Best part about Delaware State win? It's in the rear-view mirror
This was a bad game.
Rich Rodriguez acknowledged as much Monday, before it was played, when he talked about the difficulties in scheduling a mid-season game when most teams are locked into their conference schedules.
“It’s not as easy to schedule as people would think, particularly when you have to have a home game,” Rodriguez said. “It was a struggle. We’re lucky we got one.”
They don’t change the fact Michigan’s 63-6 victory over Delaware State was as lopsided as everyone expected. Bad for Wolverines, who stood to gain nothing either way, bad for fans, even bad for scalpers.
And when you feel bad for scalpers
Suffice to say there were logistical reasons and financial motivations on both sides that are understandable. From here on out, though, Michigan must ensure this sort of scheduling scenario doesn’t happen again.
Ultimately, it’s difficult to say that Michigan (5-2 overall, 1-2 Big Ten) learned much about itself and difficult to gauge whether the Wolverines progressed as a team when their opponent plays on a different stratosphere.
With that in mind, here are a few observations and scribbles from my notebook, which are admittedly hard to read because the ink in my pen froze somewhere in the third quarter.
Freshman running back Vincent Smith is generously listed as 5-foot-6 on the team’s official roster, and it’d be easy to think he’s on the field purely for his speed. That would be a mistake.
In the first quarter, Smith, who ran for 166 yards Saturday, bowled over a Hornets linebacker who was seemingly twice his size. It was the sort of play that made me believe that Smith, somewhere down the road, could be more than just a third-down back for the Wolverines.
Think Brandon Minor in a 5-6 body.
Michigan amassed 727 total yards on offense Saturday, a school record. The mark should be noted with an asterisk in the history books.
A much more impressive effort was the game in which the Wolverines set the original record, a 1991 Gator Bowl victory over Mississippi in which they totaled 715.
When comparing statistics, let’s keep them on the Division I-A level, please. This is a fugazy of a record.
Hard to believe that former Wolverines quarterback Rick Leach’s comments about Lloyd Carr from earlier this week were still a topic of conversation Saturday.
If you missed it, Leach accused Michigan’s former head coach of flipping “a huge middle finger right in our current coach’s face,” because Carr mingled with Iowa officials and sat in an Iowa suite during last week’s game against the Hawkeyes
What Leach failed to acknowledge is that it’s common for high-ranking university officials to host each other when their schools face each other. As an associate director and major player in Michigan’s athletic fund-raising, Carr qualifies as such an ambassador for the university.
There’s a lot of things Carr could rightly be criticized for, but being disloyal to the school’s athletic department isn’t one of them. Not even close.
By loudly voicing such baseless accusations, the only thing Leach did was undermine his own credibility.
Watching Terrelle Pryor single-handedly implode for the Buckeyes against Purdue on Saturday, I thought back to the drawn-out recruiting saga in which he spurned the Wolverines last year.
Mid-way through the 2009 season, couldn’t help but think that Michigan may have taken its lumps at quarterback last year, but ultimately in the long run, emerges stronger without Pryor.
In last year’s game against Penn State, the Wolverines got off to a quick first-quarter start. Even after the quick start, the consensus in the press box was that Michigan didn’t stand a chance.
The then-No. 3 Nittany Lions then annihilated Michigan, 46-17, in a game that accentuated all U-M’s weaknesses.
With Penn State on deck next week, I’m thinking Michigan has a chance. Not saying the Wolverines will win, but they’ve got a chance.
And that’s the biggest difference between last year and this year for Michigan. Win or lose, the Wolverines have been competitive in every game.
With the Big Ten ripped wide open by Purdue’s upset of Ohio State, it’s fair to think the Wolverines could finish in the upper tier of the conference if they can beat Purdue, Illinois and win at Wisconsin.
And it’s hard to wonder what might have been had they not benched their better quarterback in the final minutes against Iowa, and escaped with a win over the Hawkeyes.