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Sunday, October 21, 2007

Michigan-Illinois Recap

Ed. Note: If you were at the Michigan-Illinois game, please send any pictures our way - especially if you have any of the hordes of Illinois fans wearing their "Fuck Michigan" shirts. Those were "Fuck Michigan" shirts and not "Muck Fishigan," weren't they? The ABC cameras moved past them so quickly, it was hard to tell.

Also, if you were there, would love to hear about your treatment.

Now, couple thoughts on the game itself...

* Carlos Brown. Man, did he step up. Over 100 yards rushing in his first start, on the road in a big game. I tip my cap to you, sir.

* Carr and the other M Coaches. Hart's out, your senior QB misses most of the game...and they still found a game plan to win. Even those who've been criticizing Carr have to give props to Lloyd and his staff. Well done, gentlemen.

* Henne. I thought he started off very shaky (the bad pass to Manningham leading to the early pick) but, with his team's season hanging in the balance, he came back off the bench and played hurt to lead his team to victory on the road. Gutty, gutty, gutty performance. I think we're going to find out he was more injured than we think.

* Defense. Except for the Illini's one big drive and that damn 3rd and 7 where Flash Gordon the back-up QB turned on the afterburners and left Shawn Crable holding his jockstrap, I thought U-M's D played well.

* Late play calling. I liked how, on our last drive, I believe, on 3rd and 4, instead of simply running into the line as U-M teams always seem to do in these sorts of situations, Henne went into the shotgun and we played to win instead of not to lose. Again, props to DeBord, Carr and the rest of the coaching staff.

* KC Lopata. I love our kicker...and that's something I never would have thought I'd say the way the kicking game started out this season. This kid is a senior walk-on, who finally gets a chance this year and is making the most of it. Not only was his last FG huge, as the 10 point margin gave the Wolverines breathing room, but watch him after every kick - he's the most fired up guy on the field and seems to be going up to each of his teammates firing everyone up.

* Manningham. While fast, he's still a bit of a "soft" receiver. On one play in which he dropped a pass over the middle, it was because he was worried about getting hit instead of trying to catch the ball. Still, he played a great game. But this is the sort of thing that could hurt him from making it at the next level.

* Ron Zook. I thought some of his QB changes came at very bad times and upset the rhythm of his team. Always seemed like he was taking out the guy who was hot.


A2saint said...

Well, it seemed my watching the game live did not adversely effect the team. Altho I think Ryan's interception in the 3rd quarter may have been on me...

I thought the play calling had balls. I love it when they play whole quarters like they are behind with 2 minutes left.
And what's up with all the Muck Fichigan stuff. Why does everyone hate us so much? I don't get it.
Anyhow, good job guys!

Maize said...

A few notes...

It has to be noted that Carlos Brown is the FIRST player to rush for more than 100 yards against the Illini D this year. Not even PJ Hill could muster 100 yards.

Brown has the physical tools to become a great back but I believe he still needs to work on the mental part. He needs to learn a bit more patience and wait behind his offensive line to get their blocks before crashing into them.

Donovan Warren. Yeah, he did get beat for the first Illini TD and yeah he did get pulled off of his man in a bad read on Illini's offesnse and he had a badly timed pass interference call against him in a crucial play, but over all he's lived up to his 5 star billing. He's played wonderfully and will grow into a great CB. But what really caught my eye is his game sealing pick. His timing of that play and his poise in catching made me think he was a WR and not a CB. The coaches need to get that kid on a few offensive plays in the future. He could be a HUGE threat on both sides of the ball.

Henne...playing hurt...a true warrior. Henne's performance last night shows why he's so valuable to this team and why Mallett has a lot of learning to do before he can stake his claim as UM's next star QB.

Hart. Looked good in street clothes. Why didn't he have any pom poms to wave?

On a side note: I hear that Bill Murray will be giving the pre game pep talk to the Wolverines next week on how to eradicate a gopher.

Katie said...

Holy Smokes! Courage. True Courage it took to win that game. I am proud to be a Michigan fan even more this morning! (If that is even possible) WIth no Hart, they showed true heart. (not a dig on Mike at all....just sayin....have your super God player be out for a game, it takes heart and courage to do what they did). a2Saint, I really do think that it is sheer envy that makes people hate Michigan.....can you blame them? And what is with Jim Carty....does he hate Michigan too? His write up's always have a slight negative tone to them. He tosses in positive, but there is this underlying negative that grates me. Anyway it sure has been an up and down season, but this is a wonderful up! It is nice to see that the coaching can be flexible and take a few chances......that was incredible to see. (and UCLA beat Cal???!!!)


Bo said...

Space, bitches... space. That was an unbelievably good win and a game that will be invaluable to have in our players' heads towards the end of the season.

Did anyone notice the complete lack of love lost between Lloyd and Zook? When they passed each other at the end of the game, there was no handshake, no congrats, no good luck... they barely even paused to look at each other. I wish I had video to show. Is Lloyd still pissed about that Florida vote? (not that I would blame him... I am).

Bo said...

side question:

Who else is ordering their eggs Obi Ezeh this morning?

Grizz said...

"Hart's out, your senior QB misses most of the game...and they still found a game plan to win. Even those who've been criticizing Carr have to give props to Lloyd and his staff. Well done, gentlemen."

Their game plan to win: Let Illinois screw up, hang Mallett out to dry, and hope Henne feels good enough to come back. The three possessions with Mallett in the game were atrocious--run, run, pass. Run, run, pass. Its no wonder the kid struggles--the other team knows what's coming on every play!

Give props to English for finally getting these guys playing smart against the spread. Give props to Henne for a gutsy performance. But the offense and the special teams remain woefully undercoached and underprepared.

Matt said...

Yeah, a2saint, they really hate us at Illinois. I don't get it. And they're actually okay with OSU. I guess they don't miss Illibuck that much. In any case, we have given them more reason to hate us!

We should start referring to KC Lopata as JC Lopata, because he's that awesome. He is a Michigan hero in my book because he has really stepped up for the team. Shame on Gingell!

Does Hart still have a shot at winning the Heisman even though he missed this game?

surrounded in columbus said...

i'll second the props on the D. we have gone from not being able find the running QB, let alone tackle him, to looking better than last year's D (at least against the pass/spread). when you consider that Illi's first TD was a result of bad special teams, the D was just outstanding (and the stats and score back that up).

stray thought- BTN carries all the coaches shows on Monday night. living in Ohio, i haven't seen Michigan Replay in a decade (or longer). chaulk one up for BTN.

stray thought 2- "Bo" gets the Chris Berman Bad Pun w/ the Player's Name Award- Your Eggs Obi Ezeh was awful, but i laughed anyway.

Matt said...

And another thing: I doubted Lloyd, and I have said that DeBord is possibly the worst OC in America. I NEVER doubted Ron English. The D just had to find its rhythm. If this were Jim Hermann's D, then we would have lost to Purdue, EMU, Illinois, and Northwestern, and any team that ran the spread.

To all those who have defended against the spread, we salute you! And Mike Hart of course.

Matt said...

Here's the answer from espn:

"Hart wasn't able to go against Illinois because of a high ankle sprain, but Michigan proved it could still beat a quality opponent without him. The win kept Michigan in the Big Ten title race and Hart in Heisman contention."

Bucket 'O said...

Some thoughts from being at the game: 1.) Tailgating - I was in a very pro-Illini area. Maybe 20-1 ratio. People were pretty cool. Actually had a hell of Mich vs Illini flip cup tourney. Not as many vulgar t-shirts as the previous 2 games I went too. Did see two 10 year olds wearing the classic Muck FIshigan front, Ann Abor is a whore back, t-shirts. And yes, did see som F**K Michigan T's. 2.) Altmosphere in the stadium was ridiculous. Made me once again embarrassed of the Big House crowd. I told my Illini buddies at kick-off I thought we would be lucky to win this one. I had a very bad feeling. 3.) After the game was very ugly. Lots of threats, sore loosers, really pissed off Illini fans. I think this was a function of the raised expectations. Experienced a lot of absolute classless fans on exiting. Overall, I felt the Illini fans raised the bar regarding how they carried themselves pre-game. I think usually they just know they are going to loose so they just get as rude and crewd as possible. Hence why I think they reverted right back to that after the same old result.

beast in 'bama said...

I have a question regarding Mesko (sp?), your punter. I was primarily watching SEC bloodsport on ESPN, but every time I turned to the Michigan game in the second half, he was pinning the Illini inside their own 10.

Am I correct on this? It looked like he was playing a really important role, keeping Illinois in impossibly bad field position in the second half. That really limits what a spread offense can do.

a2saint: Certain programs who have dominated their conferences for decades are hated more than other rivals for precisely what Katie noted: sheer envy.

As a Texas fan, we are the #1 target of Baylor, TT, TCU, Arkansas, etc. because we are the #3 winningest college program of all time (and about to catch ND for #2). We got there by regularly beating those teams over dozens of seasons. Michigan's being #1 in that category only ratchets up the hatred even more.

Congratulations on a tough, gutty win.

Todd said...

Looks like someone recognizes a Space Emperor when he sees one.

Zoltan is also the second most viable Heisman candidate in the conference.

Matt said...

Zoltan Mesko is that good. He is just a great punter. I also cheer for Texas because I like the fans. They are sympathetic to Michigan's cause and their girls are so hot. I would gladly breed Longerines, or Wolvehorns.

(Longerines sounds too much like a type of underwear that you put on for the cold weather.)

Crock said...

I loved that game - it really showed the true nature of our team.
When I heard that Hart wasn't playing, I thought it would take a miracle to win. I didn't - it just shows what this team is all about. Playing to win.

Also, about the hatred of Michigan. I live near Philly and I get dirty looks or rude comments EVERY time I wear my Michigan gear. I'm not so sure if it's a hatred towards Michigan, or if because I'm NOT supporting Penn State or Rutgers.

Case in point - I was at the mall yesterday afternoon, of course wearing a cute Michigan shirt (one that's actually made for women). I got a "F**K Michigan" comment from a rather large guy wearing a Morelli jersey.

I responded, "Um, your at the mall- isn't your team is playing right now? You might want to rethink that comment."

That's why they hate us - they know were right and even a girl from Michigan can call them out.

Go Blue !!!

Wholesome Goodness said...

Speaking of Mesko, did anyone see him after he held for the extra point on our last TD? He pulled one of the gay-est celebrations I've ever seen. If you've got a copy of the game check it out.

Da Braylon said...

i loved the aggressive play calling. they need to utilize that spread offense more often. the five wide was sweet. we have some of the best wrs in the country, so why not use them like they did a couple times in the illinois game.

also, with the exception of a few times, henne was so poised when he was in there. i loved it. mallett could not get it done, but it's hard to ask of him to do it because it was a tough game on the road in a very hostile environment. i can't imagine the pressure he was under. btw, he has to work on his taking the ball from the center. i think it has happened way too many times, not just in the illinois game, but in other games as well.

Da Braylon said...

also, who in the world called that reverse wide receiver pass in the fourth quarter???????!!!!!!!!! while i LOVED it a lot, it is not like michigan to do that kind of stuff. kudos to debord if it was his idea.

DaBraylon17 said...

ALSO, the defense did look shaky at first, but i think they figured it out in the second half

gotBlue said...

I was at the game, and although I got constant razzing from Illini fans- of who, I were surprised knew where the football stadium was- they weren't that intimidating. All they really could come up with is, "Michigan Sucks" and "I hate you". Not as bad as the People in Columbus and Madison who got in my face while walking. Our fans have definitely done worse to people.

Growing up in the Chicago burbs, I grew up with people who were raised to hate Michigan. I've never really understood this. They're mad about Gary Moeller, the 2000 game, and from the Final Four incident. Still doesn't make sense other than the fact they've only beaten us once on the gridiron in the past 20 years.

And the shirts? Clearly a waste of money now.

Noah said...

Mallett doesn't need to learn to pass from under center; the coaches need to learn to let him play in the shotgun. He only did that for four years in HS, after all. And he never really had a chance while he was in this game. The coaches gave him the most predictable playcalling possible: run, run, pass. Run, run, pass. When you only pass on 3rd-and-long, the defense knows it's coming and there's nothing you can do about it.

DaBraylon17 said...

word uuuuuuuuuup

Sgt. Wolverine said...

On the topic of fan treatment, I was wearing a Michigan shirt on campus at Notre Dame yesterday, and I didn't get any comments. Oddly enough, I was a little disappointed.

chazz said...

what a difference a few weeks makes. you were ready to throw Carr and his staff "under the bus" after the first two games of the season. the crap you threw on him and the other coaches was a lot worse than "Muck Fishingan" stuff that you are all wondering about. Don't wonder where all that perceived anti-Michigan sentiment comes from...it starts at home. Carr is a decent man of character and perseverance and there are many football programs that would love to have him. You are fair weather friends at best and Carr deserves better than you.

Yost said...


Who is this "you" you refer to in your comment? Not Benny or I.

Show me ONE instance on this site where we called for Carr's ouster in the wake of the Appy State or Oregon loss. ONE.

Try reading the site before you make comments.

J. Lichty said...

Couple thoughts:

I don't understand the hatred for Michigan at U of I. Part of it is that Michigan might stem from the fact that even when Michigan is beating other teams in the conference (which they have regularly done since 1969) they tend to play down to the other teams level, saving the real ass whoopings for a rare, NW, Minn, Indiana game. As a result these other schools think they have been close to beating Michgian but have lost because of bad luck or bad refererring (Henson v. Illinois); phantom 2 seconds (PSU); (Wisconsin - many inexplicably close games and road victories by M against overrated Wisco teams). Accordingly, they think that Michigan gets the credit these other schools deserve.

Contrasting that with OSU and the lack of hatred of that team. OSU is percieved as more of a juggernaut so they are simply feared. Teams don't think they have chance against OSU (which is funny given what has actually happened on the field before 2005, but perceptions mean alot.

Another thing that drives the hatred is the success on the field coupled with the highly competitive academic standards, especially for out of staters. Illinois and Wisconsin which are still tough schools to get into, but not as tough as Michgan have a bit of an inferiority complex when it comes to admission standards. Michigan, whether deserved or not, has a reputation as a better school. Few of the kids at those schools would actually want to go to OSU.

J. Lichty said...

Regarding Carlos Brown:
Great game, his strength is outside the tackles. Would really beenfit from a spread rushing game which might open things up in the middle for him.

Does not drive into contact like Mike Hart and pretty much goes limp once contact is made. That is why he had a lot of 4-5 yard runs which would have been 8-9 yard runs. Brown will not break alot of tackles and really has to work at keeping his legs moving.

Stu said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Michigan Girl said...

I was at the game. Zook made a BAD decision by not choosing to take the wind in his favor in the 4th quarter. Illinois' bad punts were definitely wind-related. And the dropped punt that set up Michigan's 4th quarter touchdown - the wind blew the ball into the player's shoulder.

Don't get me wrong - Michigan played a solid game. But Coach Zook didn't help his team.

P.S. Lots of orange "Muck Fichigan" shirts and one Appalachian State shirt was sighted.

Raick said...

I was in attendence at the game this past weeken, my group and i made up shirts that read "F**k Juice Drink BEER" which in my mind were better than any of the illini shirts. Also had one particular guy who didnt appreciate the cowbell that had made the trip with us from ann arbor as much as we did!!! Guess theres always those who ruin for everyone. Plus i found it funny how many app state comments i got before the game but none after hmm.......?

al said...

will repeat comment from above that we encountered no hostility @ Illinois. was surprised how quickly crowd started to leave when it became 2-score game.