Highlights? Yeah, sure. Why not?
I used to like Chris Spielman. But I never liked the road unis from 2010. Get with it Adidas.
This game was absolutely no fun at all. The whole first half I kept telling myself we did this at Northwestern, and look how that game turned out. Yes, I rationalize constantly. We were doing some things well, but a slow start, turnovers and poor play-calling helped out Iowa immensely.
But as the second half played out, it started to feel more and more like the Michigan State game. The defense was playing well, especially up front. Our linebackers struggled, especially Kenny Demens who looked pretty slow out there. He could be playing hurt, like a lot of guys probably are.
Offensively, the line seemed to be doing okay given their issues (still no Ricky Barnum, Molk is all wrapped up and Taylor Lewan is hurt all over). Fitz Toussaint ran tough, but only had about 70 yards with a lot of carries. Not surprised to see Vincent Smith struggle as a traditional back. After the Purdue game, I'm a little shocked that Shaw didn't get more looks in this game. And boy, our receivers need to catch the ball better. When Denard is not over-throwing them, they need to catch the ball. That 3rd down at the end of the game, where Vincent Smith (yes, I know he's not a WR) had a shot at a TD grab...he shoulda had that.
And let's not kid ourselves, Iowa played their best game defensively of the year.
I'll join the chorus of Michigan fans asking the question "Why, oh why is Denard lining up under center so much?". The end of the game proved that Denard just doesn't operate well at half-speed. Please allow me to explain...
Think of Denard as a Formula 1 race car. Those vehicles operate at their peak on that fine line between control and chaos. Take a wide turn too slow, and there won't be enough down-force on the car to keep it from spinning out of control.
Obviously, Denard is not being used to his full capacity – and he's suffering because of it. This isn't a RichRod vs. Hoke or Magee vs. Borges argument – okay yes it is. All are good at what they do, but clearly the way Denard is being utilized right now is not ideal. Granted, under the previous administration, Denard got banged up a lot. But he's getting banged up now too.
But we all know that #16 is more capable than what we're seeing right now. I think Al Borges has a Formula 1 race car, and he just needs to push the pedal down a little more.
The refs blew this one. Big time. There were bad calls, and bad non-calls all day, not just at the end. The Hemingway catch was never going to be overturned. But there surely should have been a PI flag on the last play of the game. That's textbook.
Going forward, we have our work cut out for us. Illinois is coming off a bye-week, and will certainly be amped to welcome us to Memorial Stadium for a 3:30 ABC tilt. What ills us are the same things that have hamstrung us all year – turnovers, poor reads, play-calling that is hopeful at best given our players skill-sets. It's time to Borges to take advantage of what he's got.
Relevant links from sites we trust
Game wraps and commentary from MVictors, TWB, MZone, BHB. And for the truly obsessed Michigan fan, MGoBlog's post-game presser transcript.
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