Monday, September 15, 2008

About the Michigan/Notre Dame Game

So. 35-17. Looks pretty bad.

It was and it wasn't. If you could've just factored out the turnovers, this should've been a very competitive game. Unfortunately, you can't, and it wasn't.

The thing is that while Michigan's defense was weak, the offense was able to move the ball on the ND defense. (Although I suspect Northville High could move the ball against the ND defense.) The problem was nobody in a winged helmet could hold onto the damn football. They lost four fumbles and turned the ball over six times. And it could've been worse. They had at least two more fumbles that they didn't lose. (I say, "at least," because I didn't watch the last half of the fourth quarter.)

But it wasn't just that they fumbled four times, it's the fashion in which those fumbles occurred. ND turned three of those fumbles into touchdowns, which wasn't difficult given that two of them were within the Michigan red zone. Another, in the second half occurred inside the Notre Dame five yard line when a score would've put Michigan within striking distance of taking the lead.

Bottom line: This should've been a good game (between two bad teams), but Michigan blew it.

That's gonna be a familiar refrain this season, I'm afraid. I know I called for this to be a year in which Michigan eeked out a winning record and scraped their way to a bowl game. Having now watched them play, I'm not nearly that confident. Hopefully they can execute better as the season goes on, but I'm starting to think a game under .500 or worse is a pretty realistic bet.

On the bright side, freshman RB Sam McGuffie looked like the real thing on Saturday. He put up 131 yards on the ground and 47 more receiving (one of which was a beauty of a 40-yard TD run). This guy is fun to watch because he's basically Gumby. While on the move, he contorts himself into every bizarre angle you can think of to keep defensive players from getting a hand on him. It's gonna be great watching him run in the maize and blue for the next few years, especially by the time he's a junior when, hopefully, the team should start to peak again. (Knock on wood.)