The seniors played like crap. I said this on Twitter, and someone responded saying they’re looking forward to the seniors moving on. I wouldn’t go that far, but I was very disappointed in their lack of poise. I was reminded of Shawn Crable hitting Troy Smith late out of bounds…and that reminder came numerous times. Why did senior captain Carlo Kemp untie Dobbins’s shoe? 15 yards. Why did senior captain Khaleke Hudson jump offsides on a 4th-and-4 Ohio State punt? 5 yards and a first down. Why did Hudson not keep outside contain when OSU got under center and ran the ball at him? Huge gains, one of which was a touchdown. Why did senior quarterback Shea Patterson keep trying to run outside instead of cutting up to follow his blockers? -3 yards each time. Why did senior Josh Metellus decide not to play his deep half in cover 2? Touchdown. These were major gaffes. It annoys me that Cam McGrone hit Justin Fields out of bounds when Fields was already losing yards, but at least McGrone is just a young guy who’s only been starting for less than a full season. The seniors have no excuse.
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And it hurts when OSU gets the breaks. There are some things that can be 50/50 going into any game. If you want to pull an upset, you need some things to go your way. Ohio State running back J.K. Dobbins started the game with a fumble when the ball was ripped out of his hands by Aidan Hutchinson; the ball hit the turf and bounced right back into Dobbins’s hands before he kept running for a big gain. Penalties can be 50/50, too. It seemed to me that the officials decided not to call pass interference, even though there could have been numerous picks called against the Buckeyes. Michigan did recover a muffed punt, but that was a result of a poor play by Garrett Wilson, not a pointy-balls-bounce-funny situation.
Misguided criticism of Shea Patterson. I don’t even want to bother with digging into the play-by-play stats right now, but there was criticism on the broadcast of Patterson going something like 2-for-14 at some point in the second half. F*** that. I don’t even care about the INT that came after the game was decided, and the fumble was terrible. But Michigan’s receivers screwed Patterson and the team over in the second half. Patterson was putting the ball where Donovan Peoples-Jones, Ronnie Bell, Sean McKeon, etc. could have an opportunity to catch the ball, and nobody made plays for him. Peoples-Jones dropped the ball in the back of the endzone at the end of the first half, and he seemed to check out mentally after that. It was like his confidence was ruined. I’m pretty sure at one point in the second half, he dropped three consecutive passes – 1st, 2nd, and 3rd down. It was like missing a layup causes you to shoot airballs on your next three free throws.
Justin Fields didn’t play that well. This game is going to go down in history as a huge victory for OSU and a giant blowout, but Michigan had Fields looking inconsistent for much of the game. He finished 14/25 for 302 yards, 4 touchdowns, and 0 interceptions, but that’s a guy completing almost 70% of his passes who had some wide open deep throws because of blown coverages. Don’t get me wrong – he wasn’t bad. But he wasn’t on fire like Dwayne Haskins was last year. It was a situation where about 10 guys did their job but the 1 guy who didn’t got exposed.
Donovan Jeter MIA for the season. I took criticism – and rightfully so – for placing Jeter at #1 on the 2019 Season Countdown. The thought process was correct; the specific choice was way off the mark. Jeter didn’t play much this year, but you saw his lack of presence in this game. Homer asshole analyst Urban Meyer talked about the size differential between OSU’s OL and Michigan’s DL. He spoke about how much OSU’s OL controlled the line of scrimmage. Michigan finished with 1 sack and let Dobbins run for 211 yards, his highest rushing output of the season. Michigan needs more beef up front, and this needs to be addressed right now. Like, in the 2020 class. Or with grad transfers. Michigan got gashed up front by the two powerful running teams on their schedule, Wisconsin and Ohio State. Converting linebackers and defensive ends and counting on slants to get the job done against Wisky and OSU isn’t going to get the job done.
At least I’m not afraid to be honest. It may not have been the prediction or result any of us wanted, but yours truly saw a blowout loss coming. I predicted a 42-17 (or 25-point) loss. It was 42-16 for a while and ended up being a 29-point differential. As far as I know, I had the widest point spread of anyone I follow. (Of the guys at The Wolverine, Chris Balas had a 14-point OSU win; MGoBlog posted a 33-26 prediction in favor of OSU.) Ohio State happens to be really, really, really good.
Review of predictions:
- PSU game looks like a blip for OSU’s offense. Check.
- Buckeyes hold down the Patterson running game and keep M below 90 yards. Patterson ran 7 times for -20 yards and M had 91 yards rushing; I was 2 yards off on the total.
- Shea Patterson gets rattled and throws 2 picks. Nope. He threw 1 pick and inexplicably fumbled a shotgun snap.
People are going to criticize the coaches, but holy crap, kids gotta make plays. Sorry to those who think this is a Mike Valenti-like take, but Michigan had opportunities. Ohio State’s players are really good, and that talent gap is exacerbated by Michigan’s players just being giant lumps when it comes to big games like this. There’s plenty of blame to go around in a 29-point loss to your biggest rival, but Michigan’s 5-stars and 4-stars aren’t playing on the same level as OSU’s 5-stars and 4-stars – and the Buckeyes have more of those 5-star bullets in the chamber.
But hey, Chase Young had 0 sacks. Small victories are the only ones we get against Ohio State.
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