I must confess to all those that may read these words…I was a bit too distraught to post a news article summarizing the Michigan Wolverines’ performance against the Spartans in East Lansing on Saturday. I mean, I had one pretty-much written-up until the 4th quarter but just couldn’t do it.
Going in, I knew there was a possibility that things wouldn’t go Blue’s way or even that they could in fact, lose, the game. But did anyone have any idea just exactly how bad things would get? I suppose the MSU supporters might have. I sure didn’t. So with that said, please accept submission as my official post-game recap:
What the heck was that? I mean, are you serious? Who was that out on the field wearing those Maize and Blue winged helmets? That’s not a team I’m familiar with. Or actually, it did look like something I’ve seen before a few times this year.
Michigan had two weeks to prepare for MSU and in the days leading up to the “big” rivalry game much talk was coming out of Ann Arbor about how Michigan wouldn’t get “pushed around” again. And senior running back Fitzgerald Toussaint even went so far as to comment on the “little brother” when asked. Coach Hoke defended those comments but all that talk from everyone didn’t translate to the field unfortunatly.
-48 yards rushing. 7 sacks on Devin Gardner. 2-of-14 first-down conversion on third-down. 12 first-downs total. 168 yards offense combined from scrimmage. Those numbers sound bad and they tell an accurate tale of the performance during the game.
Michigan started off the game well as Wolverine kicker Matt Wile opened the scoring with a 49-yard field goal capping off a Michigan 9-play, 51-yard drive. Michigan State then answered back with two field goals of their own on the foot of kicker Michael Geiger who booted 40 and then 44-yard kicks.
But after a Brendan Gibbons 39-yard boot bounced in off the right upright and through to tie the score at 6-6, that competitive game turned ugly for Michigan.
Michigan State then used the remainder of the first half to execute a 10-play, 75-yard drive that ended on a Bennie Fowler 14-yard touchdown reception from MSU quarterback Connor Cook. That score pushed the Spartan advantage to 13-6 at the break.
Devin Gardner was sacked five times in the first half and the Wolverine offense accounted for -41 yards rushing on 18 carries as a result. Michigan converted one first down on six third down attempts.
Gardner had some passing success when he was able to survey the field and get off a pass as he completed 8 of 12 passes for 161 yards. Gardner finished the game with 210 yards on 14 completions with 27 attempts. Gardner’s rush total accounted for the Wolverines poor rushing performance as his ground yardage totaled -46 on 18 carries.
Electing to defer to the Wolverines offense to start the game, MSU took the opening kickoff of the second-half down the field on a 9-play 46-yard drive which, thanks to a nice defensive stand, ended on a Geiger 35-yard successful field goal lifting the score to 16-6.
The Spartans then scored the games final points on two fourth quarter touchdowns. One on a 1-yard Connor Cook quarterback sneak and the last on a nice, i guess, Jeremy Langford 40-yard rush down the sideline into the end zone with under three minutes remaining.
Overall, the Wolverines had no answers on either side of the ball for MSU in the second half. Michigan’s defense couldn’t make enough plays and the offensive line couldn’t give Gardner enough time to make a play. The offensive scheme didn’t do Devin any favors as it seemed like every passing route drove the receivers 15 yards down the field.
Once again, the Al Borges game plan came under fire and Michigan’s inability to counter the aggressive MSU pressure left many Blue supporters feeling blue.
Now Nebraska comes to Ann Arbor and will be looking to end Brady Hoke’s home unbeaten streak which is now 2 1/2 seasons running. And beyond that, there will be two tough road games against Iowa and Northwestern before the season ends at home with Ohio State.
Fans are really upset and calling for changes now in Ann Arbor. Image how things are going to get if OSU comes into The Big House and puts a beating down on Michigan. That, I can not.