Observations on the gift win at Madison, 20-17!

1-I'm so glad that Brett Bell made the decision to go to Wisconsin. What a colossal mistake! In his defense, it could've happened to anyone, but it was a coaching error to even send back blockers on that punt. Sometimes, it's better to be lucky rather than good! We certainly weren't good today!

2-Navarre looked terrible. He has zero mobility! He is easy to read for a defender, and he does a lousy job reading defenses and adjusting. In his defense, Walker has dropped a few sure catches. Walker did not exactly having a banner game except for the blocked punt. Navarre finished 11 of 24 for 58 yards and one pick plus one touchdown catch. We were 5 of 16 on 3rd down conversions and had only 12 first downs. We had 164 yards in 64 plays, and Wisconsin had 7 minutes more in time of possession because of our ridiculous offense led by an ineffective quarterback.

3-Our defense and special teams won the game with 2 blocked punts and 13 points scored. For those Michigan football "fans" who continue to rip on Jim Herrmann, I hope you noticed that his defensive calls and schemes not only kept us in the game, but eventually won the game for us. Unfortunately, it looks like LeSueur and Jackson were both injured in the game and we are already extremely thin and weak in the backfield. Our defense need one more blocked punt to tie a team record from 1950; today, Illinois scored first on Ohio State with a blocked punt.

4-Wisconsin is probably the 10th worst team in the league and we kept them in the game because of our poor offense. Sound familiar? Washington and Michigan State beat us because of our offensive inability to move the ball, maintain possession, score, etc. Wisconsin will play Minnesota next week for the honor of the worst team in the league; how can we be ranked 11th and be considered for a BCS bowl when we keep cellar dwellers in the game? I guess it is because all the other teams also have similar problems; nobody is invincible. The Big Ten is really a weak conference this year; did you see where Bowling Green beat Northwestern? There are at least 3 teams in the PAC-10 better than either Michigan or Illinois (Oregon, UCLA, Washington) and possibly 5 teams (Stanford and Washington State)! There are 6 teams who could finish 4-4 in the conference this year: Ohio State, Iowa, Penn State, Michigan State, Purdue, Indiana, and Wisconsin.

5-I can't believe we aren't recruiting a kicker. Epstein never consistently hits field goals, and I don't think we have any walk-ons (Brabbs) who can give us a game-winning effort. Epstein did win this game with the field goal, but his punting really tailed off in the second half. He finished with a 36 yard average on 8 punts after having a 45 yard average on 2 first half punts.

6-Our defense did a nice job on holding Evans to 3 catches, but Davis had 103 yards rushing on 27 carries. Ohio State is going to run Wells down our throats next week!

7-Our rushing effort was typical, just over 100 yards (105 to be exact). We simply can't rush against the good defenses, and Ohio State will show again how pathetic our rushing game is next week. Askew had 58 yards and Perry had 53. The only team we could gain over 200 yards rushing this season on was the cellar-dwelling Gophers; we certainly won't gain 200 yards rushing against Ohio State (and probably not even 100).

8-Victor Hobson led our defense with 8 tackles, Larry Foote and Todd Howard had 6 tackles each. Howard led our defense with some nice coverage on Evans (only 3 catches for 31 yards). Heuer had a nice game, too with 5 tackles including 2 for loss. I hope Orr's thumb is o.k.; he left the game for a while in the first half, but returned. Frysinger had a rough game jumping offsides quite a bit and having no tackles.

9-Kudos to Wisconsin! What an effort! They were very well prepared! It's too bad for them that their punting game was so horrid! The bye week really helped them to prepare and heal up. They really stopped our "big plays." Wow, that Griesen was awesome, 16 tackles. He really stuck some of our players. Starks also did a nice job in pass coverage and with the one pick. Obviously, Echols did a great job on Walker. Bollinger was only 7 of 17 on 3rd down conversions and 14 of 29 for 133 yards. He had 77 yards rushing, but only 57 net because of 3 sacks.

10-In my opinion, the turning point in the game was when Navarre called the time-out after we had a first and goal at the 4 after the 2nd punt block. It took away our momentum and gave their defense some time to re-group and hold us to a field goal. Yes, Seymour was also caught for holding, but Navarre really blew it with that time-out! We're up 17-7 rather than 21-7, and they came right back down to score to make it 17-14. They outgained us 292 to 163, more first downs 16-12, 10 more plays in 7 minutes more time of possession. We had 4 fumbles, but only lost one to go with our one thrown interception for two turnovers. They only lost the ball once until that final "fumble" off the punt, but it did cost them the game. (I would not have liked our chances in OT)

11-I am not real confident for next week's Ohio State game. We made Michigan State's season, and almost made Wisconsin's and Iowa's. Navarre hasn't show that he can lead our team in pressure games. Yes, he did a great job in the Illinois game, but against good defenses in big games, he hasn't done the job. Hope I'm wrong! Ohio State didn't look good against Illinois, but they do have a tough defense and that coupled with our pathetic offense spells T-R-O-U-B-L-E! Our defense will shut down their offense, too, but they will run all game long with Wells and that new recruit from Florida (freshman).

12-Next weekend is our first big recruiting weekend with Maurice Stovall, Stephon Heyer, Curt Justus, Julian Jenkins and others in. First, we need a win over the Buckeyes. Second, we need to get Banks, Edwards or Gutierrez visualizing the great opportunity they'll have to lead our team in 2002 or 2003 because Navarre is definitely not looking to be the answer.