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Across the Border: Minnesota

Massey from Buckeye Commentary drops by to offer his take on Michigan's game against Minnesota this week. For my view on the Buckeye game, head over to his site.

What I saw: I saw the Little Brown Jug stay on the same sideline as it has for 35 of the last 38 years. Sometimes Minnesota makes the game more interesting by taking a huge lead into halftime only for Michigan to wake up, storm back, and leave the Gophers emasculated. The Michigan defense spared us the suspense on Saturday by playing like the defense I originally expected to see after taking he last month or so. Call it an Italian-style defense, except the Wolverines took October off, instead of August.

The defense held Adam Weber to about a quarter of his yardage total from the previous week while completing neutering the Gophers’ offense. Minnesota could not have had more than 50 yards in the first half, while punting every single possession. Aside from their opening second-half drive, Minny was a complete embarrassment on offense, to Michigan’s credit.
What I didn’t see: The schizophrenic offense or the Nick Sheridan sleeper hold. With Threet concussed and still having headaches, Wolverines’ fans have to feel a little better. Sheridan was not spectacular but he was waaaaay better than I ever dreamed he would be. Sure, he threw some questionable passes but he did not infect the entire with ineptitude like I figured he would.

Who I watched: K.C. Lopata was so money. He is a good kicker so the fact that he was 5-for-5 on the day is not a surprise, but he had not attempted a meaningful field goal in a month and that was against Toledo. Ugh.

I also watched Justin Feagin play for the first time this season. I do not keep up with Michigan football as closely as you all do, but what was the reason that Rodriguez did not play him until facing a 7-2 team, on the road, with a successful season totally out of reach? I understand that he had the bulk of his yardage on one carry but I would be lying to you if said I did not expect him to be the starting quarterback in September 2009.

What I expect to see next week: Uh, more Feagin? It sounds like Minor and Threet will still be out against Northwestern but the Cats are coming unglued. NW’s offense is essentially a carbon copy of Minnesota so there is no reason that the Michigan defense cannot put the same vice on the Wildcats. I would be a total fool to predict another flawless offensive performance but their confidence must be at a season high.

What this can tell us about The Game: I have worried in the past that Michigan would magically put all the offensive pieces together against the Buckeyes. It would not be magic anymore but simply building on past, improved performances.

More alarming for Ohio State fans is the play of Michigan’s defense. Pryor and Wells are played better against Northwestern but that is only in relation to the miserable performance against Penn State. The Buckeyes offense can be stopped by an athletic defense that makes it difficult for Pryor to make his reads because, after 10 games, the Buckeyes clearly lack a consistent running attack. If the offense is not self-destructing, while the defense plays like last week, and Lopata is bombing field goals The Game may be a lot closer than most people anticipated.

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“Across the Border: Minnesota”

  1. Blogger Jeremy Says:

    Does he realize that Feagin has not thrown a pass yet?

  2. Anonymous Obes Says:

    or that RR has said that feagin will be put back at slot receiver once threet's back?

  3. Blogger Griffin Fraley Says:

    I like when he thought Feagin would be the QB in 2009. At least he admitted not following Michigan football (understandably) as in-depth as we do. Trust me when I say, there are 4 players with a better chance to be QB next year: Forcier, Beaver, Threet, and Sheridan are all more likely to QB next year than Feagin. Feagin will be a WR or DB. Book it.

  4. Anonymous Obes Says:

    griffin, did you not see what i wrote? it's already been decided that feagin's a slot receiver next year

  5. Anonymous Anonymous Says:

    I know we've constantly heard that Feagin is "not ready" but does anyone know what is actually meant by that phrase? I've seen theories everywhere from a dead arm to not grasping the offense and I'm curious. Is it a physical thing (he just can't pass) or is it a situation where he can't remember more than one play at a time or can't read the signals from the sideline or what?