You are viewing this article in the archives. For the latest breaking news and updates in Ann Arbor and the surrounding area, see
Posted on Sat, Nov 5, 2011 : 3:39 p.m.

Grade the Wolverines: Rate Michigan's performance against Iowa

By Rich Rezler

Here's your chance to weigh in on the Michigan football team's 24-16 loss at Iowa. Grade the Wolverines on offense, defense, special teams, coaching and overall:


The Wolverines outgained Iowa (323-302) and had more first downs (22-15), but also ran 19 more plays (75-56) than the Hawkeyes. The four most important came in the final 16 seconds of the game from the Iowa 3-yard-line … when Denard Robinson (17-of-37 passing, 194 yards, 2 TDs) threw four straight incomplete passes. Running back Fitz Toussaint gained 58 yards on 16 carries before leaving with an injury and taking the ground game with him. Robinson ran 12 times for 55 yards.


Marcus Coker (29 carries, 132 yards, 2 TDs) was the workhorse for Iowa and the Michigan secondary had trouble handling Marvin McNutt (9 catches, 101 yards) at times. However, the defense gave the Wolverines a chance to win. Jake Ryan’s tackle-for-loss on a 3rd-and-1 play - one of eight team TFLs - got Michigan the ball back with 2:15 to play. Iowa was 4-of-12 on third-down conversions.


An early missed extra point (holder Drew Dileo bobbled the snap) would have been more damaging had Michigan scored late and been forced to attempt a two-point conversion. Brendan Gibbons hit a 32-yard field goal, Will Hagerup averaged 39.4 yards on five punts, Martavious Odoms averaged 23 yards on three kick returns and kick/punt return units were relatively solid.


The Hawkeyes’ biggest weapons (Coker, McNutt) did their jobs on Saturday while a combination of Iowa’s game planning and Michigan’s play calling seemed to take Robinson’s running ability out of the equation. Win, Kirk Ferentz and Co.?


The Wolverines are 7-2 and likely out of Legends Division title contention since Michigan State and Iowa hold tie-breaker advantages against them. Was this a respectable and understandable Big Ten road loss for a rebuilding program, or a sign that not much has changed - besides the coaches - around Schembechler Hall.



Sun, Nov 6, 2011 : 10:10 p.m.

Michigan deserves better!

Roger Miraclew

Sun, Nov 6, 2011 : 6:51 p.m.

One thing I learned from the RR era was how to lose. Losses were expected and wins were pleasant surprises seemed to keep me somewhat sane during the season. Now along comes B Hoke with preseason statememts of developing an offense around the teams existing talent. Even AD Brandon echoed that thought about Hoke. This sounded good to me since Denard is too good of a talent to waste. But especially during that final drive against Iowa, Hoke and Staff have turned one of the most exciting QBs in the nation into a not so very good drop back passer. First and goal from the 3 and Denard is NOT given the run-pass option for 4 plays! I am not a football coach, but even I know that is not using your existing talent. Hoke and his Staff did not give Michigan the best chance of possibly winning this game. Unless Hoke honors his preseason statement then beating Ohio State will once again turn into a "wait 'til next year" thing.


Sun, Nov 6, 2011 : 4:45 a.m.

PATIENCE! We just spent the last three years convincing ourselves that we needed to give RR some time and everything would be back to normal. BH is only two months into this. Why wouldn't we give him the same three years we gave RR to turn the program around? I know we are all tired to losing. It's hard to accept that the three newest teams to the Big Ten have the 1st best, 2nd best, and tied for 3rd best records. But that is temporary. Go BLUE!

1st Down

Sun, Nov 6, 2011 : 6:17 a.m.

7-2 with RRs crappy players and Martin and Van Bergen...Carrs players on Defense.... pretty darned impressive. OL cant run block. WRs drop passes. QB is erratic... those are RRs recruits and sooner or later, Hoke will RECRUIT THEM OUT. RR people: go read your little bacon book and leave the football analysis to the rest of us.


Sun, Nov 6, 2011 : 4:21 a.m.

We didn't play well, but hopefully we can learn from it and beat Illinois next week. Too many mistakes against a good team results in a loss. It was interesting to be in the game until the end regardless of poor play. We were the better team who had a bad day, but the game goes to the loss column unfortunately. At least we were competitive until the end. The last three years when we lost, the game was over early. I do not think anyone wants to go back to the Threet , Sheridan days or even the bowl game loss last season. We played poorly, but never quit.


Mon, Nov 7, 2011 : 3:21 a.m.

Hebner - I agree with your comments. I'm not happy about some of the play calling at the end but at least we had a shot at the end of the game.


Sun, Nov 6, 2011 : 4:23 a.m.

This team never quits, they play with heart. Again, we will beat Illinois next week because this team learns from the week before.


Sun, Nov 6, 2011 : 2:30 a.m.

Defense is better this year. Offense is worse this year. Michigan unable to put all together in one season. That equals bottom of the Big Ten once again.


Sun, Nov 6, 2011 : 2:05 a.m.

1st down or is it 3andout? WOW the guy who knows all about football and the rest of us just don't understand football. for the last 3/yrs you have complained that the previous coaching staff was trying to stick a square peg into a round hole, but when coach hoke and staff do the same thing thats OK! look i support coach hoke and his staff 110% and i am a die hard MICHIGAN fan just like most people who post in here are and coach hoke and his staff will turn this program around. we are all entitled to are opinion and I take offense to the fact that you think we are just fair weather fans and we are not MICHIGAN because we don't see things the same way you do. we are not going to go away and we are just as much MICHIGAN as you seem to think you are! SQUARE PEG IN ROUND HOLE equals game lost no matter who the coaches are! GO BLUE!!!!!

1st Down

Sun, Nov 6, 2011 : 6:15 a.m.

wow...genius... did you watch the game? how many designed runs for Denard actually got good yardage? How about the past 3 games? he has like 150 yds in the past 3 games.. WELL below his average rushing... why? not the offense...he is BANGED UP JUST LIKE LAST YEAR MR. GENIUS. Did you not see him in the pocket with plenty of lanes to scramble and CHOOSE...YES CHOOSE NOT TO RUN??????? DENARD IS BANGED UP. YOU CANT RUN HIM IN THE BIG TEN LIKE IN SEPTEMBER. What part of that do you people not understand??? BTW he threw very accurately on the last drive for some odd reason... and that had nothing to do with scheme... he just stepped in to his throw... Michigan caught bad breaks on the last drive but that had nothing to do with Borges or banged up Denard... buy a clue.


Sun, Nov 6, 2011 : 1:53 a.m.

Hoke is the new joke. Complete failure in offensive play calling even with an extra week to prepare.

Terrin Bell

Sun, Nov 6, 2011 : 12:04 a.m.

Michigan got screwed twice while in the red zone at the end of the game. First, Hemmingway made that touch down. Second, that guy was on Hemmingway's back when he couldn't hold the pass. Pass interference should have been called. With all that said, Michigan's offensive play calling was horrible. Denard is not a pocket quarter back. He shouldn't be used like one. The guy should be running more, passing less. The defense wasn't perfect, but it did enough to win had the offense played better.

Megan Greene

Sat, Nov 5, 2011 : 11:39 p.m.

If you are going to play Denard, let Denard be Denard. It was painful to watch Denard not being himself. Give some credit to Iowa's defense, but the Michigan offensive scheme for the game was off the mark.

1st Down

Sat, Nov 5, 2011 : 11 p.m.

WOW. A ton of fair weather "fans" and people here commenting that simply do not understand football. That last drive...4 cracks from the 3 with 30 seconds left and a TO. 3 of the 4 passes were catchable. One was caught for a TD that was not allowed. One was dropped by Smith. One was an obvious PI that was not called to end the game. Any one of those count and you fair weather people who do not understand football...and time managment...would not be here. So go away. This is Michigan and you are not.

1st Down

Sun, Nov 6, 2011 : 1:51 a.m.

Fine Craig... a beat up Denard (which he is) is always going to be you RR people's Savior... well as Bo Schembechler used to say "No one player is bigger than this program" if you want Denard to transfer, so be it... the program will survive. Either my eyes, and any intelligent football fans eyes: Denard played was not his fault that he had many passes dropped including one in the red zone that Iowa intercepted... this had NOTHING to do with coaching... get it? NOTHING. It had to do with execution... again... if 21 is allowed that obvious TD people would have to go complain about something else... buy a clue and enough about RR please he is rightfully fired and gone and will eventually be nothing more than a black mark on Michigan Football History.

craig snowgold

Sat, Nov 5, 2011 : 11:57 p.m.

Were not fair weather, we just expect more then were getting. To be mentioned in Heisman talk must mean your pretty good. Right now with this pro, no I mean spread, no I mean pro, no, oh shoot I'm not sure what were running, check back with me on the next play, or maybe the next. Stop the bull pick one and run it!!! Defense is getting better, offense worse. Promises were made to keep Denard here, if it keeps going the way its going, a transfer to Rich Rods new team is always possible! Were more than people who you don't think know football, we should have never been in a first and goal for a slight chance to will in the first place! (we also had to make the conversion, know it all!)


Sat, Nov 5, 2011 : 10:09 p.m.

Next up is at IL. Let's see if this team can bounce back. What matters to me most is seeing this team pick themselves up after a loss. At least we won't have to wait two weeks to see the outcome. I agree with most of the comments on how Denard has been utilized. Harkening back to the Rich Rod spread offense days is a bit over the top since Rich Rod only won 6 Big Ten games in three years, even with the spread. My thoughts were for Michigan to go 1 and 1 on this Nov road period. Yes, we are down to 0 and 1 but IL can be beaten, at their house. That does mean, if Michigan fails to win next week at IL, I would be very dissappointed but I will think positive all of this coming week.


Sat, Nov 5, 2011 : 9:48 p.m.

I think we should drop out of the B1G and become an Independent. I think Michigan plays its best football in the Non conference portion on the schedule every year, so lets just make every game a non conference game, and play 100% of our games at home from this day on. we could play teams ranked in the 100+ of the FBS and a Michigan QB would win the Heisman every year, and we would always play in a January bowl (Which we will loose, but we will still get a huge check for showing, and we will not have to share it with the B1G). We dont need a better team, we need better (For us) Opponents.


Sat, Nov 5, 2011 : 10:04 p.m.

I think he is being a bit sarcastic, MRunner. And I agree with you about the scheduling--play better teams and not inferior ones. That is getting to be a bigger and bigger problem, if you pay attention to the trends--more UMasses and App States, less Florida States and Miamis.


Sat, Nov 5, 2011 : 10 p.m.

Let me get this straight; so you're saying just play weaker opponents. I ran track at Michigan and if I were a 4 minute miler, I should run against the guys who can only run 4:10 so I'd win every race, meanwhile not compete against the sub 4 minute milers where I would have my best chance at improving. It sounds like you know nothing about good competition. Michigan nees to pay @ IL next and WIN! Meanwhile, you can follow EMU in the MAC.


Sat, Nov 5, 2011 : 9:15 p.m.

The offensive play calling was horrible! Denard is a great talent,but he is being used in the wrong way(pro style QB).Now we are starting to see what i was hoping would not happen.Square peg round hole.Why arent Denards skills being used to their strengths?If Devin is gonna play QB let him stay in and play.How do you get in a rythm if your in for a play here and there.


Sat, Nov 5, 2011 : 9:03 p.m.

rufus. . . GREAT POST. . . GO BLUE!!!!!!!!

craig snowgold

Sat, Nov 5, 2011 : 8:59 p.m.

musthaved: To comment on your comment. We all remember, but the Big Ten is down this year, with Ohio State down, State is overrated, Iowa is average at best, Wisconsin is lost right now, Penn State winning is a wonder, and when Minnesota looks good then MICHIGAN needs to pounce. We have talent and can't keep saying next year. Thats for losers! Nebraska, and Ohio State will destroy us if we have that mentality.


Sat, Nov 5, 2011 : 9:48 p.m.

My point is that win or lose, we will be competitive with both Nebraska and Ohio State. Any reasonable person can see that Wisconsin is easily the best team in the Big Ten right now even though they have 2 losses. Iowa sent 13 people to the NFL in the last 2 years. Michigan does not have that caliber of player with the possible exceptions of Molk and Martin. The next best players on this team are freshmen. Robinson is talented and fun to watch, but no way is he going to play QB in the NFL.. Before Rodriquez was fired, my expectations for this year's team were at an all time low. One of the worst D's in all of college football and an offense that could only whip up on inferior talent. There haven't been many changes in the players, so becoming respectable again to me is a credit to Brady Hoke.


Sat, Nov 5, 2011 : 8:56 p.m.

Minnesota beats Iowa with the spread offense. Last week. Hint guys?. No. Michigan tries to convert Denard into a drop back quarterback who refuses to run and it ruins him. If Al and Brady use the old spread offense we win by 2 touchdowns. Stupid use of a great athlete who will never be Tom Brady; but don't tell AL Borges or Hoke that. Hoke said there are no rebuilding years at Michigan. You could have fooled me. He's trying to run 2013's offense in 2011. I believe that if they go this route we will not win another game. As big a collapse as RR's. Solution. Run the spread!


Sat, Nov 5, 2011 : 9:20 p.m.

Anytime DR ran (except for once), he was contained. He has not been effective against better defenses in his 3 years here so far. Love DR--he has a great attitude, is fun to watch, and loves the game. But let's put it in perspective. He has not performed well against the top teams in his years.

craig snowgold

Sat, Nov 5, 2011 : 8:48 p.m.

Michigan's offense would be fine if we played like we were losing! Off cord. needs to realize his offensive play calling is sorry at best! The best player on the field needs to have the option to run more, Denard is so reluctant to run, it takes the surprise out of Michigan's game. only when we run no huddle, when were pressed for time or behind do we look good. Devin Gardner is not as skilled as we've thought. Zero mobility, way to unsure and predictable! When he comes in it throws the offense off kilter, and make Denard just another player! Brady needs to listen to the commentators call of the game, Chris Speilman's pretty smart! Hoke needs to have more say in the play calling, its him that's accountable in the end.


Sat, Nov 5, 2011 : 8:38 p.m.

Borges to blame yet again!


Sat, Nov 5, 2011 : 8:24 p.m.

Before hanging Brady out to dry, look at the improvement on Defense and the fact that we haven't been blown out or laughed at like in our recent past. He has shown remarkable improvement mostly with players he was left with. His 2012 recruiting class is top 5. The guy can't make his RB's any bigger or stronger. He can't make his receivers any taller. He can't make a pathetic secondary and faster. I think this team is going to get back to being Michigan in the next 2 years. Brady needs the chance to bring in some bigger, meaner and tougher men. He has already stopped people from laughing at us or do you people not remember the last few years ?


Sat, Nov 5, 2011 : 10:50 p.m.

Scoring machine? Really? Who does a coach HAVE TO BEAT at Michigan?Ohio, that's who! The 'scoring machine' you are referring to scored a TOTAL of 24 points against Ohio over RR's three years. 24 TOTAL! That's 8 points per game with a high of 10. That will NOT get it done at Michigan, so not only did the defense have to get fixed (and it has been), but the offense did, too. And while there will be some bumps along the way, Hoke is doing a great job of turning UM back into a power football team that can get a tough yard when they have to (unlike the four 4th and 1's they couldn't convert against Miss St. last year).


Sat, Nov 5, 2011 : 9:19 p.m.

Well oiled scoring machine? Huh? Did you not watch last year's results against better competition? We did not score more points, we actually sputtered. Unlike last year, we are not getting steamrolled. Criticize the coaches all you want--their job is to win and they didn't do that today. But we did not take a step backward based on score. Maybe we are not using DR as well as last year, but he got injured in every game last year and we still didn't score against Wisconsin, Iowa, OSU, MSU until it was too late.


Sat, Nov 5, 2011 : 8:59 p.m.

Hoke has done a good job on defense, which makes this loss all the more unconscionable. Brady was handed a scoring machine and instead of doing the smart thing and spread it out and light up the scoreboard he shackels Denard. Haven't seen a player wasted this way since Barry Sanders.


Sat, Nov 5, 2011 : 8:07 p.m.

Hoke is the new joke. Awful coaching.


Sat, Nov 5, 2011 : 10:42 p.m.

I agree, Matt. All of these fans screaming for the 'spread' seem to forget how useless that offense was against top competition. Against Iowa UM was down 34-7 AT HOME last year before Iowa mentally went back to Iowa. UM was in this game to the end with a chance to win at the 3 yard line where an iffy call kept them from scoring a potential tying TD. The spread is fine against Bowling Green and Delaware St., but I think Michigan is at it's best, and certainly was against Iowa, pounding the ball straight at Iowa. Trying trickery with Gardner, etc, is what threw the offense off, not a power running game. The power running game was working...abandoning it hurt. I think with the personnel this team has, the coaches aren't always sure exactly how to utilize it all, which they are learning as they go, but at least we are winning far more than we're losing and we're hanging in games all the way to the end when we do lose. This team is much tougher on both offense and defense this year and will only get better moving forward. We have hit a very difficult portion of our season, and Illinois will be tough with two weeks to prepare, as will Nebraska and Ohio. I don't know how many of those games UM will win, but I fully expect Hoke to correct some mistakes and have Michigan competing in every single one of them.


Sat, Nov 5, 2011 : 8:57 p.m.

I agree with you Matt. The poor play calling in the first half put UM behind the 8-ball again. I honestly believe that the defense, overall, played well enough for a win. I feel three things need to be done. Quit scripting the first 10/15/20/whatever number of plays. Or, when you DO find something that works in the scripting, KEEP USING IT untill they stop it!! And, sit Mr. Gardner on the bench and only play him if DRob is hurt or we are well ahead in the game. I do have one other thing to bring up. Is it me or does DRob seem to have lost his speed? Even when he does get a crease he just does't seem to be explosive, like VT was last week when he hit the hole against Purdue. Just wondering.

Matt Patercsak

Sat, Nov 5, 2011 : 8:30 p.m.

THIS IS WHAT I DON'T UNDERSTAND The offense comes out in the I formation. Hopkins leads the way and levels his man, Fitz follows and gains 5-7 yards. It would seem to me like the definition of tough football is to keep pounding and force Iowa to stop it. I cant tell you how many times this game Fitz would carry for good yardage on a power, and the next play Denard is in the gun with 2 receiver sets followed by an incomplete pass. These stupid packages and tom-foolery with devin gardner need to stop. if you lose a football game, lose it honestly by playing michigan football and at least try to keep shoving the football down Iowa's throat. Its like Borges is afraid of being labeled "predictable", well guess what my man, when you're predictable and they can't stop you, "predictable" becomes "powerful". and THAT is Michigan football. But its not his fault, he has Denard Robinson. And feels obligated to use him somehow other than the guy who hands it off or runs the option. We all would, I have faith in the staff, but as i said after MSU I have none in Denard. The storm will pass, friends. we just have to wait it out. ps: Devin Gardner is awful. I can't even conjure up the right phrase to describe my hatred for how he handles the game when in at QB. he sucks. and is selfish and things he's denard robinson but bigger. in a nutshell, if the power game isn't broken, don't stray away from it. I loved what I saw, Hopkins is a beast Fullback. and Devin Gardner is terrible. If you disagree I would love to hear your opinion.


Sat, Nov 5, 2011 : 8:18 p.m.

come now it is coach fault. you know better it all goes to the players. sure the coach calls the plays. players have to make the plays. i say they lost to a tougher team. will win one of the remaining three.

Matt Patercsak

Sat, Nov 5, 2011 : 8:17 p.m.

It isn't Hoke. Its personnel and play calling (borges)

Joe Kidd

Sat, Nov 5, 2011 : 8:16 p.m.

You mean Coach Joke? That is what I was thinking or Coach Choke. He is making the same mistake RR made. Using players in a manner that is contrary to their best abilities. Last year's offense was far superior to this one, particularly when you consider their youth. But now DRob is expected to be an under center QB and of course we have to use Gardner to prepare for two years from now, when Coach Joke's first recruiting class has one year and two spring and fall practices experience. It's funny so many people are heralding the return of "Michigan football" but at first and three yards, four passes and no running plays?