He16man Showdown: Shoelace vs. Pryor - Week 4

Week 4 was a bit of a letdown for those in the Shoelace camp. Denard only saw about 7 minutes of actual game time. But in those 7 minutes, he put up some pretty impressive numbers. All of those in the Maize & Blue Nation held their breath, myself included, when Denard went down late in the 1st quarter. From what we're hearing, it's just a bruise on his left leg. But after watching him move around on the sideline and hearing his prognosis after the game, it seems as if he will be close to, if not 100% this weekend against Indiana.

Pryor had his best game of the year, by far, against one of the worst teams in Division 1 football, Eastern Michigan...who hasn't won a game since the Bush administration. For his efforts, Pryor earned the Big Ten offensive player of the week honors.

Here's a breakdown of week 4 stats:
   vs EMU      
Rush Attempts57
Rushing Yards129104
Rushing TDs21
Pass Comp/Att4/420/26
Passing Yards60224
Passing TDs04
Passer rating226200.06
Total Plays933
Total Yards189328
Points Scored1212

Stats through Week 3 (9-25-10)

                                 Robinson        Pryor     
Rush Attempts7943
Rushing Yards688269
Rushing TDs63
Pass Comp/Att57/8071/107
Passing Yards731939
Passing TDs410
Passer rating162.01176.18
Total Plays159150
Total Yards14191208
Points Scored3624

Denard Robinson photo credit: AP Photo/The Michigan Daily, Sam Wolson

Programming Note

For reasons out of my control, I am way busier this week than I thought I would be. It would seem that real-life forces have conspired to keep me away from this blog. My apologies to you. We'll try and get back on the blogging bandwagon as soon as possible. Thanks for your understanding.

Michigan's Non-Conference Report Card

Well, the 2010 non-conference schedule is in the books. For a 2nd consecutive year, Michigan goes 4-0 outside of the Big Ten. For the 2nd consecutive year, Michigan starts the year 4-0...first time since 1996-1997.

A lot of questions still remain. Like how good is Michigan, really? Is this 4-0 different from last year's 4-0? Is Michigan prepared for the Big Ten schedule?

We don't know any of these answers. All we can do is judge how well Michigan has played so far, and how strong our opponents were when we played them.

Week 1: Connecticut
UConn Now:
2-2 Overall
0-0 Conference

FBS Rankings:
Passing Yards: 181.3 (92nd)
Rushing Yards: 212.8 (26th)
Point For: 33.3 (40th)
Points Against: 21 (53rd)

The Game: 
Connecticut - 10
Michigan - 30

1st Downs1628
3rd down efficiency
4th down efficiency
Total Yards343473
Yards per pass
Rushing Attempts
Yards per rush
Fumbles lost
Interceptions thrown

UConn after Michigan:
9/11 WIN vs Texas Southern, 62-3
9/18 LOSS at Temple, 30-16
9/25 WIN vs Buffalo, 45-21

Season stats:

Connecticut        Opponents     
Scoring: Points/Game 33.3 21.0
Scoring: Games - Points 4 - 133 4 - 84
First Downs: Total 66 67
First Downs: Rushing - Passing - By Penalty 35 - 31 - 0 35 - 30 - 2
Rushing: Yards / Attempt 5.71 3.70
Rushing: Attempts - Yards - TD 149 - 851 - 10 173 - 640 - 5
Passing: Rating 116.31 107.98
Passing: Yards 725 726
Passing: Attempts - Completions - Interceptions - TD 111 - 57 - 1 - 4 119 - 65 - 7 - 5
Total Offense: Yards / Play 6.1 4.7
Total Offense: Plays - Yards 260 - 1576 292 - 1366
Punt Returns: Yards / Return 10.33 10.57
Punt Returns: Returns - Yards - TD 12 - 124 - 0 7 - 74 - 0
Kickoff Returns: Yards / Return 19.81 19.89
Kickoff Returns: Returns - Yards - TD 16 - 317 - 0 19 - 378 - 0
Punting: Yards / Punt 38.53 37.92
Punting: Punts - Yards 19 - 732 26 - 986
Interceptions: Returns - Yards - TD 7 - 103 - 2 1 - 10 - 0
Fumbles: Number - Lost 9 - 5 5 - 2
Penalties: Number - Yards 22 - 150 23 - 170
Time of Possession / Game 26:53.25 33:06.75
3rd Down Conversions: Conversion % 31.48% 42.25%
3rd Down Conversions: Attempts - Conversions 54 - 17 71 - 30
4th Down Conversions: Conversion % 50% 16.67%
4th Down Conversions: Attempts - Conversions 8 - 4 6 - 1
Red Zone: Success % 89.47% 90.91%
Red Zone: Attempts - Scores 19 - 17 11 - 10
Field Goals: Success % 63.6% 75%
Field Goals: Attempts - Made 11 - 7 4 - 3
PAT Kicking: Success % 100% 90%
PAT Kicking: Attempts - Made 16 - 16 10 - 9
2-Point Conversions: Success % - 0%
2-Point Conversions: Attempts - Made 0 - 0 1 - 0

Week 2: Notre Dame
Notre Dame Now:
1-3 Overall

FBS Rankings:
Passing Yards: 315.5 (7th)
Rushing Yards: 110.8 (99th)
Point For: 23 (78th)
Points Against: 27.8 (85th)

The Game:
(1-0) Michigan - 28
(1-0) Notre Dame - 24

MichiganNotre Dame
1st Downs2223
3rd down efficiency
4th down efficiency
Total Yards532535
Yards per pass
Rushing Attempts
Yards per rush
Fumbles lost
Interceptions thrown

Notre Dame before Michigan:
9/4: WIN vs Purdue, 23-12

Notre Dame after Michigan:
9/18: LOSS at Michigan State, 34-31 OT
9/25: LOSS vs Stanford, 37-14

Season Stats:

Notre Dame       Opponents      
Scoring: Points/Game 23.0 27.8
Scoring: Games - Points 4 - 92 4 - 111
First Downs: Total 90 93
First Downs: Rushing - Passing - By Penalty 27 - 57 - 6 38 - 51 - 4
Rushing: Yards / Attempt 3.79 4.74
Rushing: Attempts - Yards - TD 117 - 443 - 2 160 - 759 - 7
Passing: Rating 129.66 126.01
Passing: Yards 1262 976
Passing: Attempts - Completions - Interceptions - TD 170 - 98 - 5 - 8 148 - 98 - 5 - 5
Total Offense: Yards / Play 5.9 5.6
Total Offense: Plays - Yards 287 - 1705 308 - 1735
Punt Returns: Yards / Return 12.00 2.00
Punt Returns: Returns - Yards - TD 6 - 72 - 0 2 - 4 - 0
Kickoff Returns: Yards / Return 19.56 18.59
Kickoff Returns: Returns - Yards - TD 16 - 313 - 0 17 - 316 - 0
Punting: Yards / Punt 35.52 41.08
Punting: Punts - Yards 21 - 746 25 - 1027
Interceptions: Returns - Yards - TD 5 - 27 - 0 5 - 39 - 1
Fumbles: Number - Lost 7 - 4 3 - 1
Penalties: Number - Yards 19 - 176 29 - 241
Time of Possession / Game 24:59.25 35:00.75
3rd Down Conversions: Conversion % 37.25% 37.88%
3rd Down Conversions: Attempts - Conversions 51 - 19 66 - 25
4th Down Conversions: Conversion % 0% 71.43%
4th Down Conversions: Attempts - Conversions 2 - 0 7 - 5
Red Zone: Success % 78.57% 86.67%
Red Zone: Attempts - Scores 14 - 11 15 - 13
Field Goals: Success % 100% 75%
Field Goals: Attempts - Made 7 - 7 8 - 6
PAT Kicking: Success % 100% 100%
PAT Kicking: Attempts - Made 9 - 9 11 - 11
2-Point Conversions: Success % 100% 100%
2-Point Conversions: Attempts - Made 1 - 1 1 - 1

Week 3: Massachusetts
UMass Now:
3-1 Overall
1-0 Conference

The Game:
(2-0) UMass - 37
(2-0) #20 Michigan - 42

1st Downs2622
3rd down efficiency
4th down efficiency
Total Yards439525
Yards per pass
Rushing Attempts
Yards per rush
Fumbles lost
Interceptions thrown

UMass before Michigan:
9/4: WIN vs William & Mary, 27-23
9/11: WIN vs Holy Cross, 31-7

UMass after Michigan:
9/25: WIN at Stony Brook, 26-21

Season Stats:
Season stats that match the stats I've found for FBS schools are tough to find. Suffice it to say that UMass is holding their own in most important statistical categories.

Week 4: Bowling Green
1-3 Overall
0-0 Conference

FBS Rankings:
Passing Yards: 256.5 (34th)
Rushing Yards: 70.5 (115th)
Point For: 28 (60th)
Points Against: 39 (112th)

The Game:
(1-2) BGSU - 21
(3-0) #21 Michigan - 65

Bowling GreenMichigan
1st Downs1231
3rd down efficiency
4th down efficiency
Total Yards283721
Yards per pass
Rushing Attempts
Yards per rush
Fumbles lost
Interceptions thrown

BGSU before Michigan:
9/4: LOSS at Troy, 30-27
9/11: LOSS at Tulsa, 33-20
9/18: WIN vs Marshall, 44-28

Season Stats:

Bowling Green    Opponents       
Scoring: Points/Game 28.0 39.0
Scoring: Games - Points 4 - 112 4 - 156
First Downs: Total 71 110
First Downs: Rushing - Passing - By Penalty 23 - 43 - 5 50 - 53 - 7
Rushing: Yards / Attempt 2.33 6.34
Rushing: Attempts - Yards - TD 121 - 282 - 8 166 - 1052 - 13
Passing: Rating 122.04 119.47
Passing: Yards 1026 1066
Passing: Attempts - Completions - Interceptions - TD 147 - 94 - 7 - 4 161 - 97 - 7 - 6
Total Offense: Yards / Play 4.9 6.5
Total Offense: Plays - Yards 268 - 1308 327 - 2118
Punt Returns: Yards / Return 15.14 11.90
Punt Returns: Returns - Yards - TD 7 - 106 - 1 10 - 119 - 0
Kickoff Returns: Yards / Return 19.15 19.88
Kickoff Returns: Returns - Yards - TD 26 - 498 - 0 16 - 318 - 0
Punting: Yards / Punt 43.95 40.77
Punting: Punts - Yards 20 - 879 13 - 530
Interceptions: Returns - Yards - TD 7 - 191 - 2 7 - 50 - 0
Fumbles: Number - Lost 3 - 2 5 - 4
Penalties: Number - Yards 33 - 285 27 - 260
Time of Possession / Game 30:40.00 29:18.00
3rd Down Conversions: Conversion % 43.33% 50.88%
3rd Down Conversions: Attempts - Conversions 60 - 26 57 - 29
4th Down Conversions: Conversion % 66.67% 50%
4th Down Conversions: Attempts - Conversions 6 - 4 4 - 2
Red Zone: Success % 75% 90.48%
Red Zone: Attempts - Scores 16 - 12 21 - 19
Field Goals: Success % 50% 77.8%
Field Goals: Attempts - Made 6 - 3 9 - 7
PAT Kicking: Success % 92.9% 100%
PAT Kicking: Attempts - Made 14 - 13 19 - 19
2-Point Conversions: Success % 0% -
2-Point Conversions: Attempts - Made 1 - 0 0 - 0

Conclusions? HA!

Firstly, after looking at these stats and records, we should be 4-0. Obviously the most glaring thing that stands out to me is how relatively unimpressive Notre Dame is. That win felt better at the time. But after watching little brother embarrass them, and then watching Stanford dominate them...it's as if Notre Dame is right back where they were with Charlie Weis. I do believe that, at the time we played them, they were a better team...and they probably got pretty hyped up to play Michigan.

And that leads me to my next point. Any time anyone plays Michigan, they're pumped up. For every team we've played so far, their biggest game of the year is us. No one looks past us. Teams play better football when they're pumped up. That's not an excuse, it's just the fact of being a major football program. Players and coaches know that when they come here, and it's likely one of the reasons they do so.

I could go on and on about this, but I honestly feel that we're a better 4-0 team then we were last season. Why? Depth. We have 3 QBs that can run this offense, one of which is the leading Heisman candidate and maybe the most prolific players in the country. We have a stable of good RBs and WRs. Our O-line is deeper and more experienced. Our defense is still subject to big plays and giving up tons of yards, but we're also deeper there too. Greg Robinson is in his 2nd year as DC. He was our 3rd DC in 3 years, so there's something to be said for that. All-in-all, we're a better team, and I think we're more prepared for Big Ten play. We won't go undefeated, but our offense is good enough to keep us in the game against every Big Ten opponent we play.

Of course we won't know anything definitive until 3:30 PM in Bloomington this Saturday. Hopefully they'll prove me right.

Gameday Images

This one's my favorite...

But this one's right up there...

Click HERE to see the full gallery. Go Blue!

We're Going to be Fine

Quick thoughts on gameday:
• Michigan goes 4-0 for the second consecutive year. First time since 1996-1997.

• The Michigan offense can work just fine without Denard. We clicked on all cylinders even after Denard went down. Vincent Smith, Michael Shaw, Michael Cox, Fitzgerald Toussaint all got plenty of looks today, and all had great moments...especially Toussaint toward the end of the game.

• Denard showed  he doesn't need a whole game to put up good numbers. 4 for 4 passing for 60 yards, 5 rushes for 129 yards and 2 scores.

• In the post game presser, Rodriguez said Denard was cleared to play in the second half, but wasn't needed. He will not undergo any tests. Trainers are happy with his prognosis. He will be ready to go against Indiana.

• If Denard goes down, like he did today, we obviously have two QBs capable of running this offense. This is thanks in large part to a great O-line. Taylor Lewan got his first career start at left tackle, and looked very good. Perry Dorrestein will hopefully be okay after leaving the game early.

• Tate looked like the better backup today. He actually set a Michigan QB record for throwing % in a game. He was 12 for 12 for 110 yards and 1 TD pass. That's the best % of any Michigan QB with 10 or more throws in a game.

• Not to be outdone, Devin was 7-10 for 85 yards and 1 TD pass. If Junior Hemingway could catch, you could add a TD and about 40 yards of passing. He also had 6 runs for 25 yards and a TD.

A longer and more in-depth recap is on the way...including a photo gallery. Indiana is next. Saturday, 3:30, ESPNU

Game 4: BGSU Liveblog

Official? Michigan to Play Alabama in 2012 in Dallas

We posted this a while back as a rumor, and I'm still not exactly sure how official this is...but Nick Saban has said this is going to happen and mgoblog is going with it, so I guess it's pretty much on.

Michigan is going to play Alabama in 2012...at Cowboys Stadium in Dallas.

Via the ESPN story:
Alabama coach Nick Saban said on his radio show Thursday he expects his Crimson Tide to face Michigan at Cowboys Stadium in 2012.

"It hasn't been announced yet, but we're going to play Michigan in Dallas probably for sure," Saban said.

Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas, hosted four college football games in its first season -- including the Big 12 championship game. This year, TCU defeated Oregon State, 30-21, on Sept. 4, and Texas A&M and Arkansas will face off at the stadium Oct. 9.

Michigan athletic director Dave Brandon has indicated that he wants the Wolverines to play on the "big stage," according to The Detroit News.

Alabama, the defending BCS champion, has made a habit of scheduling marquee opponents in neutral sites. The Crimson Tide played Florida State in Jacksonville, Fla., in 2007 and followed that with games at Atlanta's Georgia Dome against Clemson (2008) and Virginia Tech (2009).

The previous meeting between the teams came in the 2000 Orange Bowl, where the Wolverines won in overtime, 35-34.
First off, I personally feel you can't get on any bigger of a stage than the Big House, so Brandon's comment bothers me a bit. Secondly, I would MUCH rather see a home-and-home series between these two traditional powerhouses. However, a game between these two schools on a neutral field beats no game at all...so I guess I'll take it.

We'll probably have to schedule 3 FCS opponents that year to make up for this.

The Big House Big Heart Run - Special Contest Offer

Moe Sport Shops and Underground Printing have teamed up with The Big House Big Heart Run. and are offering a special deal for MBN readers. Thanks to our relationship with Moe's/UGP, they have offered to sponsor a reader of this blog who would like to participate in this great event. The one chosen to be sponsored with have their $36 entry fee taken care of by the good folks at Moe's/UGP.

I don't really know the best way to decide who should be sponsored. So I think the fairest way is to just have a little contest. So if you're going to be taking part in this great event and would like to participate in this contest, all you have to do is predict the total amount of points that will be scored in tomorrow's game between Michigan and Bowling Green.

Just leave your prediction in the comments area of this post.

Don't forget, you must predict the total amount of points scored between both teams in the game. The details of the event are below. The winner will be contacted by me, and we'll get you in touch with the sponsor to make sure all of the details are handled.
DATE: Sunday, October 3, 2010
PLACE: University of Michigan Football Stadium

* 8:00 AM - 10K

* 9:10 AM - 5K

* 10:30 AM - 1 Mile

The race...

...starts and finishes at the University of Michigan’s famous football stadium--The Big House. It is the largest stadium in the country seating over 107,000 spectators. This chip-timed 5K and 10K events start on the corner of Kipke and Green and the run takes you through the University of Michigan’s beautiful campus with a spectacular finish--a run through the Big House tunnel and onto the field. You’ll finish on the 50 yard line and watch yourself on the Big House Big Screen!

Raise Funds for Your Non Profit!

Big House Big Heart offers you TWO ways to raise funds for area non profits.

Champions for Charity will donate a portion of your entry to ALS research at The University of Michigan Program for Neurology Research & Discovery, the UM Cardiovascular Center and to C. S. Mott Children’s Hospital and Women's Hospital!Get a team together for your favorite non profit. Champions for Charity will supply you with a fund-raising kit. You and your team can raise thousands of dollars for the charity of your choice just by getting tax deductible donations for completing your run. Every penny you and your team raises will go directly to your charity of choice.

Week 4 Injury Report

via UM press release:
Bowling Green, Sept. 25, 2010

Ferrara, John                     Hand
Herron, Brandon              Ankle
Johnson, Carvin                Knee
Jones, Mike                        Leg
Van Slyke, Jared               Clavicle
Williams, Mike                   Head
Woolfolk, Troy                  Ankle

Robinson, Marvin            Shoulder
Toussaint, Fitzgerald       Knee
First off, no big surprises. If you watched "Inside Michigan Football", then you heard Rodriguez mention Fitzgerald Toussaint is probably going to be ready to go. Good to see Greg Banks not anywhere on this list after his shoulder issue last week. Everything else is pretty much what we thought it would be. I have to think a few guys will be held out of this game on purpose so they can get some rest before Big Ten season starts.

Preview: Bowling Green Falcons


Bowling Green
#21 Michigan

Game Stuff
When: September 25, 2010
Where: Michigan Stadium, Ann Arbor, MI
Time: 12:00PM Eastern
TV: ESPN2 (Bob Wischusen, Brian Griese)
Local Radio: FM 104.3 WOMC, AM 1050 WTKA
Line: BGSU +26
Last Meeting: 2000, #6 UM 42, BG 7
Series Record: UM Leads 1-0
Michigan Record: 3-0 (0-0)
Last Game: Win vs UMass 42-37
BGSU Record: 1-2 (0-0)
Last Game: Win vs Marshall 44-28

Bowling Green Stuff
Location: Bowling Green, OH
Enrollment: 22,882
Conference: Mid-American Conference (East)
Nickname: Falcons
Head Coach: Dave Clawson
OC: Warren Ruggerio
DC: Mike Elko
Offensive Scheme: Multiple
Defensive Scheme: 4-3
2009 Record: 7-6 (6-2)

A Little History
Bowling Green State University ranks #114 in overall attendance in the NCAA. Michigan, with their newly refurbished stadium, ranks #1 again. I don't know what that means, but it seems like a fun stat to start off with. What Michigan fans might not realize, is that UMass (our week 3 opponent) ranks higher in average attendance than BGSU does.

Anyway, Bowling Green sits about 20 miles south of Toledo, along Rt. 23. If you're on your way to Columbus, for your bi-annual visit, you drive right past Bowling Green. The university is best known for it's college of education. But to Michigan fans, it's probably known for it's hockey team, which competes in the CCHA.

BGSU's head coach, Dave Clawson is 1-2 in his 2nd season. Last year, BGSU lost 4 of their first 5 games before rebounding well to go 7-6, and play in a thrilling game against Idaho in the Humanitarian Bowl in Boise. While BGSU is in a rebuilding year, Clawson has shown that, with talent, he can win. The Falcons will be a much improved team over the next couple years, but right now, it's a process of just getting better week-by-week.

Stats Comparison (through 9-18-10)

         Category                Michigan              BGSU         Advantage
Rushing Offense Avg/Yds286.3383.33MICH
Passing Offense Avg/Yds223.67258.33BGSU
Total Offense Avg/Yds510.00341.67MICH
Scoring Offense33.3330.33MICH
Rushing Defense Avg/Yds169.67194.00MICH
Pass Efficiency Defense120.83104.85BGSU
Total Defense Avg/Yds439.00465.67MICH
Scoring Defense23.6730.33MICH
Net Punting Avg/Yds31.6236.00BGSU
Punt Returns Avg/Yds-5.0015.14BGSU
Kickoff Returns Avg/Yds20.4020.76BGSU
Turnover Margin1.33.33MICH
Pass Defense Avg/Yds269.33271.67MICH
Passing Efficiency158.60120.73MICH
Sacks Avg/Gm.671.33BGSU
Tackles For Loss Avg/Gm4.673.33MICH
Sacks Allowed Avg/Gm.33 3.76MICH

Slightly less informative game preview than what I originally had planned
Michigan is determined to play better than they did last week against UMass. BGSU is just the right kind of opponent to do this against. We need to play a MAC school before jumping into the Big Ten schedule. We need to mop the field with a MAC school. We need to get our starters out of the game by the middle of the third quarter. We need to dominate this game. If not for the players confidence, then to shut up the fans who are already jumping off the tower for whatever reason. We're the largest group of nervous 3-0 fans in the nation. Michigan needs to play well...and we need to see Michigan play well.

Most intriguing stat of the week: Michigan ranks dead last in the NCAA in average punt return yards with -5 yds/avg.

BGSU Offense
The best thing going for Bowling Green is their offense. It always has been. Let's face it, in the early 2000's when Urban Meyer was making a name for himself, it wasn't with defense now was it? When you're a MAC school and you play larger name schools for a living, you only have enough time to devote to certain areas. Dave Clawson is following in some pretty big footsteps, but he's doing it the best way he knows how, and that is by playing smart, good offense.

BGSU features one of the best wide receivers in the nation, Kamar Jorden, who leads the country with 34 receptions, and is 6th overall with 343 yards. The only problem is the guy who's been throwing all of those passes to him is not going to be playing this weekend. Matt Schilz has an injured shoulder. His replacement, Aaron Pankratz came into the game last week in the 3rd quarter, and has never started a game before. The other guy is a freshman with zero game experience.

The running game doesn't get much better. BG ranks 111th in the nation in rushing, averaging 83.3 yards per game. Senior RB Willie Geter is BG's leading rusher with 66 carries for only 243 yards and 2 TDs. The best medicine for Michigan's sketchy run defense is an even sketchier run offense.

BGSU Defense
Like the offense, the defense only returns 4 starters from 2009. The D-line has been victimized so far this year giving up 194 rushing yards per game. 3 starters from 09 up front are gone, so BG is very young along the line. #55 DE Angelo Magnone is the leading tackler along the line with 12 total tackles for this year.

The linebacker corps are led by #47 MLB Dwayne Woods. He leads the team in tackles with 31 total in 3 games, 2 INTs and 1 INT return for a TD. He, along with #42 Eugene Fells and #10 Calvin Marshall lead this young unit (experience-wise), but they could make some plays and might be better than most people think. They will have their hands full trying to contain this Michigan offense.

The BG defensive backfield has been a revolving door since Clawson came to town. This year is no different. 3 of the 4 starters in the backfield are new this year. The #2 and #3 tacklers on the team are the two safeties, Jovan Leacock and Keith Morgan. That's not a good sign when your DBs are leading tacklers.

But they are older players across the board for this defense. Juniors and seniors abound, but not much experience to speak of as BGSU has had to replace the bulk of the players who sent them to the Humanitarian bowl last year.

Final Thoughts
For some strange reason, I am very confident about this game. After watching UMass run at-will against us last week, I can't explain why I feel this way, but I do. I don't feel like BGSU is as big of a threat at UMass was. UMass hit us at the right time, after a huge emotional win the week before. It was the classic let-down game. But this week, I think UM will rebound. We will come out more focused...with more of an attitude.

Plus, I just don't think BGSU is that good. The running game, which UMass used to tear us up, is not really a threat. Their starting QB is out with a shoulder injury, and they guy replacing him doesn't have much experience. And I think Michigan got it's wake-up call last week. I expect much improved performances from Jonas Mouton and Obi Ezeh. I also expect us to play better in the secondary...hopefully not using such a soft zone all day long.

BGSU is not very experienced or that good up front, so I want to see Martin, Van Bergen and Banks getting into the backfield and disrupting the passing game. We got great penetration in week 2 against Notre Dame, but wasn't able to get to the QB that much. If we can contain better than we did against UMass and disrupt the passing game, it will be a long day for BGSU on offense.

Denard! With Rocket Arm Passing Action!

This is just awesome. Unfortunately, you can't actually own this...but you can download it as a wallpaper. Click the image for a larger version.

REMINDER: Moe's/UGP Tailgate T-Shirt Give-a-Way!

9/21 Update: There's still time to get your submissions in...so get on it!

Think you've got a great tailgate? Time to put it to the test.

You may have noticed some good looking banners on this site for Moe Sport Shop and Underground Printing...two fine Ann Arbor establishments. Part of the sponsor relationship we have with Moe's/UGP is helping them out with special promotions that they're running. This promotion is a really cool one...and the best part is the real winner is YOU!

Just let them know what your gameday rituals are and you could score up to 25 custom designed t-shirts for your tailgate crew. Here are the details.
Moe Sport Shop (711 N. University) and Underground Printing (1114 S. University) is rewarding our loyal and faithful Wolverines by sponsoring tailgates this fall.  The winning tailgate gets discount codes to use at Moe’s or UGP and up to 25 free custom shirts* made up for their tailgate members.
Fill out the below questions and send them to tailgates@moesportshops.com and a tailgate will be selected from all the submissions.  Winner will be announced on maizenbluenation.com
1. Favorite tailgate spot or location of your tailgate? 2. How many members does your tailgate typically have?
3. What’s the best food item served? 4. Official/favorite beverage of your tailgate? 5. Are you a Facebook user?
6. What percentage of your tailgate uses Facebook? 7. Why should we choose your tailgate (1 paragraph max)?
Questions on forms submission, any questions/problems can be directed to tailgates@moesportshops.com.
Check us out Moe Sports Online and Underground Printing or find us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/MoeSportShop.
*Custom shirts must follow rules regarding licensing set forward by the University, we have several design ideas available and also accept design ideas from the winning tailgate.

He16man Showdown: Shoelace vs. Pryor - Week 3

Week 3 saw two solid performances from both Shoelace and Pryor. While tOSU rolled over OU, Michigan struggled with D1-AA UMass. The bulk of Michigan's struggles were defensive. The offense, however, looked very strong.

Here's a breakdown of week 3 stats:
vs UMass
   vs Ohio     
Rush Attempts178
Rushing Yards10435
Rushing TDs11
Pass Comp/Att10/1422/29
Passing Yards241235
Passing TDs22
Passer rating248.88152.9
Total Plays3137
Total Yards345270
Points Scored66

Stats through Week 3 (9-18-10)

                                 Robinson        Pryor     
Rush Attempts7436
Rushing Yards559165
Rushing TDs42
Pass Comp/Att52/7651/81
Passing Yards671715
Passing TDs46
Passer rating158.64156.61
Total Plays150117
Total Yards1230880
Points Scored2412

Denard Robinson photo credit: AP Photo/The Michigan Daily, Sam Wolson

For What It's Worth is Trying Out for Kicker

Michigan's placekicking so far in 2010:

You think you can be a kicker? Right this way sir.
Apparently, Rodriguez wasn't joking when he said he would take any UM student who said he could kick seriously. Detroit News UM reporter Angelique Chengelis reports that one such student asked Rodriguez about it, and this may really be happening.
U-M's kickers are 1-for-5 on field-goal attempts through three games. Rodriguez said that before his weekly news conference Monday, a student stopped him in the parking lot to ask about the kicking job.

Rodriguez said the conversation went like this:
"Coach Rod?"
"I heard you may be looking for a kicker. Where do I try out?"
Rodriguez said he directed the student to contact his football staff.
"He may be out here this afternoon if he gets a physical fast enough," Rodriguez said, laughing.

"We do have the guys who can do it, but we have to continue to put pressure on them," Rodriguez said. "And if there's more guys that show up and we keep them for a tryout and make it competitive like we did in practice last week ... maybe they'll step up."
Gibbons and Broekhuizen were tested in non-contact pressure situations last week in practice, and that will continue this week.
"We'll keep doing it until we get the problem solved," Rodriguez said.
So yeah. It's really that bad.

ESPN Gameday profiles Denard

#20 in your 'Big Ten Icons' scorecard, #1 in your hearts...

Schedule note
Indiana start time is set for 3:30PM Eastern, and will air on ESPNU [schedule]

The nickle position is in a constant state of flux. That could have something to do with our defensive woes. Brandon Herron will not likely be back for BGSU this weekend. M-Rob (Marvin Robinson) is likely to play. Carvin Johnson is questionable.

BGSU's QB, Matt Schilz is out for the UM game [shoulder], according to the BGNews Sports blog. Schilz went down in the 3rd quarter in last week's game against Marshall. In his absence, Aaron Pankratz OR Kellen Pagel will get the start against Michigan on Saturday. Pankratz threw 8 for 11 for 11 yds and 1 TD against Marshall. Pagel has never played a college game. Expect to see Pankratz.

The return of #77 to left tackle?
Freshman lineman Taylor Lewan played some left tackle in the 2nd half last week...and totally rocked it. So much so that he's now listed as an "or" on the left tackle depth chart for week 4 with Mark Huyge.

UM in the polls
Michigan remained ranked this week, slipping 1 spot to #21 in the AP poll, and staying at #22 in the coaches. MVictors has the breakdown of who voted for Michigan and how.
Note that Doug Lesmerises, the guy who had Michigan at #8 a couple weeks ago, dropped Michigan to #20 and a few folks dropped the Wolverines out all together.   Can you blame them?
Honestly? No.

Short and sweet sends it's condolences to East Lansing [via UM media relations]
Michigan Head Coach Rich Rodriguez Statement on Coach Mark Dantonio
The Michigan football program sends our thoughts and prayers to Coach Dantonio and his family. We hope for a full and speedy recovery.
Mascot Fight!

First off, can someone please get tOSU some bigger flags? Secondly, of course the guy inside the bobcat costume has been dealt with accordingly. [via 11W]

Poor Irish Fan - Video of the Day

Charlie Gantt - AP
The MSU-Notre Dame ending was not only a huge surprise, but probably the ballsiest call I've seen in a long time. My hat's off to Dantonio for calling that one. And of course, we hope for a speedy recovery to the Spartan coach following his heart attack suffered late Saturday night. While a heart attack is a very serious matter, it sounds like he is doing well, and will make a full recovery.

But the best part of that play was that it gave us this video...

But, if you look very closely at the play clock, it does seem to run out before the ball is snapped. Both the ESPN play clock on the scorebar and the play clock on the MSU scoreboard seem to match. No one noticed, and no call was made. And I don't think delay-of-game is a reviewable call.

A Win is a Win, But...

I hate playing FCS schools.

Why? Easy...

...playing FCS schools is a waste of time and money. It's just not worth it. Unless you win by 50 points, and your starters only play one series, people are not going to be satisfied. If you struggle at all, like Michigan did, fans will see nothing but doom. And after listening to WTKA on the drive home after the game, that's exactly what happened.

And if by chance you should lose, and Michigan fans know that awful feeling...the world, literally, comes to an end.

It's a useless game that's almost impossible to feel good about. It's not worth the effort or risk to injury. I'm sure to UMass its the super bowl. But to Michigan, it's a glorified practice...and early on, it showed.

Here's a breakdown of Michigan's week 3 defense:

Now the "make me feel better" part...
Let's not forget that UMass, ranked #16 in the top-25 FCS poll, has a decent offense. They committed to the run from start, and it worked well for them. John Griffin (17 carries, 96 yds) and Jonathan Hernandez (26 carries, 114 yds, 2 TDs) are two very good running backs. Both have speed and breakaway ability. And that was on display often on Saturday as Michigan defenders had a very tough time tackling these two backs.

But I don't know what was more apparent...Michigan's lack of tackling ability, or just playing out of position...or both. For the first time this year we lost containment to the outside on multiple occasions. And runs up the middle were typically broke wide open for the Minutemen. The UMass O-line is very big, but they shouldn't have been able to open up holes like that. And Jonas Mouton and Obi Ezeh were constantly shooting the wrong gaps.

"The Promise" delivered from Craig Roh
"We were terrible on defense," Roh said. "We just didn't look like we were prepared to play and we didn't make adjustments during the game.
"I promise you'll not see another game like that from us again."
Michigan played the whole game, at least as far as I could see, in a pretty very soft zone. CB James Rogers was picked on all day. And while he didn't give up the big play, he gave up multiple small ones. UMass QB Kyle Havens went 22/29, 222 yds, 2 TDs and 1 INT. Clearly the zone was effective at not giving up the homerun like we did twice against Notre Dame last week, but UMass's ability to run opened up the pass. The running game coupled with a nice play-action pass worked well for UMass. I give them a lot of credit for performing this flawlessly.

Yet, somehow...I do still think that our defense is better than it was in 2009...it has to be, right? But this game is clearly a step in the wrong direction. At times we looked confused, uninspired and flat out bad. At other times we looked okay. I think it really just boils down to not coming out prepared and ready to play. I do think this defense can be better, and will need to be better as the season plays out. Hopefully this was a huge wake-up call for the Michigan defense. We will find out at 12:00 this Saturday at the Big House.

It's becoming more clear to me, that Rich Rodriguez's future at Michigan hinges on the play of this defense. He must get things corrected soon if he wants to stick around.

Now, moving on to better things...

The offense looked very good. We started the game a little flat, like the defense, but when UMass started pouring it on going up 17-7 in the 2nd quarter, this offense responded well, scoring 14 points in the last two minutes before half to take the 21-17 lead. We've been spoiled by two weeks of amazing Denard-ment. So anything less than 500 yards of offense was sure to be a let down, but he still looked good, and he made plays when he had to. He ended the day 10/14, 241 yds, 2 TDs and 1 INT. He also carried the ball 17 times for 104 yds and 1 score.

One of the best things about Saturday was that Denard was not the leading rusher. Michael Shaw had a career day carrying the ball 12 times for 126 yds and scoring 3 times. Darryl Stonum stepped up as well with 3 catches for 121 yards and 2 TDs...and amazing 40.3 yds per catch.

I think the game plan was probably to get some backups some playing time, but since UMass kept it close in the 2nd half, not many backups got into the game.

I did notice freshman offensive lineman #77 Taylor Lewan got some time at left tackle in the 2nd half...and looked outstanding.

All in all, you can take away from this game what you want. We really don't know if what we saw on defense was a blip on the radar, or an honest-to-goodness digression from weeks 1 and 2. BGSU comes calling this week after putting 44 up against Marshall in their home opener. This is going to be BGSU's super bowl, and they see a vulnerable Michigan defense, so they will come out inspired and ready to "shock the world" just like UMass did.

I will reserve judgment until I see how our defense responds this weekend. But one thing is for sure...we have a lot of work to do, and BGSU is not going to be a pushover.

The kicking of the football
Neither Brandan Gibbons nor Seth Broekhuizen have made a clear case for the placekicking duties. Rich Rodriguez address this in his post-game presser, saying that ANY student currently enrolled at the University of Michigan in good academic standing that has the ability to kick a football, will have the full attention of the Michigan coaching staff.

All of the reporters and camermen in the room burst out laughing...Rodriguez looked down, smiled, nervously. I don't think he was kidding.

Kickoffs have been a little better since the start of the season. Gibbons seems to be getting the ball to around the 10-yardline. A far cry from Zolton last year booming kicks into the endzone.
Will Hagerup is starting to punt the ball a little better. But, again, BIG shoes to fill left behind by the Space Emperor who is now booming punts for the New England Patriots.

Impossible is Nothing

Last Saturday, during the Big Ten Network's Saturday Kickoff show, they did a nine-minute feature about the amazing story of Brock Mealer, older brother to offensive lineman Elliot Mealer. We are proud to be able to be able to bring that story to you here. In case you didn't catch it, or just want to watch it again, and again, and again...here it is.

Just try and watch this without getting choked up, I bet you can't.