Observations on the triple overtime
win over Michigan State, 45-37!
1-The Spartans came ready to play,
and completely outplayed today on both sides of the ball. They
were certainly better coached in preparation and in game plan,
and they executed their game plan in excellent fashion. They jumped
to an early lead, and although we tied the game briefly at 7-7,
they led the entire game and created a two score lead twice. They
seemed put the game out of reach when we chose to punt on 4th
and short, and they showed the "killer instinct" by
putting the game out of reach with another long Cobb score with
8:43 to go in the game. They had executed two big plays for a
72 yard and 64 yard TD runs by Cobb, and converted three red zone
opportunities for 13 more points while we only had two red zone
opportunities for 10 points. Then, lightning struck when Braylon
Edwards caught two big TD grabs (36 and 21 yards) at 6:12 and
2:59 left to tie the score at 27 each to send it into overtime.
2-Stanton injured his shoulder,
but did a great job creating control of the game for MSU. What
a great first half; he was 10 of 13 for 95 yards and 12 carries
for 80 yards, 1 TD run, no picks and no sacks. He engineered the
Spartans to 12 first downs and 266 yards in total offense with
3 of 7 in 3rd down conversions that resulted in a time of possession
advantage of nearly two minutes in the first half. Dowdell filled
in admirably and didn't make any mistakes while completing 8 of
13 for 72 yards plus 6 rushes for 32 yards. DeAndra Cobb was their
player of the game with 205 yards on 22 carries for 2 TDs; he
was virtually unstoppable as he ran by our linebackers, Shazor
and Mundy for big plays and large gains all afternoon and evening.
Teague added 57 yards on 12 carries for a TD. Overall, the Spartans
had 535 yards of total offense with 25 first downs and 8 of 20
in 3rd and 4th down conversions that led to a 5 minute time of
3-Henne looked simply miserable
early in the game, but caught fire and finished with 24 of 35
for 273 yards and 4 TDs plus the important 2 point conversion
to Massaquoi. He had no interceptions, but was forced into 5 sacks
(Stanley, Dukes, Dortch and Herron) although one was called a
fumble (that Long luckily recovered). We were 7 of 18 in 3rd down
conversions with 496 yards in total offense and 27 first downs.
4-Hart was phenomenal with 33 carries
for 224 yards and 5 catches for 19 yards until he left with a
thigh injury. Braylon Edwards was our offensive player of the
game despite a slow start and a fumble that really hurt us; he
finished with 11 catches for 189 yards and 3 TDs (one in OT) and
ran a reverse for 22 yards. Avant had 5 catches for 47 yards.
5-Our defense was led by Scott McClintock's
12 tackles, two for loss and Lamarr Woodley's 11 tackles, two
for loss. Shazor had 10, Reid, Hall and Mundy had 7 each. Our
defense allowed the Spartans to gain 368 yards on the ground,
and forced no turnovers; however, they made some big stops when
they needed to including on the last drive in triple overtime.
The bye week comes at a good time for this group to re-group before
facing an impressive Northwestern team that has beaten Ohio State
and Purdue. Our defense played 23 different players in trying
to stay with the Spartan offense.
6-Special teams included three field
goals for each team while Rayner missed two for the Spartans.
They blocked one of our punts, but couldn't convert the turnover
into points. They forced us into 8 punts while we have forced
them into 6. Breaston had 3 punt returns for 22 yards and Shabaj
returned 4 for 35 yards. Kickoff returns were almost equal as
well with Breaston getting 3 chances for 44 yards, and the dangerous
Cobb handling one for 19 yards. We equalized and possibly gained
an advantage in what could have been an advantage by MSU to no
advantage when they couldn't convert the blocked punt into points,
and we converted the onside kick into a TD.
7-Michigan State won the rushing
battle (368 to 223), and the important turnover battle (1 to zero);
however, the onside kick recovery by Brian Thompson helped equalize
the turnover battle and big plays by Edwards changed a sure win
by the Spartans into an overtime classic. The Spartans really
messed up with 14 penalties for 123 yards while we had 7 for 74
yards, and the penalty for pass interference by Knott in the 3rd
overtime was a real blunder. Stanley led a tough Spartan defense
with 19 tackles while Herron had 9, Maples and Harmon had 7 each.
Dortch and Hayes each forced Wolverine fumbles.
8-There is no doubt that this game
will go down as one of the classics in this rivalry, and it sure
taught me and other Wolverine fans a lesson about taking the Spartans
lightly. They are a spirited, dangerous group with a lot of talent
and John L. Smith really has their program on the right track.
If our recruiting visitors (Antonio Bass-WR/DB/QB, Nick Harris-DB,
Victor Harris-DB, Brandon Logan-LB and James McKinney-DL/TE) can't
get excited about playing football for Michigan after this game,
we should wish them well.
Observations on the first half
with the Spartans, 10-17!
1-They came ready to play, and have
completely outplayed us so far. They were certainly better coached
in preparation and in game play, and they are executing their
game plan in excellent fashion. They have executed one big play
for a 72 yard TD, and converted two red zone opportunities for
10 more points while we only have one red zone opportunity for
2-Stanton has injured his shoulder,
and may not return; however, what a great first half. He is 10
of 13 for 95 yards and 12 carries for 80 yards, 1 TD run, no picks
and no sacks. He has engineered the Spartans to 12 first downs
and 266 yards in total offense with 3 of 7 in 3rd down conversions
that resulted in a time of possession advantage of nearly two
minutes. Knott has 3 catches to lead their receivers for 38 yards
3-While the wind has played a part
in the passing game, Henne has looked simply miserable. He is
8 of 15 for only 56 yards, no picks, no TDs, and 3 sacks (Stanley,
Dukes and Herron). Hart has 107 yards on 13 carries for 1 TD and
Edwards got a reverse for 22 yards plus 3 catches for 35 yards.
We are only 2 of 8 in 3rd down conversions with only 166 yards
in total offense and 11 first downs.
4-Special teams include one field
goal for each team while Rayner missed one for the Spartans. They
blocked one of our punts, but couldn't convert the turnover into
points. They have forced us into 5 punts while we have forced
them into 2. Woodley and McClintock have 6 tackles each to lead
our defense, but it is obvious that the Spartans are exposing
our weak linebacking. Reid has been completely run over, and Mundy
hasn't picked up the slack at safety. We are missing tackles and
being blocked consistently; hopefully, Herrmann will make adjustments
at halftime that will shut them down.
5-The rushing game will be the key
to who wins this game along with turnovers. They have outrushed
us so far, 171 to 110; neither team has a turnover although the
Spartans have fumbled twice and recovered both. Whoever plays
the best defense, create turnovers and rushes the ball the best
will win this game.