Best and Worst: Iowa

Submitted by bronxblue on November 13th, 2016 at 3:13 AM

This is going to be quick.  You all watched the game.  Brian will do a better job analyzing it during the UFR.  I’m annoyed and don’t want to dwell on a crappy game.

Worst:  Just…Whatever

Michigan isn’t Alabama.  It isn’t even really OSU.  It’s not a program that can just roll out dominant teams every year and compete for a title.  It has windows of opportunities, seasons where they can play at an elite level and play for championships.  1997 they obviously made it to the end.  2006 got tantalizingly close.  And 2016 felt like another (in what seems to be a once-a-decade window) of being another one of those great seasons.  The defense is loaded with veterans and future NFL stars, the offense is being guided by one of the best coaches in the country, and the schedule is reasonably favorable.  And for 9 weeks, UM largely looked the part of a champion, demolishing teams with ruthless efficiency.  #3 in the CFB playoffs rankings, #1 in S&P+, top-10 on both offense and defense.  About as close to a juggernaut at we’ve seen in Ann Arbor for decades.

This is a year when UM can take their crack at titles, both conference and national, before graduation and the machinations of football likely force UM to regroup a bit.  Iowa should have been just another step on the path, a night road game yes, but also against a team that has looked lifeless recently.  After playing bitter rival MSU and prodigal son’s Maryland, this game felt like a reprieve by comparison; a Greg Davis offense and a shaky QB against one of the best defenses in the country.  UM might not blow the Hawkeyes off the field, but this was going to be one of those comfortable wins that get gentle nods from knowledgeable fans when discussion turns to UM playing “like a champion”.  And then…

I wish I could write something eloquent and insightful, some 10,000 word opus that makes sense of losing to Iowa again, letting a team that had no business staying within 20 points of UM grind them up on the ground and kick a game-winning FG as time expired.  But I just don’t got it, guys.  This was a game UM should have won because they are the better team, and yet here we sit, a big black mark on a previously-spotless resume.  And maybe they run the table and still get a shot to the playoffs, but this misstep makes that mountain even higher to climb, and now we are stuck rooting for more chaos and hoping the nagging injuries and the weaknesses that have arisen these past couple of weeks can be mitigated in real time. 

For the third week in a row now, Michigan had trouble tackling ballcarriers, allowing 54 yards after contact to Akrum Wadley as part of his 167 yard performance.  Both Darboh and Chesson struggled to haul in much of anything (a combined 3 catches for 35 yards), and Chesson compounded his issues by allowing Rugamba to rip the ball from his hands for Speight’s INT late in the game that stopped a promising drive.  UM didn’t crack 100 yards rushing a week after Iowa gave up 359 to PSU, and repeatedly ran plays that led to TFLs (Iowa had 8 on the day) or, in one incredibly poorly-blocked sequence, a safety.  The offensive line looked legitimately overmatched by an under-performing Iowa front 7.  And Wilton Speight, after weeks of looking like a star, fell back to earth quite a bit, completing less than half of passes (11/26) for 103 yards and the aforementioned pick, and might have a shoulder injury to boot.

If there is a silver lining, I guess it is that it took sooooo many things to go wrong for UM to lose.  Khalid Hill missed an obvious block on the safety that gave Iowa some life early on when UM was up 10-0, then fumbled the second-half kickoff that Iowa was able to turn into a FG.  Michigan again suffered at the hands of the Arbitrary Targetting Gods, losing Devin Bush to a marginal late hit when the Iowa punter flipped over on a fake.  Speight repeatedly missed deep despite both Chesson and Darboh streaking open; connect on any of those deep balls and this game absolutely turns for the good guys.  Kirk Ferentz, a young earth zealot because he was there, man, when the dinosaurs roamed the earth, went for it on 4th down 2 out of 3 times, called multiple fakes, and generally coached that one game a year when the little old gerbils in his head take a break and the mongoose hoped up on Red Bull and whippets starts calling the shots.

The referees were atrocious in this game, to the point that John O’Neill should be booed every moment of every day he’s in Michigan Stadium from now until the heat death of the universe.  Just a clownshow, the same incompetent goober who was the official for MSU 2015.  The borderline facemask penalty to set up Iowa’s game-winning final drive, terrible spots including on Beathard’s final run, apparently not understanding grounding until it smacked him in the face, all of the kicker-related penalties, just everything.  And that isn’t to take all of his calls were wrong, only that they seemed so damn arbitrary and inconsistent.  At least he called roughing the center right this time.

It was a crazy weekend, so maybe it’s fitting UM joined the lot.  Washington and Clemson lost just as badly, exposing their own weaknesses in the process, and the end of the season remains the gateway to accolades it’s always been:  beat IU and OSU, and UM will be in the B1G championship game and have a chance at a playoff spot.  And maybe I’m in the minority, but OSU still feels tractable simply because it’s a team with decided issues (QB accuracy, limited rushing attack outside of Barrett) and performances that have exposed them.  But after a tumultuous week off the gridiron, I wasn’t expecting to be writing about another underdog stunner.

Worst:  Offensive Offense

This was just a terribly called game offensively.  Maybe the UFR will prove me wrong, but this looked like a Hoke offense at times out there.  UM finished with a bit over 200 total yards of offense, and most of that came in the first half.  The offensive line couldn’t get any push all day against the 86th-ranked rushing attack in the country.  Repeatedly Michigan tried to get “cute” running the ball, throwing little pitches to Smith and Evans on short yardage to the short side of the field, only to have it snuffed out almost immediately by eleventy-billion Hawkeyes.  Ty Isaac ran the ball exactly once for UM’s lone TD, then was relegated to the bench.  Smith and Evans were basically running into Mason Cole half the time, as there was no push up front.  Kalis really seemed to struggle at the point of the attack, even though the safety was probably on Hill not picking up Johnson at the snap.  Both tackles had trouble keeping the pocket clean as the game wore on, and Iowa wound up blistering Speight those last couple of drives.  And yes, field position played some role in this whole day, as UM’s averaging starting position was the 27 yard line, which is a far cry from UM’s nation-leading 36-yard spot coming into the game.

As for throwing the ball, Speight looked really good to start the game but could never connect on a deep throw to shake up the defense even though Darboh was flying down the field most plays.  I know it was a tough ball to a diving Chesson, but his little hesitation-feint-throw-pullback-throw on the run on 3rd down was fantastic to watch.  He had a some balls to Butt and Chesson early on that were great, and he looked in control of the offense.  But then he started to get hit, and his receivers dropped a couple of balls, and the offense kept getting stuck in long third downs (for the day they were 5-for-15), and the playcalls became really focused on the deep throw.  That’s not his game, that’s not this offense’s game, and it honestly felt like UM’s attempts to take the top off the defense gave Iowa easy outs.  After halftime Speight was just 3/9 for 24 yards and a pick, and never looked comfortable.  Even his completions were wonky, such as the ball to Butt that wobbled past a tight Iowa defender and succeeded because Butt knows a thing or two about holding onto the ball.  And now it sounds like he might have a shoulder or wrist injury, which is fantastic news with team sorta-CHAOS and OSU the next 2 weeks. 

What bothered me most was how predictable the offense looked.  McDoom came in and they either ran the sweep or faked it; I get that teams will respond to his appearance and you can play off that, but throw him the damn ball once or twice just to give people a sense.  Same with Peppers, who is a screaming “WE’RE RUNNING THE BALL NOW!” at this point, who mostly gets yards because he’s an incredible athlete and UM can sorta block teams anyway.  But either put that back into the garage and tinker with the Pepcat package or let the guy do something, anything else.  Because right now, it’s starting to get like that one song at the top of your Spotify playlist you hear all the time before you hit shuffle.  You ain’t fooling anyone, Cults.

And yet, despite probably the worst offensive performance we’ve seen under Harbaugh at UM, Michigan probably should have still emerged with the victory.  Sometimes that does just happen, and I’m okay with it to an extent.  Iowa was able to weather some early trouble, got a couple of breaks, and pulled out a tight victory.  Still, the offensive line still has question marks, and asking Speight to throw deep when it clearly wasn’t working (versus some shorter balls to get the chains moving and not tax leaky protection) are coaching issues that must be addressed.  UM simply cannot play like this offensively again and expect to win, and they’ve only got a week to figure it out.

Meh:  The Defense

I see people complaining about the defense, mostly because Wadley had a great day and they lost.  And their is some credence to the ongoing issues tackling in space by the linebackers and defensive backfield.  McCray repeatedly struggled to stay with Wadley in the open field, and it’s clear now that more physical backs can give UM trouble.  The linebackers are athletic but still seem prone to taking bad angles or missing on shifty backs, and the idea of them trying to keep up with Weber and especially Samuel aren’t appealing.  I’d say just throw Peppers into that role, but not only is it yet another burden on him, it would probably disrupt the defensive flow for the team.

I know people want to get on Stribling for his tackling, but I don’t expect miracles from my corners in run defense.  And he had some nice pass defenses and what I erroneously assumed would be the game-clinching pick.  And Beathard was terrible this whole game; he cracked 3.4 ypa, and that was with a Wadley pitch-and-catch. 

Both Hill and Thomas, though, missed easy tackles and let Wadley pick up big yards after contact.  Iowa probably should have had a TD (or at least a long completion) in that first half when seemingly everybody forgot Nate Wieting and were bailed out by an underthrown ball and Hill getting there a bit late to clean up.  But in general, the defense played well enough to win. They held a team that averaged about 5.5 yard per play to 3.4, and that was with some zaniness to boot.  Yes UM isn’t a murderdeathmachine against the run, but people saying it was “exposed” might be overstating it a bit.  Sometimes the way you stop a running game is by taking those plays out of the playbook via scoring, and had UM found a way to push this to a 2-score lead in that second half, I think some of the Wadley damage doesn’t materialize. 

Indiana will be a challenge; I have no idea how UM will fair against the all those goofy Redding, Natee, and Diamont packages, but my guess is UM will be fine.  UM played well enough to win this game defensively, and I’m not ready to call a team that gave up 12 points on 68 plays “exposed.”

Worstest:  The F**************cking Refs!

Watching this game every time a yellow flag came out felt like this.

It was just a cavalcade of insanity and insult.  Iowa played well, but they got a health dose of help from O’Neill and his pack of blind squirrels.  It’s bad spots, it’s bad targetting calls, a fringe facemask penalty, roughing the kicker penalties that basically forced UM to stop bringing any pressure lest they get blamed for Iowa’s kicker falling on his ass again, just everything.  And I don’t think they cost UM the game; Michigan barely putting up 200 yards of offense was the bigger culprit.  But at the same time, I shouldn’t be cringing as soon as I hear who is calling these games, and yet the minute I realized O’Neill’s crew was on the docket, I harkened back to last year’s MSU game and just knew something would go wrong. 

College football is all about spending millions of dollars of coaches, training techniques, new technology, everything, and yet they have these part-time refs with histories of ineptitude messing around with important games.  I don’t care about paying these guys, but there also needs to be a public reprimand if they screw up.  Coaches and players get called out, let these guys answer questions after the game.  They are grown-ass men and women, and their decisions have an outsized impact on games.

Best:  Kenny MF Allen

Kenny Allen drained a 51-yard FG to give UM the late lead.  Outside of basically 2 games this year over a month ago, Allen has been good as both a punter and kicker.  For all the negative parts you can take from this game, one positive should be that Allen has ice in his veins and a leg to back it up.

Worst:  The Heisman Talk

Listen, I think Peppers is great.  He’s an amazing athlete and a special talent.  He’ll be a mixture on Sunday for a decade.  But at this point, I’m getting tired of every announcer trying to make a case for him.  Peppers is special because of his flexibility on defense, and tangible, quantifiable proof of that impact is hard to find (save for TFLs, which aren’t even that good of a barometer).  I know he’s great, fans know he’s great, but he isn’t going to win the Heisman, and as a viewer of college football I don’t need breathless commentary every time he runs for 4 yards on a designed run.  It’s lazy and somewhat insufferable, and cheapens what else he does on the field.

Worst:  RPS All the Minuses

I’ll let Brian figure this all out, but I thought the offensive playcalling was really bad in that second half.  UM has a great offense, but when you are playing in a 1950’s game, call it like a 1950’s game.  Maybe break out a jet sweep if you are feeling frisky, but otherwise just run the ball between the tackles and throw short passes to the flats and Butt and force Iowa to stop you.  They repeatedly called for Speight to throw the ball deep, and it just wasn’t there.  That partially falls on the players for not “making plays” (oh god, I feel dumber having just said that), but it also falls on the coaches for putting them in tough spots.  I don’t know how to describe this offensive gameplan other than it felt like a Borges offense, too clever by half.  A couple of times, Speight would pitch the ball on the short side of the field and the play was inevitably chewed up, and I just didn’t know what the plan was.  Iowa’s defensive line isn’t that good, and my guess is a steady stream of runs right at them probably hit paydirt sooner rather than later.  And yet, Michigan put themselves in long 3rd downs way too often (they averaged about 3rd-and-6), and it hurt their offensive flow and options. 

As for the defense, I don’t think Greg Davis outcoached anyone, but Wadley in space was clearly all of Iowa’s offense and yet Brown and co. were slow to react.  They did shut down the Iowa passing attack, as anemic as it was during the year, and again, that final drive wasn’t why UM lost. 

I get that UM will get a team’s best effort; that happens when you are a major player.  But on the road, you can’t mess around with competent teams, and for all of Iowa’s struggles they are still probably going to win 8-9 games this year.  They aren’t a pushover, especially at home, and yet UM let this game play into their hands way too much.

Next Week:

IU comes to town next.  They really aren’t that good, and while they are still CHAOS team, the shoe doesn’t quite fit like it did in the past.  Their offense is janky and sometimes explosive, and the defense is fine for IU standards but has still given up a bunch of points recently (36 to MD, 27 to Rutgers, 45 to PSU).  I assume UM will handle them and the focus will be on The Game for a shot at the playoffs.  And yeah, a small part of me is hoping MSU builds on their demolition of Rutgers to give OSU a fight, but whatever margin UM had is gone after this game, and so it’s time to just win and advance.

Go Blue.


MMB 82

November 13th, 2016 at 6:40 PM ^

Not sure how Brian is going to top that...! The offensive playcalling and the refs- this was a three-martini evening for me, at the sports bar listening to a 70-year old former Iowa cheerleader screaming like she was [redacted].

Swayze Howell Sheen

November 13th, 2016 at 6:44 AM ^

a small nitpick: "It’s not a program that can just roll out dominant teams every year and compete for a title." Why not? 

It's not like there is some magic thing that makes Alabama better. College football is a game of coaching and recruiting. If you do those things better than others, you will be in the mix each year. If Harbaugh can't do that at Michigan, who can?

Most years, Nick Saban's teams lose a game or two. Michigan lost one last night. OSU lost a similar game to Penn State a few weeks ago. Let's give Harbaugh a few years before we put them below the other elite.

All of that said, great write up. I hate those refs too :)




November 13th, 2016 at 7:16 AM ^

That absolutely could be the case, but we haven't seen it yet at Michigan at least in my life. There was a stretch with Bo, and maybe Carr could do it for a couple of years in a 10+ win sense. But my point was more that we can't just assume UM reloads and keeps competing for a title like Alabama and OSU have in recent memory. I do have hope, though, that UM can going forward.


November 13th, 2016 at 12:40 PM ^

The short answer is not often.

Last season, Bama lost to Ole Miss. Before that, OSU lost to VA Tech. I could go on, but I'm too lazy to do it for even this past decade. Michigan is still in the driver's seat. Beat Indiana, OSU, and (probably) Wisconsin (again), and they will be in the playoff, probably in a 2 or 3 seed. At that point, anything can happen. Losing this game will not disqualify them from as national champs...

Michigan absolutely belongs in the discussion with Alabama and OSU. They recruit like Bama and OSU (just look at the recruiting rankings) year in and year out. And yes,  this is a senior laden team, but we are getting meaningful production from young players like Evans and Gary and Bredeson. Even players not seeing tons of PT this season, will grow into their roles next season. This is due to the coaching staff. Sure, it doesnt feel like it today, the Iowa gameplan was...sub-optimal for sure. But how often has this team laid an egg like this.  They'll learn, grow, and throttle IU. 

Next season, they'll be preseason top 5, and they will get better every week.  They will be in the playoff hunt again


November 13th, 2016 at 2:47 PM ^

to a point.  The eye test is telling me we're right there with everyone except Alabama.  And even then, if we play at the top of our game, have no serious injuries, we could go toe to toe and maybe win this thing.

I fear expectations from the fanbase and the media might hurt us some next year.  I'm expecting a drop off as we lose a bunch of talent, that might take us a year or two to straighten out.  I know pretty much nothing, though, compared to Harbaugh and staff, so yeah.

Clemson's defense is suspect and it finally showed last night as they went to the wire one too many times.  Our defense is better than theirs.

Washington made hay with a weak schedule and finally caught a decent team who put it all together.  Our defense is better than theirs.

Michigan's offense is a lot of smoke and mirrors mixed with some pretty good talent.  We smoked one too many last night and blew a game that was very winnable.  Running right at our defense and using that to make jet sweeps happen works some against us.  But even so, it only cost us 14 points, and a single touchdown.  If the offense doesn't stumble so much, and we put up 30+, no one is saying much beyond some worries about missing tackles on Wadley.

I wonder if the coaching staff mailed this one in a little?  It's kinda looked like they may have worked the deep ball all week as a major theme for this game as preparation for down the road, then didn't have a plan for when it wasn't working.  They even threw it on 3rd down at the end of the game, when a run to punt would've made more sense (more clock, force a time out).  As OP said, where was the short passing game?  It's like it wasn't even on the play sheet.  And handing the ball to Smith 4 yards deep in our own endzone?  Why not the fullback like we've seen before?  He may not get anywhere, but it's pretty unlikely to be a safety, either.  This just looked like we weren't prepared to play Iowa, as much as maybe a warm up for someone down the road.


November 13th, 2016 at 9:36 PM ^

I absolutely hope that is the case, but historically UM just hasn't been able to consistently put up those championship-level seasons regularly.  They absolutely should be able to, but you look at UM historically and there just isn't a dominant stretch for them.  It's a lot of 9-10 win seasons with a couple of outlier positive seasons.  I am all in with Harbaugh, but I'll be the first to admit I don't think UM will look like OSU does this year after losing as much talent as they did in the draft.  That could very well change under Harbaugh, but it hasn't yet, and I've been a fan long enough to not take for granted special seasons.

Goggles Paisano

November 13th, 2016 at 8:28 AM ^

Thanks for the early write-up

Was the play calling bad or was it just poor execution/missed assignments?  Is it bad play calling only because the plays didn't work?  They've been chewing everyone up all year and keeping defenses on their heels with the play calling, with Peppers, with McDoom, etc.  Iowa snuffed out everything we did - I really don't know why it was such an offensive struggle for us but I'm guessing it will be more of a focus/effort issue vs. a play calling issue.

The deep ball was there but just not converted. Speight has shown he is very good deep ball thrower.  As such you keep going to it if the D continues to give it to you.  I think our conversion rate on deep balls this year warrants continued attempts.  It won us the Wisc game.  The short throws just didn't seem to be open last night.  Aside from the deep ball there were too many balls that Chesson/Darboh didn't come up with that they normally do.  Those were opportunities to win the game and we didn't convert.

And Fuck John O'Neil - I hate that guy.  Wasn't it his shitty crew we had for the Oregon St game last year when we roughed the punter when he was well outside the tackle box?  At what point does a rugby punter that is rolling out become a runner and not a punter?  That is fucking irritating that they keep calling that shit.  


November 13th, 2016 at 9:19 AM ^

It's probably both with the offense. Iowa had obviously scouted them, and the offensive line really struggled to get a push. But it was also an offense that lacked some dynamism. It felt like they kept trying to throw deep to loosen the Iowa front, but we rarely saw screens or shorter cross routes as a way to get the ball in receivers hands, and being in 3rd and long more times than not limits the playbook. And both Chesson and Darboh dropped balls they needed to catch, which added to the struggles.

And the refs were terrible. I don't see why you keep guys like O'Neill around. Every team hates seeing him call a game.

Hotel Putingrad

November 13th, 2016 at 10:22 AM ^

Best: Dave Chappelle on SNL got me to laugh afterwards. Worst: my attempt to take solace in a pint of Häagen-Dazs chocolate peanut butter ice cream has me feeling very bad this morning.

Everyone Murders

November 13th, 2016 at 10:59 AM ^

Best - This Is Fine (No dog in cafe meme needed)

I'm not inclined to sugarcoat it, that was a really frustrating loss on all the levels BronxBlue eloquently described. However, this was about the best possible loss we could have this season. If this loss is to PSU or Wisconsin, we're struggling to get into the playoff conversation. Here, we lose to Iowa by one point as time expires due to some dubious calls.

We will still be in the top 6, and still have an opportunity to make a statement in Columbus. We're 9 and 1 FFS. And we still control our destiny. The game sucked donkey balls, but who would have been better to lose to? Certainly nobody on the B1G schedule. Maybe Colorado, but I'm not sure about that. So, if we take a long view, this is a bad loss but that's all it is. If we beat Indiana and OSU, this game becomes a minor stumble in a great season.

On top of that, no huge injuries of which I'm aware. So Harbaugh uses this opportunity to steel the team for OSU.

Worst - Last Offensive Series Play Calls

I felt we were doomed with the terribly uncreative play-calling on the last series. Just like MSU 2015, we dialed up ye olde three-and-out. A first down seals the freaking game, but we went into full Lloyd Carr mode. Guh.

Best - Misery Loves Company

Clemson and Washington also lost, at home. This season is looking increasingly more like Alabama and Everyone Else. If we were going to pick a weekend to stumble, this is a good one. It would have been great to get out of Kinnick with a win, but at least Clemson and the Huskies sludgefarted their way through the weekend.


November 13th, 2016 at 11:23 AM ^

I largely agree.  I actually give Harbaugh credit for that last series; he tried to get the first.  I saw people calling for him to run it 3 times and punt.  And honestly, without that flaky facemask penalty Iowa is going to have to hurry to get the 25-30 yards they need to get into field goal range, and that probably means they have to start throwing it, something they couldn't do all game.  And it wasn't a terrible throw by Speight or anything; it was just a bit off and Butt couldn't reel it in.

Alabama is the alpha team this year, though they could gack it up to Auburn in a couple weeks and we'd laugh all the same.  Football is weird like that.  


November 13th, 2016 at 2:54 PM ^

My beef with it is that it wasn't working all night, and a run would've used up more time and forced Iowa to use their last time out.  Which would not have been available on that final drive to the field goal.  BUT - I can also admit that if he had hauled in that pass, I'd be basking in the glow of our offensive genious coach.  I'm just a fan, what the heck do I know?

You Only Live Twice

November 13th, 2016 at 11:07 AM ^

Respect for getting this posted when it's not as much fun to write.  I don't blame you for wanting to get this out there and move on!  Every paragraph is a +1.  The Ferentz imagery of gerbils and Red Bull gave me a smile which I didn't think was possible this morning.

I do see some silver lining, that with as many things that went wrong, stupid penalties (yes some of those were on us, not all O'Neill) stupid breaks that went Iowa's way... we still almost won. 

O'Neill really is awful though.  Like you I had a sick feeling the first time I saw his face studying the replay camera... and we did not rough that kicker, O'Neill this is football we're allowed to bring pressure.


November 13th, 2016 at 11:38 AM ^

The offense was awful.  Why does Smith (2.3 YPC and primary responsibility for the safety) get 12 carries when Evans (6.5 YPC) gets only 8 carries and Isaac gets only 1 carry (that he totally optimizes by going 7 yards for a TD)?

There was one ball that Darboh might have been able to catch and didn't, but for the most part, he did his job, getting wide open deep and being missed (both short and long) or being open in the endzone and being led so much to the sideline that he could not quite get a foot down.

Chesson was terrible and did allow the interception when the ball was taken from him, but it was a BAD throw, coming late and well to the inside instead of to the outside.

I thought Speight was consistently terrible, throwing only a couple of good balls all night and getting bailed out other times by great catches.

As bad as the reffing was, particularly the second running into the kicker penalty and the phantom face mask, I seem to recall noticing that Bush has a tendency to jump on people who are already down.  The personal foul was stupid and richly deserved, being just the sort of cheap shot that makes me cringe and can result in a player being injured, although whether it should have also been called targeting is open to question.  Harbaugh did not seem too upset by that call, so I suspect he thought it was close enough to be properly called as targeting, but making the hit at all, when the guy was about as clearly down as it is possible to be, was incredibly stupid (like what Kalis did last week with his personal foul) and shows a total lack of personal discipline.

You Only Live Twice

November 13th, 2016 at 12:04 PM ^

Jack you're one of the guys whose posts I always look forward to read.  I have a tough time with the Bush ejection.  If Bush is already in the air when the guy tripped over his own feet, how is the intent element satisfied? Where the tripping player lands is not something Bush can plan for and do his job so I don't see that particular hit as a cheap shot.  I actually don't have a huge issue with helmet to helmet being called, and if indeed, Bush is a player who needs a bit more discipline, then so be it.  


November 13th, 2016 at 3:04 PM ^

on the other hand, as inconsistent and likely as these targeting calls are, I expected him to get one sooner or later.  You can't give them  reason to make that call. Hitting guys that are already down draws scrutiny.  While he couldn't control where he was going to hit the guy, he had quite a bit of space to pull up some and didn't.  Not saying I agree with the call, just that I expected it was going to happen to him at some point.  These officials are obviously just as confused about what targeting is as we are, so they see a guy fly in there and hit someone who is down and the flag is coming out.


November 13th, 2016 at 6:41 PM ^

But it wasn't tough to avoid - the punter had already flipped over his back and was coming back up when Bush dropped and dove into him - changing direction as he did!  It was barely helmet to helmet, as the side of Bush's hit the punters face mask.  But that doesn't matter...  He richly deserved the personal foul, and the targeting call was going to be made bcause of any head to head on such a blatant personal foul.  I really don't understand why people are whining about that call...


November 13th, 2016 at 2:16 PM ^

Worst: Murphy. It took an epic combination of the darndest plays to make this a 1 point loss on road. I figured this team, just like each and every Michigan team (except for 1997), was good for one DERP loss, and now we have it. As my father likes to say, life is real; life is earnest, and if I ever get my hands on that guy Ernest...
Best: No change in post-season circumstances. Let's be clear, win the next three games, and Michigan WILL GO to the playoffs as a one loss Conference Champion. Alabama is the only unbeaten P5 school, and every team in the Big 12 already has two losses. Sending the one loss conference champions next (and there will be at most three of them) is the biggest no-brainer in the history of college football. We need to stop scaring ourselves with a 1 loss Louisville leapfrogging us because it's NOT happening.
WORST: THIS PAST WEEK. Call it what you want, Nov 6-12, "sucked," "blew goats," "was total ass," or "sucked the sweat off a dead man's balls." Personally speaking, the week my father in law died was worse, but I'm stumped to recall any other 7 day period as bad. The fact that Punt's pessimistic prediction was not only plausible but prescient, and for all the farcical reasons he mentioned, tells you how epically awful the week was.


November 13th, 2016 at 3:08 PM ^

Also, because of OSU's resurgence, beating them at the American Standard in Columbus, followed by a conference championship win, will put us in the CFP.  Probably what this loss does more than anything else is make us fans doubt how good our team is (and the genious of our coaches...a little bit).


November 13th, 2016 at 4:17 PM ^

Honestly I just don't see a huge difference between Iowa and Michigan. The narrative seems to be that little ol Iowa is garbage and Michigan is untouchable, but I just don't see it. Michigan has better skill players, but Iowa looked better in the trenches. It was just last year Iowa was 12-0, and this year they've been decimated by key injuries. 

Look at last night. Iowa was without their top 2 pass catchers (Vandeberg and Kittle), a key OLman, and the starting cornerback opposite King. 

Mix in the fact that Iowa played rather poorly for most of the game too. Botched punt. A totally missed EASY interception from King. 14 pathetic yards passing to the WRs. A missed FG. A DROPPED two-point conversion. A boneheaded late INT. Tons of stupid penalties. 

With all that taken into account, Iowa still won



November 13th, 2016 at 7:41 PM ^

Iowa hurt themselves over and over in that game and still won. If they had a good QB it wouldn't have been close. Many say UM beat themselves and took Iowa's best shot- this is not true on the second part. This game IS concerning b/c OSU has a mobile QB, great pass blocking (Barrett always has time) and shiftly runners. 

As far as UM being elite? Reloading? Up there with OSU and Bama? Win a NC. Until then, its just talk.


November 13th, 2016 at 9:43 PM ^

Now, I could see this argument made about Wisconsin or even PSU.  Those are teams that look really solid.  Iowa isn't in that class.  Sure they are down a couple of pass-catchers; UM is down their starting left tackle and a cornerback who was playing better than the all-conference-ish guy opposite the All American when he got hurt.  UM's offensive line played horribly and credit to Iowa for that, but their secondary was also consistently letting Darboh and Chesson get behind them, which isn't a defensive scheme anyone would employ intentionally.  And Iowa couldn't throw the ball to save their lives, and it sure seemed like they wanted to do so.

Iowa lost to NDSU (and very good FCS team, but still), NW, Wisconsin, PSU by 27.  They beat Rutgers at home by 7.  UM played badly, and in this game obviously Iowa played well enough to win, but this revisionist history tangent some fans take about this team is insane to me.  

Red is Blue

November 13th, 2016 at 5:05 PM ^

Maybe I'm missing something, but I'm not seeing how this loss makes our climb to the top any steeper or makes us have to root for chaos. The formula is still the same, go 1-1 v. Iowa and IU, beat OSU, win B1G CG and win 2 playoff games.

Ironically, Michingan's loss hurt OSU more than us. Now OSU has a steeper climb and needs a little chaos.


November 13th, 2016 at 5:28 PM ^

You didn't mention the missed penalty when Iowa's QB literally bearhugged the RB and helped him go forward for the 1st down. I am pretty sure this is not allowed "No player on offense may assist a runner except by blocking for him."   Blatant and one of the commentators noted it as I recall, but the ref's didn't see it I guess.


November 13th, 2016 at 9:45 PM ^

It's the difference between the Bush Push and what Iowa did.  I honestly don't think it mattered all that much, but this was literally a FB grabbing Beathard and sorta-carrying him to the corner after he was stopped on the bad snap.  It's not something I expected to see called, but it was definitely on the border.


November 13th, 2016 at 9:16 PM ^

a few recuiting classes and Michigan will be in the same light as OSU. The freshman playing seem pretty damn talented (I know, them playing implies they're talented). 

The worst part about Saturday night is that we lost to a Hoke-like team.

Wolverine In Iowa 68

November 14th, 2016 at 9:22 AM ^

At the game, what I saw was the UM players did not appear focused.  They didn't appear sharp or intense.  On the sidelines, there was no fire, there was no hustle.  I'm used to seeing them jog or sprint to get places.  Saturday night, I saw them walking.  They weren't up for the game.  For the first time all season, they played "down" to an opponent, and Iowa took advantage.   All credit to the Hawkeyes, they outplayed us and deserved the win. 

This should serve as a wake-up call.

As everyone has said, our margin of error is gone.  I still have high hopes for the season, the only thing that's changed is we can't go undefeated, but we can still win out and make the CFP.  That's what counts.




November 15th, 2016 at 12:04 PM ^

Awful officiating aside (no sour grapes), I just don't think we have the personnel or acumen to compete with the likes of an Ohio or Alabama yet...YET. I just do not see this team marching into Columbus and pulling out a win. God, I hope I'm wrong..


November 15th, 2016 at 12:16 PM ^

...but it certainly didn't help. The second Running into the kicker call was atrocious...And need I say anything about the phantom facemask call? The Iowa game just goes to show, you're not going to get calls and the road, and you are most-definitely going to get shafted at critical points of the game...However, that being said, the game should have never come down to a last second field goal to end regulation. Great teams overcome penalties...Osu is going to get the same types of calls and we have to be able to respond..It just comes with the territory playing on the road. Same applies when UM is playing in the Big House. I just don't see any feasible scenario where we march into Columbus and win that game.