The format of this diary evolved slowly over the course of Brady Hoke's first season at Michigan. It began as a response to what I felt was a glaring void in MGoBlog's coverage of Michigan football games. The site was missing the boxscore. So I posted a link and added some brief discussion. As the Big Ten Network announcers derped their way through the season, I continually updated the section headings. The one section heading that has survived to this day is the "Burst of Impetus." I have a feeling we will be adding another perennial subject heading.
In the first quarter, our favorite BTN announcing team of Kevin Kugler and Matt Millen pointed out that Michigan had been successful on 15 consecutive trips into the red zone. Much like a basketball player on a consecutive free throws made streak gets jinxed by announcers pointing out said streak, Michigan barely missed a field goal ending it's streak. Matt Millen's response, paraphrasing, went something like this, I guess we put the ooga-booga on 'em.
I've never heard of the ooga-booga before, but if you had asked me what it was prior to the game, I'd say it was likely one of these three things:
1) a term that described Matt Millen's career as General Manager of the Detroit Lions.
2) the contents of my son's diapers when he was a baby
3) Rutgers University. As in, Jim Delaney put the ooga-booga on the Big Ten by adding Rutgers.
Burst of Impetus
* Rutgers is terrible. I had a brief blogument with Salvatore Quattro last week about Rutgers. I tried to quantify Rutgers abilities using statistics. He used the eyeball test. My problem is that the only time I saw Rutgers play, they had Leonte Carroo and they almost beat MSU. After watching Rutgers for a full 60 minutes of football, I can state without reservation that they are indeed terrible. Their only hope for winning the game was for Michigan to give them the game. On the first play from scrimmage, Drake Johnson apparently fumbled a pitch from Jake Rudock. We were fortunate in having the only sane replay official assigned to Big Ten games this season. He overturned the call, correctly asserting that it was a forward lateral and therefore not a fumble. Michigan kept the ball and the threat was over. Including the Northwestern game, this is now the second time Michigan has won a game in the first 13 seconds. I've gotta like that Jim Harbaugh hire.
The Two Jakes
* In Seth's, "Guess the Score" post, I correctly predicted that Jake Rudock would lead 8 scoring drives. I was only slightly wrong in predicting they would be 8 consecutive drives as the drive to end the half was disrupted by an official throwing an unsportsmanlike penalty flag because he didn't want to admit he wasn't paying attention to the game.
* Super-efficient Jake Rudock made his first appearance of the season, but maybe that's because he was playing against Rutgers. He completed 72% of his passes for 13.5 YPA (roughly double his season average) and did not throw any interceptions.
* His TD throw to Darboh should set aside any rumors of health issues. He put some zip on that ball.
* Jake Butttt caught 4 passes for 102 yards with a long of 56.
Root Tree Runners
* 10 players caught 18 passes from Rudock. After Butt, Darboh and Chesson were next with 3 receptions each.
* WRs caught 7 passes, RBs caught 6, and TEs caught 5. When everyone is a part of the game plan, this team is hard to stop (are you listening to me Minnesota gameplan?)
* The running game has me more confused than ever. This week, De'Veon Smith looked completely healthy and showed why he should be the feature back. He led the team with 73 yards on 15 carries and scored a TD. But maybe that's just because we were playing Rutgers.
* 10 players and the TEAM combined for 42 carries, 150 yards, and 4 TDs.
Tacos and Peppers
* I wish I had thought of the "Pepp-O-Meter," but I wouldn't have wasted that on tallying his number of plays. I'm sure there are some tempo teams that have players playing 80+ plays a game. It's what Peppers does with his plays that stands out. Peppers ran twice for 8 yards and a TD, caught a pass for 3 yards, decoyed twice setting up a couple big plays, held for a kickoff, fair caught up to 7 punts (they don't list these in the boxscore, but Rutgers did punt 7 times,) was third on the team with 6 tackles, had a TFL, and I'm sure a BrUp or two that wasn't credited to him. And he handled the post-game interview with aplomb.
* Morgan and Bolden led the team in tackles, with 8 and 7, respectively.
* There were plenty of other stats, including 7 TFLs, 1 forced fumble which we of course didn't recover, 1 interception, 4 BrUps, 4 sacks, and 2 QHs.
* Early season Chris Wormley returned with 4 tackles and 2 sacks for 21 yards.
* I discussed the referees in more detail last week in lieu of the special teams specific thoughts. The special teams cannot be ignored this week. I have a feeling we might fall from the #1 spot in the special teams efficiency rankings. That's quite a difference from last season when a performance like that might drop us from last place to even more last place.
* There were 35 special teams plays out of 163 total, for a whopping percentage of 21%. For context, this number usually hovers around 15-16%. Maybe that's why the game took 3:22 to complete; there are lots of commercials stuck before and after those special teams plays. Or maybe I'm just getting old. I never thought I'd complain about the length of a Michigan football game, but then again, we never used to play Rutgers.
* Rutgers beat us in the punting game, averaging 35 net yards per punt to our 22, but that was mainly due to one return aided by a questionable non-targeting call. One of the commenters here at MGoBlog nailed it when he/she wrote, if the guy has to leave the game with concussion-like symptoms, head-to-head contact was likely involved.
* Even though Rutgers had a kick return for a touchdown, Michigan faired better overall in the kick-off game. We netted 31.8 yards per kickoff to their 19. This is likely aided by the fact that they rutgersed a failed on-side kick attempt and we kicked off 9 times to average out the one big return.
* First downs were in Michigan's favor, 25-17, as were total net rushing yards, 150-128. However, those numbers are troubling enough that I am going to stop predicting Michigan gets a shutout every week. (Am I really complaining about holding a team to 225 total offense yards? When that team is Carroo-less Rutgers, yes, I am going to complain. Facetiously.)
* Rutgers had 4 first downs as a result of Michigan penalties. Sometimes you get the ooga, and sometimes you get the booga.
* Rutgers QB was the exact opposite of unstoppable throw god, Gary Nova, as they were held to 3.6 YPA.
* BTN selected Leonte Carroo as Rutgers' impact player of the game. He caught no passes for no yards and didn't play. I think he made the greatest positive contribution to Rutgers offense.
* John O'Neill's crew did not work this game, although at times it felt like it. No, they were doing another game of no consequence and did nothing noteworthy at that game. In fact, I think they called a perfect game.
* The side judge is listed as one, "G. Smith." I'm not sure why OSU's AD is allowed to ref our games, but at least now I understand the unsportsmanlike conduct call at the end of the first half.
* Matt Millen did say one intelligent thing during the game. After yet another early Michigan penalty, he said, "Eh, I don't know about that one." After watching Rutgers attempt to play football for 60 minutes, in regards to Jim Delaney's decision to add them to the conference, I'm left thinking, "Eh, I don't know about that one."