13 Observations on the Michigan Loss to Washington, 18-23

1-Navarre didn't lose the game for us, but he also didn't win it! He made a critical mistake in the 4th quarter with us leading 12-6 with 10 minutes to go in the game when he called an unneeded time out. The Washington defense was tired and folding, and the announcers on TV were emphasizing it. We had a third and short, and that time out gave the defense a rest and a second wind. They stopped us on third down, blocked out field goal on 4th down and went ahead 13-12. That one play was a 10 point play; we make it and we're ahead by two scores 15-6 with 9 minutes to go and our defense itching to stop the pathetic Husky offense.

Navarre had 4 "red zone" opportunities with 3 scores and 17 points, but the defensive touchdown on the field goal block means that we netted only 10 points. He was 26 of 44 for 248 yards, 2 TDs and 2 picks.

Navarre was picked off twice, and the last one went for the game-winning touchdown, but it really wasn't his fault because the receiver tipped it up into Omare Lowe's hands.

Of course, our last touchdown was a gift, but so was their field goal block. Ultimately, we scored 16 points offensively and 2 points defensively for 18 total; Washington won the game with only 9 points offensively and 14 points defensively. The better defense won the game! Even though our offense might have been a little bit better than theirs, it wasn't enough to win us the game. Their defense won it for them! Their offense didn't lose it for them (0 turnovers), but our offense did (3 turnovers resulting in 2 defensive touchdowns-1 on a blocked FG and 1 on an interception).

We had 21 first downs compared to their 13 and 372 yards to 268 in total offense. We also dominated time of possession by 5 minutes. We were 11 of 21 on 3rd down conversions compared to Washington's 2 of 12.

2-Marquis Walker was sensational!!! 15 catches for 159 yards and 2 touchdowns plus a blocked punt for a safety (14 points of our 18). We have found a "go to" guy. A new Michigan record by 3 catches. Walker and Bellamy are good receivers with Bell also having great ability. I'm sure we'll see more of Edwards and Massaquoi though.

3-Todd Howard had a miserable game! He looked pathetic. He couldn't cover Williams, he couldn't tackle. We can never be a national contender until we have great corners and a great pass rush. Until then, we can only hope for a Big Ten title. That last kickoff return was horrid! If I were the defensive backs coach, I'd strongly consider starting LeSueur and Jackson or Curry and Jackson, and I'd only bring in Howard in obvious nickel packages with 5 or 6 defensive backs.

4-We had two touchdown saving tackles. One by Julius Curry on Reggie Williams and the other by Cato June on one of their running backs. We stopped them twice in goal line defense inside our ten yard line, and held their offense to 3 field goals. What an effort by the defense!!! They did keep us in the game, but they didn't win it like Washington's defense did. They did give our offense a chance to win it though.

5-Penalties killed us. We had 9 penalties including 2 roughing the quarterback. We really were undisciplined on both sides of the ball and many of the penalties came a crucial times.

6-Chris Perry played a good game. 24 carries for 95 yards. He and our offensive line did a good job, but they didn't dominate; we only had 124 rushing yards. He didn't fumble and our running game was pretty solid overall, but Washington managed to contain us enough to prevent our running game from making a difference in the outcome.

7-This game will help us to be a better team, but we all know that we could've just as easily won this game as we did lose it. We will learn from this game, and our mistakes. We will get better and we will be a Big Ten contender. We must beat Illinois! They are good this year and it will be a close game. We must beat our arch-rival, Michigan State, and do it in East Lansing. It will be a low-scoring defensive game just like this game. Michigan State is a good team and will be tough for us to beat. Last, we must beat Ohio State and that is never easy. The Buckeyes will be tough in November as will the Spartans. We must really get better and quickly! We can't give away games with offensive mistakes (or special teams) like we did today!

8-Jake Frysinger had our sole sack today. It was a nice sack, but we must somehow improve our pass rush. I'm beginning to think that it may not even be possible with our present personnel and present coaching staff.

9-Cato June played a lot today. He played almost the whole game at free safety rather than Charles Drake. He definitely was more dominant out there. He had 7 tackles leading our defensive backs.

10-None of our true freshman played except Marlin Jackson unless it was on special teams. I didn't see Braylon Edwards (I guess Braylon did get in for some plays, but didn't catch a pass) and Tim Massaquoi play at wide receiver, Underwood at running back, etc. like in the first game with Miami. Reggie Williams clearly would have been a starter on our team.

11-Julius Curry was sensational on punt returns. We really have a solid player there with him on the job.

12-Hayden Epstein had 7 punts for a measly 33.6 yard average. This is two weeks in a row that he has stunk in punting. Luckily, our defense was so good and the Husky offense was so poor that it didn't matter all that much.

13-Larry Foote had a great game with 12 tackles while Carl Diggs had 8. At least we had linebacking leadership today with 20 tackles from our inside linebackers. Hobson chipped in with 7 tackles as our outside linebacker.

14-Omare Lowe was definitely the difference in the game. He had 10 tackles, 2 pass break ups, 1 blocked punt resulting in a touchdown and 1 interception for a touchdown. He accounted for 2 touchdowns and 14 of Washington's 23 points. He also defended Walker and others in pass coverage in an excellent manner. Isn't it amazing how one player can make such a difference???