|You can close your eyes and pray all you want, #46, but you’re not gonna catch him.|
Yesterday’s victory was at once entertaining, frustrating, and boring. The entertainment factor was apparent: Michigan put up 574 yards and 42 points on a Big Ten team, with quarterback and Heisman frontrunner Denard Robinson accounting for 494 of those yards. The frustration part was apparent, too: Michigan allowed 568 yards and 35 points to a perennial Big Ten cellar dweller, and Indiana held the ball for over 41 minutes.
The boring part was less obvious, but throughout the entire game, I knew Michigan was going to win this game. I’ve rarely been this confident during a contest, but I feel I’ve reached a near level of zen when it comes to watching this Michigan team. Michigan’s offense will score loads of points as long as Denard Robinson is at the helm, and Michigan’s defense sucks. I no longer hope for competence from Michigan’s defense. They are overmatched and there’s virtually no hope for them to improve this season. Sure, they’ll make a timely sack once in awhile (Mike Martin) or flash some anticipation in the secondary that results in an interception (Cam Gordon). But ultimately, both defenses yesterday were atrocious and Michigan’s offense is better. A 7-point margin is . . . just about right.
Some praise and a few gripes . . .
Denard Robinson is awesome. I feel like I say this in almost every post, but there’s no getting around it. He is having one of the best statistical seasons in college football history and is currently on pace to run (2,353) and throw (2,621) for 2,000 yards and account for 39 touchdowns over a 13-game season. The easiest part of the schedule has passed, so I don’t expect that Robinson will maintain his torrid pace. Regardless, the first five starts of his career must be on par with or better than every other quarterback in NCAA history.
Michigan’s defense is bad. This was noted above, but there’s no reason to expect significant improvement in the second half of the season. I heard Michigan’s official motto is “Let’s hope the other team drops the ball or something.” After Saturday’s game Michigan is ranked #120 (out of 120 teams) in pass defense, giving up 307.8 yards a game in the air. Michigan is also #88 in sacks, #88 in net punting, #99 in punt returns, #102 in total defense, and #104 in kickoff returns. Basically, Michigan is bad at everything that doesn’t involve offense. And the Wolverines haven’t even played the tough part of their schedule.
Michigan’s goalline offense needs rethinking. Roy Roundtree caught a 74-yard pass that took the ball down to Indiana’s 2-yard line. On first down, Michigan lined up in the I-formation and shot a BB at Indiana’s defense in the form of 5’6″, 180 lb. Vincent Smith. That didn’t work. Then Michigan lined up in the I-formation again, and the center-quarterback exchange was promptly fumbled, providing Indiana the chance to drive 99 yards for a touchdown (on which Indiana capitalized). Rich Rodriguez has a 6’0″, 211 lb. tailback (Michael Cox) and a 6’1″, 227 lb. tailback (Stephen Hopkins) at his disposal. That personnel decision makes no sense whatsoever.
Vincent Smith had a good game. I don’t think anyone has been more critical of Vincent Smith than I have. It’s not that I dislike him or think he’s a horrible player, but I just think there are better options. Against Indiana he had a 56-yard touchdown run on which he was nearly untouched. Altogether he had 9 carries for 80 yards and the touchdown. After five games, here’s how Smith stacks up against the rest of the Big Ten’s (and Notre Dame’s) leading rushers, listed according to yards per carry:
1. Edwin Baker (Michigan State): 75 carries, 536 yards, 7.1 ypc, 5 TDs
2. John Clay (Wisconsin): 94 carries, 581 yards, 6.2 ypc, 6 TDs
3. Mikel Leshoure (Illinois): 77 carries, 478 yards, 6.2 ypc, 3 TDs
4. Dan Dierking (Purdue): 38 carries, 205 yards, 5.4 ypc, 2 TDs
5. Evan Royster (Penn State): 67 carries, 353 yards, 5.3 ypc, 1 TD
6. Adam Robinson (Iowa): 98 carries, 480 yards, 4.9 ypc, 6 TDs
7. Armando Allen (Notre Dame): 80 carries, 392 yards, 4.9 ypc, 2 TDs
8. Vincent Smith (Michigan): 53 carries, 252 yards, 4.8 ypc, 4 TDs
9. Dan Herron (Ohio State): 65 carries, 287 yards, 4.4 ypc, 5 TDs
10. Duane Bennett (Minnesota): 91 carries, 400 yards, 4.4 ypc, 2 TDs
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