Observations on the loss to Kansas State, 14-31!
Kansas State converted four red zones for 24 points plus a big play for 4 TDs while the Wolverines managed 14 points in their three red zone opportunities. Michigan was not able to convert one turnover into points, but the Jayhawks gained 7 off a late interception.
Offense gained 261 net yards with only 65 on the ground, 15 first downs, and was 4 of 11 in 3rd down conversions. Shane Morris was 24 of 38 for 196 yards with 9 to Jeremy Gallon for 89 yards. Devin Funchess had 2 catches for 21 yards, but several costly drops as in other games that contributed to offensive stops. We ran only 53 offensive plays with the Jayhawks holding a 9 minute time of possession advantage resulting in an eleven play advantage. Dante Barnett led Kansas State with 8 tackles plus a 51 yard interception. Shane Morris and Justice Hayes got their first starts as Wolverines.
Defense ended the season on a sour note, and gave up at least 53 plays of 20+ yards in 13 games which has been uncharacteristic of Wolverine defensive football throughout its long history. The Jayhawks gained 420 yards, 21 first downs, and were 7 of 11 in 3rd down conversions. Tyler Lockett scored 3 TDs with 10 catches for 116 yards as neither of our corners could handle him; he dropped another sure TD in the end zone. John Hubert carried 16 times for 80 yards and a TD. Jake Waters was 21 of 28 for 271 yards, and gained another 42 on the ground in 12 carries despite one sack. Thomas Gordon led the defense with 9 tackles. We only forced the Jayhawks into one punt with 4 minutes to go in the game, and one turnover. Jarrod Wilson got the start at Free Safety over Captain Courtney Avery.
Special Teams allowed two Lockett runbacks on kickoffs to the 40 both times. Matt Wile nailed two field goals, and punted 5 times for a 40.8 yard average. Dennis Norfleet ran back 4 kicks for 88 yards while Jourdan Lewis returned one for 18 yards.
It was a fitting end to a poor season with poor performances in every phase of the game: offense, defense and special teams due to poor coaching preparation, game adjustments and a lack of senior leadership. We lost five of our last six games with "ugly" wins over Akron, Connecticut, Indiana, and Northwestern. Our best wins were Central Michigan, Notre Dame and Minnesota with losses to rivals Michigan State and Ohio State, Iowa, Nebraska, and Penn State. Our football program is at the same level as several MAC schools including Ball State, Toledo, Bowling Green and Northern Illinois. There is a lot of work to do to prepare for the 2014 season especially for team leadership, assessing and evaluating the overall coaching philosophies of the current staff. Brady Hoke will enter the 4th year of his 5 year contract ending in 2015 with the goal of winning a Big Ten Championship after finishing 7th in the conference after two 3rd place finishes, and a 26-13 record. He faces 2014 with all three rivals on the road: Notre Dame, Michigan State and Ohio State.
Hoke Interview on December 9 after accepting Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl Bid