Observations on the heartbreaking Rose Bowl loss to Texas, 37-38!

1-Texas created four red zones, including the game winning field goal, for 24 points while we created 3 red zones for 17 points. Each team used big plays for TDs with Young providing runs of 22 and 60 yards, and we used a 40 yard TD to Edwards and a 60 yarder to Breaston. Our offense played well enough to win, but our defense simply couldn't contain them.

2-Henne was 18 of 34 for 227 yards and 4 TDs, 3 to Braylon Edwards. Hart had 21 carries for 83 yards, and Martin added 18 yards in 3 carries. We were 6 of 14 in 3rd down conversions with 17 first downs. We had 352 yards in total offense, but only 125 net rushing yards. Edwards had 10 catches for 109 yards, and Breaston added 3 catches for 77 yards. We really missed Jason Avant as we couldn't seem to get Gonzalez involved in his absence.

3-Texas created a 5:20 minute time of possession advantage with 12 of 17 on 3rd down conversions and 25 first downs. Young was 16 of 28 for 180 yards for one TD, ran for 192 yards on 21 carries for 4 TDs and was obviously the player of the game accounting for 372 yards and 5 TDs. Our defense did a good job on Benson as he had 23 carries for 70 yards. Scaife had 5 catches, Jeffrey had 4 and it was Thomas who caught the 11 yard TD pass plus 3 others. The Longhorns had 264 yards in net rushing, and 444 total yards of offense. Their 9 play advantage in the five and a half minutes allowed them the extra red zone opportunity which they converted.

4-Defensively, we were decent, and we did some good things; however, we really looked bad out there at times especially with missed tackles. Each team had one sack. We had a 2 to zero turnover advantage, and created 10 points off those turnovers; however, it wasn't enough. We did have one fumble by Martin, but it actually resulted in a gain of a few yards. Woodley had 11 tackles including 4 for loss to lead our defense, and was named the defensive player of the game. Jackson had 9 tackles including one for loss and one pass deflection. McClintock garnered 8 tackles. Shazor and Burgess had 7 tackles each, and Burgess' pick came back for 23 yards.

5-We definitely had the special teams advantage with Breaston gaining 221 yards on 6 kickoff returns helping to create field position advantage. Intangibles on our side included the fumble recovery by Anton Campbell on punt return coverage and Prescott Burgess' interception. Rivas had 3 field goals in 3 attempts, and all 4 extra points while Mangrum got the game winning field goal and 5 one pointers. We were forced into 5 punts while we forced them into only 4. Nienberg had an outstanding game with his 8 kickoffs; he was our special teams captain today. Shazor did tip the game winning field goal that barely made it over the posts.

6-Texas will probably finish 4th or 5th in all the polls so it was a great effort on our part. Fans can't blame Jim Herrmann for this loss; he engineered an outstanding game plan by stopping Benson. Our players couldn't execute the contain against an outstanding athlete in Young, he's the closest thing to the Atlanta Falcons Michael Vick. It is not Hermann's fault that our players missed tackles and couldn't execute a great game plan.

Aaron Harris led the Longhorn defense with 9 tackles including their one sack, and 2 pass break ups. Butkus winner, Johnson, only had two tackles and one forced fumble.

7-Kolodziej started, and logged quite a bit of playing time; however, Stenavich played most of the second half. Dudley did a marvelous job in blocking the Butkus award winner, Johnson. Michigan started the game in a 4-3 as I predicted with Woodley and Woods on the ends and Watson and Massey at the tackles.

Observations on the first half with the Longhorns, 14-14!

1-Texas created two red zones for 14 points while we created one red zone off a special teams turnover and a big play for our 14 points. Penalties took us out of an early red zone and scoring opportunity.

2-Henne is 9 of 18 for 110 yards and 2 TDs to Braylon Edwards. Hart has 11 carries for 32 yards. We are only 4 of 9 in 3rd down conversions, and 6 first downs. Edwards has 5 catches for 78 yards.

3-Texas created a 4 minute time of possession advantage with 7 of 10 on 3rd down conversions and 11 first downs. Young is 8 of 12 for 77 yards, running for one TD and passing for the other. Benson has 13 carries for 43 yards while Young has 57 yards on 9 carries. Scaife, Thomas and Jeffrey have 2 catches each, and it was Thomas who caught the 11 yard TD pass

4-Defensively, we were decent, but we must get better containment on Young. Don't have any defensive stats, but Reid and Woodley have looked pretty good along with Watson. Each team has one sack. We must also create some turnovers in the 2nd half if we are to beat the Longhorns. Texas has a total yard advantage, 179 to 140, but a net rushing advantage of 102 to 30 creating the 4 minute time of possession advantage.

5-We definitely have the special teams advantage with two big Breaston kickoff returns helping to create field position advantage. Intangibles are on our side with the fumble recovery by Anton Campbell on punt return coverage. Are my eyes deceiving me? Texas has 3 punt returns for zero yards, and a turnover resulting in a TD for us.

5-I think we'll be able to run and throw on them in the 2nd half, and I think our defense will be able to create turnovers. Hopefully, if we do, our offense can turn them into points. I like our chances in this one. Texas gets the ball first as they deferred so the first drive will tell a lot.
Rose Bowl Preview:

Michigan's key to winning the game is to stop the #2 rushing offense nationally with the nation's top running back in Doak Walker winner, Cedric Benson, who is amongst the nation's scoring leaders with 20 TDs. Running quarterback, Vince Young, and a huge offensive line led by former Michigan recruit, Justin Blalock, cousin to former Michigan offensive lineman, Jonathan Goodwin. If Michigan can stop the Longhorn running attack, it will force Texas to pass, and they don't score many points in the air. Most of their points scored have been through their fabulous running game. When they do throw, they have given up quite a few sacks (21). It is most likely that Michigan will have to be in a 4-3 defense with Ofili and Branch logging a lot of playing time in Harrison's absence. If Michigan cannot contain the Longhorn running game and they are able to maintain time of possession advantage, it will be a long afternoon for Michigan. Texas has won several games this year by wearing out their opponents through their staunch running game, and has come from behind in the second half to beat Oklahoma State, Kansas, Texas A&M, Arkansas and Missouri. If Michigan is able to stop their running game early, can they stop it in the second half?

Michigan will be hard-pressed to run against the #14 rushing defense nationally led by Butkus Award winner and Big 12 player of the year, Derrick Johnson, who also leads the nation in forced fumbles. They also have Big 12 First Teamers: Tackles Larry Dibbles & Rod Wright, Strong Safety Michael Huff and Linebacker Aaron Harris for run support. Harris and Johnson are the two best linebacker tandem we'll face this year. Despite Michigan's solid offensive line with Rimington winner, David Baas, and Big Ten first teamers, Matt Lentz and Adam Stenavich (although Kolodziej will start) blocking for Freshman All-American and Big Ten first teamer, Michael Hart, it could be a long day for the ground game. Expect less than 100 yards in net rushing.

On the bright side, Texas is ranked 56th nationally in pass defense, and our best chance to drive down the field and score points will be in the air with All-American and Biletnikoff winner, Braylon Edwards, Jermaine Gonzalez and Steve Breaston. Screens to Michael Hart may also pay off depending on how much the Longhorn's blitz. Michigan will need to have a big day in their aerial attack to subdue the Longhorns.

Special Teams and intangibles in this game favor the Wolverines! Michigan and Texas match up well in turnover margin, but Michigan will be much more of a threat on punt and kickoff returns. For once, Michigan will not have to deal with a dangerous return game against a quality opponent. Breaston may be a huge difference in helping Michigan establish and maintain field position. Mangrum and Rivas are both excellent, dependable field goal kickers. Adam Finley is a much better punter than McGee. Texas has demonstated a lack of self-discipline, and is the #98 ranked team in least penalties while Michigan is ranked #7.

Prediction: Michigan plays their best against quality opponent's when they have time to prepare and this game will be a classic Michigan win with Edwards having a big day against the Longhorn secondary. Remember, this is a road game for Texas; they have never been to Pasadena and Michigan will be the home team. This game could go a long way towards convincing many Texas recruits that Ann Arbor may be a worthy destination. I don't see Michigan losing two Rose Bowls in a row.

Michigan 31 Texas 27

Position Michigan Texas Team Category Michigan Texas
QB Henne Young Rushing Offense 56 2
FB Dudley Matthews Passing Offense 44 105
TB Hart Benson Total Offense 44 9
WR Edwards Sweed Scoring Offense 29 14
WR Avant Jeffery Rushing Defense 27 14
TE Massaquoi Thomas Passing Defense 46 56
OT Long Blalock Total Defense 27 24
OG Lentz Allen Scoring Defense 36 14
C Baas Glynn Net Punting 82 48
OG Riley Studdard Kickoff Return Defense 22 75
OT Stenavich Scott Punt Returns 18 77
P Finley McGee Kickoff Returns 26 111
PK Rivas Mangum Field Goals 13 54
DE Woodley Robison Turnover Margin 35 18
DT Watson Dibbles Passes Intercepted 21 38
DT Ofili/Branch Wright Fumbles Recovered 41 41
DE Massey Crowder Fumbles Lost 52 15
ILB McClintock Harris Pass Efficiency Defense 35 29
ILB Reid Johnson Penalties 7 98
OLB Manning Hall Scoring/Points Responsible for Henne/Edwards/Rivas Young/Benson/Mangrum
DB Jackson Brown
DB Hall Griffin
SS Shazor Huff
FS Mundy Geiggar