Michigan Football: Wolverines Must Keep it Together After Stunning Loss


It ain’t over til it’s over.

Michigan Wolverine fans and players learned that the hard way against MSU last Saturday. Now that we’ve all had a chance to pick our jaws up off the floor and wipe our tears, it’s time to suck it up and move on. (And seriously, to the people sending death threats to Blake O’Neill, kindly put yourselves in a long timeout and/or therapy session.)

The team needs to focus on what it did well against Michigan State, what it needs to improve upon and what’s ahead.

In the MSU game, Jake Rudock had a pretty average day. He went 15-for-25 with 168 yards, no touchdowns and no interceptions. This shows just how heavily Michigan is relying on its running game in the red zone. That being said, the team only had 62 rushing yards. MSU had 58, so both defenses shined against the run.

There were two big issues with Michigan, though: pass defense and penalties. MSU had 329 passing yards, almost doubling Michigan, and the Wolverines had 8 penalties for 70 yards (compared to MSU’s 5 for 44 yards). The stellar Wolverine defense got beat up a bit against Connor Cook, which, I’m sure, taught the team a lot about where it has to improve.

The penalties, though, were completely avoidable. The big blow came on a questionable targeting call that got the team’s leading tackler, Joe Bolden, ejected. The rest were just mental and emotional mistakes.

One thing that Michigan needs to remember is that the team led MSU the entire game, right down to the 0:00 mark. The Wolverines are strong, strong enough to have earned the win. O’Neill is not solely to blame for the loss, however.

Had the defense done a better job against Cook, had the team taken fewer penalties, had a million different things gone a million different ways, the game-ending pick-6 would not have given MSU the win.

Looking ahead, Michigan faces Minnesota at 7:00 p.m. Saturday, October 31 (Aww, no trick-or-treating for them). This game will show how mature Michigan is. Minnesota isn’t ranked, which gives the Wolverines a break from big-time teams, but if they can’t move beyond an emotional loss, they could easily get another.

Next: The Six Darkest Days in Michigan Football History

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