Nov 30, 2013; Ann Arbor, MI, USA; Michigan Wolverines quarterback Devin Gardner (98) looks to pass during the third quarter against the Ohio State Buckeyes at Michigan Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports

Michigan Football: Ohio State at Michigan — What Happened and What It Means


Posted at 8:45am — 12/1/2013

Michigan Football: Ohio State at Michigan — What Happened and What It Means

Ohio State Edges Michigan

Back and forth, up and down, one horse racing ahead of the other; so the Big Game went. It looked like Ohio State had a good chance of breaking Michigan late. But Michigan did not break and Ohio State sneaked out of town with a one-point win.

Nov 30, 2013; Ann Arbor, MI, USA; Michigan Wolverines head coach Brady Hoke gestures on the sidelines during the fourth quarter against the Ohio State Buckeyes at Michigan Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports

The game was toe to toe, with the offenses dominating both defenses. There was a fight, but that too passed as the game got back to normal. In case no one has noticed, it is not easy to be a defensive coordinator and hold a talented team down. There were a few so-called tough breaks on calls and finally what some, the call to go for the win by Coach Hoke, will label as a controversy.

Both teams played hard, both teams executed, and there were situations the other team simply could not remedy. Michigan simply could not overcome the gashing the interior offensive line and zone read scheme gave to the Michigan interior defense, from tackles to the safety spot. Carlos Hyde ran for over 200 yards and Braxton Miller added about another 150. Even though Miller only completed six passes, two went for touchdowns as Michigan’s safeties got cooked. Ohio State achieved some pressure on Gardner, but the underneath areas were open like a snack for a middle schooler to snatch after school. Michigan passed for about 450 yards. The running game did not dominate, but showed some promise for the future.

Devin Gardner and the line stepped up in pass pro, albeit OSU did not send the Spartan Kamikaze gap blitz nearly every play to outnumber the offense. Gardner responded with a big day spreading the ball out to several receivers. Senior Jeremy Gallon deservedly had a big day and along with Penn State receiver Allen Robinson should be All-Conference or better.

Michigan came back strong in the fourth quarter scoring three touchdowns. Coach Hoke did not accept the nearly automatic decision to play for overtime. It was a coaching choice that could be supported by an injury to his starting kicker and the brutally realistic prospects of having to try and stop the OSU ground game from only 25 yards out. Some will criticize because the play did not work. The play design is open to far more criticism than the decision to go for the win. The trips tree ran quick routes that did not separate defenders and receivers. Gallon stopped and looked, which indicates he probably was a decoy. Dileo sits in the spot but the inside defender was in a position to guard the inside cut or the sit down. Gardner locked in and the defender made an easy pick. It seems the play was designed more for quickness than spacing. The thought is that Michigan expected little time to throw.

Nov 30, 2013; Ann Arbor, MI, USA; Michigan Wolverines tight end Jake Butt (88) looks to get vertical after making a catch during the second quarter against the Ohio State Buckeyes at Michigan Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports

Gardner has had some heartbreaking moments this year, some self-inflected and some as a result of bad offense and execution. The hope here is that he keeps his head high. Busted up, he played like a warrior and came within one well-designed and executed extra point of pulling off a major win in program history.

The entire team deserves thanks and appreciation. Losing is tough, but the excitement of playing in that game must have been amazing.

What this game means and what will happen is not nearly as easy to analyze as watching the play on the field. Part of the equation is how Michigan will respond to the loss. The view here is that the level of play exhibited in the game carries over as a positive and not as a burden to be carried forward.

The team needs to ignore the-you lost two out of three or nine out of ten rhetoric, the players and coaches can count. The coaches due to the tough losses and obvious deficiencies may start the annual meetings that focus on coaching performance and job retention. Several things may happen: (1) nothing; (2) roles changes (3) some firings; (4) hiring from within as a change in role and bringing in one or two outsiders. The ax may fall, but keep this in mind: Michigan is a very honorable institution where doing things the right way counts more than at other institutions centered solely on W’s and L’s, regardless of circumstances. One scenario I envision is for the coaches to be explicitly notified that changes in how business will occur next year are non-negotiable. Homework may be assigned in the form of seeking help from top line coaches strong in the area of identified weaknesses. Some people may have to clearly indicate a willingness to accept conditions to stay.

Nov 30, 2013; Ann Arbor, MI, USA; Ohio State Buckeyes quarterback Braxton Miller (5) is tackled by Michigan Wolverines linebacker Ben Gedeon (42) in the second quarter at Michigan Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

Brandon is not the Queen of Hearts who chops off heads based on emotional reaction. But he follows a clear business model. In this type of environment critical analysis will outweigh nasty or cuddly emotion.

As Coach BT has always mentioned the bowl practices are critical especially for a still young team., This team needs to get stronger and quicker. Some help must be developed and some is on the way.

Regardless, our best goes out to the players of team 134 for showing up and playing a big time offense toe-to-toe. In many regards, you won, and when the degree is granted each player will have a lifelong key with full prestige.

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Written by GBMWolverine Staff — Doc4Blu

Go Blue — Wear Maize!


Tags: #GoBlue Big Ten Conference Coach Al Borges Coach Brady Hoke Coach Greg Mattison Football Go Blue Michigan Football Michigan Wolverines Ohio State Buckeyes

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