Observations on the humiliating
loss at Iowa City, 27-30
1-I am thoroughly disappointed and
embarrassed to be a Michigan football fan after this humiliating
loss to the Iowa Hawkeyes. Let me say first that Iowa deserved
and earned the win so let's not take anything away from their
effort at all; their effort was heroic.
We went "toe to toe" with
the Hawkeyes in the 2nd half, and we "blinked." They
out-hustled, outplayed and out-executed us; certainly, we were
My first point is the coaching. Our
coaching was a huge difference in the game in Iowa's favor. Our
special teams were horrid. Our net punting is amongst the worst
nationally, it has not improved and Iowa completely took advantage
of our poor special teams play. When we adjusted at halftime to
come up with the spread out line and having Rivas or Finley run
up to give our coverage more time to run downfield, this was something
that contributed to our punts being blocked and contributed to
Our coaches didn't make offensive adjustments
at halftime; the Iowa coaches did. The Iowa coaches also made
defensive adjustments at halftime that contributed to their victory;
our coaches made adjustments, but they weren't nearly as effective.
Iowa's coaches were determined that Breaston would not beat them,
and their players executed that game plan. Breaston was no threat
in punt returns, in passing lanes or in kickoffs to go all the
way; that was due to Hawkeye game preparation and execution.
The score of this game was strikingly
similar to the Oregon game, and the same problem in preparedness
and adjustments by coaches was evident. Special teams were a huge
difference, and not in our favor.
2-Navarre did not cause us to lose
this game; however, like many games, he did not win it. He is
a great guy with a great attitude, and he makes the most of his
talent; however, one must expect more out of a 5th year senior
quarterback that has had opportunities on the final drive to pull
games out. He was 26 of 49 for 389 yards, a school record, but
in defeat. He was 10 of 22 in 3rd down, but we had our first four
drives in the second half with nothing including three "3
and outs." He threw 2 TDs and had one interception, and was
sacked 3 times. Time of possession favored Iowa by almost two
minutes; we had 18 first downs, but only 4 in the second half.
We had no red zone opportunities in the second half after scoring
17 points on 3 red zone opportunities in the first half. We scored
7 points in the second half, but that was after being two scores
down; Iowa had a score to give.
I thought before the game that we'd
need to score 30 or more to win. At halftime, I thought 34 would
do it, and I was confident we'd score two touchdowns in the second
half. Iowa completely shut us down. We went from a 14-0 lead to
taking a 20-17 edge at halftime; then, we lost our edge and say
20-17 go to 20-20 and then 20-23 until the Hawks "iced it"
3-Our rushing game continued to struggle. Perry had 87 yards in
24 carries; overall, we had 74 yards net in rushing after 3 sacks
were deducted. Our offensive line is not outstanding; we allowed
3 sacks including one fumble that we recovered and it is obvious
that they are not as good as we expected this year. I don't think
this group is "mean" enough or determined enough. When
I think of Michigan offensive lines, I think of people coming
off the ball on that last drive and blowing people off the line
of scrimmage. This line is too tired to do that.
4-Our receivers did a good job, but
some drops really hurt us. Edwards had 7 catches for 114 yards
and two touchdowns. Avant had 7 catches for 175 yards, but one
turning point in the game was when he was stopped on the 8 after
his 71 yarder, and we were held to a field goal. Breaston had
6 catches for only 50 yards; Perry and Massaquoi had two each.
5-Iowa had 295 yards in 71 plays with
195 yards passing and 100 yards rushing for 14 first downs, three
touchdowns and three field goals. Iowa was 6 of 18 in 3rd down
conversions, and was forced to punt 9 times. We saw two passing
touchdowns against us, and LeSueur's injury really hurt. The last
touchdown was over Hall, and Jackson didn't cover either. Chandler
was 17 of 34 with one pick by Jackson (that didn't lead to any
score), 3 sacks and two TDs. Davis was his leading receiver with
7 catches for 60 yards. Fred Russell ended up with 110 yards on
26 carries; it is too bad he couldn't have been a Wolverine, but
knowing Carr & Company, he'd have stayed on the bench behind
Perry. What a joke!
Abdul Hodge led the Hawk defense with
13 tackles; Chad Greenway had 9 and Grant Steen had 8. Antwan
Allen had 7 tackles, the interception and three pass break ups,
and Matt Roth had 5 tackles including 2 sacks and caused the Navarre
6-The positives we can take from our
special teams include Rivas doing a nice job with two field goals
and three extra points. Our kickoffs were pretty good by Nienberg
and the coverage was decent except the 37 yarder by Ochoa. Breaston
had 6 punt returns for 42 yards. Our punting is like something
out of a nightmare. We had 8 punts for a 35 yard average with
one blocked that led to a field goal, and another partially blocked.
Ochoa also broke the 43 yard return that led to the late touchdown
in the first half. I can't remember a Michigan football team from
the 1960s until now with as poor of a net punting game as this;
I'm flabbergasted! It was so embarrassing that we had to put Marlin
Jackson on the punt coverage team because our runners, Brent Cummings
and others can't get the job done. Their punter, Bradley, connected
on nine punts for a 44 yard average, and they stopped Breaston
7-Reid and Shazor led our defense with
8 tackles each. Woods had 7 tackles, 3 tackles for loss including
one sack, and we have 13 other tackles for loss as a defense including
3 sacks. Jackson and Manning had 6 tackles each, Diggs and McClintock
had 5 each. Another positive was the play of true frosh, Lamarr
Woodley who logged a lot of playing time with Van Alstyne out
and Steven's bad foot. Our defense did not lose this game, but
it didn't do enough to win either. Iowa ended up with 5 red zone
opportunities and scored 2 touchdowns and 3 field goals for 23
points; however, what broke our back was that last touchdown,
and that could've been prevented with a good free safety covering.
Jackson didn't do what a Michigan free safety is supposed to do,
at least on that play.
8-Finally, the last critical element
in this game was points off turnovers. They scores 6 and we scores
zero. They had a blocked punt and an interception for two field
goals, and we had one interception for a "three and out."
It is an atrocity when we all know,
and most Iowa fans as well, that we have more talent, but couldn't
get the most from that talent today. Iowa got every ounce of talent
from their team as possible. Ferentz and Co. definitely out-coached
Carr and Co. and that was the difference. Hats off to the Hawkeyes!
Two years in a row, you beat us by out-hustling, out-executing
and out-coaching our team.
I'm sorry to say I've lost confidence
in this group. I see us losing to Minnesota next Friday, and after
rebounding against Illinois; I see us losing at least one more,
most likely to Ohio State. This will give us a solid 8-4 season
record and a trip to the Alamo or Sun Bowl. This team could also
easily lose to Purdue and/or Michigan State, and end up as bad
as the 1984 team that was 6-6, and that would send us to the Motor
City Bowl in Pontiac.
Observations on the first half with
the Hawkeyes, 20-17
1-Michigan and Iowa have created 3
red zone opportunities each; we earned 17 points and so did they.
The difference in the game is the one drive we had for a 47 yard
field goal that hit the upright and went over.
2-Navarre hasn't been perfect, and
had his usual overthrows; however, he is 12 of 21 for 224 yards
and 1 TD, no picks. He has taken no sacks, and we are 5 of 10
in 3rd down conversions. Time of possession is about even. We
have 11 first downs, 8 by passing. We have 290 net offensive yards
in 40 plays.
3-Our rushing game continues to struggle.
Perry has only 60 yards in 16 carries; Breaston and Underwood
have one carry each. Overall, we have only 66 yards in 18 carries.
4-Our receivers have been doing an
outstanding job. Edwards has 5 catches for 65 yards and one touchdown.
Avant has 4 catches for 140 yards including the 71 yarder that
almost went for a score. Breaston has 2 catches and Perry one.
5-Iowa has 127 yards in 32 plays, but
116 yards passing for 6 first downs and two touchdowns. We had
the first passing touchdown against us in six games. Chandler
is 11 of 17 with no picks and one TD. Davis is his leading receiver
with 4 catches for 46 yards.
6-Special teams have definitely favored
the Hawkeyes! Our net punting continues to be one of the worst
in the nation; we are currently ranked 116th of 117 teams. We
did have a nice pooch punt downed at the 6, but otherwise, our
punt return coverage is atrocious. Ochoa ran a 45 yard return
that led to their late touchdown in the last 30 seconds of the
Nienberg has done a nice job on kickoffs,
but hurt us with the personal foul penalty. One must admit that
the Hawkeyes have done an excellent job on Breaston, the nation's
leading punt returner. He only has 3 yards on 2 punts and has
had to fair catch 2 others. Iowa has had to punt 5 times, but
we have gained no advantage unlike the Notre Dame and Indiana
7-Reid and Shazor lead our defense
with 6 tackles each. Woods has one sack, and we have 7 other tackles
for loss. Diggs has only one tackle and McClintock has only been
in on one tackle. Our defense started well, but we are letting
them spread the field on us and we aren't responding. It does
hurt to have LeSueur out, and they are picking on Hall as they
should. We have held Russell to 17 yards in 9 carries.We have
held the Hawks to 2 of 8 on 3rd down, but we've done a lousy job
stopping them in red zone attempts. We must step up in the second
half defensively if we are to win.
8-Penalties have really hurt us. I
think we've had 3 personal foul calls and one holding call on
Shazor. The last call on the push out of bounds was ridiculous
(if that was the call).