Wisconsin 24, Michigan 10

Submitted by Ace on November 18th, 2017 at 4:20 PM

A somber scene as Brandon Peters was down on the field. [Patrick Barron]

Michigan led undefeated Wisconsin, 10-7, in the third quarter at Camp Randall Stadium. Then Murphy's Law struck.

First, Wisconsin quarterback Alex Hornibrook shook off a shaky start to thread two inch-perfect throws to A.J. Taylor. The first victimized freshman Jaylen Kelly-Powell, who was on the field replacing injured starting corner Lavert Hill. The second was a touchdown up the seam to give the Badgers a 14-10 lead. Adding to the frustration, the drive only stayed alive due to a third-down pass interference call on Tyree Kinnel despite Hornibrook's throw hardly looking catchable.

Then disaster really struck. Facing third down on Michigan's ensuing possession, Brandon Peters took a hard hit from Andrew Van Ginkel, who stunted up the middle unblocked. Peters, who'd shaken off some huge hits in his last couple games, stayed down. As the team gathered around him, Peters took a cart off the field. According to MLive's Mike Mulholland, he was wheelchaired to the locker room, then transported to the hospital via ambulance. In postgame, Jim Harbaugh confirmed Peters has a head injury; he's expected to rejoin the team for the plane ride home.

That took the wind out of Michigan's sails. Wisconsin struck quickly, with a one-handed catch by Danny Davis setting up a 32-yard end-around touchdown for Kendric Pryor at the end of the third quarter. John O'Korn took over for Peters, and the offense never threatened to score. UW's Rafael Gaglianone eventually tagged on a field goal to provide the final margin.

A.J. Taylor's touchdown catch stood as the winning score. [Bryan Fuller]

Before it all fell apart, Michigan hadn't just scraped out a lead, but missed some opportunities to really put the Badgers on their heels. Wisconsin struck first when Nick Nelson picked up a punt off the bounce and worked his way past some poor coverage for a 50-yard touchdown. Peters had a chance to tie it up on the next series, but underthrew an open Zach Gentry, allowing Natrell Jamerson to recover for a pass breakup.

On Michigan's next drive, an apparent touchdown from Peters to Donovan Peoples-Jones was ruled incomplete, and despite replay showing that DPJ's left foot touched inbounds a fraction of a second before his right landed out, the call stood. On the very next play, Peters fumbled while scrambling for the end zone, and Michigan came up completely empty.

The young quarterback bounced back, though. Peters finally connected on a deep ball to Peoples-Jones, getting Michigan out to midfield, then made consecutive sharp throws to Chris Evans and Sean McKeon to set up a one-yard Ben Mason touchdown plunge. That knotted the score at seven heading into halftime.

After Devin Bush picked off Hornibrook to give the offense great field position, Quinn Nordin snapped his cold streak with a 39-yard field goal to give Michigan a short-lived 10-7 lead. Instead of compounding his prior error, Hornibrook morphed into Aaron Rodgers, and everything went terribly wrong in a hurry.

All other concerns at the moment are secondary to the health of Peters. If he can't recover in time to take on Ohio State next week, the odds stack even higher against Michigan unless Wilton Speight can make a remarkable comeback from his fractured vertebrae. As it stands, optimism for The Game is going to be hard to come by.


Goggles Paisano

November 18th, 2017 at 4:43 PM ^

That 3rd and long play in the 3rd qtr when Hornibrook hit AJ Taylor down the sideline with JKP in coverage.  Mettelus looked like he was trying to time a blitz and got there too fast.  He then stopped his momentum, didn't blitz, took a couple steps back and didn't move.  Either blitz or get back in coverage.  He took himself right out of the play.  We were in control of the game until that play.  Then Hornibrook made some really nice throws into some very tight windows.  Peters then gets KO'd and that was it.  Tough loss.  

Ed Shuttlesworth

November 18th, 2017 at 4:43 PM ^

Time to face the fact that Harbaugh's nothing special.  Decent coach, maybe even very good -- but certainly not elite.  Coached up Hoke's players better than Hoke would have, but that's kind of the quintessential low bar.  

Paul Chryst has done a better job at Wisky that Harbaugh has in A2.

Barring a miracle, we're going to get curb stomped next Saturday at home.  We haven't really moved the needle a millimeter.  OSU is still a clear class above.  

HIghly depressing.  


November 18th, 2017 at 5:14 PM ^

I fully agree. We hired Jim to turn around this program and make it elite again but nothing shows me we are heading in the right direction. I am not pissed that we loose, i am pissed at the way we approach the games and how we loose them. No fucking heart. Guys playing soft. NFL like coaching for kids who are 18yrs old.

Jim needs to take a step back and realize he is not going to win by forcing the guys to run a complicated NFL scheme.


November 18th, 2017 at 4:43 PM ^

This is just depressing. I can't decide if I should be disappointed in this year or if I should have recalibrated my expectations when Speight went down. I don't know if I can handle watching next week.

The Iron Jock

November 18th, 2017 at 4:46 PM ^

We are officially long-suffering. Lots of questions, few answers. Only excuses about the age of the team, injuries and blown calls. I'm glad to see Nordin donned the "Iron Jock" today. I hope Peters is OK. I'm sick of seeing missed blocks, a vanilla offense and a seemingly-dominant defense turn soft at crucial moments. It's all on Harbaugh. Every bit of it. I love the team. Always will. But I'm one bitter long-suffering fan at the moment. Go Blue. Beat the Buckeyes.


matty blue

November 19th, 2017 at 8:40 AM ^

...at all. I don’t think of my fandom the I think of, say, my Lions fandom. We’ve had many super-high moments, and pretty recently. We’ve had “super-down” moments, too, but I’ve never thought that we’d never get over the hump. Not like I do with the Lions, certainly.


Even today?

No. Freaking. Body.

Ed Shuttlesworth

November 18th, 2017 at 4:46 PM ^

And Don Brown was exposed in this fiasco, too.  No need to take a single risk against a QB as shitty as Hornibrook, especially on 3rd and 15.  Single coverage with a backup true freshman corner -- WTF?


November 18th, 2017 at 4:47 PM ^

Just win a fucking game against odds Harbaugh. No excuses. Just fucking do it. That's what great coaches do. They don't demand perfection from teenagers in order to win. They take what they have and they find ways to win. Figure it out. That's why you're here.


November 18th, 2017 at 4:53 PM ^

This goes to my earlier post that not only does the team need to grow up a bit but moreso the Coaches. Starting with Harbaugh.

Look, the comments from other folks on his style being very rigid and perfection oriented should not be discounted.

He has had his creativity questioned by ex Players.

He has had his common sense question by other Coaches.

And while his teams seem to improve ... at a wholte, it seems that unless he can maul the other side to death he does not Out Scheme or Out Game Plan anyone.

The two MSU losses.   FSU last year. Iowa last year.  PSU this year with OKorn and putting 250 LB on Barkley in routes. This loss - jeez should have been up at least 17-0 in the 3rd Q if not 24-0.

Only two losses I give him credit for are OSU last year because that was robbery and Utah.


November 18th, 2017 at 5:01 PM ^

You don't have to look far (about 60 miles) to find a coach who wins against the odds. Not saying I'd trade Dantonio for Harbaugh by any means, but there is something about Harbaugh's three teams here that share a tendency to beat themselves and make nothing easy.

And yes of course, there are more good excuses. On the road vs. Wisconsin. Peters got hurt. But like you said the game could have been fully in our control at that point. But it wasn't. Because it never is for some reason in a big game for Harbaugh. We have to grind out every yard. Every point. Never anything easy. It's a recipe that requires perfection from teenagers.


November 18th, 2017 at 5:57 PM ^

I'm very tired of hearing about how great Dantonio is, espcially compared with Harbaugh.  He has done well at MSU...but he went 3-9 last year in his 10th season.  That is terrible!  He won 22 games in his first three years, and has won fewer than 8 games 4 times in 11 seasons. Just sayin.


November 18th, 2017 at 5:58 PM ^

I'm very tired of hearing about how great Dantonio is, espcially compared with Harbaugh.  He has done well at MSU...but he went 3-9 last year in his 10th season.  That is terrible!  He won 22 games in his first three years, and has won fewer than 8 games 4 times in 11 seasons. Just sayin.

Bando Calrissian

November 18th, 2017 at 6:33 PM ^

And then he turned it around and got Michigan State back to what will probably be a 9-3 season. He's 8-3 against Michigan.

We don't like the guy. He runs a crap program. He's patently unlikeable. But he wins after taking over a tire fire of epic proportions. While Michigan has been off in the wildnerness finding itself and making excuses, he's won conference championshiops and a Rose Bowl and even gotten his team to the playoffs.


November 18th, 2017 at 4:53 PM ^

By my rough calculations we had all of 55 yds rushing when Peters was hurt in the 3rd quarter.

We're not going to beat any good teams, on the road or at home, with a rushing attack that feeble.

Bando Calrissian

November 18th, 2017 at 4:59 PM ^

The fact that these post-mortems always turn into "if... and if... and if..." is pretty telling. It's always a litany of almosts and blame-games and excuses. At some point, there's going to need to be something to show for it. It's frustrating as hell that it's always like this, year after year after year. Sorry, not sorry.


November 18th, 2017 at 5:06 PM ^

... and that is why I blame the Coaches.

Again, when you are that close to blowing these guys out and manage to only be 10-7 ... that to me is Coaching. 

Starting wit the Punt return where the Players (AGAIN) stopped playing hard.  

Heck, seeing FSU and Today I would tell every Lick Off and Punt Guy to pause for a split second every time because the idiots at UM stop playing in spite of the whistle not blowing.



November 18th, 2017 at 5:43 PM ^

At Iowa last year, our RBs had about 100 yds rushing.

At PSU this year, our RBs had about 103 yds rushing.

At Wisconsin today we had 61 yds rushing. 37 carries for 1.6 yds/carry

When you have a rushing attack this ineffective on the road, it magnifies all the "if...if..and if..." stuff in the passing game and special teams.

When we added Frey to the OL staff I thought it would result in a significant improvement in our running game in big games, but it's been nothing of the sort. Unless you have a dynamic passing attack that spreads the field, a running game like ours is a recipe for trouble.

And that's not to mention the sieve-like performance in pass blocking, which has directly led to our two best QBs getting knocked out of the game.

True Blue Grit

November 18th, 2017 at 6:00 PM ^

is very important.  But one BIG reason we didn't in THIS game is our awful passing game.  A good defensive team will simply put more resources into the box to stop the  run because they don't respect the  pass.  Until Michigan can throw the ball effectively, we will struggle like we did today against good defensive teams. 


November 18th, 2017 at 6:45 PM ^

The problem is that Wisconsin's passing game today was hardly any better than ours—Hornibrook was 9/19 for 143. That means they were running far more often than they were passing, and yet even with their predictable ratio of run vs pass, we were still unable to clamp down on their running game. They ran for 4.6 yds per carry vs our 1.6. 

The fundamental difference in this game is that their OL is vastly better than ours, and their DL/LB core is basically as good as ours.


November 18th, 2017 at 4:48 PM ^

It’s frustrating that the offense does interesting things vs trash teams and turtles against good ones. Harbaugh has been the ultimate play not to lose coach in big games.

Ed Shuttlesworth

November 18th, 2017 at 4:51 PM ^

Yeah, well we always "should have" been further ahead after our periodic bouts of dominance in these games, but we consistently "never are" further ahead.  At this point, it isn't a coincidence.  

And then the periodic bout of dominance ends and the game is still close and the other team turns it around and outscores us by way more than we outscored them.  

Like today.

Bigly yuge

November 18th, 2017 at 4:50 PM ^

Yeah I’m pissed, but even more pissed that osu is likely going to the playoffs with 2 losses while we land in the Holiday bowl. I just want to be good again sometime before I die. Seems like we’re cursed. No matter who our coach is or how highly rated our players are we just are incapable of success.


November 18th, 2017 at 4:51 PM ^

FUCK replay reviews are a thing if the goddamm assfuck that's watching it completely goddamm ignores what's right there in front of his eyes? DPJ had 6. End of story.

Bando Calrissian

November 18th, 2017 at 4:53 PM ^

Honestly, that's a play that could get called either way. It sucks, but when they're reviewing a play and the best you can hope for is the replay official essentially dissecting it like the Zapruder film to overturn the call on the field, it's not going to get overturned. There's a better chance they stick with it if it were called a TD from the start.


November 18th, 2017 at 4:59 PM ^

It’s overwhelmingly likely that he got his toe down inbounds a fraction before the right one was out. But it wasn’t definitive so it was the right call per the rules. I just wish they would change it for plays like this to call the way that most likely happened. Why does the ref’s on field matter so much when we have HD cameras with so many angles.