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Posted on Sat, Oct 15, 2011 : 6:01 p.m.

Fourth-down folly? Brady Hoke defends critical play call late in loss to MSU

By Nick Baumgardner


Michigan coach Brady Hoke walks through his team's pre-game warmups at Spartan Stadium. After the game, he defended a key failed play call by offensive coordinator Al Borges.

Melanie Maxwell |

EAST LANSING -- With more than 70,000 largely green-clad fans at Spartan Stadium holding their breath, hoping to avoid another fourth-quarter heartbreak to in-state rival Michigan, Wolverines junior quarterback Denard Robinson climbed under center with inches separating him and a crucial first down.

Down 21-14 and having already converted a fourth down with his feet earlier in the drive, Robinson settled in on the Michigan State 9-yard line, looking to make a game-changing play.

The game changed, all right, but not the way Michigan drew it up.

"We just didn't play football," said Robinson, unsure how else to describe the situation.

Michigan's decision to run a play-action pass on fourth-and-inches resulted in a 10-yard sack and a turnover on downs.

It didn't completely kill the Wolverines' chances. Michigan's defense promptly forced a three-and-out to give the offense another chance.

But it may as well have.

The sack (one of seven Michigan State recorded on the day) was credited to MSU junior corner Johnny Adams, but it wasn't as if Spartan coach Mark Dantonio had a stellar pass-rush drawn up.

"I thought they would run the football," Dantonio said following his team's 28-14 win.

Michigan coach Brady Hoke defended the call, explaining how that same play has paid off for he and offensive coordinator Al Borges in the past, often resulting in first downs and even touchdowns.

That didn't happen Saturday, though. Quite the opposite. Even so, Hoke declined to get into any type of hindsight play-calling discussion.

"(Maybe) you sneak it or run the power play, (there's) multiple things you could do," he said. "But we've been very successful, really, in the last two years (with) that same play."

Robinson agreed with his coach, saying the play should have worked, but it was executed poorly. He also admitted that he never saw Adams coming off the edge, not until the last second, when it was far too late.

"We had what we wanted," he said. "We had it called at the right time, we've just got to execute."


Michigan State's Edwin Baker, above, ran for 167 yards and a touchdown against Michigan on Saturday.

Melanie Maxwell |

The rushing difference
Entering the week, both Hoke and Dantonio stressed the importance of winning the running battle Saturday. The team with more yards on the ground had won the past 38 of 41 meetings.

Make it 39 of 42.

Michigan and Michigan State were 5 yards apart on the ground at halftime, with the Spartans collecting 100 rushing yards while the Wolverines tallied 95.

In the second half? Michigan State outrushed Michigan 124-56, finishing the game with a 224-151 edge.

"I think they were definitely more physical," Michigan junior safety Jordan Kovacs said. "They pounded us, and ate us up. But we're going to take it, and improve from here.

"You have to give them a lot of credit."

Hoke wouldn't go as far as saying his team was beaten up, but admitted it could have played better against the run.

"I don't know if we got beat up, they were physical," he said. "But this game always is physical."

On the other side of the ball, Hoke pointed to his offensive line more than his running backs with regard to the Wolverines' offensive woes.

"To get it out of our running back group, we've got to get it out of our front a little bit better," Hoke said. "There are some opportunities maybe we missed a little bit, but I don't know how much movement we got consistently at the line of scrimmage."

Jersey for jersey
Michigan State had advertised its special Pro Combat Uniforms for some time entering Saturday, so it came as no surprise when the Spartans took the field with a bronze and green color scheme.

It did come as a surprise, though, that Michigan took the field looking different.

After warming up in their regular road uniforms, the Wolverines changed to what they officially called their "legacy road uniforms." Michigan's road uniforms Saturday featured white jerseys over white pants, with maize and blue stripes on the shoulder pads -- essentially the road version of their special "Under the Lights" jerseys from this season's Notre Dame game.

The uniforms were a nod Michigan's 1974 and 1975 teams, who wore white pants.

"That was neat," Hoke said. "In '74 and '75 we were white on white (with uniforms)."

Gordon plays, Barnum dresses

Michigan sophomore linebacker Cam Gordon saw game action for the first time Saturday, making a special teams tackle in the first quarter.

Gordon concluded fall camp as the team’s starter at strong-side linebacker, but has yet to play this season due to a back injury.

In other injury news, Michigan junior guard Ricky Barnum dressed for the first time in two weeks, but did not play. Barnum had missed the Minnesota and Northwestern games with an ankle injury. Sophomore Michael Schofield got the nod for the third straight game.

Senior linebacker Brandon Herron did not dress, and has not played since the first game of the season. Also off the dress list Saturday was sophomore safety Marvin Robinson.

Odds and ends
Hoke said the poor kickoff to begin the second half was not a failed onside kick attempt. "We were trying to squib it," he said. "(Freshman kicker Matt Wile) just hit it not as well as he'd like to have hit it." ... Michigan sophomore offensive tackle Taylor Lewan left the field due to an apparent injury early in the game before returning. Asked if Lewan had any type of severe injury he was dealing with, Hoke didn't get specific, but said that just about everyone on the team is dealing with some sort of bump or bruise. "There's not a healthy guy in that room, everybody's beat up," he said. "That's just part of football. This off week or bye week, I should say because you're never off, probably comes at a good time."

Nick Baumgardner covers Michigan sports for He can be reached at 734-623-2514, by email at and followed on Twitter @nickbaumgardner.



Mon, Oct 17, 2011 : 11:17 p.m.

Horrible, horrible, horrible play call on 4th down. You've got momentum. Get the first down and the tying TD is there for the taking. Why pass when your QB is having a bad throwing day? Dumb. You go with the bread and butter of this offense and that is RUN DENARD. I don't care if it's a sneak or a designed run. You just RUN DENARD, move the ball a foot, and get the first down! I hope Borges learned a valuable lesson from all of this. I hope he doesn't do the same thing again in the future. Hoke - you shouldn't defend that crappy play call. We lost because of that play call. Call it like it is!


Mon, Oct 17, 2011 : 2:38 a.m.

Sorry, but those were some god awful ugly uniforms. What would Bo say?


Mon, Oct 17, 2011 : 1:47 a.m.

he's a genius if the play works or in this case he's a goat because it didn't. I really didn't have a problem with that play. The play I have a problem with was the punt from sparty's 35 yard line. I believe it was in the 4th qtr. when we were down by 14. I just didn't understand the logic in that call.


Mon, Oct 17, 2011 : 1:19 a.m.

Let's face it. MSU has replaced UM as a top tier Big Ten football team. It's not Hoke's fault. But it does explain why UM needed to resort to a low percentage high risk play to make first down. They couldn't do it the conventional way against the bigger stronger and better MSU team. MSU is on top, UM is on the bottom. That's fact. And that explains the play call.

Ronald Hartley

Mon, Oct 17, 2011 : 12:04 a.m.

That was a terrible call and the plays called the entire game by the offensive coordinator was a joke. When your quarterback can not make long passes and they had a severe wind to deal with, why not throw shorter passes like he called in the MInn game? Also why were most of Denard's runs up the middle instead of on the outside. Also the defense can not tackle. Why are players diving at a runner instead of wrapping them up? Your players need to be taught to tackle properly by wrapping up the runner. No pass rush either. Poor tackling cost you one touchdown and would have been a field goal instead.


Sun, Oct 16, 2011 : 7:09 p.m.

Hoke is a joke. Looks like the same offense that didn't work the previous years. Is this the best you can do?


Sun, Oct 16, 2011 : 3:45 p.m.

The 2 quarterback system DOES NOT WORK. Borgess, give Denard the ball and get out of the way. Switching them in and out does nothing for either of them or the team. No rhythm, no consistency, timing is different for receivers, snap is different for center and on and on. And guess what folks...if Gardner is getting more snaps in the game that means he's getting more snaps in practice. That equals fewer for Denard. First his reps, then his confidence, then he only comes in for a run play and the predictability kills his advantage on the field. Denard was the same kind of passer last year the only difference was his receivers were wide open because he was so hard to predict.


Sun, Oct 16, 2011 : 3:54 p.m.

We need to face the simple fact that Denard will not be a good passing quarterback for us. Simply put, this will not work. It has been Denard's downside ever since we first saw him a few years ago. He came out when Tate gets hurt, bombs a long pass down field and gets an INT since he throws these ridiculous jump balls. The 2QB system will work 100 times better than a 1 ineffective passing QB system.


Sun, Oct 16, 2011 : 3:22 p.m.

..4th and inches from the 9 and still The Wolverines REFUSE to run the ball!! ..if your senior center and your all-american qb can't sneak an inch and reset the yard markers you need your @ss kicked by sparty.. AGAIN.. it worked at sdsu??!! wut?? This is Michigan..hoke took job like he understood MICHIGAN football, then in the biggest game of his career to date, he goes goofball- ..juggling qbs, squib kicks.. OUTCOACHED.. ..miserable failure.. Hoke and staff should use the bye week to review what it is to be Michigan men..4 and an inch..announce it, show it, tell it, call it..RUN THE BALL! aside, refs missed a taunting call (no td), TWO backwards passes, one would have been picked up for a td.. ..sparty hit harder AFTER the whistle..disgraceful football.. sorry seniors, you gotta WANT it more than that.. 4 str8 to the, Title still in sight.. Go Blue! v

Chad Williams

Sun, Oct 16, 2011 : 3:22 p.m.

The dual QB thing doesn't work one play at a time. It works better when the guy coming is has the coaches confidence and can throw him in a series at a time with a set of plays. Bringing him in for one play only with only one call set up doesnt give him rhythm. Worked with with tebow and leak working with jefferson and lee this year.


Sun, Oct 16, 2011 : 3:18 p.m.

That was a horrible call on 4th and inches. Play action works if you HAVE A RUNNING GAME!!!!!!!! I can't understand how the great offensive mind of AL Borges doesn't run screens against 9 men in the box and full out Blitzes??????? We let MSU dictate everything. We were on our heels all afternoon. Not once did we make them pay for a Blitz. Not once did we keep them honest. They did what ever they wanted all afternoon. Our genius offensive coordinator?? Funny how people anoint a guy a genius just because his name is not RR. I thought Drob and the offense would be much farther along than this by game 7.

1st Down

Sun, Oct 16, 2011 : 6:09 p.m.

Agreed...but Denard can barely complete a screen... which probably explains why they dont have him throw many... but oddly...put him in a position to throw in that 4th and 1 situation... Denards lack of accuracy is a HUGE problem for this offense


Sun, Oct 16, 2011 : 3:14 p.m.

If the play works, he is a genius for surprising the Spartans with a pass. Any one out there think that Gary Moeller should have run it on 4th and one against ND in 1991 instead of throwing it to Desmond? Yesterday it didn't work, Michigan lost and you move on.

Chad Williams

Sun, Oct 16, 2011 : 2:28 p.m.

All off season being tough and physical was this guys mantra and everyone on here followed. The looked overwhelmed by the extra cheap shots as if they thougt they were playing emu and not msu. Bottom line is msu made a point for them to be respected as much as osu. Michigan played friendly football with the enemy. Now to the 4 down call. No excuse to call yourself a power style running coach and you dial up a pass. Even Carr or RR would have ran that. I can live with being stuffed but taking a 10 yard loss is crazy. When will Hoke win a big game. He hasnt even beaten a ranked team yet as a coach.


Sun, Oct 16, 2011 : 11:53 a.m.

To me, the biggest difference this year are the coaches accepting responsibility. Switching QBs as often and quickly as they did is bad coaching. Pulling Denard when he makes repeated mistakes due to basics like not planting his feet properly is necessary but I don't see them reinforcing that on the sideline. He also shows a disturbing tendency to panic while being tackled, trying to get rid of the ball without having a receiver or a safe area to toss it away. Devon played well except that crazy attempt to escape a tackle by running backwards, losing 20 yards. Milk had some very bad snaps. We had some very bad kicks. Overall, we didn't play or coach well.


Sun, Oct 16, 2011 : 11:03 a.m.

Bad call because they didn't get the first down? I guess you guys didn't see that the tight end didn't pick up the corner blitz when he was right next to him. You guys would've thought he was a genius if they made that first down. You guys are a bunch of Monday morning (even though its Saturday night/Sunday morning) quarterbacks! It was all day long that they were beat up on the line, they would've stuffed the QB sneak or HB up the middle. Then what would've you called then. This loss sucks, but damn people its a game that you guys don't even play so what's your problem? You aren't getting paid to make the calls. Stick by your team (and coaches) even when it doesn't go our way. Go Blue!!!

Ronald Hartley

Mon, Oct 17, 2011 : 12:21 a.m.

If you can not run for 1/2 a yard your team deserved to lose on a bad call.


Sun, Oct 16, 2011 : 3:51 p.m.

You're totally right Chris, MSU was getting pressure on Denard on that play, in fact, a LB was right in the pocket in Denard's face after the RB leap fake. Michigan did a poor job of handling the MSU pressure, and if the player picked up his block, it would have been a positive gain.


Sun, Oct 16, 2011 : 1:43 p.m.

Hey Chris, That was an all or nothing play---touchdown or bust. From my best Monday Morning Quarterback perspective, it looked like Denard was running the play and the rest of the team was running the sneak. There was absolutely nobody running their routes with anticpation of catching a pass.....and since the nose guard was lined up directly over Molk, there was plenty of room on both sides for Denard to squeeze through. Remember, as well, Holk had a timeout and didn't use it to ensure the whole team was on the same page. Remember, Holk did not wear a headset to hear the play call from Borges and possibly intervene knowing as the head coach that the team only needed a few inches. And besides, that play is normally ran at the 1 yard line when the defense has to sell out to stop the run. I'm not stating that UM even wins the game had they tied it there but that would have been a 6 minutes and some change quarter I would have liked to have seen. A possible UM victory under that kind of adversity (personal fouls, blitzes, etc.) would have been a huge confidence builder for the remainder of the season. Instead, Borges and Hoke "outcoached" themselves and ran a gimmick play instead of bringing us back to UM football.

1st Down

Sun, Oct 16, 2011 : 5:29 a.m.

Hoke forcing Devin in for one play at a time & disrupting offensive flow = Carr forcing Henson in, way back in 99 with the same outcome. Those who do not learn from history, are condemned to repeat it. Ridiculous. Earlier this month, Borges was quoted as saying that he did not like to alternate QBs between series. Then why do it in arguably the biggest game of the year??? And when it did not work... why continue to try to do it??? Michigan gets a big fumble recovery on spartys side of the field....and who comes out to run the first play: Gardner. It is enough to make me puke. This loss is on Hoke-orgeous.

1st Down

Sun, Oct 16, 2011 : 4:59 a.m.

The 4th down call was the stupidist play call I have seen in over 30 years of watching and playing organized football. The decision to run Devin Gardner in there, almost every series...disrupted the offenses flow and was reminiscent of Carr plugging Henson in there and loosing the 98 game as a result. Coach Hoke and Coach Borges lost this game for the team. These are facts. They Blew It.


Sun, Oct 16, 2011 : 2:58 a.m.

That was a poor call. The safest way in the situation was a designed run by Denard or by an RB for the first down at the 9 yard line. That was almost a sure TD score. Borges and Hoke did not intend to use Gardner all year actually, coz they did not let Gardner play a single snap in the first four games. Only against Minnesota did Gardner play after realizing that Denard carried 20-25 times in the last few games. That mistake is biting this team in Big Ten play. They should have assumed that Denard could be off or injured in Big Ten play and then have Gardner prepared to sub. This 2 weeks to prepare is a good way to prepare Gardner if Hoke and Borges want to improve on any passing game in the next 5 games and the next 2 seasons. Denard is good, but with 5 games and 1 season to go, it is what you see is what you get.


Sun, Oct 16, 2011 : 1:50 a.m.

Instead of saying "we didn't play football", how about admitting you got beaten by a better team? That's the only way you're going to move forward. Don't make excuses, in other words. The same goes for the coach. It was a low percentage play, it was a bad call and it didn't work. Plain and simple. Move on.


Sun, Oct 16, 2011 : 12:30 a.m.

The fourth down folly sums it up. Hoke and Borgess blew that one. We knew MSU has a very good defense going in but we never could toaally capitolize when the door was open. Sparty was on the ropes after Michigan cut the lead to 21-14. I hope this coaching staff watches the replay on that play over and voer and over again. The special uniform thing is getting too ridiculous.

1st Down

Sun, Oct 16, 2011 : 5:03 a.m.

Agreed on all points. The unis...while cool... were unveiled in a pop warner league style... it was a gimmick...and Hoke is supposed to be (at least he says he is) not about gimmicks.... well the unis and trying to force Devin in there...and the stupid play call .... were gimmicks plain and simple


Sun, Oct 16, 2011 : 12:22 a.m.

Brady and Al ( Uncle Fester) Borges,are in a Different League Now.Defend the Play Call,IT WAS A STUPID PLAY CALL PERIOD.But this happens with alot of these Coaches.THERE HARDHEADS,and think they never make mistakes.THIS WAS THE DUMBEST PLAY CALL I EVER SEEN IN ANY FOOTBALL GAME.MICHIGAN FANS MAY NEVER FORGET THIS PLAY CALL.LET ONE GET AWAY BOYS.Michigan St.tryed to give this game away.


Sun, Oct 16, 2011 : 3:35 p.m.

Or how about he's defending his Offensive Coordinator. Bad call on the field but it would be even a worse call to throw Borges under the bus. We take our lumps, get better and move on.


Sat, Oct 15, 2011 : 11:43 p.m.

No, No No! I do not want a coach proclaiming This Is Michigan(!) and then referring to a play that they ran successfully at SDSU! What has been repeated the last 3 years for RR: "This isn't the Big East" and "gimmick offenses do not work!" What the heck was that? Denard was absolutely atrocious throwing the football today (exception: touchdown to Roundtree). But just as easy as I see him throwing a touchdown there, I also see him without his feet set, with a crappy delivery sailing one out the back of the endzone over the receiver's head. He was 9-24 for goodness sakes, run the ball and gain an inch. It's frustrating considering last year, the offense virtually had to be perfect for any chance for a win because the defense stunk. Now the defense holds and creates turnovers and the offense wants to get "cute" on the 9 yard line going in for the game tieing touchdown. I know this team is still a year or two away but wouldn't it have been nice for this team to not necessarily have played well, endure a bunch of MSU nonsense (how many personal fouls?), and possibly steal a victory on the road against a rival team? By thinking of a play they ran a lot at SDSU, Hoke and Borges took their current team out of the BCS rankings. I still believe in this coaching staff (especially Mattison) but what a missed opportunity......


Sat, Oct 15, 2011 : 11:35 p.m.

Sparty kicked our butts along both lines, and that was the difference in the game. Michigan's lines are not as strong and physical as the lines on the top Big Ten teams like MSU, OSU, Wisconsin, etc. They are stronger than they were last season, but that still is not nearly strong enough. It will take some proper strength training and recruiting to build that up and, unfortunately that cannot happen in one off season. Hoke and his staff will not allow this team to fold, though, and I see this team still competing and winning some games despite their limitations along the lines and in the passing game. Will they go to the Big Ten Championship game? Probably not, but they will not quit like in recent years and will continue to fight to get there, imo.


Sun, Oct 16, 2011 : 7:39 p.m.

I agree...D line was far better than O line...but still not what it needs to be. As for the coaches mitigating the problem over the next 5 games...I'm curious to see what they do.


Sun, Oct 16, 2011 : 4:36 p.m.

Well I'd say they kick our OL butts. Comparatively the DL and the defense as a whole played a reasonable game, they could be a lot stronger but they are playing much better than in their first game let alone last year. Had the offense taken advantage of the field position advantage the defense gave them it would have been a different game. But they could not because we lost it in the offensive trenches. Not enough pass protection and not bing able to open holes or create creases was the result of not executing to make up for their difference in power. So now the coaching staff needs to find ways to mitigate this problem. Over the next five games we'll see how they do.


Sat, Oct 15, 2011 : 11:34 p.m.

I donot understand at 4th down and inches, UM can go for a field goal or punch in for a first down but why tried the risky play action. Bad coaching #1. Al Borgess and Brady Hoke cannot decided which QB to play. Bad coaching #2 Pulling out Gardner after he get the first down and replaced with the ineffective Denard. Bad coaching #3 And other numerous bad coaching except the Defense which played better than RD era


Sat, Oct 15, 2011 : 11:52 p.m.

I agree on pulling out Gardner after he made a completion, which is a rarity for UM, to get the first down. That was a shitty move strategically and in terms of emotional leadership. You could see Gardner's disappointment and feel the loss of hope when Denard came back in. I think that call was just as bad as the 4th and 1 call.


Sat, Oct 15, 2011 : 11:40 p.m.

I'd be happier if Michigan utilized 2QBs, which they have been incorporating in their last few games. If Denard's not being a bad passer, he's getting hurt at the most inconvenient times. Playing more Gardner would solve both sides of this particular issue. I never thought that I'd wish for Tate Forcier back, because the way that tandem was used with Rich Rod was a lot more effective than Denard Robinson starting by himself.


Sat, Oct 15, 2011 : 11:25 p.m.

Another thing that was a problem before even this game? Get Hemingway in position to make plays and make him a focus in the passing game. These other receivers are worthless, aside from an occasional play from Gallon or Roundtree. Don't throw to Grady, Hopkins, Koger and these other guys who just either don't want to step up or don't have the ability to.


Sat, Oct 15, 2011 : 11:55 p.m.

I don't agree. You've got to throw to other receivers, or defenses will key on Hemingway just like they do on Robinson, then NOTHING will ever work We've got to mix it up, and I actually like going to Koger on occasion and Dileo has been solid as well. As good as Hemingway is, there needs to be a mix.


Sat, Oct 15, 2011 : 11:19 p.m.

Um, yes, the play calling was questionable outside of that particular play. And I do agree with him that the play could have worked, even in the Big Ten. What I don't get was you've run Denard a ton against worst competition (20+ carries in 3 games), but Denard allegedly had 18 carries today. I know, you know, everyone knows that MSU was going to focus on stopping big rushing plays from him, but it still looked to me like the run was really only working today with 1) Denard and 2) Touissant. Do not get keeping Smith out there today as much as he was vs Touissant, and do not get not trying to run Denard more (I don't like Denard running as much as he typically does, but let's face it--that's what we're stuck with. That's how we win with him). I also don't get why Borges hasn't figured out that we're not a run-it-up-the-middle team. We don't have that kind of O-line, and we don't have that kind of power. Running to the outside works better for Michigan, and that's one reason why Denard is the most effective rusher we have. Don't get me started on the Gardner oddness, either. It came off to me almost as if Borges trusts Gardner to pass more than he does Denard. Well, hopefully, the 4th quarter after Denard's injury solved that little theory. We're just flatout messed up in terms of passing the ball, doesn't matter who we put out there.

Hawaiian Neal

Sun, Oct 16, 2011 : 12:26 a.m.

Well, I've been confused by some of the play calling all year, but personally, I wouldn't call the plays the same way for every game. Different teams have different opportunities to exploit. You want to get DRob's passing better? Start with quick halfback release passes. Want to get 9 out of the box? Do the same and get the halfback to the edges. DRobs passing problems are from lack of time and also on medium and long routes from what I've seen (and I've seen every game).

Hawaiian Neal

Sun, Oct 16, 2011 : 12:15 a.m.

I'm OK with the Gardner thing. We don't have anyone with game snaps other than DRob anymore. We'd REALLY be hurting if we don't bring him in. Not sure I'd take DRob out for it though.


Sat, Oct 15, 2011 : 11:34 p.m.

Solved that little theory? You've got to be kidding me. So that's it, huh? Devin Gardner is a horrible passer because of what you saw today? What I saw was a player who actually had the throwing mechanics of a traditional QB. Ryan Mallett went 6 of 17 for 49 yards and an interception in his debut. He started the next game and went 7 for 15 (46.7%). My point? Ryan Mallett turned out to be a pretty darn good quarterback even though he didn't look much better than Devin Gardner during most of his time at Michigan. Solved that little theory? Get real.


Sat, Oct 15, 2011 : 11:31 p.m.

I'll take Gardner passing over Denard any day of the week, and I think Michigan is starting to recognize that he's a better passing option. If you had an issue with today's play calling, then you must not like any of the play calling thus far because it's very similar to what Michigan has done this whole year. All the running plays could have been balanced if Michigan had any semblance of a passing attack. Since they did not, you saw 9 in the box and pressure on Denard from all sides and a horrible offensive game for the Wolverines. On the plus side, the defense was looking a lot better :)


Sat, Oct 15, 2011 : 10:35 p.m.

I honestly think the play calling was not bad in this game, outside of this particular 4th down play. Michigan's running game was getting stuffed though so they tried to fake it and as we saw, Michigan could not handle the pressure.


Sun, Oct 16, 2011 : 12:36 a.m.

I agree with you, I'm not a big fan of forcing the run like they've been doing. It could work in a perfect world where Michigan was able to open holes for runners, but that's simply not the case. I'd like to see more passes for the RBs too but more often than not, they're used as blockers if they're not running it up the middle. I'd love to see Michigan work on the edges with their running attack.

Hawaiian Neal

Sun, Oct 16, 2011 : 12:11 a.m.

The run selections were the problem. There were 9 in the box most of the day. If you crossed your eyes just right when they pulled the camera back, the MSU defense looked like a bucket between the numbers. We could have loosened that up a LOT by hot routing the halfback after he chipped someone. The play calling was mostly horrendous.


Sat, Oct 15, 2011 : 10:31 p.m.

Worst play calling of the year IMO. Michigan should have known they were going to blitz the crap out of Denard and Devin like they did OSU. We were ill prepared. HOKE said it right, we were out coached and out


Sat, Oct 15, 2011 : 10:43 p.m.

Sparty was going to blitz on 4th and inches? Even Dantonio said he thought they would run. Virtually every 4th down this year Denard has run for it, and successfully. The LB coming around the end was the most surprised guy in the stadium heading for the pile and seeing Denard with the ball. Was a curious call given the high percentage of making it on a sneak, headed for a tie game. That's what they get paid big bucks for and aren't ducking accountability though.


Sat, Oct 15, 2011 : 10:20 p.m.

Of course Hoke will defend the call, but everybody knows what to do when trailing with that situation. Keep the ball, block well, and run it. Don't know what else to say. That certainly contributed to the loss, but the poor defensive play all game by getting pushed around and allowing MSU to control the ball a lot hurts, and the poor offensive line play throughout the game hurt most of all. One play does not make or break it--domination by lines does.


Sat, Oct 15, 2011 : 10:10 p.m.

He and Borgess may have used it in the past with success, but this is the BigTen, not the MAC.