Def. Coordinator's Ron English's "Donut Defense": Nothing in the middle
Appalachian State QB Armanti Edwards looked like Vince Young (Univ. of Texas) circa 2005. Through the air, Edwards was 17/23, 227 yds., 3 tds., and 2 interceptions. On the ground, Edwards shredded the defense for an additional 62 yards on 17 carries and a touchdown. Michigan did not have an answer for Edwards' scrambling which continually kept drives alive. Edwards seemed particularly devastating on third down conversions. The Mountaineers converted 7 of 13 third down plays which included two first-half touchdowns. On the Mountaineers first score of the day, Edwards connected with Dexter Jackson who was slashing through the middle on third and four and Jackson streaked into the end zone for a 68 yard touchdown (pictured above). In the second quarter, on third and goal from the six, Edwards found a hole in the middle of the Michigan defense and sprinted into the end zone to put the Mountaineers up 28-14. Additionally, the Mountaineers' scored a touchdown earlier in the second quarter on a second down play when Edwards hit Hans Batichon on a slant pattern through the, you guessed it, wide open middle of the field for a 9-yard touchdown play that was Appalachian State's second touchdown of the afternoon.
Defensive Coordinator Ron English had no answer for Appalachian State's spread offense. The Mountaineers exploited the "hole" in the middle of the Michigan defense throughout the game. The Wolverines "donut defense" was ineffective including on the Mountaineers final offensive drive of the game when Michigan was unable to get a stop and Appalachian State drove to the 5 yard line setting up a field goal with :30 seconds remaining. The 24-yard pass from Edwards to WR CoCo Hillary that put the ball on the 5 yard line and set up the game winning field goal was another play that exploited the void in the middle of Michigan's defense. Head Coach Lloyd Carr and Defensive Coordinator Ron English are going to have put their heads together and figure out how to fill the middle of Michigan's "donut defense" so that the Oregon Ducks will not be able to exploit openings in the middle of the field as the Mountaineers did this week. Otherwise, next week could also be ugly. Go Blue!
*Note: Photo of Dexter Jackson (2) slashing through the middle of the field with the Michigan defense in his wake on his way to the end zone on a 68-yard TD play by JULIAN H. GONZALEZ/Detroit Free Press
Labels: Michigan vs. Appalachian State