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Stadium and Main: Penn State game thoughts

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Penn State game thoughts

- Can you imagine losing to any team 9 times in a row? Our record against OSU recently is pretty bad, but 9 in a row?! Wow. And it would probably be 11 in a row if Michigan hadn’t missed two of Penn State’s worst teams in recent memory thanks to the rotating Big Ten schedule (2003 and 2004).

- Penn State played an ideal game… if you’re a Michigan fan, that is. And this ain’t the first time we’ve seen it. The PSU offensive gameplan against Michigan has continually made Mike DeBord look like Mike Leach. And I thought I was frustrated with our predictability on offense. On a related note, did you notice that we actually ran away from the “shuffling fullback” a few times against Penn State? And it worked!

- Mallett’s 3rd-and-11 completion in the 4th quarter, where he avoided a sack (or two) and made the completion to Greg Mathews, was the key play of the game, in my opinion. His pocket presence isn’t perfect, but it’s clear that he has natural instincts to make something out of nothing, which is a characteristic we haven’t seen in a long time in a Michigan QB. I like Henne, but I don’t think I’ve ever seen him make a play like that.

- While the play-calling wasn’t flawless, I was fine with it. Even though Mallett appears to have “it,” he’s still going to make mistakes. At the end of the half, he threw a bad INT the play after missing 2 open receivers in the end zone. And he almost got picked on an out route at another point. So even though we ended up in 2nd-and-long a handful of times, we also ended up in 2nd or 3rd-and-short a fair amount. And Mallett did his part then – he was surprisingly efficient on 3rd down. But overall, we did the right thing by letting Mike Hart carry us. He is unreal.

- In case you missed it, Michigan will win the Big Ten outright if they win out. Indiana and Iowa, the two teams that Michigan doesn’t face this season, both lost on Saturday. Win out and we’re in the Rose Bowl. But there’s obviously a long way to go. The schedule still sets up nicely, as we can get healthy the next two weeks before a big game against Purdue.

- So I chastise Manningham for dogging it a few weeks ago and he comes out and makes me look like the fool that I am. Against ND, he was clearly on his game, running and even celebrating hard (watch Mathews’ TD). Then this week he picks up a huge first down on a reverse that probably should have been stopped for a 3-yard loss. His effort can’t be questioned as it stands right now. Let’s hope that he can get into a deep ball groove with Mallett soon, and that it continues when Henne returns.

- Brandon Graham is really good. So good that I’m already starting to worry about him not coming back for his senior year in 2009. He could be the defensive force that we need to complete a national championship run, but I could never blame a guy for going pro.

- Jamar Adams played his best game in a Michigan uniform. His pass interference penalty on PSU’s TE Quarless, in retrospect, might have saved the game. Adams was all over the field, and almost always in the right place. It was nice to see very solid safety play for the first time in a long time.


Anonymous Michigan Dave said...

Good point about the pass interference. Hart is awesome . . . with the injuries to the line we HAD to run left. Penn State knew it and he STILL got it done.

2:26 AM  
Blogger LudaChristian said...

If somebody had told me that we'd start 0-2 & then bounce back to beat a tough PSU squad with our backup (freshman) QB, I would've told them to take a walk. Gotta love college FB!

Go Blue!

3:57 PM  

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