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November 04, 2013 - Image 9

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 2013-11-04

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

Five Things
We Learned
Daily Sports Editor
1. Things haven't gotten better for the
offensive line.
They've. gotten worse. Blood ran
down Taylor Lewan's forehead as he
stepped to the press conference podium
after Michigan's 29-6 loss to Michigan
State on Saturday. The cut above his

brow opens upnearly every game. This
time, he didn't bother to wipe away the
His quarterback, after all, was in
worse condition. The Spartans' defense
battered redshirt junior quarterback
Devin Gardner all game, breaking
through a porous Michigan offensive
line that again couldn't protect the
passer or open holes for the running
game. He was pulled for Michigan's last
offensive series because he had already
taken enough abuse. Lewan said he felt
bad for him, that the line let him down.
The pummeling was so thorough
that Michigan State coach Mark Danto-

nio, in his postgame press conference,
felt the need to address the thought that
the Spartans' dominance was somehow
too mean. In a football game.
This is the current state of Michi-
gan's offensive line. The team rushed
for negative 48 yards, the lowest total
in 134 years of Michigan football. It
allowed seven sacks and seven more
quarterback hurries, crippling the
passing attack. The opposing coach had
to defend his players from accusations
of bullying.
"We're not trying to go out there and
bully anybody," Dantonio said after
the game. "We're not trying to do that.

They've got big guys too, OK?"
At the start 'of the year, the line
underperformed but ' still allowed'
Gardner enough time in the pocket in
wins over Central Michigan and Notre
Dame. Now, after four failed combina-
tions in the interior of the line, it looks
as bad as ever.
2..Michigan is not a power team.
Michigan State is a power team. That
is the team Michigan wants to be. That
is not the team Michigan is.
The negative 48 rushing yards says
it all, really. But there was physical

dominance on both sides, of the ball.
The Spartans' offense didn't perform
particularly well. Had it capitalized on
its field-position advantage, the score
would've been even more lopsided.
But the offense wore down Michi-
gan's defense late in the game after
rushing 39 times for 142 yards. Those
aren't world-beating numbers, but this
was a classic.Big Ten game plan. Michi-
gan wants to be more than that - more
dynamic and explosive - but first, it
wants to execute the downhill running
game. It wants to control the line of
scrimmage on both sides of the ball. It
See FIVE, Page 4B

" was the dagger

Worst rushing game in'M'history

ccordingto a statistical
conducted by
com, a differ-
ence of a yard
of starting
field position
amounts to an MATT
advantage of SLOVIN
.06 points per
This seems negligible, at least
before considering the massive
advantage Michigan State held
over Michigan in field position Sat-

urday, and how that helped trans-
late into a 29-6 Spartans victory
that was close for all of a half.
The Wolverines' drives began,
on average, at their own 24-yard
line.That lent zero favors to an
offense facing its toughest task of
the season in what is likely Michi-
gan State defensive mastermind
Pat Narduzzi's strongest unit in his
time in East Lansing.
To make Saturday's game com-
petitive - and make no mistake,
the Spartans' biggest win over
the Wolverines since 1967 was
nowhere near competitive - Mich-
igan probably would've needed to
See SLOVIN, Page 38

Daily Sports Editor
gan State has a great defense,
the Michigan football team's
offensive line is inexperienced,
and Michigan was playing in a
hostile road environment. All
of those things are true.
But it's easy for the excuses
to pile up, to make the number
"-48" seem unimportant and to
blame sacks and a missed snap
for that atrocious number.
The bottom line is that no
team in the 134 year history
of Michigan football has ever
run for fewer yards than the
Wolverines did on Saturday in
a 29-6 loss to Michigan State.
The next closest Michigan
team to rush for that many
negative yards (48) was the

1962 squad, which ran for -46
against Minnesota. That team
went 2-7, was outscored 214-70
on the year and finished dead
last in the Big Ten.
This 2013 team was still
very much alive in the Big Ten
title race before Saturday's
debacle began.
Now, a game later, the Wol-
verines have muffed them-
selves out of contentionwhile
putting themselves in the
record book in the worst pos-
sible way.
"It's a matter of straining for
that extra half-second," said
fifth-year senior left tackle
Taylor Lewan. "There were a
couple runs where (fifth-year
senior running back Fitzgerald
Toussaint) really could have
broke out, but we just needed
to straighten that much more

on blocks. These guys will get
it, they will, but this is going to
sting for a bit."
Through all the switches
and substitutions, the offen-
sive line has been criticized all
season, particularly, the three
interior lineman. Saturday
saw another starting unit, the
fourth different starting offen-
sive line in as many games, get
beaten up the middle.
Redshirt sophomore Gra-
ham Glasgow remained at cen-
ter after a mid-season move
from guard. Freshman Kyle
Bosch made his first career
start at left guard. Redshirt
freshman Erik Magnuson
made his second at right guard.
Evaluation will have to wait,
though, because of the beating
the entire unit took. It's hard
to single out players when a

whole line struggles.
"It's not just those guys,"
Lewan said. "Absolutely not.
This is a team effort, but a lot
of it falls on the offensive line.
It's not just those three guys."
Part of the reason for the
new record-setting number
was the number of sacks red-
shirt junior quarterback Devin
Gardner took - seven.
That bumped the total, as
did a high snap that moved
Michigan's offense back 20
Still, a dominant - or even
average - running game
would have pushed Michigan
past that 1962 team. Toussaint
had another underwhelming
game, finishing with 20 yards
on eight attempts.
All night long, Michigan

Michigan coach Brady Hoke is a great
recruiter and motivator. But are his teams
progressing? SportsMonday Column:
Page 2B

The Michigan women's soccer team
didn't clinch the Big Ten title, but it did
beat Ohio State Saturday.
Page 3B

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