let's drink some damn mead [Bryan Fuller]

Upon Further Review 2018: Defense vs Penn State Comment Count

Brian November 9th, 2018 at 1:36 PM

image-6_thumb_thumb5_thumb_thumb_thu[1]SPONSOR NOTE: Reminder that Matt is hanging out at the Charity Tailgate at 327 East Hoover (if you were at the preseason MGoEvents this year and last it's the same place). It's right next to the train tracks on Hoover. The band goes right by it on their way to the stadium, which is cool. Say hi.

When not tailgating Matt is also a person who will get you a mortgage right quick from the comfort of your own home.

FORMATION NOTES: Michigan stuck to the four man front for almost the whole game, with just a few attempts to play a 3-3-5. The Rush package remains unchanged after Gary's return. Michigan did have some exotics, one a 3-1-7(!) alignment with two vipers and Bush out there on third and ten. This was the Glasgow sack.

SUBSTITUTION NOTES: Massive rotation across the front with even Chase Winovich bowing out on occasion. Gary's return and his absence from the rush package amped up a rotation that is ten guys deep now: Gary, Winovich, Mone, Kemp, Paye, Marshall, Solomon, Dwumfour, Uche and Hutchinson (sort of). As a result everyone save Winovich saw maybe half of Michigan's snaps. Also Donovan Jeter got in late.

LB was the standard: Bush and Hudson all the time, Ross and Gil splitting WLB snaps with Ross having an edge, and assorted cameos from Glasgow and Furbush. Ditto the secondary. Woods was the only backup S to get in, interestingly.

[After THE JUMP: the lamentation of their message boards]

Ln Dn Ds O Form D Pack Front Cover look Type Rush Play Player Yards
O25 1 10 Shotgun trips 4-2-5 Nickel over Press two high Pass 4 RPO slant Hudson 25
Kinnel as a deep S; he inserts, leaving Hill in one on one on the backside and M playing some sort of zone to the trips. RPO wipes the LB level. Hudson(-1) is looking at the QB and not able to move out on the TE, or tackle. Bush(-2, cover -2) is almost certainly supposed to drop into this as Kinnel replaces him on the inverted veer; this trap does not get sprung and PSU starts with a chunk. Gary(+2, pressure +2) crushed McSorley right after the throw.
50 1 10 Shotgun 4-wide 4-2-5 Nickel even Press one high Run N/A Midline zone read Kemp 0
Probably not a line dorf and it’s PSU turning Kemp(+1) loose in the hopes he’ll bury himself on the back and give McSorley a running lane. He forms up, give. Mone(+1) stands up to a double; Gil(+1) runs up and hits half of it to show up in the lane; nil.
50 2 10 Shotgun 3-wide 4-2-5 4-3 over Press one high Pass 4 PA sack Winovich -6
Trying to go to the TE probably. Gary(+1) around at about 7, which flushes McSorley up in the pocket; Winovich(+3, pressure +3) probably doesn’t need this as he shocked the RT with an interior move that got him up the gut in a flash. Sack.
M44 3 16 Shotgun trips Rush D Dime even Press two high Pass 4 Sack Uche -8
Uche(+2, pressure +3) just too explosive to handle as he bursts inside the LT as Michigan runs the stunt they did well with against MSU. Paye(+1) did his job with initial contact on the guard. By the time he loops I don’t know if it’s realistic to even get to Uche.
Drive Notes: Punt, 0-0, 12 min 1st Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Pack Front Cover look Type Rush Play Player Yards
O25 1 10 Wildcat 3-wide 4-2-5 4-3 even Press one high Penalty N/A Delay N/A -5
Attempted wildcat flip takes too long. M immediately shifts their D on seeing it.
O20 1 15 Wildcat 3-wide 4-2-5 4-3 even Press two high Run N/A QB power Solomon 4
Solomon(-1) tries to do a little too much here. He stands up the LG and can drive him back, probably, to pick off the puller. Instead he rips to the play, which does pick the puller off but also vacates the gap behind him. If he just holds his ground Bush(+0.5) and Ross are(+0.5) two vs one vs the puller and shutting this down at the LOS. Instead they have to re-gap and can only tackle from the side. Gary(+1) is able to pursue from the backside and help tackle. Refs(-1) miss a tackle on Marshall as he almost gets to this gap.
O24 2 11 Shotgun 3-wide 4-2-5 4-3 even SAM Press one high Pass 5 Slant Metellus Inc
Metellus(-1, cover -1) beat on the slant; PSU WR drops it and nearly deflects it to Kinnel. Solomon(+1, pressure +1) driving the C back into McSorley’s lap, must throw.
O24 3 11 Shotgun empty Rush D Dime even Press two high Run N/A QB power N/A 10
Too fancy for M’s own good here as this is pretty much a four man box with Bush over the slot and Hudson backing out. Dwumfour and Winovich get split as they’re both rushing hard and then there’s no one else. RPS -2. M fortunate that McSorley slides short of the sticks. Possible someone missed an assignment to fill this gap after baiting the draw?
Drive Notes: Punt, 7-0, 7 min 1st Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Pack Front Cover look Type Rush Play Player Yards
O41 1 10 Shotgun 4-wide 4-2-5 4-3 over Press one high Pass 4 Slant Gil 10
Very token PA: LBs stay back and M is clearly zoning underneath so their guys can play outside leverage. Gil(-1, cover -1) creeps to the LOS on the token fake and never tries to recover to the slant area, so when Metellus purposely funnels the slot guy inside there’s no one there. Gary coming on a speed to power rush, pressure push.
M49 1 10 Shotgun empty 4-2-5 5-1 nickel Press one high Pass 5 Scramble Kemp 1
M again shooting inside the RT, this time with Gary(+1, pressure +1), who surges up the middle and flushes. Kemp(+1) is able to hustle his ass off to prevent a real scramble. Coverage(+1) good for a beat but once McSorley breaks the pocket he’s running all the way.
M48 2 9 Shotgun trips H 4-2-5 4-3 over SAM Press one high Run N/A Split zone Gary 4
Backup QB at RB, runs. Winovich(+1) comes down on the H back pulling across and staples him in the backfield, no gaps. Cutback. This is fine as Kemp(+0.5) has controlled his guy and has him a yard in the backfield. Gary(-1) tries to do too much and rips back inside after doing the same LOS reset to his man. This gives Stevens a lane outside for a decent gain. Hudson(-1) contributed by getting way way upfield and is not able to come back on the runner despite this taking a long time. Vexing since this is a covered slot formation and run is likely.
M44 3 5 Shotgun empty Rush D Dime even Press one high Pass 5 Slot fade Hill Inc
Winovich(+1) and Bush(+1) both coming around the edge tight, forcing a throw(pressure+2). Hill(+1, cover +1) looks to be step for step and the WR stumbles. No replay to see if that’s induced or not. Ball well overthrown, would have been a very tight window.
Drive Notes: Punt, 7-0, 1 min 1st Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Pack Front Cover look Type Rush Play Player Yards
O35 1 10 Shotgun 3-wide 4-2-5 4-3 even Press one high Pass 4 Slot fade Metellus Inc (Pen +15)
Bunch of movement as PSU checks and M feints a change and then goes back to their base. Slot fade at a safety lined up outside. Metellus(+1, cover +1) does not win over the top but is step for step; he gets his head around and looks for the ball, which hits him in the head. Very bogus PI comes in as Hamler is holding Metellus and Metellus puts his arm over Hamler’s. This is more OPI than anything, Refs -2. Cumong man.
50 1 10 Shotgun 3-wide 4-2-5 4-3 over Press one high Run N/A Inside zone Winovich -2
Fumbled exchange hopped on by Winovich(+1). Ball(+3) don’t lie. M fortunate here as Marshall(-1) had been moved down the line here and Sanders had a lane to the second level; a chunk.
Drive Notes: Fumble, 7-0, 12 min 2nd Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Pack Front Cover look Type Rush Play Player Yards
O23 1 10 Shotgun trips 4-2-5 Nickel even Press one high Run N/A Inverted veer keeper Gil -1
Winovich(+1) tears at the mesh point. He’s in so fast that the pulling G decides he’s got to block him. Nobody gets optioned. Winovich is able to get at McSorley’s feet; no tackle but off balance. Gil(+1) anticipating this and close to the LOS; he’s past the T trying to chip Solomon. McSorley dives at his feet. Bush coming around the outside here and has a good shot at either potential ballcarrier. Solomon(-0.5) went to his knees briefly but didn’t get blown out.
O22 2 11 Shotgun 3-wide 4-2-5 4-3 over Press one high Run N/A Inside zone Winovich 3
Frontside stunt; backside gap exchange. Exchange doesn’t go well as backside T sees it and shoulders Winovich(+1) but Winovich is too quick and around. Solomon(+0.5) again gets doubled and goes to a knee but before he did he drove the double back a yard; nobody gets to the second level. Stunt gets Dwumfour(+0.5) through on a loop, must cut back, Winovich tackles. Bush(+0.5) free and also there to prevent any funny business.
O25 3 8 Shotgun empty Rush D Dime even Press one high Pass 4 Sack Uche -7
Dwumfour(+1) drives the LG; Uche(+2, pressure +3) loops around this and is through like a shot. C looked the wrong way at first as Hudson was creeping presnap. By the time he gets his head back left Uche’s gone. Winovich(+2) simultaneously beats the RT around the corner at 7 yards and probably sacks if Uche didn’t beat him to it. RPS +1.
Drive Notes: Punt, 14-0, 5 min 2nd Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Pack Front Cover look Type Rush Play Player Yards
O10 1 10 Shotgun trips 4-2-5 Nickel under Press one high Pass 5 Drag Hill Inc
Gary(+1, pressure +1) around the edge and able to get a hit on McSorley just after the ball is gone. Hill(-0.5, cover -1) trailing on a drag route that is probably 5 plus either a fair amount of YAC or a lot after a broken tackle. Ball is high and hard and dropped.
O10 2 10 Shotgun 3-wide 4-2-5 4-3 even Press one high Pass 4 Flare Hudson 9
Hudson(-2, tackling -2) airballs on a tackle in space. Sanders has to stop for the back juke but Bush gets held a little as he comes around a TE block and he isn’t able to shut it down until the sticks.
O19 3 1 Wildcat 3-wide 4-2-5 4-3 even Press one high Run N/A QB inside zone Kemp 2
Kemp single blocked as OL releases directly to Bush. He does okay, driving his guy back a little and shedding, but not great. Paye(-0.5) is kicked out and positioned such that he has no chance to slide down and fill the hole. Slot defender comes down to help tackle with Kemp.
O21 1 10 Shotgun 4-wide 4-2-5 Nickel even Press one high Pass 4 Scramble N/A 1
Paye in for Gary and Kemp/Mone your DTs, so it’s Winovich or nothing probably and Winovich doesn’t win this time. Pressure -2. Coverage(+3) is suffocating as M buzzes a slant and traps the outside one. TE covered to the other side of the field and Hill’s on a fly route. Nowhere to go, timer goes off, McSorley scrambles for a yard. Ross, Metellus, Hudson +0.5.
O22 2 9 Shotgun 3-wide 4-2-5 Nickel even Press one high Pass 5 TE dig Bush 19
Bush(-1, cover -1) set up inside on his jam of the TE; TE is able to rip through and get separation. McSorley finds him; Bush is able to tackle. Lot of time(pressure -2) as Hudson gets added late to an ill-timed blitz and can’t slalom through the gates in time.
O41 1 10 Shotgun trips 4-2-5 Nickel even Press one high Pass 4 Dig Kinnel 20
Pressure(-2) again not coming. Winovich is able to force McSorley up in the pocket a bit but there’s no push up the middle from Solomon(-1) in particular. With enough time McSorley’s able to find Hamler as Kinnel(-1, cover -1) flips his hips to run vertically and is beat when Hamler cuts his route shorter.
M39 1 10 Shotgun 4-wide 4-2-5 Nickel even Press one high Pass 4 Out Metellus Inc
A fourth straight clean pocket(pressure -2); Coverage(+2) apparently better downfield; McSorley may be throwing this out against Metellus(+1) away since Metellus is in a good spot and probably has a play on the ball. Winovich taps out after this play.
M39 2 10 Shotgun trips 4-2-5 5-1 nickel Press one high Pass 5 Fade Watson Inc
Watson(-3, cover -3) falls over as he tries to turn and run with a fade. McSorley misses the sure TD.
M39 3 10 Shotgun trips 3-1-7 5-1 nickel Press one high Pass 5 Sack Glasgow -7
Three man line with the two vipers on the field; they move up to flank it before the snap. Winovich(+1) dodges inside on that stunt they’ve been using. Picked up but did force McSorley to move up. Gary(+1) drives a G and compresses the pocket; Glasgow(+1, pressure +3) is there to clean up as McSorley tries to get out of dodge.
Drive Notes: Punt, 14-0, 1 min 2nd Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Pack Front Cover look Type Rush Play Player Yards
O17 1 10 4-3 even 4-2-5 4-3 even Press two high Pass 4 Drag Gil Inc
M futzes with their usual look, dropping Kinnel deep and then sending Gil over the slot. Hamler runs a drag. Gil’s in zone but there’s nobody inside of him as Hudson gets run off. Long is popping off his WR in trap coverage and will be able to tackle, probably, but not until a first down. Cover -1, RPS -1. Pressure okay as Gary’s coming around and Bush is surging up the middle. Throw is way off. I think Bush(+1) may have gotten a finger on this? If not he may have altered the throw.
O17 2 10 Shotgun 3-wide 4-2-5 Base 3-4 Press one high Run N/A Inside zone Bush 4
Three man front from M with Winovich a standup LB. Winovich(-1) goes in pass rush mode and gets upfield and buried. Edge is open. Sanders tries to hit it. Kemp(+0.5) is able to bend him out a bit and Bush(+1) is free behind this. Nobody outruns Bush. Watson(+0.5) helped out by forcing it back at the numbers, ish.
O21 3 6 Shotgun trips 3-2-6 3-2 dime Press one high Run N/A QB power Bush 5
Passing down look gets a QB run. Bush blitz off the backside of this play, heavy slant to the front. Dwumfour(-1) doubled and locked out. Winovich(+1) able to shed the first OL who hits him and absorbs the puller. He’s able to chuck an OL past him. Bush(+1) takes advantage of the slowdown to tackle from behind. Gil(+0.5) held the edge.
Drive Notes: Punt, 14-0, 12 min 3rd Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Pack Front Cover look Type Rush Play Player Yards
O20 1 10 Wildcat trips H 4-2-5 4-3 over Press zero Run N/A QB power Winovich 1
Lined heavily slid to the field, like three guys outside one guard. Obvious slant back is obvious but works. Gary(+0.5) free on the end of the line, able to react quickly to the handoff, doesn’t slow up for QB. Winovich(+1) pops outside the T, who releases to nobody. Winovich gets inside the pulling G trying to kick out and forces Sanders outside into Kinnel(+0.5), who has nothing to do but be force and is force. RPS +1.
O21 2 9 Shotgun 4-wide 4-2-5 4-3 even Press one high Pass 4 Dig Watson Inc
Pocket again comfortable(pressure -2) McSorley steps up and fires a dig that Watson(+2, cover +2) is in ideal position on, short of a yoink that goes undetected. Coverage not tested as McSorley misses badly. Watson gets a hand on it but it’s too tall for a pick.
O21 3 9 Shotgun trips Rush D Dime even Press two high Pass 4 Scramble Kinnel 6
Stunts from both ends get mostly picked up. Winovich(+0.5) does almost split two guys and forces McSorley up in the pocket after a read(cover +1) is not there. Paye(+0.5) gives pursuit to prevent a throw; McSorley runs for it. Kinnel(+1) comes up really fast to knock this OOB well short. Bush was going to shut this down a couple yards later if he didn’t.
Drive Notes: Punt, 14-0, 8 min 3rd Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Pack Front Cover look Type Rush Play Player Yards
O30 1 10 Shotgun 3-wide 4-2-5 Nickel even Press one high Run N/A QB power Marshall 18
Backup QB in. Marshal(-2) blasted out by a double that catches Gil in its wake. Gary(-2) goes way too hard upfield, reminiscent of the big run last year, and gets kicked out. He’s gone. Bush(-1) comes up against Sanders and gets hit more than hits; this gives up the edge. A more responsible play from Gary might see this end up a 3 or 5 yard run as he comes back but he’s gone, as mentioned. Pratfall as Kinnel(-2) takes a way too aggressive angle and runs over Metellus. Hill(+1) is the last guy and manages to get McSorley down.
O48 1 10 Shotgun 4-wide 4-2-5 4-3 even Press one high Pass 4 Yakety sax Watson INT
Pocket is good; Winovich diving inside again but they’re on to that. Coverage(+2) equally good. Stevens’s timer goes off and he escapes the pocket, finds a very ambitious deep sideline throw that’s across his body, and… uh. It’s about 30 yards short. And directly at Watson(+2), who catches it and runs for a TD.
Drive Notes: Defensive touchdown, 28-0, EO3Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Pack Front Cover look Type Rush Play Player Yards
O25 1 10 Shotgun trips 4-2-5 Nickel over Press one high Pass 4 Scramble Paye 3
Paye(+2, pressure +2) able to dip around the corner and flush McSorley. No replay angle here but from my seats this looked like a hold that prevented a sack. Paye’s then able to track down McSorley (who’s back in) from behind.
O28 2 7 Shotgun 3-wide 3-3-5 3-3 stack Press two high Run N/A Inverted veer keeper Dwumfour 2
M slides their LBs presnap to get to a stack look and sends Kinnel off the corner. Line slants away and LBs slant to the play, which is +1 for M. Kinnel blitz induces a pull. Ross forces it back; Furbush(-1, tackling -1) whiffs but Dwumfour(+1) violently rips down the C and comes back across the formation to clean up with help from Ross(+0.5). RPS +2. It worked you guys!
O30 3 5 Shotgun empty Rush D Dime even Press one high Pass 5 Scramble Uche 1
M takes advantage of the inside rush attention by looping Bush(+1, pressure +1) around to the outside. LT is juuust able to get a shove on him before a rabid squirrel sack. QB on the move now and paranoid. Uche(+1), who was the guy slanting inside, is able to spin back as the QB leaves the pocket and get an ankle tackle in. Metellus(+0.5) probably shuts this down in time anyway as he reads and reacts quickly.
Drive Notes: Punt, 28-0, 13 min 4th Q.
Ln Dn Ds O Form D Pack Front Cover look Type Rush Play Player Yards
O17 1 10 Shotgun empty 3-3-5 3-3 stack Press one high Pass 4 TE out Long INT
Trap coverage from Long. I don’t think Stevens sees this. He just dorfs a short throw with no pressure; TE deflects it; Long(+1) picks it off.
Drive Notes: Interception, 35-0, 9 min 4th Q.
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 Run N/A Split zone Dwumfour 0
Backup DL. Dwumfour(+2) singlehandedly blows this up by putting the C two yards into the backfield; RB ends up running into C. Kinnel(+0.5) is coming down to contain the QB and RB has nowhere to go but down. Able to burrow back to the LOS. Paye(-1) went for a ride.
O25 2 10 Shotgun 3-wide 3-3-5 3-3 stack Press two high Run N/A Inverted veer keeper Ross 16
Tough to defend this without an extra guy and M is in a pretty passive D here. Ross(-1) is free and commits outside, resulting in a pull; he’s unable to recover enough to get a hand on the QB. Paye gets a puller and hits him pretty tight to the LOS, which is probably fine. Both Bush(-1) and Kinnel(-1) are pulled outside and get cut back behind. Hudson(+0.5) is able to clean up.
O41 1 10 Shotgun trips TE 4-2-5 Nickel even Press two high Pass N/A Flare screen Bush 9
Bad setup for M with two DBs in the building against three WRs and M clearly in zone. Bush(-1, cover -1) is looking around and communicating with other guys on the D on the snap and is flat footed as the RB breaks out; that is enough for a solid gain. RPS is off, this is RPS. Refs(+2) appear to miss a facemask on Watson.
50 2 1 Shotgun trips 4-2-5 Nickel under Press one high Run N/A Inverted veer give Metellus 8
PSU runs a fake bubble here, which allows Metellus(-2) to check the backfield after his guy does not release. This is good; he’s able to flow up and get involved. Line is blitzing in a way that makes this difficult; Bush(+1) is moving right to cover the back when the play goes back the other way; he’s able to get out and cover this. Metellus gets too aggressive and ends up edged.
M42 1 10 Shotgun 3-wide 4-2-5 4-3 even Press two high Pass 5 Sack Hudson -8
Hudson(+3, pressure +3) moves up late and blitzes. He’s picked up but able to dip around the corner at eight for an impressive sack.
50 2 18 Shotgun trips TE Rush D Dime even Press one high Run N/A QB power Paye 4
Bush creeps to the LOS presnap so no double on Paye(+1). He takes advantage but ripping to the QB and getting in a tackle. It’s a few yards downfield but in this situation that’s fine. Hudson likely to shut this down pretty quickly if Paye doesn’t make this play.
M46 3 14 Shotgun 4-wide Rush D Dime even Press one high Penalty N/A Offsides Dwumfour 5
Dwumfour -1.
M41 3 9 Shotgun 4-wide Rush D Dime even Press one high Pass 5 TE in Metellus 7
Five man rush picked up, pressure -2. QB still wants it out, finding a TE in front of Metellus(+0.5), who is able to get a rake in and tackles immediately.
M34 4 2 Shotgun trips 5-2-4 Exotic Press one high Pass 6 Improv Dwumfour 19
This is a five man line with three DTs, Furbush, Bush, and Woods basically locked on the LOS. M sends six, with Dwumfour(+1) through as PSU fails to set right(pressure +2). Furbush takes a little too long to read this and get out on the corner, allowing Stevens to find a last gasp throw on the sideline. Metellus in coverage but this is an improv thing.
M15 1 10 Shotgun trips 4-2-5 Nickel even Press one high Run N/A QB power Hudson 3
M shows a Bush blitz, check to sideline, Bush flares out presnap and Hudson comes off the corner. M’s DL doesn’t react like it seems they should; there’s no slant away from this. Paye is focused on spilling the play away from Hudson, which is fine, I guess? Both Paye(+0.5 )and Jeter(+0.5) win their blocks and jam it up, but Hudson(+1) has to haul ass to grab the QB from behind. Ross(-1) hesitated and caught the RB, allowing the edge.
M12 2 7 Shotgun 3-wide 4-2-5 5-1 nickel Press one high Run N/A QB inside zone Jeter 4
RB shoots away from the play. This is covered by Paye; Bush(-1) and Hudson(-1) both rip after it and are gone. Jeter(+1) is the NT here; he drives and gets picked up by the LG; he can shed and tackle to make up for the gone LB level.
M8 3 3 Shotgun trips 5-1-5 5-1 under Press one high Run N/A Zone read counter Hutchinson 8
PSU debuts a new play here! They have not run this today! What! It’s a power play on which QB appears to be reading Bush. When Bush flows to the power he pulls. Nobody is checking this, as Hutchinson has a blocker and doesn’t interpret his situation as one where he needs to check the QB. This wrong but understandable. I’d RPS this if it wasn’t 42-0.
Drive Notes: Touchdown, 42-7, EOG.

No ambiguity here.


But I want a drive summary anyway, for fun.

All right:

  • Six three-and-outs, including the deflected interception.
  • Four first-down-and-outs, including the fumbled mesh point and boggling Stevens interception.
  • A 44-yard drive at the end of the first half ending in a punt.
  • The 75-yard TD drive that started with seven minutes left in a 42-0 game.

That level of domination of what's still a fairly good offense is, in a word, insane.

How much of that was an existing injury to Trace McSorley affecting his play?

Impossible to know, especially since Michigan hammered him on his first three passes. McSorley was not his usual self, but that may have been Don Brown-induced PTSD and not the knee injury. By the time McSorley missed his first pass he'd already been sacked three times and hit a few more, in 12 minutes of game time.

I don't want to be a downer, but this is the third game we've had against a QB in questionable health.

Okay, yes games against Nebraska and Michigan State may have been a little different if their QBs were full-go, but we're talking about games in which the opposition gained 134 and 94 yards and suffered 8 sacks on 49 attempts. Michigan is not going to do that to, say, Ohio State, but neither is this defense a paper tiger.

Speaking of sacks!

Yeah, buddy:

Rashan Gary doesn't get to play passing downs and that's entirely justifiable. (Although I might bump Paye for Gary, shoulder permitting, down the road.) After a 25-yard RPO hit to open the game Penn State ran for zero yards, finding themselves in a passing down. McSorley was then buried under piles of angry men. First Winovich shocked the left tackle with a quick interior move that looks like a stunt is coming. It's not, it's a risk, and it pays off:

I wonder if Winovich is freer to take that risk since Michigan's linebackers are sitting in short zones and can come up to contain if McSorley escapes the pocket.

The next play is a stunt and a brutal ask for the right guard, who Paye engages with as Uche drives right next to him.

This is the same stunt that got Uche a sack against MSU and has worked for Winovich as well. You're asking that guard to come off Paye quickly enough to deal with a missile like Uche; it's not happening. A later stunt where Uche looped inside saw the C look the wrong way for an instant, allowing Uche to demonstrate his explosive acceleration:

He gives people no time to react.

What did happen later was the tackle engaging with the DE no matter what and trying to get to the looper as an afterthought. So Michigan made that looper Devin Bush.

LB #10, also PSU LT

Bush is no longer priority one for the defense. That's where were at.

Uche is the impact rusher the offseason held him to be; Winovich is the top rusher in the Big Ten on a per-down basis by a wide margin; Dwumfour is capable of oxymoronic things like interior edge rush; and if you really need it you can call Devin Bush into rush duty. Michigan hasn't needed it that much. The rush package was 50/50 between four and five man rushes. Michigan's not hyper aggressive because they don't have to be, and they're still putting the QB on the ground way more often than anyone else in the country.

What was with the period of time when McSorley wasn't running for his life?

The late first half drive was the only period when Michigan's rush wasn't crushing. Michigan didn't have the rush package out there; Gary and Winovich both tapped out for a couple plays, leaving the less dynamic Paye at one end. Michigan's DTs are not rushers when Dwumfour is on the bench.

So there was a fair amount of one guy getting a little rush but no support, and then QBs can just move up in the pocket. Here Winovich is able to force McSorley of his spot but with Solomon still at the LOS there's no payoff:

DE #15 to top, DT #5 to top

I don't think that's a spy assignment because M is playing zone behind it; Solomon just needs to get more push. Michigan was fortunate to escape when Watson fell over, and then on third and ten it's time for some weird stuff. Brown pulled out a two-viper package that got the job done, thanks in large part to Gary again driving his dude back with one hand:

This period did not recur. As you can see on the

i am slightly less scary than Michigan's passing-down rush

chart. As per usual keep in mind a low number of snaps (50), especially for the heavily-rotated DL.

Defensive Line

Player + - T Notes
Gary 7.5 3 4.5 No passing downs, so not bad.
Kemp 3   3 Solid outing, few snaps.
Mone 1   1 Held up to a double.
Winovich 13.5 1 12.5 Moe Wagner for football.
Paye 5 1.5 3.5 Solid outing, key on some stunts.
Dwumfour 5.5 2 3.5 One minus an offsides so this is promising.
Solomon 1.5 2.5 -1 Tried to do too much.
Uche 5   5 I admit that he is a DE.
Marshall   3 -3 Blown out on dangerous QB run
TOTAL 42 13 29 DEs dominant, DTs untested.
Player + - T Notes
Hudson 5 5 0 Iffy day rescued by a big sack.
Glasgow 1   1 Just the one charted play.
Furbush   1 -1 Missed a tackle.
Bush 7 7 0 Out of position some.
Gil 2.5 1 1.5 Solid.
Ross 1 2 -1  
Anthony       DNP
TOTAL 16.5 16 0.5 A bit of a wobble.
Player + - T Notes
Metellus 3.5 3 0.5 PI was garbage.
Kinnel 2 4 -2 Knocked over Metellus on a run that was one Hill tackle from 6.
Hawkins       DNP
Hill 1 0.5 0.5 Doesn't exist. Barely targeted.
Long 1   1 See above.
Watson 4.5 3 1.5 Eventful day.
Kelly-Powell       DNP
TOTAL 12 10.5 1.5 More that they were avoided than that they were bad.
Pressure 26 12 +14 Relentless aside from last drive of first half which had –8 in it.
Coverage 13 11 +2 A wee bit less than usual.
Tackling   3 -3 Hudson whiff on edge.
RPS 4 3 +1 If you want to put the stunts here it's a huge blowout.

This isn't the crazy blowout at all positions that some earlier games have been. I did grade out the final drive, which had the backup DL but most of the starting back seven in it and featured some minuses for Hudson and Bush. In general it was an off day for both.

One caveat about the DB grading: Watson fell over for his big minus, which doesn't seem like a major concern since that hasn't happened before; the safeties had a couple of iffy plays. But Penn State receivers had three catches, total. Those were:

  • A dig from Hamler on which he flipped Kinnel around.
  • A slant to Dotson when Gil got out of position in zone.
  • The fourth and two conversion prayer to Dotson on the sidelines.

Long and Hill were almost literally not challenged. This defense is such an outlier it's sometimes hard to get meaningful grades because teams just abandon the thought of using their outside WRs.

Also yes I gave Metellus a plus on the PI, which was hot garbage. This is the very definition of mutual handfighting:

Rubbin's racin', refs, let's go.

This Bush number is disquieting.

Bush had his usual level of being very fast at people but I thought he busted on the first play—about which see the next section—and had a couple other issues in coverage. With the DL hogging most of the pass rush glory he had to settle for even.

Bush has been relatively quiet this year because Michigan's rushing him less. He still just as effective as a blitzer…

…but team needs have dictated he drop into coverage a lot more. So the wild scores of yesteryear are replaced by his role in the massive coverage wins Michigan is putting up weekly (until this week). When called into action he remains the kind of guy who can close down damn near anything:

LB #10 to top

I don't think he's going to bounce back to the towering +10 guy of yesteryear because Michigan doesn't need him to be that guy. The steady stream of lower usage +7, –3.5 kind of days he's been turning in should be the baseline expectation down the stretch. And as a reminder, I used to pump up Desmond Morgan because he'd hit zero on the regular.

So they RPO and get 25 yards and then never RPO again? What's the deal with that?

You'll have to ask Penn State's offensive coordinator. FWIW, I think Michigan did have a plan for this but one that did not get executed. Michigan walked down Tyree Kinnel before the first snap and used him as contain for the back, which is extremely unusual. I think Bush is supposed to back out here and undercut the slant:

FS #23 creeping down and MLB #10

Otherwise Kinnel's movement into the box makes no sense for the exact reason the play demonstrates. I would have come back to that at least a few times—make Michigan defend it, at least—but that was the only RPO of the game.

Also in this WTF category: wildcat snaps. These didn't work last year except for the first one. The first one worked for a giant touchdown, because Joe Moorhead threw in a pass set for the left tackle that got Gary committed upfield at the same time he made Saquon Barkley the vertical threat. It was vaguely justifiable to keep running it last year, but bringing it back after the other five editions averaged three yards a pop and Don Brown had spent an offseason's worth of sleepless hateful nights stewing is flat-out ignorant, man. This was their best outcome: four yards when Aubrey Solomon tries to do a little too much.

DT #5 to bottom

They took a delay of game trying to get into that play and then ran it anyway. The other two wildcat snaps went for 2 and 1 yard.

Meanwhile, slants continued to be defeated. McSorley was smart enough not to pull the trigger on either slant to the top of the screen here, as Michigan sits underneath both as they run that trap coverage that almost led to an INT against MSU:

Ricky Rahne is not Joe Moorhead. I have a grand total of 3 RPS minuses for Michigan in this game and one of them wasn't the McSorley draw when Michigan had a four man box:

That's not design on PSU's part, that's just Michigan getting too cute (or someone missing an assignment). I do have to admit that if RPS wasn't turned off on PSU's last drive that they would have gotten a couple more minuses on Michigan's defense. Because they're out here running plays they haven't run all game:

That's a clever read option where Bush is the read target and Hutchinson gets a block, which means he's not thinking about containing the QB. Good job not getting shut out by maybe putting something new on film. Surely there will be no consequences for this later.

Gary's return was…?

As expected. Gary looked much like he did when he departed. When allowed to pursue he closes things down shockingly fast. His pass rush is frequently effective, but there are points when he'll fall in love with his speed rush and run himself out of the play:

DE #3 to bottom

That was the most dangerous play of the day for a few different reasons, but one of them was Gary being irrelevant on a play that ended up shooting outside of the opposite hash. That's a little reminiscent of the Barkley run last year. He's fired up about his return and wants to live up to all the hype; hopefully he's able to dial it back when appropriate going forward.

On the other hand sometimes he drives guys back with one hand. I keep saying this but Gary's default move should be a power rush with the edge thrown in as a changeup. He runs guys over but on the edge he continues to be an "almost" kind of rusher. He racks up a lot of +1s for forcing throws but not many multiple-point wins where he disrupts or sacks. An example of the former:

DE #3 to top

I would like to see him in place of Paye on those rush downs, because I think he might be able to crush pockets as a DT even if he's not ready to be a run defender there.

Speaking of run defenders at DT… s'okay?

After a shockingly grim performance last year Bryan Mone bounced back against the same guys. His raw numbers are nonexistent because PSU gave up on the conventional ground attack almost immediately—Sanders had 7 runs. He was able to stand up a double team on their first run, helping set off the sack explosion that set the tone:

DT #90 to bottom

Also kudos to Kemp for not being suckered by what looks like a midline read option. If he runs hard at the mesh point McSorley is pulling and getting a chunk. Also one point to Kemp for running his buns off to contain McSorley at one point:

This came directly at me in the stands and was simultaneously impressive and deeply hilarious. Good angle; man has to know his limitations.

Any items about the next generation?

A few plays emerged as potentially useful glimpses into next year. Kwity Paye has been a good run defender and very reliable with his assignments but has  offered a lot of organic pass rush. Here's a hint he might be able to offer more of that next year:

I think that's a sack but he got held as he dipped around the edge. His ability to track down McSorley after is impressive.

Mike Dwumfour had a bonafide run stop:

NT #50

And he violently ripped down the C on the backside of the play, which became relevant once Furbush missed a tackle:

NT #50

He'll need to continue doing that to be a starter. Fingers crossed.

And here's Donovan Jeter making a nice play by himself:

NT #95

Maybe he'll be two-deep ready.


Winovich, most of the rest of the defensive line, the aura of doom surrounding the cornerbacks.

Maybe not so heroic?

Nobody was outright bad; there were a couple of wobbly performances a little below usual standards.

What does it mean for Rutgers and beyond?

Gary: Gary. Very good player who's not quite the edge rusher you need to be to get the rad sacks.

Uche: lethal. His rush events in this game were all the hype in a neat little package. Hopefully he can play the run a bit next year.

Bush and Hudson are not A-level guys in coverage. Both had some issues here, some of it mental, and some of it technique/anticipation stuff. Dialing back the pressure has made the defense better because they're crushing it with four man lines; it's lowered their individual grades as their job moves away from their best skillset.

I can't grade guys I can't see but I'm guessing the corners are kinda good. McSorley is the guy who takes a lot of pinpoint downfield shots; not here. That quick fade is a great response to a rush that you can't stop because it's simple and can get you chunks. PSU wasn't even trying. RIP Deep State.

Next year's line is probably pretty good. Paye, Dwumfour, Jeter, and Uche all at least flashed good things. Hutchinson's been almost entirely pushed out of the lineup after looking very promising in the first half of the year.


UP to LA

November 9th, 2018 at 2:04 PM ^

I missed Jeter when watching game live -- nice to see him getting in and looking legit.

(also, it looks like the video after "And here's Donovan Jeter making a nice play by himself:" got crossed up -- you have a nice Dwumfour play here, when I think you meant to have that late Jeter play where he fought of the guard for a solo tackle for 4-yd gain.)


November 9th, 2018 at 2:21 PM ^

The fact that some below average performances from a few guys still led to decimating a pretty good offense is fun. Very fun. Let’s think back to the GERG days and enjoy this time in Michigan football.


November 9th, 2018 at 2:54 PM ^

I try to read everything, but there is a lot of jargon that either I'm new to or I have forgotten.  

I have thought about putting together an Annotated UFR for just one game (offense and defense), but I don't have the time or energy to put it together, nor the talent to make it entertaining.  I do think that could be helpful, though.    


November 9th, 2018 at 3:30 PM ^

To piggyback on your comment, is there a place to learn the very basic terms that are used in these and Neck Sharpies?  I have been confused about the terms like front or back-side as terms for alignment.  As much as I love the articles, a lot of it is still above my head because some of the basic terms don't make sense to me. 

And yes, I jump down to the discussion about what it all means.


November 9th, 2018 at 5:50 PM ^

I used to read them, they provide a huge amount of detail for each play.  And they're something Brian needs to do if he's going to score individual players and explain what happened.  So if he has the notes, he might as well post them.  They take a lot of time to read through, which is why I stopped reading it all.  But if you do look through them, they have a bunch of nice clips (most of them have one linked).

If you have the time, they're worth the read (and you'll learn more about the terms and plays as a result).  Otherwise, feel free to skip to the summaries and clips.  If there's a particular play that catches you're thought, jump to the play detail and there's probably a clip for it.


November 9th, 2018 at 2:29 PM ^

Winovich is the top rusher in the Big Ten on a per-down basis by a wide margin

I dunno...I saw this stat somewhere the other day that said Willekes was the leader in that category...can't remember where


November 9th, 2018 at 2:32 PM ^

Who would be the least improved player on defense this year? I'm thinking Hudson. He was electric last year, constantly in the backfield, and crushing open field tackles.

This year, he seems a little lost in his new role. If he isn't attacking, he's not at his best. 

He's still playing solid defense, but I don't think he's playing at a higher level or even same level as last year. 


November 9th, 2018 at 2:48 PM ^

I believe this is an artifact of what happened to Bush. He is being tasked with different duties other than "let these DL create a path for you to be fast at the QB." That has a high rate of success/recognition with respect to drop back and cover a TE. If the ball doesn't get thrown/run at you then you don't chart.


November 9th, 2018 at 3:08 PM ^

Yeah I believe this to be true. And I'm not knocking Hudson at all; just doing a thought experiment. Hudson isn't the greatest in slot/TE coverage, and he's missed some open field tackles. 

Him and Bush definitely have different roles this year from last year. But I'd expect Hudson to show better instincts, and being able to stay with TE's on routes. 

If I were OSU, I'd be scheming ways to get Bush and Hudson in space on slot WR's, and throw nothing but 2-5 yard passes all day. There aren't any obvious holes in our defense. That may be the only way a team has success moving the ball. 


November 9th, 2018 at 2:50 PM ^

Hudson isn’t as aggressive and downhill as last year because the D doesn’t need him to be. Last year they needed to create lots of opportunities to get sacks/fumbles and INTs because the offense needed short fields and a spark. Now Hudson can drop back more and have more men in coverage while still getting lots of pressure. Maybe against OSU we will see Hudson blitz a little more but he just hasn’t had to this year compared to last year.

Reggie Dunlop

November 9th, 2018 at 2:52 PM ^

Brian points out at the end that it's probably a lot to do with needing less Viper pressure than last year. And I thought all offseason that he was being over-hyped because of the Minnesota game last season. He had (total guesstimation) about half of his flashy TFL/Sack stats in that one single game because Minnesota had a death wish.

(I had to look it up)

Hudson had 7.5 sacks and 16 TFLs last season. In the Minnesota game alone he had 3 sacks and 8 TFLs.

He's still behind that pace (2.5 TFL, 2 sacks), and maybe that's usage, but add another Minnesota game and it'd be a lot closer.


November 10th, 2018 at 7:36 AM ^

The defensive scheme was retooled this year to cut down on chunk and big chunk plays, as well as making it MUCH more difficult to sustain drives with the short passing game.  I believe Coach Brown looked at last year and thought “we can’t let in as many points next year, particularly in the second half” and put together what you’re seeing this year: organic pass rush with less blitzing, better use of zone from the LB position, and reliance on CB/Safety to take away wide receivers.  And it works.

This defense is a joy to watch.

Wolverine In Exile

November 9th, 2018 at 2:44 PM ^

I'm seeing all the write up and all I'm thinking is that I'm having visions of Devin Bush racking up an absurd number of +3's on A-gap blitzes against Ohio St since Ohio St no longer has JT Barrett.

Bush blitz up the middle, hard press coverage or trap coverage on the outside, Winovich and Gary / Uche coming from both ends to contain / crush Haskins in the pocket.


November 9th, 2018 at 3:48 PM ^

I also can't help but read these UFRs offense and defense and all I can think about is will this continue in the OSU game.  My BPONE is dwindling, but I just can't erase it solely because of my lack of confidence against OSU.  I realize I sound like a big sissy and I need to believe, but I just cannot get my hopes up again and be disappointed.  If Michigan beats OSU this year, I will probably shed tears and I don't even have a problem admitting that.

Go Blue!


November 9th, 2018 at 2:54 PM ^

Got to think D Brown springs Gary at DT for rush package vs OSU right? Seems too obvious 

they can’t run well and Haskins does not do well with pressure.  We has all the sacks if that happens



November 9th, 2018 at 3:06 PM ^

On the final play of the 1st half (the double viper blitz that Brian linked to several times), it looks like Gary got robbed of at least 1/2 sack if the RG (66) hadn't yanked him back by the jersey after he'd beaten the RT.


November 9th, 2018 at 3:35 PM ^

I didnt look it up but I bet Gary's hello post said something like "likely to start his career at the anchor position before moving to DT where he should become 1st team AA and top 10 NFL pick".


November 9th, 2018 at 3:42 PM ^

How in the hell was there no flag on the play shown of Gary rushing with one arm? He is about to kill McSorley when he suddenly flys backward on to his butt. That has to be the most blatant holding ever against Gary, and that’s saying something. 

Reggie Dunlop

November 9th, 2018 at 3:56 PM ^

Minor disagreement. Metellus deserved his flag.

At PSU's 42 yard line, just after the jam, Metellus yanks on Hamler to the point he's jerked sideways. If he doesn't get that grab in there, Hamler's gone. Whether the ball is in the air yet, I can't tell. But whether that's before-the-pass holding or a DPI, it doesn't really matter. Metellus got him.

After that, I agree it was mutual, which is what most are citing when disputing the call. I think the foul was earlier and deserved.