Upon Further Review 2017: Defense vs MSU Comment Count

Brian October 13th, 2017 at 2:53 PM

2017 logoo_thumbSPONSOR NOTE. Man, you know who would resign if circumstances demanded it? HomeSure Lending. Except that would never happen because HomeSure Lending is good at its job and not, say, Sunil Gulati. HomeSure Lending` just gets you fast mortgage quotes from the comfort of your own home.

FORMATION NOTES. Michigan did slide more heavily towards a four man front against a manball outfit. Michigan had 27 3-3-5 snaps; they had 35 in a four-man front, almost all of which feature Mone. Those 4-X snaps were split 15/20 between 4-2-5s featuring Hudson and 4-3-4s featuring Furbush.

They also had 3 dime snaps, one in a 3-2-6 and two in a 4-1-6.


Here is a picture.

SUBSTITUTION NOTES. Formation notes prove spoiler: Michigan had about 35 Mone snaps, give or take a substitution. Michigan chose to put out two of Mone, Hudson, and Furbush depending on the situation and Don Brown's whim. Mone got about 60% of the snaps; Hudson and Furbush 70%.

The rest of the defense was almost entirely static. Winovich, Hurst, Bush, McCray, Metellus, and Kinnel did not leave the field. Gary got almost all the snaps with just a few for Kemp. The cornerbacks rotated through their top three of Hill, Long, and Watson.

The defense had zero margin for error in this game and they deployed like that was the case.

[After THE JUMP: the inverse Fielding Yost: a point per drive.]

Ln Dn Ds O Form D Pack Front Cover look Type Rush Play Player Yards
O25 1 10 Shotgun 3-wide 3-3-5 3-3 stack Press one high Pass 4 PA Fly Long Inc
Long(+0.5) has outside leverage and Kinnel(+0.5) flows over the top of him so this is a bracket as if M expects this first play. Lewerke either tries to fit it in a tight window or misses or just throws it away. (Cover +2, RPS +1). Clean pocket (pressure -2)
O25 2 10 Offset I 4-3-4 4-3 under Press two high Run N/A Power O Hurst 0
Hurst(+2) fires his guy back so fast that the tackle, who is pulling, gets caught up on him. Winovich(+0.5) is the free guy and cleans up.
O25 3 10 Shotgun 3-wide 3-3-5 3-3 line slide Press one high Pass 5 Post Metellus Inc
Bush stumbles as he blitzes and gets caught up; Winovich(+1, pressure +1) does get around the corner and is bearing down on Lewerke to force a throw. It is a bad idea throw at Metellus(+2, cover +2) that's briefly open as Metellus bites on the out fake but he flips his hips and makes it up by the time the ball gets there. Lewerke did pump, but still. I’m not sure why the announcers are going nuts about this pickup. Lewerke is bracketed and has a guy breathing down his neck.
Drive Notes: Punt, 3-0, 7 min 1st Q
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Pack Front Cover look Type Rush Play Player Yards
M46 1 10 Offset I 4-3-4 4-3 under Press two high Run N/A Power O McCray 3
Jet fake, power underneath it. DL gets cleared out as M is running some sort of stunt that Gary(-1) probably tips by lininng up a yard off the LOS. MSU IDs it easily and wipes him out. McCray(+1) does a good job to scrape over that and Hurst(+0.5), who’s occupying two guys, mostly. This is fortunate because Bush and Winovich both widen out for the fake despite M running trap coverage. Winovich(+0.5) does recover to tackle at the LOS. McCray helps out, some pile pushing gets another yard or two.
M43 2 7 Offset I Big 4-3-4 4-3 over Press two high Run N/A Power O Mone 15
C pulls here instead of a G. Mone(-2) blown out by a double. Bush runs up to hit the guy releasing to him and does a good job to get off that block, and then the fullback plows him. Winovich(-2) also doesn’t know what he’s looking at and gets driven back a ton by the C’s pull. Tough for anyone else to do much when two DL get blown out like this.
M28 1 10 Offset I 4-3-4 4-3 over SAM Press one high Pass 5 Scramble Mone 9
Winovich(-1) nearly gets around on a speed rush but ends up on the ground at about nine yards… could have been a hold maybe. Lewerke sees nothing (cover +2) and then bugs out; Mone(-1) is just trying to occupy a guy and leaps at a non-throw attempt; while he’s in the air Lewerke breaks out of the pocket. Pressure -2.
M21 2 1 Ace trips tight bunch 3-3-5 4-3 over Press one high Run N/A Split zone Hurst -3 (Pen +12)
Hurst(+3) powers into the backfield through the RG and singlehandedly destroys the play for a TFL. Bush is hit with an awful PF(refs -3) that should at least be offsetting after Allen punches Bush in the helmet. Huge swing play the refs screwed up.
M11 1 10 Shotgun empty TE 3-3-5 3-3 stack Press one high Run N/A Shovel power Winovich 2
Jet fake, shovel inside. Winovich(+1) forms up and crashes down to tackle as the TE crosses the LOS. Hurst and Hudson(+0.5) also closing, with Hudson more useful.
M9 2 8 Shotgun twins twin TE 3-3-5 3-3 under Press one high Penalty N/A False start N/A -5
M14 2 13 Shotgun 4-wide 3-3-5 4-1 dime Press two high Pass N/A Scramble N/A 14
Michigan sends Bush out of the backfield to cover an edge guy and this is baffling, because there’s still a back in the backfield. Michigan is in two deep man! On second down! I love Don Brown but this is some bullshit against a guy who can move at all. Hurst and Gary stunt. Gary ends up triple-teamed as Hurst shoots in by himself. Both DEs are gone and McCray is picking up the back out of the backfield so when Lewerke breaks the pocket there’s nobody. RPS -3. I have no idea why you would ever call this defense outside of third and 30.
Drive Notes: Touchdown, 3-7, 3 min 1st Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Pack Front Cover look Type Rush Play Player Yards
O33 1 10 Ace 3-wide H 3-3-5 3-3 stack Press one high Run N/A Power O McCray 2
I think? Hard to tell because this gets goofed up. McCray(+1) blasts the LT back and I think he picks off the puller. Winovich(+0.5) shoots in and ends up in the backfield forcing a bounce; Bush(+0.5) pops over and finishes it, but Winovich started giving ground against a double team and RB can eke out yards.
O35 2 8 Shotgun 3-wide 3-3-5 3-3 LB strong Press two high Pass 5 Throwaway N/A Inc
M lucky here as Lewerke screws up. He’s looking at Felton, has his TE wide open just under him, and never gets to him as a tipped Michigan blitz gets home, probably because Bush(-1, cover -1) is way out of position to cover this route; he does not drop to it at all, though. McCray(+0.5) and Kinnel(+0.5) did time this well and get in with alacrity(pressure +1)
O35 3 8 Shotgun empty 3-2-6 Dime slide Press one high Pass 5 Slant Metellus Inc (Pen +8)
Metellus(-1, cover -1) does interfere here, wrapping his arm around the WR before the ball gets there. Shame is he does not need to do this, he’s already in great position to PBU this slant.
O43 1 10 Ace twins twin TE 3-3-5 3-3 under Press one high Run N/A Jet sweep N/A 10
This plays off of M’s switch tendency. MSU motions WR across formation, M switches on him with Hill dropping to a deep safety, and then MSU motions him back and jet sweeps the other way, and now Hill is out of position. M rallies reasonably well but this is a play where having an S against a TE is not great and M is really just battling to hold it down. RPS -2.
M47 1 10 Offset I twins 3-3-5 3-3 stack Press one high Pass 4 PA corner Hill Inc
Jet sweep fake, regular PA fake and an attempt at a deep shot. Winovich(+0.5) comes through relatively fast to force a throw and this is at Hill(+2, cover +2), who has the route dominated and gets a PBU. Metellus(+0.5) did a good job to read this and still provide help in the middle of the field.
M47 2 10 Goal line 4-3-4 4-3 over Off two high Run N/A Power O Winovich 0
Winovich(+2) jets upfield of a guy who thinks he’s going to downblock him; Allen, the C, tries to pass him up and continue like the play is going to happen, and this isn’t the worst idea since if he stops it’s not like MSU is getting much. McCray(+1) flows and hits to force it back to Winovich for nil.
M47 3 10 Shotgun 3-wide 4-1-6 Nickel even Press one high Pass 5 Throwaway Gary Inc
Gary(+2, pressure +2) wins around the corner and is held. Lewerke throws it anywhere. Nobody is open(cover +2) and an accurate throw at the drag guy could be a Bush INT. RPS +1, again threatening INT on checkdown.
Drive Notes: Punt, 3-7, 14 min 2nd Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Pack Front Cover look Type Rush Play Player Yards
O17 1 10 Offset I 3-3-5 3-3 stack Press two high Pass 5 PA rollout comeback Hill 9
M blitzes off the corner; MSU rolls away from it. Unclear why there’s no one on the corner here. Hudson is defending a flat with no one in it; Gary is looking at the run for too long. Relatively comfortable wait (pressure -2) for QB as the comeback comes open against Hill(-1, cover -1). RPS -1. Refs(+1) short MSU a full yard and a half here.
O26 2 1 Offset I 3-3-5 3-3 stack Press one high Run N/A Split zone McCray 2
M sends both OLBs, with Furbush(-1) driving a guy but falling over; McCray(-1) attacks but then spins back as if he’s going to check the QB rollout. Gary(+1) stands up and discards an OL and Hurst(+1) burrows to the play but there’s enough momentum to pick it up.
O28 1 10 Ace trips tight bunch 3-3-5 4-3 over Press one high Run N/A End around Watson -1
Kinnel(+1) slides down presnap and shoots upfield when he sees the action his way. He momentarily picks off an OL; OL just hurls him away but it’s enough. Winovich(+1) reads the play and flows inside out very quickly, preventing any cutback ideas, and Watson(+1) makes an open field tackle(+1) as efficiently as possible. RPS +1.
O27 2 11 Shotgun empty 3-3-5 3-3 stack Off one high Pass 4 Hitch McCray 8
This is bizarre, with Michigan motioning McCray out in to man coverage on the outside receiver to the boundary. This is not a fullback, it’s an actual WR, and he bails deep like he should, allowing an easy pitch and catch. RPS -2.
O35 3 3 Ace twins twin TE 3-3-5 3-3 stack Press one high Pass 5 TE stick McCray 9
McCray(-1, cover -1) just spot drops and doesn’t even get close to this TE. Winovich(+1, pressure +1) coming through but to no avail.
O44 1 10 I-Form 3-3-5 3-3 stack Press one high Pass 5 PA fly Watson 30
Welp. Watson(+2, cover +2) does about as well as you can expect here, forcing the WR to the boundary and then undercutting him. He rakes at the arms, and the ball pops free; deflection deadens the ball and the WR catches it as he goes to the ground. Just some bad luck. Kinnel(-2) flies by this play inexplicably. He clearly gets over in time to clobber this WR but runs behind both guys. He must be trying to catch the ball instead of hit the WR. (Note that Watson's jam gave Kinnel the time to get over, which is another reason for the +2.) Pocket is okay until Bush(+1, pressure +1) whips through to force a back foot throw. Life. Don’t talk to me about life.
M26 1 10 ??? 3-3-5 ??? ??? Run N/A ??? ??? 5
TV misses this play as MSU goes tempo.
M21 2 5 Shotgun trips TE 3-3-5 3-3 stack Press one high Run N/A QB arc keeper McCray 5
Called QB run with the H-back headed backside to sell split zone. M exchanges McCray and Winovich, with McCray(-1) tardy to realize what’s happening. Edge given up. Furbush(+1) contains well.
M16 1 10 Shotgun trips tight bunch 3-3-5 3-3 stack Press one high Pass 4 Screen Bush 16
Fake to the RB, fake end around, screen back to the RB. Bush(-1) gets suckered by this. He appears to be in man on the back but the end around fake takes his eyes away from said back. He starts pursuing it, and then it’s too late. OTOH he had a blocker. Hudson(-1) does not read that his guy is trying to block Bush and does not crack replace. No peel back from the DL either. RPS -2.
Drive Notes: Touchdown, 3-14, 8 min 2nd Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Pack Front Cover look Type Rush Play Player Yards
O17 1 10 Offset I twins 4-2-5 4-3 over Press two high Run N/A Power O Hurst 50
Hurst(-2) blown out by a double after initially surging into it. He ends up cut off. Bush(-3) fails to scrape around this, instead burying himself in the double. McCray(+1) runs up and hits the puller well, funneling back to a guy who isn’t there. Kinnel(-2) gets way too aggressive and cannot adjust once London burst just between McCray and Mone. Gary(-1) got too far upfield and opened up that gap that Kinnel thinks he has to check.
M33 1 10 Shotgun trips 4-2-5 Nickel over Press two high Pass 4 Out Hill Inc
Zone with Hill(+2, cover +2) in the flat; he checks the QB and once his eyes lead him to the deeper out he gets on his horse and breaks it up. MSU lucky that Lewerke left this behind his guy or this could be an INT.
M33 2 10 Offset I 3-3-5 3-3 over Press one high Run N/A Counter Hurst -1
Jet fake one way, power the other. Hurst(+2) gets penetration and knocks a puller off his route. Winovich takes on the other one and the late guy makes a bad decision to also hit him. McCray(+1, tackling +1) has a free run and makes the play.
M34 3 11 Shotgun trips 3-3-5 3-3 stack LB strong Press two high Pass 5 Out N/A Inc
WR is wide open here because Hudson is outright blocked for a good two seconds, refs -3. Ball don’t lie as the WR drops it. Pressure getting there after a half roll.
Drive Notes: Punt, 3-14, 2 min 2nd Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Pack Front Cover look Type Rush Play Player Yards
O43 1 10 Shotgun empty TE 4-2-5 Dime over Press one high Pass 4 Fly Hurst Inc
Hurst(+2, pressure +2), smokes the RG and the C en route to a thump up the middle. QB throws at Hill(+2, cover +2), who is in excellent position and gets a PBU.
O43 2 10 Shotgun 3-wide 3-3-5 5-1 DL split Press two high Run N/A Power counter Hurst 3
Tackle pulls to the backside like this is split zone and he’s a TE? I guess? Hurst(+1) again penetrates and wipes out the intended gap, forcing a cutback. This gets a few yards mostly because M is doing weird pass rush stuff in this situation. McCray(+1) does a good job to get through a block and close it down.
O46 3 7 Shotgun trips 3-3-5 3-3 stack Press one high Pass 5 Sack Gary 0
Hudson off the edge after pretty clearly being offside(refs +1). M gets three guys kind of in as Hudson gets around the corner and both DT beat their guys to the outside. This leaves a huge gap up the middle that threatens to become a first down when Gary(+1, pressure +1) grabs QB from behind and drags him down. I think he’s the reason there’s a gap up the middle but he does get a thing done here. Hurst(+1) got most of the pressure(+1)
Drive Notes: Punt, 3-14, 1 min 2nd Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Pack Front Cover look Type Rush Play Player Yards
O7 1 10 Offset I Big H 4-2-5 4-3 over Press two high Run N/A Power O Hurst 1
Hurst(+1) again drives an OL back into a puller, knocking him off balance. Gary(+1) shows in the hole and takes that guy on, closing off lanes, and Hudson(+1) scrapes over to fill the gap outside. Back takes it into the line for little.
O8 2 9 Shotgun 3-wide 4-2-5 Nickel over Press one high Pass N/A Bubble screen Hudson 4
Hudson in man over the slot, and then he comes off it to threaten a blitz. Lewerke has a bubble RPO option and he takes it. Hudson(+1) isn’t blitzing and gets out to cut the WR off a couple yards downfield. M converges and tackles but WR manages to power out a couple extra yards. RPS +1.
O12 3 5 Shotgun trips 3-3-5 6-0 line split Press one high Pass 3 Throwaway Gary Inc
MSU attempting some more flagrant OPI but M zones this. Bush doesn’t try to get out on the wheel route the WR is blocking him from; Long picks it up. This lets Gary(+1) run through the RT and flush Lewerke; he chases and QB punts ball OOB. (Cover +2, RPS +2)
Drive Notes: Punt, 3-14, 13 min 3rd Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Pack Front Cover look Type Rush Play Player Yards
O2 1 10 Shotgun 3-wide 4-3-4 4-3 even Press two high Penalty N/A False start N/A -1
O1 1 11 Shotgun trips TE 4-3-4 4-3 even Off two high Pass 4 Rollout throwaway Winovich Inc
Coverage(+2) good on the short stuff as M goes zone again; Winovich(+1, pressure +1) gets out on the edge to force a throwaway.
O1 2 11 I-Form twins 4-3-4 4-3 even Press two high Run N/A Split zone McCray 0
Gary way way off the LOS and clearly stunting. He stunts. Weird. McCray(+1) stands up and fires back a guard releasing to him. Mone(+0.5) and Gary(+0.5) both get to the gap as well to help stack it up. Hurst(+1) had another impressive burst through the line to dissuade any cutback ideas.
O1 3 11 Shotgun trips TE 4-3-4 4-3 over Off two high Pass 4 Scramble Bush 2
Another roll that seemingly has no one open(cover +2). Bush(+1) flows up to cut off the outside and QB takes off immediately because he’s in the endzone. Bush tracks him down with help from Mone(+0.5), with Gary there in case he’s needed.
Drive Notes: Punt, 3-14, 10 min 3rd Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Pack Front Cover look Type Rush Play Player Yards
O30 1 10 Shotgun 3-wide 3-3-5 3-3 LB weak Press two high Pass 5 TE out Hudson Inc (Pen -5)
Michigan beat by a tackle over crafty thing here. The LT is actually a TE, and M doesn’t recognize it. Hudson moves to cover the slot receiver on a hitch; TE slips into the flat and is open for a catch and run for a decent gain, probably a first down, and drops it. (Cover -1, RPS -1) Bush(+1, pressure +2) coming through untouched but play is designed to get this out so quick it doesn’t matter. Oh, also the outside WR lined up on the LOS so the TE is covered up.
O25 1 15 Shotgun trips TE 3-3-5 3-3 stack Press one high Run N/A Shovel power Hurst 3
Mansome from Hurst(+2) as he fires a guy back, gets off that block, and then takes on the puller. He’s in the grill of the TE as soon as the shovel happens and MSU only gets yards because they’ve got two on one momentum-wise for a second. Then the cavalry arrives.
O28 2 12 Shotgun 3-wide 4-2-5 Nickel over Press two high Pass 5 TE out Long Inc
Same play as the earlier drop. Michigan is responding better as Long falls off his guy and is likely to pop this right after the catch. Ball is high, deflected, almost INTed, almost caught afterwards. Whee rain time. (Cover +1, Long +0.5).
O28 3 12 Shotgun empty TE 4-1-6 4-0 quarter Press two high Run N/A QB draw Kinnel 10
This is a nonsense looking defense with four guys in the box. Please run a QB draw. MSU runs a QB draw. it’s a trap as Kinnel is coming down on the snap and is able to fill after just a few yards. Kinnel(-1, tackling -1) misses a tackle but this does allow Long to come up and finish the play short of the sticks. RPS +1.
Drive Notes: Punt, 10-14, 6 min 3rd Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Pack Front Cover look Type Rush Play Player Yards
O43 1 10 I-Form 4-3-4 4-3 even SAM Press two high Run N/A Power O Hurst -1
Hurst(+2) puts his dude three yards in the backfield and wrecks the play. Puller bounces off this mess. RB bounces off puller. Bush(+0.5) is free. He sits and waits until RB declares a gap and then tackles.
O42 2 11 Offset I Big 4-3-4 4-3 even SAM Press one high Run N/A Counter trey Gary 1
M slants to this counter. Gary(+1) gets in free and stands up the puller in the backfield. Hurst(+1) gets around two blockers and initiates a tackle; McCray(+0.5) also gets to it. RPS +2.
O43 3 10 Shotgun trips 3-3-5 5-1 DL split Press two high Pass 4 Screen McCray 3
Frippery one way and then a screen the other. M left McCray(+1) at the LOS to deal with this and he runs it down from behind with some help from Hill(+1) coming up to slow it down. RPS +1.
Drive Notes: Punt, 10-14, 1 min 3rd Q. Next drive is in a monsoon.
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Pack Front Cover look Type Rush Play Player Yards
M41 1 10 Shotgun trips tight bunch TE 4-3-4 4-3 even Off two high Run N/A QB edge counter McCray 8
JFC. For one, six guys on the LOS, no flag. For two, Winovich is flagrantly held and this allows QB to hit the gap. Michigan has gotten called for this exact outside the shoulder pads yank twice in this game and they ignore this one. Anyway this one of those split plays with an outside run fake one way and the QB going the other way and M bites on it, with McCray(-1) the relevant playside guy. Nobody is reading the OL pulls. Winovich does do a good job to almost string it out and then he’s held, refs -2, and Kinnel has to play force. RPS -2. BTW this is probably the helmet to helmet hit they sent to the league, which is ridiculous since QB is a runner and not protected.
M33 2 2 Ace twins 4-3-4 4-3 over Press two high Run N/A Inside zone Hurst 0
Hurst(+1) and Mone(+1) both drive into the backfield to cut off frontside lanes. Winovich overpursues this and almost comes under Hurst, he stops and forms up at the LOS to tackle but has no momentum and this is a missed TFL opp. He does stand the back up and hold him long enough to get a whistle, with help from a couple other guys.
M33 3 2 Shotgun 3-wide 4-3-4 4-3 even Press one high Run N/A Speed option keep McCray 0
Speed option, can’t imagine a pitch here. Gary comes up on the edge and Lewerke has to cut inside. Hurst(+1) has blown his guy back again and forces QB further inside, where OL has no angle on McCray(+2), who delivers a thunderous stick.
M33 4 2 Goal line 4-3-4 4-3 over Off two high Run N/A Yakety snap Hurst -3
Fumbled snap and play is dead but this wasn’t going anywhere anyway with Hurst(+2) surging into the backfield and wiping out two guys immediately.
Drive Notes: Turnover on downs, 10-14, 12 min 4th Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Pack Front Cover look Type Rush Play Player Yards
O42 1 10 Shotgun twin TE H 4-2-5 4-3 over Press two high Run N/A Jet sweep Hudson 8
RPSed here as this is tackle over to the boundary and that’s where the heavy run strength is. M puts Hudson over there instead of McCray and gets edged. Hudson(-1) gets thunked by a FB as he must and can’t funnel back. Bush(+1) dodged a cut and flows really well, cutting off the interior and forcing the ball out before the sticks. RPS -1, alignment win for MSU.
50 2 2 Offset I 4-2-5 4-3 even SAM Press two high Run N/A Split zone Hurst -1
Hurst(+3) again right through the line as if he is not being blocked; this time he TFLs by himself. Mone(+2) was going to do this if Hurst didn’t after simply throwing his blocker to the ground.
O49 3 3 Shotgun 2-back 4-2-5 Nickel over Press one high Run N/A Shovel power Gary 1
M blitzes heavy so there’s no way anyone can get out on McCray, who is the playside LB, with Kinnel filling in for blitzers. Gary(+2) isn’t fooled by the outside action and is fast enough to crash down to initiate a tackle behind the sticks; McCray(+1) finishes it. RPS +1.
Drive Notes: Punt, 10-14, 9 min 4th Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Pack Front Cover look Type Rush Play Player Yards
O23 1 10 I-Form 3-wide 4-2-5 4-3 over Press two high Run N/A End around Hill 4
Hudson(+0.5) and Gary(+0.5) fill a couple of inside lanes and Hill(+0.5) falls off his guy to fill once the end around is clear.
O27 2 6 Shotgun 3-wide 4-2-5 Nickel even Press two high Run N/A QB arc keeper McCray 0
Almost identical to the previous arc keeper except McCray(+1) reads it and gets outside his blocker after his scrape exchange and Winovich(+1) flows and tackles once QB cuts up. RPS +1.
O27 3 6 Shotgun empty 04/02/05 Nickel even Press two high Pass 4 Scramble Gary 4
This is a pass play but it looks like Lewerke is barely reading and just wants to take off. Reasonable. Also Gary(+1, pressure +1) blew through the LT. Hurst(-1) is just sitting at the line but can’t get off to annoy this so it’s momentarily scary looking before Bush(+1) fills. QB falls over of his own volition.
Drive Notes: Punt, 10-14, 6 min 4th Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Pack Front Cover look Type Rush Play Player Yards
O27 1 10 Offset I Big 4-2-5 4-3 even Press one high Run N/A Down G Mone 4
Mone(-1) turned in and dealt with on a double. Bush(+1) takes on the lead guy releasing from Mone, hits him back, and hits in the hole. Folks converge.
O31 2 6 I-Form twins 4-2-5 4-3 even Press one high Run N/A Split zone Hurst -2 (Pen +5)
Goddammit. Nobody is offsides on this play. They call it on Gary. A screenshot is below. Gary does flinch on a hard count but he never gets in the neutral zone, and these idiots call it. Bush is also behind the NZ. This is absolutely huge and these ding-dongs fucked it up. Refs -3. Anyway, Hurst(+3) explodes off the ball and makes a solo TFL. Mone(+1) blasts a guy back and Winovich(+1) gets off a guy; this is doomed and third and long and JFC, refs. Love how the announcers look at this and don’t mention the horrendous malpractice.
O36 2 1 Goal line 4-2-5 4-4 even Press two high Run N/A QB sneak N/A 3
M doesn’t align over the C and MSU just takes the first down. I don’t really have a problem with this since you have another at bat on the next set of downs and you’d almost rather they get this instead of have third and inches.
O39 1 10 I-Form Big 4-2-5 4-3 under Press zero high Run N/A Counter Gary 6
Ugh. Gary(-2) is free on the edge and gets a puller, the tackle. He sets up and eats a block. He ends up giving ground; he tackles but there’s no help so RB can lurch forward. M shifted its LB level on the TE motion and only Hudson is left on the weakside. He gets an OL free releasing; Bush can’t get back. RPS -1. MSU counter got M discombobulated.
O45 2 4 Goal line 4-3-4 4-3 over Press zero high Run N/A Down G Hurst 1
Hurst(+2) cut after a shift as he surges into the backfield. He still gets up off this and gets to the back in the backfield. Winovich(+1) stood up a guy and holds up to a double-ish and helps prevent any lurch forward.
O46 3 3 Shotgun trips tight bunch TE 4-3-4 4-3 over Press zero high Run N/A QB edge counter Furbush 4
Same play as earlier, though they may have meant to give it to the RB. QB fumbles. M defends this badly. Hurst(+1) surges into both pullers and disrupts them. Furbush(-2) goes directly upfield and does not flare out to defend a play M has already seen. Kemp(-2) gets locked inside and is gone vs one OL. Metellus contains. Furbush is able to get around and tackle thanks to the MSU miscue, but QB lands on OL and rolls over for the first down.
50 1 10 Goal line 4-3-4 4-3 even Pup Run N/A Power O Mone -2
Mone(+2) blasts a guy back and disconnects to tackle in the backfield. Hurst(+1) had done another amazing penetration thing and disrupted this a bit in the backfield. McCray(+1) also flowed up to hit and is there in case others aren’t.
O48 2 12 Goal line 4-3-4 4-3 even Pup Run N/A QB pin and pull Metellus -3
Metellus tackled by sixth OL in the game, drawing a hold that gives Michigan their last gasp drive. The rest is academic, really. M declines the penalty but the clock stops until the snap.
M49 3 9 Goal line over 4-3-4 4-3 even Pup Run N/A QB pin and pull N/A 1
Give up and punt, which is the move.
Drive Notes: Punt, 10-14, 1 min 4th Q.

I have no bleach-related feelings about this.

No. This was basically as expected. MSU had one long TD drive that was about 60% a contested downfield catch and this year's RPS thing and a short-field drive on which a couple scrambles and an absurd penalty on Devin Bush were most of the distance. MSU had one 50-yard power play that turned into a first-down-and-out and that was the almost literally the end of their offense until the refs bailed them out on their four minute drill.

Say what now?

This was called offsides on Rashan Gary.


That is the frame that the ball starts moving on. Rashan Gary is not offside, and neither is Devin Bush, and neither is Mo Hurst since Mo Hurst did this the whole game without getting called.

That was the difference between third and eight after a Hurst TFL and second and one. I mean... it probably didn't matter given Michigan's offense. But it might have mattered. Michigan's OL got away with a lot of holding in this game; this wasn't as lopsided as the officiating in the game two years ago. But it remains depressing that this crew sucks so bad and keeps getting games.

While I'm on my bitchin' here, MSU's open and dropped pass was flaaaaagrant OPI. This guy isn't even trying to pretend he's running a route:

#7 S and slot WR

MSU tried to flagrant OPI themselves into a wheel route later but Michigan zoned it and Lewerke had to abandon it. Check out Bush and Felton Davis here:

That's not even trying to conceal intent. That's how unafraid MSU is of getting an OPI call.

Hmm... bleach related issues rising.

In this one department, yes.

So... defense still elite?

Probably, yes. MSU's OL is very bad and they were starting a true freshman at guard with David Beedle out. The one thing Michigan hasn't done is go up against a legitimately good OL with, like, NFL prospects on it, but I'm not sure there's one of those on the schedule.

Drive survey:

  • 9 three-and-outs, one of them a four-and-out in the monsoon section of the game.
  • two first-down-and-outs, one of them that went 44 yards after the 50-yard run
  • 6 play, 46-yard TD drive
  • 9 play, 83-yard TD drive
  • two first downs, one of them the above hamhanded crap, on a four-minute drill.

Against anybody other than Delaware State that's about as good as you can expect in 2017.


Look please stop asking me this.


Because every time I say anything about turnovers I point out how random they are and doom Michigan to another 80 years of terrible turnover luck.


I hope not, because: FFS, randomness. MSU put the ball on the turf multiple times and got it back. Lewerke almost threw three picks of his own but two of the throws were too bad to be picked off and one went an inch past Long's hands. Gary pressures this throw and Lewerke throws right at the Tacopants version of Devin Bush:

That's a throw-it-anywhere that did not result in a pick. Meanwhile, Hill's impressive zone PBU was a bad throw to the inside of his WR; an accurate throw is a Countess-style INT.


You realize that large parts of the defensive UFRs now read like you complaining about the only things that went badly in a game Michigan dominated?

Yes, now get on with it.

The first one was Mone and Winovich both getting a little out of position. Winovich rushed around the corner not quite well enough, opening up the gap, and Mone leapt at a throw-like twitch from Lewerke; once he was in the air he could not redirect outside to slow Lewerke's procession.

I'm the second one was 80% Don Brown. After a false start it's second and thirteen from the 14. Michigan runs cover two man under—i.e., two deep safeties and everyone else in man coverage. This is a super conservative approach that you cannot get away with against a mobile QB of any description, and once McCray follows the back as he must there's nothing between Lewerke and the end zone:

MSU has three guys blocking Gary, preventing him from closing off the gap, and so Hurst's free run is for naught. One extra guy in the box turns this into a sack or small gain and then you can run your cover two man under on third down. That guy should be Devin Bush, who runs out of the box to cover a wide receiver on the outside.

Whatever it is in Michigan's defense that causes this to happen—McCray was put in a similar situation and MSU got an easy chunk of yards on the throw—should be excised.


just going all in on this aren't you


I do have a complaint about it, but it's not Brandon Watson. Watson's in the chest of the WR with his head around looking for the ball. He hits the WRs arms, causing a drop, and then the ball floats back to the WR.

There's always a tiny window and MSU just about hit it. Also he's ground that route up, giving the safety time to get over. My complaint is not with Watson. It's with Kinnel, who's the safety you see flashing into the picture behind the WR. He clearly has time to come over and nail the WR; instead he runs behind both guys. I assume he's trying to intercept the ball because he thinks it's over the WR's head. It's not; bad read of the situation. Kinnel should have blown the guy up.


Three primary failures: one was Hurst getting blown out. One was Bush reacting to this in a very bad way, running himself into the Hurst double instead of scraping around it and holding it down to like eight yards. One was Gary getting upfield and opening up an outside gap that Kinnel got way too aggressive on:

#73 DT, #10 LB, and #23 S

Bush looks like he has no idea what to do when one of his DL gets blown out... and... I mean... fair enough?

WHAT WAS WITH... uh, that other first down?

I think we're done with this line of questioning. Maybe try another.

I saw Hurst was the best player in college football last week, per PFF?

Well, let's look at the


chart. This is an all time UFR record for a DL coming up.


Defensive Line

Player + - T Notes
Gary 11 4 7 Coming into his own, but hard to tell because of...
Hurst 33.5 3 30.5 I'll take 'records that will never be broken' for 1000
Mone 7 4 3 Mostly good but blown out a couple times.
Winovich 11 3 8 This qualifies as a quiet day for him now.
Kemp 2 -2  In on second conversion on 4 minute drill and lost.
Solomon   DNP
Marshall       DNP
Paye     DNP
Jones   DNP
TOTAL 62.5 16 46.5 !!!
Player + - T Notes
Furbush 1 3 -2 Also a problem on last conversion.
Bush 7 5 2 Solid day with one big exception.
McCray 14 3 11 Built to play this O
Robo   DNP
TOTAL 22 11 11 LBs are good man.
Player + - T Notes
Hudson 3 2 1 Boring.
Metellus 2.5 1 1.5 Nice PBU.
Kinnel 2 5 -3 Getting a mite skeptical, but coverage number.
Hill 7.5 1 6.5 Three excellent PBUs.
Long 1   1 Not really tested.
Watson 3   3 Long completion just one of those things.
Glasgow       DNP
TOTAL 19 9 10 Very good coverage outing.
Pressure 12 6 +6 Tiny numbers here as MSU avoided testing OL.
Coverage 25 4 +21 Charged refs with one of like two open guys.
Tackling 2 1 1 Kinnel only miss.
RPS 12 14 -2 Many MSU  yards from the minuses here.

Sooooooo. Yeah. That Hurst number is insane and unprecedented and I can't imagine it ever being broken unless I UFR the Texas-Nebraska Big 12 title game with Ndamukong Suh in it. Which I'd only want to do if I saw. Getting a 98 from PFF basically means you had a Heisman level, Saquon Barkley-vs-Iowa performance, and... yep.

There is a major degree-of-difficulty warning, because MSU's OL is butt. Even so: I be like dang. He got blown up on the long run; on all other plays where he was relevant his wrath was wroth. There are a half-dozen plays in this game that are candidates to end up on his NFL draft reel. This isn't even one of them:

#73 DT to top of screen

This one might be, though:

#73 DT to bottom of screen

Solo TFL while being held: check. Dismissal of two guys on a pass rush: check.

#73 DT to bottom of screen

Also this:

#73 DT to top of screen

Also this:

I left out a couple of +2/+3 plays. Dios mio, man. Playing next to Mone unleashed him, and nerfed Bush a bit.

But no sacks? For anyone?

I mean... the rest of the defensive line was good, but not out of their mind. Winovich's day was fairly quiet because MSU barely threw (just 22 attempts) and most of it was either short stuff or max pro on which he was a focus. He did have this impressive play on a power:

#15 DE to bottom of screen

He, like Mone, got the business on Other Successful RB Event.

Gary did get a sack, but it was only a fraction behind the line of scrimmage and he did not get credit for it because life is cruel and Sunil Gulati is its official scorer. He also blazed around the LT to force a throwaway; this should be a hold:

#3 DE to top of screen

Third and ten so whatever. Pressure was not an issue. MSU avoided throws more than a few yards downfield with limited exceptions.

What happened to the Bushpocalypse?

Bush was quieter than he has been in the first four games; he was still good except for the large bad thing. Most run plays didn't get to him because of Hurst and friends, and he made a couple of sizeable errors. I only kind of blame him for the first, but he was the guy in man on the RB on the frippery MSU TD and he got lost. That will happen when the double misdirection thing they haven't put on film comes out. The second was a lot worse: he did not scrape over the top of the Hurst mess on the 50-yard run.

MSU couldn't get blockers to him very much but I thought this was a potentially encouraging sign for how he'll hold up against Wisconsin. He gets a mostly free-releaser here and hits him back to tackle:

#10 MLB

The main concern left with him is that he'll get swallowed up by OL who get to the second level, should there ever be any. That's a hint he can cope in a bad situation.

This was a game for McCray, not Bush, and he delivered. He was consistently thunking guys back and constricting space. That, too, bodes well for future manball outings.

Second negative day for Kinnel in a row.

Sort of, yes. He is a part of the consistently excellent coverage metrics, and his part in that easily takes him to a net positive.

But... yeah, I'm getting a little squirrelly about Kinnel. He had the aforementioned issue on the long completion along with a couple other problems. He missed a tackle on a QB draw; that was only semi-dangerous but it was dangerous. Unfortunately, we now have a fairly large number of open-field whiffs from him. And the 50-yarder broke big because Kinnel got way too nosy on first and ten:

#23 S

I kind of get that on third and three or whatever when you might boot 'em off the field. Overplaying that outside gap to prevent second and short is not a good gamble.

But... Lavert Hill! Dang!

We're still early in Lavert Hill's career, and for cornerbacks who don't get evaluated here unless they're tested there's less data for them than anyone else. That caveat out of the way: he's Jourdan Lewis, just as the prophecy foretold. His coverage was challenged three times in this game and on each he excelled. Here he pops outside the WR on the snap because he's got help inside and then dominates a corner route:

And this, as mentioned, is Blake-Countess-level zone cornerbackin':

And this is back to being Jourdan Lewis:

He did get beat on a comeback for nine yards. He was otherwise great. He was a good run defender against Air Force and he's part of big UFR coverage + metrics and almost every time he's relevant to a passing play is going to go well for M.

About the only thing we haven't gotten excellent, if limited, data on was his high school bugaboo: getting torched on double moves. The thing is I'm not sure how relevant that's going to be if he's in press man the whole time. Usually you see double moves against off coverage. When someone's in your grill and you downshift to sell them on the route they're looking at you the whole time; it's much easier to maintain "eye discipline" in that situation—ie, not look at the throw you think is coming as Jehu Chesson lopes into the endzone uncontested. Hill's hypothetical weakness is nigh-irrelevant in this defense.

Suggestion for Michigan: trot out Mike Zordich to tell us about how terrible the OL is.

FWIW, Metellus also had an impressive PBU. He's got outside leverage on the slot and bites on the out fake but manages to flip his hips and recover:

There's a window there but Lewerke misses it with pump and then it's gone. With the safety coming over the top the throw has to be a little short and Metellus makes up the ground. That would have required perfect timing and a strike.

How did Mone do in his most extended outing this year?

He was fine. Not great, not terrible. Fine. He's a useful player. He offers no pass rush; he's not easy to move. Like Hurst he had one bad snap when he got busted by a double. This was The Other Successful Michigan State RB Event:

If you're like me you thought to yourself "what the hell just happened" and remembered when it used to happen like 20 times a half. Well, young person, Michigan used to not have great giant beasts along the DL and this was the result. Also sometimes Michigan did this themselves. But not at the same time.

The rest of the game Mone was fine. He held up. One time he dismissed his opponent like a man scolding a child:

#90 DT to top of screen

Naturally, Hurst robbed him of a TFL.

That was rare. He's a space eater and he ate space while other guys did crazy stuff.

Did it feel like there was a certain lack of fancy we-saved-this stuff? I mean, the screen, and then not much?

There were a couple more things. MSU ran an unbalanced line a couple times and got their TE open when Michigan didn't realize it. Both were incomplete, one on a drop, and the other on the near-INT by Long on the overthrow. Michigan did have Long in position to tackle quickly on the second. On the first they schemed up a first down but for the drop:

"LT" is actually their TE

They also had a couple of QB counter runs that were new, although they mostly worked because Winovich got held:

M got called for that outside-the-shoulder-pads yank three times. Argh. Anyway: the LB level does bite the other way. MSU returned to this for the third down conversion that forced Michigan into a 30-second drill at the end of the game and Furbush went up the middle, disastrously.

MSU also had an "arc keeper" on which the play looks like split zone but the guy supposed to kick someone out instead runs around the guy and cuts him off. This worked once, and then when they went back to it Michigan had it down.

MSU also tried to run their WRs wide a few times and it didn't work; they had a number of shovel passes that didn't work. They had another misdirection screen that Michigan left McCray at the line to deal with; he dealt with it. They ran speed option on third and short, and McCray thumped it:

They had a bunch of stuff but most of it didn't work so it fades from memory.

OTOH, there was nothing like last year's opening drive, a motion-heavy scripted thing MSU had clearly been working on for a month. It's earlier in the year and the MSU OL is very young, so they probably had to focus more on the footballing than the frippery.


Hurst set an all-time UFR record. Hill was great when tested. McCray was a thumping presence, and both DEs were very good.

Maybe not so heroic?

Nobody, really. Kinnel did have a hand in two of the big MSU gains and didn't do a ton that was visible on-screen. Furbush didn't have much impact and didn't play the final first down well.

What does it mean for Indiana and the future?

Not much we didn't already know. Michigan obliterates bad OLs, MSU has a bad OL, the end.

Hill is moving towards elite. Three excellent plays move him closer to star cornerback territory. One of them coming in zone is a bonus.

Mone is useful but only that. He was solid, but only intermittently impactful against an OL the rest of the team was hammering.

Bush gets muted against manball... but Hurst gets turned way up. It's a wash.



October 13th, 2017 at 3:08 PM ^

I'm going to miss Hurst when he's gone.  Watching him just ragdoll some linemen is just a treat.

I'm also starting to wonder if we are underselling Long a bit.  MSU didn't try to test him in this game, and he was +5 last game against Purdue.  Hill is getting more screen time, but it almost feels like teams are stuck throwing to someone and they are trying out Hill just because he gets their #1 more times than not.  It really is amazing to see this team lose two all-conference/AA-level corners and not even miss a beat.


October 13th, 2017 at 7:36 PM ^

Hill gets the plays but Long quietly shuts down his side. His hips and hand work are outstanding, along with strength and speed maybe a bit better (Hill might have the edge in quickness). Long just needs to commit a tad more to the tackling and battling a little more like Hill.

It seems like a couple of comments from he coaches have swayed the perspective of this blog. Game viewing leads me to put Long equal or a tad above.

Monocle Smile

October 13th, 2017 at 3:09 PM ^

I'm not even sure what Bush did in response to Allen's headslap, but Hurst is also held like crazy despite making the tackle with no flag. A disaster of a play for the refs.


October 13th, 2017 at 3:34 PM ^

The bad calls hurt us more than they hurt MSU (helping scoring drives and gifting them a first down late) but this is a good game to demonstrate how bad the crew is. There were a bunch of blown calls they missed against us, too, a sure sign that the refs are just plain bad. 

I wish there were more accountability about them. I wonder if there were gripes up the chain after Saturday.


October 13th, 2017 at 6:02 PM ^

I don't know how the hell that tackle over formation where the TE drops the ball is legal. He's lined up just like every other LT that's considered on the line, there's a WR outside of him at the line, yet he's still eligible because, reasons? They that 6 men on the line play, they consider someone way farther back than the TE on the previous as on the line? WTF?

kevin holt

October 13th, 2017 at 5:45 PM ^

Two plays earlier (in fact the one referred to as the Other Successful RB Event) Bush is shoved HARD by an OL (not sure if the same guy) after the RB is down, and Bush falls over the pile as a result. It was so obvious I couldn't believe the guy actually did it let alone that it wasn't called.


October 13th, 2017 at 3:36 PM ^

I somewhat agree with you, and have said this to myself a few times already - BUT there is a lot of football to be played yet.  This team beats PSU at their place, and we wont be saying what a waste of an elite defense.

This team can still suprise and close strong with this defense.  The offnese just has to get to avearage IMO.  Can they?


October 13th, 2017 at 3:40 PM ^

That is the question. What is going to get them to average? A lot of people are blaming [insert random offensive coach name here] for the problems, but the issue isn't that we have obvious things that we can do on offense that the coaches are failing to take advantage of. The issue is, what should Michigan do? Go Tressel ball and hope that the OLine can run block moderately well? Downfield passing with our backup QB to our second and third best wide receivers that haven't yet shown that they are great at catching? Zone read option plays with a quicker-but-not-exactly-fast backup QB?

If Michigan had one thing that worked, I'd feel a lot better. But so far we have nothing. Seriously the best hope may be that Wilton Speight comes back and is ready to make decisive throws again. Guy broke three vertebrae. That seems like the best hope to me, and that's... not very hopeful at all.


October 13th, 2017 at 4:04 PM ^

Is that like Rudock's first start against Utah (3 INTs,) this first start of the season for O'Korn will also be shown to be an aberration. I hope he's closer to PurdueKorn than SpartyKorn. Manage the game like Griese did in '97 and we have enough to sludgefart through enough games to get to 10 wins. I don't like seeing all the services predicting 8 wins in Ecky Pting's diary. This is NOT an 8 win team. Too much talent and coaching. The best thing about freshmen is that they become sophomores, right? But the learning and improving has to start ramping up as of yesterday.


October 13th, 2017 at 4:14 PM ^

and yes, hopefully closer to PurdueKorn.  The tough part is there are two differences for him and 2015 Rudock:

1) Rudock had literally been in the program for like four months or so (?) at the time of the Utah game.  This is JOKs third year.  Just doesn't seem like the curve is going to be as steep and he is what he is (a guy that has bad pocket presence and locks in on his first read, but a great arm!).

2) Rudock had veteran WRs and a verteran (if shaky) OL.  There is a reason Speight took a step back this year: inexperieinced pass catchers and very shaky OL.  That's probably going to lower the ceiling for JOK or any QB.

The one hope is that the coaches get creative with his ability to run.  If Peters is close to being named the outright starter anyway, might as well run JOK as much as it makes sense to.

My fear is that the staff's unwillingness to run him last Saturday, with two weeks to prepare a package, means that Peters isn't as close as we'd like.  Who knows though.


October 13th, 2017 at 4:27 PM ^

I agree with almost all of this. However, I think people are pinning too much hope on using O'Korn in zone reads.

Could they get a couple of plus plays by doing it? Sure, and honestly I hope they do. They obviously have gun handoffs that use that look already in the playbook.

The problem is that it will take one or two of those runs, max, for defenses to adjust. And before that adjustment happens, what you're getting isn't Denard Robinson or even Devin Gardner out in the open field; you're getting modestly but uninspiringly quick John O'Korn out there. He'll gain a few yards, perhaps in the ideal circumstances a first down, and that will be it.

And then the defense will adjust and it won't work anymore.

The only way to keep it working is to build a whole package around it. Bluff arc blocks and midline veers and new play-action passes.

But that takes a lot of time to install, and that time cannot be spent on other crucial things. And John O'Korn is not a dangerous runner that can punish a defense in the way that, say, Colin Kaepernick can. Further, exposing him to injury repeatedly (as opposed to just a run or two) isn't a good idea given the apparent lack of readiness behind him.

I agree it would be nice to see O'Korn pull the ball and keep once or twice. I don't believe it will transform our offense. Better to work on some stuff that's already in the playbook and get it to work.


October 13th, 2017 at 5:30 PM ^

in a zone read game.  I think I'd just run 4-6 QB draws, naked boots, and things that look like our existing offense but that are designed run plays that don't require him to make a read and that don't require our O line to do things they might not be good at.

Sort of like (sigh) a lot of the plays MSU runs for Lewerke that include a bunch of go routes and TEs and RBs running going to the flat to open up the middle.

Maybe a zone read or two for good measure, but I agree that that's not going to be our game and I I'd only run it if the line and everyone else already knows it from the Pepcat (which they should).

If he keeps once or twice a game, it could at least force the defense to pay attention to it and then it opens up to some RPOs (which are perfect for him with a primary read).


October 13th, 2017 at 3:24 PM ^

You realize that large parts of the defensive UFRs now read like you complaining about the only things that went badly in a game Michigan dominated?

Don't you see?  Bolded alter ego's trying to get you all pissy defending the defending!

They don't call them defensive UFRs for nothing, yuk hyuk.

814 East U

October 13th, 2017 at 3:26 PM ^

Seems like a lifetime ago when we couldn't stop Illinois from running all over us. Now we are breaking down a couple plays against MSU because they scored 14 total points while having +5 in turnovers. 

I will regret wasting the 2016 defense for a long time. I am going to regret wasting this defense. However, the future is bright on D for the near future with Dr. Blitz.

Maize in NC

October 13th, 2017 at 3:32 PM ^

brush aside two OL like they weren't even there had me laughing like a loon in my office.  The best part is the two OL ending up bumping into each other as Hurst heads toward the QB.


October 13th, 2017 at 3:36 PM ^

Man I hope the offense can find something midseason because this D is incredible. 

But it's tough sledding when you know that giving up two scores puts the game in jeopardy and the offense gives the opponent a drive on the wrong half of the 50.


October 13th, 2017 at 3:42 PM ^

Offense is pretty close: few less dropped balls, one more block, passing to flat routes to move chains and DUH less fumbles please (happens to young teams more). Looking at MSU v M highlights we were oh so close on many plays - more so than MSU (more boom or bust for them vs. M seemed more methodical in its offense). Also I noticed MSU had 2-3 second pass options for Lewerke vs. O'korn had more longer developing routes. 


Anyways, I think we improve by the end of the season on offense to lament what could have been if we hit our stride earlier...