Michigan 45, Eastern Michigan 17

Tag: Boubacar Cissoko

20Sep 2009
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Michigan 45, Eastern Michigan 17

Hyperspeed: Engaged.
Yesterday’s final score represented what most Michigan fans expected. The score before and during halftime . . . not so much. Michigan jumped out to a whopping 3-0 lead before Eastern Michigan tied it at 3-3. They were tied again at 10-10 and went into halftime with Michigan leading, 24-17.
The star of the game was Carlos Brown, who ran only eight times in the first half but gained 163 yards in that span. Brown started the game in place of Brandon Minor, who’s still feeling the effects of a sprained ankle. It wasn’t apparent that Minor was injured, so as the game went along, I thought to myself, “Brandon Minor must be a horrible teammate and completely uncoachable, because he’s the best back on the team and they won’t play him.” In a way, I’m glad he was injured because I like him and I’m hoping those thoughts aren’t true.
Star quarterback Tate Forcier had a bit of a tough day. He started off hot but only completed one of his final six passes, finishing with 68 yards in the air. Eastern Michigan did a good job of hanging right with Michigan’s receivers, who couldn’t get open. That’s a bit scary if you’re a Michigan fan. The Wolverines should have far superior athleticism and talent on the perimeter, but that just didn’t seem to be the case.
However, the story for Michigan was that the Wolverine running backs were much faster and more athletic than Eastern Michigan’s linebackers and safeties. Michigan finished the game with 39 carries for 380 yards, a 9.7 yard average. In other words, Michigan could have run the ball every play and practically never faced a second down. Brown finished with 187 yards while Denard Robinson had 60, Michael Shaw had 53, Mike Cox had 31, and Minor had 21. Michigan finished the weekend ranked #3 in rushing offense.
Defensively, Michigan still has plenty of work to do. Defensive end Brandon Graham and nose tackle Mike Martin can both command double teams, but Michigan’s inside linebackers continue to be unable to fill the running lanes sufficiently. In fairness to the linebacking corps, starting WILL Jonas Mouton missed the game after being suspended for a punch he threw in the Notre Dame game. His backup, former walk-on Kevin Leach, led the team with 10 tackles, but neither he nor starting MIKE Obi Ezeh recorded a tackle for loss. Leach hustles and did a pretty good job of being in the right place, but he’s simply not the athlete Mouton is. Eastern Michigan was consistently able to run the ball in the first half, running 28 times for 128 yards. Defensive coordinator Greg Robinson and his coaches were able to make some halftime adjustments and limit EMU to 51 yards on 20 attempts in the second half, but really, there’s no excuse for the way the Eagles were able to run the ball in the first half, especially when you consider how little success they had in the passing game.
On the subject of defense, Michigan cornerback Boubacar Cissoko was the victim of one of the most egregious pass interference penalties you’ll ever see. Former Michigan cornerback Johnny Sears, who now plays for EMU, was inserted into the game as a wide receiver in the first half. Eastern Michigan quarterback Andy Schmitt tossed a fade route to Sears against Cissoko, who was basically running the route for Sears and had position downfield. As Cissoko was sprinting downfield in front of Sears and reached for the ball, Sears climbed up his back and tackled the sophomore corner. Somehow the referee blamed the collision on Cissoko, who should have just as much of a right to the football as the receiver. It was atrocious and I’m sure the official will be getting a reprimand this week, whether it’s public or private.

Offensive game ball goes to . . .
Carlos Brown (1). Brown carried the ball 13 times for 187 yards (14.4 yard average) and 2 TDs. One was a 90-yarder in the second quarter. Brown’s lack of tackle-breaking ability is still frustrating. For evidence, see his 30 yard run in the first quarter where he’s taken down by the wave of Darth Vader’s hand. But his speed is scary.

Defensive game ball goes to . . .
Craig Roh (1). Roh made 7 tackles, including 1 tackle for loss, and had the first interception of his career on a pass tipped by Ezeh. He also combined for a sack with defensive end Will Heininger, giving Roh 1.5 career sacks.

Let’s see less of this guy on offense . . .
Denard Robinson (2). I’m going to take flak for this because Robinson ran the ball well (3 carries, 60 yards, 2 TDs). But he can’t throw the ball. He’s not ready to be an FBS quarterback right now, and that probably won’t change this year. He threw the ball four times and completed none to his teammates, but two were caught by Eastern Michigan defensive backs. One INT was an underthrown ball to Martavious Odoms, who was double-covered. The other was an underthrown and woefully inaccurate post route to Roy Roundtree. Robinson’s quarterback rating is currently . . . wait, what? . . . seriously? . . . uhhh . . . -6.10. Yes, that’s a negative sign.

Let’s see less of this guy on defense . . .
eh, I’m not going to pick anyone this week. The inside linebackers didn’t play great, but the options there are limited. Leach was in there because Mouton punched someone and he led the team in tackles, so that’s pretty good for a walk-on. Ezeh was just okay, but J.B. Fitzgerald and Kenny Demens aren’t any better.
13Sep 2009
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Michigan 38, Notre Dame 34

Tate Forcier is better than you. At throwing. At running. At breaking Darius Fleming’s legs. At keeping cool under pressure. At punting. He’s better than you at everything except, perhaps, brushing his teeth.

I predicted a 31-27 victory for Notre Dame. I was wrong and I’m glad. But I was fully prepared for a defeat before the game, and I was even pretty prepared when Notre Dame went ahead 34-31 with a few minutes left in the game, at least compared to most Michigan fans. But then Charlie Weis got all cocky and was like, “I’m going to totally surprise everyone and throw the ball deep.” Except Donovan Warren is smarter than Weis (which sucks for Notre Dame) and broke up the pass.

Forcier was 23/33 for 240 yards, two TDs, and an interception to go along with 70 rushing yards and another TD on the ground. He was the author of several of the game’s most electrifying plays, including the scrambling, game-winning TD pass to Greg Mathews. But the most exciting play for Michigan was when Forcier, on a pass play against a Cover Zero defense, rolled right, planted his right foot in front of Notre Dame linebacker Darius Fleming, and watched Fleming fall down before sprinting 31 yards past the defense for a touchdown. Denard Robinson might be the “Lightning” bolt of the two quarterbacks, but ABC analyst Matt Millen deemed Forcier a “stud bolt,” which . . . hey, despite its homoeroticism, I’ll take it.

Can we please, please, PUH-LEEZE see more Brandon Minor on offense? I’ve been saying this since before the 2008 season – Minor is the best running back on the team. Not Carlos Brown. Not Sam McGuffie when he was still here. The coaches may have started Brown because Brown had been healthy and started last week, but I believe Minor only had three or four carries in the first half. And on those three or four carries, he had 26 yards. Forcier was keeping the ball too much on the read option and Rodriguez was calling too many pass plays. Minor needs the ball. He had 16 carries total for 106 yards (6.6 yards per carry) and one TD. Brown showed good hands on two catches, but Minor has the ability to outrun people and break tackles, something Brown struggles with. Minor also seems to have a better handle on when to cut upfield on those zone stretch plays.

Offensive game ball goes to . . . Forcier (2) for the second week in a row. Mathews had the game-winning TD, Darryl Stonum had a 94-yard kickoff return TD, Minor had 106 yards and a TD. But Forcier played well throughout the game and went 6-for-7 on the game-winning drive, not to mention his long run for a TD.

Defensive game ball goes to . . . Steve Brown (2), who seems to have found a home at the SAM linebacker spot. He finished the game with 6 tackles, 2 tackles for loss, and a forced fumble. And despite the fact that Notre Dame running back Armando Allen had 139 yards, Brown held up well at the point of attack and forced Allen to cut some outside runs up the field. Unfortunately, Michigan’s inside linebackers – especially Obi Ezeh – had a poor tackling day.

Let’s see less of this guy on offense . . . Carlos Brown (1). Brown has big-play potential and probably catches the ball better than Brandon Minor, but he’s not as good of a runner. Brown had 4 carries for -3 yards. Put him in the slot or in two-back sets, but Minor should be in the backfield most of the time.

Let’s see less of this guy on defense . . . Boubacar Cissoko (1). This one has many levels. First of all, Cissoko allowed two touchdowns on Saturday, both against Golden Tate. On the first, Tate ran a hitch near the goal-line and Cissoko just gave him too much of a cushion. On the second, Tate ran a hitch on the right sideline and Cissoko missed the tackle. Secondly, next week Michigan plays Eastern Michigan, so hopefully Cissoko can get some rest for his aching shoulder. Third, Cissoko had way too much TV time for a guy who was getting burned left and right. He crossed his arms in denial at one point, and after a Michael Floyd catch and tackle along the left sideline, Cissoko pushed Floyd back down to the ground as Floyd tried to get up. It was a classless play that deserved a 15-yard penalty.

As far as my predictions went for the game . . . they were so-so.

Clausen will throw for over 300 yards.
He threw for 339. Michigan couldn’t muster a pass rush against Notre Dame’s maximum protection schemes, and Michael Floyd is better than anyone we have at cornerback.

Golden Tate and Michael Floyd will each have a 40+ yard catch.
Neither did. Floyd had a 37-yarder and Tate’s long was 27. Tate dropped at least one pass that would have gone for 40+ yards, so they were close.

Brandon Graham will record at least two sacks.
Again, the maximum protection pass blocking schemes worked pretty well for Notre Dame. They didn’t trust their offensive line against the likes of Graham and Mike Martin, which was probably smart. Nobody from Michigan recorded a sack.

Either Brandon Minor or Carlos Brown will go over 100 yards rushing.
Minor ended with 106.

Tate Forcier will throw his first collegiate interception.
Safety Kyle McCarthy picked off Forcier in the fourth quarter when Greg Mathews ran a bad route.

Here’s the helpful box score from Mgoblue.com.

Picture via TheWolverine.com.