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Just a quick programming note, I'll be posting my thoughts on the game later this evening. With Michigan and Iowa playing at the same time, I'll be checking out the Michigan game on DVR shortly.
I see how important we are Todd...
I know. Completely unacceptable.
Since I actually care about Michigan unlike Todd, I watched the game. It was a great, great, great atmosphere. Leon McQuay got a good game to come to.
First off, holy crap. What a catch by Roundtree. What a hit by Demens. Easily and obviously the plays of the game, but wow. Very impressive plays by both.
Demens was everywhere. We're really gonna miss him.
Obviously the running defense was very disappointing. Northwestern's offense had some great options, but we just did not know how to handle it. Same thing as AF. We have to figure out the option. It's been a problem before and it'll be a problem again. Not good.
Jake Ryan came a little down to earth. Missed some tackles and took bad angles. He had 4 tackles.
Devin Gardner continues to impress. He made a terrible decision on the INT, but he bailed out some bad protection a couple times, made some clutch throws, and two huge TD runs.
Funchess dominated that TD grab. Awesome.
And the halftime show was hilarious. Great job, band.
What'd you guys think?
I thought both of our coordinators struggled for a good portion of this game.
Borges- No idea why he all of sudden decided the half rollout was the way to go when Devin was so successful scrambling for first downs early in the game. No idea why we tried to push the ball down the field so much when NW was playing soft coverage. No idea why we try to run the ball east and west so much. Drives me effing nuts. With that said I absolutely loved the play call in OT to get the TD by Gardner.
Mattison- I thought NW had his number for most of the game. No idea why are LBs are getting matched up on slot receivers. No idea why Jake Ryan was playing so much coverage today instead of rushing the QB. Our D has no idea how to play the option. Now with that said I thought Mattison came up with an absolute brilliant play call on the 4th down play in OT. He dictated to NW what to do and got the ball out of Coulters hands. Then had Demens shooting the middle to make the stop. Great play call by Mattison.
Gardner looked like a kid making his 2nd career start today. He didn't complete a high percentage and made a some really bad decisions. With that being said, he once again showed a ton of potential. Can't wait to see this kid develop(hopefully for 2 more years).
Roundtree and Gallon both had very good games today. Funchess was solid but needs to be more involved in the passing game when Gardner is our QB.
Our OL still sucks as far as run blocking. No push whatsoever. Can't wait to see what some of these young kids can do on the OL in the coming years.
I thought our DL was solid today. Black, Clark, Beyer(besides the stupid penalty) and Big Will all made some plays today. Our back 7 was pathetic and inconsistent. Made a play here and there but no where near good enough today.
I think Demens looked injured in the first half. I don't remember the play but someone had the ball and ran across in front of him and he was slow to react. He made the play when he had to though.
Didn't see band.
Funchess just being a beast.
Overall the whole defense didn't do well thought the d-line played the best out of the groups. In overtime Big Will took it up another notch, wish he was like that all the time.
That's probably why Bolden came in for one of their TD drives.
Tons of rotation in the front seven. 13 guys saw significant snaps. 10 of them will be back next year
Did the announcers say anything about the spot on their 4th down conversion? It looked to us like they were quite short of the 40, but obviously it's not easy to tell based on the big screen.
Basically said it looked a little short but probably not enough evidence to overturn the call.
It was a bad spot by the ref.
James Ross looks like he is going to be a beast. Pipkins had a nice play early in the game also.
Hopefully we have some pass rushers RS or coming in our FR class because we have no rush when sending 4
Our secondary is not very good.
Oh another thought, How clutch has Gibbons become? The VT kick to win the game, the MSU kick to win the game, and this kick to send it to OT.
Ross has shown me more then Bolden so far this year. Wonder if Morgan moves inside next year to get Ross on the field more.
Watching the game on B1G replay right now. James Ross needs more snaps he is the only linebacker of the four fast enough and consistent enough at getting off blocks to stop the option. Bolden needs some work, Demens and Morgan just aren't fast enough to get outside and make those tackles.
The TV angles were so far away and obstructed that there was no way they could change that.
Funny thing though, On the Funchess touchdown catch the announcers were talking about what a new dimension he brings to the Red-Zone and JUST as they finish with all the superlatives, Funchess reaches his big paws up a grabs the Touchdown. They started chuckling, it was great timing.
there is only 2 games left. he's still learning and he will play a lot next year
Just caught up. Overall, a gutty win by the entire team, as things looked bleak for awhile.
Before I get further into this, I just want to mention how refreshing it is to see Michigan utilize a pro style offense. IMO, that's the way the game is meant to be played, especially at a program with as much tradition as Michigan has.
The future looks very bright for this program when you consider the level true freshmen such as Pipkins, Ross, Bolden and Funchess are playing at. All four of those guys made crucial plays down the stretch with the game on the line in conference play.
Two sayings you always hear thrown out there are that football is a game of inches, and there's a reason the ball is shaped the way it is (because you never know which way it'll bounce). The end of regulation really epitomized both of those. It looked like the Wolverines were all but done when Northwestern made the first down by a centimeter, but then the breaks shifted to Michigan on the tipped pass caught by Roundtree.
I thought the biggest point in the game was when Michigan was backed up and had third and 17 down 24-14 late in the third quarter. Michigan gets the pass interference call to move the chains, and then Gallon makes an outstanding catch in traffic downfield to set up the touchdown, and suddenly it's 24-21, rather than Northwestern possessing the ball in good field position with a 10 point lead.
Defensively, I thought the front seven played pretty well for the most part against the run. On the plays where Northwestern had success, it was usually an option where one of the defensive backs wasn't locking down his assignment. On every play, there is a predetermined defensive player on each side of the ball (right and left) that has the quarterback, and one on each side of the ball that has the pitch man. Several times, no one was on the pitch man, and Northwestern made Michigan pay for it. The good thing is that that's not really a talent issue - more just a mental lapse. On the other hand, it's concerning that that same mistake could happen so many times this late in the season with a B1G title on the line.
Michigan continues to struggle rushing the passer with the defensive ends. I thought it was a great move by Mattison to give Jake Ryan some snaps there on third and long, and would be pretty surprised if that doesn't happen more in the next 3-4 games. Mattison had a pretty good day in terms of dialing up the right blitzes at the right time, and the Wolverines were able to execute on those plays for the most part. Still, though, to have the defense Michigan wants to have, there needs to be a more consistent passrush from the front four.
Staying with the defense, it was a little disappointing to let Northwestern drive down and score after Michigan took the lead 28-24. Having played defense in college, I know we would have been extremely upset to let that happen in that situation with the game on the line and all the momentum on our side. On the other hand, Michigan's defense redeemed itself by making that final stop late in regulation and then winning the game in overtime.
From a game management standpoint, I thought Northwestern really messed up by not just blasting that last punt into the end zone. If Michigan starts that drive at the -20, both teams approach that series much differently.
Offensively, I really liked how Borges schemed 2-3 short, easy completions right off the bat to give Gardner some confidence. Gardner made some iffy decisions here and there, but that comes with the territory when you start a quarterback with so little game experience in college. He also made some outstanding plays both with his arm and his legs. When he's comfortable in the pocket and makes the correct read, he's a very good passer.
It's still a concern that the offensive line continues to struggle to create enough of a push to run the ball consistently. With Saturday's game plan, that was a perfect opportunity for those guys to take ownership of the game and put it on their shoulders. The pass protection was pretty good for the most part, but the run blocking does need to improve in order for the Wolverines to take the program where they want it be. The good news here is that the cavalry appears to be on the way with the 2012 and 2013 classes.
Moving forward, I think this week is all on the coaches and the veteran leaders to make sure no one overlooks Iowa. The Hawkeyes will come in with nothing to lose, and have the ability to make things interesting. Michigan needs to keep its foot on the pedal.
Thanks Todd, great writeup. With your in-depth knowledge of Iowa and Michigan, are you going to do a full preview of the matchups to watch?
Thanks! Just saw this post. I know you've already made your way over there, but in case others haven't seen it yet, I started a thread where I'll be answering questions about Iowa all week, and I also pointed out the key matchups heading into the game.
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