In a way, it was the same Michigan game we've been watching for two seasons now. No blocking, turnovers, inconsistent offense, bad tackling, poor coaching. And once again, the opposing quarterback was a throw God genius.
In another way, it was the kind of game you'd expect from a team with 3 early-season losses and a coach who sees the writing on the wall.
In another way, it was a very close back-and-forth game, full of mistakes by both teams, that came down to the final moments. Michigan, down by 2, was driving late...Rutgers didn't really seem like they had much of an answer for Gardner when he was on the move. Facing a 3rd and 8, Gardner connected with Amara Darboh past the sticks, running towards the sideline...a terrific pass and catch. Darboh got two feet in before he fell out of bounds, where the ball came loose when he hit the ground.
Initially ruled a catch, and a first down by the referee, the call was reversed by another official who was farther away. Michigan was forced to call a timeout to get a review, and the call was confirmed...shockingly. With 4th and 8, Michigan decided to try a Matt Wile 56-yard field goal for the lead.
Almost fittingly, it was blocked with ease. Because of course it was.
And with that, it was over. Rutgers fans rushed the field. Michigan strolled back to the locker room with their heads hanging for the 9th time in the last 12 games. Brady Hoke was forced to answer the same old questions by the media.
"...we have to get better."
"...it starts with me."
"...we had a great week of practice."
"...I'm proud of this team."
It's been the same broken record for two years now. Another week, another embarrassing loss for a once proud program. It's obvious what's been broken can't be fixed with the leadership that's in place. I can't defend Hoke anymore. I don't even want to. And it has nothing to do with the man he is or his character or integrity. He's just not getting the job done. You can't win games with good vibes. And it's not getting better. Plain and simple.
With all that took place last week surrounding the program, its easy to blame distractions. But had #Brandgazi or #ShaneGate not taken place, can you honestly say this game would've turned out differently? Probably not, because this loss had the same look and feel of previous losses. Same issues, same people, same outcome. And we're all sitting here on Sunday asking the same questions.
Brady Hoke is going to lose his job because of this. But I can't sit here and tell you that Brandon will, no one can.
Nothing is going to change. They're not going to fire Brandon, because as long as the big money donors are behind him (and for now, they are) and the current and former student athletes are behind him (and for now, they are), then he can point to that, say he's doing his job, and make some general vague statements about rebuilding his relationships with the students. He's not getting fired because he will figure out a way to survive this. So things will not change, because you don't make the choices you have made in the last four years running the department because you think you're not doing a good job. No one is going to look at the laundry list of offenses as perceived by a group without power and suddenly have a change of heart. He's going to keep doing what he's been doing because he doesn't believe he's wrong and none of the people in the department who he has hired are going to tell him he's wrong.We're at the midpoint of what's shaping up to be one of the worst seasons of Michigan Football ever. Michigan is dead last all alone in the B1G standings at 2-4. I don't even know what to say about that other than it's incredibly embarrassing. How a program like this with the talent they have, to be behind teams like Illinois, Purdue, Northwestern...I don't see another win on this schedule.
When you're six games in to a terrible season with no hope of things getting any better, program altering decisions need to be made.