Sunday, November 15, 2020

Wisconsin 49, Michigan 11


This is a shell of a team. Life sucks, at least in a football sense. In addition to starting WR Nico Collins and CB Ambry Thomas, who opted out, Michigan was without DE Kwity Paye, DE Aidan Hutchinson, LT Ryan Hayes, and RT Jalen Mayfield. Basically, every guy who looks like a surefire draft pick (at some point) sat out of this game except S Dax Hill. And if you're counting on a safety to lead your squad to victory, you're going to be disappointed most of the time.

Hit the jump.

I'm fed up with Josh Gattis. This will surely spill over into other bullets, but the offense sucked to begin the 2019 season and he started to figure it out. Then the offense has sucked for games 2-4 of the 2020 season, and maybe he's just not going to figure it out this time. There are zero signs that he will. Wisconsin has a good defense, but I'm not convinced they're as good as in past years. I don't see a single dominant player on the level of Zack Baun, T.J. Watt, J.J. Watt, etc.

Figure out the running back rotation. Here are the running back numbers from last night:

  • Zach Charbonnet: 3 carries, 21 yards
  • Hassan Haskins: 1 carry, 6 yards
  • Blake Corum: 7 carries, 5 yards
  • Chris Evans: 0 carries, 0 yards; 2 catches, 16 yards

Hassan Haskins is averaging 7.76 yards/carry and is the team's leading rusher, and he had 1 touch.

Blake Corum is averaging 2.16 yards/carry (5th best on the team among running backs) and led the team in rushing attempts.

These aren't one-game numbers. We're halfway (technically 44%) through the season.

Figure out your playmakers. The fastest players on the offense are reported to be these guys, in some order:

  • WR Roman Wilson: 0 catches, 0 yards
  • WR A.J. Henning: 1 carry, 1 yards; 1 catch, -1 yard
  • WR Mike Sainristil: 1 catch, 23 yards, 1 TD
  • WR Giles Jackson: 1 catch, 36 yards

That's a combined 4 offensive touches for the four fastest guys on the offense. Now to that playmaker list, I would add some more guys, mainly WR Ronnie Bell (leading receiver, best yards-after-catch guy) and RB Hassan Haskins (best tackle breaker, highest yards-per-carry).

Now design your offense around that group of six players or so. You can't feed five wide receivers, so work in another running back instead of, say, Sainristil (Chris Evans or Zach Charbonnet), and design your offense around that group of players.

On top of not getting into any flow or rhythm, you're also going to piss off good players who only touch the ball 1 or 2 times a game. And at the end of the season - or before - they're going to go the free agency route.

The first play. When Michigan first got the ball down 7-0, Josh Gattis thought, "Hey, we haven't been able to run the ball the past two weeks. Last week we ran 18 times for 13 yards. Let's scare Wisconsin with a play action fake and then run Waggle!" Boom. Interception. 14-0.

Joe Milton was bad. Milton was 9/19 for 98 yards, 0 touchdowns, and 2 interceptions. The first interception was an ill-advised throw to a covered receiver. I don't mind him throwing it there, but that ball should have been thrown low and away where only Eubanks could catch it. You can't put it up in the chest area where it can get tipped . . . and intercepted . . . which it was. The second interception was thrown directly into the chest of linebacker Leo Chenal.

Cade McNamara showed promise. I gave McNamara a TTB Rating of 65, so I'm not going to pretend that I have always been on the McNamara train. The truth is I figured he would just get so tired of sitting behind Shea Patterson, then Dylan McCaffrey, then Joe Milton that he would probably end up transferring. But if you're just going to use your starting QB (Milton) as a game manager, then you might as well let your accurate-but-relatively-weak-armed backup be the starter. McNamara was 3/3 for 74 yards, 1 touchdown, and 1 two-point conversion on his first drive, and he finished 4/7 on the night. (Those last four throws were in the rain after the team already gave up, so I don't know how much stock to put in them.) You can't ask Milton to sit in the pocket and pick apart zone defenses on slants, curls, hitches, bubbles, etc. He's flat-out incapable of doing that. He is capable of throwing the ball downfield and completing about 20% of those throws, so there's that . . . I'm not really calling for a QB change, but Michigan needs to figure out what Milton can and can't do. They're telling Milton to play a McNamara game plan.

4th and goal on the half yard line. Michigan lined up in a certain personnel group and formation. Wisconsin called a timeout. Michigan came back out in that same personnel group and formation. Fullback Ben Mason was the only guy in the backfield with Joe Milton, who was in shotgun, and Milton ran up the middle and got stuffed. If you're just going to run a QB sneak, why not put the 6'5", 243 lb. Milton under center?

The defense sucked. There's not much else to say. Michigan's pass defense was already bad, and then the team lost its two best pass rushers to injury last week. They moved Carlo Kemp to end (which is probably a better spot for Kemp as an individual), but the remaining tackles contributed diddly squat to stopping the run game. Fun fact: Michigan went five (5!!!) straight halves of Big Ten football without recording a tackle for loss, sack, or turnover until Kemp sacked Graham Mertz in the third quarter. Wisconsin went through the defense like a hot knife through butter.

If you don't believe - though I know you do - I'll end with this:


  • RB Jalen Berger, 87 yards
  • FB John Chenal, 71 yards
  • RB Nakia Watson, 65 yards
  • WR Danny Davis, 65 yards
  • Michigan's team, 47 yards
  • WR Chimere Dike, 30 yards
  • Michigan leading rusher Zach Charbonnet, 21 yards

So there you have it. Wisconsin had a fullback and two wide receivers rush for more yards than Michigan's 5-star running back.


  1. The program is entering the danger zone, if it hasn't already: good players on the team (Dax Hill) are going to leave, and new recruits (J.J. McCarthy) are going to de-commit. Michigan is probably facing another four or five years in the mediocrity wilderness at a minimum.

    Let's face it: it's over for Michigan as a national power, if indeed they've ever been that in the last 50 years. The true national powers are separating themselves from the rest of the pack. People say it's cyclical, but I say that was then, this is now. I suspect we're going to see the true powers separate off into their own conference, or the SEC take in Clemson and Ohio State while shedding the dead weights.

    Last night while watching the game, I found I was rooting for Wisconsin to hang as many points as possible on Michigan, and Michigan to go scoreless. There's no reason to continue living in a delusion. Shine a bright light on it and perhaps it'll run off and die somewhere.

  2. I commented on MGOBLOG about the prospect of hiring Jim Leonhard. You replied No thanks to his bringing in WI's offense.....The offense that put 100 on us last night.

    An offense that moved the ball vs Ohio State last season and an offense that should've beaten Oregon. They toyed with us last night!

    1. Wisconsin is uniquely structured to run that kind of offense. Michigan is not. I thought Michigan was going to be similar to Wisconsin with the linemen that Hoke/Harbaugh brought in, and that didn't happen. Basically, what you're saying is that you want the Stanford pro-style offense. We already tried that...with Harbaugh...and that turned into Josh Gattis.

  3. First I’d like to say this is my first time posting after reading over at the old site and this site for a few years. None of this is me trying to sound like “I told you so”, but I knew from day 1 that Harbaugh would flame out here. He has every where else he coached, he’s awkward and does not relate well to current age kids and he’s a stubborn micro manager. This is one of the worst P5 teams I have ever seen, I mean last night was BAD. Joe Milton is not the answer, he has no idea how to read a defense, a team like Wisconsin will confuse him to death and force turnovers. We complain of the lack of play makers the last few years, then when Harbaugh gets some he has no idea how to manage them. Josh Gattis might be a decent OC, but i’m not willing to hold my breath on it. Don Brown is everything wrong in a good coach, he has no way to fix his scheme to help his players out, it’s flat out embarrassing. Any coach can go out there and win with an All-American at each level with the talent Hoke brought in, he has no idea really how to coach kids up. Michigan is so weak across the D Line it’s pitiful, Chris Hinton is so damn soft it hurts. 4-5 yards blown back every freaking play. Brad Hawkins is so awful at taking angles to tackles and making plays on the ball. I feel so bad for Dax Hill, he deserves better. I will say one thing, if Cade McNarma doesn’t get a shot next week I really do not think I will watch. He has touch, good pocket skills, can actually look off a defense, and seems to understand what is in front of him, it can’t get any worse than Joe Milton. Final thought, go get Sarkasian from Bama, yes he had some drinking issues, but he did his time and knows how to coach offense, bring a guy who can run a quality cover 2 defense and I will have faith again.

  4. Everything feared about Joe Milton's ability as a QB is on display. Not that he's the team's biggest concern - that honor remains with the coaches - but QB play can spark opportunities, or cause everything to burn to the ground

  5. 2 times I spent a half hour making a comment here and both times somehow i touched something wrong on the phone screen and the comments were wiped out

  6. I'll just give abbreviated comments
    Milton has the same issues scouts talked about him having in high school
    Hoping McNamara stays the starter
    The size if the D line is the biggest isdue i have with a team jim harbaugh has been running for 6 years
    2nd big issue i have is the huge drop off LB play from last year
    Sainristil has fantastic hands. Throw him the ball. But i said throw the ball to nico collins more fir 2 years. Didnt happen
    Yeah, Charbonnet would be right to get out in the transfer portal
    Oh that Jedd Fisch were still here, or better yet, tha Jim McElwain could have stayed and been given the whole offense. Did anyone see the jump up in offensive stats in McElwains first year at Central?
    Penn St has a good shot and gettinf a win when they play Michigan. And will probably get it

  7. Didnt say this: milton didn't follow his blocker on the 4th and goal. He did some juke-ing. There's no time for juke-ing on a 4th and goal play.

  8. Do comments work here?