Homecoming Horror Show

The Wolverines get a break from Big Ten action this weekend. Perhaps, once again… they need to take a step back and possibly use the upcoming matchup with Toledo as a glorified scrimmage. However, nothing seems to be coming along easy for the Wolverines this season, so I advise them to not look ahead too much.

Illinois came into the Big House with a good game plan and my hat goes off to them, but the Wolverines failed to execute on both sides of the ball. They failed to make big plays on offense in the first half when they were given the opportunity and they also gave up too many big plays on defense. This team is a schizophrenic mess. They seem capable of having their spurts or times of greatness, but they have yet to put a complete game together. I blame that primarily on inexperience and poor execution.

The offense started out with a roar in the first quarter and then quietly whimpered as halftime drew near. Threet was having his best game and just so happened to find a new target by connecting with Martavious Odoms on several occasions. Greg Matthews also had a solid game. The running game was working when the pass was flourishing, but once the Illini started to blitz Threet and plug the holes… the unraveling began.

Turnovers were a factor late in the game as it became a blowout. RB Michael Shaw showed signs of greatness in the first two games this season, but ever since then his play has been on the decline and I don’t expect too much out of him throughout the rest of the season. His turnover was costly as the Wolverines were trying to make a comeback. Odoms, who was having a phenomenal day on kick returns, fumbled the ball as well. However, despite his turnover… he had a great game on special teams and Rodriguez might want to stick with him.

The defense possibly played their worst game of the season thus far and I hope it will be their last. Granted, Juice Williams is a great football player and appears to have outstanding leadership qualities, but when a defense surrenders over 400 yds on the account of one player… there is reason to be concerned. The whole unit was blowing plays and missing assignments and I can’t even recall how many times they fell for Illini fakes. The defensive line applied pressure on the running game, but they could not stop Williams in that department. Taking nothing away from Obi Ezeh’s great effort, the LB’s appeared lost on many plays. The secondary looked like a bunch of amateurs as the Illini took a page out of the Notre Dame playbook by hurting the Wolverines with the deep ball. Morgan Trent and Donovan Warren both took a lashing, as did Stevie Brown and Charles Stewart.

This was a team loss in every aspect. The inconsistency of the offense prompted the defense to fall victim to the Illini’s high octane offense. By the time the Wolverines tried to attempt another miraculous comeback the defense was already spent. Personally, I believe the Illini are the most talented offensive team in the conference and perhaps the Wolverines will not get burned again this season like they were against them. I’m still worried about the offense above anything else because after Toledo they enter the heart of Big Ten play with some tough opponents, especially on the road. The defense will more than likely learn their lesson and try to correct their mistakes. I wish I could say the same about the offense, but… they have not given me any signs or indications that they can take control and lead this team, therefore… my optimism is wearing thin.

Zoltan was a bright spot, though… as usual.

The Wolverines need to get serious or they will be Motor City bowling during the holidays.


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