Looking Back at Week 5: Michigan State

For 3 1/2 quarters on Saturday, Michigan State had the answer for Michigan's explosive offense...keep them off the field as much as possible. Well, that might not have been their ultimate intention, but Michigan's inability to stop any sort of 3rd down situation in the first half made the time of possession one of the key elements why our offense was never able to get into a rhythm.

MSU had the ball for close to 40 minutes. Michigan had the ball about half of that.

You could say that Michigan's youth was exposed...but I disagree. You could also say that Michigan was not ready for their first road test in a hostile environment, but I disagree. MSU had 8 penalties for 94 yards...while Michigan just had 2 for 15. Early on, Michigan's defense had every opportunity to stop MSU's offense...but just couldn't. Sparty's second drive of the game started at the Michigan State 20 yard line. It took them just 6 plays that didn't have a penalty...and lasted 10:02.

In the first quarter, Michigan ran 6 plays for a total of 0 yards.

And while I think that Zoltan's choice to try and run for the 1 yard on the fake punt was not necessarily a terrible decision...Michigan made way more costly mistakes throughout the day than the failed fake punt. That only cost us 3 points. Michigan's awful tackling cost us way more.

But I will not hesitate to give credit where credit is due...and that goes to Michigan State. They played an inspired game. Clearly, their players just wanted it more...at least for 3 1/2 quarters. Dantonio sucks at pretty much everything, but one thing he can do is prepare his players for this game. Sure, he'll get dismantled by Illinois this weekend...but a win against UofM in East Lansing is enough to keep the heretics happy until basketball season starts.

I would be re-missed if I didn't mention something about Tate Forcier leading Michigan 92 yards down the field in a driving rain storm with no timeouts to tie the game with 2 seconds left. This is the stuff legends are made of. For all of the freshman mistakes he made on Saturday, he more than made up for in the second 1/2 of the 4th quarter.

You can not imagine a tougher situation for a freshman QB. He's in a very hostile stadium. Its pouring rain. No timeouts. And you have 2:53 to drive 92 yards to tie the game with a touchdown. At the end of the drive, he was spent. He got lucky when he lobbed a pass into the end zone that fell harmlessly to the ground. But his pass to Roy Roundtree in the back of the end zone was a thing of beauty.

Overtime was just not in the cards for Michigan. We had the momentum, but our luck ran out with the rain drops in the 4th quarter. As soon as the sun came out in overtime, Michigan flopped.

Again, all the credit goes to Sparty in this one. Tate led Michigan back to at least make it interesting, and when things looked their bleakest midway through the 4th quarter, that's about all we could ask for. I myself has pretty much given up on this game at that point...but Michigan battled back and showed us what makes this squad so special.

Sure, we made a ton of mistakes...on both sides of the ball. But in the end, this Michigan squad made me proud with their effort and unwillingness to give up. Lessons from the game will serve us well in Iowa City this weekend...and the rest of the season.

1 comment

  1. I have a slightly different take. First, our defense was an embarrassment. Sparty gave us every opportunity to kill that drive but the slow, weak, poorly coached defense ceded big play after big play on third down after third down. No pressure, a poor secondary and slow linebackers is a recipe for disaster. Stevie Brown, Brandon Graham and Donovan Warren are class A players. Hats off to Kovacs as well. Everyone else should be ashamed.

    On the other side of the ball, our offensive line is atrocious. We have sick running backs and speedy QBs yet couldn't move the ball on the ground at all. And the play calling is a joke. Why not open it up? If we don't have the muscle to win in the trenches let Forcier scramble and find Odoms or Matthews down the field.

    We should be proud of the last 4 minutes of the game but demand that the other 56 be played with similar passion and style.