Michigan Wolverines no match for MSU’s stars, is Brady Hoke finished?


Sometime during a recent Michigan Wolverines practice session, you’d expect Michigan State’s big play guys to be plastered on a bulletin board.

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It’s no secret who they are, but maybe Michigan just plain forgot.

No one expected Michigan’s defense to totally shut down QB Connor Cook, WR Tony Lippett or RB Jeremy Langford.

And considering Michigan’s offense would likely lay another egg, it would be necessary for Greg Mattison’s defense to step up.

Good enough to win

Michigan did do a better job rushing the passer, but Cook managed the game well. He completed 12 of 22 passes for 227 yards, one touchdown, no interceptions and just one sack. Maybe not the performance needed to beat Ohio State, but certainly good enough to beat Michigan, 35-11.

Now, covering  Lippett one-on-one is no easy task, and probably  the only Wolverine who can is Jabrill Peppers, and he’s sidelined with an undisclosed injury.

Lippett is one of MSU’s vertical threats and he didn’t disappoint Saturday, grabbing a 70-yard touchdown pass from Cook to give the Spartans an insurmountable 28-3 lead midway in the third quarter.

Still, Michigan State likes to run the football and the Wolverines love to stop it.

Run Defense

Michigan Wolverines head coach Brady Hoke on the sidelines’ Credit: Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports

Going into Saturday’s game, U-M gave up only 93.6 yards rushing per game, good enough for second in the Big Ten and fourth in the nation.

Goodbye rushing stats. Hello Langford.

The 6-1, 208-lb senior from Wayne, Michigan carried the ball 35 times for 177 yards and three touchdowns. If he wasn’t the best player on the field, he was the most valuable.

Add 18 receiving yards and Langford had a total offense of 195, nine more than the entire Michigan team, and twice as many as Michigan’s season average against the run.

His days are numbered

“I thought we played the run better,” a disappointed Michigan head coach Brady Hoke said after the game. “I think when you look at the tape, there’s some things that I can tell you we did and didn’t do well. We’ve got to coach that better, that’s a big part of it. I thought we didn’t tackle very well. Some open holes and open spots, guys have to step up and tackle.”

So it’s fair to conclude that  Michigan State’s stars were a thorn in the side of Michigan’s defense. Of course, the Spartan defense has been a thorn in the side of well, all of Ann Arbor since 2007. Consider Michigan’s point totals in the following years:

2008: 21

2009: 20

2010: 17

2011: 14

2012: 12

2013: 6

2014: 11

The Michigan offense sent into Spartan Stadium Saturday clearly reflected the previous results—notably one-dimensional. And that’s being generous.

Why? Because Michigan had very little rushing offense, the passing attack was minimal and quarterback Devin Gardner was virtually no threat to run.

No wonder Hoke’s return next season is somewhere between slim and none. This is Michigan fergoshsakes.

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