Bumped back a day to cover today’s press access- one more day means even more news, notes, and inanity.
There was no NCAA violation. If you could bold and underline that for me, please.
Done and done, coach.
Well, let’s try to put a bow on this, shall we? Silk purse, sow’s ear and all that… Actually, there’s a lot to be positive about looking back at the team’s efforts against TTUN- and some things that definitely need attention.
Defensive Heart. Depends on who you’re looking at- Shazier played his heart out, and Simon/Hankins were fighting on every play (funny how that happens when you get held). The secondary, though… wow, we’re going to need a tune up before next season.
A worthy offensive gameplan. Throwing the ball on first down? Sweet sassy molassy… what was that? My only frustration is that this type of game plan would have won against Michigan State, Penn State, and Purdue… What took Bollman so long?
A Jake Stoneburner touchdown. Nope- but he was targeted. And we had Fragel sightings again!
Weeping M*ch*g*n fans. Sigh.
Beat M*ch*g*n. Double Sigh. Read More
Lots of holiday options for this week’s soundtrack, but I’m that guy that thinks Christmas music should be banned until at least December. So, given all of the rumors of this past week and the results from yesterday’s Ohio State game, the R&B genius of Sam And Dave make a return as we give thanks and look to the future.
Ah, Thanksgiving weekend. When thoughts turn to leftover turkey and pie and… football. While the NFL takes front stage on Thursday, and even with the “exciting news” that the NBA is “back, baby!!!”, this weekend was all about the college game. It’s the weekend that puts the best of both worlds together- family and friends gathering together to break bread and then scream at each other because someone had to go to that school just to be different.
And we got three days of amazing games, starting with the end of an era. Because of future schedule issues between the SEC bound aTm and the Big Integer anchor Texas Longhorns, the Turkey Day Tradition saw its last episode end in a classic fashion. This was supposed to be THE year for the Aggies, but failure after failure on their farewell tour led to a mentality where the UT game was a must win to maintain dignity before heading to the 4-8 seasons that SEC play was sure to bring.
Texas’ struggles are also well known (and well documented), and there was a contingent of Longhorn faithful who were as tired of their staff’s decisions regarding offensive and defensive play as some Ohio State faithful have been as of late. For this to end the way that it did highlights the beauty of the rivalry and the reason that college football is the heart of the lives of so many:
It lived up to be something that all of us had no idea it could be. The Michigan Wolverines hadn’t made the game “competitive” in nearly 7 years. Yet many Buckeye fans didn’t give this chance the light of day to keep on track with a high scoring offense.
Despite making this the best game of football fans have seen all season, The Ohio State Buckeyes fell short for the first time in 8 years on Saturday in Ann Arbor. Though it wasn’t due to lack of effort.
On the first drive of the ballgame, The Buckeye offense flashed a more aggressive playbook then we’ve seen all year. After completing two first downs through the air, Miller found room on the intended quarterback draw for a gain of 17 yards. Then on 1st down from Ohio State 46, Miller kept threw to a wide open Philly Brown near the end zone for a 54 yard touchdown strike.
After a four and out the Buckeyes would get the ball back looking to score on back to back drives.3 downs later It was Michigan that was positioning themselves to score. On the second play of drive, Denard Robinson used his legs to even up the ballgame on an outside run to sidelines — easily walking in for the first points on the afternoon for Michigan. It looked like we were going to have a back and forth offensive performance in the first quarter.
That’s when it seemed penalties and boneheaded mistakes would set apart these two teams.
After an incomplete pass from the Buckeye 20 to a streaking Philly Brown, 2nd down saw a Zach Boren holding penalty push Ohio State back to the 10 yard line. That was followed by a patented Jack Mewhort offsides penalty. Then after a -2 yard rush from Braxton Miller, it was 3rd down and 27 from the 3 yard line. The freshman hoisted a pass deep from the opposing endzone, but while trying to keep the outside rush from getting to the blindside of Miller, Mike Adams was flagged for holding Ryan Van Bergen, who beat him at the line. Adams did everything he could to make up for the great jump from the Michigan lineman. Holding onto a defender and ripping him down before he can finish though is a penalty punishable by two points and a safety in the stat book.
It was that penalty that gave Michigan their first lead in this rivalry in four years.
For our last blogger chat of the season, we approached several writers for TTUN to see if they could manage to actually string a few one syllable words together… but unfortunately, most of them were in jail. Then we remembered that the great MZone had re-opened their shop, and were happily cranking out photoshop coping mechanisms. We emailed Yost about joining us, and once he’d sobered up he sent us what you see below. Be sure to follow their stuff on twitter, and also on an upcoming edition of “COPS”.
Do you ever feel dirty rooting for the Maize and Blue? Do you ever get one of those shudders like pure evil has settled into your soul?
Never dirty, just horribly dazed watching what passed for our beloved Wolverines the last three years. And if you’ve been following the Maize and Blue this season, as you know, the only evil emanating out of A2 is of the Pop Evil variety. While, as the world knows, the evil that spews forth from Columbus is more of a Mordor strain.
What’s your favorite memory of The Game? On the other end of the spectrum, what play or game gives you nightmares?
Near the top of the “good” list are ’95 and ’96 when Michigan wasn’t given a chance and Ohio State was undefeated and, I believe, #2 in the country both times. Of the two, I think I enjoyed ’96 a tad more just because it was in Columbus. That was the 13-9 Michigan win that swung U-M’s way when Shawn Springs slipped and fell allowing Tai Streets to score on a 69 yard slant. OSU had been up 9-0 at halftime and you could almost hear the dread as it settled over the stadium. My god, I’m getting weepy just thinking about it again. But I digress.
Actually, at the top of my fave list has to be ’97 when #1 Michigan faced off against #4 OSU with everything on the line. The Game initially looked to be a Wolverine rout with Charles Woodson returning a punt for a TD (you seen that replay once or twice, right?). But when OSU cut U-M’s 20-0 lead to 20-14, you could hear a car key jingle pin drop in The Big House. Thankfully, Michigan held on and then won the Rose Bowl to claim a National Championship.
It was the stakes of ’97 and what a victory meant that made it so meaningful and memorable. Conversely, that’s precisely why 2006 still gives me nightmares. For the first time in history, Michigan and Ohio State were #1 and #2 at the time of The Game. OSU had the big lead at halftime but Michigan fought back. With 6:49 left, Michigan had cut the lead to 35-31. OSU had the ball on the Michigan 38 yard line, 3rd and 15. Troy Smith rolled out and threw an incomplete pass. Michigan was gonna get the ball back with a chance to drive down for the winning score. But… Read More
Every season, anyone, who has any kind of writing commitment, will tell you at some point you hit a wall during a given season. It is up to every scribe to find what exactly it is that keeps him or her going, but for me, I usually draw my inspiration from on the field performances. I have gone from frustrated to empathetic when it comes to the 2011 season.
There is no question that 2011 has been a tough me for on many different levels. I am not an apologist, but I am a good friend to a man who lost his job that he loved. Compounding all of this was taking on a career that requires me to explain what happened and why things transpired the way that they did. To top everything off, I have had to endure one of the more trying seasons on the football field that we have seen in some time.
With that being said, every season can be salvaged with a win over TSUN this weekend. So, let’s get after a little Scarlet and Gray Q&A.
Ohio State has gotten off to slow starts in consecutive weeks. What is main cause of this uninspired play?
I have to be honest. I never was in the locker room for a pregame speech from the Vest. I have heard they are legendary for the most part, but most of the time I was out on the field before the game kicked off. I know that “getting up” for a big game isn’t based in just an inspirational pregame speech, but the message, whatever that may be, has gone stale.
It appears that for the most part Fickell likes to lean towards tapping into the team’s emotions. But there was a columnist, who covers Ohio State, that pondered how often Fickell could tap that well before it would run dry. I am in agreement that a player’s reaction diminishes to the same stimuli, and I feel like Fickell just doesn’t have a whole lot else in his arsenal. That is not all on him, because I think this is a learned skill for a head coach. If I asked you to go out and inspire the team to play the scUM on Saturday, we would all tap into the emotional side of things. It is just the way most people would do it. The problem is this is only effective for so long, especially when it is the same voice saying the same thing repeatedly.
I place some blame on the leadership on this team. We all love this group of seniors for what they have had to endure and have done so with class. It just seems like after Wisconsin, the upperclassmen were spent. Younger players feed off of the message from their elder counterparts, and I haven’t seen a whole lot of that lately, which leads me to my next question.
Has the senior class mentally checked out for the remainder of the season? Read More
It’s still the Ohio State/M*chigan game, still the greatest rivalry in all sports. We wouldn’t attack it any other way. That’s what is remembered. We understand that. We know that. Our guys have understood that regardless of what the situation has been in the last 10 years that I’ve been here or even the five years I was here as a player.
When you come here, you know what it’s about. That’s why I’d say 70 percent of our guys are from that 250 mile radius, been grown up, born into it, and know more about what this rivalry is all about than most.
Your Michigan counterpart refers to your employer just as “Ohio.” Have you noticed that, first of all?
…Coach Bruce or Coach Hayes used to not refer to the team up north or whatever that is, hopefully that it’s no disrespect to Ohio University, they are Ohio, but it is what it is.
We might refer to M*chigan in different ways, too. Read More
After yesterday’s slate of games, the soundtrack for this episode should be pretty obvious. Onward!
Ain’t chaos beautiful? While the end result may be less than desirable, you’ve got to be amazed at the ways that each week is different, each week has the possibility for the unexpected and amazing. And this week was proof positive that the football gods have both a sense of humor AND a mischievous side.
We start on Friday, with a shout out and hat tip to our BFF’s from Ames who saw their mighty Cyclones upset the #2 ranked Cowboys of T. Boone Pickens U. It was a perfect “storm” of sorts- ISU’s freshman quarterback played the game of his life, while Gundy’s squad seemed incapable of being able to hang onto the ball and put points on the board. Somehow, a team that managed to shut out Texas Tech at home couldn’t cover a basic wheel route; a Cyclone TD and a senior citizen moment from Weeden ended any hopes that Oklahoma State had at playing for the national championship… at least, so it would seem (more later).
Congrats to Coach Paul Rhodes and his staff for getting his team prepared to square off against the ‘Pokes, and for having Iowa State bowl eligible once again.
So- we had early warnings that something was astir in this week’s slate of games, but “The Oracle” was able to solidify our beliefs that it was going to be an unforgettable experience. I’ll just link to Lee Corso’s commentary, since it’s not all that family friendly; let’s remember a) he had a stroke a while back and b) he spoke the truest college preview that’s ever been spoken. Read More