23 November 2009

Michigan Loses Opener and Loses Forcier for the Season

This game was a perfect example of Murphy's Law for the Wolverines. Everything that could've gone wrong did. On their 3rd play from scrimmage, starting QB Tate Forcier would get injured. This would thrust highly touted QB recruit Mark Charles into the spotlight immediately in his first collegiate game. Forcier would return a few plays later to continue to run the offense. Later in the 1st quarter Foricer would get injured again and this time would have to miss the rest of the 1st half. Forcier would return for the 2nd half, but would get injured 1 final time, this time it will cause him to miss the next 11 weeks which will put him out for the rest of the regular season. Fans can only hope that he can return for the bowl game and be ready to play.

The vast majority of the time that Charles was in the game Michigan was pass only situations so fans never got to see Charles' running prowess which as been so hyped (he only carried the ball twice during the game and 1 of those was a scramble after he couldn't find a receiver). Charles did not throw the ball well at all as he threw 3 picks against ND's very good defense which was playing the pass the entire time he was in the game.

The stats of the game were surprisingly close with the only anomoly being Charles' 3 interceptions. Michigan had slightly more total offense than ND and they threw for more yards than ND (mainly because they were playing catch-up for the majority of the game). They were also tough to get off the field as they converted on 8 of 11 3rd down conversions.

Forcier played well for the short time that he was in there. He completed 8 of 11 passes for 117 yards. Other than him, no other offensive player stood out at all. The defense was lead by SR MLB Kenny Demens who was flying all over the field as he racked up 14 tackles. Michigan's defense played okay and they held ND to only 5 of 11 3rd down conversions, but still they only forced 1 punt the entire game. Also, Michigan's defenders dropped 2 potential INTs that hit them right in the hands, including 1 by starting impact corner (and fastest guy on the team) Boubacar Cissoko which would've been a pick 6 to end the 1st half. In addition to those, Michigan also forced a fumble, but failed to recover it. Michigan is going to have to make the big plays if they want to win the big games.

Michigan will have to lick their wounds as they travel to Cincinnati next week. That week will officially begin the Mark Charles regime in Ann Arbor, 1 2 years earlier than anticipated. This will make things interesting for the rest of the year as he will certainly make some true freshman mistakes. Hopefully Michigan's outstanding defense can help pick up the slack and take some of the pressure off of the Wolverines' new signal caller.

Game Statistics
CategoryNotre DameMichigan

First Downs1920
Total Offense325330
Passing YDS230256
3rd Down Conv5-98-11
4th Down Conv1-10-1
2pt Conv0-01-1
PR Yds07
KR Yds96151
Total Yards421488

19 November 2009

2011 Season Preview

2010 was a breakthrough year for the wolverines as they went 12-1 with a Rose Bowl victory over the California Bears. 2011 looks to be another great year for Michigan fans everywhere. While they did lose some key players from last years team, the Wolverines have reloaded and will be ready to take the college football world by storm.

A moment of silence for our dearly departed...
Michigan lost some good players from last year. FB Mark Moundros was a great blocker to have in the backfield and Steve Schilling will be sorely missed at guard, but they are the only offensive starters to leave. On defense, we were hit harder. We lost leading sacker Ryan Van Bergen who opted to leave a year early for the NFL. We also lost both starting OLBs who accounted for 105 tackles and 11 sacks. The secondary was hardest hit as we lost superstar corner Donovan Warren, and both starting safeties. These 3 players accounted for 10 of Michigan's 21 interceptions last year.

Welcoming back some old friends...

Michigan returns some real studs for 2011. Offensively we have 9 starters returning, including the leading passer, rusher and receiver. They will be lead by JR QB Tate Forcier who had a very solid 2010 campaign. Mike Shaw, the starting HB returns after sitting out most of last season with an injury and he will be backed up by Vincent Smith who lead Michigan in rushing yards last season and led the Big Ten in rushing TDs. Forcier will have some very good targets to throw to as Michigan returns every WR from last season and the starting TE. This receiving core will be anchored by a trio of seniors in Martavious Odoms (the team's leading reciever), Darryl Stonum, and Junior Hemingway. The offensive line is very stout and is lead by superstar David Molk and stud bookends Pat Omameh and Mark Hyuge.

Despite losing some key defensive players, Michigan's defense should be very good this year. The defensive line is ridiculous with Anthony LaLota, Mike Martin, 1st team All American Big Will Campbell, and Craig Roh starting. #1 recruit A.J. Keller will provide some very good depth at DT. The LBs will be tackling everything in site as they are led by 2 SRs and a JR. The secondary will be led by shut down corner Boubacar Cissoko, but with the departure of both starting safeties, this is the weakest part of Michigan's defense.

Looking to the future...
When coach Jello took the reigns of this team Michigan was very young. Now those young players have matured and have blossomed into some very good football players. Everyone is expecting very big things from Michigan and it is up to coach Jello to get his kids to fulfill their promise. We will see very early if Michigan can play up to their potential as they take on the #3 Drunken Irish in their first game of the year. Michigan faces a very tough schedule as they play 5 teams ranked in the preseason top 25. If Michigan can avoid injuries, costly turnovers, and boneheaded mistakes, you can expect them to have a very good year. Coming off of a 12-1 season, there isn't a lot of room to rise, however.

Honoring the outstanding...
Here are the Wolverines that were named to the preseason All Big 10 and All America teams:

1st Team All-American

1st Team All-Conference

2nd Team All-Conference

16 November 2009

Michigan Tames Da Bears in Rose Bowl

Michigan completely routed the Cal Bears in coach Jello's first Rose Bowl. The #4 vs. #12 matchup promised to be a competitive game, but this isn't how things played out at all. Michigan's offense was unstoppable as their starters scored a TD on every single possession. As if that weren't bad enough, Michigan's starters on defense held the bears scoreless as well. In fact, the only points Cal would muster was in the 4th quarter when Michigan's subs were getting some experience and backup HB Fitzgerald Toussaint fumbled the ball deep in Michigan territory and Michigan's 2nd string defense couldn't stop the Bears starting offense on such a short field.

Things got off to a bad start for the bears. After going 3 and out on their first drive, Michigan marched down the field for a TD. On the ensuing kickoff, the bears would return the kick 97 yards for a TD. Or so it would appear. During the run back, coach Jello pointed to the ground on which a yellow hankie sat. This momentum changing 97 yard TD was called back due to a clipping penalty. The bears never recovered from that moment and never got anything going on offense or defense.

Michigan's running game was firing on all cylinders as they racked up 265 yards on the ground including 81 yards and 2 TDs by QB Tate Forcier. In addition to pounding the ball on the ground, Forcier was perfect through the air, connecting on all 14 of his passes for 162 yards and 2 TDs. Michigan would convert on 7 of 9 3rd downs while holding the bears to 1 of 6. All of these factors contributed to Michigan holding the ball for over 20 minutes while the bears' offense was only on the filed for 7 and a half. This totaled to 67 offensive plays run by Michigan to only 32 for the bears.

Forcier dominated the game on the ground and through the air

Game Statistics

First Downs258
Total Offense438167
Passing YDS17395
3rd Down Conv7-91-6
4th Down Conv2-20-1
2pt Conv2-20-1
PR Yds170
KR Yds29135
Total Yards484302

15 November 2009

2010 All Conference and All American Teams Announced

2nd Team All Big 10:
QB Tate Forcier (SO) - 2nd best QB rating in conference, 2,005 passing yards, 365 rushing yards, 25 total TDs, 68.7% completion percentage

HB Vincent Smith (rFR) - 823 rushing yards, 6.6 yards per carry, 13 TDs, 9 20+ yard rushes

C David Molk (rJR) - 12 pancakes, 2 sacks allowed

LE Ryan Van Bergen (rJR) - 57 tackles, 28 TFL, 13 sacks, 1 INT, 3 FF

ROLB Marell Evans (SR) - 65 tackles, 11 TFL, 7 sacks, 2 FF, 1 FR

CB Donovan Warren (SR) - 33 tackles, 4 INT, 1 FR, 1 TD

FS Michael Williams (rJR) - 50 tackles, 4 INT, 1 FR

1st Team All Big 10:

DT William Campbell (SO) - 40 tackles, 13 TFL, 10 sacks, 1 INT, 3 FF

P Shane Johnson (FR) - 40.1 average, 34.0 net average, long of 59, 11 inside the 20

Freshman All American:

HB Vincent Smith (rFR) - Vincent began the year as the #2 guy on the depth chart. After losing #1 guy Mike Shaw in week 4 to an injury Smith stepped in as the starter. He was then injured for 3 weeks himself. When he returned, he took over as the #1 guy for essentially only half of the season. Since he's been healthy, Big 10 defenders have been chasing him all over the field. In his limited playing time he's managed to amass over 800 yards rushing and 13 TDs. He did this on only 124 carries which averaged out to 6.6 yards per carry (4th best in the country). He was an explosive back as he had 9 rushes for over 20 yards which was 3rd best in the nation.

Returner Jeremy Gallon (rFR) - Redshirt receiver Jeremy Gallon didn't see much action at WR (he only caught 12 balls this year) but he was the Wolverines' main threat in the return game. He racked up 712 kick return yards and 263 punt return yards. He didn't return any for TDs, but he did have a 63 yard kick return.

1st Team All American:

DT William Campbell (SO) - In only his 2nd year with the Wolverines, Campbell has been selected to the 1st team All America list. He had an impressive 10 sacks this year which was 4th best in the nation for a DT. He also had 40 tackles, 13 of which were for losses. As a freshman, Campbell was 2nd on the team last year with 7 sacks and he clearly didn't suffer from a sophomore slump as he has improved on those numbers this year. He is a very highly rated player (one of the best on our team) and all hopes are that he will return for another dominating year as a JR. We will have to wait and see and this reporter suggests that the fans enjoy his playing while he is still there. At 6'5 and 334 lbs, very good strength, tackling ability, a devastating power move and incredible block shedding ability, there's no doubt that Big Will is going to be a terror at the next level.

08 November 2009

Michigan Finally Snaps 6 Game Skid vs. Hairless Nuts

Just 1 week after clinching a spot in the Rose Bowl, the Wolverines played the 1 game that matters the most in Ann Arbor. The hated silver bastards from down south came into town, and despite their terrible record, they came ready to play. The Wolverines looked shell shocked in the first quarter as they were just blitzed by the hairless nuts. They jumped out to a quick 21-7 lead and you could almost hear a collective "not again!" come from the 106+ thousand fans in attendance. The 1st quarter saw the nuts score on a 73 yard TD reception from Pryor to Sanzenbacher and a 96 yard kickoff return by Thomas.

The wolverines were able to weather this opening storm, however as their defense would shutout the nuts for the next 2 quarters and only give up 7 points in the 4th. Michigan's offense was fairly consistent the entire game as they scored in every quarter. In the end, the would come away with a 35-28 victory and snap an excruciating 6 year streak of losses to the silver guys.

Never has a victory formation tasted so sweet

As is often the case with Michigan, this game was decided on the ground. Michigan managed 230 yards on the ground while holding the hairless nuts to a stupefying -47 yards, thanks in part to 6 sacks. While the nuts couldn't run the ball, Pryor was scary through the air as he passed for 319 yards and 3 TDs, but also 2 interceptions. Forcier was not to be outdone, however. He was very efficient passing the ball as he completed 14 of 18 passes for 139 yards and 2 TDs, while also rushing for 64 yards. The main weapon on the ground was freshman Vincent Smith who ran for 113 yards and 2 TDs.

Despite their 11-1 record, 8-0 Big 10 record, their #5 ranking and their Rose Bowl bid, everyone in Ann Arbor knew that a loss here would make this season yet another failure. Now that coach Jello has gotten the monkey off of Michigan's back, things are finally looking promising in Ann Arbor.

Game Statistics
CategoryOhio StateMichigan

First Downs822
Total Offense272370
Passing YDS319140
3rd Down Conv3-109-12
4th Down Conv3-30-1
2pt Conv0-00-0
PR Yds920
KR Yds232118
Total Yards513508

05 November 2009

Michigan Clinches a Trip to Pasadena in Coach Jello's Second Year

While it was an extremely tough game, the Wolverines were the ones celebrating in the end

#7 Michigan traveled to Camp Randal to battle the #25 Badgers in a game that took everything that Michigan could muster to pull off the win. This game was back and forth all day and wasn't decided until there were 10 seconds remaining in the 4th quarter. Things started off slowly as the score was 3-3 after 1 quarter. Wisconsin outscored the Wolverines 10-7 in the 2nd quarter to take a 13-10 lead going into the half. The 3rd quarter saw an offensive explosion of 35 points where teams had their offenses, defenses, and special teams making huge plays.

Michigan started the scoring with a 34 yard TD pass from Forcier to Odoms. Wisconsin answered back on the ensuing kickoff with a 97 yard return by Anderson. Later, Wisconsin's defense would capitalize on 1 of 3 Michigan fumbles in the game and return one for an 87 yard TD. Not to be outdone, on the ensuing kickoff, Michigan's Terrence Robinson would return the kickoff 91 yards for a TD. Wisconsin finished the 3rd quarter scoring barrage with a 3 yard TD pass to take a 34-24 lead into the 4th quarter.

Michigan's defense played good enough to get the victory

Forcier would hit Roy Roundtree for a 20 yard TD pass 30 seconds into the 4th to cut the lead to 34-31. Wisconsin's defense would toughen up, making it very difficult for Michigan to move the ball. On the one drive where Michigan was finally gaining some yards, Terrance Robinson would fumble the ball yet again to end their drive. Wisconsin added a FG midway through the 4th to take a 6 point lead. Late in the 4th quarter, Forcier would do what he does best as he orchestrated a beautiful 85 yard drive which he capped off with a 2 yard TD run with 10 seconds left to give Michigan the victory and a Rose Bowl birth.

Forcier proved once again that he is the man!

Michigan's #1 ranked rushing defense got the job done, holding a very good rushing team to only 34 yards on 23 carriers. Michigan's #2 ranked rushing attack, however, never got going as they only rushed for 180 yards on 40 carries. Luckily, Forcier was an absolute beast in the game. He completed 18 of 22 passes for 243 yards, 3 TDs, and 0 Ints. He also racked up 48 rushing yards on only 12 carries (2 of which were sacks) and had the game winning TD run. This was enough to garner him Big 10 Player of the Week honors. Michigan's defense, while giving up a season high 38 points, was very disruptive as they amassed 6 sacks and 3 interceptions during the game.

Big Will Campbell and the Wolverine D put a hurting on Wisconsin

Now Michigan will prepare for the only game that really matters of the season as they will host the silver guys from down south next week.

Here are some highlights from the game. (Windows 7 came with a new movie maker which is very, very different from the old one so I'll have to get used to it before I can make some more highlight reels)

Darryl Stonum TD reception

Roy Roundtree TD reception

Terrence Robinson's kick return for a TD

Martavious Odoms TD reception

DE Anthony LaLota interception of a screen pass

Game Statistics

First Downs1812
Total Offense423299
Passing YDS243265
3rd Down Conv6-114-11
4th Down Conv0-00-0
2pt Conv0-00-0
PR Yds3838
KR Yds255257
Total Yards716594

01 November 2009

Michigan Dominates Minnesota to Hang on to The LIttle Brown Jug

Michigan had no problems with Minnesota as they beat them for the 20th time in their last 21 games. Forcier was on fire, hitting 15 of 20 passes for 215 yards and 2 TDs. On the ground, the 2 headed rushing attack of Vincent Smith and Terrence Robinson combined for 148 yards on 23 carries while Martavious Odoms accumulated 94 yards of receiving which was a season high for any Wolverine receiver.

Michigan's defense dominated as they held the Gophers to only 40 rushing yards and 199 passing yards. They also allowed only 3 of 10 3rd downs to be converted. This win means that Michigan only needs to win 1 of their final 2 games to win the Big 10 title outright in only coach Jello's 2nd season.

Game Statistics

First Downs1420
Total Offense239421
Passing YDS199215
3rd Down Conv3-106-10
4th Down Conv0-00-0
2pt Conv0-00-0
PR Yds2242
KR Yds23372
Total Yards494535