Monday, September 24, 2007

Michigan: The Post Mortem

Now that we're a little removed from the travesty which transpired on Saturday. As everyone knows, the Lions fell to Michigan 14-9. This caused the Lions to fall 11 positions in the polls to #21. There were a variety of reasons the Lions fell on saturday, I will try to highlight some of the reasons I think were most responsible for PSU's poor showing.

On Offense:
Most glaring is Penn State's ability to only convert 33% of their third down plays. This has got to change in Penn State is going to be any good at all this year.
The Rushing attack was less impressive in person than it was in real life. The lions ended up rushing for 101 yards on 29 attempts or 3.5 yds/carry. If you hadn't watched the game you might have thought that PSU did ok rushing the ball, this would be completely inaccurate. Penn State struggled running the ball all day. It resembled a mentally handicapped child running into a wall time and time again. The staff's reliance on the I-formation nearly made me vomit with rage. Instead of spreading the field Penn State seemed happy to try to run out of the I-formation. It was awful. If you were afraid PSU wasn't going to base it's attack off of the Appy St./Oregon playbook than now is the time to start hitting yourself with a heavy blunt object (insert Morelli joke here).
Morelli was not very good. He was relatively mistake free throwing the ball as he had no INTs (that is about as positive as one can get about his performance), howver, he had a critical fumble early in the game which set up Michigan's first TD. He completed less than 50% of his passes (48%). The simple fact of the matter is that Morelli is not making the plays necessary for Penn State to win. He just isn't. I've been a Morelli supporter through last year and so far this year, but a change needs to be made. PSU has to find a player who can make things happen to put points on the board.
There is also the little matter of Austin Scott's complete unwillingness to hang onto the ball. It went something like this:
AMMO: Hey, Austin! Take this football!
Scott: Sure thing.
UM Player: I'm going to tackle you. Prepare yourself!
Scott: AAAAAAH! (fumbles)

After his second fumble-prone game Austin has probably butter-fingered his way out of a starting role.

On Defense:
While the Offense didn't convert enough third downs the Defense gave up far too many third down conversions. Michigan was able to convert 56% of their third downs which allowed Hart to run the ball 44 times for 153 yards (3.47 yds/carry). However, the defense only gave up 14 points, which includes the early gift Morelli gave Michigan when he fumbled deep in PSU's territory. For Penn State to win the defense needed to not only have a good game but also to have a game-changing, beat-down, kind of a game. This simply did not happen, however, without the Defense's effort it could have been much worse than it was.
You did see a lot of DC-40 in the first half.

I don't know what Penn State needs to do to get the offense moving. I think trying Clark at QB and giving Royster more touches at RB is a good start. I can't believe that we've lost nine in a row to Michigan.



Andy said...

I can't really hand Michigan too much credit for this win. Sure Hart snagged a bunch of yards, but at less than 3.5/carry? That's still a pretty bad day. Especially considering the amount of time the D was on the field. I'm chalking up those blown third down stops to just plain ol' fatigue.

Penn State MADE Michigan look good in this game, by looking so bad offensively. And let's face it, erase Morelli's first fumble, and we win the game 9-7.

It's sad when your offense gives up just as many points as your defense.

This wasn't a win for Michigan, all they had to do was show up and have the game handed to them by our ridiculous freshman mistakes on offense.

One touchdown. Just one. And we couldn't get it. ARGH!

JB said...

Well, I agree with you that the first TD was entirely Morelli's fault. However, Michigan WON this football game. Michigan had more rushing yards, passing yards, first downs, and Mallet completed a higher percentage of passes than Morelli. You have to give UM their due, they won it on the field. PSU could have and should have played better but Michigan was the better team on Saturday.