Observations on the loss to Ohio State, 41-42
The game came down to a 2 point conversion, and a "guts" call by Brady Hoke should be applauded; unfortunately, the play call didn't work. Michigan converted 7 red zones for 41 points while the Buckeyes converted many big plays, but only two red zones for 14 points. Both teams gained 7 points off the other team's turnovers.
Offense completely reversed the Buckeye first half time advantage, and gained 7 more minutes in time of possession resulting in 21 more offensive plays. The Wolverines gained 603 yards in total offense, 31 first downs; we were 9 of 16 in 3rd and 4th down conversions. We came back from 4th quarter deficits of 21-35 and 35-42 to score with 32 seconds left in the game. Devin Gardner was 32 of 45 for 451 yards, 4 TDs; he ran 9 times for 10 yards and another TD. Derrick Green ran 12 times for 47 yards, DeVeon Smith ran 7 times for 57 yards, and Fitz Toussaint ran 5 times for 33 yards and a TD plus caught 4 passes for 48 yards. Jeremy Gallon caught 9 passes for 175 yards and a TD. Jake Butt caught 5 passes for 85 yards, Drew Dileo caught 5 passes for 60 yards and a TD, and Devin Funchess caught 4 passes for 41 yards and a TD. Ryan Shazier led the Buckeye defense with 14 tackles including a sack, but Tyvis Powell made the play of the game for Ohio State when he intercepted the two point conversion attempt; he also recovered a Wolverine questionable fumble by Gardner upheld in official's review.
Defense allowed the Buckeyes 526 yards in net offense, 23 first downs, and they were 3 of 8 in 3rd down conversions after gaining the yardage needed on 1st and 2nd down most of the time. Braxton Miller was 6 of 15 for 133 yards, 2 TDs and an interception, but he really didn't need to throw because he ran 16 times for 153 yards and 3 TDs. Carlos Hyde bruised the Wolverines for 226 yards in 27 carries and a TD, but also a costly fumble. Defense was an embarrassment, and gave up 393 yards to the Buckeyes on the ground with 4 rushing TDs. One would have to go back to 1945 when Army had 7.02 yards per rush, and 1961 when Ohio State had 8.4 yards per play; in this 2013 game, Ohio State averaged 8.5 yards per rushing attempt and 8.6 yards per play in pounding the Wolverines in 46 rushing attempts. The Buckeyes eclipsed several records against the Wolverine defense; it was the most rushing yards of an Ohio State team against Michigan since 1968 when they put up 421 with 7 rushing TDs. Devin Smith caught a 53 yarder for a TD; Jeff Heuermann caught 2 passes for 59 yards and a TD. The defensive line starters, Frank Clark, Jibreel Black, Willie Henry and Brennan Beyer accounted 9 tackles on the day, 3 of those were assisted tackles, no sacks, no tipped passes, and no quarterback hits.
Special Teams created a lot of excitement after Royce Jenkins-Stone was slugged by Freshman Dontre Wilson; both were ejected along with starting Right Guard, Marcus Hall, who came off the bench to throw punches, and then gave a double "finger" to Michigan fans. He showed the class that we've continued to see from the Buckeyes throughout the history of the series. Matt Wile was forced into double duty for Michigan as Brendan Gibbons couldn't play; he has responded with 7 kickoffs with 4 touchbacks, 5 extra points, and 3 punts for a 44 yard average including one downed at the 9 yard line. Dennis Norfleet had 6 returns for a 19.3 yard average with his longest called back on a hold by DeVeon Smith.
Michigan was shorthanded without placekicker Brendon Gibbons and linebacker James Ross in the game; Josh Furman got his 3rd start at Strong Safety over Thomas Gordon who backed up Captain Courtney Avery at Free Safety as well as Furman at Strong Safety.
If the Wolverines had played like that all season on offense, we'd not have 5 losses. The play calling by Al Borges in this game was indicative of how he should have been calling games earlier in the season with our offensive talent; the performance today gives credibility to those who have called for his dismissal. He has been very inconsistent as our offensive coordinator; thus, our offense has been inconsistent, and has led the nation in negative plays. Brady Hoke also needs to dismiss our special teams coach, Dan Ferrigno; it was evident that our poor special teams play, and struggles at the tight end position must hold him accountable. Our running backs and receivers looked great today as did our offensive line; therefore, Fred Jackson, Jeff Hecklinski, and Darrell Funk should be retained on offense. Hoke needs to hire a defensive line coach, and stop trying to be "another assistant," and be the head coach. I've always liked Greg Mattison, but our defense really looked bad today. Our defensive backs have played great all season, and Curt Mallory is doing an exceptional job coaching that group. Our linebacker coaches, Mark Smith and Roy Manning will probably be retained. We definitely need to make changes in the coaching staff before next season to give our players a better chance to win in Big Ten competition; hopefully, Hoke will make the necessary changes. Go Blue!