Sun & Bluesday: A Disturbing Universe Indeed

By Johnny Ginter on October 22, 2013 at 11:49a
38 Comments
FLAG FOOTBALL! (MGoBlog photo)

The following is a short list of things that I once considered impossible:

  • A Simpsons movie
  • A black president (especially one named "Barack Hussein Obama")
  • Seeing boobies in person
  • Video games surpassing the graphical standard set by Super Mario 64
  • Devin Gardner passing for 500 yards

All of those chickens have come home to roost at one point or another, and the final item came to my attention on Saturday. No, that's not a typo; Devin Gardner, Michigan starting quarterback, passed for five hundred and three yards over the course of 60 minutes against Indiana, leading the Wolverines to a completely ridiculous 63-47 win that was a lot closer than the box score indicated.

Actually, let's take a look at that box score. The two teams combined to account for over 1300 yards of total offense. Jeremy Gallon almost set the all-time NCAA single game receiving yards mark by racking up 369 yards on 14 catches. Fitz Toussaint scored four rushing touchdowns and had a pretty good day with over 150 yards rushing. And Indiana passed the ball 43 times to Michigan's 29.

This was a deeply weird game of football, even moreso than last week, because unexpected competence is always way weirder than unexpected incompetence. And while the Michigan defense didn't show anyone anything particularly unexpected in terms of how they handled Indiana's passing attack, pretty much no one expected 751 yards of offense from the Michigan side.

Quarter 1

Indiana struck first with a bomb of a touchdown that confirmed Wolverine fears that this was going to be a very long day. Michigan responded with two touchdowns of their own, but the quarter ended with a drive that would eventually a Michigan blocked field goal. 14-7 Michigan, but the despair was palpable.

Johnny: First thing that popped in your head after Sudfeld hucked that 59 yard TD, GO!

Ace: Well, several expletives, followed by "we're not ready for this." That touchdown came when Indiana rushed to the line—as they always do—and caught Michigan's defense scrambling to get the playcall and get set; Raymon Taylor expected safety help over the top that never came because Thomas Gordon was still looking at the sideline at the snap. Brady Hoke flat-out stated in one of the pre-Indiana pressers that Michigan hadn't done anything different to prepare for Indiana's tempo, and ... well, it showed. I don't think that's an issue with Hoke or Greg Mattison as much as it is a problem with how the current offense is run; it's tough to simulate a team playing at ludicrous speed when your offense normally breaks out of the huddle with 15 seconds on the play clock, even with a week to prepare.

Michigan did actually force punts on four of Indiana's first five drives, but it was clear that their pace started to wear out the defense—especially the secondary—as the game went along.

Quarter 2

OH HI THERE BUDDY (MGoBlog photo)HAS NO IDEA WHAT'S GOING ON

After the blocked field goal, Michigan forced a punt and the Jeremy Gallon show took over. The two teams traded touchdowns, UM getting two to Indiana's one, and Indiana was able to add a field goal at halftime. Defense was starting to become strictly optional. 28-17 Wolverines.

Johnny: This is where the game really started to go just straight up bonkers, and it somehow started with a blocked field goal? Life sure is weird sometimes, Ace.

Ace: Michigan didn't just have a field goal blocked in this quarter; Raymon Taylor somehow dropped a sure pick six directly into the hands of an Indiana receiver (unfortunate deja vu, ditto the field goal block) and the Hoosiers scored a touchdown on the very next play, turning a potential 28-7 Michigan lead into a 21-14 nailbiter. Oh, and Al Borges had ditched under-center running almost entirely in favor of spread runs and max protect passes to hilariously wide open receivers—mostly Jeremy Gallon as Indiana bugged out whenever Devin Funchess was on the field.

Weird doesn't even begin to describe this game, my friend.

Quarter 3

Had Michigan come out and scored a touchdown on their opening drive, that possibly could've been the back breaker Michigan needed to put the Hoosiers away. Instead, Fitz Toussaint fumbled, lost the ball, and Indiana subsequently converted for a touchdown. Despite Gallon and Gardner continuing to do their thing, Indiana outscored Michigan 23-14 in the third, and were a two point conversion away from tying the game. 42-40 Michigan.

Johnny: It probably wasn't a shock to see Indiana pass all over the Michigan secondary, but is this a result of Michigan having bad defensive backs or Indiana being actually good at throwing the ball? Asking for a slightly worried friend. That friend is me.

Ace: A combination of both (a cop-out, I know). This isn't the first time Michigan's corners have been exposed over the top; Tre Roberson also had some NFL-level throws that I wasn't aware he could make, and Indiana's got a very legitimate—and deep—group of receivers. The tempo of Indiana's offense had a lot to do with it as well—there are hurry-up offenses, and then there's their terrifying passing spread on crack. This is an offense that put up 28 on MSU, which is no small feat regardless of the pace of the game. If the Hoosiers had any semblance of a defense they'd be a really scary team to play; instead they're just frightening half the time and completely laughable the other half.

Quarter 4

Michigan finally seemed to get a handle on things after an early touchdown by Fitz, but Devin Gardner fumbled at the Indiana two yard line and have the Hoosiers hope. That lasted for literally 56 seconds because Nate Sudfeld threw an interception to Thomas Gordon, which was quickly converted into a Michigan TD. Indiana would respond, but Michigan scored the final two touchdowns of the game to somehow salt it away. 63-47 Wolverines.

Johnny: I've always known Jeremy Gallon was good. I knew that Devin Gardner had the capacity to do some insane things when given time to think. I did not think that I would ever see a stat line of 369 receiving yards and 503 passing yards. In like, any Big Ten game ever, not just a Michigan one in 2013.

Ace: Yeah, that was pretty nuts, to say the least. It was even more impressive considering Gallon actually had two very uncharacteristic drops in the first half—if he hauls those in, he might've set the NCAA mark instead of just smashing the Big Ten record. Al Borges came under a lot of (deserved) heat after the Penn State game; this was a very nice departure from that, and he emphasized just the right parts of the offense to exploit Indiana's generous defense. Most of Gallon's big gains came on two-man routes with Funchess as the other receiver while leaving everyone else in to protect, which gave Gardner all day to wait for two very difficult-to-guard receivers to find an opening—against Indiana, that wasn't too difficult. I'm not sure how well that'll go against better defenses (which is ... all of them left of the schedule, save possibly Nebraska), but it certainly worked to great effect in this one.

OVERVIEW

Johnny: I have no idea what the hell happened there. Part of it was having to watch bits and pieces of this game because it was on at the same time as the Ohio State game, part of it is because just look at the damn box score, and part of it was I am trying not to think too hard about it because it will keep me up at night in about a month.

Two things that I think are significant about this game: first, Michigan never trailed. It got close, but their playmakers obviously stepped up and went completely ham on one of the worst defenses in college football. Dismiss it if you want, but they went out and did what they were supposed to do. Al Borges ride or die baby.

Second, Michigan seems to have a game like this every once in a while where logic just gets thrown out the window. This game was basically a Mike Leach fever dream and it'll be interesting to see what, if anything, can be gleamed from it going forward.

Ace: I wish I had any more clarity than you about this game, but honestly it's tough to tell how much it really means. Yes, Borges made critical adjustments that led to a record-setting day; however, it came against an awful defense and Borges still needs to prove that he can drop the MANBALL thing for more than a game or two—especially on the road, where he's had most of his awful gameplans (2011 MSU, 2011 Iowa, 2012 OSU, 2013 PSU...), and a trip to East Lansing looms after the bye week. Devin Gardner only had one turnover and the running game was effective; can that continue against actual defenses? What happens when someone bothers to guard Gallon?

And that's without even talking about the defense, which had done a great job of limiting big plays until Saturday. I'm hoping that performance was the product of facing an offense unlike any they'd seen before; I'm worried that future opponents will realize that going up-tempo and attacking the non-Countess corners deep—especially with Michigan still lacking a consistent pass rush—is the formula for putting a lot of points on the board.

We're now seven games into the season and I don't think anyone has a real handle on how good this team really is—the only thing we know is they're definitely not an elite squad. Thankfully, the Big Ten is so bad that Michigan could still find a way to play for a shot at the conference title.

38 Comments

Comments

extemporary08's picture

"because unexpected competence is always way weirder than unexpected incompetence."

Well put.

jeremytwoface's picture

 
Seeing boobies in person

THIS IS POSSIBLE?!!?!?

The first man gets the ((((Oyster)))), the second man gets the shell.

Seattle Linga's picture

Not at all true - I have only heard rumors about boobies but they're all lies and I've been somewhat happily married (or at least I thought I was until I read this) for 23 plus years. 

HighBallAce's picture

I don't believe it! He didn't post pictures for proof!....lol

hit_the_couch's picture

Brady '5th choice' Hoax must be feeding his team a line about their defensive performance, by telling them that ohio gave up 49 to IU, to boost their confidence.

And then I told her...i'm no weatherman, but tonight's forecast is calling for several inches!

alust2013's picture

Braxton is going to be dropping bombs all over Indiana and scUM if he plays anywhere near as well as he did against Iowa, which actually has a serviceable defense. I also won't be surprised if Indiana's linebackers just start running away from El Guapo after halftime.

...and _ichigan still sucks.

GoBlue91's picture

IMHO, the takeaway for you guys is that you either have to find a way to shut Indiana down or get ready for a game of basketball.    I'll bet on you outscoring Indiana even if you can't stop them, but it will be a good opportunity to seek if you're working out the issues with your defense.

Seattle Linga's picture

Well played Alust

Buckeyevstheworld's picture

Yes, Borges made critical adjustments that led to a record-setting day;

Just showing up against Indiana's D is all the adjustment you need.

"YOLO" = I'm about to do something extremely ignorant/stupid & I need an excuse to do it.

ChazBuckeye's picture

"Just showing up against Indiana's D is all the adjustment you need."

So by that rationale, OSU should have a field day with PSU this saturday...considering IU beat them 44-24.  I think Saturday's game will be closer than it needs to be.  Sort of like Wiscy, NW and Iowa...seems to be the norm this year.  At this point OSU needs to open it up a bit more on O and tighten it up on D in all sorts of ways to make this a 'statement' game.  
Personally I can see a closer than necessary game against IU too.  Who according to you, has melted butter for defense.  Sort of like last year at IU...where two teams had defenses resembling your rationale.  

Some people think we’re the hunted.I don’t feel that way at all.We’re the hunter.Everybody wants an angry football team.Everybody wants a team on edge and a hungry team.If you’re a hunter,that usually equates to being hungry.

Furious George 27's picture

I am not trying to make NW, Iowa and PSU better than what they are... But you give a decent team 2 weeks to game plan for you and geeked up to end the nations longest streak you might run into problems that people tend to overlook just because they are Iowa, NW and PSU.

Yeah, well…that’s just like, your opinion, man.

Buckeyevstheworld's picture

So by that rationale, OSU should have a field day with PSU this saturday...considering IU beat them 44-24.

The same Indiana D that gave up nearly 500 yards of offense to MSU?

They also gave up 410 to Penn State. That's not anything to write home about.

"YOLO" = I'm about to do something extremely ignorant/stupid & I need an excuse to do it.

hail2victors9's picture

I actually thought that when there was 4 min to go in the 3rd quarter was, there was 4 min left to go in the game.  I've never wanted to see a game come to an end as much as I did Saturday.  It's fun playing NCAA Football on PS3; it's not fun watching it.  The stats were great, and left me ignoring a sad day of defense.  Yet, Michigan still almost found a way to lose.
I think if Roberson doesn't leave the game with a hand cramp, it ends up being a one score game; winner being who ever had it last.   

Those who stay will be CHAMPIONS!

~Bo Schembechler

ChazBuckeye's picture

I still am mesmerized by the total offensive #s by both teams 500+ by IU and 700+ by you guys. Unreal!  You got the PS3 stats right..WOW.  I'm hoping 'The Game' doesn't end up like that. Would be exciting but not good if you're a defensive minded fan like me.  It would be a nightmare...kind of like the IU game last year;-)

Some people think we’re the hunted.I don’t feel that way at all.We’re the hunter.Everybody wants an angry football team.Everybody wants a team on edge and a hungry team.If you’re a hunter,that usually equates to being hungry.

Arizona_Buckeye's picture

I find it very telling that Flounder said they did nothing special to prepare for Indiana's hurry up offense.  Indeed - and it showed!  He is a barely above .500 career percentage winning coach and that line shines a bit of light into why!

The best thing about Pastafarianism? It is not only acceptable, but advisable, to be heavily sauced

Hovenaut's picture

Lllllloyd grinning (clearly a pre-game photo op), Gary Moeller liquored up, and Rich Rod full of "I'll show you" resentment out in 'zona.

They must've all gotten a kick out of this one.

Woody and Bo must've thought basketball season started early.

Hate Week runneth over

741's picture

The following is a short list of things that I once considered impossible:
• A Simpsons movie
• A black president (especially one named "Barack Hussein Obama")
• Seeing boobies in person
• Video games surpassing the graphical standard set by Super Mario 64
• Devin Gardner passing for 500 yards
 

Seeing your mom's or sister's boobies does not count. So...

jedkat's picture

Seeing your mom's or sister's boobies does not count. So...

 
It is if I see them...HEYOOOOO!!!!

"I was tired of trying to work my way around the back, so I just ran him over"

~ Joey Bosa

ogama843's picture

Photo of Lloyd with clueless grin captioned, "has no Idea what's going on." Priceless. Will have me chuckling all week. :-)
 

Holy Buckeye!

Poison nuts's picture

To the UM fans...we all know you guys hate Borges, but are you at all worried or at least not thrilled with Mattison at this point? Just wondering.

"Do not pass me, just slow down - I can move right through you" Superchunk - Precision Auto.

Ethos's picture

the reason he is asking is if we ever find ourselves looking for a new DC...

"What do you need water for, Sunshine?!" - Coach Coombs, if you don't love this man, you have no soul.

GoBlue91's picture

I still trust Mattison, so I tend to assume he's doing about as well as possible with what he's got.   Hopefully, now that Ryan is back we'll get more pass rush, which should help out the rest of the defense.

00Buck's picture

"Thankfully, the Big Ten is so bad that Michigan could still find a way to play for a shot at the conference title"  I must be crazy.......  I keep seeing this shit....... THE BIG is no better, and NO worse than any other conference in america.......  ANY given saturday I think the BIG CAN AND DO compete with the elites..... It is script like this that produces the concept of a horrible BIG, ask ESPN they do the most damage why ? because they are disneyland...they own sports in AMERICA, look how much time and press it took them to pump up the volume on the SEC... NOW where is the SEC......  even "Bama" has problems........  IT is time for supporters and lovers of this conference to STAND TALL AND HAVE A DAY OF RECKONING....... MY MOTHER always said if you have nothing good to say about someone.........DAMMIT DON'T TALK OF THEM AT ALL  God rest her soul........ UNtil the day each and every BIG team lose's on the same day, I will have faith in them.......   and that includes the cellar dwellers........... STAND-UP FOR THE BIG TEN ! 

Upon this Rock, I build my house....and Let no man put asunder

tennbuckeye19's picture

Yeah, you're right, the SEC winning 7 national titles in a row had nothing to do with the perception that they are the best conference in the country...It's all ESPN.

CincyOSU's picture

Dude, you must be on some crazy drugs today. 

IBleedSandG's picture

How many touchdowns did Mitch McGary have again?

"You pick up the rifle and go as hard as you can possibly go."
-UFM

Earle's picture

pretty much no one expected 751 yards of offense from the Michigan side

Nobody really had any idea how much Kyle Kalis was holding them back.
And speaking of weirdness, did Johnny actually say something nice about Fitz Toussaint?

Just say no to italics abuse.

avail31678's picture

What do you mean by the Kalis comment?  Was he limited or benched for this game?  Just curious - didn't get to watch it really.

ScarletNGrey01's picture

Interesting and entertaining exchange as always.  Even as a total buckeye homer I think it's safe to assert that the buckeyes are the best team in the B1G but not dominating enough (yet?) that for any given game against a decent team like PSU or TSUN there is not some cause for concern ... could an opposing team get some lucky breaks and a couple of players get hot and stage an upset.  Based on what I've seen this season from the bucks (it's been exciting and really proud of our team) I have no reason to believe anything other than PSU and UM will put up big passing numbers on us but the D will do just enough to allow the offense to win.

The will to win is not as important as the will to prepare to win. -- Woody Hayes

fanatibuck's picture

Message to the OP. I would not consider President Obama being elected twice as "chickens coming home to roost." A lot can be analyzed from a statement like this. Covers unveiled and truths exposed.........hmmmm.

THE URBANATOR AND HIS BOYS' JOURNEY HAS JUST BEGUN; 26-0 IS COMING BABY!!

avail31678's picture

What happens when someone bothers to guard Gallon?

Psst.  Coach Coombs and Buckeye secondary...pleast take note!  I know it's easier said than done, but if you can PLEASE find a way to limit/contain Gallon we will absolutely win against TTUN.  I don't think there IS a Michigan offense for the most part if you take Gallon out of the equation.

hail2victors9's picture

Devin Funchess happens.  15 Rec for 347 yards and 3 TDs is the result of the last 3 games when you try to take Gallon out of the game.
Who do you guys think will be on Funchess? 

Those who stay will be CHAMPIONS!

~Bo Schembechler

avail31678's picture

I'll spot Funchess and Michigan 1TD and 5 rec for about 114 yards (average over the three games you mention) if it means Gallon doesn't have the same number of yards (300-something) in ONE game.
I guess what I was getting at really was...Gallon is ridiculously wide open often.  It's an easy, easy throw for Gardner.  All I ask is that Gallon not be allowed to get wide, wide open. 

hodge's picture

It really depends on where he lines up, but I'm hoping we play a lot of the game in nickel, so that way we can either have our Star or Corner on Funchess as much as possible.  I think UM's O-line is weak enough that we won't need to sell out (read: 4-3) to stop the run and get pressure.

hail2victors9's picture

That is the answer, Hodge.  Your best coverage is rattling Gardner and disrupting everything.  Roby isn't going to win every down against Gallon or Funchess by himself. 

Those who stay will be CHAMPIONS!

~Bo Schembechler

avail31678's picture

Good points by both of ya's.

avail31678's picture

Is anyone else worried about Indiana?  Cause I am.

Optimistic Buckeye Pessimist's picture

Who do we play this week?  I am worried about them.

Read my entire screen name....