Upon Further Review 2016: Defense vs MSU Comment Count

Brian November 3rd, 2016 at 3:42 PM


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FORMATION NOTES: Not much. This was "goal line H" for MSU and made several increasingly less effective appearances. Michigan had one wacky 3-man-line snap on the first drive and then threw that away permanently, so the rest of the game was more or less this:

goal line

Of note: against these big formations M swapped their corners and safeties to get a couple bigger guys on the line.

SUBSTITUTION NOTES: 74 snaps for the defense, with the starting secondary and Gedeon getting all of them. McCray missed just two snaps; Peppers missed six with various minor issues. Furbush got those six.

DL rotation was severely reduced, with Charlton getting all but ten snaps—Winovich got 14, and I think all of those after the first drive were in pass rush packages. Wormley and Glasgow were close behind at 59 and 57; Godin and Hurst did split their snaps about down the middle. Gary got 21 snaps; Mone got 3 before limping off.

Metellus and Watson got various dime snaps.

[After THE JUMP: not great bookending pretty great.]

Ln Dn Ds O Form D Pack Front Cover look Type Rush Play Player Yards
O25 1 10 Offset I 4-2-5 4-3 over SAM Press two high Run N/A Split zone Godin 0
Cutback lane may be nominally available but Michigan is inserting Hill so that’s not likely to be much of a gain. DT stunt with Godin(+1) driving the RG across the gap and closing the hole. Charlton(+1) ends up doubled and still manages to hold up to get the lane closed; Scott bangs into his own blockers and goes over.
O25 2 10 Shotgun trips TE over 4-2-5 4-3 over SAM Press one high Run N/A Power O Charlton 2
Glasgow bearhugged by the RG, who a hand grabbing Glasgow's back for the whole play. Refs -2. Charlton(+2) dives inside the TE-type substance, which is actually a tackle in a tackle over; he slices into the lane and tackles for a short gain. McCray also unavailable because he’s held.
O27 3 8 Shotgun 4-wide 4-2-5 Nickel over Press two high Pass 4 Dumpoff Gedeon 12
Gedeon(-2, cover -2) just gets beat by Scott on a little out route after the receivers clear it out.
O39 1 10 Goal line H 4-2-5 4-3 over SAM Off one high Run N/A Power O Charlton 8
Michigan doesn’t know what to do with this. They’re still pointing to each other on the snap, and Jourdan Lewis ends up inside the box as more or less another LB. M slants away from the play; Charlton(-2) gets clubbed out of the hole. He’s running that direction so holding up is tough but can’t get blown out this much. Gedeon(-1) steps the wrong way on the snap despite the slant and gets blocked on the second level; Lewis(-1) just sits there unsure of what to do. RPS -1.
O47 2 2 Goal line H 4-2-5 4-4 even Off two high Run N/A Power O Godin 4
LBs do a good job here to get to the POA and jam it up; Gedeon(+0.5) is almost able to pull off the Morgan. Godin(-2) got blown out like it’s last year, though, and Scott can scoot through a gap. Wormley(+0.5) almost got to this after whipping the playside TE.
M49 1 10 Ace twins 4-2-5 4-3 over SAM Press two high Run N/A Split zone McCray 2
Jet fake and then zone the other way. M dials up a blitz that sees McCray(+1) run up and hit two OL. He manages to hold his ground. Gedeon(+1) flows up free thanks to this and cuts Scott off. Scott cuts into his own OL and manages to fall for a few.
M47 2 8 Offset I twins 4-2-5 4-3 even SAM Press two high Run N/A WR sweep Hill 14
Script special here and definitely in the we should steal this category. Jet fake and then MSU runs what looks like power; pulling G widens out though and the handoff goes to Shelton, who’s coming back in orbit motion. Interior of the D is focused on the power. Hill(-1) inserts and gets whacked by a WR; Lewis(+1) does an excellent job to fall off that coverage and replace but he’s got a guard pulling to him; he cuts the dude just outside the hash; Stribling(-1) was behind Shelton as he reversed direction and didn’t haul enough ass to get to the POA: he gives up a bunch before cutting Shelton to the ground. RPS -2.
M33 1 10 Offset I 4-2-5 4-3 even SAM Press two high Run N/A Power O Peppers 10
Backup line in. Due to MSU shifts McCray ends up at SAM and Peppers at WLB. This doesn’t go well. Michigan slants, which is fine. They create a gap up them middle, which is fine as long as the WLB is scraping over the top into the gap. Peppers(-2) sits still and eats a block; Winovich(-1) is shot down the line and unable to spin off to affect the ballcarrier. RPS -1.
M23 1 10 Offset I H 4-2-5 4-3 even Press two high Run N/A Split zone Hurst 3
Hurst(+1) bursts into the RG and shoves him back; he’s bearhugged without a call (refs -1). He’s unable to rip back to the play as a result. He’s still busted up the timing of the play; McCray(+1) dodges a second level block and leads the many people converging.
M20 2 7 Offset I twins 3-2-6 Faux 3-4 Off two high Run N/A Power O Gary 15
Three man line with Winovich on it when you’re getting plowed is inexplicable. Gary(-2) busts as the line slants one way and he goes the other. He gets turned in and there’s no second level. RPS -2.
M5 1 G Offset I 4-2-5 4-4 even Press zero Run N/A Lead zone Charlton 0
Godin(+0.5) and Glasgow(+0.5) both get decent penetration and threaten to close down on the back; FB coming through is worried enough about Glasgow to block him, which makes Peppers(+0.5) a free hitter; he reads and gets to this as fast as possible. Charlton(+1) got under the FB and also closes to tackle.
M5 2 G Shotgun trips tight bunch 4-2-5 4-3 even split Off zero Run N/A Inverted veer give Thomas 5
More motion presnap from MSU (there’s been an absolute ton of it on this drive that TV has missed entirely) ends up with three MSU players flanked outside; only two DBs are out there. Michigan is badly misaligned. Taco gets read; he forms up and it’s a give. If M had seen this before he’d almost certainly be shooting upfield for the back and letting O’Connor run it. Instead Thomas(-1) gets blown out by a TE; McCray(-1) gets cut off by a guy with excellent position, and it’s easy to get to the endzone. RPS -2. ]
Drive Notes: Touchdown, 7-0, 8 min 1st Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Pack Front Cover look Type Rush Play Player Yards
O25 1 10 Offset I twin TE 4-2-5 4-4 even Press one high Pass 4 PA TE post Lewis Inc
Two man route that hopes to get a tight end open on a post. He’s covered; Lewis is nominal safety here on him and is in his hip pocket thanks to a little jersey tug; this is initially flagged but since the ball is ten yards overthrown they overturn it. No pressure(-2) to induce this, O’Connor just misses. Push on the coverage, I guess?
O25 2 10 Offset I 4-2-5 4-3 over SAM Press two high Penalty N/A False start N/A -5
O20 2 15 Shotgun 4-wide 4-2-5 Nickel over Press two high Pass 4 Screen Wormley Inc
This is totally borked as Wormley(+1) gets disruptive pressure and Peppers(+1) and Gedeon(+1) both read the intent and beat blocks; if complete this was going to be a loss. Cover +1, RPS +1.
O20 3 15 Shotgun trips 4-2-5 Nickel over Press two high Pass 4 Out Charlton 8 +15 pen
Charlton(+1, pressure +1) hops an attempted cut block from the RB and hurries a throw. It’s well short of the sticks as three M players converge; Hill tries to rip the ball out as the TE’s held up. TE punches Hill; Hill shoves back, Hill and Hill alone gets flagged. Refs -3. Hill -3.
O43 1 10 Offset H Big 4-2-5 4-3 over SAM ??? Run N/A Split zone Charlton 1
An attempt to get M chasing the WR sweep from the previous drive doesn’t work as Charlton(+2) shoves the LT into the backfield and disconnects to tackle. Glasgow(+1) held up against a double team to help constrict the space.
O44 2 9 Ace trips tight bunch 4-2-5 4-3 even SAM Off one high Run N/A Jet sweep Lewis 7 (Pen -5)
Peppers(-1) bites on interior action that isn’t his job and gets sealed away. Thomas wins his block but goes too vertical so he only kind of strings it out; push. Lewis gets tackled as he’s trying to deal with the last lead blocker; flag comes out.
O39 2 14 Shotgun trips tight bunch 4-2-5 4-4 over SAM Half press one high Pass 5 Drag Hill 3
McCray(-0.5) blitzes; picked up. Gedeon(+0.5) comes delayed and forces a throw; pressure push. Throw is a dink drag Hill(+1, cover +1) is there to hit immediately on.
O42 3 11 Shotgun trips 4-2-5 Nickel over Press two high Pass 4 Out Hill 11
Glasgow(+1, pressure +1) works his way through a blocker and hits O’Connor on the throw; somehow this still goes right to a TE that Hill is able to hit on immediately but not make a play on the ball 15 yards downfield. There’s some drama about whether Price will lurch past the line but he caught it beyond the sticks and the ref’s going to mark it there whether he lunges or not.
M47 1 10 Goal line 4-2-5 4-3 over Off two high Run N/A Power O Mone 5
Mone(-2) is put two yards downfield and on the ground by a double. Winovich(+1) actually does a good job here to drive upfield and force a second guy to hit him; McCray(-2) runs in a gap outside of this which is covered by two DBs. He should probably be tackling at the LOS with the back falling forward for a couple. Instead he can get a solid gain. Peppers(+0.5) and Gedeon(+0.5) did well to fight through blocks and get this down relatively quickly.
M42 2 5 Offset I Big 4-2-5 4-3 even Press two high Run N/A Counter Hurst 2
As the backside DT on a power play this shouldn’t involve Hurst(+1) at all but he manages to surge through the back side and get into the back’s legs in the backfield, which makes it easier for the rest of the team to rally. Charlton(+1) avoids a cut and Gedeon(+0.5) and McCray(+0.5) flow fast to the POA to triple up on the tackle.
M40 3 3 Goal line H 4-2-5 4-3 even Off two high Run N/A Power O Charlton 2
Charlton(+1) drives his man back, fouling the POA and attracting extra blocking attention. Glasgow’s been doubled but Gedeon(+1) scrapes over that fast enough that the OL trying to release to him gets air. McCray(+1) finds the gap, takes on the FB, and initiates a tackle that Gedeon joins to get MSU down short of the sticks.
M38 4 1 Goal line 4-2-5 4-3 even Off zero Run N/A Power O Peppers 0
In the game column I said Peppers helped this play. Nope. Peppers(+3) singlehandedly makes it. Hurst(+1) surges to the backside of the play, which draws the C and LT’s attention as the guard pulls. This leaves a big gap on the backside that is usually harmless. Peppers slams on the accelerator, shoots the gap, and reaches the back behind the LOS, swinging him down for no gain. Gedeon(+1) did work through a bunch of trash to help stall the back’s momentum.
Drive Notes: Turnover on downs, 7-7, 14 min 2nd Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Pack Front Cover look Type Rush Play Player Yards
O25 1 10 I-Form 4-2-5 4-3 even SAM Press two high Run N/A Power O Gedeon 24
First bad thing based on a big missed tackle. M spills this power as Charlton(+1) thunks inside and forces Scott to the outside. There he’s got Gedeon(-2, tackling -2) and Thomas unblocked; Scott manages to slide past this with little delay. Peppers(-2) has gotten blocked five yards downfield; he spins off that block to the inside and then misses an ankle tackle on Scott; that’s the sideline and a chunk gain.
O49 1 10 I-Form 4-2-5 4-3 over Press two high Run N/A Split zone Wormley 5
Glasgow blown out a bit by a double but not too much; push. LBs flow up and form a bubble about a yard or two downfield that Scott tries to cut away from. He can because Wormley(-1) got cut just enough to cede that gap; Godin(-0.5) also can’t fight back to do much about it. Hill(+0.5, tackling +1) inserts into this gap and makes a nice tackle to mitigate the damage.
O44 2 5 Ace 4-2-5 4-3 over SAM Press two high Run N/A Counter Gedeon 16
This must break tendencies or false key M because nobody except Peppers(+1) defends this. Peppers is the force guy and does a nice job to submarine an OL leading out and force this upfield quickly. Nobody is there to meet him. Charlton(-2) gets sealed inside by a TE and then goes upfield; Gedeon(-2) never sees the two OL in front of his face pull and never even makes anyone block him; that’s the edge. Any delay is not much as a blitzing McCray got through; there is no delay.
O28 1 10 I-Form twins 4-3-4 4-3 over SAM Press two high Pass 5 Throwaway Gedeon Inc
Furbush in for Peppers temporarily. Gedeon(+2, pressure +1) blitzes up the gut and gets through both tailbacks to force a throw that’s probably just destined for the sideline. Wormley(+0.5) was driving through as well.
O28 2 10 Offset I 4-3-4 4-3 over SAM Press two high Run N/A Jet sweep Glasgow -6
Glasgow(+3) is lined up as a 3-tech as M spreads the DTs so they have no nose; seems like they anticipate this play. MSU lets the DTs go because it’s a jet sweep, but Ryan Glasgow isn’t the dude to let go. He TFLs for a big loss. RPS +1, starting spot helped.
O34 3 16 Shotgun trips 3-3-5 Okie Press one high Pass 4 Corner Stribling Inc
Winovich(+0.5) gets around the corner and forces QB to step up; Furbush(+1, pressure +1) has chucked the RB trying to pick him up and gets into O’Connor’s legs; throw is forced. It’s at Stribling(+2, cover +2) and while we don’t get a replay or much data here IIRC this was a route Stribling was basically running for the WR and this would never have been thrown without the desperation.
Drive Notes: FG(52), 14-10, 9 min 2nd Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Pack Front Cover look Type Rush Play Player Yards
O17 1 10 Shotgun trips TE over 4-2-5 4-3 over SAM Press one high Run N/A Zone read give Hurst -3
Standard spread O stuff except they’ve flipped the TE and the LT; they run to the TE side, and this doesn’t go well. Hurst(+1) and Gary(+1) both win their blocks, with Hurst surging up the middle and forcing a bounce. McCray(+1) flows well to clean up and force a TFL.
O14 2 13 Shotgun empty 4-2-5 Dime Half press one high Run N/A Shovel Gary -2
M a bit fortunate here as Gary(+1) stumbles as he comes in unblocked. He recovers and starts moving back outside, ending up in the potential throwing lane; McCray(+1) cleans up. Hard to tell what happens without the stumble; Gary’s blocker decided to move on and this looks way open as Hurst(-2) got clubbed by a double; if Gary can win that block M might hold this down anyway. MSU gets hit with an illegal shift anyway.
O12 3 15 Shotgun trips 4-2-5 Nickel even Press two high Pass 4 Fly Lewis Inc
Pressure just about getting there as Charlton(+0.5) and Hurst(+0.5) get around the corner and force a throw. It’s sort of at Lewis(+1, cover +1), who is step for step with Corley. Badly overthrown.
Drive Notes: Punt, 17-0, 5 min 2nd Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Pack Front Cover look Type Rush Play Player Yards
O29 1 10 Shotgun 4-wide 4-2-5 Nickel even Off one high Pass 4 Fly Lewis INT
Charlton+3, pressure +3) insta-spins inside the LT and hits O’Connor on the throw; Lewis(+4, cover +3) is running this route for Shelton and is able to adjust to a ball short and to the inside for the pick. Simple as that. Just guys being dudes.
Drive Notes: Interception, 24-0, 1 min 2nd Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Pack Front Cover look Type Rush Play Player Yards
M33 1 10 Shotgun trips tight bunch 4-2-5 4-3 over SAM Half press one high Run N/A Inverted veer give Gedeon 2
Same play as the TD. Different result with Gedeon(+1) jetting upfield of a blocker and still getting to the edge quick enough to string the play out. Lewis(+1) gets off a block to help finish the play, mostly by getting stiffarmed near the sideline. Hill was also flowing free if there was a cutback, so M fixed their issue from earlier.
M31 2 8 I-Form 4-2-5 4-3 even SAM Press two high Run N/A WR sweep Stribling 23
A return to that play from the first drive and it works again. Charlton(-1) bites on the inside action and while he recovers he’s not quite able to close the distance. Stribling(-2, tackling -2) doesn’t read what’s going on in front of him; Lewis(+0.5) cuts off the outside and he badly overruns the play. McCray(-1) gets thumped, albeit by a guy with excellent starting position. Hill(+1) saves a TD with an excellent fill and tackle.
M8 1 G Shotgun trips tight bunch TE 4-2-5 4-3 even Off two high Run N/A Speed option Hill 0
Hill(+3) flares out to contain and picks exactly the right moment to go from pitch man to QB; he pounds O’Connor for zero. Even if there was a pitch this looks covered by Peppers.
M8 2 G Shotgun trips tight bunch TE 4-2-5 4-3 even Off two high Run N/A Inverted veer give Peppers -1
Peppers(+3) does his thing, firing upfield of a blocker and then exploding to recover the ground he gave up for a solo TFL.
M9 3 G Shotgun 4-wide 4-2-5 Nickel over Press two high Pass 4 Corner Peppers Inc (Pen +7)
O’Connor punts it up to the sideline well over his WR and somehow Peppers gets a PI call on some bullllllshit. There’s some weak handfighting and Shelton pushes off. That’s it. Refs -3.
M2 1 G Goal line H 4-2-5 4-3 over Off zero Run N/A Power O Charlton -1
Charlton(+2) throws down the TE. He then surges upfield, picking off the pulling G and forcing a bounce by Scott into a bunch of M players. McCray(+2) scraped over to the right gap and dismisses the fullback to tackle in the backfield. Stribling and Gedeon arrive to prevent any YAC.
M3 2 G Goal line H 4-2-5 4-3 even Off zero Run N/A Counter Wormley 1
Wormley(+1) drives a TE who’s actually an OL into the backfield as M slants away. He disrupts two pullers. Peppers(+1) adjusts his attack as the pull comes and gets to an OL in the backfield, forcing a cutback. McCray(+0.5) and Glasgow(+1) come around and hit Scott to thump him down.
M2 3 G Goal line H 4-3-4 4-3 even Off zero Run N/A Counter Hurst 0
Hurst(+2) hammers the LG and shoves him off, redirecting to hit Scott in the backfield and tackle. Wormley(+1) drove his guy and picked off a puller to help stop forward momentum. Hurst does lose the tackle a bit and allow Scott to get back to the LOS, preventing the +3. FWIW, Furbush is in here as Peppers is having helmet issues.
M2 4 G Goal line H 4-2-5 4-3 even Off zero Run N/A Down G counter Lewis -2
Hey, they actually call a trademark MSU bear hug. It’s like they teach this stuff. Thomas is holding the edge, hugged, flag. McCray(+1) adjusts to the counter and moves up the middle so Scott has to go outside; Thomas(+1) does a good job to take on the G in the backfield and try to get off that block to draw the flag; Lewis(+1, tackling +1) is alone on the edge and shoots into Scott’s legs for the tackle.
Drive Notes: Turnover on downs, 27-10, 6 min 3rd Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Pack Front Cover look Type Rush Play Player Yards
O25 1 10 Shotgun 3-wide 4-2-5 4-3 even Press one high Run N/A Counter McCray 7
M bites on the counter action with McCray(-1) and Gedeon failing to see two pullers and get to the play. Charlton(-1) gets ripped inside by a puller for similar reasons. McCray gets sealed in by a LB; Gedeon gets off a block and forces it to Stribling(+0.5), who forms up and fends off a blocker, tackling short of the sticks.
O32 2 3 Shotgun 3-wide 4-2-5 4-3 over SAM Press one high Run N/A Speed option Gary 6
Peppers(-0.5) on the edge and takes the pitch man; he probably doesn’t make this decision hard enough. He can afford to create indecision here because he’s Peppers. Gary(-1) gets comboed and sealed; Gedeon(+0.5) forces it back to McCray(+0.5), who flowed well. Meanwhile watch Hurst get tackled. Refs -2.
O38 1 10 Offset I twins 4-2-5 4-3 over SAM Press two high Pass 5 Waggle throwaway Hill Inc
Hill(+1, pressure +2) times up a blitz that sees him blast Terry as he turns around. Terry chucks it OOB in the vague direction of a guy Lewis(+1, cover +1) has blanketed. RPS +2.
O38 2 10 Shotgun 3-wide 4-3-4 Nickel even Press two high Run N/A Counter Stribling 40
M sends Thomas into the box; WR moves to crack on him and Stribling(-3, tackling -3) moves to replace. M spills the counter to him and he tries to tackle Scott by his shoulder pads. That’s turrible. McCray(+0.5) forced the bounce and made Scott bend out; even a little slowdown lets Thomas get to this for a modest gain. Not so much.
M22 1 10 Offset I twins 4-3-4 4-3 over SAM Press two high Pass 5 Stop and go? Lewis Inc
Super zoom from the director and no replay so no idea how Lewis(-2, cover -2) gets beat so badly, but he does; WR is open by two or three yards and Terry just misses. Glasgow came through late to prevent a pressure minus.
M22 2 10 Shotgun empty trips TE 3-2-6 30 dime pinched Press one high Run N/A QB power Stribling 5
Totally bizarre alignment with three DL lined up tight and just 5.5 guys in the box; McCray flares to cover Scott as he rolls out. Really obvious QB run scenario and M more or less eats it. Stribling is hanging out at an LB type and comes up to tackle. He makes the tackle; he gets run over doing so. RPS -1.
M17 3 5 Shotgun empty trips TE 3-2-6 3-3 stack Press one high Pass 5 Scramble Glasgow 9
Glasgow flagrantly held(refs -3) as he tries to get to the gap the QB attacks. Good job, good effort refs.
M8 1 G Shotgun 3-wide 4-2-5 Nickel even Press two high Run N/A Speed option Charlton -9
M on top of this as Charlton(+1) slides in on the QB quickly and McCray(+1) flares out to the back; even if this isn’t fumbled McCray is likely hitting just after the catch for a TFL. RPS +2, ball don’t lie.
M17 2 G Shotgun 3-wide 4-1-6 Nickel even Press two high Pass 4 Slant Watson Inc
Someone busts a coverage and this is rather open. I assume it’s Watson(-2, cover- 2) since Lewis starts saying pointed things in his direction after the snap. Terry turfs it.
M17 3 G Shotgun trips TE 4-1-6 3-3 split Press one high Pass 5 Out Stribling Inc
Terry airmails this one as Stribling(+1, cover +1) is in excellent position. QB thumped by three different guys right after the throw; Pressure +1; Gedeon, Charlton, Wormley +0.5
Drive Notes: Missed FG(34), 30-10, 10 min 4th Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Pack Front Cover look Type Rush Play Player Yards
O411 1 10 Shotgun 3-wide 4-2-5 4-3 over SAM Press one high Pass 4 Back shoulder fade Stribling Inc
Charlton(+1, pressure +1) avoids a cut from the RB and forces a throw; Stribling(+1, cover +1) may or may not get a PBU here but is in good position and aware of the back shoulder possibility so he makes this a very difficult catch even if he doesn’t get a hand on it.
O411 2 10 Shotgun 3-wide 4-2-5 Nickel under Press two high Pass 4 Yakety snap N/A -5
Low snap that the QB goes to a knee to recover. Ensuing throw is pressured by Godin(+1, pressure +1) and so inaccurate that Peppers can’t intercept because it’s too far behind him. Replay puts the ball back where it should be.
O36 3 15 Shotgun 3-wide 4-2-5 Nickel over Press two high Pass 4 TE out Charlton 10
Charlton just about gets to the QB but gets a yank well after he beats the OT and can’t get there. This isn’t going to get called all the time but only because it’s hard to see; Lewerke barely has time to get the ball out to a TE. Gedeon is in decent coverage; ball is so low he has no play on it. Ball is so low that it clearly skips on replay; refs(-2) call it complete and review it complete.
O46 4 5 Shotgun trips tight bunch 4-2-5 Okie Press one high Pass 5 Improv Charlton 34
Charlton accidentally let go by Scott, who then blatantly yanks him from the side and prevents him from containing Lewerke. Breaking the pocket like this is dangerous, as Speight demonstrated earlier; we get absolutely no indication of how this guy got so open. Refs -3; cover –3, Thomas -2.
M20 1 10 Ace 3-wide 4-2-5 4-3 over Press one high Pass 4 Fade Stribling 20
Stribling(-3, cover -3) just straight up beat by a guy who doesn’t even run a move.
Drive Notes: Touchdown, 30-17, 7 min 4th Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Pack Front Cover look Type Rush Play Player Yards
O15 1 10 Shotgun 3-wide 4-2-5 4-3 even SAM Press one high Pass 4 Scramble Charlton 24
Charlton(+1, pressure +1) around the corner, at which point he is tackled, refs -3. QB scrambles out and both McCray(-2) and Gedeon(-2, tackling -2) overrun the play to turn an innocuous nothing into a big gain.
O39 1 10 Shotgun 3-wide 4-2-5 4-3 even Press two high Pass 4 Throwaway Charlton Inc
Coverage(+1) good on the first read, which must be Stribling(+1); Charlton(+1) leap over a cut block and forces a scramble; this time QB just dumps it.
O39 2 10 Shotgun trips bunch 4-2-5 4-3 over Press one high Pass 4 Curl Lewis 8
Legit impressive throw from Lewerke here as he manages to get it into his WR and away from Lewis(+0.5, cover +1), who is coming hard and had a play on most balls that aren’t throw just right to keep it away from him and allow the WR to shield him off. Comfortable pocket (pressure -1) on a quick throw.
O47 2 2 Shotgun 3-wide 4-2-5 4-3 over Press one high Run N/A Counter N/A 4
M still getting lined up on the snap, which contributes to the success of the play. RPS -1. Wormley(-1) late getting to his spot and gets blocked by a TE as a result; that’s enough for a crease despite Peppers(+1) attacking a lead blocker and getting to a tackle before the sticks; support from the DL makes this third down, in all likelihood.
M49 1 10 Shotgun 3-wide 4-2-5 4-3 even Press two high Pass 4 Scramble Hurst 8
Hurst(-1, pressure -1) is stunting w/ Wormley and doesn’t drive outside enough to create a pocket. He gets most of the way there and then tries to get inside the last guy, so angle for QB is there for him to escape after he checks two fruitless reads(cover +2) and runs out.
M41 2 2 Shotgun 3-wide 4-2-5 4-3 even Press two high Pass 4 Out McCray 23
M giving up the first down by alignment and MSU takes it. That’s fine given the situation. Not fine: Thomas(-1, tackling -1) getting run outside and McCray(-2, tackling -2) being unable to use the sideline to force him out after about 8; instead he overruns it and Shelton gets another chunk.
M18 1 10 Shotgun 3-wide 4-2-5 4-3 even Press one high Pass 4 Post Lewis Inc
No pressure(-2) on a four man rush and M is vulnerable here with Lewis playing outside leverage and Thomas not in the middle of the field but on a hash; Lewis is in push-at-best coverage; QB misses.
M18 2 10 Shotgun 3-wide 3-2-6 3-3 split Press one high Pass 4 Out Hill 5
If the Chesson OPI was OPI so was this; WR picks off Hill and out is open. Hill is there to cut it off close to the sticks; crappy throw takes WR OOB. McCray(+0.5, pressure +1) blitzes and kind of gets through, throw required.
M13 3 5 SHotgun trips tight bunch 3-2-6 Okie Half press one high Pass 5 Fade Stribling Inc
Stribling(+2, cover +2) over the top of this and gets his head around; WR with no shot and a better ball is INT territory.
M13 4 5 Shotgun 3-wide 3-2-6 Okie Press one high Pass 5 Sack Charlton -9
Charlton(+1, pressure +3) shoots around the corner; okie front ended up with a RB trying to check him. He does not. He gets a hand on the QB and forces him to move. Hill was sent; he gets buried by an OL and happens to fall in a convenient area; QB jumps over him. Peppers(+2) reads that his guy has blocked and he’s free; he bursts outside in a flash once he sees the QB break the pocket and sacks.
Drive Notes: Turnover on downs, 30-17, 2 min 4th Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Pack Front Cover look Type Rush Play Player Yards
O25 1 10 Shotgun 4-wide 4-2-5 Dime even Press two high Pass 4 Angle screen McCray 35
Michigan’s run this a couple times: a one-man screen where the C gets out on a LB and the back is free in a ton of space. McCray(-2, tackling -2) comes up to tackle near the sticks and gets juked to the point where he doesn’t even make contact, turning this into a big play. RPS -2.
M40 1 10 Shotgun 3-wide 4-2-5 Nickel even Press two high Pass 4 Post Lewis Inc (Pen +15)
Again, maybe this is interference but if you call this on a punted up ball where both guys have their arms tangled you blew a half dozen calls earlier in this game. To me this is super chintzy and should never get called, and then don’t get me started on the targeting call that eventually gets overturned. Lewis -1, cover -1, I guess.
M25 1 10 Shotgun trips 3-2-6 Okie Press one high Pass 4 Slant Watson 10
Relatively well defended slant by Watson here that MSU just executes on; Watson(+0.5, cover +1) gets a rake in but gets walled off by the WR. Sometimes the offense just executes and you get beat.
M15 1 10 Shotgun 3-wide 3-2-6 Okie Press one high Pass 4 Fade Lewis Inc
Lewis(+2, cover +2) over the top of this and this may be a bad back shoulder attempt; WR shoves Lewis out of the way, or tries to but Lewis still gets a hand in for the PBU.
M15 2 10 Shotgun 3-wide 3-2-6 Okie Press one high Pass 4 Angle screen Lewis Inc (Pen +10)
Lewis(-1, cover -1) does briefly wrap his arms around Shelton as the ball comes out and this is probably a legit call.
M5 1 G Shotgun 4-wide 3-2-6 Okie Press one high Pass 4 Fade Watson 5
Watson(-1, cover -1) in press on Corley and fails to contest this with shoryuken technique.
M3 2PT 2PT Shotgun trips bunch 4-2-5 4-3 over SAM Press zero Run N/A Speed option Peppers -10
Hahaha. Eat it, Mork.
Drive Notes: Touchdown, 32-23, EOG.


I mean, yeah, there were some things. I don't think this game downgraded my opinion of Michigan's defense much, though. Stribling isn't impregnable and the backup DTs aren't going to also go in the top two rounds of the draft. Tackling was real bad, which is good and bad in a predictive sense.

How can you say that with all the yards! The yards!

Okay. We're going to do a drive chart. We're going to do two things: 1) pretend the refs called the Hill personal foul both ways like they should have, and 2) ignore the Peppers PI on third and goal, which was a travesty:

On top of the big fat nothing of the call itself sending Brock Huard into a rant, the ball was nowhere near catchable.

In this world this is what M's drive chart looks like before the fourth quarter:

  • 12 play, 75 yard TD drive.
  • Three and out. (Extended by the Hill PF.)
  • One first down and then a turnover on downs.
  • Two first downs, 52 yard FG
  • Three and out.
  • Immediate INT.
  • One first down and out. (Extended by Peppers PI.)
  • Turnover on downs.

At this point MSU has had eight drives and has 170 yards; they also have three turnovers. (Those turnovers on downs are far more difficult than regular stops and they should get credit for them.) They have ten points because Dantonio came in with an admittedly excellent rivalry kitchen-sink drive they'd no doubt been preparing all year and because their kicker extended his career long.

At this point they're up 20 with 14 minutes left in the game. MSU brings in their running QB. They run with him. What's the play in that situation? Play it conservatively and stiffen in the redzone. Except for missing a tackle on Scott, about which more in a bit, they do this. 11 plays later MSU has a FGA they miss and four minutes are off the clock.

It is at this point that things go off the rails. MSU drives for a touchdown in a flash and then drives to the 13 before another turnover on downs; they then get a meaningless TD on a drive starting with 37 seconds on the clock.

How much of that do you think is actually bad? And how much of that is actually something that will repeat?

Uh... aren't you supposed to answer that?

I suppose so. I don't think much of that is going to translate unless this level of holding is ignored later in the season. Two things did jump out as rather sobering.

One: Michigan slashed its defensive line rotation to the bone after the opening drive. Amongst the backups only Gary and Hurst saw a meaningful amount of snaps on standard downs. Nominal starter Godin seemed to give back his job to Hurst, meanwhile, and looked a lot closer to last year's kind of meh Godin than this year's extremely solid version. Mone limped off after three snaps on which he looked bad. The DL depth doesn't seem quite as imposing after this game.

Two: Stribling, McCray, and Gedeon each had multiple horrendous missed tackles. Stribling had two. On the first he overran Corley on the play that set up MSU with first and goal after the INT.

On the second he did whatever the hell this is to LJ Scott.

Gedeon and McCray also whiffed on Scott to add about 30 yards to his totals apiece; both guys combined on the post-Taco-tackle QB scramble to turn that into a big play. McCray and Thomas combined to turn a four yard gain into 23.

That's way, way too many misses, and they're concentrated in the linebacker corps. They were exposed to some extent. Possible it's just a fluke, but McCray's struggles in space seemed like anything but.

What was so great about that opening drive? Wouldn't the things that they did on it be a problem going forward?

Seth has a post on this; I agree that MSU's opening drive was a script spectacular. It reminded me of that Stanford-Virginia Tech Orange Bowl in which Harbaugh brilliantly formationed the VT defense to death. MSU probably spent as long on this drive as Harbaugh did on his VT gameplan. That one was a bowl game and one was a sixth straight loss midseason is Dantonio's Michigan mania defined.

If you saw it on TV you missed a ton of what MSU was doing because they would cut to the play late. Just about every play saw several players reposition, some two or even three times. Michigan had not seen this on film and had issues trying to get aligned. They ended up with Jourdan Lewis and Jabrill Peppers functioning as inside linebackers on a couple plays; on both times both guys waited and ate blocks because they didn't know what they were doing. Michigan has a fine call on for this play with Peppers at WLB. They slant hard. Peppers should be running opposite the slant and making sure that the guy who ends up blocking him releases to see nothing but air. Instead:

That was set up by the presnap motion getting Michigan out of their desired defensive alignment. Michigan also got formationed on the TD, which saw M misalign and give MSU an easy path to the edge.

Then there was this thing, which is cool and should definitely go on the "steal this play" list:

Looks all the world like a power O and turns into a WR sweep outside of it. Michigan got burned on this on the post-INT drive as well; it's the Stribling missed tackle above.

If Michigan doesn't look at it and adjust, sure, this is a problem. Michigan did do so, so it's not. MSU's jumbo packages were definitively nerfed by the second quarter, when six runs from jumbo inside the ten collected –3 yards. Michigan flipped their CBs and safeties in the scheme and Hill and Thomas were better able to take on the lead blocks. The inverted veer they scored on was well defended when run a second time.

After the first drive the only MSU successes before garbage time came on a third down conversion where O'Connor got hit on the throw and miraculously still threw it accurately, a couple of the missed tackles above, and a counter that seemed like it broke tendencies because it fooled the whole defense.

Lewis took a ton of flags though. He bad now.

As I mentioned in the offensive post, this game was reffed by idiots. The stuff they let go for MSU was literally identical to the stuff they called on Michigan. Darboh catch:

Lewis interference:

You simply cannot throw a flag on one of those and not the other. The offense is the same: hooking an arm. In Lewis's case he's looking back at the ball and isn't outright grabbing; the arms are intertwined but you can make an argument that Lewis has a right to that position since he could be attempting to go for the ball. If anything the flags should be reversed.

Lewis got hit with a more legit PI a couple plays later; even that wasn't a must-call. Meanwhile, MSU had 34 passing yards through three quarters and Lewis ran Shelton's route for him on the INT:

He's fine, guys. I wonder if the refs would have had the stones to throw those flags in a game Michigan could actually lose.

Also, Lewis knows how to tackle a guy 50 pounds heavier than him. So he's got that going for him.

Stribling though?

Okay, yes, this was a rough game from Stribling. In addition to the two missed tackles for big chunks he was culpable on the TD to make it 30-17 when Madaris just ran by him:

That is uncharacteristic, and Stribling did defend a number of other passes ably. I still think he's real good and playing himself into the NFL draft, but I'll have to dial back last week's chatter about corner #1 and corner #1A. Lewis, then Stribling.

The data we have is still almost all very positive despite this outing. Don't overreact.

The DL got dominated!

No. Scott got nearly half his yards on two of those missed tackles that should have been zero yard gains as the DL bounced the play to unblocked defenders. He had 22 carries for 80 yards otherwise.

The DL was fine, and I mean... MSU just hugs people. It's nuts.

Glasgow tries his trademark rip, which is legal, and can't get off the block because he's getting grabbed around the shoulder. In just about every situation an OL wrapping his hand around so that it's literally on the back of an opponent is a flag. Thomas actually drew a call on it; there's no difference between what the MSU OL did to Thomas on that play and what they were doing on about half their snaps. Their RG did this a ton.

Sometimes you get away with it if it's not relevant to the play or the DL can't make it obvious, but, uh...

Explain that one. Or this one.

And that's before we get into tackle Taco time. Twice Taco got ripped from the side on plays where Lewerke broke the pocket, once to convert a fourth and five with a deep bomb, the second time on a 34-yard scramble. This looked worse from the other side of the field where I was sitting; Scott grabbed him by the shoulder pads and yanked down:

And the capper:

MSU somehow got out of this game with just one holding call on an OL. (A WR got one for tackling Lewis on a jet.)

Despite all that Michigan's DL was largely in control after the first drive. Hurst was a major upgrade in penetration and explosion:

He was the key actor on one of the goal-to-go snaps from the two:

Godin just is not going to do that. He's a good player. He's not Hurst, and it's probably time to re-insert Hurst into the starting lineup and feed him as many snaps as he can handle. That seems like it's in process he got a slight majority of the snaps after the first drive.

When MSU spread it out and tried to go after Michigan, single blocks got crushed and things looked a lot like they've looked all year.

MSU was able to get movement with doubles, and no doubt future opponents will try it. If anyone loads up like MSU does I'd like to see Michigan figure out a package with 5 DL. That'll reset the numbers on the interior and give Michigan the opportunity to win one on one as they do so well. They've got the DL depth even if it's a little shakier than previously believed.

And Charlton... Charlton was the dominator. He got the instant spin to force the INT, and while he got blown out a couple times on a slants, when one on one he was tossing guys around.

You can see this on the

chart i clutch to my chest like a Michigan State offensive lineman trying to execute a simple block


[NOTE: PFF grading works out differently than mine. In UFR zero is bad for DL; it's average in PFF. Their scale seems to be about a third or a half of mine. PFF has a "penalty" section that I've elected to omit for space's sake, which is why the individual components might not add up to the "overall." number. I'll note when it's a big discrepancy.]

Another thing to note this week especially: I'm not going to hit a guy with a negative for getting tackled without a call. I'm not sure what PFF does. They might be evaluating the refs' calls like I do: Peppers had a +0.1 penalty grade despite the PI.

DL UFR grade PFF grade  
Player Snaps + - T Run Rush Cvr Over Notes
Wormley 59 4.5 2 2.5 0.8 0   1.0 Quiet day.
Glasgow 57 6.5 6.5 -0.3 0.7   0.6 Most of his production on the jet TFL. My grade and PFF's are pretty close for this many snaps for a DL.
Hurst 31 6.5 3 3.5 3.2 1.4   4.6 That's a lot of work in 31 snaps. I was less high on him than PFF.
Charlton 64 20 5 15 3.8 2.8   6.9 Clubberation. Monster game even w/ holds.
Gary 21 2 3 -1 -1 -0.2   -1.1 Busted once, scooped once.
Mone 3 2 -2 0   0
Godin 35 2.5 2.5 0 0.5 -0.9   -0.3 Back to earth somewhat.
Winovich 14 1.5 1 0.5 -0.2   -0.2
TOTAL   43.5 18.5 25         Same numbers as last week but in a bunch more snaps. Worst performance of the year. Still... quite good.
LB UFR grade PFF grade  
Player Snaps + - TOT Run Rush Covr Ovr Notes
Peppers 68 13 5.5 8.5 1.0 -0.2 1.0 1.8
McCray 72 11.5 11.5 0 3.2 0.1 -2.5 0.9 I guess they charged the missed tackles to coverage? They were downfield.
Gedeon 74 10 9 1 -1.8 -0.3 -1.7 -3.7 Erk.
Furbush 6 1   1 0.1 0.4   0.5
TOTAL   35.5 26 9.5         I'm less down on Gedeon and higher on Peppers.
DB UFR grade PFF grade  
Player Snaps + - Run Rush Cvr Ovr Notes
Lewis 74 12 5 7 1.2   0.2 1.4
Stribling 74 6.5 9 -3.5  -1.8 1.3 -0.5
D. Hill 74 6.5 4 2.5 -0.6 0.4 0.6 -1.1 -1.4 for the PF.
Thomas 74 1 4 -3 0 -0.2 -1 -1.2 Hit him with the bomb on tackle taco time.
Watson 10 0.5 3 -2.5   -0.8 -0.8  
Metellus 4   0.1   0.1 0.1   
L. Hill          
TOTAL   26.5 25 1.5          
Pressure   16 6 +10 MSU terrified to throw for three Qs and went quick, so low total numbers and a Taco related blowout.
Coverage   16 15 +1 Not great, bob.
Tackling   2 14 -12 Just a total disaster, as described above.
RPS   6 11 -5 M +2 after first drive; –7 on it.

This is a bunch to unpack.

First: that tackling number is horrible. Obviously. That's bad, because it's almost all Michigan screwing up and nothing to do with MSU cleverness or, like, playing well. Right now it's an anomaly, but it's something to keep an eye on. Maryland has a couple of super shifty RBs who will give Michigan a stiff test this weekend.

Without those missed tackles both ILBs check in highly positive and Stribling also ends up solidly positive; it's something Michigan needs to clean up but only that.

Second: M was –7 in RPS on the first drive and +2 the rest of the way. After MSU got through the script they got downloaded by Brown; Michigan adjusted and it was bupkis until silly time.

Third: the DL was still highly positive in ratio but was less impactful overall than they've been in recent weeks because those positives are spread out over so many more snaps. MSU accomplished this with a lot of big formations and very few passes on which the QB was asked to hold the ball for any length of time. A lot of passes got out so fast a pressure number was not issued; thus the super-low 16-6=+10 metric. When Michigan was able to go one on one as they do they dominated as they do.

Four: Damn, Taco. Charlton helped force the INT with a lightning quick spin and was just about literally unblockable without great fistfuls of jersey being involved.

I thought MSU's plan was to run at Peppers and it worked? What's with that grade?

When not accidentally stuck at ILB, Peppers was actually not that involved with the MSU ground game. He didn't come up much either way in my grading... except when he made one of the plays of the game with a backside gap-shoot on fourth down that nobody else makes, nationwide:

(Okay, Jalen Ramsey maybe. Nobody else.) That explosion is just a useful on defense as it is on offense, as he demonstrated as he cleaned up after Charlton on the fourth-down sack late:

Peppers did contribute to one of the long Scott runs after a missed tackle; other than that and the RPS issue above he was a major positive. He had one of his trademark wrong-side TFLs on second and goal:

The only time Peppers was actually playing his position and gave up a chunk because he got owned on a block was on the first LJ Scott missed tackle run; he spun off a block to the inside and could not recover to tackle Scott short of the sticks.

He's good. Love the MSU fans still declaring him overrated after he owned the redzone against them and had two TFLs and two critical fourth down stops against them. Right.


Charlton was a beast. Peppers was excellent. Lewis was very good.

Maybe not so heroic?

McCray and Gedeon were all right overall but missed probably 100 yards worth of tackles; Channing Stribling ceded another 50 on missed tackles and gave up an easy TD.

What does it mean for Maryland and beyond?

The DL might not be  super super deep. When push came to shove, Mone and Godin didn't perform. Mone is probably still hurting; if so you have to wonder whether he'll get back to 100% this year. Meanwhile Lawrence Marshall is a ghost and even Gary had some problems.

Tackling: let's do it. Hopefully this is a wake-up call and things get fixed instead of a problem that suddenly bursts into existence midseason. Survey says... uh. Ask again later.

Taco is fully operational. He tweeted out something along the lines of "and I'm not even 100% yet" after a very good game a couple weeks ago. If this is 100% Taco consistently, look out.

Michigan's DL is much better when it can take on single blocking. Ultrabig formations did give them some trouble in this game.

Hurst should start. He's on another level from Godin.

For the love of God, Big Ten referees. Look in front of your faces.


Big Boutros

November 3rd, 2016 at 3:53 PM ^

Michigan couldn't tackle because of the lingering team-wide flu. Wrapping up would have impacted their stomachs, which means instant diarrhea. Diarrhea on the field would be poor optics for the program and there might be a substitution rule like when you lose your helmet.

Verdict: diarrhea.


November 3rd, 2016 at 3:54 PM ^

Agree the refereeing sucked, and that this is not new.

Questions, maybe for a future entry (not by me...)

How much do BIG refs get paid?  Is this higher/lower than other Power5 conferences?

How much training, continuing education is required of them?  Again, is the BIG on par with other conferences?

Could we expect better refereeing with better training/pay?  Or is this just the nature of the game?


South Bend Wolverine

November 3rd, 2016 at 4:43 PM ^

If that's the case, then it's absolutely inexcusable.  That's $12,000-36,000 per season for each ref, assuming 12 games.  Given how much cash flows through the programs & conference these days, we should be able to up that substantially and get some people who actually know the rules in there.

MI Expat NY

November 3rd, 2016 at 4:51 PM ^

I guess my question is, and the conference's reasoning is, how much better would they really get with more money?  This is a side-gig for pretty much every official.  $40K+ a year (counting bowls, bye weeks, scrimages, spring games, etc.) is pretty good money for a side gig.  Would making it $50K a year really draw better quality officials?  I have my doubts.

The same thing goes with paying a lot more to get full-time officials.  $100K or somewhat more probably seems like a reasonable amount, but then again, many of these guys may be giving up normal jobs that see them making more than that.  

You could probably draw some higher quality officials into the entire enterprise that is football officiating by offeering $250K full-time gigs for Big Ten level officials, but I'm not sure how noticeable the difference would be and that's quite a cost difference for the conference to stomach.  

South Bend Wolverine

November 3rd, 2016 at 5:16 PM ^

Thanks for a thoughtful response, and putting some numbers out there to think about.  Bang for your buck is definitely a legitimate concern here, and if the expenditure won't bring commensurate improvement, then it's not worth it.  You mention $100,000 as something that might be doable, and I am inclined to agree that that's an achievable number.  Maybe we can pay for it with the revenues from these new Friday night games. :p

If by doing so, we could turn a majority of Big Ten refs into full-timers, that would be totally worth it in my mind.  There were a couple good articles a few months back about MLS totally revamping their officiating, and with measurably positive results.  With full-time refs, it seems to me that the Big Ten could do something similar.  Some of the issues are different, of course - improving referee fitness was a big issue in MLS, which would not be so relevant in football - but it's still indicates that greater investment can lead to better results.

Part of it comes down to what we are looking to get out of the higher level of investment.  Are we looking to attract more capable refs, or are we looking to better train the ones we have?  To bring in pro level refs would probably require too much cash, but to make officiating the primary job of the guys we do have, such that they can be better trained & prepared, could be more achievable.


November 3rd, 2016 at 6:13 PM ^

No, let's not raise wages. Technology allows for a review of ANY penalty. Make it where anything can be overturned pending a quick review. May add a slight bit of time, but with all the commercial breaks and the other nonsense, I doubt it would be that noticeable. For such a fast paced game, it is surprising refs get so much correct. But when 1-2 bad calls can be the line between a victory or defeat, more measures are needed.

Sent from MGoBlog HD for iPhone & iPad


November 3rd, 2016 at 6:50 PM ^

The problem with refereeing is generally 10% bad calls and 90% missed calls.  Reviewing penalty calls might get a couple bad ones overturned but it wouldn't have a real effect on the quality of reffing in general.  And I emphatically do not want to live in a world where a booth guy can buzz down after every play and says "i saw holding."  "saw another hold."  "that was holding."  "there's more holding."

Mr Miggle

November 3rd, 2016 at 7:02 PM ^

would be to use a spread out schedule. Friday night, Thursday night, Wednesday night games. Let the best crews work 3-4 games a week and pay them better. Obviously not an ideal solution. Maybe a generous bonus system based on how they grade out is worth trying.

I don't know how practical it is trying to turn a 13 date gig into a full time job. Even if the pay was higher, it's never going to be a full time, year round profession. It's not even that in the NFL.


November 3rd, 2016 at 7:32 PM ^

Most current Big Ten refs would probably turn that down.  Let's say you are making $75K a year at your "regular" job as a high school vice principal or whatever, plus you make $12K a year as a Big Ten referee.  Yes, $100K a year would be a raise, but you would be giving up your real career in exchange for a job where you have zero job security, essentially zero opportunity for advancement, and a significantly higher chance for serious injury.

I think we have to face the fact that the best football officials out there are already officiating football.  They haven't been driven out of the game by the lack of salary.  I would even say that officiating football is like playing the holophonor:  only a few people possess the ability to do it - and they are not very good at it.

Unfortunately, what we have right now is probably as good as it's ever going to get.


November 3rd, 2016 at 8:23 PM ^

Where is the money going to come from to pay an official 100K a game? How many officials work a game, 7 or 8? You're talking about 700K a game for officials. Hypotheticly 7 games each week in conference play with 9 weeks of conference play and you're talking 45 million not including the conference championship game and non conference games.

MI Expat NY

November 3rd, 2016 at 4:42 PM ^

I can't answer your questions, but I will say I don't think Big Ten refs are noticeably worse than any other conference's refs.  

I do think bad refereeing is a bit "nature of the game."  But probably not in the way most would think.  I think most could be better with better training and practice, but I'm not sure that's possible when you can only ref one game at this level per week.  Maybe in the future there's a virtual reality system that allows officials to be plugged in to training systems with real games at real speed to practice with, but until that time, I'm not sure there's anything that can be done to make things notably better.  

This game was awful though, and there's no excuse for the missed holding calls in the 4th quarter.  The rules don't cease to exist in the 4th quarter of a game that's probably out of reach (in the last tree minutes of a true blowout? maybe).

kevin holt

November 3rd, 2016 at 5:17 PM ^

I have an idea: let's get a big fund that people from all fanbases donate to, and we pay a stipend for anybody who gets their ref credentials and enters the college ranks. There are just too many shitty refs and not enough supply overall to fire anybody.


November 3rd, 2016 at 4:13 PM ^

"Godin just is not going to do that. He's a good player. He's not Hurst, and it's probably time to re-insert Hurst into the starting lineup and feed him as many snaps as he can handle. That seems like it's in process he got a slight majority of the snaps after the first drive."

"Do you really think you know more than Don Brown?" --- That's the assholic comment I received last week from someone when I suggested Hurst should start.

Hurst is the better, stronger athlete while Godin gives more effort, imo, with a slightly more consistent motor. Godin's a big boy and can be effective but primarliy because of his surrounding cast.

Again give me Hurst (as long as he's 100% and playing with 100% effort, clean through the whistle) every day of the week.


November 3rd, 2016 at 4:25 PM ^

I don't care who starts, but Hurst should be getting more snaps for sure. With the 1st/2nd unit that they had been running, the combo of:

Worm/Godin/Glasgow/Taco & Gary/Hurst/Mone/Winovich were probably the two best "Lines" they could use from full-change sense. Having Gary/Godin/Mony/Winovich is a much weaker line. As we get more into crunch time they'll hopefully start putting their best 4 out there as much as they can.


November 3rd, 2016 at 4:03 PM ^

I know I'm supposed to get worried here, but this was still 30-10 with 9 minutes to go.  Yes, guys missed tackles.  Yes, the corners had some issues in coverage.  Yes, the defensive line had a drop-off in depth.  But this was a game UM was in control of for long stretches, and I think they specifically attacked some of the weak points in UM's defense because this was a game they planned for all year.  It also led to their offense throwing for 34 yards in 3 quarters and barely breaking 70 for a half of football.  Not to be crude, but shit happens.  

Even Mike DeBord now knows teams gameplan for you differently than they look on film, so MSU coming out with some great playcalls early and a super-rush at the end shouldn't be shocking.  But at not point after the first quarter did UM not look in control, and the disparity in penalty calls in this game made it look closer than it was.  Again, if they look mediocre against Maryland or Iowa then let's worry, but right now this was a good win that looks "worse" because this fanbase will always be slightly more annoyed by MSU than anyone else.


November 3rd, 2016 at 4:38 PM ^

Yeah.  I totally recognize that this wasn't the best defensive performance of the year.  Scott broke some tackles and the corners definitely took some bad angles.  At the same time, Stribling getting beaten once struck and Lewis getting a 50/50 PI call weren't killers for me.  I do want to keep an eye on the tackling, but UM hasn't had this issue all season and big backs like Scott are sort of designed to be hard to tackle.  I think their team is largely full of mediocre players except for Scott and McDowell, and both showed up in this game.  I'm okay with that.


November 3rd, 2016 at 4:22 PM ^

Last year, a game with a nighmare ending was still an improvement with regard to Michigan's recent performances against MSU.  This year, Michigan was so in control of the game in the fourth quarter that, by some of the players' own accounts, they felt like they could take their foot off the gas.  And they won at MSU.  I'm good with the ways things went. 


November 3rd, 2016 at 4:39 PM ^

Yeah, and I'm not even sure how much they took off the gas until that last drive.  MSU basically had 2 competent scoring drives all game, and maybe 1 more that should have ended in points.  If you told me before the game MSU would score between 10 and 17 points against UM, I'd be fine with it.  


November 3rd, 2016 at 4:22 PM ^

His strength is off the charts, so even when it looks like he doesn't have a good angle and/or grip, he still can throw people down with authority (e.g., the first 4th down play). Top that off with his insane acceleration (e.g., when he explodes from his stance to tackle Lewerke, in literally one second, on the 4th and 5 play with 2 minutes left; just engulfs him).

We obviously knew he'd be sorely missed next year, but even with a very good defensive line, it's going to take a village of need-to-be high-performing soon-to-be-sophomores in the back 7 to even come close.

The hype is real.


November 3rd, 2016 at 4:22 PM ^

People were blabbing about Peppers being a liability because the commentators were talking about it and no other reason. On that first drive he was a problem once, and that was when he was out of position. One of those ways that bad commentating can affect perceptions of people who aren't paying close attention.

Interesting finds on the issue of double teams against our DL. Guys like Glasgow are excellent DTs but it has never seemed like standing up to doubles and taking up space is something that is a strength, and that actually seems like a coaching preference. I'm intrigued by the idea of using 5 DL formations, assuming that we aren't harming depth. I was going to say it might not be necessary down the stretch since our main worry is OSU, but games at Iowa and against whomever emerges from the West in the hypothetical B1G championship may need them.

It's hard to quantify why teams play better at home as opposed to on the road. There's some crowd noise involvement, but then Michigan Stadium is not going to be so raucus in the third quarter of a game they're leading by 30 that it should affect opposing offenses that Michigan still locks down.

But it makes a difference, and I wonder if we are vaguely seeing some of that here. Different surface, less advantage on timing the snap, stuff like that. Doesn't explain the tackling, though.



November 4th, 2016 at 6:46 AM ^

I would guess that's it just a mental thing. You know you're not at home so if you play differently it's because you feel different. The sights, sounds, smell, feel. It isn't something you're as used to.

I agree on the intersting finds on the double teams. I think on heavy formations, if given the time to switch up personnel, 5 DL would work. I think if caught off guard for a O formation that doens't require 5 DL is where we will get hit. But if you do that you're probably bringing in another end, and probably one that coudl play LB, like Winovich. Maybe somethign to do against Iowa.


November 3rd, 2016 at 4:28 PM ^

Other than Iowa (who I think is similiar to MSU and is beatable) would we really face many ultrabig formations other than as special packages?

Even Alabama is more spread than Manball now it seems. 


November 3rd, 2016 at 4:30 PM ^

Doesn't even take place if the refs didn't blow the spot on Higdon's second down run to salt the game away. The television producer decided to spend five minutes following Peppers around on the sideline instead of showing a review of the play. The announcers were convinced he got the first as was Harbaugh. I watched the run over and over and it is clear he comes down with the ball on top of the first down line. God damn amateur hour with officials these days.


November 3rd, 2016 at 4:32 PM ^

I think I got the Refs at -22, which is easily the worst number I've seen by a factor of 2. It doesn't even include the OPI that Brian referenced or the first Lewis PI.  That is insane.


November 3rd, 2016 at 5:18 PM ^

Here's for the whole game (except special teams, which I'm sure they missed stuff on too).

Offense: +3, -7, -4 overall

Defense: +0, -22, -22 overall

Total: +3, -29, -26 overall

That's bonkers

Given these points give/take away just as much yardage as player +/- if not more, that like negates our DL and OL net positive grades. 



November 4th, 2016 at 3:24 PM ^

Just to push the refs even more into the negative, look at the second play of the first drive after halftime (a WR sweep).  Brian says that Lewis "badly overruns the play," but that might be because the lead blocker (#65) grabs the front and back of his jersey and hurls him to the ground as the runner goes by - right in front of a ref, of course.  Lewis probably overran the play even without the hold, but I'm pretty sure that doesn't negate the penalty.

Yost Ghost

November 3rd, 2016 at 4:57 PM ^

What is up with Stribling? He seemed to be involved too often with plays that lead to big yardage for MSU. He gave up 97 yards (14, 23, 40, 20) to poor tackling and finished overall at  -3.5 UFR grading. 


November 3rd, 2016 at 4:45 PM ^

only get a +1 on the play when he stopped Scott on 4th and goal?  As you mentioned later in he column he's one on one with a guy 50 lbs heavier and he makes the stop.  On a day where the tackling by UM wasn't that great, Lewis makes a great tackle.  If Lewis doesn't make that tackle, it's an MSU touchdown and only a two score lead with a quarter and a half left to play.


November 3rd, 2016 at 5:16 PM ^

Thank goodness we won, but man this was irritating in real time, and even more irritating as Brian pointed out holdings I didn't even see. The one on Glasgow, the umpire is watching that exact area as the QB scurries by.

Of course what will be really irritating is when this crew is working the National Championship game.