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Posted on Sat, Oct 31, 2009 : 11:37 p.m.

Illinois 38, Michigan 13: Your complete guide to our coverage

By Pete Bigelow


Michigan runningback Carlos Brown gets swallowed by Illinois defenders Ian Thomas and Walter Aikens during the second half Saturday.

Melanie Maxwell |

Michigan entered Saturday's game with a golden chance to stop its Big Ten skid against the conference's lowly basement dweller.

Instead, the Wolverines turned in a performance that conjured echoes of some of their worst losses in recent history. Not only did they get demolished, 38-13, by Illinois, they appeared lifeless when they needed heart the most.

The Wolverines were outscored 31-0 in the second half, and watched one of their last realistic chances at becoming bowl eligible go by the wayside.

Our coverage of today's game starts below with Dave Birkett's game story:







Use the hashtag #Wolverines to get your comments to scroll through below.



Mon, Nov 2, 2009 : 12:33 p.m.

Hey Lake Erie, That's pretty cool you're from Port Clinton--I have relatives there and grew up in Fremont. On OSU/Tressel's philosophy being better, it depends on how you measure success. Is winning a weak b10 and getting beat (at times, blown away) in a Jan bowl game successful? I don't know. I do know the fans here in BuckeyeLand are tired of it. They've even abandoned the "At least we got there" comment! Again, and this is my last post, my stance is 2 years. If it's not working out, then make the move to fire RR and bring in another I guess. In my opinion, the program would at least be in better shape (loads of upperclassmen)for the new coach than the one RR inherited a year ago.

Macabre Sunset

Mon, Nov 2, 2009 : 11:39 a.m.

Without directing this at raddes... I've watched the program self-destruct over the last two seasons. This is more than just trouble with a coaching transition or an offensive scheme transition. I've watched enough football to see that it's the scheme itself that's not working. It's too easily defended by talented defensive players who maintain their gaps. On defense, there's no organization, no planning. A bad team like Illinois has no business running for 377 yards when it hadn't come close all season, except against a mid-range I-AA team. The 5-4 record is misleading - the wins are against bad teams. And getting crushed by a 2-6 Illinois team? That Illinois team would have been routed by the 2007 I-AA champion Appalachian State squad. That Illinois second half may be the worst 30 minutes Michigan has ever played. The team is regressing. I feel we've had enough time for an intelligent analysis of RichRod's ability. We have to cut bait now, before losing takes hold here. I didn't say that last year, though it was horrible watching the team give up more points, by far, than any Michigan team in history. The offensive struggles were expected and understandable, but the defense was the difference between a 7-5 team and a 3-9 team. This year, the defense is even worse, with a guy with significant NFL experience brought in. At what point do you blame the head coach for this mess?


Mon, Nov 2, 2009 : 10:07 a.m.

Man, poor Jim Brandstater, on Saturday's he is forced to watch Michigan and on Sundays the Lions. At least we can all leave or change the channel.


Mon, Nov 2, 2009 : 9:02 a.m.

Macabre, You're right, I started it because you're posts are negative, short-sighted, repetitive,and mundane. This is why I'm deciding to end it as well. The definition of a "blowhard" is you! Your failure to acknowledge anyone's opinion but you're own makes you a blowhard. Go back and read your comments. The difference between you and I is that I'm reserving my judgment of RR for later and you're not! You're like the kid in the toy store having your meltdown because "you can't get your new coach right now!" Your tirades over RR are weak along with your personal attacks. A "blowhard" is somebody who speaks negatively about the coach of this team and makes it public---that's also "whining." I know I'm in the minority on this page. I also understand the disagreement--the question is do you?


Mon, Nov 2, 2009 : 8:07 a.m.

A Jackie Chiles laced recap of the game


Sun, Nov 1, 2009 : 11:57 p.m.

But Macabre,It is PROGRESS!I agree not the most spectacular fashion of progress but progress nontheless!!Remember we were 3-9 last season and now one win away from a bowl.I understand the progress you are referring to though where the players on the field actually look like they know what they are doing from week to week but hopefully we'll get there.It just takes some time I guess.It's a process for this team and coaches.A slow,ugly,embarressing,gut-wrenching process that we are made to endure.GO BLUE!!!


Sun, Nov 1, 2009 : 11:03 p.m.

Raddes,I agree w/ you on the coaching turnover on defense.I'll give you that but you hit on something that caught my attention.Tressels coaching philosophy compared to RR!Do you venture to say the Suckeyes philosophy is....swallow,BETTER than RR!!No,you can't be saying that.Are you? And living in Columbus(man,I feel sorry for you)you must hear it alot from the Nation of Suckeyes!I hear it too.We are about 8 minutes from Sandusky,west,right on Lake Erie(actually two streets from Lake)town called Port Clinton.But I have family in Reynoldsburg so I make it a point to wear my Michigan gear everytime we visit.(there are actually alot of Wolverines down there)It's the best rivalry-I enjoy going down there(not so much recently but that'll change.One of these years)GO BLUE!!! But I do believe that recently OSU have better recruits than us too(that's why they seem to do well these last couple years on defense).Their young players seem to perform where as our young recruits are having a rough go at it.Hate saying it but I can't lie!!

Macabre Sunset

Sun, Nov 1, 2009 : 10:49 p.m.

Can't take it, raddes? You were the one who got personal with me first. And now you're whining that I responded in kind. You just can't handle anyone having a differing opinion. Definitely the hallmark of a blowhard. More than that, you don't really get football. More than half of Division I-A qualifies for a bowl game. Michigan has a much easier schedule than last year. I don't see being one win from bowl-eligible, including wins over WMU, EMU and a glorified high school team from Delaware, as progress. Nor should a reasoning fan.


Sun, Nov 1, 2009 : 9:51 p.m.

Hey Macabre, This "unthinking blowharded bore" (name calling--nice maturity on your part--obviously took the your fired comment seriously!) Just wanted to let you know the team is 1 win away from possibly going to a bowl game. That sounds like progress to me. There's no way you're a true UM fan--maybe a closet Suckeye fan!! Oh well, keep on hating brother!

Macabre Sunset

Sun, Nov 1, 2009 : 8:56 p.m.

Phil Steele charts how much experience every team has in college football. The Big Ten is second only to the Big East this year, which might explain why the conference is down (but still on a par with the Big XII) this season. Michigan is 8th in the conference in experience - most of the conference, with the exception of the three Is and Minnesota, are packed in the bottom 40. The difference between Michigan and a team with a good coach is that the other inexperienced teams improve during the season. Michigan has completely fallen apart.


Sun, Nov 1, 2009 : 8:18 p.m.

LakeErie, Living in Columbus, I will say the one thing OSU has had that UM does not is consistency. Coaching staff and scheme has remained virtually the same for nine years--very easy to plug in players when not constantly learning a new defense. UM went from Ron English to Shaffer to Robinson in 3 years. Also, what is Tressel's philosophy compared to Carr's and now Rodriguez's? And finally, playing in the b10 helps as well to bloat stats. Obviously, OSU and Tressel have their own hang-ups when it comes to non-conference/bowl games. And they seem to have problems with spread "type" offenses (e.g. Navy ran variations off the same play in their first game). Again, I would like to see 2 more years of consistency before I make any "long-term" judgments about RR and his staff. But then again LakeErie, what the hell do I know---I'm just a "simple-minded, blowharded baffoon" who doesn't know football. Who would have thunk it that my wife was on here posting!!! I guess I just can't get on board and give that expert analysis which is simply---Fire the Coach!! Go Blue!


Sun, Nov 1, 2009 : 6:38 p.m.

Raddes,I pose another question.How come we have our young talent and i agree w/ all that you said about our team(young inexperienced,new system,etc.,etc.,new coaches)but our talent plays like they did Saturday(struggles,fumbles,bad angles,poor tackling,poor execution,etc.,etc.)but Ohio St.(I hate comparing us to the Suckeyes!!You don't know how much this HURTS to type this!)BUt,the Suckeyes have a new young Defense and they don't seem to miss a beat!?I mean,they are young but for the most part,the D has played fairly good!Believe me,I understand what you are saying but I HATE using EXCUSES!!!Almost as much as I hate the Suckeyes!!I'm just comparing the two wondering "WHY IS THIS HAPPENING TO US!?" Why us?SMH,why us? Lets GO BLUE!!!


Sun, Nov 1, 2009 : 5:49 p.m.

Have to agree with "icegoalie". More important things in life than college football. However, I agree that it made me angry and upset. I just have to keep telling myself, there's next year. Even if they would be unbeaten and ranked No.1, there's next year. But, is it only me being an armchair coach with 20/20 hindsight, or did we not run 3 consecutive running plays, brought in Minor, and ran yet another running play? What has happen to sheer mental coaching with intelligence? It's not worth listening to or supporting until there's some sincere heart effort and turn-around. Real smart football tactics. Something the Big 10 lacks.


Sun, Nov 1, 2009 : 4:53 p.m.

I agree raddes i think it just splits either you think like that or you dont like RR his coaching the whole nine, but thats the way it goes..everyone knows RR wont be fired beacuse we are UM and we dont fire people after barley 2 years give him a chance to be sucessfull or fail then pass jugement.


Sun, Nov 1, 2009 : 4:39 p.m.

The major disappointing thing to me was how the team collapsed and lost their composure after the disastrous goal-line failure. We were still very much in the game even after Illinois shot down the field to score a TD right after it. But, it seems everyone on the team just lost it at once. Even Zoltan shanked an awful punt. 6-6 seems our best hope right now, IF we can beat Purdue on Saturday. Beating Wisky at WI and OSU don't look likely at all given the way we're playing. After the 4-0 start, the team has really underachieved.


Sun, Nov 1, 2009 : 2:49 p.m.

Raddes, I agree with everything you've said. I just wish more fans could be as positive about things. GO BLUE!!


Sun, Nov 1, 2009 : 2:17 p.m.

Hey Lake Erie, I agree--I expect them to win every game! But I'm also a realist to know that that's not in the cards right now. Especially with the # of Fr/So who make up this team. I also agree with your comments about impovement. It's almost as if I/we've been watching the same game for the last 4 weeks. However, maybe this is it for this year--maybe they tapped out that potential and played over their heads and that is it? Everyone continues to say how bad they are---but not acknowledge how young they are. What can you do? Young players make mistakes in key parts of the game, they miss assignments, they look overmatched, they lose it mentally. Maybe this young team whose trying like hell to make plays and win (right now) is giving their best effort? In my opinion, if they need to take some lumps before they are great--so be it. It's not like RR and the coaching staff are allowing this to happen--it's just happening. And only until the players grow, mature, begin reacting instead of thinking, and take responsibility for their own performance, this is what we will continue to see for the rest of the year. I agree it sucks NOW but that is why I'm holding judgment until later. If they still look and play this way as upperclassmen with RR as their coach, then I'll begin questioning the coach/staff........ Go Blue! Still holding on to the Dream...8-4

Macabre Sunset

Sun, Nov 1, 2009 : 2:08 p.m.

Raddes, you're just a blowhard. Every single team has had a game or two like Iowa's. The good ones tend to win those games. The Big Ten has struggled this year, but is definitely on par with the other major conferences. Part of the traditional struggles with bowl games relates to the fact that these are often road games. I don't pretend to tell other fans what to do. But if you feel you alone can decide who is and who is not a Michigan fan, I would strongly suggest therapy for OCD. Your posts indicate someone who doesn't really understand college football, and focuses instead on minutiae, like Ohio State not scoring until the first play of the second quarter in a 45-0 mismatch in which they outgained their opponent, 559-62. Categorizing that as somehow embarrassing to the Buckeyes really exposes you as an unthinking bore.


Sun, Nov 1, 2009 : 1:47 p.m.

Macabre, Here, let me enlighten you on what happened in the the "major" conference you're referring to in your post: Minn over MSU, Iowa (4 in the BCS???) letting an unranked Indiana crush them at home (only to blow it) which looks sooo good on a national stage, OSU's zero on the scoreboard against NMSU after the 1st Q and then pulling out trick plays and onside kicks just to get ahead! I'm not sure what "major" conference you're speaking of. Once again, I understand the frustration with this team right now. But what gives you the right to call for a coach's head when you DO NOT even understand the conference yourself??? Or better yet, explain to me why this "major" conference was 1-6 in bowl games last year? How about I start a motion to "fire you" as a fan of this team because of your ridiculous comments? Doesn't sound so good does it?


Sun, Nov 1, 2009 : 1:38 p.m.

Michigan is pathetic. Plain and simple, they're better off disbanding their entire program


Sun, Nov 1, 2009 : 1:30 p.m.

Raddes,my expectations as a TRUE WOLVERINE is to win EVERY gm.(which must be your expectations too since you want to win an National just want it in 4yrs.)But,if we can't win every gm. this season at least show IMPROVEMENT from week to week,game to game!! I this to much to ask for!?????Lets GO BLUE!!!

Macabre Sunset

Sun, Nov 1, 2009 : 1:22 p.m.

A few more years multiplies the harm. I support Michigan football. I grew up with it. I went to Michigan. I have never rooted for any other team. I believe I'm supporting Michigan by actively calling for RichRod's dismissal. His style does not deserve any more of a "chance" - it's regressing, just like it did last season. It's too easily defensed. You can't get away with this in a major conference. If you're going to use the spread concept, as many major teams do, you need to do many things well. It's not major-college football to recruit a bunch of specific sizes and speeds. You need to have the best athletes to compete at this level. Michigan still did when Carr left.


Sun, Nov 1, 2009 : 1:06 p.m.

I think what everyone saying is a good point. Its not just RR it not just the kids the scheme the recruiting, its all of that in 1 pile of crap we put on the field..I dont think the stars have to do all this stuff if my mind serves me right pat white one every bowl game not sure i could say that about our boys lol...but it was hard to watch but in time like ol boy said up there when these kids get a few years we can decide then.


Sun, Nov 1, 2009 : 12:37 p.m.

Raddes, On this we CAN agree: Go Blue!


Sun, Nov 1, 2009 : 12:31 p.m.

AZWolverine, Love your thinking. It's really as simple as this. Which team yesterday had the better talent coming in to the game?.....anyone who says Illinois should be institutionalized. Ninth place finishes are not acceptable.


Sun, Nov 1, 2009 : 12:26 p.m.

Hey AZ, It's all about opinions! However, my perspective is that I'd rather reestablish a powerhouse program with an innovative coach than watch a program continue to be mediocre with decent talent. Anyway, there's no going back!! I guess I'm being optimistic with a 2nd year coach and young players (83 Fr/So!!). I'll make my own opinions after I see a full class (from Fr to Sr) make it through....... Go Blue


Sun, Nov 1, 2009 : 11:51 a.m.

No, No, No CarrNavarreous, Any person who comes on here and DOESN'T SUPPORT the current program, coach, and its players are the "buffoon"---no matter the current frustration. Remember, your a fan--not a player nor a coach. You're probably the person who sits and yells instructive comments such as, "Come on!" or "What are they doing?" during the games! This, just like your negative post, doesn't get anything done! Better start looking at the bigger picture. I have plenty of time vested in this program, and when this turns around, I'm not going to let some of you forget your intellect shown here. Don't be a fairweather fan....... Go Blue!


Sun, Nov 1, 2009 : 11:43 a.m.

Raddes, We're all entitled to our opinion, as are you to yours. In trying to be objective, however, Michigan has now lost to 5 teams with losing records in RR's two years. In Lloyd's 13 years, it happened once. I can't recall it happening to Bo or Mo at all, unless OSU had a losing record in Bruce's last season. Either way, what RR is doing is unprecedented. Lane Kiffin is doing far better with an equally lacking in talent Tennessee team in his FIRST year. Same with Gene Chizik at Auburn. Paul Johnson turned around Ga Tech with no one that fit his scheme. RR is simply not doing a good job. Michigan had the game won yesterday until they imploded mentally. Talent wise they were dominating. As soon as they couldn't score in 4 shots from the one, they imploded. This is a recurring theme under RR. You may want to wait for the stars to cross and the perfect array of talent to arrive. I don't. WVU waited and look what it got them. Anoter RR mental meltdown when they had a chance to be great. 3 more games is the chance he gets. It's his chance to make or break, to PROVE that he is worthy of the M on his hat. If history is our guide, he will fail.


Sun, Nov 1, 2009 : 11:38 a.m.

Dear Lloyd: Thank you for putting on a smiling and reassuring face to "try" to do what you think is best for our program. However, it is time to come public with your true feelings. Dear Bill: In your fleeting moments as AD...please undo your most egregious mistake. I'm sure Coach Carr would finish out this disastrous season and field a team that is worthy to wear the winged helmet. I am ashamed to be a wolverine football fan today. Please bring back tradition.....bring back the ol' Blue that previously provided a century of winning football.

needed perspective

Sun, Nov 1, 2009 : 11:36 a.m.

bring on my LIONS!


Sun, Nov 1, 2009 : 11:26 a.m.

Any buffoon who is for RichRod is against Michigan. Plain and simple.


Sun, Nov 1, 2009 : 10:28 a.m.

I guess what I'm having problems trying to figure out from all the ridiculous comments made here and elsewhere is WHAT ON EARTH ARE YOUR EXPECTATIONS AS FANS? Here, once again are some common themes...... 1. Yes, the decline started and ended with Lloyd Carr. The Appalachian St. loss was enough to get him fired--the loads of talent he "supposedly" had and did nothing with should have gotten him fired, the four losses to OSU with said talent should have gotten him fired, the piss-poor defense which was just good enough to get past the crappy teams in the b10 but not out of conference should have gotten him fired. And finally, for those who suggest Florida--you must have forgotten what offense they ran to beat them---a version of the spread. Carr should have been fired anyway for showing us what this offense could have been for 4 years!! The reason why the decline ends with Lloyd is because... 2. Out of a 99 man roster--83/84(may want to check) are Fr/So status. Of course they're small! Of course they look weak! Of course they look like they don't have a clue! Of course they make mistakes! DO NOT FEED ME THIS CRAP about RR chasing off the TALENT! There was none! Lloyd is/was NOT the rebuild guy--RR IS! 3. Fire RR--obsurd, not a good coach--ill-informed, loses his cool on the sideline--yeah, Bo and Lloyd were so gentle and cordial with the refs and their own players, only a scheme-oriented coach--his scheme is to bring speed to the team instead of building a false security blanket of b10 wins and then getting waxed out of conference. Now, I am uspet and frustrated about yesterday. Things flew in my house and profanity was spewed at the tv in anger. However, I'm looking at the big picture--and that big picture is TIME! I realize this sucks but I want to see another 2 years when this program is filled with Seniors and a strong, developing number of underclassmen. This is when I'll make my overall judgment regarding RR. Besides, if all of you get your wish and RR is gone, then another coach will inherit all this talent and win a NC----sort of like what Lloyd did!!!!! 3 Games left--2 at home, still a shot at my prediction of 8-4! Go Blue!


Sun, Nov 1, 2009 : 10:02 a.m.

As I was watching the game and thought to myself, what a sorry state we are in. I just haven't given up on our team yet. Especially when I saw USC and their freshman QB get dismembered by the Ducks. It was so hard to watch an Illinois team with a one dimensional QB and our defensive end get sucked in time and time again. Is it coaching or just players that don't get it? I would have had a spy on Juice every play. If he is faking a hand off, you can tackle him every play. It was slow motion and Juice would pull the ball and run around end for another big gain. Meanwhile our defensive end was chasing ghosts. Probably why I am not a coach! I don't get it either. 1st and goal at the one, who called those plays. Helen Keller school for the blind could have scored against Illnois! Bo is doing flips in his grave. Oh well, Michigan always did have a knack for breaking your heart. But this year is almost tooooooo much toooooooo watch. Dan in Georgia.

james Kurtz

Sun, Nov 1, 2009 : 9:30 a.m.

What a sad state of football; as bad as last years Toledo game.


Sun, Nov 1, 2009 : 9:14 a.m.

What a disaster this was. I couldn't believe how the play disintigrated after we failed to score a TD in four plays on the Illinois 1. I put the blame 70% on the players and 30% on coaching. I'll still root for them and call them my team. i'll even give RR a couple of more years to turn the program around, but damn!


Sun, Nov 1, 2009 : 8:36 a.m.

I disagree that our talent is too low to beat a 1-6 team with a dysfunctional, directionless coach. We beat Notre Dame, for craps sake! Since then we have regressed in ALL areas. That is coaching, pure and simple. Tate Forcier did not give up 38 points to the worst offense in the Big Ten, our inept defense did. This team is mentally weak and has been since RR's arrival. When something goes bad, much like their coach, this team implodes completely. Michigan had the talent to beat Illinois, in fact would have beaten Illinois, if they had simply scored on a first and goal from the one. Instead, the vaunted spread failed miserably at the goal line agains a weak defense and then the wheels fell off mentally. This team mentally collapsed, like they did last week and all last year and could not recover. That, ladies and gentlemen, falls on the coach. This season is lost becuase RR is incapable of stopping the bleeding. We saw it in his final game at WVU against Pitt, and now we are seeing the ultimate continuation of it here at Michigan. He's a scheme coach, not a leader of men. Here at Michigan, we are used to coaches who may not always run the most fun schemes, but they are unquestionably leaders of men. Moving forward, we need a coach who can do both. RR does not appear to be that coach.


Sun, Nov 1, 2009 : 2:03 a.m.

I know there are a lot of things more important in life besides a Michigan Football game but come on...this is my weekend hobby - something to get me through the work week and look forward to on the weekends in the fall. Today was not made me angry, frustrated, more angry and depressed. I usually try to look at the positives and move on but it is getting hard to put on that face. I have gone from thinking we might have a chance to run the table to thinking we are lucky if we even stay in the game for the next three weeks. I just want the season to be over...I am tired of the frustration and misery. After watching a few of the other games today we are right in the talent mix with Indiana, Northwestern and on a really good day Purdue. Holy crap we are terrible and have less talent out there than I have ever seen in my lifetime...which is downright depressing. Please tell me this is the bottom...

Jed I. Knight

Sat, Oct 31, 2009 : 11:56 p.m.

Go away RR


Sat, Oct 31, 2009 : 11:38 p.m.

I will always support Michigan. The players and coaches I have met are always working to be the best. This year started strong but too many players have been injured and we do not have enough experience or depth to carry the full load of a big ten campaign this year. After a taste of reality against Penn State and then seeing too many examples of inexperience today, I sadly believe the 2009 season is history. The rest of the games will be character builders for players, coaches and True Blue Michigan Fans. As always GO BLUE!


Sat, Oct 31, 2009 : 10:40 p.m.

I doubt the program is over. Every good team has their down years every 20 years or so, and this is UM time to be a bad team. I think we are such spoiled fans. Since, I'm an alumnus and grew up a UM fan, I will always support my team even if they go 0-12. I knew the defense was horrible and will take some time to correct. My big beef is the way offense is souring and how our QB are finally playing like freshman. I really wish Tate would have started out shaky and have improved as the year went on. I'm not sure if Tate or DROB will be starters. We need to get Gardner in and have him compete against Tate and DROB and let the best QB win. The QB is so important to have the spread scoring points and QB play has really dropped off during the past 4 games. RR should be given 4 years to improve himself. This is only year two and year one of his recruits. I hope the offense can improve next year and may be the defense will slowly improve but the defence will take some time!


Sat, Oct 31, 2009 : 10:17 p.m.

Michigan is officially the worst team in the Big Ten at this point in the season. Indiana was somewhat respectable in the first half until it collapsed in the second today at Iowa. Purdue is a better team, having beaten Ohio State. Michigan will not beat Ohio State again this year, making it how many losses in a row? The OSU rivalry has become irrelevant and no contest, ever since the big over-hyped night game in Columbus. Put a fork in this program, it's done.


Sat, Oct 31, 2009 : 10:08 p.m.

RR must go. What an embarrassment to the Michigan tradition!