Observations on the loss to Michigan State, 17-34!
Michigan earned 5 red zones, but only came away with 17 points overall with two red zone interceptions stopping drives. The Spartans had 2 red zones for 10 points, and three big play TDs of 61, 41 and 41 yards. Michigan State scores 10 points off 3 Michigan turnovers, and the composed Spartans have no turnovers. The Spartans scored 17 points in the second quarter to take a 17-10 halftime lead, and pummeled the Wolverines in the 3rd quarter to mount a 31-10 lead after three quarters to ice three wins in a row against Michigan.
Denard Robinson choked today! He was pressing right from the start of the game. I'm not sure about why, but he threw three interceptions, two in the red zone to take away momentum and give the Spartans all the confidence they needed. He may have pressed due to the high expectations placed on him to perform or it could have been he was intimidated by the Spartan defense; it really doesn't matter, but it was sure a disappointing performance on his part. Hopefully, he'll improve for next week. He was as 17 of 29 for 215 yards, 3 interceptions, 2 sacks, 1 TD and he rushed 21 times for 86 yards and a TD. Offense gained 19 first downs, 377 yards of total offense, and was 4 of 13 in 3rd and 4th down conversions; it was not our best performance in a big game. Kudos to the Spartan defense! They played tough when they needed to and held our offense to 162 net yards rushing, 10 first downs and one rushing TD.
Defense was pathetic, and let the Spartans "bitch slap" us while they gained 536 yards of total offense including 249 yards in net rushing. They ran over us for 24 first downs, and gained nearly a 12 minute time of possession adavantage. Kirk Cousins was poised, composed and executed 18 of 25 for 285 yards and a TD with no interceptions, 2 sacks and was 6 of 15 in 3rd and 4th down conversions. Edwin Baker carried 22 times for 147 yards including a 61 yard TD scamper. Le'Veon Bell gained 78 yards in 7 carries including a 41 yard TD romp. Mark Dell caught 3 passes for 93 yards and a TD, Keshawn Martin caught 6 passes for 69 yards and B.J. Cunningham caught 5 passes for 40 yards. Our beleagured defense gave up 5 plays of 30 yards or more. J.T. Floyd had 13 tackles, Jonas Mouton and Obi Ezeh had 9 tackles each, and I only wish there was a statistic for missed tackles because we'd be amongst the national leaders in that category. Our coaches and our players knew what was in store for the Spartan run attack, and they couldn't handle it. The Spartans muscled us for 249 net yards in rushing and 3 rushing TDs. Our defense had a chance to recover a fumbled snap when we had a 10-7 lead, and on the next play, Bell scores on a 41 yard run to give the Spartans the lead for good.
Seth Broekhuizen hit his first field goal of 34 yards, but had a second blocked just before half. Will Hagerup punted 4 times for a 47 yard average with two punts over 50 yards and 2 punts inside the 20. Dan Conroy hit both his field goal attempts and Aaron Bates also punted 4 times for a 45 yard average. Special teams advantage was insignificant, but also an advantage for MSU.
Well, Denard is human, and he makes mistakes and can contribute to losses as well as wins. Let's see how he responds against Iowa. I feel confident he will respond with a much better game against a much tougher defense than he faced today. Unfortunately, there are no answers for our defense. After three years, Coach Rod and staff have done little in recruiting or developing defensive players; therefore, we have one of the worst defenses in the nation and Big Ten and must rely on an offense to outscore teams. Well, today they weren't up to the task. Their defensive line handled our offensive line, and their offensive line handled our defensive line and linebackers.
Coach Rod is now 0-3 against Michigan State and will soon be 0-3 against Ohio State. How much longer do we keep a coach who can't recruit, retain or develop defensive players? It is truly embarassing to observe the Michigan football program slide downhill over Coach Rod's tenure as head coach. I'm sick and tired of hearing how "young" we are, and how our coaches will "coach them up." It simply isn't happening! Our defensive schemes, our lack of coaching preparation and adaptation during the game is poor for the Big Ten Conference and rivalry games. Our special teams are also bad, and this coaching staff has had 3 years to recruit, develop and retain special teams players. Mesko came to us from Carr's staff. My patience with this staff has expired. They are not doing the job, and meeting the expectations of the Michigan football program. These are not expectations set by me or other fans, but by former players and coaches. Amani Toomer was right in his prediction for today's game. He and other former Michigan football alumni are speaking out and praying for coaching change at the University of Michigan. As a lifelong Michigan football fan, I want to see a football program that emphasizes defense, specifically tackling like we've historically done at Michigan and like we see with Bo Pelini's Nebraska football program, and also a football program with integrity that other's respect and who don't violate NCAA rules.