Upon Further Review 2016: Offense vs Iowa Comment Count

Brian November 17th, 2016 at 12:03 PM


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FORMATION NOTES: Hey, it's Iowa.


4-3 over with two high safeties on just about every play. Iowa will insert safeties into the box post-snap like Michigan's done with some frequency this year; they are a cover-two-heavy 4-3 defense like they have always been and will always be.

SUBSTITUTION NOTES: The usual at QB and OL. Darboh got almost every snap (55 of 61), with Butt not far behind at 48. Chesson was at 37. Smith got two-thirds of the RB snaps with Chris Evans getting the bulk of the remainder; Higdon(5 snaps) and Isaac(1) saw reduced usage. Hill had an edge in FB snaps with 19 to Poggi's 12.

Rounding out the offense were scattered snaps for Perry, McDoom, Crawford, Wheatley, Asiasi, Drake Harris, and Juwann Bushell-Beatty.

[After THE JUMP: plane, meet mountain]

Ln Dn Ds O Form RB TE WR D Form Box Type Play Player Yards
M8 1 10 Ace 2 2 1 4-3 under 7 Run Inside zone Smith 4
Odd that they start out with the staple Iowa play: IZ out of an ace formation. Smith cuts backside because Cole(-1) and Bredeson(-1) can’t move the NT at all; Butt(+0.5) and Braden(+0.5) do decently on one DE and a SAM; safety lined up at nine yards comes down to hit. Unfortunate that Darboh isn’t tighter here since he could crack on that S and add some yards. Mags(+1) and Kalis(+1) comboed Johnson and blew him out, getting a LB; if M moves the NT this is profitable.
M12 2 6 I-Form Big 2 2 1 4-3 under 7 Pass PA TE out Butt 9
Looks like the FB flat thing M’s been running all year at first glance but M isn’t trying to pick off the LB covering Hill, they’re just running routes. Butt has an advantage on the MLB laterally and makes good on it; Speight sees he’s the open guy and hits him. (CA, 3, protection 1/1)
M21 1 10 Shotgun 3-wide H 1 1 3 4-3 over 6 Run Split zone Evans 12
Really good job by Mags(+2) to cut off a DE trying to slant into this gap, stand him up, and ward him off. Asiasi(+0.5) is shooting backside to pick up the contain guy and doesn’t really have anyone to hit because of this slant; the LB isn’t showing as a dangerous player. He thwacks Mags to help give him some momentum. Kalis(+1) thunks Johnson and moves him before moving to the second level and getting a linebacker; Cole(+0.5) almost loses Johnson but does enough. Evans(+1) squeezes through a tight gap and breaks an arm tackle.
M33 1 10 Ace 3-wide 3 1 1 4-3 over 6 Pass Post Darboh Inc
Peppers in as a WR, runs a route. Hill a slot as well. Darboh simply runs past a safety and is two steps clear of him. Speight loads up; misses. (IN, 0, protection 2/2) Route plus, I guess?
M33 2 10 Ace trips tight bunch TE 2 2 1 4-3 over 7 Run Crack sweep Smith -3
Ugh. This is a huge gain except for one thing: Kalis(-3) missing a blitz pickup. Iowa sends two LBs; Cole(+1) reads it and hits the MLB. MLB aborts and tries to get out, this is fine. Kalis steps so that he’s behind Cole; other LB jets through untouched. Iowa’s FR CB does a great job to read this and get into Mags, the guy who’s still pulling, early and force it back. Smith gets nailed in the backfield. Butt(+1) and Hill(+1) had comboed to get the playside end and with the blitz if this LB doesn’t make the play the only guy left is the safety. RPS –1.
M30 3 13 Shotgun 2-back 2 0 3 4-3 over 6 Pass Improv Chesson Inc
Iowa stunt gets through as Cole(-2) does not read it; Bredeson actually reacted well to it and got the looper. Speight gets pressure up the gut and rolls out. He’s set to throw it away when Kalis, who went looking for work after nobody came to him, puts the DE on the deck. Speight re-gathers, rolls a bit more, and just about hits Chesson for a spectacular first down. This is a diving attempt but one that hits Chesson in the hands and you want to see him bring this in. (DO+, 2, protection 0/2) It’s a flaw in my grading system that Kalis doesn’t get a plus for this.
Drive Notes: Punt, 0-0, 9 min 1st Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form RB TE WR D Form Box Type Play Player Yards
O46 1 10 Ace empty trips TE 1 1 3 4-3 over 6 Pass TE hitch Butt 5
Jet fake to Evans draws LB attention and opens up Butt for a reasonable gain; safety comes down to prevent YAC. (CA, 3, protection 1/1)
O41 2 5 I-Form Big twin TE 2 2 1 4-3 over 7 Run Power O Evans 1
Wheatley(-1) allows penetration to a DE slanting inside of him; guy lined up so tight I think this threw Wheatley off. Bredeson gets knocked off his pull as a result; Evans cuts behind Wheatley, which I don’t like but I can’t really blame him. Asiasi(-1) got beat as well so there wasn’t going to be much of anything; Mags(-1) gets spun off of to get Evans tackled. Kalis(+1) provided motive force to get Johnson off the LOS and then got a second level block and provides what little M gets.
O40 3 4 Offset I 2 1 2 4-3 over SAM 7 Pass PA TE flat Poggi 12
This is the ol’ pick the LB play and it’s wide open. Almost don’t need the pick because the guy on Poggi lined up four yards behind him, laterally, but Butt’s in the way for good measure. Easy conversion and a bunch of YAC. (CA, 3, protection 1/1, RPS +2)
O28 1 10 Ace twins twin TE 1 2 2 4-3 over 7 Run Counter pitch Evans 10
Jet action one way and a counter pitch the other. This is Evans(+2) versus the world and he wins. Darboh can’t decide who to block for a second but does hit a safety; probably should have gone for a DE not fooled but whatever. King comes up as he falls off Darboh and is surprised to get edged by Evans’s speed.
O18 1 10 I-Form Big 2 2 1 4-3 over 7.5 Pass Fade Darboh Inc
Ruled a catch and overturned and almost certainly correct. I do think this could easily have been called interference as the CB starts shoving Darboh with the ball in the air(refs -1) and this disrupts his ability to catch the ball. Darboh does anyway, with one hand, but can’t scrape the grass with his foot. (CA, 1, protection 1/1)
O18 2 10 Pepcat Pistol Diamond TE 3* 2 0 4-4 over 8 Run Arc zone keeper Peppers -1 + 9 Pen
M beat by a scrape exchange. DE dives down so Peppers pulls. Iowa shifted their LBs to the backside of this play and the playside guy now starts running at it; Asiasi(-1) does not recognize this and continues to run to get a kickout block. Peppers stops, avoids a tackle, gets swarmed, RPS -2. M bailed out by some Desmond King Sparty No stuff.
O10 1 G Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 4-3 over 7.5 Run Power O Smith 2
Tough sledding here; M attacks a big gap in the Iowa line but Braden(-0.5) spends too long on the double team and doesn’t get out to the second level quickly; with three Iowa LB/S types flooding the POA Smith(-1) hesitates and starts bouncing around, which robs him of his essential Smith-ness. Cut hard off the Kalis block and he’s probably grinding for a couple more and a decent gain. Braden did eventually find a guy and hit him a lot so there would have been a pile-push probability.
O8 2 G Shotgun twins twin TE 1 2 2 4-3 over 6.5 Pass Out Chesson Inc
First of a series of makeable catches on questionable throws that do not get made. If Speight throws this to the sideline it’s an easy TD. He leaves it a couple yards inside; Chesson can still leap for it and get both hands on it; CB jostles the ball out. (MA, 2, protection 2/2)
O8 3 G Shotgun trips 1 1 3 Okie zero 7.5 Pass Cross Darboh Inc
Great play by the Iowa LB here. He’s on Butt. Butt drives him downfield and then tries to break outside. Speight’s already decided to fire to Darboh, who smoke the S and is wide open; LB somehow realizes what’s happening and gets his hand up to deflect the ball. Credit where due. (CA, 0, protection 1/1)
Drive Notes: FG(25), 3-0, 4 min 1st Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form RB TE WR D Form Box Type Play Player Yards
M28 1 10 I-Form 2 1 2 4-3 over 7 Run Split zone Higdon 4
Higdon(-1) has an uncharacteristic read here; usually he’s good about finding the efficient path inside; here he mistakenly tries to bounce at first before an awkward 90 degree redirect. Hill(+1) made the lane happen by blasting a LB; Butt(+0.5) didn’t kill the DE but got enough; if Higdon cuts hard off Hill’s butt this is a solid gain. Braden(+0.5) got a hit and moved to the second level effectively.
M32 2 6 Offset I 2 1 2 4-3 under 7 Pass Waggle FB flat Butt 8
D confused, with no real pressure on Butt and CB to this side of the field not flying up. Easy pitch, catch, and conversion. (CA, 3, protection N/A, RPS +1)
M40 1 10 Pepcat 3-wide H 2* 3 0 4-3 under 7 Run QB crack sweep Peppers 7
Speight makes some fake calls before the play and then lines up like Kalis will snap it to him as M goes direct to Peppers. I don’t think this has much to do with the play but shruggie dot emoji. Crack sweep time. Asiasi(-1) beat as Iowa flows hard; Cole also beat but has zero shot at his guy; Bredeson(+1) does well to recognize and thump that guy to the ground. Braden(+1) gets a good cut on a LB; Butt(+1) blows out a LB. King dives inside Smith(-1) to get an ankle tackle in that just trips Peppers up as he reaches the S. RPS +1.
M47 2 3 Offset I 2 1 2 4-3 under 7 Run Power O Smith 4
Limited upside here as nobody goes for the corner, but with these S firing down M is probably just looking to get that guy out of the picture and get some yards. They do as Hill(+2) takes the SAM and clubs him inside for a seal; nominal TE JBB(+1) gets the DE inside and keeps him there. Bredeson(+0.5) is the puller and picks his way through to get a LB, albeit gingerly. Smith follows his blocks and gets the first down; Darboh(-1) didn’t crack down on the other S and he makes the tackle.
O49 1 10 Ace twins 1 2 2 4-3 over 7 Pass PA Dig Chesson 29
Play action that takes a long time to develop; Kalis(-2) gets away with an obvious hold on Johnson(refs +3) that allows this play to get off even after Speight hitches up. He does eventually throw, this off his back foot, and manages to loop it to Chesson as he gets hit for a big gain. While this is complete the uncomfortable approach here is ominous for the rest of the night. (CA, 2, protection 0/2)
O20 1 10 Offset I twins 2 1 2 4-3 under 7.5 Run Jet sweep McDoom 6
Motion McDoom one way and then the other, handing off the second time. Hill(+1) knows he’s got to bash the cover 2 corner and McDoom knows he’s got to cut inside of that; both execute. Safety shoots at this and it’s one on one with McDoom and that guy; McDoom(+1) stiffarms him and just about breaks it but S desperately grabs the ankle to hold the gain down.
O14 2 4 I-Form Big H 2 2 1 4-3 over 7.5 Run Trap Smith 2
This isn’t far from working much better. Asiasi(-1) gets a good initial hit on Johnson but then gets tossed to the ground so he can pursue. Hill(+0.5) almost adjusts to pick him off but not quite; Bredeson(-0.5) can’t get much drive even after Cole(+1) helped him and get to the second level; Smith gets banged from both sides and falls forward as one does.
O12 3 2 Ace twins twin TE 1 2 2 4-3 over 7 Pass Rollout out Darboh 5
Michigan with America’s Third And Short Rollout. Darboh draws a linebacker, Speight rolls away from the DL, relatively easy pitch and catch conversion (CA, 3, protection 1/1, RPS +1)
O7 1 G Shotgun 4-wide 1 2 2 4-3 over 6.5 Run Dart zone Isaac 7
Bredeson(-1) blocks down on the NT and gets beat; he manages to stay attached and not let the guy go totally unfettered but this was real close to not much as a result. Braden(+1) gets a big kick; Cole(+1) loops around Bredeson for an excellent second level block; Isaac(+1) makes the most of the scanty room provided and manages to shoot past the iffy Bredeson block and insert himself into the endzone.
Drive Notes: Touchdown, 10-0, 8 min 2nd Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form RB TE WR D Form Box Type Play Player Yards
M2 1 10 ??? 2 2 1 ??? ? Pass PA TE out Butt Inc
Tape only has the tail end of this play; we see Speight airmail a three-yard route to Butt. This is a simple throw and here we go with the rest of the night. (IN, 0, protection 2/2)
M2 2 10 I-Form Big 2 2 1 4-4 over 8 Run Lead zone Smith -2
Kalis(-3) chips and then moves past Johnson; nobody picks Johnson up. Everyone else is blocking a person so it’s got to be on Kalis.
Drive Notes: Safety, 10-2, 6 min 2nd Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form RB TE WR D Form Box Type Play Player Yards
M20 1 10 Ace offset 3-wide 1 1 3 4-3 under 7 Pass Waggle comeback Chesson Inc
Comeback is wide open (Chesson route +) but Speight doesn’t see it fast enough or just screws up; Iowa does contain him somewhat adequately, and he ends up turfing the ball yards in front of Chesson. (IN, 0, protection N/A)
M20 2 10 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 4-3 over 6 Pass Flash screen Chesson 1
Yeesh. You don’t expect Iowa to be all over this when you haven’t run this play all year; nonetheless they are, with the slot LB roaring out to tackle on the catch. RPS -2. (CA, 3, screen)
M21 3 9 Shotgun trips tight bunch 1 1 3 Nickel even 6 Pass Stop and go Darboh Inc
Wooooooooooooof. Darboh(route ++) smokes this freshman corner crispy; he’s open by yards and yards. Speight gets some pressure but doesn’t even get hit after he lets it go; he has enough time to step up and fire unfettered. He chucks a wobbler that is probably 20 yards short. Instead of a TD, punt. (INX, 0, protection 2/2). M gave Speight 4 seconds to throw without getting hit, I’m not minusing that protection.
Drive Notes: Punt, 10-2, 4 min 2nd Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form RB TE WR D Form Box Type Play Player Yards
M38 1 10 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 4-3 even 6 Pass Sack N/A -8
Sack is on Speight, as he gets hit five seconds after the snap. Has to get it out faster. Kalis(-1) did get beat but in such a way that QB should be hurried, not sacked. (TAX, N/A, protection ½)
M30 2 18 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 ??? ??? Pass Drag Perry 10
Director gives us a replay with a running clock in a one minute drill. Cumong man. When we come back to the play Speight is in a comfortable pocket and firing a dink route to Perry(+1), who manages to slip a tackle and get a solid chunk of YAC. (CA, 3, protection 2/2). If Speight throws previous ball away this is first and ten with over a minute left, huge swing.
M40 3 8 Shotgun 4-wide 1 1 3 4-3 even 6 Pass Skinny post Perry Inc
Speight has open receivers to either side of Perry but instead fires it at a guy who has a linebacker undercutting his route for a near INT. (BRX, 0, protection 2/2)
Drive Notes: Punt, 10-8, EOH.
Ln Dn Ds O Form RB TE WR D Form Box Type Play Player Yards
M25 1 10 I-Form twins 2 1 2 4-3 under 7.5 Pass Flea flicker post Darboh Inc
Trick play; Smith’s pitch back is awkward and costs Speight a second or two to re-adjust. He has his guy wide open but leaves it 15-20 yards underthrown again. Perhaps understandable since this is still 60 yards in the air. But also not complete. (IN, 0, protection 2/2, RPS +2) You can’t help but watch the replay and think about the fact that dude can’t even throw a spiral on this. How many yards does that cost him? Enough.
M25 2 10 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 4-3 over 6 Run Power O Evans 8
Evans(+1) does a good job here to threaten outside and then dart inside, erasing a safety. Bredeson(+1) gets around and gets a solid block on a LB. Mags(+1) seals in a DE to give Evans a lane. Kalis’s guy just gets off that block to ankle tackle to prevent a first down.
M33 3 2 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 4-3 over 7 Pass TE slant Butt Inc
You’ll see people blame Butt for this. That was my initial thought, but with Perry running just behind him Butt probably has to drift this route to the interior; Speight suckered by the faked blitz from Iowa and ends up throwing it way behind Butt when the LB backs out into the zone he’s targeting. Other open receivers include literally everyone. Woof. (BR, 0, protection 1/1)
Drive Notes: Punt, 10-11, 9 min 3rd Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form RB TE WR D Form Box Type Play Player Yards
O48 1 10 Ace trips tight bunch 2 1 2 4-3 over 7 Run Crack sweep Higdon -1
Iowa reacts heavily to the Hill motion and swarms this play. Butt(+1) gets a solid block on the playside end but everyone else is in trouble. Bredeson tries to reach a guy outside of him and does a reasonable job but he gives ground and gets outside since he’s booking for this play; he’ll tackle for loss. Meanwhile the backside LB is already at the POA so while a lot of these blocks look good Higdon’s screwed. RPS -2.
O49 2 11 Ace twin TE 1 2 2 4-3 over 7 Pass Sack N/A -2
Braden(-2) beat badly by a DE; Speight has an opportunity to get the ball out but hitches up; he tries to start moving forward in the pocket and then does decide to throw; DE swats it out as he goes into his throwing motion. Higdon recovers the fumble. (PR, N/A, protection 0/2)
M49 3 13 Shotgun trips 1 2 2 4-3 over 6 Pass Screen Evans 2
Butt motions out wide and gets a LB with him. Just six guys in the box. M goes screen opposite that and gets a bunch of people in the area without many defenders. Bredeson(-2) hesitates as if he’s going to block the one dude in the area and then does not. Dude tackles. Ugh. (CA, 3, screen). RPS +2. Darboh(-1) also lost his man.
Drive Notes: Punt, 10-11, 4 min 3rd Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form RB TE WR D Form Box Type Play Player Yards
M7 1 10 I-Form 2 1 2 4-3 over 7 Run Lead zone Evans 7
Bredeson(+1) fires off and cuts off a DT. Cole(+1) releases to the second level and gets Jewell. Johnson drives into the gap that Poggi is hitting like this is iso; Evans(+1) cuts behind him into a pretty good gap up the middle. Poggi gets cut off by Johnson, allowing one of the LBs to collapse on Evans after a solid gain.
M14 2 3 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 4-3 over 6 Run Split zone Evans 6
Big gap off the right as Kalis(+1) gets a second level block, Cole(+1) wins against Johnson, and Mags(+1) gets a kick sufficient to prevent his DE from even getting an arm tackle wave in. Evans hits the hole; hewed down by a safety.
M20 1 10 I-Form Big twin TE 2 2 1 4-3 under 7.5 Run Power O Smith 2
This seems like a bust of some sort as nobody blocks the playside DE on the first level. He shuffles down next to Braden and then movies upfield into Poggi; Braden(-1) and Bredeson(-1) get no movement on a long double on a DT; Kalis(+1) is able to plug that DE when he comes around on his pull. This gives Smith a narrow lane he takes for what he can get.
M22 2 8 Ace 1 2 2 4-3 under 7 Pass Scramble Speight 4
Protection is good enough for one read but Cole(-1) beat by Johnson and Speight flushes. Cole manages to shove Johnson past the QB so he can roll up in the pocket. He doesn’t see anything he likes and takes off for a reasonable gain. (SCR, N/A, protection ½). King basically punches Darboh in the head after this play and should get a second unsportsmanlike call, refs miss it. Refs -3.
M26 3 4 Offset I Big 2 2 1 4-3 under 7 Pass TE drag Butt 17
Evans the nominal FB; he goes out in a route. Speight doesn’t look to have good options anywhere and goes after Butt, placing the throw in the square inch of space beyond the LB; Butt makes a spectacular catch. (DO, 1, protection 2/2)
M43 1 10 Ace 3-wide 1 2 2 4-3 under 7 Run Offset draw Evans 6
Iowa defends this pretty well; DE gets thrown upfield as per usual but the DT doesn’t take the bait inside and fights back to the gap; Braden gets in his way accidentally and everyone falls over. That gets Evans through the line but with no lead blocker, but since the second level saw pass and got a bunch of depth it’s still a solid gain. RPS +1, Braden +1.
M49 2 4 Offset I twins 2 1 2 4-3 over 6.5 Pass PA out and up Darboh Inc
Another blindingly open deep ball well overthrown. Michigan added the Evans jet reverse frippery in to draw the attention of the corner to that side and while I’m not sure that worked, Darboh has 2 or 3 yards on him with no safety over the top. Speight misses again. (IN, 0, protection 2/2, RPS +1)
M49 3 4 Shotgun trips tight bunch TE 1 1 3 Nickel under 6 Pass TE out Butt Inc
Butt against a linebacker and again the LB is in a difficult position. Speight throws a bullet that’s high and outside; Butt has it clang off his hands. Speight could loop this more to put it in the buttzone; this is a pretty difficult catch at the limit of Butt’s catching radius. It is still one you want him to bring in. (CA, 2, protection 2/2)
Drive Notes: Punt bailout, 10-11, 11 min 4th Q. Iowa roughs the snapper and M gets it back.
Ln Dn Ds O Form RB TE WR D Form Box Type Play Player Yards
O36 1 10 Offset I 2 1 2 4-3 under 7 Run Counter zone Smith 6
Jet motion, handoff the other way. We get this play from skycam, which is interesting as a huge gap opens up. Looks like an Iowa DT gets a slant call nobody else does. Bredeson(+1) adapts to the weirdness and shoves him out. Kalis hand-fights with Johnson and stalls him for a bit; Johnson disengages to tackle Smith as he runs by. Cole(+0.5) got a decent block on the second level but one that got shed after a bit.
O30 2 4 I-Form 2 1 2 4-3 over 7 Run Iso Smith 3
Weak chip from Kalis(-0.5) and Cole(-0.5) can’t deal with Johnson on his own. Poggi(-1) loses his block as the LB gets lower than him and Smith(+2) is stacked up about a yard downfield. He manages to spin off this and Smith his way for another two. Cutback is not realistic given the way this handoff comes and the fact that there's a LB just waiting to pop up in that gap.
O27 3 1 I-Form Big H 3 2 0 4-3 under 7 Run Crack sweep Higdon -6
Henderson as an extra FB and JBB an extra OL. M motions Henderson in for what looks like one of those super quick FB dives and then runs their sweep; they blow the line call. Bredeson(-3) has an NT shaded inside of him and should block down with Cole pulling. Cole blocks “down” on a guy to the playside of him and Bredeson pulls. NT jets into the play. King shot upfield and forces the play back to the DT; Braden did get a shove in and this is probably fine if Michigan blocks it right up front.
Drive Notes: FG(51), 13-11, 9 min 4th Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form RB TE WR D Form Box Type Play Player Yards
M40 1 10 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 4-3 over 6 Run Power O Evans 2
Iowa inserts a safety, so the crack block by the WR is unable to come off and Iowa has an extra defender at the POA. Mags(+2) buries Johnson, so there’s a little room for an Evans cutback. Bredeson(+1) gets around and hits a LB to help care out that hole away from the S. Kalis(-1) cannot get any sort of second level block on the MLB and he’s able to tackle. RPS -2.
M42 2 8 Ace trips bunch TE 2 1 2 4-3 over 6.5 Run Jet sweep Peppers 4
Peppers(+0.5) at WR, takes jet sweep. DE bites inside and is flanked. Butt kicks out the CB, weakly; LB is able to track him down after a reasonable gain.
M46 3 4 Shotgun trips TE 1 1 3 Nickel under 6 Pass Rollout out Harris 4
America’s rollout out. M gets man coverage and the rub routes do their job. (CA, 3, protection 1/1, RPS +1)
50 1 10 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 4-3 under 6 Run Split zone Smith 7
Slant; Bredeson(+1) escorts his guy well out of the hole. Braden(+1) chips the backside end and gets a second level block; that chip allows Butt(+0.5) to get a hit on that guy and Smith goes through the crease; Cole(+1) moved the MLB back a number of yards before getting shed.
O43 2 3 I-Form Big H 2 2 1 4-3 over 7 Run Lead zone Smith 2
Blitz from a safety again to the backside; Iowa slants away from it to jam the front up and force it back to that guy. They succeed. Mags(-2) is leapt around by Johnson and falls; not only does that put Johnson in the hole it makes it very hard to not have a total schmozz. The line goes nowhere as Johnson occupies both TE and FB; Smith(+1) gets hit in the backfield by the safety and powers through it to get near the first down.
O41 3 1 Goal line 2 3 0 4-4 under 9 Run FB dive Hill 2
Stacked up right on or before the line to gain at first but then various M players push the pile from behind over the line to gain.
O39 1 10 I-Form 2 1 2 4-3 over 7 Run End around McDoom -2
Playfake the other way seems to sucker in the DL but playside end manages to recover and string it out. Cole(-1) in a bunch of space against King; his angle isn’t flat enough and he ends up airballing. McDoom can’t escape. RPS -1.
O41 2 12 Offset I Big 2 2 1 4-4 over 8 Pass Scramble Speight 3
This is M’s PA FB flat thing but nobody picks a linebacker. Darboh(route -) appears to be the culprit as he just goes downfield; Speight checks that FB and then takes off for what he can get. (MA, N/A, protection 2/2)
O38 3 9 Ace 3-wide 2 0 3 Nickel over 6 Pass Comeback Chesson INT
Rather sums up the night, this. Chesson breaks open and has the first down and many yards of buffer upfield and outside. Speight throws the ball way too far inside and upfield. Chesson still has an opportunity to make the catch and seems to for a second but never secures it; CB rips it out. (IN, 2, protection 2/2)
Drive Notes: Interception, 13-11, 3 min 4th Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form RB TE WR D Form Box Type Play Player Yards
O16 1 10 Offset I 2 1 2 4-3 under 7 Run Counter zone Smith 1
Jet fake, zone the other way. Poggi flings himself into the line on the frontside of the, which is as designed; DT does not run himself out of the play for a single blocker this time and takes a long ineffective double from Cole(-1) and Bredeson(-1). Backside LB is unblocked and just shows up in the hole. Smith has to cut away into a mess. RPS –1.
O17 2 9 Pepcat trips TE 2* 1 2 4-3 under 7 Run Arc zone keeper Peppers 1
Iowa has two guys over three because one is Speight; in this situation you have to pull him off the field and get in another blocker; you’re going back to 10 on 11 here. In any case that same scrape exchange gets Michigan again. RPS -2.
O18 3 8 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 Nickel under 6 Pass Fade Darboh Inc
Braden(-2) fails to ID and pick up a DE who gets a free run at Speight, blowing him up. Speight gets of a great ball considering the circumstances, a long looper that ends up as a back shoulder fade to Darboh. Darboh has an opportunity, and because this game, he does not take advantage. (CA+, 2, protection 0/2)
Drive Notes: Punt, 13-11, 2 min 4th Q. M does not get the ball back.


I dunno, man. The weird thing is that Speight started out looking much like he had in the previous three games. He missed a bomb to Darboh early, but other than that he was rolling out and finding guys downfield impressively, or actually hitting a downfield shot, or hitting open short stuff with ease. By the time Michigan scored to go up 10-0, he had one inaccurate pass and one marginal one against 9 DO/CA throws.

This did not last, to put it mildly:

[Hennechart orientation: mouse over column headers for explanations of the categories. + is handed out for a good throw under duress. * is handed out for a very bad version of a bad thing. Numbers in parens are screens. DSR is an attempt to compress the numbers into one overall number. PFF is PFF's grade.]

  Good   Neutral   Bad   Ovr
Hawaii 1 8(1)+       1(1)       1* 2*   73% -1.0
UCF 3 21(1)     5 2     2 2(1) 2   82% 1.0
Colorado - 14(2)++++ 1   4 3   2 - 5 6**   50% -3.5
Penn State 1+ 17(2)++ 1   1 4   1(1) 2+ 8(1) -   68% 1.0
Wisconsin 3 16(3)+   5+   1 2+ 4 5*   57% -0.5
Rutgers 1+ 10(1)++   1   5   67% 0.5
Illinois 5+ 10+ 1 2 3   1* 3   79% 4.5
MSU 4++ 11(1) 2 6   4 2*   70% 2.5
Maryland 4 16(1)+++ 2 3(1)   1 2   88% 6.5
Iowa 2+ 14(2)+ 1 1 2   1* 7* 2*   60% -1.5

That is a collapse. Speight's DSR over the final ~40 minutes was 40%.

Things went haywire after the RON COLUZZI IS A GOLDEN GOD punt. He overthrew Jake Butt badly on a three-yard route, setting up the ensuing safety, and over the next four drives these were his non-screen attempts:

You can't move the ball like that.

There was no apparent reason for any of this. There was no wind. The two throws prior to this long period in the desert were the 29-yarder to Chesson and an accurate quick out. Speight didn't get hit on either throw, and the only contact he took until the end of this period was a sack on which his legs were grabbed and he went down without taking much of a hit. Speight's performance dropped off a cliff without any ready explanation.

Things didn't get a ton better even after this dismal period, but to make thing even more bizarre Speight put a ball on Butt that could not have been thrown better:

This was a brief period; two plays later Speight would overthrow Darboh for a sure TD for the fourth and final time.

On all of these Darboh was somewhere between two and five yards clear of the last defender. One was somewhat understandable since it was a flea-flicker on which the toss back disrupted the timing. The others were deeply unfortunate. Two were so long his WR had no chance to make a play—leaving it a bit short at least gets you a good shot at a completion or a PI call. The other two were so short they let a badly beaten DB get a play on the ball.

That's just some shit, man. I again ask why things happen if they're not going to indicate things that will happen in the future.

Was Speight hurt?

Probably not? Michigan did check him after their penultimate drive, when Speight took a shot to the shoulder from the crown of Jaleel Johnson's helmet. (Yes, targeting, no, I don't expect them to get it right.) Prior to that there didn't seem to be anything that would indicate Speight wasn't at full strength. He was clearly wounded after the last play, but the shoulder-checking period of our contest saw Speight throw once.

Distant possibility: the Awuzie annihilation against Colorado did something and this is a chronic issue coming to the forefront for whatever reason.

So he just decided that one third of the way through the Iowa game that he would suck.

Look, man, I clipped everything. The receivers did not catch the damn ball sometimes, but on many of those opportunities Speight made it more difficult for his WRs than was necessary.

Not catching the damn ball, you say?

Michigan's receivers did not catch the damn ball.

[0 = uncatchable, 1 = circus catch, 2 = moderate difficulty, 3 = routine]

Player 0 1 2 3   0 1 2 3
Darboh 4 0/1 0/1 1/1   15 3/10 4/6 36/39
Chesson 1/4 1/1   11 0/2 10/15 18/19
Perry   1/1   9 1/1 6/6
Peppers           1/2 2/2
Ways                 1/1
McDoom           1/1   3/3
Crawford         1/1   2/3
Harris     1/1   2   1/1 1/1
Butt 1/1 0/1 3/3   5 2/3 3/6 28/30
Bunting         1     2/2
Wheatley       1     1/1
Asiasi               2/2
Poggi       1/1         5/6
Hill       1 1/1 2/2 7/7
Smith     4 1/1 3/3 7/7
Evans     1/1   1 0/1   5/5
Higdon         1      
McKeon                 2/2
Hirsch                 1/1

ROUTES: Darboh +++-, Chesson +.

1/6 on moderately difficult catches is very disappointing. Historically about 2/3rds of those are caught. This near-touchdown was emblematic of the WRs' night. Yes, Speight can and should throw this better. Chesson still has the ball in both hands and can make a catch.

Chesson does not. The DB does not make that play. He's in the area, he hits the WR, but he does not get his hands to Chesson's. He's dropping that mostly on his own. It's not routine; it's not a circus catch attempt. It is a makeable play unmade.

A virtually identical missed opportunity transpired on the final offensive play. Speight got instant pressure and just punted one up. Darboh simply misses; again the cornerback only contributes to the incompletion incidentally.

There were a couple instances where I thought Iowa just made a play—a third and goal shot at Darboh was open but deflected away by a guy covering Butt—but 80% of Michigan's passing struggles were Speight missing open guys, picking the wrong guys to throw at, or Michigan receivers not following Mike Valenti's advice to MAKE PLAYS.  The remainder is Iowa exceeding expectations, mostly in their pass rush.

At least the run game was ... oh.

Yeah, man, not much solace there. Chart:

Offensive Line
Player Snaps + - Total PFF   Snaps Pass- Error% PFF
Braden 31 5 1.5 3.5 -1.3   30 4 6% -0.9
Bredeson 31 6.5 9.5 -3 1.7   30 1.2
Cole 31 7 3.5 3.5 1.8   30 3 4% -0.5
Kalis 31 5 7.5 -2.5 -2.9   30 3 4% -0.8
Magnuson 31 7 3 4 0   30 1.0
Bushell-Beatty 2 1 1 -0.6  
Butt 20 4.5 4.5 0.7   2
Bunting 9 0 -0.1   3
Wheatley 5 1 -1 0.1  
Asiasi 10 0.5 4 -3.5 -1.5  
Hill 8 5.5 5.5 0.3   1
Poggi 19 1 -1 -0.7  
TOTAL - 42 31 58%

No adjustments this week.

Player + - T Notes
Protection 33 12 73% Braden –4, Kalis –3, Cole –3.
RPS 12 13 -1 Scrape exchange discussed below in detail.

Jaleel Johnson is real good and caused some issues, but many of Michigan's run issues were just mental errors. We've talked about the safety a bunch already; with everyone else on the offense blocking one particular guy it has to be a Kalis issue where he just leaves a DL because he busts his assignment.

Most of Michigan's pitch sweeps were defeated because Michigan OL failed to recognize what was happening in front of them. Kalis steps inside here, right behind Cole, as the eventual TFL recipient runs by him:

That goes back to an inability Kalis had to ID who he should block last year; it's been absent in 2016 until this game, when it came back with a vengeance. Frustratingly, the rest of this play was blocked well, and with a reasonable block on that LB Smith is into the secondary:


This is a classic demonstration of the fact that one missed assignment can ruin an otherwise well-executed play.

A depressing second: on the failed third and one pitch late Bredeson pulls when he's got a guy shaded right inside of him:

That is handing Iowa a gift, plain and simple. I minused Bredeson there but I think this might be Michigan screwing up the line call and traceable back to Cole. If it was just Bredeson screwing up Cole would be trying to pull; instead he tries to block that guy shaded outside of him, for all the good that does.

A third sweep that got TFLed was featured Braden pulling and Bredeson futilely attempting to reach a guy shaded outside of him and booking for the sideline on the snap.

Football's geometry is ruthless, and if you try to bend the rules like this you will get got. The sheer frequency with which this occured is baffling. The latter two plays here are not tricky at all. All of Michigan's sweeps are pin-and-pull, and the rules are dead simple. If there's a guy shaded inside of you, block down. If there isn't, pull. Michigan botched this repeatedly ten games into the season. I am at a loss to explain why.

A couple other things were easier: Ben Bredeson is a freshman. Michigan's third and thirteen screen was actually set up for success until Bredeson feinted at the one linebacker in the area and continued on his way. Linebacker missed the tackle but the timing's gone and Michigan got two yards. The Newsome injury bit Michigan in this game.

You mentioned something about a scrape exchange?

Iowa was scrape exchanging all night when Michigan showed them zone read action. If you're rusty on your RichRod era UFRs, on a scrape exchange the DE and OLB swap responsibilities. The DE shoots inside on zone read action; the linebacker scrapes over the top to contain. Examples will follow.

This early run from Evans works because Magnuson fends off the DE trying to slant inside of him, which is super tough.

Iowa replaces that DE with their linebacker sliding outside to be the force guy. You'll note that this was early in the first quarter. Michigan saw this immediately and consistently. It was mostly a Peppers plan, and a successful one.

Peppers is reading the DE and pulls; Iowa inserts a linebacker directly into his path since that DE is covering up the inside gaps the LB would usually be tasked with.

Since I watched the Rodriguez era at Michigan this is familiar to me. Also familiar to me: the various counter-punches Michigan threw at this. Remember that brief era when Carlos Brown and Brandon Minor were running directly off tackle for big chunks on the regular? That was due to Michigan's response to this kind of approach: blast that guy slanting even further inside, kick the linebacker out, and thunder directly to the secondary.

Michigan did not have this in its back pocket. On their last run of the game they were still getting got by Iowa's exchange, which continued to induce doomed Peppers keeps.

This one is slightly obscured by the TE frippery on the outside but it's the same principle. DE slants inside, read, LB cleans up as there's nobody for that guy. Michigan failed to attack the gap the slanting DE leaves all night.

I was frustrated watching this, as Michigan is usually very good about anticipating responses to what they're doing and hitting at the weak spots of those approaches. Despite a whole game to come up with a response to this, they kept doing the doomed thing. With the designed Peppers runs reasonably successful, going zone read again when you've gotten thumped on it all night is crappy playcalling.

Smith ran for 2.3 YPC. Evans ran for 6.5. Smith should be benched.

Well first here's a chart.

RB chart (WR grades are run only):

Player Rushes + - T   PFF   Notes
Speight   0 Neither PFF or I was moved either way by scrambles.
Smith 12 3 2 1   -0.5   -0.6 run blocking, +0.4 pass blocking as well.
Isaac 1 1 1   0.3 Cameo for lone TD.
Evans 9 5 5   0.8  
Higdon 3 1 -1    -0.5  
Peppers 4 0.5 0.5   0.2  
Johnson             DNP
TOTAL 45 9.5 3 6.5   +0.3   No Wadleys in this bunch.
Player Blocks + - T   PFF G   Notes
Darboh 26 2 -2   -0.1
Chesson 16   -0.1  
Perry 4     0.5 Did get his block on the ill-fated screen.
Harris 2            
McDoom 4 1   1   -0.1
Crawford 1       -0.5
TOTAL - 1 2 -1

So yes, Evans had a better night than Smith. Evans did well and scooted through some gaps that Smith may not have but he did not make a ton of his yards on his own. He was the recipient of superior blocking, so when he got to the line and there was a gap he hit it.

When Evans did find people in his grill, his runs looked like Smith's runs. This is what a Smith run looked like in this game:

And this is what Evans runs looked like when Iowa defeated Michigan's blocking either by winning a block or RPSing M:

When Smith got good blocking he got his yards, just like Evans. There was very little difference in yards they picked up on their own. Evans squeezed through some extra holes; Smith bashed out some YAC. The problems with the run game were not on either back. For whatever reason, Smith got stuck with the runs on which Michigan let guys free; he burrowed for what he could and Smithed out some important yards to turn third and medium into third and short.

Add in the fact that Smith is a massively better pass protector and the snap breakdown mostly makes sense. (Isaac is dinged.)


You said it, man.

Stanford or whatever of the week?

There wasn't much other than the wacky Speight-under-Kalis direct snap to Peppers and the flea-flicker.

Both were successful. Michigan had the wherewithal to torch Iowa over the top repeatedly even if they didn't get any, you know, yards.

Iowa won the tactical battle from the shotgun with the scrape exchange Michigan did not respond to.


Jake Butt had some good blocking and one very tough catch. Evans did well with his opportunities; I thought Hill consistently moved people.

Maybe not so heroic?

Speight fell off a cliff after the first 20 minutes. His WRs did not help him out when given the opportunity. Kalis and Bredeson had repeated mental errors that blew up plays for critical TFLs.

What does it mean for Indiana and beyond?

We've rather dented the Speight hype train. If he plays either of the next two weeks—which again we would be surprised by—nobody will know what to expect. A truly open quarterback competition is suddenly much likelier over the offseason.

Michigan needs to stick and move with their spread stuff. Iowa's response was 2009-issue spread countermeasures. Disappointing that Michigan did not anticipate that, or at least recognize it once Iowa saw it.

Let's not overreact about certain things. While the WR output was thoroughly disappointing all of the gents in question have long track records. They're not suddenly much worse players. Decrement expectations. Don't flatten them.

On the other hand, folks with mixed or short track records... Kalis's sudden regression to last year's stuff can't be looked at in the same light because for most of his career he's been the guy he was in this game. Devin Asiasi also had a rough game and we'll have to scale back expectations meaningfully for him since there's not a lot of data there.

Braden was mostly fine against a very good pass rusher. He got beat for one sack/strip and had a communication issue on the last play. Four pass protection minuses is survivable. I would have been worried about 6 or 8 or whatever.



November 17th, 2016 at 12:14 PM ^

I think the only Speight explanation is that after the safety he tightened up under the pressure, which is strange to me because it has seemed that his ability to brush aside mistakes and not get rattled was one of his biggest assets all season. Here it appears a missed bomb, Chesson not pulling in that diving catch, and then the safety and ensuing 10-8 score really got to him.

I Like Burgers

November 17th, 2016 at 12:43 PM ^

I think he tightened up the minute he had to throw from his own endzone.  That 1&10 from the 2 was the beginning of the end.  Not only was the throw to a covered Butt bad and off, he had a WIDE open Chesson just behind Butt for at least a 15 yard gain.

And I don't put much if any of the blame on the WRs for not hauling in some of the passes.  Speights throws were WAY off making some of those catches damn near impossibilities.  Like the INT at the end of the game.  They didn't show a great angle of it on TV, but on the melt footage I've seen that ball was thrown so far behind Chesson that the DB hits him as the ball is getting there and he has his arm between Chesson's hands.  I don't think there's any way Chesson can catch that.


November 17th, 2016 at 2:45 PM ^

The usual disclaimer: I'm not a QB coach, I never played the game competitively, and I didn't stay at a Holiday Express last night. I just watch a lot of football. To me, this game showed the limit that Speight's unorthodox throwing motion places on his ceiling -- and my concern is that Harbaugh and Fisch won't rebuild his mechanics to prevent this sort of thing from happening again.

In one of the Harbaugh coaching clinic videos on YouTube (I think it's when he was the coach at U. of San Diego), he says he doesn't like to mess with a QB's mechanics *too* much if he gets the job done. And I get that. If you're coaching Philip Rivers or Bernie Kosar and that sort of weird throwing motion works for them, fine. Same thing with a golf swing. Jim Furyk has anything but a textbook golf swing, but the guy's won a U.S. Open and $67 million in his career. If it ain't broke, don't fix it.

That said, one reason a "textbook" throwing motion (or golf swing) is preferred is that its mechanics are more natural and repeatable (and thus more consistent) under pressure. And what we saw in this game was that once Wilton tightened up a bit under the Kinnick night-game atmosphere, his wonky mechanics went further to hell and his accuracy suffered accordingly. Those underthrows of Darboh on the long balls in particular are brutal. Earlier in the year Speight had similar problems caused by his shot-put throwing motion combined with his habit of not always stepping into his throws, etc. -- and they cleaned things up over the bye week and he was much better. But those issues came back with a vengeance last Saturday. (I'm actually surprised this stuff didn't surface again at MSU; to his credit, Speight made some damn fine throws in that game.)

If the coaches are unwilling to totally rebuild Speight's mechanics over the offseason, then we may have to expect this sort of thing out of him occasionally, and that might place a hard limit on how good a QB he can be. I hope that's not the case.


November 17th, 2016 at 3:18 PM ^

you can't overhaul a QB's mechanics because that would undo lifetime of muscle memory of throwing the ball.  It's impossible to do it in one season.  It takes years to change it completely.  A QB may work on it all off-season but when comes gametime, they'll revert back to what they know best instinctually when there's pressure in their face.

What matters more is their footwork. If the footwork is sound and efficient, they can be accurate.  They need proper footwork, weight transfer in order to have torque behind their throws.


November 17th, 2016 at 12:27 PM ^

We should've won this game. Probably by two scores at minimum.

I mean, we lost by 1 with 0:00 on the clock. Any one thing going different is enough to escape. Including that first Chesson shoulda-been TD that would've made it 7-0 instead of 3-0 right off the bat. If Speight hits any deep ball we win too.

The most frustrating part is that escaping would almost lock up the East title for us, which would most likely get us to Indy 11-1 at worst against a Wisconsin team I'm not particularly afraid of.



November 17th, 2016 at 1:48 PM ^

is not a conference game and has nothing to do with anything.  If Ohio State beats Michigan and Penn State wins out, PSU goes because of the head to head victory against OSU.  If Michigan beats Ohio State, Michigan goes because of the head to head victory against PSU.  If all three had one loss, it would be whoever was ranked highest in the playoff ranking.

If Penn State wins out and then wins the BIG title game, yes, as horrifying as it is, they would certainly be in the playoff, and OSU likely would be as well.


November 17th, 2016 at 4:03 PM ^

was that had UM beat Iowa and lost to OSU and UM/OSU/PSU all ended up 8-1 in conference play, the tiebreakers in a 3 way tie would have gotten to overall record which would have eliminated PSU from playing in the conference title game.


November 18th, 2016 at 10:54 AM ^

If Michigan wins this game and goes into the OSU game undefeated, they'd have had a very significant shot at the playoff. Here's the scenarios:

1. Michigan loses to OSU, finishes 11-1. Their only meaningful challengers for the playoff would be the Pac12 champ, the Big12 champ, and a Louisville team with zero top 25 wins (but probably the Heisman favorite). A second loss from Washington (still very possible in the regualr season and championship game) would give the Pac12 winner 2 losses. In terms of the Big12, the only danger would be a possible 11-1 WVU conference champion. If OU wins out then as long as Michigan didn't get crushed as bad as OU did, I still think Michigan gets the nod. And I still think Michigan gets the nod over a WVU champion simply due to how bad the Big12 is this year. There is of course the issue of OSU

2. Michigan beats OSU, loses conference champoionship game to (probably) Wisconsin. The question would be: does a 2 loss Wisconsin BTCG winner pass Michigan for the playoff? This is why conference championship games are stupid. Michigan already beat Wisconsin. They could play each other 10 times and go 5-5 

In all likelihood Michigan would be #2 and Wisconsin would be #7. Here we're in the same situation as above except that Michigan has an extra top 10 win on their resume.

3. Michigan wins against OSU and goes wins the BTCG. Goes to the CFP #2


November 17th, 2016 at 1:16 PM ^

This game did exactly nothing to our chances of winning the division. It was always set up to come down to the OSU game. Even if we had won at Iowa, losing in Columbus would still knock us out. The only teams' chances it affected were OSU and PSU, unless you actually think MSU has a shot against OSU on Saturday (hint: they don't).


November 17th, 2016 at 12:26 PM ^

There was no apparent reason for any of this.

The explanation is not complicated:  The team got the collective Yips on the road at night when Iowa got the safety and they started to morph into "Holy shit, this upset could actually happen" mode.

They got tight, they made errors, they tried to do too much on each play.  The moment got the best of them.

We made light of the criticism that they faced no real test on the road before the Iowa game, but it was valid criticism.  If this game was played in Ann Arbor at noon, we would have won by 20.

But that was our very problem . . . too many Ann Arbor games where we won big, and easily.  

The Iowa game exposed some issues.  It would have been good to have that game in October and not November to be able to work on those issues, but it is what it is.

We have two weeks to man up for another big test on the road.  We may not win it, but we won't be caught surprised by it this time. 


November 17th, 2016 at 12:34 PM ^

It was a night game, in a hostile place like Kinnick that (as Brian and Ace attested to) still gets up even when the team is 5-4. The one other time they were tested on the road, @ MSU, they won but played tighter than they probably should have. 

It's been a helluva encouraging season so far. But still a few mental hurdles to overcome. 


November 17th, 2016 at 12:52 PM ^

it wasn't just that it was a night game in a hostile place, it's that it became a plausible night game in a hostile place after the safety.

We did a Greg Norman where failure was unthinkable but each minor error built on the previous minor error until the unthinkable became plausible.  Then we started to panic a little and make more mistakes and try too hard on more plays.

Brian's analysis shows that we were not soundly beaten, but we made a multitude of uncharacteristic unforced nervous errors . . . a missed block here, a drooped pass there, an overthrow there.

This happens a lot in sports when a big favorite sees an unexpected tipping point in a game and freezes up.

The good news, sort of, is that we don't have any more games where we will be a big favorite on the road.

Indiana is at home.  Ohio State is on the road and we will be a clear underdog.  We will expect to get punched in the mouth at OSU and we won't tighten up when it happens.

Both Iowa and Ohio State are hostile road games, but we will play much different at Ohio State than we did at Iowa because of our mindset going into the game. 


November 17th, 2016 at 1:40 PM ^

Agreed, looking through this it seems like a team-wide case of the yips, with no ability to pull themselves out of the spiral.  

I'm annoyed by this, but I think it happens to everyone and now hopefully the pressure has broken a bit and they can play a little more loosely.  The Indiana game is going to tell a lot, I think, about what to expect in Columbus.  

True Blue Grit

November 17th, 2016 at 2:18 PM ^

was that loud or raucous.  Michigan Stadium has definitely been louder quite a few times this season.  Most of the Iowa fans were expecting a blowout and they didn't reallys start to get into it until the 2nd half when they realized Michigan could definitely be beaten on that night.  If we had gone ahead 17-0 or 21-0 like we should have, many of them probably would have started filing out.  

I thought the beginning of the end was the fumble by Hill at the beginning of the 2nd half.  If we just take the ball down the field (after what was a short kickoff) and score a TD, we take control of the game.  At that point, I started to get the sense of dread that this game wasn't going to end well.  


November 17th, 2016 at 4:20 PM ^

but I'm guessing the fumble on the second half kick is a dong punch to the players, if not more so to them.  You come out of the locker room with the lead and the adjustments, get the ball and figure if you can do anything on the that first possession (TD, FG, heck even move the ball, punt and pin Iowa deep) you can grab some momentum.  

Maybe I'm wrong but I gave Iowa props for the short kick off.  I don't think he mis hit it, I think the short kick off was planned.  Iowa did a really good job of keeping any chance for a Pepper's return (punt or kickoff) to a minimum all game.


November 17th, 2016 at 1:17 PM ^

were 80% on Speight who is out in two weeks.  So if the issues were not being used to a tough road environment for the QB, that'll still be the case for the starter in two weeks.  Unless the hope is that his experience is enough that he won't be as negatively affected as Speight.


November 17th, 2016 at 3:48 PM ^

I don't know if I would go as high as 80%.  If you correct 2 or 3 key errors made by non-Speight players, we would have won despite the errors Speight made.

If Speight plays against Ohio State and is still missing open passes, we will lose.  Plain and simple.  We will need him to be accurate.  He has improved over the season, now he needs to improve this season on the road.

If O'Korn is playing, who knows how he will react?  He appears to have "lost" the job to Speight because he bails too quickly and makes too many mistakes, so that does not exactly bode well in Columbus.  

But who knows?  He may have one of those out-of-his mind games that other QBs seem to have against us regularly.  We are due for one of those.



November 17th, 2016 at 4:02 PM ^

Darboh and Chesson to get free deep against Conley and Lattimore. Both are quick feet, athletic CB who are potential 1st round picks. It should be a good test for both Michigan WRs.  I recalled Chesson struggling against Chidobe Awuzie earlier this season.  I'd bet OSU will stick Conley against Darboh and Lattimore on Chesson.

If there's a weakness for OSU defense, it's NB and SS spot. They need whoever is the slot WR or Jake Butt to take advantage of it.  I do think OSU will stick Malik Hooker who is likely a top 15 pick against Butt.

Face it, OSU secondary will be the most talented Michigan will face all year. It's up to whoever is playing at QB to be disciplined because OSU's team speed is the best I've seen out of anybody in the country.


November 17th, 2016 at 4:14 PM ^

Speight isn't playing against OSU, so we don't get to see whether he can learn from the experience of playing in the atmosphere that you theorize caused the meltdown.  And I think your theory is mostly correct.


But O'korn is playing against OSU so it's a blank slate in terms of experience. You are correct that we won't be close to OSU if we get QB play like Saturday night.


November 17th, 2016 at 4:39 PM ^

You're basically right. Yeah, people were selling short the challenge of playing on the road, or suggesting that it only affected referees and some audible calls. Discussion of issues Michigan has had on the road in the last ten years was dismissed as irrelevant to the current team.

Not irrelevant. Playing on the road doesn't seem to have a lot going against it, objectively. There's more noise, yes, but they practice with noise, and the field has the same dimensions, and with fieldturf the surface is basically a non-factor.

But (and this is particularly true with our schedule this year) being on the road is unfamiliar. It is different than normal. There is more to think about. Your team is wearing white jerseys and the clocks are in different places and the colors in the stands are different and the noise happens at different times and it is unfamiliar. 

And Michigan wasn't ready for that, mentally, IMO. The evidence is in the UFR--a host of mental errors. Speight made a lot of mental errors. The line made mental errors. RBs missed holes they usually hit, mental errors. The offense just plain wasn't sharp. 

It was very disappointing. Now, there is still room for growth, but this doesn't exactly bode well for the biggest game of the season. They need to grow up a bit in the next week and a half.


November 17th, 2016 at 12:29 PM ^

Seems like the coaches saw PSU torch Iowa with the read option for over 300 yds and an average of 7 yds per attempt and thought they could do the same with Peppers. Iowa fixed their issues from the PSU read option fest and Michigan couldn't count on Speight on long down and distances.

I'm not overly concerned with the coaching since all Speight has to do is hit one of the four bombs and that's likely game over, man. This loss was simply an actual case of 'just didn't execute'.


November 17th, 2016 at 1:00 PM ^

Yeah, but it's not like they didn't see the same thing with Penn St. hitting the jet sweep hard when PSU had been burned badly by it the week before.  

There should have been something designed to take advantage of that and there wasn't.  This was a bad game all around, while the players didn't execute, it doesn't look like the coaches did either.


November 17th, 2016 at 2:30 PM ^

One of the differences between PSU running the read option and UM running it, is PSU is running it with their QB so before the snap the defense still has to respect the possibility of a pass.  Peppers is usually the QB for UM in the read option and since he's never thrown the ball (except the one backwards pass to Speight) the defense can sell out on the run when they see Peppers lined up to get the snap.


November 17th, 2016 at 12:36 PM ^

Seems like basically everybody from coaches on down had an off night.

I'm truly curious what it is about away night games that cause this to happen, or if it's just coincidence.