Observations on the win over Virginia Tech, 23-20
Defense comes up big!!! We stop 6 Hokie Red Zones, and allow only 17 points. Greg Mattison's troops really stepped up when our offense let us down. What a win!
Offense had their worst game of the year, and it was no mistake. Give Virginia Tech all the credit! They were prepared defensively, and held the Wolverines to only 184 net yards and 12 first downs, forcing a turnover and sacking Denard Robinson 3 times. Robinson was only 9 of 21 for 117 yards; however, two of those were TD passes to Junior Hemingway, the Sugar Bowl Player of the Game. The Hokie defense held the Wolverines to only 56 yards in net rushing. Fitzgerald Touissaint gained 30 yards in 13 carries, and Denard had only 13 yards in 13 carries. The Wolverines could only convert 5 of 14 3rd and 4th down conversions, and had three, three and outs.
Defense was incredible. Jordan Kovacs had 11 to lead the defense, Desmond Morgan and Mike Martin had 10 tackles each, Kenny Demens, Blake Countess, Desmond Morgan and Thomas Gordon had 8 each. Jake Ryan had 7 tackles, and 4 tackles for loss including a sack. What an interception by Freshman Frank Clark! Logan Thomas was 19 of 28 for 214 yards, and ran for 53 yards on 16 carries for a TD. David Wilson had 82 yards on 24 carries, but zero TDs. The Hokies had 377 yards of net offense, 163 on the ground with 22 first downs and were 7 of 18 on 3rd and 4th down conversions. Our defense was "dog tired" being on the field for nearly 37 minutes, but found a way to keep the Hokes out of the end zone in five of six red zone trips. The Hokies maintained a 13 minutes and 40 second time of possession advantage that began with an 8 minute T.O.P. in the first quarter; as a result, they ran 24 more offensive plays.
Special Teams really contributed to this win. Brendan Gibbons hit three field goals including the game winner in overtime. J.B. Fitzgerald forced a fumble that Delonte Hollowell recovered, and turned the turnover into 3 points. Wile drew a roughing the punter penalty, and the penalty kept our first TD drive alive. Wile punted three times for a 43.7 yard average, and replaced Will Hagerup who averaged only 25 yards on the first two punts of the game.
Michigan can savor this 11 win season, and regroup after recruiting is over on February 1st to start Spring practice in March as Team 133 will prepare for a September 1 challenge with Alabama. What a difference Brady Hoke, Greg Mattison and staff have made in the players preparation, execution and team attitude! Go Blue!