Duck Off

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What is it with my favorite sports teams and ducks of the Anaheim or Eugene variety? I still wasn't completely sold on the defense, even after the bagel it hung on the Domers (and after their performance against the Spartans, it looks like even less of an accomplishment), and last Saturday's loss to Oregon confirmed a couple of things I was worried about. First, they're vulnerable--even against the run--to teams that can spread the field. The long runs they gave up were almost exclusively in this situation. Second, mobile quarterbacks give them fits. This has been true for as long as I can remember, and I can remember back to Dennis Franklin. In general, pocket passers don't beat Michigan; guys who can move around long enough to bust a receiver loose can.

One positive for the defense--they got pushed up and down the field for 2 1/2 quarters and only gave up 17 points (although it would have been 28-0 (about which more later) at halftime without the blocked FG return), and they were playing as expected at the end. Don't argue that Oregon was just trying to bleed the clock by then; they were still going for points all the way until their take-a-knee possession.

I'd love for Michigan to get another crack at Oregon. I know it won't happen, since it would take both schools winning out and about ten other schools each to lose at least once (and some probably twice), but Michigan played as bad as I've seen them since last year's Iowa game, Oregon (at home) played nearly flawlessly, and U-M still only lost by four. And they had the ball with a real chance to win in the final minute.

About that potential 28-0 halftime score: yes, I think the officials blew the call and Clemens did cross the goal line with the ball, so the score should have been 7-0 Oregon at that point, not 6-0 Michigan two plays later. You know what? Too damn bad. Michigan has been overtly screwed by so many bad calls over the years (what other team has had two teams score touchdowns against them without the ball? (ND 2002) (1979 Rose Bowl)) that it would take one TD-reversing bad call per game for two years to even them out.

Other stuff:

This loss shouldn't affect their (outright) Big Ten championship chances - they should be 10-1 when aOSU comes to town, and the two teams they don't play (Penn State, Wisconsin) will almost certainly both have at least one conference loss.

Update: Michigan beat Florida in last year's Outback Bowl.

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This page contains a single entry by Chris published on September 23, 2003 11:36 AM.

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