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Observations on the loss to Purdue, 36-38!
1--Purdue completely dominates the second half outscoring us 21-6 in the 3rd quarter, 28-12 in the second half and twice overcoming two score deficits of 24-10 and 30-17 to win a wild game. The Boilermakers were successful in 3 second half red zones for 21 points while we could only score 12 points in our 3 red zones in the second half. Both teams scored 7 points off turnovers. When two teams are so evenly matched, it is usually coaching that makes the difference.
2--Forcier was 15 of 24 for 212 yards and a TD, 4 sacks and 17 carries for 29 yards. Offense nets 427 yards, 22 first downs and 8 of 15 on 3rd and 4th down conversions with only one 3 and out. Snake oil commitment from Purdue, Roy Roundtree, had 10 catches for 126 yards and a TD.
3--Brandon Minor finished with 154 yards on 19 carries for 3 TDs. We had 215 yards in net rushing, but 4 sacks took away 17 yards.
4--Defense played a typical Michigan defensive game, and made Purdue's offense look almost as prolific as Illinois after being shutout by Wisconsin last week. We went to a 4-3 scheme much of the game to no avail. The Rich Rodriquez era at Michigan will be characterized as "SHIT DEFENSE." When one plays Big Ten football, and chooses to deemphasize the defense as a priority, then one finds the consequence of losses, and ugly losses like this one. Purdue dominated time of possession by 8:20, rolled up 494 yards in total offense, 22 first downs. Joey Elliott was 28 of 39 for 367 yards, 2 TDs, 2 interceptions, 7 of 15 on 3rd down conversions, 7.3 yard per play average and only one sack and 5 other negative yardage plays. Teams like Purdue throw on our backfield like there is nobody covering (no respect), and we continue to give opposing receivers way to much cushion (no adjustment). Why aren't we playing more man press coverage? Our linebacking was improved with the changes of Leach and Fitzgerald over Ezeh and Mouton, but our safeties (Williams and Kovacs) and corners (Warren and Woolfolk) continue to be Division II caliber; Kovacs really looked bad on the 54 yard bomb to Cortez Smith following the onside kick. I think one graphic on the TV broadcast had Purdue with at least 8 plays of 20+ yards in the game.
5--Purdue's special teams was the key to the win, and Danny Hope outcoaches Rodriquez with a nifty onside kick call targeting Freshman Mike Jones. Purdue recovered both second half onside kicks, stops our two point conversion attempt for a tie. Yes, special teams had some moments in the second half with Stonum kickoff return and Hemingway punt return, but the onside kicks and misses by Olesnavage on an extra point and field goal put us in a hole that we could not dig out of.
6--Purdue was poised, and confident; they overcame a two score deficit twice just like they did last year when they beat us 42-48. We are now 5-5 and 1-5 in the Big Ten destined for last place. Rodriquez is 0-2 against Purdue, Illinois, Penn State, Michigan State and soon to be Ohio State. Rodriquez has beat Minnesota and Indiana, but will be 0-1 against Iowa and Northwestern and 1-1 against Notre Dame and Wisconsin after we lose in Madison next week. He'll follow up a 3-9 season with an improved 5-7 season thanks to wins over Delaware State, Eastern and Western Michigan, Indiana and Notre Dame. We'll finish last place in the Big Ten at 1-7 folloiwng up a 2-6 season where we finished 9th in 2008. His legacy will include Michigan's first loss ever to a MAC team, Toledo; on the bright side, he is now 3-1 against MAC schools. I don't think we'd beat either Notre Dame or Indiana if we played them next week. Coach Rod will "look at the film," blame poor execution of the loss, and then start preparing for his last two losses of the year. He'll get a 3rd season, but I'm not confident of his chances of success at Michigan. Looking at next year's schedule, we play Notre Dame and Ohio State on the road along with Purdue, Indiana and Penn State. We should have wins over Bowling Green and Massachusetts, and home games with Michigan State, Illinois, Iowa, Wisconsin and Connecticut, but with Coach Rod at the helm, I'm not expecting much better than a 6-6 season. Let's see, 3-9, 5-7 and 6-6, are we "all in" for that? If he gets a 4th season, maybe we move to 7-5 or maybe 8-4 with 10 straight losses to Ohio State, are we "all in" for that? I don't see Coach Rod elevating this team or the Michigan football program to a Big Ten title even if he gets 5 seasons to do so. The top programs in the Big Ten are Ohio State, Penn State and Iowa. Michigan State, Northwestern, Wisconsin and Minnesota and are close behind and competitive programs. We are in the lowest echelon with Indiana, Purdue and Illinois, and we were 1-2 against them this year. Big Ten football always has been and will be defense first, running game and "mashmouth" football are upmost priorities. Coach Rod arrogantly thought he'd come to Michigan and bring a quick strike spread offense in and show the Big Ten how to play football, and he obviously has learned that his priorities and arrogance haven't resulted in what he'd hoped.
Observations on the first half with Purdue, 24-10!
1--Neither team has any red zones, but Michigan scores 7 points off two Purdue turnovers.
2--Forcier was 10 of 14 for 139 yards and a TD, 2 sacks and 5 carries for 10 yards. Offense nets 256 yards, 13 first downs and 3 of 5 on 3rd down conversions with only one 3 and out. Snake oil commitment from Purdue, Roy Roundtree, had 7 catches for 101 yards and a TD.
3--Brandon Minor comes in and gives us a lift with tough running! He finished the half with 101 yards on 7 carries for 2 TDs.
4--Defense looks bad early, but comes on with a turnover and two stops to finish the half. Stevie Brown had 7 tackles to lead the defense. Defense looks a lot better with Leach and Fitzgerald instead of Ezeh and Mouton. Leach grabs his first interception after a tipped pass. Mike Martin forced a fumble. Purdue nets 245 yards, 13 first downs with 3 of 7 on 3rd down conversions, but 2 turnovers. Purdue has a huge time of possession advantage, but didn't capitalize due to turnovers.
5--Olesnavage nails a 51 yard field goal with room to spare. Darryl Stonum has a nice 55 yard kickoff return. Mesko punts once and lands it inside the 20.
6--If we keep our poise, and don't turn the ball over, we may just get our 6th win.