Observations on the loss to Utah, 10-26
Utah converted two of three red zones for 6 points; just like at South Bend, the Wolverines couldn't earn one red zone. Michigan scores 7 points off one Utah turnover while the Utes scored 3 points off 4 Wolverine turnovers.
Offense was really, really bad. We held the ball nearly 9 minutes more than the Utes which gave us 11 more offensive plays; however, we had 4 turnovers, and gained only 308 net yards, 118 on the ground with 19 first downs plus were only 11 of 23 in 3rd and 4th down conversions. 5th Year Senior Devin Gardner was 14 of 26 for 148 yards plus 10 runs for 29 yards. Derrick Green ran 14 times for 59 yards. Shane Morris got his shot, but he was 4 of 13 with an interception and a fumble for two turnovers while trying to rally the team in the 4th quarter. The Wolverine offense was contained by a well-prepared, well-coached Utah defense that forced 4 turnovers and pressure which resulted in 4 sacks.
Defense played well overall, but couldn't make up for poor Wolverine offense and special teams units. Utah gained 286 net yards, only 81 on the ground, but 205 in the air with 13 first downs, was 6 of 17 in 3rd down conversions. Willie Henry tipped and intercepted a pass for a TD. Jake Ryan had 13 tackles, Joe Bolden, Frank Clark, and Brennan Beyer had 6 tackles each. Jourdan Lewis had 5 tackles, 2 pass break ups, and a touchdown saving tackle.
Special Teams sucked! We allowed a 66 yard punt return for a TD by Kaelin Clay; apparently, the Wolverines only had 10 men on the field for the play. Matt Wile hit a 42 yard field goal. Will Hagerup punted 5 times with one downed at the 2 for a 38.8 yard average. Andy Phillips hit 4 field goals, and had 5 touchbacks on 6 kickoffs for the Utes. Obviously, Utah was better prepared, made better game adjustments, and were much better coached than the Wolverines. The game was restarted at 8:50 p.m. after a 2:30 delay due to lightning and severe weather.
Somehow, we need to re-group and be ready for homecoming next week with the Gophers in the Big Ten opener for the Brown Jug! Our team lacks confidence and an identity, and those are coaching issues. Michigan has fallen below sellout crowds for the second week in a row thanks to David Brandon's ticket policy on students. The Board of Regents also negated Brandon's drone show due to crowd safety concerns. A 6-2 Big Ten season doesn not look possible for this year's group due to a paltry offense, 4-4 is more likely to give us a 6-6 finish.
Observations on the first half with Utah Post-Game Press Conference Box Score and Player Participation Highlights
Utah Press Conference-September 15 Brady Hoke on September 17 Utah Practice Week Report