|Thomas Gordon makes a one-handed interception|
A win is a win. It’s tough to complain about a 28-point victory. I’ll find a way, though.
Al Borges got Rich Rodriguez Syndrome. Hopefully it’s not an incurable disease, but there’s no reason for Denard Robinson to be running the ball 26 times (for 198 yards and 1 touchdown) against Eastern Michigan in a 28-point blowout. The guy who missed parts of ten games last season with various injuries – and who’s reportedly suffering from a sore arm – needs a break once in awhile. When the Wolverines started their second-to-last drive with approximately ten minutes left in the fourth quarter, I thought backup Devin Gardner should have entered the game. It was 28-3. But Michigan was close to its own end zone, and I understand not wanting to put in a young, raw backup in that spot on the field. So what about when they crossed the 40? When they crossed the 50? Robinson was still running the ball up until the point that Brendan Gibbons kicked a short field goal. The
other running backs combined for 23 carries in the game. We get it – Denard Robinson can run the ball, and that’s okay if the game’s outcome is in question, such as against Notre Dame. But how about getting someone else in gear?
Denard Robinson has Steve Blass Disease. For a second week in a row, Robinson’s inaccuracy was on display. He finished the game 7-for-18 (39%) for 95 yards, 2 touchdowns, and 1 interception after completing 46% of his passes against Notre Dame. That’s a two-game total of 43% passing and 4 interceptions. This is not Al Borges’s fault. It’s not Brady Hoke’s fault. There are wide open receivers that Robinson is flat-out missing. Kudos to Rich Rodriguez for figuring out that hitches, bubble screens, and inside slants are the only passes Robinson can complete with any regularity.
The Big Ten Network’s announcers don’t get paid, do they? I turned the volume down at various points, but those guys were clueless. Thomas Rawls had a carry in the second quarter (no, he didn’t), we have a starting defensive lineman named “Will Henninner” (no, we don’t), and Eastern Michigan “abandoned the run game” (they threw a total of 6 passes). Seeing Jon Jansen on the sideline was cool and all, but if the guys in the broadcast booth are going to be dumb, they could at least apologize to viewers by way of Melanie Collins or Ashley Russell (if they still work for the BTN).
Vincent Smith had a good game. I don’t know if it’s just luck or if the offensive linemen block a little harder when #2 gets the call, but Smith had lots of wide open running lanes. Despite getting only nine carries, the 5’6″ running back had 118 yards. Those yards came on runs of 38, 27, 5, 14, 5, 6, 0, 11, and 12. Fitzgerald Toussaint had a solid day with 11 carries for 46 yards and 1 touchdown, but he and Michael Shaw keep running into traffic whereas Smith had gaping holes several times. I noticed in the spring that Smith seems to have his quickness back now that he’s nearly two years removed from tearing his ACL, but it still concerns me that he can’t break tackles.
Craig Roh, welcome back! In the first two games of the season, Roh did his best impression of Keyser Soze. Zero tackles, zero sacks, zero pass breakups, nothing. This week he broke out with 5 tackles and 1 sack. Last week Greg Mattison said that Roh played very well in the Notre Dame game, so it wasn’t too much of a surprise when Roh started once again over Jibreel Black. Hopefully Roh continues to improve.
Bye bye, redshirts. Several true freshmen have played so far this year, including a couple guys who played for the first time this week – Thomas Rawls and Raymon Taylor. Other freshmen to see time this year include Desmond Morgan, Matt Wile, Blake Countess, Brennen Beyer, and Gregg Brown. No freshmen have really stood out, although Frank Clark had a nice play and Taylor . . . got a 15-yard penalty for a late hit. Otherwise, we haven’t really seen any game changers from this freshman class, and I don’t suspect we’ll see any this year.
What happened to the jet sweeps? Eastern Michigan was having oodles of success with the jet sweep in the first half, and then they just stopped. I’m not sure if Michigan started scheming against it and taking it away, but it seemed to be in the best interest of EMU head coach Ron English to keep them coming.
This is Michigan’s best safety combination since 2007. Jordan Kovacs (8 tackles) and Thomas Gordon (6 tackles, 1 interception, 1 fumble recovery) are playing better than any safety combo since Brandent Englemon and Jamar Adams. Kovacs seems to have gained some speed since we first saw him in 2009, and Gordon is a solid tackler with decent ball skills. Neither one will win many foot races, but so far they’ve helped to limit big plays. Hopefully that continues into the Big Ten season.
Brendan Gibbons kicked the ball through the uprights. That might have been the play of the day, if not for Thomas Gordon’s one-handed pick on a double pass.
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