The O’Korn flop deserves an Oscar pic.twitter.com/fdj0Kfhany
— Clay Wendler (@ClayWendler) October 8, 2017
Let’s start this off with some fun. Some people claim this was a flop. Some people insist it was legit. Watch the gif in the above tweet and tell me whether it was fake. I originally thought it was a flop, but if you look at O’Korn’s name plate on the back of his jersey as he gets up, it’s sort of bunched up and then suddenly seems to get yanked down. That would be a tough thing to fake. Maybe it was a slight pull and O’Korn exaggerated it, but with MSU’s penchant for dirty play, it wouldn’t be surprising at all if someone one the sideline yanked him down as he got up. After all, Chris Frey very clearly threw O’Korn to the ground 8 yards out of bounds on another play, and Jacob Panasiuk ran over O’Korn at the end of an interception return.
Well, that wasn’t exactly a showcase night game. For all the hoopla surrounding night games, when your clunker of an offense puts up 10 points while spending a third of the game in a monsoon, maybe it would be better to have that noon kickoff without quite as many eyeballs. Michigan purposefully held off on having big recruiting weekends so they could have this showcase (here’s the visitors list), and now those recruits who were finally there probably walked away with a sour taste in their mouths.
Hit the jump for the rest of the game recap.
If it doesn’t rain, I think Michigan wins. Let me get this out of the way: Both teams had to play in the elements. However, I’ve talked before about how John O’Korn has looked good every step of the way, except for the wind and snow of his Indiana start last season. He looked pretty solid in the first half of this one, too. Then the rain came, and he threw interceptions on three straight drives. Meanwhile, Michigan State didn’t do jack squat in the rain, either. They had only 66 yards in the second half and didn’t score any points. They dropped a couple snaps, but they were fortunate enough to fall on or pick up the fumbles and avoid any turnovers.
Bad weather is John O’Korn’s bugaboo. In the first half of the game, O’Korn was 10/19 for 112 yards. When Michigan came out after halftime and the elements were more of an issue, O’Korn was 4/11 for 53 yards and 3 interceptions until the final drive of the game. On the final drive of the game, he was 2/5 for 33 yards (both completions were checkdowns to Karan Higdon). Overall, that second half saw him go 6/16 for 86 yards, 0 touchdowns, and 3 interceptions. There seems to be a consistent problem with O’Korn when the weather is poor. People talk sometimes about hand size being a huge issue for quarterbacks when it comes to poor weather, and maybe O’Korn has small hands. Maybe he gets affected mentally by the bad weather. I don’t know what that reason is, but as soon as I saw the forecast for high winds and rain, I got extremely nervous about this game. Hopefully the weather is good for the rest of the year, because Wilton Speight isn’t coming back anytime soon.
The offensive line is terrible. I don’t think it’s as bad as the 2013 unit, but it’s not a great deal better, either. Right tackle Nolan Ulizio finally got replaced by someone . . . and that someone was Juwann Bushell-Beatty, who wasn’t any better and immediately was overpowered for a sack. Against unheralded, no-name defensive linemen, Michigan managed only 2.6 yards/carry and gave up 4 sacks. I respect the coaching that takes place at Michigan State, but the Wolverines have too much recruiting acumen and NFL experience to be performing at the level they are.
The offensive play calling needs revamping. Michigan’s receivers are inconsistent. The top guy (Tarik Black) is gone due to injury, and the other guys struggle to get separation. They’re pretty young overall. Donovan Peoples-Jones is a physical specimen, but he’s not a great route runner and doesn’t have great field awareness. Grant Perry is the top route runner, but he’s somewhat limited, too. The tight ends are solid, and Michigan’s running back situation right now is so-so. Michigan State can say similar things – they’re not great at receiver or tight end, and the running backs are good but don’t have a good offensive line. Yet Michigan State has consistently managed to manufacture yardage over the years by using misdirection, screens, etc. to keep defenses guessing. Other than the jet sweeps Michigan runs/ran with Jehu Chesson, Eddie McDoom, and Donovan Peoples-Jones, the imagination in Michigan’s offense is non-existent. Furthermore, Michigan tried a misdirection screen on the series after MSU ran a misdirection screen; Michigan’s screen went poorly, because that idea was already planted in players’ minds.
The defense is outstanding. I’m not in the mood to talk about the stuff that went well, frankly, so there’s not much I’m going to say here. Some early issues with eye discipline got fixed, and Michigan State had just 66 yards and 2 first downs in the second half. Both of the first downs came on MSU’s final drive and were aided by an offsides penalty and a fluke play on which QB Brian Lewerke happened to be tackled down onto one of his own players and rolled over for an extra two or three yards. I also thought Bryan Mone played perhaps the best game of his career. It wasn’t a perfect game, and there are some issues, but the defense isn’t the issue.
Hats off to MSU’s coaching. With all the crap they went through in the off-season – much of it deserved – it’s been a heck of a coaching job by Mark Dantonio and friends. They keep bringing in unheralded guys from the states of Michigan, Ohio, Illinois, etc., and now they’re 4-1 with a win over the #7 team in the country.
What does it mean for the rest of the season? First of all, it means Michigan isn’t the #7 team in the country. They’ve been overrated all along. Even with their starting QB, they’re not #7. Michigan doesn’t have weapons on offense, and the offensive line can’t create yardage when they need to do so. Second, it means you can probably chalk up a loss in almost any game in which the weather is unfriendly. Third, this was a game that Michigan needed to win in order to have a chance at double-digit wins in the regular season. Games against the top teams on the schedule – OSU, PSU, and Wisconsin – are looking like losses. This looks like maybe an 8-4 team.
You need to login in order to vote