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At the Risk of Sounding like a Penn State Fan

Horrid (and questionable but possibly not right) calls that went against Michigan Saturday.
  • Chop block on David Molk. The right guard had not engaged the defensive tackle when Molk went low. This is as bad a judgment call as I've seen in a while.
  • Greg Mathews diving catch in the endzonde ruled incomplete. This was a close call, but Mathews's right hand was between the ball and the ground the entire time, and the ball is not jarred loose when he hits the ground (a sure sign that he has full control of it). This isn't an egregiously bad call, but another example of Michigan getting bad breaks in this game. (video below).
  • On 4th & 6, Steven Threet throws (slightly behind) Martavious Odoms. Odoms turns back for the ball, but has no chance to make a catch, because his left wrist is raked by the defender, so he can't get it back to the ball.
  • On the very next play, there is no contact between Donovan Warren and Michael Floyd. The pass is broken up. More than three seconds after the play ends, an official away from the ball throws the least-justified pass interference flag possible. Even the NBC announcers(!) think it is a terrible call. On the next play, Golden Tate catches the game-sealing touchdown (in the first quarter, ugh). (video below)
  • Second quarter, Michigan has brought the game back within 11, Notre Dame is driving. On second and goal, Donovan Warren is called for pass interference ("a fag is down in the endzone") on a ball that was thrown out the back of the endzone (again by a ref with an obstructed view of the play, wtf), and would have been uncatchable by anyone. Notre Dame scores a touchdown on the ensuing first and goal.
  • Michigan is driving in the second quarter, and Sam McGuffie is literally pulled to the ground by his facemask, and nothing else. The linesman (who is within 4 yards of the play) reaches for his flag, but decides against throwing it. Ultimately, the umpire says "wtf?" and has to throw the flag from 15 yards downfield. This isn't exactly a missed call, since the umpire made up for it, but how does a linesman not call that?
  • Third quarter, Jimmy Clausen grounds it, no doubt at all. The NBC announcers, of course ruminate for a full minute on how "it was probably close enough" to the line of scrimmage. If it doesn't pass the line of scrimmage, there is no "close enough."
  • With 3:40 left in the third quarter, Michigan has the ball on ND's 5. Kevin Grady is stopped for a 1-yard gain, and fumbles. His forward progress had been stopped for a good period of time before the fumble. For those who say it shouldn't have been ruled forward progress because Grady had carried a guy into the endzone earlier in the game: you're wrong. On the first play, Grady never stopped moving forward (and was hardly even slowed down). On the second play, Grady was wrapped up low by one Irish, and high by two, with his forward progress completely stoppped, when one of the guys up top strips him. It's a completely different situation, which should result in a completely different call from the officials.
  • With 7 minutes left in the fourth quarter, David Bruton makes an interception for the Irish. On the return, he is brought down by David Molk. Molk is called for a horse collar tackle (at least I think so, the NBC coverage was awful). However, what Molk did (grab and release the back of Bruton's jersey, causing Bruton to lose his balance and fall down) is not at all a horse collar (definition: grabbing the inside of a ball-carrier's shoulder pads and riding him to the ground). I don't know how the refs could make such an egregious error on a 15-yard penalty.


Of course, Michigan beat themselves in this game, and they certainly had opportunities to win the game themselves. However, couple all of the above (9 possible mistakes by officials, with at least 3-4 being definite mistakes) with the following Michigan mistakes:
  • Following the Molk chop block, Steven Threet and Brandon Minor conspire to fumble the ball inside their own 20, giving Notre Dame a short field. Michigan's defense can't stop the Irish.
  • On the ensuing kickoff, Michael Shaw muffs the ball, giving Notre Dame yet another short field, on which they convert.
  • Donovan Warren, Stevie Brown, and John Thompson all miss tackles on Golden Tate, ultimately resulting in a Notre Dame touchdown.
  • Steven Threet fumbles a snap once the torrential downpour begins, which the Irish return for a touchdown.
  • Nick Sheridan. Egregious Interceptions. obvs. He completed all five passes he threw, but two of them were to the guys in blue shirts.
...and you have a recipe for disaster that is unlikely to be repeated again.

Notre Dame had no sustained drives, and was outgained 388-260. They also had every single fumble of their own bounce right back to their own players (the exact opposite of what happened to Michigan).

The Wolverines should look at Saturday's contest with an optimistic light, and Notre Dame fans should be fearful that their win was little more than a fluke.

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“At the Risk of Sounding like a Penn State Fan”

  1. Anonymous Anonymous Says:

    The extra two seconds that Michigan is automatically awarded at the end of games wouldnt've helped in that debacle

  2. Blogger Tim Says:

    Ah, and here come the Penn State fans, displaying exactly what I was talking about.

  3. Anonymous Anonymous Says:

    Actually, it looks like a singular Penn State fan. I don't think anyone else really cares about this clunker of a blog.

  4. Anonymous Anonymous Says:

    Found this over on umgoblue.com:

    Notre Dame homer Tom Pagna in the online edition of Blue and Gold:

    "Another observation: Notre Dame’s truly improved line is guilty of holding too often. There must have been 20 times or so that I could view an offensive lineman’s arm around the back of the defensive man…uncalled. You can bet, when away from home, the officials will not be so generous."

    http://www.blueandgold.com/content/?aid=5892

  5. Anonymous Anonymous Says:

    You mised at least one more bad call. I was sitting in the northeast endzone. Just before the first ND touchdown there was a pass into the end zone right in front of me. The ND receiver pushed off the U-M defender, it was very obvious. The U-M defender recovered anyway and knocked the ball away but didn't interefere. The referee ignored the push-ff on ND and called pass interference on U-M. Those bad calls gave ND their first TD. Also, did you notice that the ref who lines up behind the QB? He was at least 15 yards behind the line of scrimage and halfway between the hash mark and out of bounds. He would need binoculars to see a holding call and thus never called one.

  6. Blogger Tim Says:

    The replay shown starts after any offensive PI (which you say exists, but I can't speak to). However, Trent most assuredly did come back and interfere with the receiver.