Monday, October 27, 2008

Monday Press Conference- Week 10

Despite Saturday's loss to in-state rival MSU, Coach Rod was in good spirits at his Monday Press Conference (transcript) as he just signed his six-year contract (.pdf) on Friday of last week which pays him $2 million per year to destroy, er- I mean lead- the Michigan Football program.

The Wolverines go on the road this week to take on for the last time a Joe Tiller-led Purdue Boilermakers' Football squad. This game represents Michigan's best chance of winning a game for the remainder of the season so it is important for the Wolverines to seize the opportunity. To read up on this impending clash of Big Ten second-tier teams, you can read the Michgan Game Notes (.pdf). Go Blue!

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Michigan State 35 Michigan 21

In front of a Big House crowd of 110,146, the Wolverines (2-6) lost a home game to the Spartans for the first time since 1990. Following are the game summary, boxscore, play-by-play chart (.pdf), postgame notes, quotes, player participation chart, photos (MGoBlue; Detroit News; Free Press; Assoc. Press; MSU Photos by Assoc. Press; MSU Photos), video (Postgame press conference; BTN Highlights; ESPN Highlights; Michigan Rewind) and Detroit News Slideshow with audio. Much analysis to follow when I'm done running scenarios of how Michigan can still qualify for a bowl game this season. Go Blue!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Coach Rod's Monday Press Conference

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Halfway there, Livin' on a Prayer

Michigan (2-4) is halfway through its twelve game regular season schedule and is currently on its way to its worst season in over 40 years. In reviewing the first half of the 2008 season, here is where the Wolverines stand nationally in some important offensive and defensive categories:

Go Blue!

Penn State week

Coming off a devastating loss to Toledo, the Wolverines have had to quickly refocus on this Saturday's game against undefeated and #3 ranked Penn State (7-0, 3-0). On Monday (October 13, 2008), Coach Rod conducted his weekly press conference. [Transcript can be read here]. Video of the press conference is below:

As always, you can find everything you need to know about this week's game in the Michigan Game Notes (.pdf). If you want to see things from the other point of view, check out the Penn State Game Notes (.pdf). Go Blue!

Mike Rosenberg's Freep Column: "System Failure"

Michigan has stumbled to a 2-4 start and Michael Rosenberg, columnist for the Free Press, did a review of the first half of the season in a column entitled "System Failure." The byline for the article in the Freep print edition reads- "The early take on Rodriguez: Atrocious". So much for subtlety. Go Blue!

Sunday, October 12, 2008

It's up, good (again)

With 8 seconds remaining and the Wolverines trailing Toledo by three (13-10), K.C. Lopata trotted onto the field to attempt a 26-yard game tying field goal. The snap was good, the placement was solid, the kick was up, the ball sailed...wide left. No good. K.C. Lopata now joins an ignominous list of Michigan kickers who have missed field goal attempts in the waning moments of a game. Updating a post from prior to the 2007 season, here are some other examples of games in which time was running out and a missed field goal cost Michigan dearly:

September 1, 2007: Appalachian State (0-0) at #5 Michigan (0-0):

Sept. 15, 1979: #9 Notre Dame at #6 Michigan (1-0)
(Sports Illustrated 9/24/79 issue; article part I, part II, part III)
In the first game in Ann Arbor between these two teams since 1943, Notre Dame clung to a 12-10 lead with :07 seconds remaining in the game. Michigan had the ball at the Irish 25-yard line and kicker Bryan Virgil attempted a 42-yard field goal for the win the for the Wolverines. Virgil had already hit a 30-yarder earlier in the contest for Michigan. On the last second field goal attempt for the win, the kick was blocked by a leaping Bob Crable. Notre Dame consequently escaped with the hard fought victory.

Nov. 6, 1976: #1 Michigan (8-0) at Purdue (3-5)
(Sports Illustrated 11/15/76 issue; Article part I and part II)
Michigan was ranked #1 in the nation and had a chance to escape West Lafayette with a victory and keep its perfect record intact. Trailing 16-14 with :14 seconds remaining in the game, kicker Bob Wood came on for a 37-yard field goal attempt. Wood had set a Michigan record in 1975 by kicking 11 field goals and he was a very accurate 6 for 8 to that point in 1976. The kick was long enough but it was off to the left. No good. Purdue won.

Nov. 23, 1974: #3 Michigan (10-0) at #4 Ohio State (9-1)
Trailing 12-10 with :18 seconds left in the game, Michigan set up for a 33-yard field goal for the win and a trip to the Rose Bowl. Attempting the kick for the Wolverines again was Mike "Super Toe" Lantry. Lantry's kick was ruled "no good" although to this day some Michigan fans swear the ball was inside the uprights. The miss gave the Buckeyes another victory and meant the Wolverines season was over as the Big Ten's Rose Bowl-only-policy was still in effect.

Nov. 24, 1973: #1 Ohio State (9-0) at #4 Michigan (10-0)
A then NCAA record crowd of 105,233 packed Michigan Stadium to watch the two titans of the Big Ten battle for a Rose Bowl berth. The score was tied 10-10 when Tom Drake intercepted a pass for the Wolverines and he returned the ball to the Ohio State 33 yard line. Michigan advanced the ball to the Ohio 28 before using its final timeout. On third down, with :28 seconds left on the clock, kicker Mike "Super Toe" Lantry set up for a 44-yard field goal attempt. He had hit a 30-yarder in the third quarter and had narrowly missed a 58-yard field goal attempt earlier in the fourth quarter. If Lantry hit the 44-yard field goal attempt, Coach Schembechler's Michigan team would advance to the Rose Bowl as an undefeated team for the second time in three seasons. Lantry's kick went wide right and Michigan's Rose Bowl hopes were dashed as the game ended in a tie. The next day the Big 10 Athletic Directors voted 6-4 to send Ohio State to the 1974 Rose Bowl game.

Go Blue!

Toledo 13 Michigan 10

In front of a stunned crowd of 107,267 at the Big House, the Wolverines suffered their first ever defeat to a MAC school as Michigan lost to Toledo by the score of 13-10 when K.C. Lopata's game-tying field goal attempt in the waning seconds sailed wide left. Much analysis to follow when I'm done mourning the loss of Michigan's undefeated record against current MAC schools. In the interim, here are the game summary, boxscore, play-by-play chart (.pdf), postgame notes, quotes, player participation chart, photos (MGoBlue; Detroit News; Free Press; Assoc. Press) and video (postgame press conference; Michigan Rewind; BTN Highlights). Go Blue!

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Programming note: Set your TiVo on Saturday

Monday, October 06, 2008

Monday Press Conference- Week 7 (Toledo)

During his weekly Monday Press Conference, Coach Rod made the point that correcting the mistakes would be the focus in the upcoming week. (Coach Rod transcript). Press Conference Video below:

One thing Coach Rod might want to do is show the team video of Mike Hart giving instructions on how to properly carry a football so that the ball carrier will not fumble it.

This week's opponents are the University of Toledo Rockets (1-4) who are coming off a 31-0 loss to Ball State. Some suggested reading materials for this week's contest are: the Michigan Game Notes (.pdf), the Univ. of Toledo Game Notes (.pdf),the 2008 Univ. of Toledo Football Media Guide (.pdf) and the Big 10 weekly news release (.pdf). If you want to listen to coverage of the team rather than read about it, click here for audio of Coach Rod's Big 10 weekly teleconference calls.

Kickoff for the game is at noon on Saturday, October 11, 2008. The game will be televised by the Big Ten Network with Thom Brennaman (play-by-play), Charles Davis (color analyst), and Charissa Thompson (sideline reporter). Go Blue!

Saturday, October 04, 2008

Programming Note-Listen to a Ufer broadcast

Depressed over another tough Michigan loss on Saturday? Want to listen to a Michigan win broadcast by a Michigan legend? Then tune into WTKA (AM-1050) tomorrow- Sunday- at noon for a broadcast of a classic Michigan Football game. WTKA will broadcast a classic Ufer announced Michigan Football game each Sunday from noon to 3 p.m. for the remainder of the football season. Go Blue!

Illinois 45 Michigan 20

In front of a crowd of 109,750 at The Big House, the Wolverines faltered in the second half and dropped the contest with the Fighting Illini by the score of 45-20. After taking an early 14-3 lead, Michigan was outscored 42-6 the rest of the way. Following are the game summary, boxscore, play-by-play chart (.pdf), postgame notes, quotes, player participation chart, photos (MGoBlue; Detroit News; Free Press; Associated Press) and videos (postgame press conference; Michigan Rewind; ESPN Highlights; BTN Highlights). Much analysis to follow when I'm done cleaning my clothes that got dirty when I got too close to the playing of the Mud Bowl. Go Blue!

*Note: Free Press Photo by JULIAN H. GONZALEZ of webmaster Frank D. preparing a "Pizza Steak" sandwich during the 10-4-08 pre-game tailgate sponsored by Cholula Hot Sauce.

Friday, October 03, 2008

Varsity Blue breaks down the Koger TD play

In a truly outstanding and informative post, Tim at Varsity Blue goes "inside the play" re: the Kevin Koger TD catch. It is a must read. Check it out. Go Blue!

Michigan vs. Illinois preview

Also, you can watch Doug Karsch's interview with Coach Rod during the Friday walk-through by clicking here. Go Blue!

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Illinois Game Week

Coming off a big victory over Wisconsin, the Wolverines are preparing for their Homecoming matchup with the Fighting Illini. On Monday (9-29-08), Coach Rod spoke to the media at his weekly press conference. (video; transcript) Everything you need to know about this week's game can be found in the Michigan Game Notes (.pdf). If you want the perspective from the other side, you can check out the Illinois Game Notes (.pdf). The game will be televised by ESPN on ABC with Dave Lamont doing the play-by-play, David Norrie serving as the color analyst, and Jeannine Edwards (picture at right) providing sideline reports and analysis. As you can never talk to the media too much, Coach Rod held another press conference today (Wednesday- 10/1/08). [press conference audio] Coach Rod is not the only one to speak to the media however. Illinois Coach Zook spoke to the media yesterday (9/30/08) during a Media Luncheon. To learn more about the Fighting Illini, you can check out their 2008 Football Media Guide (.pdf). Go Blue!

*Note: Photo of Jeannine Edwards from ESPN Photo.

Michigan vs. Illinois

The Wolverines take on the Fighting Illini this Saturday in Michigan's Homecoming game. Below is video by WolverineHistorian of some memorable moments from past contests:

One of the most classic games played in this rivalry in recent memory was the 2000 game during which QB Drew Henson rallied the Wolverines to a comeback victory. Go Blue!