Mississippi State 52, Michigan 14

Mississippi State 52, Michigan 14

January 2, 2011
Kick returner Martavious Odoms stiff-arms a Bulldog defender

Well, that was disappointing.

Martavious Odoms is a beast.  Odoms came back from a broken foot that he suffered halfway through the season, and he played an excellent game.  His only reception was an impressive 27-yard catch on which he twisted in the air to reel in the ball.  But he was also very effective on kickoff returns, taking back 7 kicks for 161 yards (23.0 yards per return).  You have to appreciate how hard this kid plays on every single play.

Chris Relf is not a beast, but Michigan made him look like one.  This is nothing new – Michigan makes opposing quarterbacks look awesome.  But never has that been more apparent than on New Year’s Day.  If you extrapolate Relf’s performance on Saturday over 13 games, he would have ended the year with 234 completions on 299 attempts (78%) for 3653 yards, 39 passing touchdowns, and 13 interceptions (and Relf’s lone interception was a Hail Mary at the end of the first half).  Prior to the Gator Bowl, Relf was 111/197 (56%) for 1508 yards, 10 touchdowns, and 5 interceptions.  That’s right.  Michigan literally made Relf about two or three times better than he was during the rest of the season.

James Rogers is fast.  Even coming out of high school, Rogers’ #1 strength was his speed.  Although the Bulldogs scored on the very next play, kudos to Rogers for chasing down running back Ladarius Perkins on his 81-yard reception.  Perkins looked like he was gone on the play, but as soon as I saw Rogers turn on the jets, I knew it wouldn’t be a touchdown.

Here’s my weekly rant against Vincent Smith.  Argh argh argh argh!  Guess who got the most carries aside from Denard Robinson?  Vincent Smith.  Guess who has the second-lowest rushing average on the team?  Yep, Vincent Smith (4.42 yards per carry).  Fitzgerald Toussaint (10.88), Michael Cox (9.3), and Michael Shaw (5.36) are all significantly higher.  Freshman short yardage back Stephen Hopkins (4.08) is the only back with a lower average.  And I find it funny that one of Rich Rodriguez’s reasons for playing Smith was “He’s not a fumbler.”  Well, now Smith has fumbled about 5 times this year, which is far more than any other running back.  So how about just putting the best player out there, someone who might have a chance at being consistent and/or making a big play?  It’s ridiculous that the starting running back is so ineffective when there are other options that just don’t get a chance to see the field.

Denard Robinson is still erratic. . .  Look, it’s painful to criticize Robinson.  He doesn’t get much help, he gets beaten up, he’s got a great attitude, he plays hard, and oh by the way, he has a great deal of talent.  But he shouldn’t be throwing the ball 41 times in a game.  I realize that the game situation called for a lot of throws; when you’re down by 38 points, running doesn’t do much.  But this game just didn’t play out well for him.  If backup quarterback Tate Forcier wasn’t an idiot and remained eligible for the bowl game, then the second half would have been a situation in which Forcier would have been inserted.  Forcier is more effective when the playcalling is limited to pass, pass, pass.  So part of this can be blamed on #5, but Denard Robinson was the one who overthrew Junior Hemingway a couple times.  Denard was also the one who consistently made “inaccurate completions” where his receivers had to dive, jump, or twist around to catch the ball.  You’re not going to get a lot of yards after the catch when the receivers don’t have forward momentum.

. . . and so is Roy Roundtree.  I was all about Roy Roundtree early in the season, but he’s totally fallen apart over the past few games.  He dropped a couple passes against Wisconsin, five against Ohio State, and another couple against Mississippi State.  One of the drops against Mississippi State was a very nice deep throw from Robinson that might have gone for a touchdown, except for the fact that Roy Roundtree spent the previous TV timeout eating some KFC.

Field goal schmield goal.  It’s not like losing 52-17 is much different than 52-14, but I was furious when Rich Rodriguez sent out Brendan Gibbons to kick a field goal in the first half.  It’s 4th-and-4, and you’re going to send out a kid who’s 1-for-4 on field goals on a team that’s 4-for-13 overall?  When your defense sucks and so do your kickers, you go for it in that situation.  Those kickers shouldn’t have seen the field except for extra points.

Rich Rodriguez is gone.  This was probably the case prior to the game, but the 38-point loss pretty much seals the deal.  My expectation is that athletic director David Brandon will let Jim Harbaugh coach Stanford against Virginia Tech tomorrow night in the Orange Bowl.  Then later in the week, Harbaugh will be hired to replace Rodriguez.  Rodriguez and his staff had a chance to make a case for themselves in this game, and they laid a very stinky egg.


  1. Comments: 21381
    Jan 03, 2011 at 2:10 AM

    I found myself shaking my head at each of these points, "Yep, that's true. Yep that's true."

  2. Comments: 21381
    Jan 03, 2011 at 8:25 PM

    How often does a defense look worse after a month of preparation?

  3. Comments: 21381
    Jan 03, 2011 at 8:32 PM

    @ Alex 3:25 p.m.

    That's the thing – I don't think the defense looked worse. They've just been that bad all year long. There's been virtually no improvement whatsoever.

  4. Comments: 21381
    Big Boutros
    Jan 03, 2011 at 9:33 PM

    worst Michigan game I've ever seen

  5. Comments: 21381
    Jan 04, 2011 at 4:31 AM

    Sorry, Magnus, I don't see Harbaugh coming to Michigan even if he's offered the job.

  6. Comments: 21381
    Jan 04, 2011 at 4:34 AM

    However, I agree with everything else. Odoms is definitely my favorite player to watch on a play-by-play basis just to see him go balls-out every minute.

    Vincent Smith has also been my second-biggest point of frustration this season (defense obviously being #1). Seeing Toussaint start on the field got me pretty pumped, as his explosiveness is tangible even on plays where he only gets a yard.

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