glorious Illinois game victory 67 -65!

My point is that I think IU fans are crazy to get rid of this guy, he has not done a good job of getting DB's and LB.  But it is frickin IU!!!  I would give this guy time and if he gets any kind of defense they could be a solid team in the big ten for years. 

THis was the main critique of RR, Michigan can and should recruit top athlets for both side of the ball.

BTW, his daughters HS just beat Brandon Peters team and he reiterated that he is the real deal.  It did lead to further frustration about why IU can't get Peters, Kiel or Johnson.


snarling wolverine

November 19th, 2015 at 5:59 PM ^

I know there record is bad

But that's just it. The guy's been there five years and hasn't found a way to get them to .500 yet. At some point the thrill of playing teams close has to wear off.

The quandary is that Wilson's good at designing an offense but seems to be a poor game manager. In all of the OSU, MSU and U-M games he made iffy decisions down the stretch that cost his team. I was thrilled when he outsmarted himself and decided to throw the ball on the goal line.

I'm assuming Wilson gets another year, but with Sudfeld and probably Howard gone after this year, 2016 could be ugly, and that might be the end for him.  



snarling wolverine

November 19th, 2015 at 9:05 PM ^

I'd rather play Indiana, actually, because they suck defensively.  No matter what their offense does, their defense will always give it back up.  I mean, they couldn't even beat Rutgers.  On our final drive in regulation I was sure we'd score.  

And Wilson's lousy game management can't be understated.  The man's 6-32 in B1G play and has pulled off zero notable upsets.  


November 19th, 2015 at 3:32 PM ^

there is a lot of great analysis on this blog but often times the consensus of opinions and analysis does not leave room for the simple off day.  The defense has been stout all season.  We ran into a team that was ultra-prepared for this game(keep in mind, Indiana began the season thinking bowl game and has had a really tough season, they wanted this game badly).  Michigan was looking ahead and trying to adjust the the post-Glasgow reality.

They had an off day.  Clemson gave up 41 points in regulation to NC-fricking-State 3 weeks ago. (NT)OSU gave up 53 to Texas Tech.  These are two Top 7 teams. Our defense gave up the same amount of points as Iowa did to IU in regulation.  Not all teams have their best day every day.  We are going to be fine.


November 19th, 2015 at 5:42 PM ^

Yes, they had an off day. But it was an off day largely driven by very specific, repeatable reasons. Maybe Brian is being a bit dramatic about our chances against OSU being halved, but maybe not. The DL's dominance has been, along with Jabrill Peppers, the crucial factor to the success of the entire team all season long.

And, without Glasgow, they were exposed in ways that our opponent in the biggest game of the year is DESIGNED to exploit.

Hard not to be dispirited by that.


November 19th, 2015 at 6:22 PM ^

I agree with this. If Brian had UFR'd Ohio State this year, there probably would have been some games after which we would have thought our defense could shut them out. Remember that their offense has looked very out of sync and clunky at various points throughout the year.


November 21st, 2015 at 6:51 AM ^

with my former team-leading tackler brother who was a linebacker in high school. He's been breaking down plays for me and showing me how BAD Bolden was all year. This isn't an off day. It's exposure. Brian's finally saying it too.


November 19th, 2015 at 3:22 PM ^

We really haven't felt the true effect of Mone being injured until Glasgow went out. Dline had a rough one last week but I feel they'll bounce back against a better matchup. 




November 19th, 2015 at 3:29 PM ^

...thank you for having the grace to do this before the offensive UFR which will be much nicer to read.  Do remember, everyone, that this happens to the best teams.  Oregon's record setting offenses hit brick walls.  The '86 Bears and '13 Seahawks got lit up a few times.  That's not to say we're anything like those teams, but that we're the sum of all our games, not just our few bad ones and many good ones.  No, I'm not looking forward to facing Ezekiel Elliot and his Cro-mag teammates, especially without Ryan Glasgow, but I am confident that - much more so than last year - we learn things from our wins, losses and wins-that-shoulda-been-losses and our coaches will put the team in the best possible position to go up against a better version of Indiana.

MI Expat NY

November 19th, 2015 at 4:15 PM ^

I wouldn't be shocked if he clearly "wins" the linebacking group every day in practice and there is a huge disconnect between his practice and game performance.  Puts the coaches in a bind.  It's hard to accept a guy that you think is a stud based on what you see every day just doesn't get it done on the big stage.  


November 19th, 2015 at 5:25 PM ^

I seem to remember Seth saying that the coaches view him as the QB of the defense. He points things out to make life easier for the other ten guys on the field. 

I would guess that if Morgan is playing well and the DLine is healthy (as in Glasgow is in), this is a worthwhile sacrifice over playing someone who is more gifted such as Gedeon (or even Ross). However, if Morgan plays poorly (Minnesota) or the Dline is unhealthy (Indiana), this becomes a untenable situation. 



November 19th, 2015 at 6:12 PM ^

is that Bolden gets a handie from every single announcer who does our games. They cut to him constantly as the heart and soul of our defense and the key to our success...yet we all know him to be the weakest link in that D. 

I believe he is a killer practice player and that's why he gets reps and is a captain and is built up by the press. But he underwhelms at game time. He is what he is.