Sunday, September 28, 2008

Michigan 27 #9 Wisconsin 25

In front of a crowd of 109,833 at the Big House watching the Wolverines play their 500th game at Michigan Stadium, the Wolverines mounted the biggest comeback win in the history of playing at The Big House. Michigan rallied from a 19-0 halftime deficit to pull off a thrilling 27-25 victory. Following are the game summary, boxscore, play-by-play chart (.pdf), postgame notes, quotes, player participation chart, photos (MGoBlue; Detroit News; Free Press) and video (press conference; BTN game highlights; ESPN game highlights). Much analysis to follow when my heart starts working again. These thrilling games are killing me. Go Blue!

Friday, September 26, 2008

Your Wisconsin game Honorary Captains

The three Honorary Captains (.pdf) for tomorrow's game are Wolverine stars from the past three decades: kicker Ali Haji-Sheikh (1979-1982), running back Anthony Thomas (1997-2000), and cornerback Marlin Jackson (2001-2004). Go Blue!

Friday, September 19, 2008

Next Opponent: Wisconsin

Michigan has a bye week this Saturday but will be back on the field on Sept. 27th to play Big 10 rival Wisconsin. Video by WolverineHistorian of some memorable plays from games past vs. the Badgers. Go Blue!

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Book Review: Historic Photos of University of Michigan Football

As the Michigan Football program is going through a tough spot currently, it is always nice to look back at the storied tradition of the program to ease the pain of the current difficulties. It has often been said that "a picture is worth a thousand words" and it is with that phrase in mind that this week I review the book Historic Photos of University of Michigan Football (Turner Publishing; $39.95). If indeed a picture is worth a thousand words, then this book is an epic as it traces the tale of the Michigan Football program over the course of one hundred years from the humble origins in 1879 through the amazing successes of Bo during his first ten years (1969-1979). The photographs come from the unparalleled University of Michigan Bentley Historical Library. The text and captions, provided by Bentley Historical Library contract researcher Michelle O'Brien, are extremely well done as they help both explain and punctuate the incredible photographs selected for the book. (A brief video showing a small sample of the book's photos can be found below). All the photos are in black-and-white and take the reader on an incredible journey through the years as the program evolved into the winningest program in college football history. The photos provide a true insider's view of the evolution of the program. This book is a must-have for any Michigan Football fan. Many books have been written about the program over the years and many of those books re-hash the same stories. This book tells the Michigan story in an exquisitely well done and unique way. Whether you know a die-hard fan or just like well done photograph books, I highly recommend this book for you and yours. Grade: A+ Go Blue!

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Superback Sam McGuffie gains close to half of Michigan's yardage vs. ND

Superback Sam McGuffie (a true freshman) lived up to his billing as he once again carried the Michigan offense. McGuffie's 178 all-purpose yards (131 rushing yds., 47 receiving yds., 1 td.) accounted for close to half of Michigan's 388 yards of total offense. Often referred to as a YouTube sensation (with over 2 million hits), McGuffie has proven he is the real deal as he has carried the load of the Wolverines' offense for the first three games of the season. In today's game vs. Notre Dame, McGuffie had 100 yards of total offense in the first quarter as he rushed nine times for 57 yards and collected three receptions for 43 yards. He averaged an astounding 8.33 yards per play in the first quarter. Today marked McGuffie's first 100-yard rushing game of his Michigan career and he became the first 100-yard rusher for the Wolverines this season. In Michigan Football history, there have only been two players to lead the Wolverines in rushing for 4 seasons- Jamie Morris (1984-1987) and Mike Hart (2004-2007). McGuffie has a good chance to join that elite company before he is done. Go Blue!

*NOTE: Photo of Sam McGuffie (2) running for a TD vs. Notre Dame on 9/13/08 by JOHN T. GREILICK/The Detroit News.

Michigan vs. Notre Dame: 1st Quarter

Michigan vs. Notre Dame: 2nd Quarter

Michigan vs. Notre Dame: Michigan Marching Band Halftime Show

Michigan vs. Notre Dame: 3rd Quarter

Michigan vs. Notre Dame: 4th Quarter

Notre Dame 35 Michigan 17

In front of a crowd of 80,795 in South Bend, IN, the Wolverines fell behind early and could never catch the Fighting Irish as Michigan fell to Notre Dame 35-17. Michigan was doomed by six (6) turnovers and poor execution. Michigan has two weeks to correct the situation as the Wolverines have a bye week next week before kicking off the Big 10 season the following week versus Wisconsin. Following is the game summary, boxscore, play-by-play chart, postgame notes, player participation chart, photos (MGoBlue;Detroit News;AP), and video (NBC Sports). Much analysis to follow once I'm done wringing out my clothes (from the rain and my tears). Go Blue!

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Classic Michigan vs. Notre Dame: AC-the original #1

Classic Michigan vs. Notre Dame: "The Catch"

Monday, September 08, 2008

Book Review: The USA Today College Football Encyclopedia

I recently received The USA Today College Football Encylopedia to review and I have not been able to put it down. I also had some trouble picking it up. The Encylopedia is massive. It runs over 1,300 pages and is crammed full of game recaps (over 7,000), season reviews and historical team lineups, records and statistics. It covers 70 major football schools from 1953-present. It is like having every school's media guide compiled in one easy-to-use resource. The encylopedia is billed as the most comprehensive resource on college football ever set to type. I was skeptical of such a claim, despite the book's heft, believing it to be mere hyperbole. However, once I dove into the book's contents I quickly realized that referring to this book as comprehensive is an understatement. This College Football Encylopedia has everything you wanted to know and a whole lot more. It is unbelievable how much great information is contained in this one reference guide. Whether you are a college football blogger looking for information or just a casual fan who likes to impress his seatmates with arcane facts, this encylopedia is the ultimate resource. It is a great value ($24.95) and is a perfect gift for any college football fan on your Christmas list. I highly recommend this Encylopedia for anyone who loves college football. Grade: A Go Blue!

Rivalry game

The rivalry between the two winningest programs in college football history is currently at a fever pitch. However, the rivalry once had a 35-year break as the two teams did not play each other between 1944-1977. In 1978, the Wolverines traveled to South Bend to play the Fightin' Irish. The game featured the two top quarterbacks in the nation as Rick Leach led Michigan while Joe Montana led Notre Dame. The Wolverines won 28-14 and the rivalry was renewed. All -time the Wolverines lead the series 20-14-1. Go Blue!

Sunday, September 07, 2008

Breaking down the offense

With two games in the books and the rivalry game versus Notre Dame on the horizon this week, it is a good time to evaulate the progress of the offense under the new coaching regime. The running game made strides in the win over Miami (OH) University but the passing game is still virtually non-existent. The most troubling aspect of the offense is that the Wolverines only converted 2 of 11 third-down plays versus the RedHawks after going 3 of 14 in week one against Utah.

Against Miami on Saturday, Threet (6-13, 63 yds., 1 rushing td) and Sheridan (4-5, 40 yds., 0 tds.) combined for a paltry total of 103 passing yards with no passing touchdowns. Almost half of the passing yards came on Michigan's first play from scrimmage when Threet hit true freshman Martavious Odoms on a screen pass that Odoms turned into a fifty-yard gain. In the fourth quarter, Sheridan hit McGuffie for a 27-yard gain. However, on the other 8 completions by Threet/Sheridan (on 16 attempts) the Wolverines only gained 26 yards. The Wolverines failed to sustain any drive for more than 5 plays before punting on each drive in the second and third quarters (6 drives). The lack of ability to sustain drives is reflected in Michigan's time-of-possession. For the second game in a row, Michigan had the ball approximately 10 minutes less than its opponent (25 minutes to the opponent's 35 minutes). The problem with the short offensive series is not only does it mean the offense is ineffective, but it also means the defense has to take on a heavier load by playing more downs. The positive note is that the Barwis-trained defense never seems to tire despite how many downs they are having to play. Go Blue!
*NOTE: Photo of Coach Rod w/ Steve Threet (10) from 9-5-08 game vs. Miami by DAVID GURALNICK/The Detroit News

Saturday, September 06, 2008

Michigan 16 Miami (OH) 6

In front of a home crowd of 106,724, the Wolverines captured their first victory of the Rich Rod-era. Following is the game summary, boxscore, postgame notes, quotes, player participation chart, photo gallery (MGoBlue; Free Press; Detroit News), press conference video and video highlights (Michigan Rewind; BTN highlights). Much analysis to follow once I'm done celebrating the initial victory. Go Blue!

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Dress Code

The 2006 Wolverines, under Coach Carr, at the 12/31/06 Pep Rally the day before the Rose Bowl.
The 2008 Wolverines, under Coach Rod, on 8/30/08 doing the inaugural Victors Walk on the way to the stadium.

The initial Victors Walk was a huge success as fans lined the path to The Big House. However, I noticed that Coach Rod relaxed the dress code. Whereas Coach Carr often made his players wear a coat and tie (see top picture), Coach Rod allowed his players to dress casual. I think the relaxation of the dress protocol is too lenient. Although the players looked fine in their team issued casual duds, I liked that under Coach Carr the players would sport more professional attire. It gave the team an air of discipline and orderliness.

Coach Carr's practice of requiring the players to wear a coat and tie was a continuation of the policy set by Coach Schembechler. In his book, Bo's Lasting Lessons: The legendary coach teaches the timeless fundamentals of leadership, Coach Schembechler recounted what he told the players about dressing up. At page 70, Bo wrote, "When we travel, we represent the University of Michigan and Michigan Football. That's why all of you have been issued a tailored blue suit coat with a Michigan patch on the breast pocket and a maize-and-blue tie, with dark pants." Bo recounted that a player inquired, "Why do we need to wear a coat and a tie just to get on a bus?" Bo wrote that he responded, "I'll tell you why. For one thing, you're going to act better, and you're going to feel better about yourself, when you're dressed properly. You have less chance of acting like a fool, and doing something you'll regret later, when you dress properly. If you're a sloppy-looking guy, then you're probably going to act that way, too. But if you're a class act, then you've got to dress like one and you've got to act like one. That's just part of the discipline of a good program."

Is it a coincidence that the 2008 Wolverines looked like they lacked discipline as they continually failed to execute versus Utah? Maybe the Wolverines should go to a coat-and-tie for the next Victors Walk. Go Blue!

LB Obi Ezeh is named Big Ten Defensive Player of the Week

LB Obi Ezeh (Jr./So.) was named the Big Ten Defensive Player of the Week for his outstanding performance against Utah. According to the press release, "Ezeh racked up a career-best 15 tackles against Utah, helping hold the visitors to only two first downs and 28 yards of offense in the second half as Michigan nearly rallied for the win. The sophomore linebacker added 1.5 tackles for loss, a pass breakup and a crucial interception at the goal line to keep the score close in the second half. With the Utes leading 22-10 at the half, a Wolverines fumble gave them the ball less than 10 yards from another score early in the third quarter. But the Michigan defense recorded a sack before Ezeh picked off a third-down pass at the two-yard line to prevent a potential score. The Wolverines would eventually close to within 25-23 before falling. Ezeh’s 15 tackles were the most stops by a Wolverine in a season opener since the mid 1970s. He picks up his first career weekly honor." Go Blue!

*NOTE: Photo of Obi Ezeh (45) from the 8/30/08 game vs. Utah by KIRTHMON DOZIER/Detroit Free Press.

Monday, September 01, 2008

Monday Press Conference- Week Two

Coming off a tough season opener, Coach Rod is quickly turning the team's focus to preparing for this week's upcoming game against Miami (OH) University. Coach Rod was direct and to the point in answering questions during this week's press conference. (Video of the press conference comments by Coach Rod, Obi Ezeh and Donovan Warren can be viewed here; MGoBlue video report on the press conference can be viewed here). If you want to learn about this week's game against the Miami University RedHawks, check out the Michigan game notes (.pdf), the Miami University press release for the Michigan/Miami game and the 2008 Miami Football Media Guide. Go Blue!


Tate Forcier commits to Michigan

There was good news and there was bad news this weekend. The bad news, of course, was that Michigan lost its opener to Utah. The good news is that quarterback super-recruit Tate Forcier was in town for the game and has decided to commit to Michigan. Forcier is the 17th commitment of the 2009 class. His older brother, Jason Forcier, was a Michigan quarterback before transferring to Stanford after sitting behind Chad Henne. Tate Forcier is a dual-threat quarterback who attends Scripps Ranch (CA) High School. Forcier is currently rated the nation's No. 12 QB by and the No. 6 dual-threat QB by Forcier's verbal commitment is especially welcome news for Wolverine fans who started to fret when Kevin Newsome re-opened his recruitment process. Go Blue!

*NOTE: Photo of Tate Forcier at a summer camp in Ann Arbor by via Detroit Free Press

Utah 25 Michigan 23

Michigan kicked off the Rich Rod-era in front of 108,421 in The Big (under construction) House on Saturday but the new look Wolverines stumbled as Utah prevailed 25-23. Following are the game summary, boxscore, postgame notes, quotes, player participation chart, photo gallery (MGoBlue, Free Press, Detroit News), and video (Michigan Rewind & BTN highlight reel). Much analysis to follow once I'm done hanging my American Flag on this Labor Day weekend. Go Blue!