Wolverines roll over Iowa

It was a solid offensive performance for the Wolverines against the Hawkeyes of Iowa.  We scored early and often while demolishing the Hawkeyes.  Once again though our “vaunted” pass defense was exposed, this time by Tight Ends up the middle and backs on swing passes to the outside. 

Denard Robinson started at tailback and was involved in both the running and receiving game.  He did take a few snaps at QB, but never gave any indication that he could throw the ball.  One of the local media writers wrote that Hoke said Robinson was “near 100%”, but I seriously dispute this assertion.  Maybe it’s just media fodder for Ohio, but Denard never carried the ball in his right hand, even when the play was to the inside for his left hand, and several times he came up out of the pile clutching his right arm into his chest.  It was good to see him out there contributing, especially on Senior day, but he was nowhere near 100%.

Toussaint had his season end on a run to the outside at the other end of the stadium.  I never saw the play, but from reading twitter and talking to my friends, it was one of those injuries you don’t really want to see on TV anyways.  A broken leg and then surgery before the game was over and his season has come to an end.  Here’s hoping for a full recovery in time for next year.

Solid offensive play and some inventive play calling really made this an interesting game.  I think there were enough wrinkles that Ohio is really going to have to work to find a scheme to stop this Offense.  To me, next week’s game will come down to can the Wolverine Defense hold off the Ohio offense.

Here’s some photos from the day, my last photo post of the year, although I plan on still writing after this one.

I love the band in this formation with the Block “M” flag flying from the center!

Denard takes an early rush to the left side.

Denard around the right side, but still carrying the ball in his left hand.

Roundtree with a nice catch on the out pattern. A nice throw from Gardner to get it to him.

The tight end was open up the middle all day. If this ball had gotten there just a touch quicker we could have given up big yards!

Jibreel Black goes up and bats this ball down. The receiver behind him was wide open and the play probably would have gone for a touchdown.

Jeremy Gallon watches a great pass come down for a huge gain!

Roundtree goes up to make a great catch on this Gardner delivery.

My favorite play of the day started with Smith, Rawls and Robinson in the backfield. They ran the Jet sweep look to Denard going right and Smith snuck out in the flats to the left for a screen pass…See results next photo.

A great scheme as Denard took all the traffic the other way. Vincent Smith scores easily with 3 blockers on 1 defender for the play.

An open back down the sidelines. Fortunately for the Wolverines his momentum carried him out of bounds right after this.

Another open receiver…nobody even close.

The good news of course! Michigan Wins!


Overtime Survival vs. Northwestern Wildcats

What a game!  It took last second 4th quarter heroics to force overtime, and then a defensive stand to lock down the win in OT.  I have long lived by the policy of not leaving my seat until the game is over and the clock reads :00 and it was a good choice again this week.

A great Roundtree catch with just seconds left in the game turned out to be the catalyst for the win, but I’d appreciate it if Team 133 could win in the more traditional fashion.

Coming in to the week the talk was all about the best pass defense in the nation.  Let me tell you.  It’s all a numbers game.  Our pass defense isn’t that great, you just don’t need to pass for many yards when you can run the ball successfully.  Northwestern was able to move the ball either on the ground or in the air without much difficulty.  With 248 yards on the ground and 183 through the air, offense wasn’t much of a problem for Northwestern.  The moral of this story is, we can lie to ourselves to feel good about our defense, but we’re going to have to play much better if we intend to beat Ohio. 

On Offense, Devin Gardner played well enough to win with flashes of brilliance.  We need a lot of help to get to the Big Ten championship game, and not all of it will come from our opponents.  We’re going to need Devin to rise to the occasion over the next couple of games if we are going to have a chance for a Big Ten title.

Below are some pictures I took during the game with my thoughts attached.

Sometimes the best view from Section 9 is on the videoboards.

Jake Ryan misses a sack. This happened too often on Saturday. We have to make these tackles so they don’t turn into big gains, especially against a guy like Braxton Miller.

Turnovers are huge, and this was a nice strip. The defense could sure help themselves with more plays like this.

Rawls finds a nice hole to the endzone. The O-line needs to open more holes like this one!

The skill players come back on the field after a timeout.

Gardner passing out of his own endzone. The protection here is nice.

I’ve been criticizing Toussaint all year long, but this is a good example of the kind of landscape he’s had to look at. No Holes! I’d still prefer for him to pick a spot and power through rather than dance like he’s doing in this photo though.

Dileo was lightly used again with only 1 reception for 13 yards. I know he’s not a big receiver, but it looks like he should have space here.

Example #1 on our pass defense, no one within 8 yards of the receiver. This pass was completed for a 1st down.

Jake Ryan reaches to try to deflect this pass.

Toussaint wishes he had holes this big on the outside.

Kovacs crashes down to the inside and loses contain…see next photo for the result.

With Kovacs trailing and both db’s locked up on the outside, this play goes for big yardage until Thomas Gordon can come up to make the tackle.

Toussaint catches a swing pass to the outside that goes for a touchdown.

Northwestern made a decision that Brandon Hawthorn was not going to get a tackle on a kickoff. They double-teamed him each time and on the kickoff they ran back for a touchdown they picked up a penalty for holding him. Looks like another holding call that was missed on this kickoff.

Game over, we win. We were outgained, despite the long pass at the end of regulation. All of those yards on the board from a Northwestern offense concern me.

It was a Willy Wonka halftime show. If it’s out on youtube it’s worth a view!