Inside the Box Score - The Game

Submitted by ST3 on November 27th, 2011 at 1:12 AM

    Today put the exclamation point at the end of a regular season marking a new era in Michigan football; an era that allows Brian to write a post-game wrap-up story about Michigan beating Ohio. No pressure Brian, but we’re all expecting something epic. It’s also an era in which my 7 year old son gets to watch Michigan beat osu*. It is an era where the TEAM wins games, not the offense, not the defense, not the special teams, just the TEAM. Although, let it be noted that the offense that Rich Rodriguez envisioned put up 40 points on one of the better defenses in the country. After leaning on the defense for much of the season, the offense was machine-like in its efficiency. I found that appropriate. But that is well-worn territory, and not worth discussing any further here.

    This week, I will leave the cat photos, picture-page analysis, and masterful photoshops to those who do them much better than me. And on this, the weekend after Thanksgiving, I will give my thanks to all the excellent content-generators on this site. It was truly a memorable season. I will play my part on this Blog’s team and do what I do. Give you the link, and dive into the numbers.

* I prefer the lowercase “osu” to the uppercase “OHIO,” because uppercase letters are reserved for proper nouns, and there is nothing proper about that school.


Burst of Impetus

  • In a game where the lead changed hands five times, the impetus was getting whiplash. First, osu scored, then we tallied 16 in a row to take an insurmountable lead. At least, at that point, I thought there was no way the 118th ranked passing offense was going to score 17 points, let alone 34. I don’t think this game had momentum changes, as much as it was just a case of two on-fire offenses holding serve.
  • It seemed like UofM was playing a grind it out game, demonstrating our superiority on a play-by-play basis, only for the big plays to swing momentum back osu’s way. The long pass(es) from Miller, the fumble by Denard, the fumble by Hagerup. I kept waiting for osu to return the favor, but they never did, well, until the very last play of the game. Hagerup’s fumble was actually recovered by him, so it goes down as a failed 4th down conversion. The turnover battle saw each team losing one, and each team going 1 for 2 on 4th down. It just so happened that osu’s two (interception and failed 4th down conversion) came on the same play.
  • Why do I suggest we were grinding it out? Well, we did have 277 yards rushing to their 137. We had 444 yards total offense to their 372. We had 35:10 of that worthless TOP to their 24:50, and 23 first downs to their 18. But something kept them in the game. The big play. Fortunately, they fell one big play short, the Miller overthrow on their last drive. Even then, I believe Denard would have lead us back to victory like he did twice against ND, because on this day, Denard would not be denied. It was time for him, and us, to eat.


  • Filthy gets moved up in the normal pecking order this week, in honor of the original “Filthy,” Denard Robinson.
  •  I think it’s safe to say that Kovacs may be a captain next year. I’m not sure who gets the nod on the offensive side, as there isn’t a senior lineman like Molk returning. I wouldn’t be surprised if Denard gets elected captain. It very clearly is his team. The players respond to him and you can see the belief on their faces that he WILL LEAD THEM to victory. OK, enough commentary, how about some numbers.
  • Denard gained 170 yards rushing on 26 carries, for an average of 6.5 yards per carry. He had a long of 41 yards and two TDs rushing. In the process he passed my favorite all-time Wolverine, Rob Lytle, for third place in yards rushing in a game against osu. I was six when Lytle went for 164 yards against osu. My son is seven.
  • Denard was 14 for 17 passing for 167 yards. He threw 3 TD passes. 5 TDs in one game? Filthy.
  • Toussaint pitched in 120 yards on 20 carries, for a nice round 6 yard per carry average. He had a long of 46 yards. What was I saying about osu getting all the big plays? Hmmm, I’ll have to rethink that.
  • UofM was 5 for 11 on third down, but that includes an 0 for 4 start. Once the offense got rolling, osu had trouble stopping us, and a lot of that was due to some QB draws that went for double-digit yards.

Trash Cans Full of Dirt

  • Morgan and Demens lead the way with 10 and 8 tackles, respectively. Gotta love it when 2 LBs are your leading tacklers. Gotta hate giving up 34 points, though. But hey, it was arguably the greatest Wolverine win in my lifetime considering all the baggage and 7 years crap. The National Championship Rose Bowl victory is the only other contender. If I was a year older, Bo’s first victory over Woody would be in the mix.
  • Six players combined for 7 TFLs, lead by Van Bergen and Kovacs with 2 apiece. Four of the seven TFLs were sacks. Only one of the sacks was for meaningful yards, a 10 yarder by Kovacs. I am not looking forward to facing Miller three more times. If he learns how to throw he will be dangerous.
  • 15 players got in the defensive stats section, and the TEAM was listed for a bunch of dots. I’m not sure what the TEAM did, but hey, it’s nice to give a shout out to the TEAM.
  • Avery did get credit for an interception for the last play of the game. Avery also forced a fumble, on a kickoff IIRC, but osu recovered it.
  • Van Bergen was the only one who got credit for a BrUp, but I’m pretty sure Countess broke up a pass, too.
  • We were credited with no QHs.
  • The play of the game, or at least one of them, is not recorded in the boxscore in a meaningful way. After Hagerup’s failed 4th down conversion, osu took over at our 31. They got down to our 5 yard line, and had 1st and goal. A couple strong defensive efforts lead to 3rd down. On the next play, according to Chris Spielman (we were never shown this,) osu tried their TD pass to Stoneburner play, the one that got him TDs on ~ half his receptions this year. Only this time, Kovacs stayed with Stoneburner, and forced Miller to keep it. Jibreel Black (Jibreel Black? Yes, Jibreel Black) kept outside leverage, wrapped up Miller and forced the FG. At the other end of the field, we did the same thing, only their 3rdstring strong safety, Storm Klein, bit on the playfake leaving Koger wide open for the TD. (It may not have been Storm Klein, but for the purposes of this narrative, I’m going with Storm Klein.)

Big John R. Studd Referee Section

  • B. LeMonnier was the referee. He and his crew mostly kept their flags in their pockets, until they decided to throw 2 on us on the same play, and swing the game from UofM covering to osu. I’m not suggesting anything nefarious, only that a lot of money changed hands on that play.
  • We had three penalties for 29 yards. After beginning the game like another B1G state school, osu settled down and only committed 5 penalties for 47 yards. So congratulations, Sparty, you were the team most lacking in sportsmanship that we faced all year. To sink lower than the buckeyes? Pathetic. Enjoy getting beat by the Badgers next week.
  • On the play where Touss scored a touchdown, only to have the replay official overturn the call, I was livid. In the extended boxscore under double birds given, you will see ST3 with 1. (Fortunately, my son was in the other room at the time.) As I understand it, they can only overturn the original call if the evidence is indisputable. Well, I’M DISPUTING THAT CALL! When they said put the ball down on the 1 foot line, I nearly flipped. The one or two inch line, maybe, but 1 foot?!? I was actually questioning at that point whether the top of the grass counts as the ground or the actual ground is the ground. There is no way that should have been overturned. But as I’ve written before in these diaries, I’m an incredible M homer.
  • On the next play where Omameh held, osu was lined up offsides, and the Watson penalty was really weak. I’m just saying.

San Diego49ers

  • We had 7 players catch passes, with 5 players catching at least 2 passes. Kevin Koger lead the way with 4 receptions for 40 yards. He had one TD.
  • Koger, Hemingway, and Odoms caught TD passes.
  • Gallon had the block that sprung Denard for his 41 yard TD run.

Hexadecimal Points

  • Hawthorne was the only M hexadecimalist to show up, with 1 tackle. Our string was kept alive by one tackle.
  • I hate osu, but their team is loaded with hexadecimalists. Shazier is 1A, and they have three other players listed as 5E, 1D, and 1F.
  • Both teams wore their normal uniforms. Obviously lacking on osu’s helmets were a lot of those buckeye stickers. That’s what happens when your best players are suspended for 5 to 10 games, and the rest of your guys are mediocre. They just don’t give those out for completed passes, apparently.

Derpan Meyer

  • I will keep this section short, because the focus should be on the game. What I don’t understand is why ESPN won’t allow Kirk Herbstreit to predict the outcome of games he is calling, but Spielman can call an osu game (and Matt Millen can call a PSU game.) It would seem like there is an obvious solution to this. LET HERBSTREIT PREDICT THE GAMES! Sorry about that.
  • Spielman reminded us that he was a senior on Earl Bruce’s last team (the Fedora game.) I don’t need to be reminded of that game, OK, thanks.

We Haz Special Teams

  • Net yards per kickoff was a push, 46.6 for them and 46.0 for us. Each team had 4 touchbacks, and I think they were all in the north endzone, as a southerly wind of 10-20 MPH was blowing. (Does “S 10-20” mean the wind was blowing from the south to the north, or vice versa? I’m no meteorologist.)
  • Net yards per punt were 40 for osu and 47.5 for us. So, for punts we were able to get off, derp derp derp, we did very well. Two of their punts landed inside the 20. They only punted 3 times, and we only punted twice. Remember, there were very few turnovers. Almost every drive ended in points.
  • Gibbons hit his season long of 43 yards, to put us up 6. It’s possible osu could have gotten down the field for a tying field goal, but when Gibbons hit the FG, it made it that much tougher for osu, especially since Fickell wasted a time-out on our previous drive. Gibbons, you put it through the uprights. Thank you.

Opponent Bullets

  • Zach Boren got a holding penalty. Ha Ha.
  • When I was in 8thgrade, Sports Illustrated had a full page picture of Mike Boren in his UofM uniform in their preview issue. I put that up in my locker at school. He broke his arm that year and didn’t play much if at all. It’s been all downhill for me and the Boren’s since then.
  • Screw the buckeyes, if you want to see their stats go to 11 warriors.

Random, as Yet Unnamed, Bullets

  • I NEED MOAR NUMBERZ! 57-44-6. Strike that. It’s now 58-44-6. 2926 days. Strike that too. How does “zero” sound to you? {I wrote this on Saturday.} It’s music to my ears.
  • Both teams had 6 scoring drives. We had 5 TDs and 1 FG, they had 4 TDs and 2 FGs. That, and the safety, was the difference in the game.
  • Denard pitched to Odoms once, leading to one of our fumbles, that fortunately we recovered. Hey Brian, maybe that’s why they don’t pitch on the pitch play.
  • My son saw me taking notes during the game, and he wanted to participate. So in my notes, I have “Good kick return” written by my son for Gallon’s return. We may have a future blogger in our midst.
  • After writing 12 of these diaries, I feel like writing a diary about writing diaries, sort of like Kramer’s coffee table book about coffee tables.
  • Overrated (only slightly): Lloyd Brady sightings. Underrated: Lloyd Brady’s grass man friend sightings. Seriously, what’s that supposed to be?
  • Brady Hoke’s smile at the end of the game was awesome. He must be elated. What a dream come true. Congratulations, Brady, Mattison, Borges, the rest of the staff, and to TEAM 132. 10-2, 8 home wins, and maybe a BCS Bowl invite. Just incredible.
  • One last input from my son, at the end he said, “write, ‘one happy ending.’”

I couldn’t agree more.





November 27th, 2011 at 2:15 AM ^

For I am a (unemployed) Meteorologist.  This assumption is correct.  A southerly wind implies that the wind is blowing from south to north.  This convention was adopted because information about the source of the ambient atmosphere is more important than its destination. 

My work here is done. 


Chris of Dange…

November 27th, 2011 at 11:04 AM ^

Beckmann and Brandstatter noted that repeatedly, especially on the fourth down conversion (I think) - Beckmann said that they were looking straight down the line on that play, and they didn't know how the side judge could see the ball for being blocked by multiple Ohio DLs' hands in the neutral zone.


November 27th, 2011 at 3:15 AM ^

Agree!  I was yelling it as the play was lined up bc the camera was very close in and right on the LOS.  You can very clearly see the DL's hand right over the ball.  Couldn't believe they missed that.  In fact, that's what I initially thought the flags were for.



November 27th, 2011 at 3:42 AM ^

RVB was blatantly held on almost every single play and it was only called once IIRC, and that was for the safety.  I believe on the long TD pass on the crossing route to Posey there was a pretty bad missed holding call too.

Also, you're not the only one who thinks that the TD shouldn't have been overturned.  Mike Pereira, former NFL head of officiating, also said that it shouldn't have been overturned (!/MikePereira/status/140525853518991360).

Regarding the penalty on Watson following the overturn, that was majorly iffy.  They called it as an "after the play was over," but Watson hits the Ohio player at almost the exact instant that the whistle is blown, and it's roughly half a second after Denard makes it into the endzone.  Calling that after the play is over is a terrible call.  Even if it was unnecessary roughness, we only should have had 15 yards of penalties, not 25 -- it should never have been called in addition to the holding.


November 27th, 2011 at 7:13 AM ^

The PF on Kovacs was also a cheap call.  The guy had just barely gone out of bounds, and Kovacs didn't hit him hard (not nearly a full Kovacs).  If they were going to call things that close, then on a number of plays our guys were hit shortly after going out of bounds and on many plays our guys heads were twisted.  Until the refs decided to take charge of the outcome (unsuccessfully), they had called virtually nothing and given us bad spots all day.  It was ridiculous for them to call Kovacs, take away Fitz's TD and then do that double penalty crap.


November 27th, 2011 at 11:38 AM ^

This one was an obvious call.  I feel like the Watson hit was a good call, I can't be a total homer.  Denard was 2 yards into the end zone with no one around him when Watson went for the crack-back.  Also I thought Gallon may have got away with a hold on Denard's 41 yard touchdown run.  Not saying Michigan didn't get screwed on some calls (especially by the replay official,) but a couple bad calls may have helped Michigan out too.


November 27th, 2011 at 8:52 AM ^

Good information.  I do have a question that I haven't seen addressed, though.  Why did we not go for a two point conversion when we were up by 5 points? If I remember correctly, this happened twice.  Both times I was scratching my head.  I thought you always go for two with a 5 point lead.


November 27th, 2011 at 2:07 PM ^

Two-point attempts only succeed around 40-45% of the time, so when you attempt one, the odds are you won't score any points on the conversion.  When you have the lead, it's probably not worth it unless it's very late in the game and there's a clear advantage to doing so.  The lost point from not attempting the PAT can be big.

Consider: if we'd have gone for two when we scored to make it 29-24 and failed, then OSU's subsequent FG would have made the game 29-27, putting them one kick away from the lead. 



November 27th, 2011 at 9:35 AM ^

I'm nitpicking on a day when I shouldn't be, and I might be wrong, or I might be missing out on a blog convention, but I think with Ohio's vacated win last year, they're only taking credit for 43 wins. Shouldn't Michigan reflect the same in the loss column?

Great work on the season. Thanks for these diaries.

Red is Blue

November 27th, 2011 at 2:22 PM ^

So Ohio has 43 wins in the series and Michigan has 44 losses, the Michigan + Ohio win percentages don't sum to 100% and it has been roughly 365 days since Michigan lost, but 730 days since Ohio has won?  That is weird.


November 27th, 2011 at 2:09 PM ^

Because only one side is vacating the game, the overall series record will remain what it actually was on the field (58-44-6).  This is also true in men's basketball, where our on-court advantage over MSU is 93-74, although we're supposed to count it as 86-71. 


November 27th, 2011 at 10:58 AM ^

The fact that we rose above it was priceless.  Countless times in the Bo era a game would turn on a call by the zebras.  Brady kept his cool (at least it looked like he did from where I was sitting across the field) and kept the team focused on controlling what they can.  I had that horrible "Oh no" flashback feeling washing over me.  Sometimes you win with defense, sometimes you win with offense, sometimes you win with both.  Saturday was the offense's day to shine and they did.  I knew Denard was really clicking, but had no idea he was 14 of 17 passing.  The line was playing well and the TD by Odoms was due to their ability to keep Ohio out of the backfield.  On the replay you could see how the tackles gave up rushing and were hanging at the line waiting for Denard to run.  He stayed in the pocket and did the right thing.  I thought that spoke volumes about the maturity he's gained in the passing game this season.  Put that together with running like the old Denard with extra passion and it was a special day for the offense and a big win for Team 132.  I don't think the defensive meetings will be very pleasant, because Mattison knows he's going to see Braxton 3 more times and they can't have repeat of saturday next year in Columbus.


November 27th, 2011 at 12:37 PM ^

Either Fickell is an idiot, or, the more likely scenario, Miller misinterpreted Fickell's gestures to hurry up.  Fickell was making a motion that pretty much universally means hurry up. Remember they were taking their sweet time getting to the line of scrimmage, so I suspect Fickell was just trying to get Miller to speed up, but Miller interpreted it as "spike the ball."  Confusion about what's going on is one of the reasons freshmen aren't usually starting qb's.


November 27th, 2011 at 2:06 PM ^

Ok.  First, I'm not a big fan of replay of any kind; bad officiating is part of the game.  However, if you are going to have replay on potential td's, then why not have three dedicated cameras on the goal line.  I would argue the inzone replay is the biggest momentum changer in football.  Possibly the fumble replay.  Anyway, The camera angle for the Touss td was all wrong.  From the side that looked to me like he was short the angle was from the inzone side.  The angle that looked like it was a td was from the field side.  How hard would it be to put cameras on each side of the goal line looking directly down the goal line?  And why not have a camera dedicated directly above the goal line?  If your going to have a replay rule, why not give yourself the tools to actualy have the rule be effective... or atleast give the officials the ability to look at an angle that is helpful in making an educated decision.

Red is Blue

November 27th, 2011 at 4:02 PM ^

I know the stats will forever say one turnover a piece, but effectively it was really much more like 2 MIchigan turnovers and none for Ohio.  Pretty special to overcome turnovers, a questionable TD reversal and spotting Ohio 7 with a big time whoopsy to start the game and still come out victorious.