MGoBlog has moved. The new site can be found at

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

110M6RunMartin4Wonky signal cuts off most of this play.
26M10RunMartin27Lentz annihilates his guy. By the time Martin flies by him he's 6 yards downfield. Martin makes a good read and shows his speed.
110M37RunMartin2There's like nine guys in the box here! The offensive line does a good job blocking but the ninth guy plunges unblocked makes the tackle. Malone or a missed check by Henne?
28M39PassAvantIncFour wide and a slant is open but Henne throws it way, way behind Avant.
38M39PassNo oneScramble, 21Three wide and checking off at the line.. Henne takes off smartly and rolls downfield but there's a dumb holding penalty by Massaquoi.
31M46RunGrady1Good second effort here by Grady to get the first, but Henige pulls right and there's a hole there and Grady goes left, failing to following his blocking.
-5Illegal formation because Massaquoi is like two inches too far back to count as a man on the line. Crappy call. The play was a nice slip screen to Manningham for a first.
115M42PassManningham3Same play. Massaquoi misses his block.
212M45RunMartin3Seems like everyone does a decent job blocking but there are no creases.
39M48PassEcker14This a duck, but it's an accurate duck. Ecker makes a niiice lunging catch.
110O38RunGrady3Grady's pretty tentative when he reaches the line here.
27O35PassAvantIncHenne misses a wide open Avant at the 10 yard line.
37O35PassNo oneScramble, 8Okay, it's good he gets the first down on these rushes, but it seems like more evidence he's not totally confident in his arm.
110O27PassAvant21Avant makes 15 after juking past the DB after a six yard hitch.
1GO6RunMartin1Nothing even resembling a hole here.
2GO5PassAvantIncHenne misses… a wide open Avant. Throw is rifled a couple yards over his head when a deft toss would have been a TD.
3GO5RunGrady4A counter draw type thing that springs blockers downfield. I really like this call, and it's only a fantastic tackle by Zalewski that keeps Grady out of the end zone. Grady did slice past two Badger defenders before getting to Zalewski. That tackle… dammit.
4GO1RunGrady0As reported elsewhere, there's a pull here that gets fouled up when Lentz trips over Kraus. Still the right call.
Drive Notes: 0-0, 2:48 left in the first. Three times Henne misses Avant wide open. Our offensive line is only getting a push sporadically.
110M34RunMartin4Makes the right cut here, but since the OL can't seal anyone he's forced to cut back into the linebackers.
26M38RunJackson-1Again no push from the OL. There's nowhere to run.Kraus just gets shoved back right at the snap.
37M37PassBreastonIncHenne throws it low and Breaston can't make the catch, but it wouldn't have been a first down anyway.
Drive Notes: 14 min, 2nd quarter, 0-0. If you're counting, that's four poorly thrown balls and two well thrown, not counting the screens.
110M41PassBreastonIncDeep ball to a well-covered Breaston that's overthrown.
210M41PassManningham24Out route that's jumped by Bell since Henne stared Manningham down. Still got it there, I guess, but man. Manningham gets his customary YAC… kid is a player.
110O35RunMartin7Thompson with a nice block and there's actually a hole to the outside.
23O28PassAvant4Three step drop and fire taking advantage of the corners playing off Avant.
110O24PassAvantIncMisses… a wide open Avant! This time he's in the endzone.
210O24RunGrady3Paul, on the other hand, does not get a good block that could have sprung Grady to the outside.
37O21PassNo oneSack, -11Henige utterly and completely misses his blitz pickup, as he decides to take a linebacker coming from the outside that Grady's got and lets someone come up through the inside unmolested. Henne intentionally grounds it.
Drive Notes: 49 yard field goal? No! 44 yard field goal? Yes! Don't go changing, Rivas. 3-0, 10 min 2nd quarter.
110M29RunMartin1EMU style sweep. Not EMU style results. They've got eight in the box again an then two safeties relatively near the line of scrimmage… I'd scream about throwing, but look up.
29M30PassAvant27Henne misses… a wide open Ava--oh. That was actually totally accurate after a ton of time. Gottfried starts waxing about how Henne made the play and I attempt to strangle him with telepathy.
110O43RunMartin1Another sweep that fails due to tons of people in the box.
29O42PassGrady7A little dumpoff designed to get Grady on a LB and he makes a nice play to pick up 5 or so yards after the catch.
32O35RunGrady12A hole does open up this time but it seems accidental. In any case, Grady is not tentative this time and flies up through it and makes 4 or 5 YAC.
110O24PassGrady19Flare screen Michigan's run several times this year to good effect.
1GO5RunGrady1Just a wad of players in the middle.
2GO4PassAvantIncHenne gets nailed as he releases the ball because NO ONE BLOCKS HAYDEN. Otherwise, TD.
3GO4PassAvant4Touchdown. Slant that is accurate.
Drive Notes: 4:27 2nd Q, 10-0. Henne is better on this drive but there's only one downfield throw here, the long one to Avant.
110M36PassGrady5Screen again, but it's read well by the DT(!) Jason Chapman and thus doesn't go for several more.
25M41RunMartin4This sweep is successful-ish because they aren't loading the box.
31M45RunMartin17Breaston gets a nice block on this four wide draw type thing (Stenavich's block is to shove the pass rush of his man 10 yards upfield) and Martin beats a couple Badgers to the corner.
110O38RunGrady2Strange, strange call here with 30 seconds left in the half and one timeout. Especially because Wisconsin still has seven in the box against a three wide, one back set. Missed check? Gottfried CONTINUES to fluff Henne without cause.
28O36PassManningham30What a terrible throw, at least ten to fifteen yards short of its intended destination that Manningham adjusts to. You can see Manningham about to get a yard or two of separaton and then coming back for the ball.
1GO6PassManninghamIncDropped. Sigh.
2GO6PassNo oneIncHenne throws it away. Why not a fade to Avant here?
Drive Notes: FG, End of half, 13-3. Much screaming ensued about the FG call, more on that later. Henne was unbelievably lucky to hit that Manningham pass and given the way Carr was talking to him after the timeout, I think he missed a check on the strange run.
110M16RunMartin2There's just no push or hole or crack up front. Period.
28M18PassMassaquoiIncPlay action and Henne gets hurried and misses Mass. He had Mass for 4 or a first down if he could break the LB's tackle.
38M18PassAvantIncAvant drops it. It should be noted that this pass is behind Avant, though still catchable.
Drive Notes: 14 min 3rd quarter 13-3. Note NO shell. Ryan 45 yard punt fair caugt, that's what I'm talking about.
110M30PassAvantIncSlant that's way behind Avant again.
210M30PassMartinIncThe much rumored wheel route down the sideline that's broken up by the safety very nicely. If you're blaming henne for throwing it too late… well, you're harsher than I am. Just a nice play.
310M30PassAvantIncBatted at the line.
Drive Notes: 8 min 3rd quarter 13-6. No shell.
5Offsides on UW. The play was a 1 yard dive with no push from the OL again.
15M13RunGrady2The safety just comes screaming up on the run. Are we tipping our play action?
23M15RunGrady5Finally some push from the line.
110M20RunMartin2Nothing. Again eight guys in the box.
28M22PassAvant18A nice jailbreak screen for Avant features Kraus plowing his man like 10 yards downfield.
110M40RunMartin5Sweep. Thompson misses Zalewski or Martin gets the corner and somewhere from 10-20 yards.
25M45PassBreaston0He catches the little screen thing and slips. Had him in position to run after the catch.
35M45RunMartin4Same counter draw we ran on 3rd and goal from the five on the first drive. It again gets four.
Drive Notes: 2 min 3rd quarter 13-6. Ryan shanks the punt and it goes approximately 30 yards downfield. Again an execution thing, Breaston's slip, kills the drive. He probably had the first otherwise.
110M8PassAvant9Another bad throw that Avant manages to scoop off the turf just in time (after review).
21M17RunMartin5Martin's fumble.
Drive Notes: Killer. Just killer. 12 min 4th Q, 13-9. No idea what the personal foul on Henige is for.
110M20RunGrady3Again we try to run against an eight man front.
27M22PassAvantIntHenne throws it right to the UW linebacker.
Drive Notes: Head… veins… losing… integrity.
110M39RunGrady6Off tackle and he finds the crease and follows Thompson into the hole.
24M45RunGrady6Cuts it back and gets moving upfield, 3 more YAC.
110O49PassManningham49Flea-flicker touchdown, and credit where it's due: this could not have been thrown more beautifully.
Drive Notes: 9 min 4th Q, 20-16.
110M3RunGrady3No hole, no push.
27M6RunGrady3Sweep outside to the short side. I dislike this call.
34M9PassNo oneIncThrown away, ridiculous. If he had come off the three receivers to his right he had Mass open for the first down.
Drive Notes: 4 min 4th Q, 20-16.
110M44PassAvantIncBehind Avant and knocked down by the DB.
-10Holding on Stenavich.
220M34PassFall down.

Well? We expect knives re: coaching, buddy.

I just don't see it.

This is what is see:

TeamDead onCatchableInaccurateBad ReadThrowawaysBatted

Of the 17 passes I flagged as accurate or catchable (note that two completions were flagged "inaccurate": the 30 yard Manningham bomb at the end of the first half and the reviewed Avant slant), seven were screens or short dumpoffs (IE, 5 yards or less). That means when Henne dropped back to pass and actually threw downfield you got ten good (or just acceptable on some of the "accurate" throws) events and fourteen bad ones if you eliminate the two batted passes ("OMG Navarre" people: only one was actually batted. Another throw that was inaccurate because Henne was hit as he threw was inserted here). Scheme and playcalling this: Henne flat missed open receivers 11 times.

He was terrible, and Michigan knew it, and Wisconsin knew it. However, this did not stop Michigan from trying to throw. Look at the beginning of the second half: five passes on six plays on our two three-and-outs. The only drive we pieced together came when we stopped trying to throw downfield.

There's other blame to go around: the offensive line was consistently stonewalled by Wisconsin's defensive front. Martin's fumble was an absolute killer. Breaston had a big return wiped out by a Charles Stewart penalty. Manningham dropped a TD. Avant dropped a first down. Henige blew a blitz pickup. But these were isolated events that the offense could have survived if the quarterback wasn't forcing the rest of the offense to play perfectly.


All right, yes, that was dumb and the explanation proffered on Michigan Replay (Carr did not know the clock was going to be reset from six seconds to nine seconds) further highlights the fact that Carr isn't the sharpest tool in the game theory drawer, but third and goal from the eleven is probably going to be a throwaway anyway in that situation and the end result would have either been the same or an LSU-like screwup that cost us the field goal. A smidgen of expectation was given away but it's not a big deal.

There was a major strategic blunder in this game, but it was on the defensive side of the ball.


#1, #2, #3: Henne. Simply put, if he makes any one of six to eight relatively easy throws we probably win this game.

Also on my bad list are Lentz, Kraus and Henige, who could not get any push up front all night. Henige also contributed a key sack and a key incompletion by deciding not to block people.

Max Martin's fumble... well, fumbles happen, yes. But that turnover is the difference in the game.


Avant, despite the one drop. That's a tougher catch than he'll admit--thrown behind him and a rocket--and the rest of the night he was great. He would have had an even bigger night if Henne had hit him more often. Manningham was also very good when called upon, and the tackles didn't allow any pass rush really.


All right, yes. Gutierrez has to be an option against State if Henne struggles in the first half. We don't have time to screw around with Drew Stanton and company: we need points and we can't abide missing wide open guys. If Henne turns in another stinker and Gutz does not play white knight, I guarantee you can stop by for some good old fashioned Internets Bitching.

So what does this mean for Michigan State?

It means bad. We can't expect a consistent running game against the Spartans since Domata Peko seems to have emerged as a solid DT and our interior OL is soft like kitten. To move the ball consistently we absolutely require consistent quarterback play that Henne has shown no indication he is capable of this year, but he still has to start given his history and talent. We need him to turn it around right goddamn now or we are D-E-D dead.

Grade: D+.