Saturday, November 1, 2008

UW-Michigan State thoughts

I don't even know what to say. Seriously. This week after week of getting kicked in the balls by one thing after another is really starting to have a residual effect on my psyche.

We should have won this game by three touchdowns. Two 100-yard rushers. Holding Ringer to 54 yards. Their quarterback goes 19-for-44 and their butterfingered receivers drop seven passes.

And yet ...


Deep breath.

(Kick wall.)

-Where to begin? How about the officiating? Looks like in the end we racked up 121 penalty yards. I'd estimate that about half of them were no-doubters, about a quarter of them were toss-ups, and about a quarter of them were ridiculous.

-Kudos to Michigan State's offensive coordinator for his innovative game plan of calling passing plays, having his receivers run near our defensive backs, and lobbying for interference calls. It worked marvelously. Better than actually trying to complete passes to a bunch of guys with hands like that guy from the movie Necessary Roughness, I think his name was Featherstone (same color jerseys, too).

-Then again, someone named Blair White (wasn't she on The Facts of Life?) had 164 yards receiving, so they had something working.

-Can someone explain the back-to-back penalties on our coaching staff following the John Clay touchdown that set up their last touchdown? Bielema just said the refs' explanation was that our defense came onto the field too quickly after the play was over, and that he's never been warned or even talked to about a penalty like that before. Oh my god ...

(Break: Listening to the postgame I just heard a McCain ad featuring a stuttering Joe the Plumber and threw the radio through the window.)

-We ice the game with a rare third-and-1 conversion ... and a hold on Moffitt. Iffy call, seems like John got his arm outside the lineman and the guy fell over, but it didn't even need to be that close. We didn't need to hold their linemen -- we ran the ball so effectively it was like Sinbad was on the Spartans' line.

Second straight week something like this happened. Last week we overcame it, this week we crumbled.

-Why in the hell did Bielema call timeout when State was setting up for that last-second field goal? They were rushing onto the field for what was admittedly a very makable field goal, but we gave them time to get things straight. Maybe if he hadn't wasted our third timeout with that foolish challenge earlier in the half he could have called a third straight timeout.

The radio guys just said calling the timeout was a good move because we only had 10 guys on the field. Oh, so that makes it good coaching. Sheesh.

Bitter cloud lifting? Not yet ...

-If Michigan State is the Big Ten's third-best team, then this truly is an awful conference.

-At least the running game got going today, and found that rhythm in the second half. The only thing that stopped it was our play calling or penalties. P.J. looked confident. Clay ran hard and hit holes. His touchdown run was beautiful, especially the blocking. Chris Pressley got a seal on the outside linebacker. Eric Vanden Heuvel and Kraig Urbik doubled down on the edge. Andy Kemp pulled nicely, and Nick Toon held the cornerback at bay. Perfect execution.

On P.J.'s touchdown run Billy Rentmeester and Gabe Carimi had nice blocks.

-Toon showed signs of being a playmaker at wide receiver.

-Final yardage: Wisconsin 431, Michigan State 312.

-Had a feeling that Phil Welch was going to miss that field goal, but didn't think it would come back to be decisive.

-Also had a feeling State would call a fake field goal, but in the first half. Terrible designed play -- snap to a defensive end? Gee, can't believe he didn't catch it.

-Brad Nortman and Daven Jones had great execution on the punt Jones downed at the 1, but the refs thought otherwise. Which one of them saw that as a touchback? Either way, Bielema should never have challenged it, there was no way a replay could have overturned it.

-One holding call on Niles Brinkley was particularly galling. The refs got him for a hold when there was no contact until after the ball was already past the receiver. Unreal.

-Welch's kickoffs were too short for my liking.

-In a way, this was very similar to our win over Michigan State in the Big Ten Tournament. State for the most part outplayed us in that game but foul trouble on their bigs, which their fans would pin on refereeing, let us creep back in, and Flowers' steal stole the game for us late. This was the football equivalent of that, only with us on the losing end. Payback's a bitch ... but I'm glad we got that win.

Another week, another loss like this. If I had any hair left I'd be pulling it out. I can't even take satisfaction with Minnesota and Michigan losing ... maybe just a little.

Jana just handed me Charlie, so I'm wrapping it up. He's smiling, so I guess I should be, too. Our performance today keeps me from wrapping up hopes of doing something else positive this season. But just barely.


Anonymous said...

I think the officiating left a lot to be desired too.....didn't think State was going to pull it out, but am drinking a celebration beer - sounds like you need one too....haha. I enjoy your blog.

Uncle John

Scott Tappa said...

Thanks Unc. Five hours later, I can concede that State made the plays it had to make to pull it out in the end.

I can't get over the ESPN/ABC bottom line ... RUSHING YARDS: WIS 281, MSU 25, PENALTY YARDS: WIS 121, MSU 30.

Corby said...

Look on the bright side Scott, with a poor record this year the Badgers will have a higher pick in the upcoming draft...oh wait, does not work that way. Forget it, there is no bright side.

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