Dec 28, 2013; Tempe, AZ, USA; Kansas State Wildcats wide receiver Tyler Lockett (16) breaks a tackle by Michigan Wolverines defensive back Blake Countess (18) during the second half in the Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl at Sun Devil Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports

Michigan vs. Kansas State -- What Happened and What It Means -- Part III

Posted at 12:00pm — 12/31/2013

Michigan vs. Kansas State — What Happened and What It Means — Part III

The defense was a major disappointment last night. On the surface the combined unit only gave up 24 points, discounting Morris’ interception. But the real disappointment is the failure of Michigan to stop Kansas State on the ground or in the air the entire game. Going into the bowl game, Michigan understood that Kansas State scores 30 points on most occasions and that the best chance for victory was holding down the Wildcat total. On the flip side, one could argue that Michigan’s inability to score more than two field goals in three quarters is insufficient to win any game.

Dec 28, 2013; Tempe, AZ, USA; Kansas State Wildcats quarterback Jake Waters (15) throws a pass in the second half against the Michigan Wolverines during the Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl at Sun Devil Stadium. Kansas State defeated Michigan 31-14. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

The defensive line had a chance to stop Kansas State early, but the interior defense again gave up five yard plus gains. One review showed the Wildcat runner down short of the first down but the spot was allowed to stand. Later on, Kansas State found the airways easy prey and the result was three touchdowns by Tyler Lockett against minimal Michigan coverage on the edges. There was again minimal pass rush allowing Jake Waters to look like Tom Brady (by the way Waters appears to have excellent upside as a prospect as does the sophomore Sims).

The entire unit looked out of place, from defensive ends jumping inside, to linebackers not checking and dropping, to playing out of gaps and trying to do too much individually, instead of demonstrating gap integrity and following lane assignments. Joe Bolden played hard and looks to be a real option for playing time next year.

The cornerbacks playing deep and being non-aggressive has been a recent thorn of discussion. The prevailing view is that the corners are being used to protect the safeties deep play, or even to provide help for the linebackers. It is not working, for certain. Taylor and Countess were constant victims, due to good receivers running smart and precise routes and having a quarterback with time who put the ball right where it needed to be. The result was three quick touchdowns that placed Kansas State in complete control of the game. The absolute collection of whiffs on tackles by the Michigan cornerbacks and linebackers was remarkably inept. Countess, in particular, showed a complete inability to tackle.

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Written by GBMWolverine Staff — Doc4Blu

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