Monday, November 06, 2006

Ball State recap

Or why the score looks a hell of a lot worse than the game.

Michigan
...rushed for 352 yards
...averaged 7.7 yards per carry
...got their 3rd string TB over 100 yards
...completed 68% of their passes despite several easy drops
...gave up 3 points from the starting D
...gained over 500 total yards from scrimmage
...didn't miss a kick

But yeah, it was a close game at the end.

I absolutely hate it when we play inferior opponents way too close. Michigan should be good enough to blow them out of the water. But you know what? Let's be a little rational about this. Is there anything from this game that portends badly for the Ohio State game? Not really.

Offense
Rolling, Rolling, Rolling...they were rolling on Saturday. 46 carries, 352 yards, and a boatload of asskicking up front. In addition to the rushing attack, Chad Henne was 17/25 passing despite being victimized by several easy drops. And yes, Superman was back in action wearing number 86. What's not too like? How about the drops. It's becoming a nasty habit of the receivers dropping too many easy catches. Henne also threw a pick six. Watching the film, I'm not sure if Henne or Breaston deserves more of the blame. Henne can't make that throw, but Breaston also has to get underneath the defense on a slant and not let them jump it. Either way it was a horrible play. But realistically, the offense did whatever they wanted on Saturday rolling up 507 yards from scrimmage and averaging an insane 7.1 yards per play. Ball State sure was a nice way to get the offense healthy.

Defense
A tale of two defenses played out on Saturday. The first stringers ate Ball State for lunch as expected allowing well under 200 yards of total offense and only 3 points. The second stringers? Yikes. Burnt toast. Johnny Sears and Charles Stewart each managed to get burnt deep once leading to a TD. Sears got torched on a 54 yard touchdown catch and Stewart got lit up on a 62 yard catch that got BSU inside the 5 and lead to another TD. Those 2 plays were the difference between a blowout and a close game. It's a little strange that Carr and co. went to the backups with so much time left and it's even more disturbing that they sucked so badly. But does that somehow make the starting defense look worse? Hardly. The only thing it could mean trouble for is the 2007 Michigan defense.


Really, the game was quite simple to describe. Michigan dominated most of the game, but BSU made 4 big plays leading to 23 points that made it very interesting.

1) Mike Hart's fumble for a safety - like El Nino, Hart fumbling does not come around every year. Opponents should enjoy it while they can. Does anyone honestly expect this to happen against OSU?

2) Chad Henne's pick 6 - horrible pass and I am splitting blame 50/50 at this point between he and Breaston for reasons listed above. Henne has been very stingy with the INTs this year, so unless this becomes a trend I'm not very worried. The only play remotely similar to this all year was the pick against Notre Dame on the first drive that hit the ND safety in the numbers and got returned inside the 5.

3) Johnny Sears getting burned - he's the #5 CB on the team behind Hall, Trent, Harrison, and Stewart so he won't be playing against OSU much at all. I've got high hopes for him in the future, but he's a redshirt freshman right now with almost no experience.

4) Charles Stewart getting burned - he's the #4 CB on the team and the fact that he actually started 2 games when Trent was injured scares me somewhat. He is slow as crap and would be better suited to SS with his physical play. Fortunately, he also will not be playing much against OSU.

And that's basically it. Mike Hart and Brandon Minor and Jerome Jackson did as they pleased with the ball racking up insane numbers. Kevin Grady sat with a shoulder injury and was unable to pad his stats like the rest of the backs. Mario Manningham is back and will start next week. Tyler Ecker and Mike Massey both could've played and should play next week which is great news for the OSU game when we will get back to having 3 quality TEs instead of 1 that is a freshman.

In summary, the final score was ugly. That's about all you can take from the game, however, as Michigan's first string offense and defense were steamrolling Ball State.

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