Michigan vs. Wisconsin: Badgers too much to handle for the Wolverines

Football

The Michigan Wolverines (8-3) fell to the Wisconsin Badgers (11-0) by a score of 10-24 in Camp Randall.

Michigan looked all out of sorts early, having to use all 3 of their first half timeouts because they couldn’t get lined up correctly. Although, it does seem like they implemented some new packages on offense and it might have just been too much in a week. They ran plays out of both the pistol and the wildcat.

Something got into Brandon Peters and he just started letting it rip. He thew one deep pass to DPJ for 47 yards.

Offense

The offense was playing well enough at the start of the game. They weren’t running the ball particularly well, but they were able to throw it and move the ball down the field. After that 47 yard throw to DPJ, Peters dumped it down to Chris Evans who picked up 19. His next pass was 14 yard dart to Sean McKeon, which set up a TD for freshman fullback Ben Mason and tied the game up 7-7 heading into halftime. This was the last good drive from the Wolverines. Michigan didn’t really have any success in the third quarter and Peters went off on a cart after a dirty hit by a Wisconsin defender that wasn’t penalized. John O’Korn replaced him. After that, Michigan got nothing done. That isn’t all on O’Korn though. You can’t expect a back up quarterback to come in on the road in the freezing cold to play this Wisconsin defense. His receivers didn’t do him any favors.

For whatever reason, the offensive line can’t handle stunts in pass protection. It seemed that every time there was a stunt, Peters was taking hits – and this includes the hit that took him out of the game and to the hospital in an ambulance.

Michigan’s running game was non-existent. Chris Evans had the most carries on the day, 11, which he only took for 25 yards. Karan Higdon, who was obviously limited by his ankle injury, added 20 yards on 7 carries. Kareem Walker also got some carries, but actually lost 4 yards on three touches.

Offensive Player of the Game

Michigan’s offensive player of the game was Brandon Peters. He wasn’t perfect, but he was able to move the ball when the run game wasn’t going smoothly. There were some throws that Peters missed. Overall he played a decent game throwing for 157 yards on 9-18 passing. The Wolverines didn’t have anyone that stood out on offense, so Peters didn’t get much help. DPJ made a couple good plays, but nobody else could make a play when the team needed it.

Defense

The Michigan defense bottled up this Wisconsin offense in the first half, holding them to only 99 yards. Wisconsin’s only score in the first half came off of botched punt coverage that their returner took back for a touchdown.

Devin Bush made a huge play for Michigan with an interception, which Michigan got a field goal out of to make the score 10-7.

Per usual, this defensive line got to the QB. Hornibrook was under pressure whenever he dropped back to pass. Even with that pressure, Wisconsin’s QB threw some absolute dimes to pick up 72 yards on a drive that he finished with a 24 yard TD throw on 3rd and 16.

In the 4th quarter the defense just looked run down. They gave up 226 yards in the 2nd half after only giving up 99 in the first half. Jonathan Taylor carved up the defense in the second half, getting him to 132 rushing yards on the day.

 

3rd down defense

Michigan has a great third down defense, but they gave up three crucial third and longs this game. Before Wisconsin even completed the 24 yard pass for a TD on 3rd and 16, Michigan gave up a 51 yard pass on 3rd and 13. All three of those plays were part of Wisconsin touchdown drives.

Quarterback situation

Peters was having a good game against one of the better defenses in the country when he went down. So what now? Photographer Mike Mulholland shed some light on the Peters injury in this tweet:

This obviously doesn’t sound good. We have seen O’Korn start games this year and it wasn’t good. The game might get ugly in Ann Arbor next weekend…

More importantly, we hope that Peters is okay.

When will Michigan catch a break?

I am not part of the whole “Big Ten hates Michigan” conspiracy, but damn Michigan can never get a call. The officiating was terrible today. On a huge 3rd down Michigan got a stop, which was going to put them in good field position – BUT this somehow got called for pass interference:

 

Right after that call, Wisconsin running back Jonathan Taylor ripped off a 52 yard run.

Another huge call that changed he game was the touchdown that was called as incomplete to DPJ:

After this “incomplete pass”, Brandon Peters coughed up the ball trying to run for a touchdown.

This is an overarching theme that I think a lot of Michigan fans (and Lions fans) are feeling; Michigan never seems to catch a break.

All of that being said, I don’t think that Michigan deserved to win this game. The pass catchers dropped too many balls. They gave up too many big plays.?They gave up third and longs and had a huge breakdown on special teams. Hopefully the Wolverines can fix some of these mistakes and look better next weekend.

 

Here is a full box score.

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