Week 11 Trend Report
Trending: the good.
It’s a…. It’s a Michigan Defense!!! How can you not continue to celebrate what is an absolutely jaw-dropping and stunning turn-around by the Michigan defense. This is now two weeks in a row where MZone said it all:
Are you getting tired of praising this defense yet? Me neither. Nebraska didn’t convert a third down until the third quarter. Sit back for a moment and try to wrap your head around that. Last year, U-M had the 110th ranked defense in the country (out of 120, in case you’re wondering). Last year, this defense gave up 35.2 points per game, 107th in the country. This year, Michigan has the #14 ranked defense in all the land and is giving up 15.6 per game, 6th best in the country!
Want a little more perspective? In its 13 games last year, Michigan gave up 458 points. Through 11 this season, they’ve surrendered 172. In other words, to equal the punchline that was 2010, Michigan would have to give up 144 points — in EACH of its remaining two games (OSU and the bowl).
Folks, that’s not improvement, it’s mind boggling. Because this wasn’t some talent-laden group coming back. It was, well, the 110th ranked unit in the nation.
Oh how great it is. Can’t believe it. But I love it. And I know you do too.
JG. Jeremy Gallon is quite alright. Gallon has been so consistent this season, that it’s a story that nobody really talks about anymore. Jeremy Gallon was not a fan favorite after his efforts on the field in 2010. Now? Now, Gallon is an effective punt returner, solid as a perimeter player, and uses his okay speed to gain good yards in the open field. This is what I’m sayin’ yo (via TTB):
Gallon isn’t exactly DeSean Jackson with the football in his hands, but he sure does have a way of gaining extra yards in the open field. Whenever he catches the ball, I expect at least a couple people to miss tackles.
I hear Gallon is top jokester on the team as well.
Michigan is so back, so back. Brady Hoke and that staff that he put together upon his hiring – have done a remarkable job with this team. Who in the hell would have thought that Michigan would be playing for a potential BCS at-large bid in it’s final game versus Ohio. From our friends at maizeandgoblue:
This year is different. While they still have a ways to go, Michigan has a talented team on both sides of the ball and last time I checked, Michigan has the #2 ranked recruiting class coming in for 2012. The fact that the Wolverines are 9-2 going into Ohio week is also exciting. This is the best record that Michigan has had going in to this game since 2006! Not only that, but Michigan also has an excellent chance of finishing the regular season with double-digit wins.
But seriously, what a great trend to have towards the end of the season. A Michigan team that is actually improving and not going backwards. Losing at Iowa led to a nerve racking mentally in pushing on to the final three games of the season. With two solid and rather dominant performances – there is no doubt this Michigan team is peaking in all three phases of the game. Michigan has an opportunity to improve it’s record to 8-0 at home.
Fitz Toussaint continues to be the bomb. I believe I’ve said this for three straight weeks now, or rather since the Purdue game. Toussaint is probably Michigan’s best back in a decade. Not to slight the production of Mike Hart, but Fitz has talent that Michigan hasn’t seen in a decade. This, from BWS:
Fitz Toussaint looks more and more like an NFL running back the more carries he gets. His lateral movement is incredible. There are only a few running backs in the country with a more effective cut than his. So long as he doesn’t fall in love with it and maintains it as a tool to run vertically, Toussaint is going to be the best Michigan running back in a long time.
After witnessing this guy of late, how could you disagree!?
Denard Robinson is … back? I hate to say it that way, because I know he never was gone. But, I say that Denard is back because he finally played against a worthy opponent and looked comfortable in the pocket, running the offense, and making decent to solid decisions. Denard played good enough to net himself his sixth career B1G player of the week honor. There were a couple plays, specifically on the 1st half-ending drive, where I thought Denard totally missed the running lane thus negating potential gains and points.
Trending: the not-so-good.
Memo to all Michigan fans worldwide:
Parts of my brain have gone into a deep freeze as of this past Saturday and I have zero input into this section. Michigan turned over a new leaf. Michigan has turned the pages, burnt the book, and is re-writing the pages in a new book. This a week that Michigan fans are to enjoy – as it’s absence has been annoying and shitty. A week that is full of hype. A week that is full of positive discussion in regards to coaching football, playing football, and team #132 at Michigan.
So, Michigan fans, I suppose some of you might want to talk about losing contain and allowing Nebraska to chunk out a 23 yarder, but I’m leaving it with the good. A good that Michigan fans haven’t had the fortune of enjoying for several years. A good that reflects forward and translates into a period of success and promise.
Hail. Go Blue. F%#&in’ beat Ohio.
Around the B1G
Unfortunately, Michigan State celebrates winning the division at the hands of the hapless Indiana Hoosiers by a score of 55-3. I had better programs to watch elsewhere – so I didn’t see any of this game, but it obviously wasn’t very close at any point in time. Indiana spotted Michigan State 17 points in the first quarter, where therein the game is over.
Penn State win in Columbus, 20-14. Ohio
State was at one point, 3 and 3 on the season. Ohio then proceeded to win it’s next three B1G games, two of which came at the hands of a ranked Illinois team and the vaunted Wisconsin team. People were begrudgingly talking about the potential looming division title for the once-maligned Buckeye team. After Ohio reached a 6-3 mark, they have proceeded to toss in a clunker at Purdue and lost a close one at home to Penn State. Penn State’s performance is going to show Al Borges what he needs to do. Eleven Warriors indirectly elaborates:
Penn State rushed for 239 yards yesterday on 39 attempts. That’s 6.1 per carry. That’s gross.
Penn State rushed for 188 yards in the first half averaging 9.0 yards per carry. That’s like parachute didn’t open gross.
The most agonizing thing about PSU’s ground success was that it came in such large chunks and with no frills. The Lions ran right at the Buckeyes and too often holes five yards wide opened, the RB got to the 2nd level then easily outran the members of the back seven.
Beat Ohio. Do it already.
Wisconsin makes Illinois more miserable than they already were in a 28-17 ball game. Illinois continues it’s slide from a once promising season that started with six straight wins. From the AP:
Illinois outgained Wisconsin 301-285, but the turnovers — a fumble and three interceptions — combined with special teams mistakes doomed the Illini.
The Badgers scored on drives of 44, 39, 30 and 2 yards. Their first 14 points were set up by an Illinois turnover and a badly botched punt.
Not hard to see why Illinois lost and held a lighter to a golden opportunity at home.
Iowa beat Purdue 31-21. If you are a Michigan fan – this was a game that was the furthest thing from interesting. All I know is that Marvin McNutt had another huge day for Iowa and that’s about it for two of the B1G’s mediocre at best bowl teams. Check that – Purdue has five wins and will be shooting for bowl eligibility next week against Indiana.
Northwestern continues to turn it around in beating Minnesota on their home turf by a score of 28-13. Again, for Michigan fans, talk about a sleeper of a game. Nice to see Northwestern turn around their season and get to bowl eligibility.