|Melanie Maxwell | The Ann Arbor News|
It was closer than the final score would indicate
Unbelievably, somehow...Michigan outgained Notre Dame in total yardage last night 289-280. But turnovers and 4 for 13 on 3rd downs, killed any Michigan tempo or momentum. It was only a matter of time until Notre Dame started pulling away...which they most certainly did. Although, credit the Michigan defense for only giving up 3 points off turnovers...another in a litany of goofy stats from this game.
But you have to hand it to the Irish for taking advantage of their opportunities. They played like a confident and well coached football team. I don't know if Golson is Heisman-worthy – as was mentioned in Brian Kelly's post-game presser, but he certainly turned some heads on Saturday night.
No pass defense
Early in the game, Golson looked a little off. He wasn't getting the ball snapped in time, causing Brian Kelly to burn all his first half timeouts in the first quarter. But eventually, as the momentum of the game shifted to the Notre Dame sideline, Golson looked poised and confident. He simply made the Michigan secondary look foolish.
Even all-B1G cornerback Blake Countess couldn't maintain coverage against guys like Amir Carlisle or Will Fuller, as he gave up big play after big play. But what can you do, every Golson throw down the stretch, and there were many, were spot on target. The 3rd touchdown of the day for Notre Dame, the 24-yard dagger to Fuller at :34 before the half was a blow that Michigan didn't need.
A 14-0 deficit at halftime when you're getting the ball back first feels a lot different than 21-0. Michigan never recovered.
I'm not saying that having Raymon Taylor, Jabrill Peppers and Desmond Morgan would've made the difference in a 31-0 route, but their absence was certainly felt multiple times.
Obviously there's no word on any of their situations, or Devin Funchess' who went down briefly in the 4th quarter. My guess is Peppers, who dressed on Saturday, is day to day. Hoke said they were evaluating him during warmups...although I watched him closely during warmups and I didn't see him do anything. Taylor had his right knee wrapped but was up and limping around the sideline. And Desmond Morgan did not dress for the game and had his wrist/arm in a cast.
Who's to blame?
Because we gotta blame somebody right? Its a team effort win or lose, but when all is said and done the blame ultimately falls on the coach. Whether its warranted or not, Brady Hoke is responsible for hanging a goose egg in easily his most lopsided and embarrassing loss as Michigan's head coach. He'd be the first to admit that, too.
Its probably too early in the season to cast many aspersions, but this loss had an all-too-familiar feeling to it. Devin looked rattled after his first INT, and once he went down that rabbit hole, there was no coming back. Once the momentum had shifted and the wheels fell off, it was over...obviously.
Now, Michigan must shake off this loss and regroup over the course of the next few games. They can't let a loss like this fester. There's a lot to learn from in this game and that needs to be what the take away is. Its only 1 loss.
They ease back into the schedule with Miami of Ohio, which is probably the worst team the MAC has to offer this season. Then its Utah in another home game Michigan should win. And then its off to the Big Ten schedule, which from things are looking, is a wide open league at this point.
In sports, we often try to draw comparisons and find some sense of logic. You could try to compare this Michigan squad to last year's Michigan State team which had many similar characteristics. But it seems that Brady Hoke and Michigan are still searching for their identity. They want to be a tough, hard-nosed running team with a stout defense...but its not coming together. They're trying, but its not there yet.
Related MBN clicks
• Notre Dame 31, Michigan 0