Bottom line: You can't win a football game after turning the football over five times.
But Michigan almost did, and probably should have.
This was a game of opposites for the 2009 Wolverines. The offensive line played well, Brandon Minor ran for just short of 100 yards and Tate "The Great" really wasn't.
This young team plays hard and sometimes dumb. Either way, I was very proud of how they competed in a very difficult, and cold, environment.
The killers were the turnovers. Four of them were unforced.
Forcier's first turnover was a terrible decision. The second slipped out of his hand on a bubble screen pass. Minor had a fumble (the only forced turnover), Matthews dropped a punt and Denard had an "air mail" pick on the final drive.
The defense played very well in it's best effort of the year.
Boubacar Cissoko has been suspended for breaking team rules. (Rumors say he has been dogging it in practice and smoking marijuana during off times.)
Troy Woolfolk played pretty well moving back to corner. Mike Williams did not play as well in replacing Woolfolk. He gave up two easy touchdowns to the tight end and wasn't deep enough on a long pass on third-and-24.
Forcier struggled to manage the game in the second half and I agree with Coach Rod's decision to pull him and getting Denard time in the 4th quarter. I would have had Tate back in to run the final drive, but you can't really question Rodriguez's decision after Denard had marched the team down the field for a touchdown just minutes before.
This wasn't a game Michigan was supposed to win. But they competed for 60 minutes and, had a chance at game's end.
This team is growing up every week and there will be more special moments this year and the years to come. This is not the year for championships, it's the year to make a bowl game and build for the future.
- The turnovers reminded us of last year. These are inexcusable and need to be fixed in practice.
- The defense on second- or third-and-long. What is the problem here? Why can't we stop anyone in third-and-really long?
- Mike Williams struggled at safety most of the day.
- The defense played very hard all day and gave Michigan a chance to win with a pick-six, a goal line stance and a stop after the onsides kick.
- Denard ran the offense well until his last pass.
- The offensive line was much improved against a very strong defensive line.
- In the running game, Minor had 95 yards and Denard had 49 in just over one drive.
- Brandon Graham was great, as usual
- Zoltan was incredible in punting the ball and flipping the field.
Wolverines, don't hold your head down today. You played hard and you can learn and build on this performance.
By the way, I'm not buying the quarterback controversy and that there's friction on this team. That is media talk. Sure, Tate didn't want to be benched. But he was not running the offense well in the second half.
The media is trying to paint this team as one not on the same page after two games. Michigan wasn't favored in either one of these games but could have won both.
They are on the same page, they are just making mistakes that most young teams do.
They made similar mistakes against EMU, Western, IU and ND. But they were able to overcome them with a win in those games.
They weren't so lucky the last two weeks. I'm proud of how this team competed on Saturday.