Wednesday, November 23, 2011

A Rude Welcoming

I'm a little bit late with the recap this week due to being in Ann Arbor/traveling for Thanksgiving (I know you've all been waiting with bated breath). So, here it is. Due to the nature of this week, I'm going to just go with bullets for this one. The threshold has been crossed; no longer should surprise or amazement be our most abundant response to anything that happens. We are good, and at minimum much better than we'd thought we'd be. What a concept.

  • In MGoPodcast style, I'll start with the complaints, of which there are very few. First...student section. Why are you all so terrible? I spent my four years complaining to everyone that our student section was pretty lackluster in a number of ways, but I feel like this year they've* taken it to a whole new level. Saturday was the first time I've ever thought "Hey, maybe sitting with a down-in-fronter wouldn't be so bad." Yeah...that's how bad it was. It's almost as if Under The Lights happened and all the students assumed they had fulfilled their giving a crap quota for the season. The student section  had way too many empty seats around kickoff once again, for a big conference game that would net us our 9th win and assure our best regular season record since 2006. If I never see another brah waltz into the student section halfway through the second quarter only to complain that YOU'RE IN HIS SEATS BRAH COME AT ME AND MY BACKWARDS FITTED HAT THAT IS ASSUREDLY LIMITING THE BLOOD FLOW TO MY BRAIN...I'll be pretty happy. It's going to be strange not sitting in the student section starting next year, but I just can't deal with key-jingling morons anymore. I get that there's a pretty huge number of out-of-staters, international students, and other assorted folks that might not be hardcore fans, but guys are terrible, and I thought you were bad before (2007-2011...ah, memories). 
          In short, you're not a student section, YOU JUST SUCK.
  •   Other complaints, are, well...not existent? Well, the halftime show was weird, I guess. There's something to be said for trying new things but that was not really something that I would've wanted
    to see, but you know whatever. 
  • Denard Robinson not throwing off of his back foot? Check? Putting the 2-QB set on ice for the game, thus allowing him to get in a rhythm? Check. Denard realizing that scrambling is a thing that he is allowed to do? Check. He has obviously had more prolific performances in the past but this game was one of my favorite performances of his just because of the fact that it represents a step toward the type of quarterback we know he can be. A day of 11/18 passing for 180 yards, 83 yards rushing, 4 touchdowns, and only 1 turnover...I can get behind that and so should everyone else. 
  • Bo Jackson said that he felt like Cam Newton dropped down on Auburn from outer space...while the same can't exactly be said for Fitz Toussaint, his emergence on the field has been equally critical,especially vis a vis Denard's progression as a quarterback. He has now put up three superb games out of the last four, and with only Molk and Huyge departing after this season, the prospects for the running game are bright for 2012.
  • Brady Hoke is secretly Les Miles without the absurdist flair. Don't fool yourself, the man is diabolical. That fake field goal was unbelievably perfect in its execution and timing. Let's hope this continues to be SOP.
  • Odoms! I'm going to miss his play on the field. He's now scored in back to back weeks, and a touchdown against the Buckeyes would go a long way toward a fulfilling end to a great career. After that long touchdown I immediately thought back to the game-winning touchdown against Indiana in 2009 and smiled. 
  • So apparently Mattison's slightly disturbing manboob jiggle is an exhortation to burninate whatever lays before the defense because that was amazing. Okay, Floyd got beat once deep. It was the first one all year and it happens. The second touchdown was on a very short field after Michigan went three and out starting from their own four yard line. Even Nebraska's field goal come on the heels of a Denard interception that led to the Huskers starting from the Michigan 34. After that they: 1) lost five on first down 2) incomplete pass on second 3) 6-yard pass on 3rd and 15. Otherwise, Michigan's defense throttled the Huskers when they weren't asked to defend a short field. This "happiness" feeling re: the defense is foreign but I like it. 
  • Michigan's 2011 Takeaway Tour continues, with Jake Ryan, Terrence Robinson, and Cam Gordon all forcing fumbles. All were legitimate forced fumbles and not the cheap kind, only further underscoring the newfound commitment to special teams and tackling in general. A hat on the ball equals fumble a good amount of the time; Michigan's 2011 special teams is a testament to that fact. Michigan will need to continue that and kick/punt returners will have to keep holding onto the ball in order to prevent the Buckeyes from having a chance at some cheap short field points. 
  • Another defensive note: Michigan held the Huskers to 3/13 on third down. The takeaways are great, but this is one of the more underrated points of improvement in this team. Try to think of all the times Michigan could not stop somebody on third down in the last several years; all those drives that once continued all the way to the end zone are now ending with a pathetic whimper.
  • Gibbons? 
 Oh yeah. He was 1 for 2 on 42-yarders, which I will take any day of the week and twice on Sunday. I'm still conditioned to cross my fingers every time we attempt a field goal, but Gibbons has quietly had a very nice season. He's not Robbie Gould or anything, but as long as he can continue to hit most things inside 40 and do okay with the 40-45 range then we could consider him our most dependable kicker since Rivas...which, isn't saying much but dependable is dependable.
  • Time of possession: Michigan 41:13, Nebraska 18:39. Okay, TOP doesn't mean anything in and of itself, and it's more a product of defensive and offensive efficiency than a directly causative relationship. In the five-course meal that is GOOD FOOTBAW, dominating TOP is a side like mac and cheese or mashed potatoes compared the entrees of takeaways, third down percentages, and rushing yards. Sides don't make a meal but they can certainly detract from it if they're not very good at all. Given Kovacs's comments on the subject after the game, it's obvious that the defense has in part improved because of the change in tempo, although how significant the effect has been is somewhat nebulous and unquantifiable.
Speaking of food...Maize and Blue victory sandwich
  •   Nebraska fans seemed pretty cool. I didn't really actively interact with any of them but I didn't notice a single negative interaction between them and other Michigan fans all day. Their fans traveled well as expected, and while this will likely never become a bigger game than the triumvirate of evil that is aOSU, ND, and MSU, it will be a game to look forward to each and every year. Welcome to the Big Ten.
  • Here are some more random stats if you need more random pieces of delightful information to make you feel happy. 
  • I could say more, but frankly there's only one thing that matters right now...enough Nebraska talk. Beat Ohio.You may continue your regularly scheduled HATE WEEK programs.

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