Observations on the humbling loss to Penn State, 10-35!
Post Game Press Conference
1--Penn State cleaned our clock, dominating in all three phases of the game: offense, defense and special teams. The Nittany Lions score 26 points in 5 red zone visits, and convert 7 points off 4 Michigan turnovers. The Wolverines score 10 points off4 red zone visits, but after the first drive of the game, it was all Penn State.
2--Forcier was 13 of 30 for 140 yards, and one interception to go along with 5 sacks. Josh Hull had 9 tackles for the Nitts, 3 for loss including a sack. The mighty Penn State defense led by Navorro Bowman and Josh Hull forced us into 4 turnovers, 7 punts, 5 three and outs, and held us to 250 net yards in total offense, 17 first downs and 4 of 17 in 3rd and 4th down conversions. Denard Robinson led the offense with two turnovers, Carlos Brown and Tate Forcier contributed one each. Now, Michigan fans if you want to see fine safety play, look no further than Penn State's safeties; did you notice Nick Sukay back there? Their middle is not a sieve like our middle.
3--Brandon Minor had 12 carries for 48 yards, Carlos Brown carried 8 times for 35 yards including a red zone fumble for a turnover. Net rushing was 110 yards. Offensive line was bad with allowing 5 sacks, a safety, several penalties and netting only 110 yards.
4--Daryll Clark torched our defense for 16 of 27 for 230 yards and 4 TDs. Graham Zug caught 3 TDs, two with Stevie Brown watching several yards away. Evan Royster gained 100 yards on 20 carries. Penn State earned 396 yards, 18 first downs, and was 5 of 15 in 3rd down conversions. The Penn State offense dominated our defense so they established nearly a 10 minute time of possession advantage in the second half. Obi Ezeh was burned for the 60 yard TD, and one sees the problem in the middle in pass coverage; Ezeh runs back and doesn't play the ball or the receiver, he simply is running backwards while our safeties are duped into corner coverage leaving the middle wide open.
5--Special teams was really, really bad although there were some good individual special teams plays. To start the second half, we let the #115 ranked kickoff return team, Chaz Powell, take a 54 yard return to our 43 yard line setting up their 3rd red zone that they converted to a 25-10 lead to begin the second half. Yes, we did get a blocked punt by Brandon Graham; however, we didn't convert it into points as Carlos Brown squandered that chance. The play were Junior Hemingway was injured was completely ridiculous with a 3rd year player, Donovan Warren, getting pushed into our returner almost blowing out his knee.
6--I thought Penn State would win, but it was thought this would at least be a close, competitive game. As a Michigan fan, I am disappointed. We are not nearly as good as we had hoped we'd be. Maybe we can beat Illinois so we don't finish in last place, it looks like 11th place is between us, Illinois and Indiana. We get beat by Illinois and Purdue, and we'll be 5-7 on the season. Last year, when we finished 3-9, we edged out Indiana for last place, and we barely beat them this year.
7--It is a good thing I have anger management skills, I almost threw something at Matt Millen; however, I remembered it was my TV. How a major network can hire such an incompetent idiot who brings nothing "to the table" is beyond my comprehension. I would rather listen to some uneducated street person's commentary about the game over that man.
Observations on the first half with Penn State, 10-19!
1--Each team earned 2 red zones for 10 points each; however, the Nittany Lions get 9 points in 13 seconds with a safety and 60 yard TD pass to earn a two score lead at halftime. Penn State was unable to convert any points off one Michigan turnover.
2--Forcier was 5 of 11 for 60 yards and was sacked 3 times in the first half. Denard Robinson comes in to throw his usual interception. Odoms has 3 catches and Mathews has 2. Offensive mistakes including penalties forced us into the safety, and missed red zone TD opportunity before half. Josh Hull had 9 tackles for the Nitts, 3 for loss including a sack. Navorro Bowman had 8 tackles, a sack plus an interception. Three 3 and outs in the first half, 4 punts, 2 scores and a turnover.
3--Brandon Minor had 10 carries for 45 yards, Carlos Brown carried 6 times for 31 yards; net rushing was 90 yards in 28 carries. Molk left after reinjuring his foot, and will probably miss the rest of the year.
4--Defense again looks bad, really bad. Penn State earns 215 net yards, 142 in the air. Daryll Clark was 10 of 15 for 2 TDs. Obi Ezeh was burned for the 60 yard TD, and one sees the problem in the middle in pass coverage; Ezeh runs back and doesn't play the ball or the receiver, he simply is running backwards while our safeties are duped into corner coverage leaving the middle wide open. Royster has 55 yards in 8 carries including a 41 yarder early in their first drive.
5--Special teams were up against the wind in the first quarter and Penn State took advantage with excellent field position. Mesko punted 4 times for a 42.3 yard average; Olesnavage nailed his one field goal attempt. Hemingway had a nice 19 yard punt return.
6--Optimism and looking at the glass half full doesn't win these things, we need to play better football against an excellent football team to have a chance. We need to stop Penn State to start the second half.
Penn State Preview 2009
Walk Through Video for Penn State
Depth Chart and Game Notes for Penn State
Press Conference-Wednesday, October 21
Press Conference for Penn State