Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Iowa 30, Michigan 28

One shout-out for myself here: my predicted score was Iowa 30-27, just one point off the actual final. While we all wanted Michigan to win, still not a bad prediction.

Here are a few thoughts about the game:
1. Great game from Zoltan, his best performance of the season by far. Although five punts is way more than any of us would have liked, Zoltan shined, booting the five for an average of 53.8 yards per kick and a long of 61 yards, leading to him being named Big Ten Special Teams player of the week. Great game for Zoltan after a tough one against MSU.
2. A lot of controversy has surrounded the final drive which saw Tate warming the bench as Denard through the game ending interception. While it was clear that Tate had been struggling and Denard had the hot hand, Tate needs to be in there in that situation. Before the Iowa game, Michigan had trailed in the fourth quarter three times, and Tate brought us back three times. Unless there's something going on between Rich Rod and Tate that I don't know about, I'm not sure what Denard was doing in there on the final drive.
3. The defense needs to step up and make some players. Giving up that 3rd and 25 was huge and their first TD came on a 3rd and 10. 28 points at night in the cold should win a Big Ten football game. While the offense was responsible for six of the points because of turnovers and the defense did produce seven with the pick six, it's still inexcusable. It's time for someone to step up and make some plays. The failure to sack Stanzi when they had him in their grasp is infuriating.
4. Also, special teams, just play mistake free football. We don't need miraculous punt returns. That one Iowa punt in the fourth quarter we had a roughing the punter penalty that would have kept the drive alive even if Greg hadn't muffed the punt and lost it in our own red zone. We need to cut down on the mistakes.
5. Speaking of mistakes, I really feel like we should have won this football game. We beat ourselves. Losing the turnover battle by four and giving the ball away five times just can't happen.
6. Finally, this loss really was big. Now, looking at the schedule, there are probably just three wins left (against Delaware State, Illinois, and Purdue). Unless we somehow upset Penn State, Wisconsin, or Ohio State, we're looking at 7-5, 3-5 in conference. So much for contending for the Big Ten title. Michigan is going to need to get a big upset in one of those three games to keep modest bowl hopes alive.

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