Michigan Monday vs. MSU up at the Ozone

Submitted by StephenRKass on October 23rd, 2012 at 2:05 AM

 Michigan Monday vs. MSU is up at the Ozone. LINK: http://theozone.net/football/2012/PennState/michiganmonday.html

Tis a very good column. Really, go read the whole thing, especially commentary on Michigan vs. MSU (quoted from below.) Give Gerdeman credit:  I haven't read a better description anywhere of the nature of this rivalry.

Big Brother finally rose from the ashes and bested Little Brother with a field goal with five seconds left in the game. Michigan's 12-10 win over the Spartans was ugly from the get go, and to me that's why it was just about perfect.

Michigan State and Michigan are supposed to brawl. Everything has to be next to impossible, or else it's just not right. Of my four favorite college football rivalries, Michigan is involved in three of them. [EDIT:  what??? Michigan is 3 of your 4 fave rivalries, and you're an Ohio fan? what's up with that??] I love this rivalry because there is such a level of hate that respect can't permeate.

There is something to be said for the kind of hate that eats out your gut and invades your sleep. Mark Dantonio has it for Michigan. Dantonio lost, and there is no team that he would less want to lose to. It's that Little Brother Syndrome which has spiked this rivalry since Dantonio's arrival. He hates Michigan, and has done so long before he was ever the Spartans' head coach.

When it came down to it in this game, he had Michigan State playing as well as they could have expected to, and the Wolverines still came away with the win in a game where they never even reached the endzone. There's beating your rival, and then there's trolling them. On Saturday, Sparty got trolled.

Some bullets from the offense:

  • Spartie did a great job vs. Robinson forcing him downfield . . . with the exception of Dileo.
  • Speaking of Dileo, he was an excellent security blanket, and should be looked at more the rest of the season.
  • Again, why isn't Gallon targeted more? The throwback screen is so effective, but was only called once.
  • Dileo & Gallon, 2 little RR holdovers, are the best playmakers in passing game.
  • Funchess reminds Gerdeman of Kellen Winslow. [EDIT:  we should be so fortunate! May it be so.]
  • Denard has issues with passes being batted down at the line, and also with linebackers (like Bullough) in the passing game.
  • Other than his 38 yard run, Toussaint had 14 yds in 9 carries, along with 3 yds in 2 receptions. Not good.

Michigan on defense:

  • Bell is one of the most tackleable players in the country. Elusive, Bell is not.
  • MSU did a very good job of attacking downfield, but Maxwell just couldn't quite hit open receivers.
  • Floyd is vulnerable, beaten deep twice, with 2 TD's if Maxwell was more accurate.
  • Raymon is doing a very good job & getting better.
  • Eventually, Michigan's secondary will get burned with the lack of a good pass rush.
  • The DL only has 4 sacks this season, which won't cut it. Ryan can't do everything.
  • If Nebraska, NW, & Ohio complete half their deep passes, Michigan's in trouble. If not, Michigan wins out.

Special teams:

  • When your best offensive play is a fake, you're probably going to lose.
  • Kicking game was stellar from field goals to punting.
  • With Gallon returning the ball 26 yards, why doesn't he touch the ball more?

Final notes:

  • Michigan found a way to win against a team with a pulse when things didn't look good.
  • The point of Michigan's lack of TD's is this:  the key to stopping Denard is to make him one-dimensional. No one remaining will attack defensively like MSU, but  if Denard's big plays can be minimized, Michigan's scoring will go way down.
  • Defensively, the game against Nebraska is key, because Michigan hasn't faced this good of an offense. If Michigan can rough up Nebraska, "then it's time to declare Greg Mattison a witch and have him tried."
  • If Michigan beats Nebraska, put them in the Big 10 Championship game.

This was Gerdeman's best "Michigan Monday" of the season, imhe. Again, go to the link and read the whole thing if you want more analysis. My props to the Ozone for some of the best Michigan coverage out there.



October 23rd, 2012 at 7:32 AM ^

That line reminds me of the end of A Christmas Story, which reminds me that Christmas is just two months away, and Thanksgiving only a month. Michigan in the hunt for the B1G championship, holidays around the corner... Yep, all is right with the world.


October 23rd, 2012 at 7:21 AM ^

I agree with him. There are several plays where he is a step or two behind the receiver in every game. These generally get rated as good coverage because the QB has to put the ball on the money to complete the pass. However, if that happens, it is going to be a TD. That's the point that he is making. I think this is more aptly described as good enough coverage in the college football world where most QBs can't make that throw.

snarling wolverine

October 23rd, 2012 at 7:35 AM ^

Agree.  He is a solid tackler, but his coverage isn't the tightest.  He conceded a lot of shorter throws (some of which may have been by design, to be fair to him) and gave up a step on deeper ones.  He is targeted much more frequently than Taylor despite having a lot more experience.  He's not a liability by any means, but can be beaten.


October 23rd, 2012 at 6:30 AM ^

The comment about rivalry games had me wondering.  Michigan has three rivalry games. Does Ohio State have another one besides Michigan? I'm guessing that maybe Penn State has developed into a rivary game since they joined the Big Ten, but besides recruiting wars, is there a long history of OSU and PSU being rivals?. Is there any other game on their schedule that counts as a rivalry game?



October 23rd, 2012 at 7:37 AM ^

I distinctly remember one day in 1996 when I was driving through rural Illinois.  I had gotten off the expressway to fuel up, and was entering the on-ramp again when a long line of turtles began crossing the road in front of me.  Naturally, I stopped and waited for the turtles to cross.  But I'm sure if it was Mark Dantonio, he would have driven right over them.


October 23rd, 2012 at 6:50 AM ^

I'm getting tired of the 'cornerback got beat because the WR had a step on him' meme. Would I prefer if the CB didn't let the WR get a step? Of course. But if your CB's coverage is good enough that the window requires Tom Brady to fit the ball in there, well I'll take that. Eventually someone will make a play, but the point is to greatly minimize those opportunities. Besides Dee Milliner, there isn't a CB on the schedule that doesn't allow some window for a QB to hit.


October 23rd, 2012 at 8:03 AM ^

"Michigan got the very best that Michigan State could give, and they won without scoring a touchdown. To me, that's a larger statement than not actually being able to score a touchdown"

I would agree with that actually. We faced one of the top 15 rush defenses in the nation, one designed specifically to take away something we do amazingly well, and even now, the best statistically in the conference, and still won. We effectively neutralized Bell, taking away MSU's most consistent offensive threat (by the numbers anyway). Michigan State has only yielded to opponents an average of 15 points per game this season, and we only needed 12 to beat them. It is a huge statement about the continued improvement of various facets of Michigan's defense and an ever-increasing ability to get timely plays from different personnel in the offense. 


October 23rd, 2012 at 9:10 AM ^

I too agreed with this statement, especially about State giving its best.  This seems to be the case every year now.  State had their best effort of the season.  Their QB was making throws, their receivers were catching the ball.  This was the first game this season that their passing game was working. This was State's best game of the season, and Michigan still prevailed.

NOLA Wolverine

October 23rd, 2012 at 11:12 AM ^

You're right in that he was making throws, the only problem is that they were to the middle of no where. This was their receiving corps best game, but this was a completely inept performance on Maxwell's part. Maxwell has had only one game where he looked like he belonged on the field, and that was against Ohio State. And if you haven't seen the box score for the Indiana/Ohio State game, that's not all that shocking. 

I'll give Hoke the benefit of the doubt that he just wanted the Michigan defense to win this game, but the offense is going to need to be a participant in games going forward. I get that the 2nd quarter of the ND was traumitizing, but there's going to come a game where we'll need the offense to put it together in the passing game. Such as against Wisconsin in the B1G championship game, who has a knack for getting it together late in the season, or especially against Stanford/Oregon/Oregon State in the Rose Bowl. 


October 23rd, 2012 at 8:31 AM ^

Mattison is the Macgyver of defensive coordinators.

I agree with the "We'll see this weekend", however.  Shutting down the Huskers in Lincoln at night will be quite the statement game.


October 23rd, 2012 at 9:26 AM ^

"Floyd is vulnerable, beaten deep twice, with 2 TD's if Maxwell was more accurate."

Maxwell hasn't shown he can make that throw, which is the point.  Mattison watched film and said "I don't think he can hit that deep ball perfectly in that window, we can leave Floyd alone".

If we're playing Matt Barkley, JT isn't going to be left on an island as often.

Also, goddammit you cannot net out Fitz's best run.

Also, Also, Bell is a much better running back than anyone Ohio has.  One of the best in the league, just had no where to go (no blocking).


October 23rd, 2012 at 9:56 AM ^

I had the same discussion with an OSU friend of mine after The Game last season about Floyd. He kept talking about how the WRs would get behind the corners. I kept pointing out that Mattison made the calculated decision that Miller was a bigger threat to run than to make deep passes, so he put the safeties up in the box. The fact that Miller couldn't make those deep passes is the exact reason the corners were by themselves on WRs like Posey.


October 23rd, 2012 at 10:00 AM ^

I think Maxwell is capable of making that throw.  I don't think Mattison said "Eh, he can't hit that throw, whatever, we're not going to cover their receivers."  As a defense, you can't stop everything.  Le'Veon Bell is a good running back and MSU's running game has hurt us in the past.  Michigan chose to stop the run and hope that the pass wouldn't hurt them.  That proved to be the right choice.

If we're playing USC, Floyd isn't going to be left on an island...because those receivers and the QB are the real killers.  They have a pretty good running game, yeah, but Robert Woods and Marqise Lee are awesome.

I don't necessarily agree that Bell is better than OSU's running backs.  He's big and can punish smaller teams, but if you have decent size and tackle well, he's just okay.  


October 23rd, 2012 at 10:46 AM ^

Obvs not suggesting they not be covered, but be covered with no safety help.  Yes, because Bell is the greater threat.  I've seen Maxwell make some very good throws into tight windows (the play where Taylor was hurt is an example), but not on deep ball streaks.  It seems like that is a skill within quarterbacking all to its own. 

I've seen Bell make people miss often enough, and fall forward for 3-4 yards a play even when he seems stopped, to believe he's one of the best in the league.  But when running lanes are absent or clogged with bodies of OL/DL, there's nowhere to go.  I don't think many RB's would have made  hay against M last Saturday, assuming they had to run behind Sparty's OL.