Week 8 Trend Report
Every Monday we will be posting a “Week ‘x’ Trend Report”.
Perhaps the best part of Toussaint’s game is the way he finishes runs. Despite not being particularly big, he always seems to churn his legs for an extra couple yards after contact. His yardage total was the best by a Michigan running back since Michael Hart had 215 against Eastern Michigan back in 2007.
Devin Gardner is seeing more snaps in the meat of the game. Gardner had 10 snaps from under center before the game was no longer in question. One of these plays came after Denard’s 50 yard completion to Roundtree on 3rd and 20 inside its own ten yard line. WingedHelmet on MZone comments what I was thinking here…
Actually I think that was a designed play by Borges. Have Gardner throw it to Purdue at the 4and get the safety. Brilliant. In other news….”The Wolverines scored on a safety and a field goal in the same quarter for the first time since the “horror”.
This is not last year’s team, or the team before last year’s team. MVictors basically says this isn’t Michigan of the recent past because of the coaching staff.
Still, do you see a championship-caliber team out there? I don’t. But I like what I’m seeing. Even in the State game you could tell we were tackling better and each week guys seem to know what they’re supposed to do and do it.
The injury bug is hitting up Team 132 right now. Starting safety and recognized playmaker Jordan Kovacs didn’t dress against Purdue and might not even play next week in Iowa City. From AA.com’s game recap:
The offensive line might be in worse shape. It began the season as Michigan’s thinnest position group, drew fire for poor play against Michigan State and now is being ravaged by injury.
Lewan, Michigan’s starting left tackle and best lineman, appeared to tweak his knee in pregame warmups, played with a noticeable limp and left the game at several junctures. He’s also dealing with ankle and wrist issues.
But Lewan, whom Hoke calls “one tough sucker,” continued to play despite the injuries. He did not leave for good until the game was well in hand.
“I think it lifts your team,” Hoke said of Lewan’s ability to play through pain.
Added right tackle Mark Huyge: “(Lewan) was just saying, ‘I’m going to stay in and let’s go.’ There’s no way he was going to get pulled out.”
Another offensive lineman, Barnum, exited shortly before halftime after aggravating an ankle injury and did not return. That’s two linemen down from what Hoke has called his thinnest position on the field.
Desmond Morgan over Brandin Hawthorne. In peeking at the box score - Morgan led the defense with 4 solo tackles and 9 total.
Jeremy Gallon playing well has been a trend all season long. Gallon was less than impressive last season as he was mostly a disaster in his role as Michigan’s primary punt returner. Eight games in and he is Michigan’s leading receiver with 23 receptions for 384 yards. WolverineNation’s Mike Rothstein agrees ($)…
Gallon has really become a reliable receiver. He has good chemistry with Robinson and is one of the few Michigan receivers who can create his own space. He also adjusts to routes very well and has the speed to turn a screen into a big gain. His adjustment on a Robinson deep pass to set up a Toussaint touchdown was all Gallon reading where the ball was heaved. He is Michigan’s most improved player. Might not be close.
Michigan’s defense of old. Michigan’s D has stunk for years dating back to Lloyd Carr’s final years at the helm. Early signs indicate that this coaching staff can develop players and coach them to play up to their standard of a traditional dominant Michigan defense.
Mike Martin’s box score absence seems to be a thing of the past. Martin had a couple sacks, one worth 2 points for the home team, and 7 tackles on the day. Despite his lack of production for the majority of the season thus far, nobody has really discounted his on-field impact, but it’s about time he has a break out game with some big plays.
Brandin Hawthorne. See Desmond Morgan above.
Cam Gordon’s health. Seriously, this is a giant mystery to me. What is the deal with Cam Gordon? He still must not be to 100%. He always seemed like a guy with a good head on his shoulders, so I don’t believe his problem resides above the neck. But there certainly aren’t any answers when it comes to Cam Gordon’s continued absence.
Flyballs, armpunts, Denard off the back foot heaves to Junior Hemingway. Just sayin’, we saw a couple, but none to his favorite long-ball target Hemingway.
Winning the turnover battle. Michigan lost it versus Purdue with two picks, with both Denard and Devin throwing nasty, nasty looking interceptions. Courtney Avery got his first career interception at a seemingly critical point in the game.
Michael Shaw and Stephen Hopkins seeing important carries. It seems like we’ve seen the last of these guys getting carries when the game hangs in the balance. As last season was starting, I thought Shaw had a promising two years in front of him as Michigan’s primary back, but I be wrong my friends. He’s got speed, but he can’t do as much between the tackles a la Toussaint or V Smoov.
Denard’s big rushing days. While the opportunities for Denard decrease a bit, so do his rushing numbers. Last two games he’s rushed for 63 and 42 yards off of 15 and 18 carries respectively. I would expect that trend to continue in the interest of keeping him healthy and finding yards elsewhere within the offense.
Around the B1G
Ohio State (my bad, Ohio) Ohio continues to surprise me in beating Wisconsin. I didn’t see all of their night game against Wisky, but I certainly didn’t expect them to come out on top. I don’t think Ohio could have caught Wisconsin at a more opportune time. Think about it – Wisconsin had all the national hype about contending for the BCS National Championship and the Russell Wilson Heisman talk was in full effect. All this gets abrubtly thrown out the window when Michigan State wins on a Hail Mary. I’m not saying Wisconsin didn’t give it their best shot, but the phsycological effect of the previous week’s loss means more than you think.
Iowa losing to Minnesota was not supposed to happen. From Hawk-Central…
The Hawkeyes lost for a number of reasons Saturday, including scoring just three times on six possessions inside the 20-yard line, not protecting quarterback James Vandenberg, missing two field goals, failing to contain shifty quarterback MarQueis Gray, and coming up with nothing but air on the Gophers’ late onside kick.
It’s scary to think what Michigan quarterback Denard Robinson might do to the Iowa defense next Saturday unless the unit improves dramatically.
Anything stand out to you from that first block-quote? Hopefully, Michigan’s D line gets to the ill-protected Vandenberg and Denard is ill-contained like the talented, yet lesser caliber MarQuis Gray.
Penn State outscores Illinois 10-7. Let’s face it – the only reason to tune into this game (okay there are two reasons) was to watch some snowfall on to a football field. I suppose, a plausible second reason to watch this game could be that Michigan faces the Illini in two weeks at their place. So, geez, that was a boring game. Neither offense looked like they could do much of anything, ever. I could be wrong, as there were just better things to do with my life at the time than watch this game. Regardless of Illinois looking awful and enduring a three game slide – Michigan has a tough game in two weeks. From IlliniHQ.com…
If we’re being honest, Illinois didn’t deserve to win Saturday. It’s a miracle the Illini even had a chance to send this game into overtime, let alone have a chance to win it in the final minutes. They gave the ball away a season-high four times and had a major breakdown in the punting game for the second straight week. That certainly won’t cut it against No. 17 Michigan in two weeks or against No. 12 Wisconsin the following week, not with atrocious special teams and an offense that is not producing near the same level it was to start the season.
Finally, is Penn State the worst 8-1 team, ever? I know PSU’s defense is stiff, but when you randomly watch that team they don’t look good.
Nebraska owned Michigan State. Simple as that. Kirk Cousins just doesn’t look like he can even give his team a chance to win sometimes. That offense looked bad. I’m still a little bitter about how things went down two weekends a go for Team 132. It didn’t look like the same MSU team Michigan faced. You had a feeling it was going to be Nebraska’s day shortly into that game. It’s going to be a game in the Big House come November 19th – I’d say 20-30% chance Gameday might be back in Ann Arbor for that one, which would be subject to change if it looks like an 8-3 Ohio State team could face a 10-1 Michigan team (!) the following week. Certainly not counting on a 10-1 Michigan team, but it’s not out of the question.
Northwestern scores 59 and Indiana not so many, 38. Northwestern gained 616 total yards and Indiana gained 488 total yards. I wonder how much longer that game took to play than say, Ohio State vs. Wisconsin? That’s got to be a serious difference, no?
Photo cred AA.com.