Observations on the loss to Rutgers, 24-26
Michigan gains three red zones and converts all three for 21 points; Rutgers also earned three red zones for 17 points. The difference in the game was the Scarlett Knights converting 7 points off a Wolverine turnover; it gave Rutgers a two-score lead they never relinquinshed.
Offense looked better, but wasn't good enough to win as they couldn't convert their final drive into the necessary points. Devin Gardner threw 22 times and completed 13 for 178 yards, no TDs and one interception; he ran 10 times for 40 yards and 2 TDs. Derrick Green gained 74 yards in 12 carries, and Deveon Smith had 10 carries for 31 yards and a TD. Devin Funchess caught 5 passes for 71 yards. Offense had 18 first downs, 336 net yards in total offense, and was 4 of 11 in 3rd down conversions. An injured Erik Magnuson started at Left Guard, but Graham Glasgow moved over early in the game and Kyle Kalis went most of the way at Right Guard. The Rutgers defense registered 6 tackles for loss including 3 sacks on the evening with many hurries.
Defense was an embarrassment!!! Rutgers had 18 first downs, 476 net yards, and were 8 of 16 on 3rd down conversions against our weak defense; we could only force them into 3 punts and no turnovers. Gary Nova burned the Wolverines for 22 of 39 for 404 yards and 3 TDs. They had at leas 6 big plays of 20+ yards including an 80 yard TD pass to Andrew Turzilli where both Channing Stribling and Jeremy Clark were at least 10 yards off him; Turzilli also caught another TD. Our defensive backfield was horrid, and Nova executed a great game play that including exposing our terribly weak safety play. Frank Clark missed wrapping up Nova on a sack as he completed a TD pass to end the half to Jon Tsimis; that play gave the Scarlett Knights the halftime lead, and the momentum after we had scored to go ahead, 17-12. Although there was only a 1:30 time advantage, Rutgers executed 13 more offensive plays than Michigan. Joe Bolden led the defense with 10 tackles; Jake Ryan had 8. Taco Charlton got his first start, and came up with a sack; Willie Henry got the other sack.
Special Teams played a little better, but in the end Rutgers outplayed us with a blocked field goal.
This game seals our fate as the worst team in our division, and a probable 2-10 record, no bowl game, and a new head coach search in early December. We have won 4 of our last 14 games. At the halfway point of the season, there is no hope for Team 135 to rebound and salvage the season.