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Outstanding game today - both teams left it all on the field, which is exactly what you'd expect in this rivalry.
For those of you that read the thread "Early thoughts on Michigan-Michigan State," I felt the game ended up playing out a lot like I thought it would - low-scoring defensive struggle that came down to the end. Michigan State has a heck of a defense, and really put the clamps on Michigan's running game until Denard's long run on the QB draw near the end of the game. On the other side of the ball, I thought Michigan's run defense was about as good as it can get. I thought the Wolverines would be able to generate more of a passrush than they did, and the fact that they didn't enabled Maxwell to develop some comfort and confidence back there. He made some great throws, and his receivers made some phenomenal catches as well.
Plays of the game, in no particular order:
- Kovacs picks off the overthrow over the middle when Michigan State had some momentum going its way.
- Michigan State misses a relatively easy field goal in the first half, which ended up looming large at the end of the game.
- Denard misses a wide open Jeremy Gallon in the end zone on third and goal, so Michigan is forced to settle for a field goal. Gallon still could have made the catch, but Denard needs to put that one on the money.
- Michigan State executes a faked punt in their own territory, then drives all the way down and chews up clock in settling for a short field goal.
- Denard buying time with his feet, then delivering a strike to Drew Dileo to set up the final field goal.
- Brendan Gibbons nailing the game-winner with all of Wolverine Nation's hopes resting on his shoulders. Doesn't get much more clutch than that.
Give credit to Michigan State for bouncing back from last week's heart-breaker and playing so well at the Big House today. And Michigan's coaches and veteran leaders deserve a ton of credit for keeping the team together and gutting out the win.
I think another huge play was Denard underthrowing Gardner in the end zone. Gardner got his hands on it and probably should have caught it, but if Denard would have led him more, it would've been an easy touchdown.
Just got back from the game and wow, great atmosphere. I'm disappointed in the students who rushed the field - did not think that was necessary. But that was a great game. Ranks up there with OSU and ND last year.
If we could have punched in a couple scores instead of FGs it would have been a lot more of a win, but MSU played some great defense. You knew they were gonna hit us with everything they had.
Anyone know if they have post game press conference live.
MAJOR props to Wile for his first FG being a 48 yarder
Great point about that underthrow in the end zone - forgot about that one. MSU really did a great job of clamping down in the red zone and forcing Michigan to settle for three.
Hey Ducks, Brendan Gibbons says hi.
11 National Titles | 42 Conference Titles | 3 Heisman Winners | 78 All-Americans | 37 College Hall of Fame Members
At least they finally wised up and put Wile in for the long FG - he nailed that by 5-6 yards.
I've always said that Gibbons is more accurate and Wile has a better leg, but they insisted on putting Gibbons in past his range, which irritates me.
He nailed that game winner though, and the weird thing is I wasn't nervous when he was lining up for it. I knew he would make it.
I wasn't either until the ball started to push to the right near the end of his kick. But it squeaked through the uprights.
MSU played a great game. If they had a QB this year, they would have a much better record. UM defense again keeps improving week over week. This will be our bread-n-butter next year.
“Those who stay will be champions”
― Bo Schembechler
Gotta include the defense stopping LeVeon Bell on that 3rd and goal, holding Sparty to a FG on that fake punt drive. That was huge.
I was so nervous, I was saying out loud "think of those brunettes"
defense really came up big just about all game long. Jake Ryan had another huge game, the guy is always around the ball making plays.
I thought that live, but after seeing the replay I think Denard made the right decision throwing between 2 defenders and looked like he expected Gallon to sit down in the zone. If he'd a lead him I think Bullough would've had a potential interception.
I sure was nervous!
+1 I made this point in the game thread. The best thing would've been if Denard could loft that ball over the linebacker, but with the trajectory he threw it, that throw would definitely have been in danger if it were aimed ahead of Gallon.
I agree about Michigan's defense - they seem to be improving every week. I actually think MSU's offensive line is more of a liability for them than Maxwell is. He isn't Peyton Manning by any means, but I do think he's above average.
I'll try to take another look when I get a chance. Thought he could've/should've put it on him (as opposed to leading him), and if he'd done that, it would have been a much easier catch without the defense having a shot to get a hand on it. As you said, though, it's definitely possible that there was a misread either by Gallon or Denard.
Yeah I think Gallon should have sat down in that hole and easy TD
I want to see that play again as well. I thought Gallon should of caught it anyway.
True. Definitely wasn't an easy catch by any means, but it wasn't impossible, and sometimes you need spectacular plays to win big games.
I don't think it was a misread at all. As people have said, if he led Gallon, it would have been an INT easily. Not 100% but it sure seemed like Denard thought Gallon was going to cut his route off and sit in the zone.
Also, on the throw people are saying he under threw Gardner, if I'm not mistaken he threw it off his back foot since he had pressure in his face. I was pleased with where he put it taking that into consideration. That wasn't on Denard, that was all on Gardner for dropping an easy pass.
Thought he could have lofted it a little more, which would have made it a much easier catch for Gallon to make than the way he actually threw it. When you throw a fastball, it's not realistic to expect a guy to make a spectacular one-handed catch. If he takes some zip off of it, a one-handed catch becomes much more realistic. Gallon still could have caught it regardless, but Denard also could have made it much easier on him.
I understand what you're saying, but if Denard thought he was going to sit in the zone, lofting could have caused a potential turnover as well. Sitting + zipping = easy TD catch between the numbers. I just think the two had different ideas, hence a throw behind a wide open receiver. Hopefully these are things the O can clean up, no matter who is the one responsible. Getting that close needs to result in TD's, especially if we look to challenge for a B1G title with possible Rose Bowl berth.
Great points all around.
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