It's second and six, and Northwestern is trying to respond to Michigan's opening-drive touchdown. They align with trips receivers to
As the ball is snapped, Ryan is left unblocked. Northwestern is running the triple option here. Currently, Colter is reading Ryan and will decide whether or not to hand the ball off for the RB dive. The running back to Colter's left is swinging behind the mesh point to act as the pitch man if Colter pulls the ball.
Ryan commits to the dive play, which...
...whoops, Colter pulls the ball. The right tackle and guard are releasing to the second level and about to smother Brandin Hawthorne.
Poor Jordan Kovacs. He now stands as the only player between the ball and the endzone, trying to defend a pitch option.
He's hopeless, as anyone would be facing this scenario. Colter cuts back upfield and runs untouched into the endzone.
Blame for this play falls on one of two people--Ryan or Hawthorne--and it depends on how the team was coached. At first blush, this seems like Ryan's fault for not holding the edge. However, it's possible that Hawthorne should have scraped over the top of the play. Unfortunately, we don't know how Mattison prepared the team for this play, but given Hawthorne's complete disregard for the option, this was either a terrible read by him or Ryan should have kept contain instead of attack the dive play. I'm inclined to say the latter.
While the linebackers are young, these are problems that need to be corrected soon. Northwestern is known for their triple option, and being this unprepared (or possibly just having a huge brain fart) is not sustainable for the future. With four of Michigan's remaining six opponents (Purdue, Illinois, Nebraska, Ohio