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Michigan vs Notre Dame: Postgame Grades from the Wolverines Loss to the Irish

Joe PenkalaCorrespondent IDecember 21, 2014

Michigan vs Notre Dame: Postgame Grades from the Wolverines Loss to the Irish

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    Despite the efforts of the Michigan defense, the Wolverines dropped their second game of the year 13-6 as the Irish earned a huge home victory.

    The Wolverines turned the ball over six times, which ultimately was the difference in the game. Things seemed to come unglued in the second quarter when the Wolverines turned the ball over four times and couldn't score a point. 

    With the loss, Michigan drops to 2-2 as it gets ready to begin conference play. Before moving on, here is a final report card for the Michigan Wolverines. 

Denard Robinson: C-

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    Overall Grade: C-

    From the start to the end of the game Denard Robinson struggled to read the defense and make the smart throw. Against the Irish, Robinson had four interceptions and a fumble.

    Robinson looked good early, but when they entered the second quarter things fell apart as he threw interception after interception.

    As the game entered the second half, Robinson was able to put together some long drives, but at the end of the day he only led the offense to six points and a critical loss on the road. 

Running Backs: C+

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    Overall Grade: C+

    The Michigan rushing attack was effective, but when they were able to put long drives together, they either ended in turnovers or field goals. 

    The Wolverines often turned to Denard Robinson to carry the load and he ended the game with 90 rushing yards. 

    Fitzgerald Toussaint chipped in with 58 yards on the ground, but both he and Robinson were unsuccessful in getting into the endzone. 

    As the Wolverines enter the Big Ten schedule they will need better outings from the rushing game than they saw tonight. 

Wide Receivers: C-

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    Overall Grade: C-

    While the Michigan receivers made some plays, none of them were able to step up and really make a difference. 

    The passing attack was severely hampered by the ineffectiveness of Denard Robinson and the interceptions. 

    Devin Gardner, Jeremy Gallon and Roy Roundtree each had three catches, but they all failed to get into the endzone. 

    Jerald Robinson, Devin Funchess and Drew Dilen also chipped in with receptions, but it become clear that against a tough defense, this Michigan passing attack lacks a big-time weapon. 

Tight Ends: D

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    Overall Grade: D

    The only thing the tight ends can hang their hat on is the blocking in the running game—which was passable. Wolverines tight ends were unable to become a factor in the passing game. 

    When looking at the Wolverines depth chart, Brandon Moore and Mike Kwiatkowski are toward the top, but neither caught a pass against Notre Dame. 

    If the Wolverines are hoping to make a run at a Big Ten title, the tight ends must help take some of the pressure of Denard Robinson. 

Offensive Line: C+

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    Overall Grade: C+

    Much like the rest of the Michigan offense, the offensive line was inconsistent. 

    At times, the offensive line was able to open up some huge holes that made things easy on the Michigan running game. At others, the Irish were able to confuse them with various blitzes that resulted in sacks and turnovers.

    With an experienced offensive line that is made up of three seniors and two juniors, the Wolverines expect better from this group and will need it throughout the year against Big Ten opponents. 

Defensive Line: B+

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    Overall Grade: B+

    The Wolverines defensive line held its own against Notre Dame and made things difficult on the Irish's offense. 

    The success for the defense truly started up front, as they held the Irish under 100 yards on the ground. A turnover or a timely sack would have been ideal, however. 

    Solid play from players like William Campbell truly helped keep Michigan in the game. If this unit is able to play this way during conference play, the Wolverines are going to make life difficult on a lot of offenses. 

Linebackers: A-

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    Overall Grade: A-

    When the Michigan defensive line wasn't getting the job done, they were sustaining blocks and allowing the linebackers to fill gaps and hold the Irish running game at bay.

    The linebacking corps includes playmakers Desmond Morgan and Jake Ryan, who were all over the field. They stepped up in the running game but also were effective in dropping back into pass protection. 

    The entire Michigan defense had an outstanding game but the Michigan linebackers truly set the table for the overall success of the unit. 

Defensive Backs: A

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    Overall Grade: A

    The Michigan secondary was on top of its game and provided the offense a couple of opportunities to convert turnovers into points. 

    Both Raymon Taylor and Thomas Gordon were able to make plays on the ball and get interceptions for the Wolverines defense. 

    Overall, Michigan's secondary held Tommy Rees and Everett Golson to a combined 145 yards passing and also kept them out of the endzone.

    While the defensive effort was wasted in a loss tonight, the Wolverine faithful is hoping there is more to come from this group.

Special Teams: B-

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    Overall Grade: B-

    The Michigan special teams was virtually a non factor against the Irish.

    Brenden Gibbons was 2-for-3 on field goal attempts with both successful attempts coming in the fourth quarter.

    For the Wolverines return game, Dennis Norfleet was able to average almost 30 yards on three separate returns, but never had a return that truly changed field position for Michigan. 

Coaching: B

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    Overall Grade: B

    It's hard to blame the coaches when a team turns the ball over six times. 

    On the offensive side, Brady Hoke appeared to have a gameplan in place that could be successful, but the wheels came off when Denard Robinson was picked off four times in the second quarter. 

    For the defense, the plan was went well. The defense made huge plays, created turnovers and kept the Wolverines in the game. By holding the Irish to only 13 points, Michigan was always in striking distance throughout this game.

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