29 August 2009

Run, Wolverines..... Ruuuuuuuuuuuuuunnnnn!


Today, the Wolverine running game hit its stride as they ran left, right, around, through, and over the Boilermaker defense. When it was all said and done, the Wolverines had tallied 311 rushing yards while holding the Boilers to a humiliating -10 yards rushing. The stats tell the entire story in this game. In addition to the rushing stats above, the Wolverines scored on 7 rushing touchdowns had averaged very nearly 8 yards per carry. They amassed 476 yards of offense compared to only 196 for Purdue. Thanks in part to 10 touchbacks on 10 kickoffs, Michigan nearly tripled the boilers in total yards, 563 to 196. Purdue's defense was so bad that the Wolverines managed to score 19 more points than their previous season high. Michigan also had 3 times as many sacks as the Boilers, 6 to 2, including 1 by NCAA leader, Brandon Graham who picked up his tenth of the season. 2 more sacks and he will tie the school record for sacks in a season.

While the running game was churning away, the Wolverine passing attack was efficient when called upon. As was expected, junior Nick Sheridan got the start over freshman Denard Robinson in place of injured starter Tate Forcier. Sheridan completed 8 of 11 passes for 165 yards. That's over 20 yards per completion. Sheridan has been a pleasant surprise in the limited playing time that he has seen this season. He has a gaudy 250.9 QB rating, has thrown 3 TDs without an interception and has completed 81% of his passes. He hasn't been throwing little dinks and dunks either as he is averaging 18 yards per completion.

The Wolverines will be anticipating their next game as it will be against Big Ten powerhouse Wisconsin and their new coach Raz. It is still uncertain whether or not Forcier will make it back in time for this game as he was still questionable against Purdue. Coach Briggs knows that he has his work cut out for him going into Madison, and this game will be a good indicator as to whether or not they've improved since their week 2 humiliation against Notre Dame.

Here are highlights of 5 of the Wolverine's 8 TDs
video



Game Statistics
CategoryPurdueMichigan

Score1461
First Downs1116
Total Offense196476
Rushes-YDS-TD26-(-10)-040-311-7
COMP-ATT-TD17-30-28-12-0
Passing YDS206165
Sacked62
3rd Down Conv7-154-8
4th Down Conv0-00-0
2pt Conv0-00-0
Redzone-TD-FG2-2-07-5-1
Turnovers21
Fumbles-Lost0-00-0
Intercepted21
PR Yds016
KR Yds071
Total Yards196563
Punts-Average7-35.71-50
Penalties-YDS0-02-10
T.O.P.12:4215:27

27 August 2009

MLB Obi Ezeh Named Big Ten Player of the Week


Following a very impressive performance at Illinois this past Saturday, junior MLB Obi Ezeh was named the Big 10 PotW. Ezeh was flying all over the field and was a vocal leader for the Wolverines. He tallied 12 tackles, 2 of them for losses, and also scored the Wolverine's first points of the game as he jumped the route of TE Michael Hoomanawanui to pick off a Juice Williams pass and then returned it 53 yards for a TD.

Ezeh joins defensive end Brandon Graham as the only other Wolverine to win PotW honors, which is fitting. Both of those players are having very good seasons thus far. Ezeh's team leading 69 tackles are the 3rd best so far in the Big 10 this year. Graham's 9 sacks lead the Big Ten and also are tied for the most in the country. Wolverine fans can only hope that these two finish the season as strongly as they've started.

Wolverines Survive in Champaign, 42-32

Interceptions were a plenty on Saturday

This ugly game proved one thing about a college football game; the only thing that matters is the final score. Michigan's offense was completely inept (especially with Denard Robinson in at quarterback) while the Illini offense was able to gain massive yards through the air. If one were to merely examine the stats, they would assume the Illini won the game due to the vast disparity between the two teams. Here are some of the stats in question:
Total offense: Michigan 246 - Illinois 463
Passing yards: Michigan 120 - Illinois 464!
Redzone: Michigan 5-2-0(40%) - Illinois 5-4-0(80%)
When it was all said and done, however it was apparent that Illinois' QBs wanted to lose the game more than Michigan did. Even though the Illini QBs were more experienced and talented, they made more mistakes, including what is undoubtedly the most bone headed play this reporter has ever seen.

Denard Robinson, making his third start, has probably made his final start of the season. We are all hoping that starter Tate Forcier will be back in 2 weeks for the Wisconsin game, but it will likely be Nick Sheridan that starts next week against Purdue. Robinson was simply not getting the job done in the first half and went 0/5 with 2 INTs. With less than 2 minutes left in the half and Michigan starting on their own 20 yard line, coach Briggs put Sheridan into the game. Briggs said it was because they needed to throw the ball and Robinson's speed wasn't needed in that situation. Sheridan proceeded to throw a TD pass to cap a 3 play 80 yard TD drive. Briggs left Sheridan in for the rest of the game and he ended up going 6/6 for 120 yards and 2 TDs. This makes Sheridan 8/8 with 3 TDs in his limited play in the last 2 games.

Both offenses were horrendous in the 1st half. Before the 80 yard drive led by Sheridan, the score was 21-18 Michigan. Illinois had 1 pick 6 while all of Michigan's points were off of pick 6es including a terrible 0 yard pick 6 thrown by McGee. Michigan's offense play just "not badly" enough to hold on to the victory in the 2nd half. Sr HB Brandon Minor made saw his first playing time since his injury and rushed the ball 15 times for 83 yards and a TD. On the defensive side of the ball, Michigan tallied 3 INTs (all returned for TDs) and 6 sacks. Michigan isn't expected to be challenged next week versus Purdue, but the following week they have an anticipated matchup with the Badgers of Wisconsin.

Here are some of the horrendous passes thrown this week.

video


Box Score
Team1st2nd3rd4thFinal
#18 Michigan
7
21
14
0
42
Illinios
6
13
0
13
32


Game Statistics
CategoryMichiganIllinois

Score4232
First Downs1024
Total Offense246463
Rushes-YDS-TD35-126-121-(-1)-1
COMP-ATT-TD6-12-238-54-3
Passing YDS120464
Sacked36
3rd Down Conv5-128-14
4th Down Conv0-01-2
2pt Conv0-00-1
Redzone-TD-FG5-2-05-4-0
Turnovers23
Fumbles-Lost0-00-0
Intercepted23
PR Yds1519
KR Yds10029
Total Yards361511
Punts-Average4-47.54-36.3
Penalties-YDS2-151-10
T.O.P.13:4814:11

23 August 2009

Wolverines are back in the top 25

Following Michigan's defeat of #3 Penn State, the Wolverines are in both top 25 polls. Before the PSU game, Michigan didn't receive a single vote in either poll. After the game they are ranked #18 in the coach's poll and #17 in the media poll.

DENARD?????????

Last week, while taking on one of the worst defenses in the country, Denard Robinson made his starting debut because Michigan's starting QB was injured. In this game, Robinson had the best passing performance by a Michigan QB in the last 2 seasons. Today's opponent, #3Penn State proved to be much tougher than Marshall. While Marshall only sacked Robinson 1 time while Robinson put up the most pass attempts of the season, PSU was all over him all game. They sacked him several times, hit him more times, and generally pressured him even more. They even forced 1 of his 2 interceptions because of their awesome pressure. When it was all said and done, Robinson had 2 interceptions and 2 fumbles and almost single handedly handed the victory over to Penn State.

However, Penn States prolific offense sputtered all day long and could only muster 14 points (while their defense got 7 thanks to Robinson). They could only tally 239 yards of offense on the day which wasn't enough to get the job done. On the other side of the ball, Penn State's defense was incapable of stopping Michigan's offense. In fact, the only team that could stop Michigan's offense was Michigan's offense. If it weren't for Robinson's 4 turnovers, the game wouldn't have been nearly as close. For the second game in a row, kicker/punter Zoltan Mesko kicked all of his kickoffs deep into the end zone and didn't have any returned so Penn State started every possession that didn't result from a turnover from their own 20 yard line.

Michigan's next 2 games are ones that they should win and then they travel to Madison to take on the Badgers in a very important Big Ten clash. Injured starting RB Brandon Minor (who missed his 2nd game in a row) will be ready for that game. It's still a mystery as to whether or not QB Tate Forcier will return from his injury by then. After watching Robinson's game this week, Wolverine fans can only hope that Forcier will make it back in time to face the Badgers.

Here are Robinson's low lights from the game.
video



Box Score
Team1st2nd3rd4thFinal
#3Penn State
7
0
7
7
21
Michigan
3
7
7
10
27

Team Statistics

#3Penn State
Michigan
Score21
27
First Downs9
20
Total Off.239
386
Rushes-Yds-TD20-65-1
52-224-1
Comp-Att-TD17-25-1
10-18-2
Passing Yards174
142
3rd down conv.2-9(22%)
9-15(60%)
4th down conv2-4(50%)
2-2(100%)
Red Zone-TD-FG1-1-0(100%
4-3-1(100%)
Turnovers1
4
Fumbles lost0
2
Intercepted1
2
T.O.P.
9:04
18:58

Players of the Game
Penn State - K. Latham - 11 tackles (2TFL), 1 sack
Michigan - D. Stonum - 3 rec, 40 yards, 2 TD

19 August 2009

DENARD!!!


On a rain soaked field Saturday afternoon, all eyes were on true freshman QB, Denard Robinson. Starting QB Tate Forcier was injured last week and will miss the next 4 games or so. The major question in Ann Arbor was, how will Denard Robinson play as he was thrust into the starting role. Denard answered this question with an emphatic "pretty damned well!" When it was all said and done, he put together the best passing performance in the last 2 seasons. However, this was against Marshall, who had the 23rd worst defense in the country. The real test of what we can expect from Robinson will come next week when he has to face #3 Penn State. Robinson used both his feet and his arm to dismantle the Herd defense, but he also made some freshman mistakes. It's those mistakes that he can't afford against Penn State and he only has 1 week to learn from them.

Michigan was also playing without starting HB and leading rusher Brandon Minor who may or may not be able to play against Penn State. Michael Shaw had an okay game at best in replacing him so we'll have to see if Minor can go next week. Senior HB Carlos Brown made big plays whenever he touched the ball as he tallied 62 yards on only 6 carries. Sophomore Martavious Odoms was Robinson's favorite target as he had 125 yards and a TD on 7 catches. Senior punter/kicker Zoltan Mesko missed his first FG attempt of the year (a 55 yarder), but he was very solid in punting (45.5 yard avg) and was stellar in kickoff duty as all 7 of his kickoffs were downed in the endzone. Michigan's defense got the job done when they had to as they only allowed 1 3rd down conversion on 9 attempts. This allowed Michigan to controll the ball for over 20 minutes compared to only 8 minutes for Marshall.

Here are some highlight from Denard Robinson's first game as a starter:

video


Box Score
Team1st2nd3rd4thFinal
Marshall
3
7
7
0
17
Michigan
7
14
7
14
42

Team Statistics

Marshall
Michigan
Score17
42
First Downs9
22
Total Off.229
482
Rushes-Yds-TD20-61-1
39-170-3
Comp-Att-TD13-23-1
20-32-2
Passing Yards168
312
3rd down conv.1-9(11%)
8-12(66%)
4th down conv0-0
0-0
Red Zone-TD-FG1-1-0(100%)
5-4-0(80%)
Turnovers2
2
Fumbles lost1
1
Intercepted1
1
T.O.P.
8:22
20:32

Players of the Game
Marshall - T. Drakeford - 14 tackles (2TFL), 1 sack
Michigan - D. Robinson - 19/28, 309 yards, 1 TD, 16 car, 53 yds, 1 TD

18 August 2009

Brandon Graham named Big 10 Player of the Week


After his dominating performance against Iowa last week, senior defensive end Brandon Graham was named the Big Ten Defensive Player of the Week. During that game, the Wolverine captain, whom most would agree is the best player on the entire team, tallied 8 tackles (6 of them for a loss), and 4 huge sacks. After the game, most people thought that his counterpart from Iowas, Clayborn, would be a shoe in for the award with his 7 tackle, 6 TFL, 5 sack performance, but Graham probably got the nod because the Wolverines won the game.

Graham becomes the first Wolverine to be named Player of the Week this season.

15 August 2009

Wolverines Limp Away From Ugly Bloodbath in Iowa

Michigan's players made enough plays to pull out the victory

Michigan just played their most brutal game of the season as they beat the Iowa Hawkeyes 38-28, but it was a very costly and ugly win. The first quarter was about as bad of a start to a game as one could imagine for the Wolverines. For starters, they turned the ball over twice and gave up the first TD on a 13 yard pass from Stanzi to Sandeman. What's worse, Senior HB and offensive captain Brandon Minor would sprain his ACL on only his 3rd carry of the game. He would miss the rest of the game and it is feared that he will miss at least his next game as well.

Iowa's defense was absolutely relentless. When it was all said and done, they would force 3 turnovers and record 8 sacks including 5 from junior DE Adrian Clayborn. All of these 8 sacks would come in the first half while QB Tate Forcier would only be able to get off 7 pass attempts. This ridiculous pressure would certainly weigh heavily on the mind of head coach Briggs. In the 2nd half, the Hawkeyes would not record another sack, but this is because Forcier would only attempt 3 more passes for the rest of the game. Coach Briggs completely took the air out of the ball and ran on almost every single down. When asked about this after the game coach Briggs said "sure it wasn't even remotely fun having to run the ball on every down, but what else could I do? I couldn't allow them to keep teeing off on my quarterback like they did in the first half. This was easily the least fun game of football I've ever coached, but at least we got the win. I suppose that's all that matters, right?......... Right?"

Unfortunately for the Wolverines, the carnage didn't stop at halftime. Early in the 3rd quarter, 2nd string HB Michael Shaw would be injured and he would end up missing the rest of the game. This really tested the running back depth of the Wolverines, but luckily for them, they have 2 decent senior running backs in the 3rd and 4th string slots in Carlos Brown and Kevin Grady. At one point in the 4th quarter Carlos Brown would go down too with an injury, but luckily he returned. Michigan would outscore the Hawkeyes 14-0 in the 3rd to take a 28-12 lead into the 4th quarter. Iowa's passing game was neigh unstoppable today and they really went to work in the 4th quarter, throwing for 2 TDs. This last TD would bring the Hawkeyes to within 3, 31-28. Michigan continued to run the ball to chew up the clock. Then, just about the worst possible thing happened to the Wolverines. With only 56 seconds remaining in the game and leading by only 3 points, HB Carlos Brown would take a pitch from Forcier and scamper 13 yards for a touchdown that would finally put the game out of reach. Unfortunately, as Forcier made the pitch he was hit in the midsection and would suffer an abdominal tear. Team doctors said that they expect him to miss about 4 weeks as he recovers. This will include crucial games at Illinois and hosting #3 Penn State. Wolverine fans will get to see what backup quarterback Denard Robinson can do next week against Marshall.

Here are some highlights of the carnage that ensued this evening.
video


Box Score
Team1st2nd3rd4thFinal
Michigan
7
7
14
10
38
Iowa
6
6
0
16
28

Team Statistics

Mich
Iowa
Score38
28
First Downs12
14
Total Off.330
375
Rushes-Yds-TD37-176-4
28-27-0
Comp-Att-TD9-12-1
29-37-4
Passing Yards154
348
3rd down conv.6-9(66%)
9-17(52%)
4th down conv1-1(100%)
2-3(67%)
Red Zone-TD-FG4-4-0(100%)
1-1-0(100%)
Turnovers3
2
Fumbles lost2
1
Intercepted1
1
T.O.P.
14:30
13:29

Players of the Game
Mich - Brandon Graham - 8 tackles (6 TFL), 4 sacks
Iowa - C. Sandeman - 10 rec, 169 yards, 2 TD

14 August 2009

Michigan Reclaims the Paul Bunyon Trophy


With last years 35-21 victory in Ann Arbor, the Michigan State Spartans had captured the Paul Bunyon trophy for the first time in 7 years. This clearly did not sit well with the Wolverines and new head coach Briggs mentioned at the beginning of this year that regaining this trophy was one of his main goals this season. Well, coach Briggs can put a checkmark in that particular box as his Wolverines had their way with the Spartans on their own home turf. As is becoming a theme this year, the Wolverine defense was dominant and didn't allow a single touchdown on the day. On the offensive side of the ball, the Wolverines got it done mainly on the ground.

Brandon Minor quiets the Spartan crowd after a TD run

Michael Shaw would begin the scoring with a 12 yard TD run, which would be the first of 4 rushing TDs for the Wolverines. After another Shaw TD run and a 9 yard rushing TD by Brandon Minor, the Wolverines took a 21-6 lead into the half. Minor would score again in the 3rd quarter and the Spartans could only muster 1 more FG and would lose by a score of 33-9. In what would prove to be a key part of the game, the Wolverines were efficient on third down (completing 61% of their conversions) while the Spartans were held to only a 27% third down conversion. Because of this, the Wolverines would dominate time of possesion 18 minutes to 10. Turnovers were another factor as the Wolverines protected the ball very well and didn't turn it over while forcing 2 interceptions against the Spartans. Brandon Minor would earn player of the game honors with 121 yards and 2 TDs rushing the ball.

Here are the highlights of this game:

video



Box Score
Team1st2nd3rd4thFinal
Michigan
7
14
7
5
33
MSU
3
3
3
0
9

Team Statistics

Mich
MSU
Score33
9
First Downs16
15
Total Off.357
270
Rushes-Yds-TD42-193-4
21-54
Comp-Att-TD8-20-0
19-34-0
Passing Yards164
216
3rd down conv.8/13(61%)
3/11(27%)
4th down conv0/0
0/1(0%)
Red Zone-TD-FG5-4-0*80%)
2-0-2(100%
Turnovers0
2
Fumbles lost0
0
Intercepted0
2
T.O.P.
17:50
10:38

08 August 2009

Michigan Wins Big Ten Conference Opener, 28-3

Michigan's defense intimidated the Hoosiers all day
Michigan's defense dominated the game this afternoon while Forcier really came into his own as a passer. In the end, the Wolverines would defeat the Hoosiers 28-3. The game was really won in the trenches today as both of Michigan's lines would dominate their opposition. Michigan's offensive line would give Forcier all day to throw the ball while the Wolverine's front 4 on defense caused all kinds of havov, resulting in 6 sacks on the day. Michigan's defense would hold the Hoosiers to only 3 yards rushing on 26 carries and only 212 yards of total offense (Indiana entered the game 4th in the Big 10 in total offense) and were led by senior captain, Brandon Graham, who logged 9 tackles and a sack on the day.

On offense, Michigan mostly ran the ball but when they threw it, Forcier gave Wolverines fans a glimpse of what he's capable of in the future. He would go 6 for 8 for 158 yards and 3 touchdowns, including a 78 yard bomb where he hit a streaking receiver in stride. Brandon Minor chipped in with a 100+ yard rushing performance.

Next week the Wolverines will go to East Lansing to try to avenge their lost last year to the Spartans. Here are the highlights of this week's game.


video




Box Score
Team1st2nd3rd4thFinal
Indiana
0
3
0
03
Michigan14
7
70
28

Team Statistics

IU
Mich
Score3
28
First Downs13
11
Total Off.212
320
Rushes-Yds-TD26-3-0
38-162-1
Comp-Att-TD21-31-0
6-8-3
Passing Yards209
158
3rd down conv.8/15(53%)
4/9(44%)
4th down conv1/3(33%)
2/2(100%)
Red Zone-TD-FG1-0-1(100%)
4-3-0(75%)
Turnovers2
1
Fumbles lost1
1
Intercepted1
0
T.O.P.
13:37
14:46

05 August 2009

Wolverines Dismantle Eagles of Eastern Michigan 41-6

The Wolverines had much to celebrate on Saturday

Michigan rebounded nicely from their thrashing against Notre Dame by beating up Eastern Michigan to the tune of 41-6. Michigan would score early and often and were never threatened by the Eagles as they held them to only 2 field goals. While Michigan's defense was beaten like a red headed step child last week, they are the ones that began the touchdown scoring frenzy as Stevie Brown recovered a fumble and then flew 46 yards down the sideline for a touchdown. On Michigan's next possession, senior running back Brandon Minor would end the first quarter by rumbling for a 67 yard touchdown run to put Michigan up 17-3.


Stevie Brown returns a fumble for a 46 yard touchdown



Michigan's offense would get 242 rushing yards against Eastern Michigan's sieve-like defense while also passing for 191 yards. Michigan's defense was torched through the air to the tune of 234 yards, but their run defense was very solid and only gave up 31 yards on 33 carries. Brandon Minor would win player of the game honors by rushing for 131 yards and 2 touchdowns on only 12 carries.

Really only one bad thing happened to Michigan and it happened late in the fourth quarter. By this time Michigan was giving it's second team some playing time and freshman quarterback Denard Robinson would strain his pectoral on an option play and will miss the next 2 weeks. This could pose a very interesting problem for coach Briggs. There is no doubt that freshman Tate Forcier is the Wolverines starter, but Robinson is a very similar type of quarterback and they are both suited to play the style of offense that coach Briggs is looking for. Because of this, Briggs knows that if Forcier gets injured he has Robinson to back him up. With Robinson out for a couple of weeks (which will include a crucial grudge match with in state rival Michigan State) this means that Junior Nick Sheridan will have to be the back up, and he is nowhere near as capable as Robinson.

This leads one to wonder if coach Briggs will continue to be as aggressive with Forcier as he has been thus far (Forcier is 2nd on the team with 25 carries, only 4 behind starting halfback, Brandon Minor). One can expect Minor to get many more carrier in these next couple of weeks, but this will also take away a huge part of the Wolverines' offense if Forcier is not allowed to run. We will have to wait until next week as the Wolverines host the Hoosiers in their Big 10 conference opener.

Box Score
Team1st2nd3rd4thFinal
Eastern Michigan
3
0
3
06
Michigan17
7
710
41

Team Statistics

EMU
Mich
Score6
41
First Downs17
18
Total Off.265
433
Rushes-Yds-TD33-31-0
37-242-2
Comp-Att-TD20-29-0
13-21-2
Passing Yards234
191
3rd down conv.2/13(15%)4/10(40%)
4th down conv1/1(100%)
1/1(100%)
Red Zone-TD-FG2-0-1(50%3-2-1(100%)
Turnovers1
2
Fumbles lost1
1
Intercepted0
1
T.O.P.
14:37
13:23

02 August 2009

Irish Embarass Wolverines in Ann Arbor, 35-10

James Aldridge let's Obi Ezeh know who's running the show


Things couldn't have gone more wrong for the Wolverines on Saturday as they were beat down and beaten up by Notre Dame. Coach Briggs was quoted before the game as saying "we need to play mistake free football to win this game." Michigan went out and did the exact opposite of that. On Notre Dame's first drive, they marched the ball 76 yards in 9 plays, including a few key 3rd and long conversions, to score a touchdown. On Michigan's second possession, freshman quarterback Tate Forcier would throw a pick 6 to put the Irish up 14-0. Michigan would then follow this int on their next possesion with a fumble by senior running back Brandon Minor.

Michigan fans had a short lived ray of hope in the 2nd quarter as Donovan Warren would intercept Clausen and return it to the house to apparently cut the lead to 14-10. Unfortunately for the Wolverines, however, this touchdown would be called back due to a holding penalty on the return. The demoralized Wolverines would then go three and out. Notre Dame would score a third touchdown with 6 seconds remaining in the 2nd quarter and would take a 21-3 lead into the half.

The Wolverines would try to keep pace with the Irish, but were completely beaten up in the 2nd half. The Irish would run the ball right down the Wolverines' throats and there was nothing they could do to stop them. Armando Allen would receive Player of the Game awards as he rushed for 151 yards on only 12 carries. He would go untouched on his lone touchdown run as 4 Wolverine defeneders were all knocked on their backs during the play. This is the sort of physical play that destroyed the Wolverines all game.


Offensively, the Wolverines were beyond terrible. They would turn the ball over 4 times while only managing 83 rushing yards and 176 passing yards. All game the Irish defenders were simply too fast and too strong for the Wolverines. They were a step ahead of the Wolverine offense all day. Coach Briggs clearly has some work to do to get his team ready for a grueling Big 10 schedule. They will need some major improvements on both sides of the ball, and I really hope that he can turn things around.





Here are the highlights (or lowlights if you're a Wolverine fan) from the game.
video

Box Score
Team1st2nd3rd4thFinal
Notre Dame14
7
14
035
Michigan0
3
70
10

Team Statistics

NDMich
Score35
10
First Downs1315
Total Off.299
259
Rushes-Yds-TD27-155-324-83-1
Comp-Att-TD11-20-114-28-0
Passing Yards144176
3rd down conv.7/11(63%)6/11(54%)
4th down conv0/0
0/1(0%
Red Zone-TD-FG2-2-0(100%1-1-0(100%)
Turnovers1
4
Fumbles lost01
Intercepted1
3
PR Yards21
0
KR Yards62
159
Total Yards383418