Ann Arbor - Wow, so I guess we should say job well done and job not so well done after this one. I wanted to dive right into the roundtable but we will have to wait until tomorrow night. Here's some of what we will be talking about.
First question would have to be, was Michigan more overrated or MSU more underrated? Was Minnesota that awful and do we now have to give Rutgers major respect? Whatever. Let's get into 5 things that jumped out in this one?
1-Michigan State was terrific. Let's start with the defense. They were ready and picked apart what UM did last week. They took away the short stuff that Joe Milton wanted to throw and made him throw the ball downfield (more on that in a moment). They shut down enough of Michigan's running game to put the pressure back on the passing game. MSU's front 7 keyed their attack. When Milton had to move, they didn't let him go far. His athleticism didn't translate into big plays. This defense was well prepared, and it showed.
2-The Spartans offense did the job. They came out and attacked Michigan's secondary. And attacked. And attacked. Gemon Green and Vincent Gray and Jalen Perry were just overmatched. Ricky White had one heckuva coming out party with 196 yards. But it starts with Rocky Lombardi. For a guy that went 5/13 for 96 yards he had a nice first half, forcing a few penalties, and then in the second half he was just clutch. In particular, on the 92 yard drive that clinched it. He converted a 3rd and 3 to Jayden Reed, a 3rd and 7 to White and then another long one to White to get into scoring position. He was really, really, good when he had to be. Was the throw to Reed complete? I didn't see much on the replay, but as Urban Meyer said on the postgame, if you think he dropped it, then that's on Michigan to force the issue there.
3-Milton was just ok at best. He didn't panic and get forced into a big mistake or turnover, but he didn't make big plays either. Get used to this, because until he shows that he can throw the ball downfield successfully, this is how Michigan is going to be defended. Take away the short stuff and let him try to get over the top. He wasn't close today on the majority of his throws where the Wolverines were looking for a big chunk. There is no denying his talent and potential, but in a close game you need to make plays.
4-Every possession in this one was critical. I didn't understand Michigan pulling Milton for two wildcat snaps inside the 5. Yes, I know that Haskins had a wide open receiver on third down, but Antjuan Simmons knocked it away. He isn't in Ann Arbor for his ability to throw the ball. I'd keep Milton on the field. Keep it simple. He's a huge threat to run or pass down there. Go back and look at that drive before they settled for a field goal. Prior to lifting Milton, it was beautiful. Passing game and running game working together and in a snapshot, that was what UM wants to be. But they didn't finish.
5-Milton will learn from that final drive. Way too passive. Needed to get a chunk somewhere. Yes, you can take what they give you. But at some point, you must get the ball down the field. They took over with 5:11 to play and scored with :37 left. Whether that's on him or Gattis or Harbaugh, you just didn't leave yourself much room for error.
Well, for some of you that was fun. Looking forward to kicking this one around on The Works tomorrow night at 11pm on Fox2. See ya then!