Michigan vs. UMass Awards

Tag: UMass

17Sep 2012
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Michigan vs. UMass Awards

Mike Kwiatkowski

Let’s see more of this guy on offense . . . Mike Kwiatkowski.  I like what I’ve seen out of him so far.  He caught a 16-yard pass and that’s all, but he looks pretty athletic and does a decent job of blocking.  Despite Brandon Moore getting the Ron Kramer “Legends” #87 jersey, I think Kwiatkowski is the superior player.

Let’s see less of this guy on offense . . . opponents running with the football.  Three games, four interceptions for Denard Robinson.  The one in this game was returned for six points.  A senior quarterback should not be making these mistakes.

Let’s see more of this guy on defense . . . Joe Bolden.  I’m not a huge fan of replacing seniors with freshmen, but Bolden has done a good job the past couple weeks.  Starting middle linebacker Kenny Demens played the vast majority of snaps last season, but Michigan can afford to rest him (or replace him?) with Bolden and not miss a whole lot.  He’s more athletic than Demens.

Let’s see less of this guy on defense . . . Raymon Taylor.  I really think Taylor is overmatched.  I’m not sure if Michigan has a better option (Courtney Avery? Terry Richardson?), but I’m worried about how Taylor will match up against Notre Dame and other future opponents.

Play of the game . . . Devin Gardner’s catch-and-run.  Gardner did a great job of catching the ball, getting upfield, and stretching for the pylon.  He’s deceptively strong for having a lanky frame and did a great job of staying inbounds when it looked like he would get knocked out at around the 2-yard line.

MVP of the game . . . Denard Robinson.  He ran 10 times for 106 yards and 1 touchdown.  He completed 16/24 passes for 291 yards and 3 touchdowns.  The turnovers and near turnovers are frustrating, but the bottom line is that he accounted for 397 yards and 4 touchdowns.

16Sep 2012
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Michigan 63, UMass 13

Jerald Robinson almost made two one-handed catches. Unfortunately, he dropped both.
(image via Boston.com)

We’ve seen this before. This game felt eerily similar to Michigan’s 63-6 beatdown of Delaware State back in 2009.  The only difference was the interception that Denard Robinson threw, which was returned for a touchdown.

We didn’t learn much from this game. I didn’t really see anyone stand out in this game and make an unexpected impact. There weren’t any big plays on special teams, Michigan struggled to get much pressure on the quarterback, none of the second-teamers stepped up to have a great game, etc. A few players saw their first action (Graham Glasgow, Curt Graman, Justice Hayes, Joe Kerridge, Kristian Mateus, Jordan Paskorz, Steve Wilson) and a couple guys record their first statistics (Justice Hayes had 3 carries for 19 yards and 1 touchdown; Mike Kwiatkowski had 1 catch for 16 yards), but this team still has some problems that aren’t quite fixed.

Turnovers, please? Michigan is one of 11 teams in the FBS to have zero interceptions. Michigan had a chance in this game, but cornerback J.T. Floyd misplayed a long ball and let it sail harmlessly overhead. Paul Gyarmati did recover a muffed punt, though, so at least we’ve got that going for us. I’m looking forward to when Michigan gets some good cover corners on the field.

Vincent Smith is Spider-man. That 19-yard reception along the left sideline was ridiculous. He caught the ball, got hit immediately, spun like Kristi Yamaguchi, and kept running. I’ve never been a huge fan of Smith as a feature back type of player, but I’m going to miss his multi-purpose skills after this season.

Oh by the way, f*** you guys. UMass running back Michael Cox, who played for Michigan from 2008-2011, had a pretty solid game for the Minutemen.  He ended with 18 carries for 76 yards (4.2 yards per carry) behind a bad offensive line with not much of an aerial attack.  There were a couple plays where he ran east-and-west when there was no hole, losing a chunk of yards.  But he had some impressive runs against a Michigan defense that should have been able to clamp down on the running game.  I never really thought Cox was a superstar, but I did think that he deserved a shot to play when the aforementioned Smith was being used as a feature back.  The knocks on him were always fumbling (he never fumbled at Michigan, though there was a botched exchange in this game), learning the playbook (I didn’t see any missed assignments in this game), and running east-west too much (perhaps a fair criticism).  The kid is a decent running back.  Also, he looked huge.

I’m scared for Michigan’s offensive line. The coaches are clearly aiming to redshirt all the true freshman offensive linemen, which will only work if all the starters stay healthy.  Joey Burzynski got quite a bit of playing time at right guard and did an okay job, but the backup tackles (walk-ons Erik Gunderson and Kristian Mateus) were like revolving doors.  I still wasn’t impressed with Michael Schofield at right tackle, either.  I thought he played better as a guard last season.

Devin Funchess and Devin Gardner look like studs.  Funchess (2 catches, 34 yards, 1 touchdown) outran a safety for a touchdown and caught a low pass in traffic.  Gardner (2 catches, 48 yards, 1 touchdown) grabbed a crossing route, outran a safety, tiptoed down the sideline, and launched himself across the pylon for his score. Gardner could have had two more long gainers, too, but he was badly overthrown by Denard Robinson.

Speaking of Robinson . . . I’m probably just a Debbie Downer, because the guy accounted for 397 yards and 4 touchdowns.  But he also threw a pick-six, fumbled on the goal line, and missed several open receivers.  I don’t understand how he can have such poor throwing mechanics after four years of playing quarterback for a major college program.  He steps way to the left of his target, lets his arm drop, and throws off his back foot too much.  Even the Devin Funchess touchdown pass showed terrible mechanics.  Obviously, that play worked out okay, but he did the same thing on the pick-six and it cost the team a touchdown.  The kid completed 67% of his passes, threw for 3 scores, and ran for 106 yards.  He was the most dominant player in the game.  Obviously.  But good grief, he’s frustrating to watch sometimes.

Frank Clark looked like a stud.  UMass didn’t run much option, so Clark didn’t have much of a chance to look confused and lose outside contain.  But he has a knack for knocking down passes at the line of scrimmage and ended up with 3 tackles, 1 tackle for loss, and 2 pass breakups.  I predicted in the game preview that he would notch his first two career sacks, and while that didn’t happen, he abused the opposing tackles and was clearly the most disruptive pass rusher on the field.  If he can mature as a player and stay out of trouble off the field, he could be a solid NFL prospect in a year or two. I also liked what I saw from freshman linebackers Joe Bolden and James Ross.

28Sep 2011
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Michigan will play UMass again in 2012

Michigan released its football schedule for 2012 and UMass will be coming back for more.  That’s right, the Minutemen will look to finish off the comeback from their 42-37 loss to the Wolverines last year.  Of course, UMass will be a part of the Mid-American Conference by 2012, so it’s not quite  as big of a step up as it was when they play in the FCS, but they probably won’t have very good FBS talent by then.  This ought to be an easy victory to lick the wounds from a likely season opening loss to Alabama.  For look back at last season’s game, here are a couple links to . . .

Michigan 42, UMass 37
Michigan vs. UMass Awards

 . . . and some highlights:

Michigan’s 2012 schedule now looks like this:

vs. Alabama (at Cowboys Stadium)
vs. Air Force
vs. Massachusetts
at Notre Dame
at Purdue
vs. Illinois
vs. Michigan State
at Nebraska
at Minnesota
vs. Northwestern
vs. Iowa
at Ohio State