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Posted on Sat, Nov 21, 2009 : 4:59 p.m.

Grades: A flip for Michigan - good on defense, trouble on offense

By Dave Birkett

Michigan football beat writer Dave Birkett grades the Wolverines after Ohio State's 21-10 victory.

Offense Tate Forcier picked a bad day for his worst game of the season. Forcier threw four interceptions and lost a fumble, effectively stymieing the Big Ten’s highest scoring offense. Denard “Designed Run” Robinson gave the Wolverines a spark on his first series, but with no reason to fear the pass Ohio State shut Robinson down thereafter. Vincent Smith played well, but not having Brandon Minor hurt. Grade: D-minus Defense


Michigan's Brandon Graham (55) chases after Ohio State quarterback Terrelle Pryor. Graham finished the season with 25 tackles for a loss. (Photo: Melanie Maxwell |

After being shredded most of the season, Michigan turned in a winning effort on defense. Brandon Graham led the way with four more tackles for loss, giving him 25 on the year. Ohio State did run for 251 yards, but the Buckeyes had just two touchdown drives and Terrelle Pryor was ineffective through the air. Grade: B Special teams Michigan didn’t get much out of its return game, again, and Jason Olesnavage missed a 24-yard field goal. Olesnavage finished the season 1-for-4 on kicks of 26 yards or less (and 10-of-11 on kicks 29 yards or longer). Zoltan Mesko capped his Michigan career with another good day, dropping two punts inside the 20 and averaging 43 yards per kick. Grade: C Coaching Fans won’t forgive Rich Rodriguez anytime soon for his two losing seasons, but Michigan played a full game Saturday. There's no imagination with how coaches deploy Robinson, but they were quick to pull Mike Shaw for Smith (the right decision). Defensively, more lineup changes were in the works. Troy Woolfolk moved back to safety from cornerback, and J.T. Floyd (corner) and Kevin Leach (middle linebacker) returned to the starting lineup. Grade: C-plus Dave Birkett covers University of Michigan football for He can be reached by phone at 734-623-2552 or by e-mail at Follow him on Twitter @davebirkett.



Sun, Nov 22, 2009 : 8:59 a.m.

Bluemann Rick, I agree with you totally. RR has to be given time to reright the ship. I was at the game and here is what my observations were. Defense, a few mistakes but overall held OSU in Check. Offense, Showed it's immaturity in leadership and overall execution. Fans support.. Very poor, There was easily about 25-30% of the 110,000 plus wearing scarlet and grey. If you are a true blue supporter, why are you selling tickets to the opposition. I was very disappointed.. If you looked at the stats you see that the offense out gained OSU in the game but had 4 turnovers (one for a touchdown) and a missed fieldgoal. OSU didn't even complete a 3rd down until the middle of the 3rd quarter. The youth of UofM was exposed and that will correct it in time. I'm on RR side for at LEAST 2 more years if not more because I see improvement from last year and even the year before when Lloyd was in charge. True Blue fans stay the course the future is looking bright!!!!!


Sat, Nov 21, 2009 : 8:22 p.m.

Again,I'm not a RR lover but we are in the mist of TWO bad seasons.Nothing left to do but see how the players progress under this new regime.Nothing left to lose(any record worth a damn has already been broken)but to let RR and staff try to turn program around.We have to be realists about our situation;Michigan just were not good this season(insert all the reasons why here if you want)but next season SHOULD be remarkedly better.If not,then RR has some plainin' to do!! C-ya next season,Wolverines and GO BLUE!!!

Blueman Rick

Sat, Nov 21, 2009 : 8:09 p.m.

AC: You're right. I stand corrected. Certainly best if the program isn't sullied further.


Sat, Nov 21, 2009 : 8:06 p.m.

Blueman Rick " I hope the NCAA finds UM football guilty and the regents give this bum the gate or, mark my words, next season will be a repeat of this season". I agree with in regard RR but completely disagree in regard NCAA. It will be a devestating blow to this program, players and recruit. Michigan will never recover if the allegations are true. Remember that coaches come and go but the program is here forever.


Sat, Nov 21, 2009 : 7:31 p.m.

The ship is off course and sinking fast...and RR is the captain.


Sat, Nov 21, 2009 : 7:11 p.m.

Well I'm glad the season is OVER. Too much expectations with same results, pathetic. Unfortunately the future looks pretty gloomy for Big Blue. Tressel will continue to out coach RR, out recruit and dominate Michigan for a long time. Tate Forcier proved to be over hyped, over rated, and over confident. For a guy who was Groomed to be a QB, sure dont know how hold on to the flipping ball. Im not being harsh, just stating facts. I understand hes a freshman but 12 game as a starter and continue to suffer from fumblitis and interception. He needs to understand that he cant win the game by himself but dont lose it either. T.F quote after the game to the AP This offseason, Im gonna make sure myself and every single person on this team works the hardest we have ever worked. Were gonna come back a a new team. Im not going to let this happen again. Wow, I guess 12 games not enough to play hard. This team lacks Direction, Leadership. For an offensive guru as they label RR, impressive 10 pts total but sure can score against Delaware St. Its obvious the defense has been the problems for the last 2 years but not today. Watching this team on Sat is just like crapshoot. I encourage RR and his coaching staff, players to read John U. Bacon book called BOs Lasting Lessons. Its an awesome book. Michigan Football team final grades for the season: Offense D. Defense F. Special Teams C. Coaching D- End of st

Blueman Rick

Sat, Nov 21, 2009 : 6:52 p.m.

Doomed? RR is pathetic. Let's not feel sorry for this doofus. He is paid a boat load of $ to get UM to a bowl game NOW not 5 yrs from now. He and his staff have destroyed a once golden program. I hope the NCAA finds UM football guilty and the regents give this bum the gate or, mark my words, next season will be a repeat of this season.


Sat, Nov 21, 2009 : 5:52 p.m.

Michigan could have pulled it off today, but shot itself in the foot, again. Dave's got the report card right.


Sat, Nov 21, 2009 : 5:35 p.m.

Rodriguez said earlier in the week the Wolverines would not be "doomed" if they were shut out of the bowl picture. We're Doomed.


Sat, Nov 21, 2009 : 5:28 p.m.

It is pretty easy to defend Tressel ball. Note that they scored at will when they wanted/needed to. Defense gets a C-. Coaching gets a D.