Observations on the greatest
comeback in Michigan football history, 38-35!
1-We were down 7-28, but not out. We
have never come back from that far down to win. Give the game
ball to John Navarre! He ended up 33 of 47 for 353 yards, 2 touchdowns
and one pick plus one catch for 36 yards and a touchdown. Chris
Perry was our leading receiver with 11 catches for 122 yards;
he also ran for 85 yards on 20 carries with one rushing and one
receiving touchdown. We created four red zone opportunities in
the second half, and cashed in on all of them for 24 points. Still,
we almost lost the opportunity for the win with the late fumble
by Perry recovered by Massaquoi. Sometimes, it is better to be
lucky than good!
Offense ended up with 79 plays for
483 yards in total offense; we were 9 of 18 in 3rd and 4th down
conversions and 21 first downs.
2-Minnesota created three red zone
opportunities and converted all for 21 points, and had the two
long scores by Maroney and Abdul-Khaliq. Apparently, they thought
the game was over. Barber ran for 197 yards on 21 carries, Abdul-Khaliq
had 106 yards on 9 carries, Maroney had 81 yards on 9 carries;
the Gophers had an unbelievable 424 yards on 53 carries (a record
against a Michigan defense; previous record was November, 1968
vs. Ohio State for 421 yards). Abdul-Khaliq was 8 of 18 for 71
yards, but those 2 picks including the TD by Stewart really stand
out. Minnesota was 7 of 12 on 3rd down, and had 495 total yards
in 71 plays with a 2 minute advantage in time of possession. Minnesota
had a great game plan, was well-prepared, executed well, but gave
up too early and "ran out of gas." Eli Ward led the
Gopher defense with 11 tackles including the forced fumble that
almost led to our demise; Ben West had 10 tackles and the Gophers
did get credit for one sack.
3-Our special teams improved. Rivas
hit all extra points and the game-winning 33 yard field goal.Our
net punting improved with Finley averaging 35.7 yards on 3 punts.
Thank God Carr changed the wide gap scheme after our first punt
was almost blocked. Nienberg did a nice job on kickoffs with most
not returned as touchbacks. Breaston continues to make a difference
with 3 punt returns for 46 yards. The best thing we can say is
that we had no punts blocked, and this was our best effort on
turnovers and mistakes that didn't kill us.
4-Lawrence Reed and Pierre Woods led
our defense with 10 tackles each. True Frosh, Lamarr Woodley,
had 9 tackles. Shazor was in on 8 tackles. Our defense rose to
the occasion and made some big stops after looking completely
incompetent through 3 quarters. Leon Hall did a good job in the
second half with LeSueur out still. We had no sacks on defense,
but we did force 6 punts and had the two picks.
5-This win will give us momentum coming
back home to beat Illinois and make us 3-1 in the Big Ten and
6-2 overall going into the Purdue game. That game should be a
low scoring affair; hopefully this win will give us what we need
to improve so we don't continue to embarrass ourselves.
Observations on the first half
with the Gophers, 0-14!
1-No red zone opportunities=no points!
Navarre is 7 of 13 for 50 yards, no picks! Ecker has one catch
for 23 yards; Edwards has two catches, Perry, Mingery, Breaston,
Thompson have one catch each. Perry has 52 yards on 12 carries.
We have 97 yards in 29 plays, and 6 first downs. We have been
forced into 4 punts, and are 4 of 9 in 3rd and 4th down conversions.
Our best play so far has been Navarre on the sneak; he has netted
two first downs. The only good thing that can be said is that
we have no turnovers. Our offense is not only unimpressive, but
defenses don't even take us seriously anymore.
2-Minnesota has had two red zone opportunities
and converted both. Those opportunities were created by a fabulous
running game that has netted 186 yards on 26 carries for 11 first
downs and two rushing touchdowns. Abdul-Khaliq is 3 of 6 for 29
yards, but his scrambles and improvisation has netted 31 yards
on 5 carries. Barber leads the Gophers with 96 yards on 6 carries
3-Our special teams continue to look
unspecial. Our net punting continues to struggle. Thank God Carr
changed the wide gap scheme after our first punt was almost blocked.
4-Marlin Jackson and Pierre Woods lead
our defense with 5 tackles each. Reid, Shazor and McClintock have
4 tackles each. Our defense looks ill prepared, and will probably
give up at least 300 yards rushing. The only good thing we can
say about the defense is that we've forced them into 2 punts.
5-Make your reservations for the Motor
City Bowl in Pontiac! It looks like after the Gophers take the
Jug, we have further losses to Purdue, Ohio State and possibly
Michigan State. On the bright side, we should beat Illinois and
Northwestern; also, Navarre will be our starter and leader for
only 6 more games.