Wolverines Walloped by Buckeyes in Big House
The following is a live journal composed during the Ohio State/Michigan game. All times listed are Pacific Standard Time.
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9:00 – It's go (blue) time for Rich Rodriguez. If he can't pull off the upset today, then his job will be in serious jeopardy.
9:02 – Matt Millen is the color commentator for this game?! If it wasn't clear that this rivalry had lost its luster before, then the remaining doubters just got their evidence.
9:14 – Stevie Brown made a heck of an open field tackle there to complete the stop by the Michigan defense. If Brandon Saine breaks that tackle, then the running back gains a first down on that screen.
9:16 – A double personal foul call; well, that didn't take long.
9:18 – Wow. Tate Forcier simply dropped that ball in the end zone and the Buckeyes fell on it. Nothing the Wolverine defense could do about that.
7-0 Ohio State
9:28 – Michigan backup quarterback Denard Robinson never ties his shoes? Good thing he chose not to play baseball—he'd get picked off at first base every time.
9:33 – After a great drive by the Michigan offense, Jason Olesnavage shanks a chip shot field goal; pending a mental regrouping, that could very well set the tone for the Wolverines for the rest of the game.
END FIRST QUARTER. OHIO STATE LEADS 7-0.
NOTE: Coverage of the remainder of the first quarter (after Olesnavage missed the field goal) is missing due to a computer error; this writer needs an upgrade at laptop as badly as Michigan needs upgrades on offense.
9:47 – That's two passes in the last three attempts by Forcier that have been tipped and nearly intercepted; his inconsistency with his delivery is killing his team right now.
9:50 – Terrelle Pryor needs to keep throwing to the sidelines; the Wolverine defense has yet to show they can take away those passes.
9:52 – On his first run of the day, Pryor is stood up on third down. The Michigan defense is playing well so far in holding the Ohio State offense scoreless.
9:59 – Rich Rodriguez has to burn a timeout because one of his offensive linemen (Stephen Schilling) lost his shoe; maybe Denard Robinson had the right idea after all.
10:02 – Those swing passes have not been working for the Wolverines at all, but what choice do they have when Forcier keeps barely avoiding interceptions on downfield passes.
10:03 – Michigan gets on the board, but they could very well pay dearly for not taking advantage of their defense's great play thus far—Ohio State is bound to wake up on offense at some point…
7-3 Ohio State
10:07 – The Wolverine defense lost some major points with their tackling on that play; what could very well have been a loss for Brandon Saine turned into a 14 yard gain because he kept the legs churning.
10:10 – There goes Pryor again; both teams were having trouble running the ball, but the Buckeyes look to have figured it out, which means big trouble for the Wolverine defense.
10:11 – And right as the previous entry was being completed, Saine runs for a 29 yard touchdown; all six plays on that drive were rushes—the upset window for Michigan looks to be closing fast.
14-3 Ohio State
10:15 – Darryl Stonum got "rocked" on that kickoff return—yes, pun intended.
10:16 – It was only a matter of time before Forcier threw a pick and there it is. Robinson didn't have a chance at that underthrown ball; he was blanket covered and had safety Kurt Coleman—who came away with the tipped ball—converging on him.
10:20 – The fans don't like it, but that was a good no-call by the refs; Forcier's shoulder pad was grabbed, not his facemask.
10:24 – Pryor must have wanted to test the strength of his arm or else he wouldn't have scrambled backwards like a mad man and attempt to throw the ball past the line of scrimmage. That intentional grounding call is likely going to give the Wolverines another chance before halftime.
10:26 – Michigan needs points on this last drive to get back in the game; then, they can regroup in the locker room while only being down one score.
10:28 – What is with these short passes in the middle of the field? Coach Rodriguez, you have no timeouts and less than a minute to work with near midfield; your job could be on the line, so start coaching like it.
10:29 – The Wolverine offense is throwing away this game; that was one of the most pathetic executions of the two-minute drill you will ever see.
HALFTIME. OHIO STATE LEADS 14-3.
10:35 – Michigan's offense is letting their team down so far; despite running neck-and-neck with Ohio State in total yardage (OSU – 163, UM – 166), their inability to finish drives is why they are down eleven points. Tate Forcier is 15-25, but many of his incompletions have been poor throws and he is lucky to have only been picked off once; not to mention his fumble in the end zone, which was the biggest play of the first half.
As for the Wolverine defense, aside from the one scoring drive, they have been stout in slowing down the Buckeye offense; unfortunately, it looks like it is going to be on them to come up with a big play—Michigan has been completely shut down in the kick return game as well—to get their team back in the contest.
10:54 – Their last drive of the first half was important as was their first drive of the second half, yet Michigan has gone three and out on both of them.
10:57 – There's the big play by the Wolverine defense! Linebacker Jonas Mouton came under the tipped ball and picked it off.
10:58 – Isn't it customary to go right for the throat on the first play after a turnover? Instead, Michigan settles for an outside run that goes for no gain. Unbelievable.
11:00 – The drive is still alive for the Wolverines, but it's still an ugly looking one that has relied solely on passing plays (the Forcier first down run was off a broken pass play).
11:02 – The Michigan offense finally finds the end zone and the game is back on!
14-10 Ohio State
11:09 – The Buckeyes are putting together another one of those "Run Only" drives; the Wolverine defense played a good first half, but their not doing their side any favors by continually giving up chunks of yardage on the ground.
11:13 – Why in the world did Michigan bring the house on 3rd and goal from beyond the 10 yard line? Obviously, Pryor waited for his running back to slip through and then hit him with a screen pass; with a majority of the Wolverine secondary behind him, Dan Herron had a clear path to the end zone.
21-10 Ohio State
11:25 – More running plays—and more first downs—for Ohio State. The Michigan defense has held stout for longer than expected, but it looks like they might be finally running out of gas.
END THIRD QUARTER. OHIO STATE LEADS 21-10.
11:35 – The Michigan offense finally make a short pass work—and in a big way. Wide receiver Roy Roundtree took the pass and found room across the middle of the field for a 43 yard gain.
11:37 – As unfortunate as it may be for Forcier and the Wolverines, that definitely looks to be another pick for Coleman. Either way, it's another promising drive for Michigan that has withered and died.
11:40 – Other than an effect on Forcier's quarterback rating, the play wasn't a big one since the Buckeyes would've likely been pinned deep anyway by a Wolverine punt; the fans booed the call being overturned anyway, though.
11:43 – Here's another chance for the Michigan offense; their defense forced a three and out and a fair catch was made at midfield on the ensuing Ohio State punt. Time is beginning to run short on the Wolverines and, maybe, Coach Rodriguez's job security.
11:46 – That slant pass has been working noticeably better for Michigan than anything else; the Wolverines should continue to utilize it before they are forced to throw to the sidelines.
11:48 – Anything else except the called runs for Robinson—he just ripped off another one and, contrary to how things have been going for Michigan, manages to fall on his own fumble.
11:49 – Okay, honestly, who didn't see that coming? Forcier ran right, then threw back to the left with his target being a stationary receiver in the end zone; thus, it was no problem for cornerback Devon Torrence to step in front and make the interception.
11:58 – Best guy to throw the ball? The claim by Matt Millen just before Forcier throws his fourth pick of the day. If Robinson can develop his arm in the offseason, he has a reasonable claim to the starting job next autumn.
12:06 – Why didn't the Buckeyes punt on 4th and 3? Despite the misfortune of the Wolverine offense, there is still enough time for two scores. Why let Michigan start at their 34 yard line instead of attempting to pin them deep?
12:09 – Of course, the Wolverines go backward and give the ball back on downs. That's six straight for the Buckeyes.
GAME OVER. OHIO STATE WINS 21-10.
In a game where one team lives off the run and the other lives off the pass, the former is most often the squad that ends up with the win. That proved true today as Ohio State brought a three-pronged rushing attack (Pryor, Saine, and Herron) that ran for a combined 254 yards and gradually wore down the Michigan defense.
If it wasn't bad enough that they had no consistent success in the run game, the Wolverines—Tate Forcier, more specifically—gave the ball away five times and often in the midst of promising drives. Forcier may be a true freshman, but in the final game of the season, that can no longer be an excuse. Rich Rodriguez has often said he wants competition at every position, but, should he be given the chance, he needs to settle on one signal caller and let the rest of the team rally around him.
In the end, today's performance by Michigan made it clear that Coach Rodriguez did not (allegedly) schedule enough illegal extra practice time before the season started.