Observations on the win over Massachusetts, 42-37!
Well, a win is a win, but it is pretty obvious that our defense and special teams are an embarassment to the Michigan football tradition. Massachusetts converts 6 red zones for 37 points, while we convert 5 red zones into 28 points and add two big play scores. We scored 7 points off two Massachusetts turnovers, and they could not convert 2 Michigan turnovers into any points. UMASS dominated time of possession in each an every quarter.
Denard Robinson was 10 of 14 for 241 yards, 2 TDs, a sack and an interception plus 104 yards on 17 carries; he had 345 yards of total offense. Our offense had 525 net yards of total offense and were 4 of 7 in 3rd down conversions with 26 first downs. Daryl Stonum had 3 catches for 122 yards and 2 TDs with 66 and 9 yard grabs. Michael Shaw had 12 carries for 126 yards and 3 TDs. Our offense averaged 9.4 yards per play.
Our "soft" defense allowed the Minute Men 439 yards in total offense including 217 on the ground. Poor tackling or the lack of tackling was evident from the 1st through the fourth quarters. We could only manage one sack. They were able to earn 26 first downs, and were 8 of 14 in 3rd down and 4th down conversions. The Minute Men dominated time of possession from the first quarter to the end of the game, and amassed a 15 minute advantage resulting in 22 additional plays. Their quarterback, Kyle Havens, was 22 of 29 for 222 yards, 1 interception and 2 TDs plus he ran for another score. Julian Talley had 7 catches for 91 yards and a TD. Jon Hernandez had 26 carries for 114 yards and 2 TDs, and John Griffin had 96 yards on 17 carries. Walk-on Jordan Kovacs had 11 tackles, 1 for loss, an interception on the 2 point conversion, a fumble recovery and a forced fumble that resulted in a score that turned out to be the difference in the game. Our defense could only force 3 punts, and 2 turnovers and we gave one of those turnovers right back when Cameron Gordon fumbled his interception. Linebacker Tyler Holmes had 11 tackles for Massachusetts including 1 for loss.
Special teams were also horrid!!! Will Hagerup had a punt blocked. Jeremy Gallon misplayed another punt, and Hawthorne again bailed him out on the recovery at the 16 after they oversnapped a punt that we should have blocked. Seth Broekhuisen misses his and only first field goal attempt, but made all 6 PATs. Brendon Gibbons was doing so poorly on kickoffs setting up excellent field position for Massachusetts that Coach Rod inserted Seth Broekhuisen, and he did kick if further in the second half by an average of 10 yards per kickoff. We have a very poor special teams unit that is eventually going to contribute to either losing or the lack of winning a close game.
It will be nice to have a game where our substitutes may play more minutes next week, but the Big Ten will be a real struggle this year with such a poor combination of defense and special teams. Each year since Coach Rod has arrived, our defense has gotten worse. It is a typical Coach Rod team, great offense with no defense. One of his faults is he has turned over the defense to his defensive coordinator and coaches while he concentrates on the offense. That is not Michigan football, and it is very, very disappointing. If it were not for the 2 quick TDs at the end of the last 1:12 of the first half on the 66 yard strike to Stonum, and the fumble recovery by Kovacs that resulted in another quick 9 yard TD pass to Stonum, we very easily could have lost this game a la Appalachian State.
Injury report: Out for Massachusetts: John Ferrara, Brandon Herron, Carvin Johnson, Mike Jones, Jared Van Slyke, Mike Williams and Troy Woolfolk
50/50%: Junior Hemingway (Hamstring) and Marvin Robinson (Shoulder); Probable 75%: Fitzgerald Touissaint (knee/neck)