Jeff Sainlar | AnnArbor.comAt halftime against Ohio
In retrospect, a 5-7 Michigan team had no business beating that Daryll Clark-led Penn State unit. And in reality, the first-half defense against Ohio State wasn't as bad as it seemed. The Buckeyes benefited from good field position thanks to a Denard fumble, setting up a 31-yard touchdown drive. Otherwise, Michigan blew a few coverages because they loaded up against the run and, for one of the first times this season, Miller made a defense pay for exploiting his obvious weaknesses. Those blown coverages were ugly but holding Dan Herron to 37 yards on 15 carries speaks for itself. So the does defense's first safety in 170 years.
Mattison didn't try to outscheme Ohio
Al Borges, on the other hand, was sitting on some of his best stuff until the Buckeyes came to town. That Koger touchdown was 100% Al Borges' Diabolical Machinations and the frequently deployed zone read that saw Denard head upfield instead of to the weakside was gift wrapped for Ohio
This was never going to be easy, or at least it shouldn't have been. Of course it featured the worst overturned touchdown of the season when Michigan had put the game away. Of course the team took 25 yards in penalties the following play when it looked like they had gotten into the endzone a second time. But Ohio
- Congratulations to the seniors who deserved this game for all of the shit they've been through the last four years. Those Who Stay Will Be Champions.
- You could see how much this game meant to Toussaint. An Ohio kid without an Ohio
Statescholarship offer, he had something to prove in this game. It's unfortunately that the final, clinching non-touchdown was called back because he deserved to get into the endzone.
- Lordy, the non-touchdown. Every Michigan fan knew that it would be how Michigan lost its eighth straight to the Buckeyes. Michigan had the game put away until it inexplicably didn't. I have no idea how you can overturn that call. The two available angles showed differing opinions. Conclusive evidence yadda yadda. Water under the bridge, I guess.
- Mattison using the okie package on the final drive was terrifying. I like that his version of prevent defense includes zone blitzing, but I do not like that his version of prevent defense doesn't appear to prevent anything. You have to have safety help over the top. I'll sit down with Mattison over a cup of tea and discuss my displeasure.
- Denard had his best game of the season. He properly pulled the ball on zone reads and threw the ball better than he has all season. He still had a few frustrating runs where he tried bouncing outside, but these are minor complaints when his statline reads 170 yards on 26 carries.
There won't be many posts this week. I'm out of town for a conference for my day job until Wednesday. I'll probably have some play breakdowns on Friday and early next week, and as bowl season approaches, you can expect similar coverage to that of last year's Gator Bowl.