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Varsity Blue

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Across the Border

Massey from Buckeye Commentary offer his thoughts on Michigan's game. My views on OSU's game can be found over there.

Michigan – Notre Dame

What I saw…
…was something no Wolverine fan wanted to see. A collapse in the biggest game of the year, to date. (And, before you jump down my throat, I know a collapse when I see one after attending Ohio State's last three debacles on the national stage.)The big game meltdown practically became a trademark of Rodriguez before he left West Virginia. You do not have to look any further than the Mountaineers last regular season game in 2007.

I also watched a game eerily reminiscent of the Buckeyes' blowout loss at the hands of the Trojans. Decent defense hampered by horrendous offense and turnovers.

I have no love for Michigan but they are a better team than Notre Dame. Their personnel is better at virtually every position save quarterback and some offensive line spots. The defenses should not be mentioned in the same sentence. Yet, they were never really in this game. Sure they piled up more yards, but the mistakes were crippling and immediate. After ten minutes, Notre Dame was averaging 3 points/play (7 plays = 21 points).

I know I said it last time, but I continue to be impressed with McGuffie.

What I Didn't see…
…was an offense that can offer any support to the defense. The seven consecutive second-half possessions ending in punts or turnovers was, well, OSU-esque. As of right now, Michigan is 9-for-37 on third down. That's 24%. Whoa.

I also did not see any progress from Nick Sheridan. I take it all back. In my review of the Utah game, I said Sheridan would eventually take over as the starter. Judging from these last two weeks, I could not be more wrong. I will not be surprised if you have seen the last of him for a while now. Why bother playing him?

Who I watched …
…McGuffie was hard to ignore. Why? Because his main competition fumbled away opportunities to get reps. The other four RBs only had 10 carries while McGuffie received 25 carries and caught four passes. That means he touched the ball on almost half of the Wolverines offensive plays (29 of 70, 42%).

What I expect next week…
…is a lot of practice holding onto the ball. I know the weather was nasty in the second half when most of the turnovers occurred, but the Irish managed to hold onto it. Aside from that, I would be willing to bet that Threet and McGuffie get plenty of reps together in practice in order to build timing and backfield cohesiveness. They have to be the starting backfield at this point. There are no other viable options. They should receive 90% of the work. Michigan needs to take advantage of this bye week with the back-to-back home games versus Wisconsin and Illinois up next.

What this can tell us about The Game…
Michigan is lot farther from beating Ohio State than the Buckeyes' dismal performance in Los Angeles might suggest. Ohio State has trouble protecting the quarterback against an aggressive defense. Michigan, on the other hand, did not sack Clausen last week after registering 8 in 2007. If the Wolverines cannot get through that offensive line, I have little faith that they will be able to penetrate OSU's porous unit.

It also tells me that Rodriguez needs to prove that he can win the most important games on the schedule, whether they be generated by circumstance or rivalry. I have not seen that from him yet.

Labels: ,

“Across the Border”

  1. Anonymous Anonymous Says:

    you don't see "an offense that can offer any support to the defense"?


  2. Anonymous Obes Says:

    i'm sorry but that was the most biased thing i've read from you. your other two response on across the border were good but for you to say the offense didn't look good leads me to believe you didn't watch the game.

  3. Blogger Paul Says:

    It's hard to be rational when suffering from post traumatic event syndrome. Give him a break. He's usually pretty good.

  4. Anonymous TJ Says:

    Alright, I watched the entire game and how can you possibly say are offense looked good. The turnovers ARE STILL TURNOVERS. How many times did the team fumble? How many interceptions thrown? McGuffie looked great, but scoring 17 points to Notre Damn is inexcusable. I don't care that the stats say Mich had 388 yards. There were 6 turnovers and the offense gave the game away. That "does not support the offense".

    The offense is improving, but they were not good.

  5. Anonymous Anonymous Says:

    I get a chuckle when I see the UM fans clinging to the total yardage statistic as proof that they outplayed ND.
    Yeah, you moved the ball well, but you're comparing yardage totals against a team that simply wanted to run some clock and protect the ball for the entire 2nd half. Apples and oranges, my maize and blue friends.

  6. Blogger The Original C Says:

    Protect the lead and run some clock...my ass. YOu guys should remove your blue and gold glasses before accusing us of homerism.

    The score was 28-17 ND at the half, not exactly the fifty point lead you guys make it out to be to sit on the ball. And we had full meaningful scoring drives to get to 17, not some turnover/penalty assisted short field stuff that you had on 3 of those 4 scoring drives. so yeah...plus you got to 35 on a fumble returned for a TD at the beginning of fourth quarter yet fat fuck called for a fourth and one pass at the eight yard line with 2 mins on the clock when a simple sneak would have sufficed or even a FG attempt would not have looked like running up the score.

    Sit on the lead my ass!

  7. Blogger The Original C Says:

    Actually the Ozone had a better review, they did not bring up the totally meaningless DickRod blows big games BS and stuck to actual analysis, though they got in the usual cheap shots to cater to their fan base, like blaming S Brown on the Tate bomb.

  8. Anonymous Anonymous Says:

    I have said it before and I will say it again: This is a worthless addition to this blog. We could do the same thing for them. What I saw... Tressel sucks and your QB is a loser. Who I watched... USC killing your asses, etc. It isn't interesting and I won't be reading this segment in the future.

  9. Blogger Paul Says:

    Uhh... we do, in fact, do the same thing. Tim has a post with the exact same structure on Buckeye Commentary.

    Damn facts...

  10. Blogger susieandrew Says:

    Massey would be right about the offense if the season ended today.

    When the offense fumbles the ball away, they're not offering support to the defense. When they're not converting their 3rd downs, they're not offering support to the defense. When they're constantly giving up terrible field position, they're not offering support to the defense. When they're not scoring points, they're not offering support to the defense.

    However, the offense did show flashes of competence when they weren't turning the ball over. The ridiculous level of turnovers is not sustainable, but neither is it likely to replicate itself in such horrendous fashion. If they get CONSISTENTLY competent, they will be competitive. If they remain inconsistent and continue to have problems protecting the ball, it could be the ND game all season.

    We have seen evidence that the offense CAN be good, but nothing to suggest that they WILL be good consistently.

  11. Anonymous I know nothing Says:

    If you have not read what Tim put on their sight, have a look. Toned down some, but yet cleverly brutal all the same. Instead of getting on a chat board to hear flaming trolls trash our team, lets get some input from someone at least somewhat accountable. Not only do I like it, but I would like to see it expanded to include blogers from weekly opponents, after the game!! Let's hear what ND thinks about us after the fact.

    Good work guys. Keep it up!

  12. Anonymous Anonymous Says:

    The "damn" facts are that it is still less than interesting and really just a brutal read. Maybe Tims attempt on your blog is decent, but your try is just blah blah blah we landed pryor blah blah you guys are terrible blah blah zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz... I don't think I will venture over to your blog to read Tims take on the buckeyes if it means I might stumble upon any more of your wonderful "input"

    Damn facts.

  13. Anonymous Anonymous Says:

    The Original C, I hate to interrupt your tough talk, but go look at the complete play-by-play on ESPN (or wherever) if it's still up. Hmmm, there's a conspicuous absence of us taking shots downfield (save for Claussen's interception deep in your territory after UM'd given up the ghost). Now, why would we abandon a high payoff (but big risk) strategy that Stevie Brown and his fellow Better Team members had shown no ability to stop? Well whatever. I'm sure when you're 4-8, you'll look back fondly when your boys captured the first inaugural "we got 128 more yards than a team that beat us 35-17 and spent an entire half running out the clock" trophy.

  14. Blogger The Original C Says:

    hmm oh wait, save yourself the "i am cool and can talk big cause our team blanked you" BS. Fact is we handed it to you..that's about it.

    YOu want play by play right..here you go


    And you can go and watch the game again (which i am sure you will) and you can see that your offense was running doing quite well in fits and starts.

    And if you delude yourself into thinking this was some sort of beatdown, something along the lines of 49-21 or 38 -0 you are sadly mistaken.

    Wait until Sparty or Purdue beats the shit out of you and maybe you will realize that you still suck.

    Yes we accept our team is bad and have no hopes of making a decent bowl let alone have a wining record, but you needed a 6 TO to beat us..i pity your impunity.

  15. Anonymous Anonymous Says:

    Hail to the (Moral) Victors!