|Brennen Beyer returns an interception 7 yards for a touchdown (image via Times Union)|
Games are won in the trenches. I know this is an old adage, but it's true. And it's frustrating to watch Michigan get beaten so badly up front in every single game. I've said it over and over again, but Taylor Lewan and Michael Schofield aren't dominating like they should, and the interior linemen can't get any kind of push ever. They say that even the best linemen in the NFL win just over half their battles, and that's what separates them from the other guys; well, Michigan's guards and center aren't close to winning half their battles in the run game. It's an abomination. Michigan's running backs combined for 17 carries and 35 yards in this one, with a long run of 9 yards. The offensive line allowed 11 tackles for loss. That sounds really bad, but that's been the norm - the Wolverines are averaging 10.5 tackles for loss allowed this year. For comparison's sake, Michigan has a pretty good defense and averages 5.7 TFL's a game.
Devin Gardner might retire. Gardner had one of his least effective performances this year, going 13/28 for 98 yards, 2 touchdowns, and giving away the game-clinching fumble; he also ran 10 times for 12 yards, despite only getting sacked once. He's lost a step, he's running tentatively, and he just looks downright scared of taking more of a beating at times. After the game, he was reportedly favoring his right arm. Obviously, Michigan needs him if they have any hope of beating Ohio State next week, but with his diminishing health and the sorry state of the offensive line, I would not be surprised at all if Gardner doesn't finish next week's contest.
Graham Glasgow snapping mistake? Check. I swear I don't think I've ever seen a college center with as many snapping issues as Glasgow. With the exception of the Northwestern game last week, Glasgow has had a snapping error every week. This week's blunder was a snap infraction on a 1st-and-Goal from the 4-yard line in the fourth quarter that pushed the Wolverines back to the 9. After an incomplete pass and a nothing run, Gardner bailed him out with a touchdown pass to Gallon.
Good grief, Jeremy Jackson is terrible. Usually I try to stay objective, so this is an angry rant I'm allowing myself near the completion of a frustrating season. Senior Jeremy Jackson's one late wide-open catch for a first down does not erase the fact that he should not be on the field. Like, at all. Ever. The final straw for this rant came yesterday when I saw him standing around not blocking anyone while Devin Gardner was getting tackled. He can't run, he can't jump, and he can't block. The guy is a preferred walk-on at best, or maybe a Division II athlete. I never understood* why he was offered by Rich Rodriguez in the 2010 class, and his performance over the last four years has only solidified those feelings. Da'Mario Jones, Dennis Norfleet, and Joe Reynolds are all better athletes, and you could probably get a better blocking effort out of walk-ons Bo Dever or Blaise Stearns, just to name a couple. I actually have some respect and empathy for Rodriguez, but one look at that 2010 class makes me want to vomit. The guy took 27 players in that class, and after you list the top three (Jake Ryan, Devin Gardner, Jibreel Black), you start to get in the murky territory of trying to rank Jackson, your holder/fifth receiver (Drew Dileo), your journeyman defensive back (Courtney Avery), your journeyman tight end/defensive end/linebacker (Jordan Paskorz), or your weed-loving suspended punter (Will Hagerup). Where was I going with this? Oh yeah. Erm . . . uh . . . yeah, Jeremy Jackson. He's bad.
Let's end on a high note. (Not that kind of high note, Hagerup.) So how about Blake Countess, Raymon Taylor, and Brennen Beyer picking off those terrible throws from Iowa quarterback Jake Rudock? Let's be honest - those picks were more about Rudock being bad than Michigan having great coverage, but these Michigan cornerbacks are better playmakers than we've had in a while. For a little while - the J.T. Floyd years, basically - Michigan struggled to make any plays at cornerback, and the notable plays from defensive backs had to come from the safeties. Taylor's still afraid to tackle running backs, but overall, I like where Michigan's headed in the defensive backfield. And kudos to Beyer, who has made some steps forward this year and tallied his first interception and first touchdown.
Just kidding. What does this mean for the Ohio State game? Probably doom.
*Of course, I know Jeremy Jackson was mainly offered because his dad is the running backs coach. Also, aliens.