Inside the Boxscore - Team 136, Game 3

Submitted by ST3 on September 20th, 2015 at 3:21 PM

     Most of the preseason predictions had Michigan finishing the regular season with an 8-4 record, +/- 2 games. The first half of this game showed why many thought Michigan could finish with 9 or 10 wins. The second half showed why some thought 6 or 7 wins was a possibility. The final verdict from Saturday's game: need more data, check back next week.

     A quick personal note before resuming our regularly scheduled boxscorology. I will be flying back to Michigan this week for the first time since my dad passed away two years ago. My cousin is getting married Friday night. Thank goodness she had the good sense to schedule the wedding on a Friday. As much as I would like to hang around and see the M-BYU game Saturday, I'll be flying back home Saturday. The DVR will be set, but the diary might be delayed.


Burst of Impetus
* Do I have to pick something? OK, how about this. One play after UNLV's QB phased out of the BTN universe for a 16 yard game, Channing Stribling picked him off and returned the ball 30 yards. This was an early message delivered to UNLV - your coach might think that college ball is not much different than high school football, but this is the Big House and you are playing Michigan.

The Two Jakes
* I thought I was going to have to rename this section The One Jake. Rudock finally threw a ball to Butt in the second half. Jake B. ended up with two catches for 14 yards. If they are saving him for BYU and the bigger B1G games, I understand.
* In the now weekly battle between Jake Rudock and ST3-defined efficient QB play, Rudock was 14 for 22 (64%, check,) with only one interception (check,) but he only averaged 5.6 yards per attempt. Ugh.

Root Tree Runners
* I don't recall who was in the booth with Chuck Long. Whoever it was, he was just awful, and while I'm mentioning Chuck, can someone poke him and see if he's still alive? I'm not asking him to overreact to a one yard gain by Sione Houma like his partner did - OMG!!! A FULLBACK RAN THE BALL FOR A YARD!!!; I just want him to put a little thought into his comments and pretend like he's watching the game. For example, it makes no sense to say that it's difficult to schedule teams because of travel costs while we scheduled four western schools. He should also know that the games were scheduled well before Harbaugh agreed to coach Michigan. Harbaugh didn't schedule 4 west coast teams to improve west coast recruiting. At least he corrected his partner about root trees. Yes, trees have roots, but wide receivers run routes.
* After back-to-back games having 9 root tree runners catch passes, eight players caught passes against UNLV. In Jake Rudock's defense, he has to develop chemistry with 4 different tailbacks, 2 fullbacks, a team full of H backs and tight ends and numerous wide receivers. I think the timing was off on one of his throws to Drake Johnson probably for this reason, leading to an incomplete pass.

* A week after stating his case for being the lead back, Utah-De'Veon returned. He carried 13 times for 33 yards with a long of 6. Be patient De'Veon, follow your blockers.
* Ty Isaac showed why he may be the feature back when Big 10 play starts as he gained 114 yards on 8 carries. Yes, 76 yards came on one run, but that still leaves him with 38 yards on his other 7 carries.
* 10 players ran the ball. Only 2 of them had long runs greater than 9 yards. Yes, there were two long runs, but the rest of the game was standard - thump, thump, thump - jackhammer style pounding.

Tacos and Peppers
* UNLV was held to 92 yards net rushing thanks to 37 yards of TFLs for the Michigan defense. 8 defenders contributed to the 9 TFLs.
* Channing Stribling only had 1 tackle assist, but he intercepted a ball and returned it 30 yards, he downed a punt at the three, and he had a BrUp.
* Jourdan Lewis made his case for an all-conference selection with three tackles and 4 BrUps. 4 BrUps is about 4 times as many BrUps as I'm used to seeing.

* Four of Blake O'Neill's 5 punts were downed inside the 20.
* Peppers returned one punt for 24 yards and one kickoff for 31 yards.

Baughscore Bits
* Michigan only gained two more first downs than UNLV, 17-15. That, and Jake's 5.6 YPA are the cause of any lingering malaise after this game.
* UNLV's leading tacklers were Peni Vea and Tau (points finger at Ace) Lotulelei.
* Michigan scored 14 points off of UNLV's 2 turnovers compared to UNLV's 0 points. It feels good to be on the right side of the TO story for a change.

* The WHAT ARE THOSE? award goes to the BTN cameramen. Those people running around on the field in stylishly matching outfits are football players. It's generally a good idea to keep your electronic moving picture taking box pointed at those players, especially the one that has the ball in his hands. But don't get too close lest the rest feel left out.


An Angelo's Addict

September 20th, 2015 at 3:43 PM ^

Great writeup as always ST3, I'm heading back to AA for the game this weekend for the first time in 2 years. Too bad you won't get a chance to goto the game. Good job pointing out the camera weirdness. BTN did an extraordinary terrible job of tracking the ball. I remember 2 or 3 times when a throw would be made and the camera wouldn't track to the receiver


September 20th, 2015 at 5:07 PM ^

Chuck Long's commentary is consistently disappointing. I never get the feeling that he has spent a great deal of time in preparing for the games.


September 20th, 2015 at 5:28 PM ^

Hi, I was at the game and so didn't hear the commentary. Perhaps I didn't miss much, but I was wondering if you noticed a change in the style of running plays.

1. In the first two games, there seemed to this uneducated eye more inside runs with traps and power between the tackles.

2. Against UNLV there seemed to be more attempts to go wide on sweeps. There were two nice runs - one by Issacs and one on a reverse by Chesson. ? Was this a perceived weakness of UNLV or were they stacked up inside?

I'm curious because the game was in hand early and so they had a lot of options to try out their play book. In contrast the passing game didn't look that different. There were a few long attempts but mostly shorter stuff to the TE and some great catches by the FBs out of the backfield on flares and circles.



September 20th, 2015 at 9:56 PM ^

Good stuff as usual.  I agree that Rudock had a decent game on paper, but that ypa...ugh.

Anyway, hope you have a fun trip back to Michigan, and hopefully the flight back won't be highlighted by you contemplating spending $1000 on in-flight WiFi just to follow the game.  


September 20th, 2015 at 11:58 PM ^

I didn't like the overall offensive production but I'm not going to argue with the win.  I really like how Harbaugh spreads the ball around.  

Your comment about the Houma touchdown was a little confusing to me.  I appreciated how the announcer said he admired Harbaugh's calling Houma's number twice, once after the TD that was overturned upon further review and once again for the score.  I was thinking the same thing at the time.


September 21st, 2015 at 11:26 AM ^

There was another play during the game when Houma got the ball and ran for a yard. They were around mid-field. He noticed Houma in the game and got irrationally excited when they gave him a carry. I did think the TD was cool, both of them. I was going to write a blurb about replays. I think the replay official has to put some error bars around the football. In a close game, you want those error bars to be as small as you can get. When a team is up 21 points late in the game, I think it's OK to expand those error bars a little bit to keep the game moving. If he gives Houma the TD on the reception or puts the ball on the 6 inch line, is that really going to have any impact on the outcome of the game?


September 21st, 2015 at 11:55 AM ^

Glad you mentioned O'Neill. I swear I am not Kirk Ferentz, but that punt from the 35 was awesome. I don't know if I have ever thought a punt from the 35 was a good decision, but I also don't remember ever being confident a punt inside the 40 would be downed deep. It is so refreshing to see the gunners waiting for the ball in front of the goal line and the ball kicked exactly where they are waiting. The fact that this now occurs regularly smacks of competence and superior coaching.


September 21st, 2015 at 11:30 AM ^

I'm going to look at the NCAA passing leaders later this season to see if my bar is set appropriately. I think the 60% figure might be a tad low (maybe 65% is better?), but I suspect 7 YPA is going to be the limiting factor for the number of QBs who meet my efficiency metric.

I'm not trying to limit the category to Heisman-hopeful QBs. I'm thinking more along the lines of a game manager who can win you some games and isn't going to lose you many games with turnovers.


September 21st, 2015 at 4:08 PM ^

rudock is ranked 92nd in the county in qbr.  Yes cardale is 91st but that guy has big play ability rudock does not and has played like crap this year too.  rudock has been bad.  Hell Blake Decker of UNLV is 87th and I'd trade those 2 in a minute.  Decker gets no OL protection - rudock has gotten way more than Devin ever received.…

Sorting by completion % is deceiving since he has barely thrown to wrs successfully all year. He is 46th in the nation in comp % while 90th in ypa.  Thats bad.

By the way there are 76 FBS QBs with 7.0+ ypa - its a low bar still.  Even 7.5+ gets you 65 QBs.


September 21st, 2015 at 12:25 PM ^

Nice write-up. I am wondering if you can have a category for 3rd down conversions. That might be an important factor when we get to important games, such as the one this weekend.