NO SPOILERMAKERS, NO BIG DRUM, NO GOLDEN GIRL, NO SILVER TWINS, AND NO WOLVERINE SLIDE. MICHIGAN 36- PURDUE 14

By Andy Andersen

Purdue’s Boilermaker’s left the above home, in losing to the determined Wolverines at Michigan Stadium Saturday.  The Wolverines drummed out a much needed Big Ten victory, 36-14.

That the Boilers were made to steam out of Ann Arbor with a loss was very important to the well-being of this edition of the Wolverines on the heels of their recent physical beat down in Spartan Stadium.  It appears the bye week was very beneficial.  A seven and one record at this point in the season, and a chance for more, is as welcome as it was unexpected.

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Do or Die Time

A loss at home to Sparty this Saturday and the bowl streak is over.  Odds are the streak will end anyway, but hope stays alive for another week with a win.  Given the calibre teams to which Michigan has lost on occassion this year, the chances of winning in Columbus are slim and none and that may be the back of Slim’s head off in the distance.  So if there is any chance of winning six games this season, Michigan needs to win its next four.  A pretty tall order for a team that has won only twice in seven tries. 

It is indicative of where the program stands that beating Sparty is make-or-break to Michigan?s season.  Well, winning will not make the season, but losing ostensibly ends it.

If Michigan can win this week, they have three consecutive games against perennial Big Ten lesser lights?Purdue, Minnesota and Northwestern.  After three straight losses, though, BlueFan will be happy with a one-game winning streak.

Michigan?s offense has scored 20 or more points only twice this season, and since the team?s greatest offensive output came in the season opener, the only way to win on Saturday is shutting down Michigan State?s offense.  Unfortunately, Michigan has allowed over 40 points twice in the last three games, so winning with defense may be a little too ambitious.

The good news is that Michigan State likes to run the ball (about 62% of the time) and the Wolverines defense has been pretty good against the run for the most part.  The bad news is that Michigan’s pass defense has been so bad (243 yards/game) that even Sparty may throw the ball downfield with success.  Quarterback Brian Hoyer is an under-50% passer in 2008 and did not play for parts of the second half last week, so back-up Kirk Cousins could get the start.

The defensive gameplan will come down to the play of the front seven in shutting down RB Javon Ringer, who has also caught 15 passes out of the backfield.  Michigan blitzers have been burned a few times lately by big plays on screen passes (Illinois and Penn State, no one in Ann Arbor thanks you), so they will need to pressure Hoyer or Cousins and always remain aware of where Ringer is on the field.

On offense, it has been same old, same old for several weeks.  The unit will move the ball for a quarter and then punt for three quarters.  BlueFan understands that the offense is full of inexperience, but it is confounding how they will move the ball right down the field on two or three drives only to do nothing for the rest of the game.  Earlier in the season, the offense moved the ball a little more effectively by employing more diversity in playcalling than fans have seen in recent weeks, so it is difficult to think that more variety would not jumpstart the offense.  What is the worst that can happen?  The offense cannot get much more anemic.

Against Penn State, Michigan had two first downs and less than 50 yards of offense after the team?s second touchdown and before the closing drive of the game which meant nothing.  Fifty yards and two first downs in almost three quarters of football is inexcusable given the amount of talent Michigan has on offense.  This offense may not boast the number of potential NFLers as recent squads, but there is skill everywhere.  Skill that is capable of putting more points on the board than what fans have seen in the last three games.

Whatever has happened to date is done and cannot be undone.  What the team can control is gameplan and execution this Saturday.  BlueFan refuses to fathom the horror of a season in which his heroes in Blue lose to Notre Dame, Sparty, Ohio State and fail to play in a bowl game, so it is time to start a winning streak with one win.

GO BLUE!

 

 

 

 

 

 

BlueFan?s Three-Point Stance

 

 

 

 

  • A Michigan defense had never allowed over 40 points twice in one season until last Saturday in Happy Valley.

 

 

 

 

  • Michigan State has won only once in the Big House since 1984.

 

 

 

 

  • Michigan has not lost four consecutive games since losing five straight in 1967. 

 

 

 

Tale of the Tape

 

 

 

 

Michigan

Michigan State

Record

2-5 (1-2 Big Ten)

6-2 (3-1 Big Ten)

 

 

 

Offense

 

 

Scoring

18.6/game

26.9/game

Total Yards

291.4/game

352.8/game

Rushing

  140.9/game

161.0/game

Passing

150.6/game

191.8/game

 

 

 

Defense

 

 

Scoring

27.9/game

20.3/game

Total Yards

363.9/game

358.1/game

Rushing

120.9/game

145.0/game

M FOOTBALL 2011-OUCH, ITS THE SPARTANS AGAIN-M-14, MSU-28

By Andy Andersen

Saturday the Michigan State Spartans’ defense overwhelmed the Denard Robinson led Wolverine offense to notch their fourth straight victory over the Wolverines, and to notch Brady Hoke’s first loss as the Wolverine head football coach.

We should not be over eager to condemn Denard Robinson. The 7 sacks the Wolverines endured indicates that it was not the best game that the offensive line has had this year, although it is perplexing that Denard could not get rid of the ball more than he did.

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M Football 2011- Denard Saves Best for Last- M-42, NW-24

by Andy Andersen

The Wolverines played their second prime time night game of this season Saturday in Evanston at Ryan Field.   They were striving for their sixth straight win in what, at its start, was considered by many to be a throw away season.

Some understandably predicted that Brady Hoke’s first season would be fraught with all the problems new systems and coaching regimes inevitably and gratuitously provide.  So far those types of bumps in the road have been seamlessly overcome and have not caused anything but some anxious moments.

While the biggest challenges of the season remain ahead, their 12/11 national ranking going into the game, which the coaches avidly swear is inaccurate and means nothing to them, will in fact change recent national perceptions of Michigan football if that level continues or advances.

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M Football 2011-Wolverines Shine-Gophers Pine- Michigan 58-Minnesota 0

By Andy Andersen

First, the Gophers lost their Coach, Jerry Kill, to illness.  Fortunately he was back on the sidelines Saturday, hale and hearty to all appearances.

Then they lost their talented starting QB, the adept Marqueis Gray, to an injured toe, and he could not play Saturday.  They had to utilize Freshman Max Shortell at that critical position.  He endured a very tough afternoon learning about B1G (Big Ten) football, but he showed some skill.  He was 11 of 22 for 104 yards with a long throw of 33.

After that, they had to face an energized and physical group of Wolverines who wanted to get off to a good start on their Big Ten schedule in the new Legends Division.  They did so offensively and defensively.

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