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Posted on Tue, Sep 29, 2009 : 8:30 a.m.

The breakdown (usually) a day later: Michigan's game against Indiana

By Michael Rothstein

Each week, we'll re-watch the Michigan game some time Sunday or Monday and give another breakdown of what went down.

This week, we look back at Michigan's come-from-behind 36-33 win over Indiana on Saturday that opened up Big Ten play.

OFFENSIVE THOUGHTS: -First play, Tate Forcier overthrew Junior Hemingway.

-Carlos Brown, when he was in the game, was faster than anyone on Indiana’s defense except for maybe Ray Fisher. Fisher is an impressive player as a returner and a corner. But on Brown’s first touchdown, the blocking by the wide receivers was the major key for springing him.

-On Brown’s second touchdown, the entire left side of the line and Kevin Koger set up perfect blocks to open the hole. Mark Huyge had a great downfield block as well which opened up the hole.

-Forcier was telegraphing passes a bit in the first half. He could have easily been intercepted at the 3:35 mark of the first quarter when he tried to throw to LaTerryal Savoy for the second straight play. He looked the route down the entire time.

-Bad drop by Martell Webb in the first quarter. It seems like he’s taken some playing time away from Kevin Koger, which is surprising since Koger played so well the first two weeks.

-The lineman in the backfield penalty on Mark Ortmann was an odd call. Understood it, but have rarely seen it called before. In some ways, it tells you how good Jammie Kirlew and Greg Middleton are because he’s lining up farther away from the line in order to gain leverage. The call also negated a great pass from Forcier to Darryl Stonum.

-On the next play, Forcier almost was intercepted. He telegraphed a pass and threw into double coverage. It was a rough first quarter for the freshman making reads on throws.

-Forcier had a rough opening to the second quarter. Sacked twice on the first series of the quarter, and on the first sack he tried to throw the ball away as he was falling, which has been one of the freshman’s more dangerous traits this year.

-Evidence was on the next series, when Forcier ran around everywhere, looked downfield where Greg Mathews and Martavious Odoms were trying to get open. As he was hit and going down, he threw the ball and it floated into the arms of a defensive lineman. No reason for Forcier to throw that ball. He’s done it in three of the first four games, similar situations.

-Denard Robinson, who took snaps at quarterback throughout the game, struggled with holding on to the ball. Some of the bad snaps were his fault, but twice now this season he’s fumbled a snap that hit him in the hands.

-Snapping was an issue all day. David Moosman snapped the ball as Greg Middleton was offsides. The ball went past Robinson, but didn’t matter.

-Robinson has a pretty decent arm, too. He isn’t particularly accurate and, like I mentioned before about Forcier, has a habit of telegraphing passes, which has allowed for completed passes, but also for receivers to be drilled. He did, though, throw a pretty ball to Koger in the second quarter. It set up a Brandon Minor touchdown.

-Speaking of Minor, he looked healthy Saturday, although after the game he said he was still at 85-90 percent.

-Robinson, though, has big play ability. He almost broke a touchdown run on Michigan’s last series of the first half. Two plays later, Robinson turned the ball over by fumbling. Robinson had it tuck well, but it hit the helmet of an Indiana player as he was tackled.

-Kevin Grady showed some moves as a receiver out of the backfield. He made a couple defenders miss after his one reception.

-On the first drive of the second half, Moosman snapped the ball threw the legs of Forcier when he tried to catch Greg Middleton offsides. Moosman was late with the snap, costing Michigan a bunch of yards. Rich Rodriguez looked extremely angry at Moosman from the TV angle as he reached the sideline.

-Another drive, another bad snap from Moosman. This time, there was no offsides. Tough to tell how far away from Forcier’s hands the ball went, but it was a bad snap overall.

-In rushing on that drive to snap quickly and take advantage of confusion in Indiana’s defense, Michigan ended up having its left side of the offensive line both move, getting a false start.

-Moosman, with a little over 4 minutes left in the third quarter, had another botched snap to Denard Robinson. Robinson, though, should have had it as he got his hands on it. But it was a bit off to the left, resulting in a 20-yard loss.

-Receivers had problems catching the ball a bit Saturday, too. A Forcier pass hit Martavious Odoms in the body, where he should have caught it.

-When Carlos Brown came back into the game in the fourth quarter, you could see a noticeable difference in the offense. Forcier seemed more confident and the entire offense seemed to click. It could be the team’s comfort level with the Georgia native.

-On Forcier’s touchdown run, there was a good block by Kevin Grady that almost went ignored because Grady ended up blocking the defender into Forcier’s jumping area. He got really high in the air and landed on his shoulder. When Michigan went for the two-point conversion, the TV cameras caught Forcier’s face and he looked to be wincing in pain. Perhaps he injured the shoulder on the dive. He was also hit on the shoulder when he ran for the conversion.

-Forcier, on his intentional grounding call, threw the ball as he was falling again. While it was intentional grounding, he threw the ball. He also landed on the shoulder again and looked in significant pain on the TV camera after he started talking to one of his receivers. He was definitely hurt already.

-Forcier, on the game-winning drive, landed on the shoulder again when he dove which is the play where he finally fell down and appeared to be injured.

-Minor really ran well on the game-winning drive. He pushed piles ahead and rarely was brought down by the first defender.

-On Forcier’s game-winning touchdown pass, it really is impressive how he threw the ball considering he looked like he could barely move his arm after the play and didn’t want anyone to touch his arm. As he ran off the field, he grabbed the shoulder. Odoms also ran a perfect post where he got inside of the Indiana defender, giving Forcier the seam to make the throw. Forcier’s arm made a good adjustment there, too, making a wider motion with his throwing arm, perhaps to compensate for the pain.


DEFENSIVE THOUGHTS: -Michigan blitzed on its first play from scrimmage and it didn’t work. Indiana was able to dump it off.

-Teams, again, just picked on Boubacar Cissoko from the beginning. Ben Chappell threw at him immediately on the first two passes. Cissoko also talks a lot on the field. Nothing wrong with a little celebration, but when you are being consistently beat and in this game benched, you should just go about your business.

-Cissoko was beat in straight speed and coverage by Tandon Doss. Ben Chappell threw a perfect pass to Doss, but Cissoko was beat by a couple steps. It set up Indiana’s second touchdown, a run by Darius Willis where Michigan again appeared to completely misread the play.

-Michigan rotated players more than usual early. Heninger and Banks were both in on the first series.

-On Indiana’s first touchdown, a wide receiver option, Michigan was just lost. The Hoosiers hadn’t run that yet this year, but Michigan had two players commit to the quarterback on the option run. That was a foreshadowing for the day where Michigan looked to miss assignments and had poor tackling throughout.

-Michigan didn’t send much pressure toward Indiana, but when the Wolverines did, they were able to get to Ben Chappell. Brandon Graham was also able to get free from time-to-time, which has been a rarity since he usually gets double or triple-teamed by offensive linemen, running backs and tight ends.

-When Michigan pulled Cissoko, Chappell went right to J.T. Floyd’s side to test him. Veteran move.

-Indiana took advantage of underneath routes all day. Michigan, and the Wolverines have done this a lot this year, seemed to sit off of wide receivers and tight ends. The Hoosiers moved up and down the field all day using quick outs, flats and crossing routes underneath the secondary.

-Forcier’s interception left Michigan’s defense in bad field position. Indiana immediately went to Doss, who burnt J.T. Floyd on a comeback route. Floyd is a freshman, but teams have figured out how to exploit Michigan’s defense - run and throw to the side opposite Donovan Warren. Michigan’s defense actually did well on the possession, holding Indiana to a field goal.

-Two plays later, Floyd played Doss well, though. There’s potential for Floyd there, but he’s lacking experience.

-Jonas Mouton, even though the defense had a shoddy day, played pretty well. He moved from sideline-to-sideline with efficiency and was able to put pressure on Chappell when he was allowed to blitz.

-Michigan’s offense twice turned the ball over in field goal range to Indiana, which left the Wolverines defense with a short field to defend. Both times, Michigan’s defense held well enough for field goals.

-Indiana exploited the middle of the field underneath the secondary. A few times, Obi Ezeh was in the area but wasn’t doing well on coverage at all.

-On Indiana’s first drive of the second half, Michigan had a great stand to keep Indiana pinned deep. Stevie Brown made a great read on Chappell on third down when the Hoosiers quarterback rolled to the left.

-Michigan didn’t send many different pressures on plays. Often, it’d be a three or four man rush with a bunch of players sitting back waiting on receivers.

-J.T. Floyd’s pass interference call in the third quarter was legitimate from a pass interference perspective. He hooked Tandon Doss’ jersey and pushed him. But, the ball was thrown well out of bounds where Doss couldn’t have caught it, so there shouldn’t have been a flag.

-The next play, Ryan Van Bergen had a good swat/knockdown of Chappell’s pass. One thing noticed about the defensive line, they rarely seem to be rushing in with any attempt at knocking down passes if it looks like they aren’t going to get to the quarterback.

-When Michigan did blitz with its linebackers, the blitz had success, especially in the second half.

-Michigan missed a lot of tackles, especially at the end of the third quarter. Donovan Warren and Mouton both had sure tackles broken.

-On Darius Willis’ 85-yard touchdown run following the Forcier dive, he outran J.T. Floyd, Kovacs and Donovan Warren had a chance to catch him but just missed on the dive. It was horrible coverage, horrible running in the lanes and good blocking by Indiana.

-On Warren’s game-clinching interception, there was good pressure from Brandon Graham on Chappell. In real-time, it looked like both Warren and Belcher had the ball. However, when it looked in slow-motion, it looked like Warren had the ball when he hit the ground, not Belcher.


SPECIAL TEAMS: -Great kick coverage on the opening kickoff. Bryan Wright, though, barely got it to the end zone.

-On the third kickoff, Michigan lost its assignments for the first time in a couple of weeks, allowing Ray Fisher to get to the outside and a bunch of yards.

-Darryl Stonum has a chance to be a real weapon as a kick returner. He finds holes well, has good acceleration and top end speed.

-Zoltan Mesko had a really good punting day Saturday.

-Great punt coverage by Michigan. In the second half, Stevie Brown pinned Indiana at its own 2-yard line after a Mesko punt.

Michael Rothstein covers University of Michigan sports for He can be reached at (734) 623-2558, by e-mail at or follow on Twitter @mikerothstein.


NC Wolverine 20

Tue, Sep 29, 2009 : 7:44 p.m.

Uhh, well, I like this feature, since I do not watch the tape myself, it is a useful capsule of the game. Keep it going!


Tue, Sep 29, 2009 : 4:06 p.m.

Please drop this article in the future it is baseless. Many of us watch the tape and make our own conclusions we do not need a bullet list pasted off on information on the TEAM.