Look familiar?There's only one difference: The nickel back that was covering Roy Roundtree in the slot shows blitz before the snap. Then this happens:
Next, as I said in my game column, this play doesn't happen with anyone else under center. Specifically,
|It's a tie game with less than a minute left and Michigan is able to get man coverage down the field in an obvious passing situation because Indiana is terrified of Denard's running ability. Either that's the worst play call of the year or Denard really is able to take it to the house on any play. Given what we know, it's the latter.|
So maybe it's not even close to the worst play call of the year. But the fact remains: How in the world do you put corners on an island and blitz less players than a team has blockers in a situation like that, especially given that Michigan's kickers are a combined 1/5 on the year? In that situation, you allow the running game to pick up nine yards at a time and take your chances with Michigan's kicking game.
Finally, Rodriguez needs to come in for a lot of praise here. On the previous three plays, Michigan got up to the line of scrimmage, surveyed the field, and ran the play they had originally called. When Indiana finally showed a change, one that was favorable to Michigan, Rodriguez checked to the passing play that effectively won them the game. Lloyd Carr rarely if ever showed this kind of cat-and-mouse play calling. More importantly, this is twice in close games that Rodriguez has out maneuvered his counterpart to resounding effect. This is not a fluke occurrence.