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November 11, 2013 - Image 9

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 2013-11-11

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Sp or Monday

Nebraska running back Ameer Abdullah (top) ran for 105 yards againt the Michigan defense. Fifth-year senior running back Fit: Toussaint (left) was held to just six yards on nine carries. Redshirt Junior quarterback Devin Gardner was again
sacked seven times. Once again, Michigan's rushing offense lost more yards than it gained, including sacks, as the Michigan football team continues its struggles in Big Ten play.

Five Things We
Learned
By LIZ VUKELICH
Daily Sports Editor
1. Hoke will defend Borges until
the bitter end.
Al Borges may well be the
most talked about man in Ann
Arbor, but not in a good way.
Calls for the offensive coordi-

nator's firing started with Michi-
gan's first loss to Penn State last
month. They became a little
louder after the Michigan State
loss, and they've reached their
peak now that the Wolverines
had their second consecutive
week of negative rushing yards.
After Saturday's game,
though, Hoke said he approved
of Borges's calls.
"I liked the play calling," Hoke
said. "We thought we could do
some things, and we didn't."
Michigan made no attempt to

change its game plan from last
week to thisweek, as it continued
to run the ball when the running
backs - fifth-year senior Fitzger-
ald Toussaint and freshman Der-
rick Green - couldn't find any
space.
Borges clearly thinks he's
making the right decision, and
Hoke justified the play calling,
saying that the execution and
poor coaching has more to do
with it than anything else.
That implies that Hoke
believes in the current game

plan, and that he intends to keep
up with the same played-out
scene until the Wolverines find
some way to master it. It's just
uncertain if there's enough time
left for that to happen.
2. It's November, and turnovers
are still an issue.
Remember three games ago
when the biggest question mark
for the Wolverines was if red-
shirt junior quarterback Devin
Gardner could throw the ball

without it falling neatly into the
hands of an opponent?
That's hardly the case any-
more. Now, the bigger issue for
Michigan is how to capitalize
when it's on the receiving end of
a turnover.
The Wolverines had two gold-
en opportunities to score on Sat-
urday, one set by fifth-year senior
linebacker Cam Gordon forcing a
fumble to put the Wolverines at
the Nebraska 33-yard line, and
another where Dennis Norfleet
recovered a muffed punt on the

Nebraska 26-yard line.
And as a thank you for those
two gifts graciously given to it,
the Michigan offense went 1-for-
2 on field-goal attempts to cap off
those drives.
The problem to score has been
categorized as offensive ineffec-
tiveness. But when you're actu-
ally moving backward on a drive;
that's not ineffectiveness, it's self
destruction. The bottom line is,
when even the kickers aren't put
in a position to succeed, itunder-
See FIVE, Page 3B

Running game
loses yards, again

A broken streak, a
broken team

Michigan follows
negative 48-yard
performance with
negative 21 yards
By ZACH HELFAND
Doily Sports Editor
Somehow, after all the lost
yardage, the sacks, the runs up

the middle into walls of defend-
ers -followed by more runs into
more walls of defenders - the
Michigan football team still had
a chance to win the game against
Nebraska on Saturday. And at
the start of the fourth quarter,
Nebraska handed the Wolverines
one hell of a chance.
With the game tied, 10-10,
Nebraska return man Jordan
Westerkamp muffed a punt,
which bounced right into the

arms of sophomore wide receiver
Dennis Norfleet. Norfleetcruised
into the end zone, but it was for
naught - the kicking team can-
not advance a muffed punt. Still,
Michigan gained 50 yards on the
play, double its next-longest play
of the game. Now, just 26 yards
separated the Wolverines from
the end zone.
But it might as well have been
a mile. Michigan's first two plays
See NEGATIVE, Page 3B

Brady Hoke has always
shied away from ques-
tions about
his 19-game
winning
streak at
Michigan
Stadium,
but there
was always
a smile LIZ
behind his VUKELICH

eyes when he said the record
didn't matter - though he
never would admit it, Hoke
always seemed proud of the
streak that he had built.
Now that unbeaten streak -
the one thing the Wolverines
still had to play for despite all
their struggles this season - is
gone. And after Saturday's loss
against Nebraska, Hoke finally
showed some emotion when
talking about one of the big

things that's defined his tenure
in Ann Arbor.
"Any winning streak... "
Hoke paused as he searched for
words. "You're disappointed
when it's not there."
The home streak isn't the
only thing that isn't there any-
more, though. A lot of other
things seemed to break on
Saturday too - things bigger
and more significant than never
See BROKEN, Page 3B

* UMASS BRO?
The Wolverines kicked off their season
with a win over UMass-Lowell on Friday.
Here's what we learned about the new-
look team: Page 4B

NO ANSWERS
It's unrealistic to expect Michigan to be
a powerhouse in 2013. But is it realistic to
expect answers from its coach? SportsMon-
day Column: Page 2B

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