Sunday, November 1, 2015

A Game of Inches

  Daniel Mears, Detroit News
This might have been the worst Michigan has played all year.   The offense was having trouble running the ball and Rudock was knocked out of the game.  The defense was looking like a normal defense (not the best in the country) as Minnesota was running and passing easily.   Case in point, the Wolverines defense gave up 144 yards on the ground and 317 in the air.    Minnesota QB Matt Leidner was killing the Michigan Defense with long "lucky" throws and keeping the ball on the options. 

The Michigan offense scored a TD a quarter but looked "flat" most of the game.   Smith looks banged up with an ankle and Jake Rudock went out after his head was taken off on slide early in the 4th quarter.  I don't know what targeting is anymore?  How a QB is in a slide and gets his helmet taken off by a 300 pound defender is not a penalty is beyond me.   That was first real sign that we were in trouble in this game.  

Then the great red-shirt Shane Morris debate happened.  I wondered in my own mind what would happen in Rudock goes down and had to miss significant time.  Would Jimmy call in Shane or stick with Wilton Speight who has been getting a few snaps in mop up duty.   It was Wilton and he looked shaky for a couple of series but settled down after a Minnesota had a poor punt and threw for a TD and a 2 point conversion.

Then Minnesota gets the ball back and I'm thinking it's time for the defense to step up, get a stop or turnover and win this freaking game.   Minnesota converts a 3rd and 17 and then continues to hit their tight end for big plays.   Leidner continues to throw balls in unbelievable tight windows on some of the tightest coverage Jourdan Lewis could muster.    Just when I start thinking they are setting up for a field goal to tie the game, they hit the TE again for what looked like the final blow to the Wolverines victory.  

The Michigan defense stood it's ground and stopped the Golden Gophers on it's two final plays that included a throw back to the TE that Biggie Ross sniffed out and a QB sneak for the win that Coach Durkin predicted and set the proper defense. 

All game I was waiting for Minnesota to go "gopher" and do something really stupid to lose the game.  A pick six, a fumble recovery for a TD, something?   We had to wait until the last two plays to get it.  Minnesota was at home and Michigan was playing their inexperienced back-up QB.  I would say the odds in OT were pretty good.   They wasted a couple plays by running that TE throw back, which took the clock down to 2 second and then ran a QB sneak for the win right into Michigan's strength.   

A road win is a good win.  Michigan is now bowl eligible and lets hope Rudock is just bruised and sore and not seriously injured. 

  • Michigan D-line on the final two plays!
  • DJ Durkin for expecting the QB sneak on the final play
  • Wilson for stepping in and getting 8 points on the final drive
  • I thought the Michigan WR's played well (including Jake Butt)
  • Peppers is the best athlete on the field for both teams! What didn't he do?
  • Dymonte Thomas had pretty much the worst game of his career. 
  • The Michigan LB's were not good
  • Too many mistakes and penalties on defense
  • Defense got beat deep regularly
  • Dropped interceptions
  • Michigan playing flat for most of the game
  • No targeting call on Rudock
  • Not much of a running game
I thought the Peppers missed pick 6 was going to be the difference in the game.   I was concerned about Wilton moving the offense and thought that potential score was going to be the difference.  I was wrong and both units stepped up when they needed to.

A win is win and after the MSU debacle, I will take it. 

Thank goodness, we welcome Rutgers at home next.  (3:30 BTN)


WolverineFanInOhio said...

I had a Russell Bellomy flashback after Wilton Speight’s first series.

Dymonte Thomas has not had a good year. That’s the second or third time he’s had an interception in his hands and dropped it. The entire secondary looked like they regressed back to the first game of the season against Utah.

Prior to the Utah game I heard the quarterback was average at best, and I heard the same thing about Leidner this past week. And in both cases they took our lunch money – both running and throwing, both big and fast.

As for the final decision to go for the touchdown instead of kicking a FG, at first I thought there’s no way I would’ve done that. But then after listening to the Michigan IMG network interviews after the game, someone mentioned that the crowd was yelling “Jerry Jerry Jerry” prior to the play, so I think that may have been the deciding factor. That whole “play for Jerry” thing had been working all game so there was no reason to believe that this big, fast quarterback wouldn’t be able to get the ball into the end zone from the ½ inch line. So yeah, I would’ve gone for it too, under those circumstances.

I remember the good old days when the Spartans’ year would go down the toilet after a Michigan loss, every time. Never failed. This time I was worried it would happen to us. And it seems like it almost did. I’ll reserve my judgement until next week’s game.
Go Blue!!!!

Voice of Reason said...

That's two games in a row where Michigan played two emotionally charged teams and the two teams gave Michigan all that they had. To me, that is saying something. I will always believe that the opposing coaches started to game plan for this Harbaugh team way back when they knew they had to play him. There is not a single coach on Michigan's schedule that doesn't want to be the coach that beat Jim Harbaugh.

So let's put these two games into perspective. When Hoke had this team last year and played both msu and Minnesota, last years Michigan team simply rolled over and their feminine Stay-free maxie pads fell out. This year under Harbaugh, this team played hard and fought back and took msu and Minnesota's best shot and those two teams knew they were in a football game. Harbaugh is simply winning with Hokes players and trying to reload with his own players who will dominate in future years. IMHO!!!

Scott K said...

We lost to sparty, in a game we NEVER should have lost. We won the brown jug, in a game we NEVER should have won.

I was listening to the game due to travel, I only watched the final 5 minutes. dan deierdorf (who really needs to retire and GO AWAY) was obsessing on how Wilton has never completed a pass and was a questionable back up. I'm curious as to how his incompletions looked on his first series. Were they catchable balls that the receivers failed to pull in?

I hope the last two games are a wake up call and motivate the team for the balance of the season. 1. Put the game away when you have control. 2. You aren't good enough to not give 125% on the field.

This season is already a success and I believe we'll end the season no worse than 8-4, possibly 10-2. Who's got it better than us?


Big35Hurt said...

WolverineFanInOhio, I agree with your assessment of Thomas. He has the speed to get himself into good position on the field to make plays but he never finishes them off whether it's a pick or a tackle, or a's frustrating.

Stribbling has NOT improved at all. Every time the guy is on the field he gets picked on.

It's clear that Speight is not the #2 QB on the team, but it's also clear that Harbaugh has a plan in place to not burn Morris' redshirt which I think is a good one. Speight did come through and lead us on the game winning drive, so let's give credit where credit is due.

Drake Johnson is the most effective RB on the team. Derrick Green should never receive another carry in a Blue uniform. Smith runs hard, but hard isn't always "effective". Isaac seems to have fallen out of favor after the fumbling issues despite a ypc average of over 6.

Chesson and Darboh are really developing in front of our eyes. Not only as pass catchers but as complete players. (Blocking, site adjustments, etc)

Our OLine still needs work. We still aren't blowing people off the line of scrimmage. Pass protection has been a plus, but is that more to do with the scheme? Or not having a QB that looks at the rush and holds the ball too long (sorry Devin, but you sucked)

Our kicking game is consistently good. That was unexpected this year.

Peppers on offense.....he sure does add another dimension to the game. Heisman candidate 2016? Speaking of Peppers, he has GREAT instincts on defense. He's actually had a little case of the drops this year that I think he will fix in coming years.

That little wr for the gophers played a great game and Leidner made some good throws to him. He beat Lewis on some key plays, but it was more offensive execution than poor defense. Hats off to them for them for that.

Our defense in general played a very undisciplined game. That was the 1st time we saw that this year. Poor penalties, Ross losing contain 3x's, etc.....

Why the hell would the Gophers try to sneak it? I agree with going for it, but that's a horrible play call.....


dude1984 said...

If Michigan would have lost this would have been the worst football weekend in some time when accounting for doing terrible in my football pool and the Packers looking like crap in Denver.