Last Week: Lost to Michigan State 28-14
We'll get to what Michigan State accomplished a little later, but for right now let's look at what Michigan accomplished.
The Wolverines were able to put together one impressive 80-yard scoring drive to open the game, in which the running game was effective and Denard Robinson used movement out of the pocket and the threat of his legs to complete passes on the edge and move the chains.
From there, Michigan managed to send its fanbase into a tailspin of anguish and self pity, make Denard Robinson look like his former freshman-self, and give sportswriters across the country an excuse to recycle the same column they've run the past two Octobers vis-a-vis the Wolverines.
So what went wrong?
Everything doesn't quite cover it, but it comes close. Offensively, the Wolverines never found a way to deal with Michigan State pressure from the front seven and very early got away from the run game that had worked well on the first drive.
Part of that is due to just how well Michigan State's defensive line played, but a great deal of blame falls on the Michigan offensive line's inability to pick up blitzes and deal with Spartan defenders jumping snap counts.
Robinson, for what it is worth, looked worse than he has at any time in his tenure as a Michigan quarterback. He was unable to deal with the windy conditions, often missing receivers and even defenders by wide margins.
Offensive coordinator Al Borges brought in backup Devin Gardner on several occasions as a change of pace, but that simply telegraphed to the defense that the play was either going to be a hand off to Robinson on a jet-sweep or a pass.
Defensively, Michigan actually played a somewhat solid game. While there were some problems containing Spartan backs on runs to the edges, Michigan was fortunate to (somewhat inadvertently) force two turnovers, and because of great field position supplied by punter Will Hagerup the defense was often able to set the offense up with good field position.
The problem on the day was the culmination of fears about the new offense, coordinator Al Borges, and Denard Robinson. The Wolverine offense looked like it was being called out of a PS3 playbook. One play would be from the I-form, the next from a shotgun spread. At no point after the first drive did Michigan look like the same offense it had been earlier this season.
The question now is just what does this mean for the future? Michigan gets a bye week then a home game against Purdue, but the last four games of the schedule ramp up significantly with back-to-back road contests at Iowa and Illinois followed by home games against Nebraska and Ohio State.
These games are all winnable, but if this team doesn't respond in a positive manner, an 0-4 end of the season is in play. After that, its only a matter of time before someone mentions the hot seat.
Next Week: BYE