Saturday, November 14, 2009

UW-Michigan thoughts

That was exactly the second half we were looking for! I could not be more pleased with the win -- defense played well enough, offense was in control when the game mattered, lots of guys got involved. Always good to beat Michigan, which will probably be back at some point in the near future. They've got some good playmakers, but a lot of holes on defense and in the running game.

Most points ever against Michigan? I'll take that.

-I was hard on Scott Tolzien for his first half performance. He was brilliant in the second half. Helped, of course, by the fact that he had all day to throw and his receivers were wide open. Nick Toon had another career day, Isaac Anderson was open time and again, and Garrett Graham delivered the performance we expect from him. Lance Kendricks made a really nice, athletic play on his touchdown reception. We'll give the passing game a B, but an A+ for the second half.

-John Clay won't go down as the top star of this game, but had another very good day. As I Tweeted late in the game, who is a better candidate for Big Ten offensive player of the year than him? Montee Ball got a lot of good reps, and Zach Brown had one very nice run. Reassuring to see the running back depth that our offensive needs. A- for the run game.

-So let's give props to the offensive line for the job they did protecting Tolzien in the second half and for run blocking, excellent job fellas. Jake Bscherer must have done a good job replacing Josh Oglesby. Gabe Carimi was called for two holds, one of which was a terrible call in which he had whipped his guy and the guy just twisted and fell.

-Hard to pick one guy on defense, but a lot of guys were solid. Niles Brinkley made a nice pick that should help his confidence. Devin Smith's coverage improved as the game went on. Jae McFadden had some nice player early in the second half. The Big Ten Network crew named O'Brien Schofield the defensive player of the game, he did most of his damage early.

-It's sort of incredible that we haven't allowed a Big Ten opponent to rush for 100 yards this year. Coming into the season that figured to be a weakness, with two new defensive tackles and two new linebackers. But that unit has obviously been excellent, and our success has stemmed from there.

One more Big Ten team to go, and Northwestern is always tricky. But we've guaranteed a winning conference record in a rebuilding year. The senior class that played its last home game today deserves a lot of credit for that.

Last year the Michigan game was the lowest of lows for the Badgers and their fans. This year the Michigan game is a reason for us to smile and enjoy life in red.

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