Grades: Michigan football team mostly below 'C' level
Offense Turnovers were the story again for a team that suddenly looks out of synch offensively. Tate Forcier had one (a fourth-quarter pick), Denard Robinson two (a fumble and interception) and Carlos Brown lost a fumble. Michigan also killed itself with penalties, dropped passes and safety on a bad snap. David Molk’s injury is a legitimate excuse, but the game-opening drive is the only real bright spot. Grade: D-minus
Defense Penn State was more dominant than the numbers would suggest. Evan Royster ran for 100 yards and Graham Zug, Andrew Quarless and Derek Moye all had their way with Michigan’s secondary at times. Brandon Graham had his usual monster game (3 1/2 tackles for loss), but Michigan didn’t force any turnovers again and Penn State scored on a 10-minute second-half drive. Grade: C Special teams Zoltan Mesko had another good day punting, booming a 62-yarder and landing one inside the 20. But the special teams were sub-par otherwise. Chaz Powell returned the opening kick of the second half into Michigan territory, a big momentum swing when the game was still in reach, Brown didn’t provide much spark in his new role as kick returner, and Michigan had a roughing-the-punter penalty. Grade: C-minus Coaching Rich Rodriguez gave Robinson a designed series in the second quarter. Considering Forcier’s play of late, it was a good move that backfired when Robinson threw his interception. Defensively, Zug scored two touchdowns on the same play call, but Michigan coaches deserve credit for using more bodies on defense, including Boubacar Cissoko off the bench on third downs. More than coaching, Michigan was out-talented Saturday. Grade: C-plus Dave Birkett covers University of Michigan football for AnnArbor.com. He can be reached by phone at 734-623-2552 or by e-mail at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @davebirkett.