Tales from the Deuce

Michigan Recap: Notre Dame

Final Score: Michigan 28 Notre Dame 24

Wow.  I’m sure there are better superlatives I could use to describe Denard Robinson’s performance today, but I can’t think of one right now.  Without question, this guy has exceeded my expectations as a quarterback by leaps and bounds. How?  All Robinson did was eclipse his previous record for total offense by a Michigan quarterback (383) by amassing 502 yards in total offense.  I was off a little in my prediction (3 points) but oh well.  Generally, I feel relieved with the win.  We didn’t move the ball as well as I would have thought, but then Notre Dame is, well still Notre Dame, which means they’ve got tons of talent.  And that showed on several occasions.

For all of Denard’s heroics, we weren’t the most efficient offense (3-16 on third downs), nor were we all that productive with our running backs (only Denard averaged more than 3 ypc).  Combine that with the fact that Notre Dame’s starting quarterback Dayne Crist missed most of the 1st half and there’s much to be concerned about as the Wolverines approach Big Ten play.  Here are my heroes and goats.

Heroes: Aside from Robinson, Roy Roundtree, Daryl Stonum, Jonas Mouton, and Jordan Kovacs (for the most part)

Goats: Patrick Omameh, Kelvin Grady, Cameron Gordon

I give Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly a lot of credit.  He had his team up for the game, his offense looked well adjusted to the new system, and his defense (aside from Robinson’s heroics) played quite well at times; especially Manti Te’o.  Kyle Rudolph is a stud (no surprise) and their offensive line played much better than I expected.  In the end, it came down to the best player on the field, and for the second week in a row, it was Denard Robinson.  Though the Wolverines were the ones with the luck today, I’ll take the win; after all, the Irish had their chances.

2 thoughts on “Tales from the Deuce

  1. No doubt, offense looks great. Robinson is both exciting and dynamic. It will be interesting to see when or if opponents will find a way to stop or contain him. The defense is porous, but leaves room for improvement. I understand the reason for the 3-3-5, it obviously applies more resources to their least experienced positions. However, I would like to see a little more creativity in blitz packages, etc… If you’re going to put so many in the secondary. No matter how good the defensive line is, when you only rush three for the entire game, you’re going to have a hard time applying pressure to opposing QB’s.

    Mark my words… Michigan must win early in the season if they are going to win in the big ten. Their biggest asset is speed and the combination of southern track stars and inclement weather will be problematic.

  2. Roy,

    Thanks for reading the column! You bring up some very interesting points. Considering Michigan’s weaknesses (weak secondary, poor linebacker play) I suspect that it matters little which scheme the defense runs. Or, put another way, you may solve some of the problems brought on by rushing less, but then you expose yourself to a different set of problems; particularly placing pressure on individual defenders to make open-field tackles and shed blockers. A perfect illustration of that would be last week in the Bowling Green game. One of their scores came as a result of a big play on a bubble screen. Michigan was in a blitz, so you could argue that the luck of play-calling might have been a bigger target. However, there were still defenders in the second-level that were unable to get off blocks, Ezeh missed a tackle, then, the next thing you know, Bowling Green is running up field for a big gain.

    Offensively, I agree that weather and more physical play may change things a bit, but I think it will matter much less. I say that because our offensive line is much better, and more importantly more physical. Which means that we’ll always be able to exploit opposing defenses, just perhaps to a lesser extent. Where we should see bigger problems is on defense where downhill teams like Wisconsin and MSU should be able to take advantage of our lack of size in the front seven.

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