Posts Tagged ‘Tom Brady’

Tom Brady’s super buddies

Sunday, February 2nd, 2014


Tom Brady Best Buddies

When the Broncos and Seahawks face off in Super Bowl XLVIII we won’t see any Michigan alums on the field. But over the past decade, we’ve had the opportunity to see Michigan’s most successful alum in the NFL take part in five Super Bowls. Tom Brady has three rings and two Super Bowl MVPs, but did you know he devotes time each offseason to help people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD)?

For more than a decade, Brady has teamed up with Best Buddies International, a global non-profit organization that helps people with IDD. Best Buddies creates opportunities for one-one-one friendships, integrated employment and leadership development for its participants.

Click for the full story on BigTenNetwork.com

Brady, Manningham carry Maize and Blue pride into Super Bowl

Sunday, February 5th, 2012



Tom Brady looks for his fourth Super Bowl ring, starting in his fifth Super Bowl in 10 years as an NFL starting quarterback. He would tie Joe Montana and Terry Bradshaw for most Super Bowl rings by a quarterback in NFL history and he would break Montana’s career playoff victory record.

Mario Manningham enters his first Super Bowl Sunday with a touchdown in all three playoff games to this point, including the game-winner in the NFC Championship game in San Francisco. Manningham has a chance to be the standout player, taking advantage of a weak Patriots secondary that will be focusing on Victor Cruz and Hakeem Nicks.

Zoltan Mesko (Patriots punter) and David Baas (Giants center) also make their first Super Bowl appearances.

The halftime show also features a Michigan connection. Madonna briefly attended Michigan before dropping out in 1977 to move to New York to pursue a singing/dancing career.

Around the League – Week 8

Thursday, November 3rd, 2011


Michigan has a great tradition of sending players to the National Football League. While the pace has fallen off over the past few years, there are still plenty of former Wolverines in the League. Each week during the season, we will provide an update on how former Michigan Men fared that week.

TOM BRADYPatriots QB

Mario Manningham caught his first touchdown of the season on Sunday (photo by Julio Cortez, AP)

Last game: Went 24-of-35 for 198 yards and two touchdowns. Had a passer rating of 101.8 in the Patriots’ 25-17 loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers
Season totals: 184-of-272 (67.6%) for 2,361 yards (4th in NFL), 18 TDs (4th), 8 INTs
This week: Patriots host the New York Giants on Sunday at 4:15 EST
__________________________________

CHAD HENNEDolphins QB

Last game: DNP – Our for season (shoulder)
Season totals: 64-of-112 (57.1%) for 868 yards, 4 TDs, 4 INTs

_______________________________

LAMARR WOODLEYSteelers OLB
Last game: Recorded 2 tackles, 2 sacks, 2 tackles-for-loss in the Steelers’ 25-17 win over the New England Patriots
Season totals: 36 tackles, 9 sacks (5th in NFL), 7.5 tackles-for-loss, 2 passes defended, 1 INT
This week: Steelers host the Baltimore Ravens at 8:20 EST on Sunday Night Football on NBC
_______________________________

MARIO MANNINGHAM - Giants WR
Last game:  Caught 6 passes for 63 yards and 1 touchdown with a long of 14 yards in the Giants’ 20-17 win over the Miami Dolphins
Season totals: 24 catches for 290 yards (48.3 ypg) and 1 touchdown
This week: at New England Patriots on Sunday at 4:15 EST
_______________________________

BRAYLON EDWARDS49ers WR
Last game: Caught 4 passes for 42 yards with a long of 13 in the 49ers’ 20-10 win over the Cleveland Browns
Season totals: 8 catches for 90 yards (30 ypg)
This week: at Washington Redskins on Sunday at 1 EST
_______________________________

CHARLES WOODSONPackers DB

Braylon Edwards returned form injury to catch 4 passes for 42 yards on Sunday (photo by Ezra Shaw, Getty Images)

Last game: Bye Week
Season totals: 26 tackles, 5 INT (1st in NFL), 7 passes defended, 1 fumble recovery, 1 TD
This week: at San Diego Chargers 4:15 EST

_______________________________

STEVE BREASTONChiefs WR
Last game: Caught three passes for 42 yards in the Chiefs’ 23-20 overtime win over the San Diego Chargers on Monday Night Football.
Season totals: 22 catches for 335 yards (47.9 ypg), 2 TDs
This week: Chiefs host the Miami Dolphins on Sunday at 1 EST

_______________________________

JASON AVANT - Eagles WR

Last game: Caught 5 passes for 74 yards with a long of 24 in the Eagles’ 34-7 win over the Dallas Cowboys on Sunday Night Football
Season totals: 31 catches for 412 yards (58.9 ypg)
This week: Eagles host the Chicago Bears at 8:30 EST on Monday Night Football
__________________________________

TIM JAMISONTexans DE

Last game: Recorded one tackle in the Texans’ 24-14 win over the Jacksonville Jaguars
Season totals: 6 tackles, 1 pass defended, 1 forced fumble, 1 fumble recovery
This week: Texans host the Cleveland Browns on Sunday at 1 EST
__________________________________

LEON HALL Bengals DB
Last game: Recorded 9 tackles in the Bengals’ 34-12 win over the Seattle Seahawks
Season totals: 28 tackles, 4 passes defended, 1 INT, 1 fumble recovery
This week: at Tennessee Titans on Sunday at 4:05 EST
__________________________________

MORGAN TRENTBengals DB
Last game: Waived by the Bengals to make room for Cedric Benson
Season totals: 6 tackles
__________________________________

DAVID HARRIS - Jets LB
Last game: Bye week
Season totals: 36 tackles, 2 sacks, 2 tackles-for-loss, 3 passes defended, 1 INT, 1 TD
This week: at the Buffalo Bills on Sunday at 1 EST
__________________________________

ZOLTAN MESKOPatriots P
Last game: Booted 4 punts for 168 yards (42.0 avg) with a long of 53 and 1 inside the 20 in the Patriots 25-17 loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers
Season totals: 22 punts for 993 yards (45.1 avg), 9 inside 20
This week: Patriots host the New York Giants on Sunday at 4:15 EST
__________________________________

JAMES HALLRams DE
Last game: Recorded 2 tackles in the Rams’ 31-21 upset of the New Orleans Saints
Season totals: 23 tackles, 2 sacks, 2 tackle-for-loss, 1 pass defended
This week: at Arizona Cardinals on Sunday at 4:15 EST
__________________________________

LARRY FOOTESteelers LB
Last game: Recorded 8 tackles in the Steelers’ 25-17 win over the New England Patriots
Season totals: 30 tackles, 1 sack, 1 tackle-for-loss
This week: Steelers host the Baltimore Ravens at 8:20 EST on Sunday Night Football on NBC
__________________________________

JAY FEELYCardinals K
Last game: Hit 2-of-2 Field Goals with a long of 45 yards and 3-of-3 extra points in the Cardinals’ 30-27 loss to the Baltimore Ravens
Season totals: 6-for-9 FGs (Long 51), 17-for-17 XPs
This week: Cardinals host the St. Louis Rams on Sunday at 4:15 EST

__________________________________

ALAN BRANCHSeahawks DT
Last game: Recorded 1 tackle-for-loss in the Seahawks’ 34-12 loss to the Cincinnati Bengals
Season totals: 16 tackles, 1 sack, 1 tackle-for-loss
This week: at the Dallas Cowboys on Sunday at 1 EST
__________________________________

ADRIAN ARRINGTONSaints WR
Last game: Did not play in the Saints’ 31-21 loss to the St. Louis Rams
Season totals: 1 catch for 14 yards (4.7 ypg)
This week: Saints host the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Sunday at 1 EST
__________________________________

BRANDON GRAHAMEagles DE
On PUP list with knee injury. Expected to return this week

__________________________________

RYAN MUNDYSteelers S
Last game: Recorded 5 tackles in the Steelers’ 25-17 win over the New England Patriots
Season totals: 18 tackles
This week: Steelers host the Baltimore Ravens at 8:20 EST on Sunday Night Football on NBC

__________________________________

PRESCOTT BURGESSRavens LB
Last game: Recorded 1 tackle in the Ravens’ 30-27 win over the Arizona Cardinals
Season totals: 3 tackles
This week: at Pittsburgh Steelers at 8:20 EST on Sunday Night Football on NBC

__________________________________

STEVIE BROWNColts DB
Last game: Did not play in the Colts’ 27-10 loss to the Tennessee Titans
Season totals: 5 tackles
This week: Colts host the Atlanta Falcons on Sunday at 1 EST

__________________________________

JEFF BACKUSLions OT
Starter
__________________________________

STEVE HUTCHINSONVikings OG
Starter
__________________________________

JONATHAN GOODWIN49ers OG
Starter
__________________________________

DAVID BAASGiants C
Starter
__________________________________

JAKE LONGDolphins OT
Starter
__________________________________

JONAS MOUTONChargers LB
On injured reserve. Has not played yet this season
__________________________________

STEPHEN SCHILLINGChargers OT
Activated from the practice squat, but has not played yet this season

Around the League – Week 5

Wednesday, October 12th, 2011


[Ed: We missed last week's Around the League, so the season totals will include that week's stats, but the "Last game" stats will just be this past weekend's stats].

Michigan has a great tradition of sending players to the National Football League. While the pace has fallen off over the past few years, there are still plenty of former Wolverines in the League. Each week during the season, we will provide an update on how former Michigan Men fared that week.

Tom BradyPatriots QB

LaMarr Woodley celebrates a sack of Matt Hasselbeck. He also had a half sack and an interception in the Steelers' 38-17 win over the Titans (photo by Justin K. Aller, Getty Images)

Last game: Completed 24-of-33 passes for 321 yards, 1 TD, 1 INT
Season totals: 133-of-196 (67.9%) for 1,874 yards (1st in NFL), 14 TDs (1st), 6 INTs
__________________________________

Chad HenneDolphins QB

Last game: DNP – Our for season (shoulder)

Season totals: 64-of-112 (57.1%) for 868 yards, 4 TDs, 4 INTs
_______________________________

LaMarr WoodleySteelers OLB
Last game: 5 tackles, 1.5 sacks, 2 passes defended, 1 INT
Season totals: 19 tackles, 3 sacks, 3.5 tackles-for-loss, 2 passes defended, 1 INT
_______________________________

Mario Manningham - Giants WR
Last game: 5 catches for 56 yards
Season totals: 13 catches for 171 yards (42.8 ypg)
_______________________________

Braylon Edwards49ers WR
Last game: DNP – out for season (knee)
Season totals: 4 catches for 48 yards (24 ypg)
_______________________________

Charles WoodsonPackers DB
Last game: 4 tackles
Season totals: 18 tackles, 3 INT (T-1st), 4 passes defended, 1 fumble recovery, 1 TD
_______________________________

Steve BreastonChiefs WR
Last game: 4 catches for 50 yards, 2 TDs
Season totals: 14 catches for 229 yards (45.8 ypg), 2 TDs
_______________________________

Jason Avant - Eagles WR

Last game: 9 catches for 139 yards
Season totals: 23 catches for 310 yards (62 ypg)
__________________________________

Tim JamisonTexans DE

Steve Breaston celebrates a touchdown. He caught his first two TDs of the season on Sunday (photo by John Sommers II, Getty Images)

Last game: DNP
Season totals: 3 tackles, 1 pass defended
__________________________________

Leon Hall Bengals DB
Last game: 1 tackle
Season totals: 14 tackles, 2 passes defended, 1 fumble recovery
__________________________________

Morgan TrentBengals DB
Last game: Did not record a stat
Season totals: 6 tackles
__________________________________

David Harris - Jets LB
Last game: 9 tackles, 1 sack
Season totals: 31 tackles, 2 sacks, 2 tackles-for-loss, 2 passes defended, 1 INT, 1 TD
__________________________________

Zoltan MeskoPatriots P
Last game: 4 punts for 205 yards (51.3 avg), 1 inside 20
Season totals: 16 punts for 729 yards (45.6 avg), 7 inside 20
__________________________________

James HallRams DE
Last game: Bye week
Season totals: 12 tackles, 1 sack, 2 tackle-for-loss, 1 pass defended
__________________________________

Larry FooteSteelers LB
Last game: 1 tackle
Season totals: 14 tackles, 1 sack, 1 tackle-for-loss
__________________________________

Jay FeelyCardinals K
Last game: 1-for-1 FGs, 1-for-1 XPs
Season totals: 4-for-7 FGs (Long 51), 12-for-12 XPs

__________________________________

Alan BranchSeahawks DT
Last game: 3 tackles, 1 sack
Season totals: 14 tackles, 1 sack
__________________________________

Adrian ArringtonSaints WR
Last game: DNP
Season totals: 1 catch for 14 yards (4.7 ypg)
__________________________________

Brandon GrahamEagles DE
On PUP list with knee injury. Expected to return in Week 7
__________________________________

Jeff BackusLions OT
Starter
__________________________________

Steve HutchinsonVikings OG
Starter
__________________________________

Jonathan Goodwin49ers OG
Starter
__________________________________

David BaasGiants C
Starter
__________________________________

Jake LongDolphins OT
Starter
__________________________________

Jonas MoutonChargers LB
On injured reserve
__________________________________

Stephen SchillingChargers OT
DNP (On practice squad)
__________________________________

Donovan WarrenLions DB
DNP (On practice squad)
__________________________________

Brandon MinorBroncos RB
DNP (On injured reserve)

Around the League – Week 3

Thursday, September 29th, 2011


Michigan has a great tradition of sending players to the National Football League. While the pace has fallen off over the past few years, there are still plenty of former Wolverines in the League. Each week during the season, we will provide an update on how former Michigan Men fared that week.

Tom BradyPatriots QB
Last game: Completed 30-of-45 passes for 387 yards, 4 TDs, 4 INTs
Season totals: 93-of-133 (69.9%) for 1,327 yards (1st in NFL), 11 TDs (1st), 5 INTs
__________________________________

Chad HenneDolphins QB

Henne had a good game despite the Dolphins 17-16 loss to Cleveland (photo by Matt Sullivan, Getty Images)

Last game: Completed 19-of-29 passes for 255 yards, 1 TD, 1 INT; Rushed 4 times for 26 yards

Season totals: 61-of-108 (56.5%) for 841 yards (14th), 4 TDs, 3 INTs
_______________________________

LaMarr WoodleySteelers OLB
Last game: 5 tackles
Season totals: 11 tackles, 1.5 sacks, 2 tackles-for-loss, 1 pass defended
_______________________________

Mario Manningham - Giants WR
Last game: DNP (concussion)
Season totals: 7 catches for 105 yards (52.5 ypg)
_______________________________

Braylon Edwards49ers WR
Last game: DNP (knee)
Season totals: 4 catches for 48 yards (24 ypg)
_______________________________

Charles WoodsonPackers DB
Last game: 3 tackles
Season totals: 10 tackles, 2 INT (T-3rd), 3 passes defended, 1 fumble recovery
_______________________________

Steve BreastonChiefs WR
Last game: 3 catches for 55 yards
Season totals: 6 catches for 88 yards (29.3 ypg)
_______________________________

Jason Avant - Eagles WR

Last game: 4 catches for 33 yards
Season totals: 8 catches for 102 yards (34 ypg)
__________________________________

Tim JamisonTexans DE
Last game: 1 pass defended
Season totals: 1 assisted tackle, 1 pass defended
__________________________________

Leon Hall Bengals DB
Last game: 4 tackles
Season totals: 6 tackles, 2 passes defended, 1 fumble recovery
__________________________________

Morgan TrentBengals DB
Last game: 1 tackle
Season totals: 1 tackle
__________________________________

David Harris - Jets LB
Last game: 4 tackles, 1 sack, 2 tackles-for-loss
Season totals: 15 tackles, 1 sack, 1 tackle-for-loss, 1 pass defended
__________________________________

Zoltan MeskoPatriots P
Last game: 3 punts for 140 yards (46.7 avg), 2 inside 20
Season totals: 9 punts for 377 yards (41.9 avg), 4 inside 20
__________________________________

James HallRams DE
Last game: 1 tackle
Season totals: 7 tackles, 1 sack, 2 tackle-for-loss, 1 pass defended
__________________________________

Larry FooteSteelers LB
Last game: 3 tackles
Season totals: 9 tackles, 1 sack, 1 tackle-for-loss
__________________________________

Jay FeelyCardinals K
Last game: 1-for-3 FGs, 1-for-1 XPs
Season totals: 1-for-4 FGs (Long 44), 8-for-8 XPs

__________________________________

Alan BranchSeahawks DT
Last game: 4 tackles
Season totals: 9 tackles
__________________________________

Adrian ArringtonSaints WR
Last game: Did not record a stat
Season totals: 1 catch for 14 yards (4.7 ypg)
__________________________________

Brandon GrahamEagles DE
On PUP list with knee injury. Expected to return in Week 7
__________________________________

Jeff BackusLions OT
Starter
__________________________________

Steve HutchinsonVikings OG
Starter
__________________________________

Jonathan Goodwin49ers OG
Starter
__________________________________

David BaasGiants C
Starter
__________________________________

Jake LongDolphins OT
Starter
__________________________________

Jonas MoutonChargers LB
On injured reserve
__________________________________

Stephen SchillingChargers OT
DNP (On practice squad)
__________________________________

Donovan WarrenLions DB
DNP (On practice squad)
__________________________________

Brandon MinorBroncos RB
DNP (On injured reserve)

Around the League – Week 2

Thursday, September 22nd, 2011


Michigan has a great tradition of sending players to the National Football League. While the pace has fallen off over the past few years, there are still plenty of former Wolverines in the League. Each week during the season, we will provide an update on how former Michigan Men fared that week.

Woodson had a monster game against Carolina, picking off two passes and recovering a fumble (Photo by Streeter Lecka, Getty Images)

Tom BradyPatriots QB
Last game: Completed 31-of-40 passes for 423 yards, 3 TDs
Season totals: 63-of-88 for 940 yards, 7 TDs, 1 INT
__________________________________

Chad HenneDolphins QB
Last game: Completed 12-of-30 passes for 170 yards, 1 TD, 1 INT; Rushed 3 times for 26 yards

Season totals: 42-of-79 (53.2%) for 586 yards, 3 TDs, 2 INTs
__________________________________

LaMarr WoodleySteelers OLB
Last game: 3 tackles, .5 sack, 1 tackle-for-loss
Season totals: 6 tackles, 1.5 sacks, 2 tackles-for-loss, 1 pass defended
__________________________________

Mario Manningham - Giants WR
Last game: 3 catches for 56 yards
Season totals: 7 catches for 105 yards (52.5/game)
__________________________________

Braylon Edwards49ers WR
Last game: 1 catch for 21 yards
Season totals: 4 catches for 48 yards (24/game)
__________________________________

Charles WoodsonPackers DB
Last game: 5 tackles, 2 INT, 1 fumble recovery
Season totals: 7 tackles, 2 INT, 3 passes defended, 1 fumble recovery
__________________________________

Steve BreastonChiefs WR
Last game: 1 catch for 7 yards
Season totals: 3 catches for 33 yards (16.5/game)
__________________________________

Jason Avant - Eagles WR

Tom Brady leads all NFL quarterbacks with 940 passing yards through two games (photo by Jim Rogash, Getty Images)

Last game: 1 catch for 29 yards
Season totals: 4 catches for 69 yards
__________________________________

Tim JamisonTexans DE
Last game: Did not record a stat
Season totals: 1 assisted tackle
__________________________________

Leon Hall Bengals DB
Last game: 1 fumble recovery
Season totals: 2 tackles, 2 passes defended, 1 fumble recovery
__________________________________

Morgan TrentBengals DB
Last game: Did not record a stat
Season totals: Has not recorded a stat
__________________________________

David Harris - Jets LB
Last game: 4 tackles, 1 pass defended
Season totals: 11 tackles, 1 pass defended
__________________________________

Zoltan MeskoPatriots P
Last game: 2 punts for 85 yards (42.5 avg), 1 inside 20
Season totals: 6 punts for 237 yards (39.5 avg), 1 touchback, 2 inside 20
__________________________________

James HallRams DE
Last game: 4 tackles, 1 sack, 1 tackle-for-loss
Season totals: 6 tackles, 1 sack, 2 tackle-for-loss, 1 pass defended
__________________________________

Larry FooteSteelers LB
Last game: 4 tackles, 1 sack, 1 tackle-for-loss
Season totals: 6 tackles, 1 sack, 1 tackle-for-loss
__________________________________

Jay FeelyCardinals K
Last game: 0-for-0 FGs, 3-for-3 XPs
Season totals: 0-for-1 FGs, 7-for-7 XPs

Larry Foote had a solid game in helping the Steelers shut out the Seahawks (Photo by Gene J. Puskar, AP)

__________________________________

Alan BranchSeahawks DT
Last game: 4 tackles
Season totals: 5 tackles
__________________________________

Adrian ArringtonSaints WR
Last game: 1 catch for 14 yards
Season totals: 1 catch for 14 yards (7/game)
__________________________________

Brandon GrahamEagles DE
On PUP list with knee injury. Expected to return in Week 7
__________________________________

Jeff BackusLions OT
Starter
__________________________________

Steve HutchinsonVikings OG
Starter
__________________________________

Jonathan Goodwin49ers OG
Starter
__________________________________

David BaasGiants C
Starter
__________________________________

Jake LongDolphins OT
Starter
__________________________________

Jonas MoutonChargers LB
On injured reserve
__________________________________

Stephen SchillingChargers OT
DNP (On practice squad)
__________________________________

Donovan WarrenLions DB
DNP (On practice squad)
__________________________________

Brandon MinorBroncos RB
DNP (On injured reserve)

Around the League – Week 1

Friday, September 16th, 2011


Michigan has a great tradition of sending players to the National Football League. While the pace has fallen off over the past few years, there are still plenty of former Wolverines in the League. Each week during the season, we will provide an update on how former Michigan Men fared that week.

Tom BradyPatriots QB – Completed 32-of-48 passes for 517 yards, 4 TDs, 1 INT

Tom Brady was the main Michigan alum standout in Week 1. His 517 yards passing is a Patriots record and he combined with fellow Michigan alum Chad Henne to set an NFL record for most combined passing yards in a game

Chad HenneDolphins QB – Completed 30-of-49 passes for 416 yards, 2 TDs, 1 INT; Rushed 7 times for 59 yards, 1 TD

LaMarr WoodleySteelers OLB – 3 tackles, 1 sack, 1 tackle-for-loss, 1 PBU

Mario Manningham - Giants WR – 4 catches for 49 yards

Braylon Edwards49ers WR - 3 catches for 27 yards

Charles WoodsonPackers DB – 2 tackles, 1 PBU

Steve BreastonChiefs WR – 2 catches for 26 yards

Jason Avant - Eagles WR – 3 catches for 40 yards

Tim JamisonTexans DE – 1 assisted tackle

Leon Hall -Bengals DB – 2 tackles, 2 PBU

Morgan TrentBengals DB – Did not record a stat

David Harris - Jets LB – 7 tackles

Zoltan MeskoPatriots P - 4 punts for 152 yards (38.0 avg), 1 touchback, 1 inside 20

James HallRams DE – 2 tackles, 1 tackle-for-loss, 1 PBU

Larry FooteSteelers LB – 2 tackles

Jay FeelyCardinals K - 0-for-1 FGs, 4-for-4 XPs

Alan BranchSeahawks DT – 1 tackle

Brandon GrahamEagles DE – On PUP list with knee injury. Expected to return in Week 7

Jeff BackusLions OT - Started

Steve HutchinsonVikings OG – Started

Jonathan Goodwin – 49ers OG – Started

David BaasGiants C – Started

Jake LongDolphins OT – Started

Jonas MoutonChargers LB – DNP

Adrian ArringtonSaints WR – DNP

Stephen SchillingChargers OT – DNP (On practice squad)

Donovan WarrenLions DB – DNP (On practice squad)

Brandon MinorBroncos RB - DNP (On injured reserve)

Top UM Output in 24 Years Shows Growth of Rodriguez’s System

Wednesday, September 29th, 2010


3QBs

In what would have been situation of near panic for most teams, the genius of Rich Rodriguez’s system shone bright. After racking up nearly 200 yards of total offense and a 14-0 lead in the first eight minutes, Denard Robinson went down with a knee injury. Instead of going into a shell of the offense, backups Tate Forcier and Devin Gardner didn’t miss a beat, leading seven touchdown drives as Michigan pummeled Bowling Green 65-21.

Just like that it became apparent that Michigan is set at the quarterback position for the next few years and Rodriguez needed only to get his type of players into his system in order to succeed. 

It was a stark contrast to both the team on the other side of the field and Rodriguez’s first couple of years at Michigan.

Bowling Green’s starting quarterback Matt Schilz suffered a shoulder injury in last week’s win over Marshall leaving redshirt sophomore Aaron Pankratz to make the first start of his career. He proved ineffective even against a Michigan defense that entered the game on pace to become the worst in school history statistically.

Michigan sacked Pankratz three times and forced two turnovers, limiting the Bowling Green offense to 283 total yards, 71 of which came on one busted play in the second quarter.

Two years ago, it was Rodriguez who found himself in a quarterback quandary with two quarterbacks that had no experience, one a walk-on, and neither of which suited for his system.

While the offense struggled to put together drives and score points and Michigan fans bemoaned the program’s worst season in 40 years, Rodriguez supporters insisted that he needed to be given time to recruit his guys.

Last season, the offense showed a glimpse of what was possible with Forcier, then a true freshman, leading Michigan to a 4-0 start, including a thrilling come-from-behind win over Notre Dame. Robinson, who didn’t enroll in the spring like Forcier did, provided highlights with his legs but had virtually no grasp of the offense.

Now, as sophomores, and Robinson firmly entrenched as the starter, Michigan has again raced out to a 4-0 start, boasting one of the best, if not the best, offenses in the entire nation.

Robinson has rushed for over 100 yards in all four games, leading the nation in rushing, but has also proven he can be an efficient passer. He currently ranks 18th in passing efficiency, right in between Michigan State’s Kirk Cousins and Nevada’s Colin Kaepernick.

Offensive stats through four games
2010   2009
4-0 Record 4-0
41.2 Scoring Offense 37.5
1,325 Rushing Yards 961
331.2 Rushing YPG 240.3
926 Passing Yards 728
231.5 Passing YPG 182
562.8 Total Offense 422.3
13/54 (57%) Third-Down Conv. 25/58 (43%)
18/19 (95%) Red Zone Scoring 11/15 (73%)
2* Turnovers 5
1 Sacks Allowed 6
*2 other turnovers were fumbles on a INT returns,
so they don’t count towards offensive stats

He’s certainly the electricity that fuels the dynamic Michigan offense, but in moments like this past Saturday, having a proven starter as the backup allows the offense to keep firing on all cylinders despite a flat tire.

When Gardner, a true freshman, gets added to the mix, one can see how Michigan has perhaps the best corps of quarterbacks in the country. Many believe Gardner to have the most potential of the three, and he has been the first off the bench each time Robinson has been forced out of the game.

His knowledge of the offense is akin to that of Robinson’s last season, but his physical talent and size make Gardner an imposing threat. On Saturday, he showed his passing ability, connecting on 7-of-10 passes for 85 yards and a touchdown. Hidden in those stats is a beautiful deep ball that would have been a 47-yard touchdown pass had Junior Hemingway not developed a case of alligator arms.

Forcier, meanwhile, set a Michigan record for most passes without an incompeltion, connecting on all 12 of his passes for 110 yards and a touchdown.

All together, the trio went 23-for-26 for 255 yards and two touchdowns and rushed 15 times for 184 yards and three touchdowns.

While it’s easy to look at the opponent and say, “Well, it’s just Bowling Green,” consider that the last time Michigan put up offense like that against an FBS team was in 1986.

Michigan plays MAC schools nearly every season and the next closest results were a 59-20 beating of Eastern Michigan in 1998 and 55-0 in 2005. Those teams were led by quarterbacks you may have heard of: Tom Brady and Chad Henne.   

As electric as Robinson is, the offense was just as effective without him for 52 minutes on Saturday, while in Columbus, fellow Heisman candidate Terrelle Pryor played all but 16 minutes of his team’s 73-20 win over Eastern Michigan.

Imagine the kind of stats Robinson would have put up had he played another two-plus quarters against Bowling Green.

Despite the initial scare when Robinson got his knee checked out on the sideline, he was cleared to play and could have gone back in had he been needed. Instead, Rodriguez made the right choice to keep him healthy heading into Big Ten play and give Forcier and Gardner some valuable playing time.

Denard is the current front-runner for the Heisman, but he has selflessly embodied Bo Schembechler’s “the team” mindset. By putting the team first, Robinson earned his starting spot, and even though he wasn’t needed for most of the game last Saturday, he’ll be the fuel that keeps the engine running as Michigan travels to Indiana to open the conference schedule this Saturday.

Yes, we have little receivers. Get used to it

When are refs going to realize that just because our receivers are small and required to run block in Rodriguez’s system, it doesn’t mean they’re committing penalties all the time?

Maybe the refs aren’t used to seeing little guys blocking out in the open field, or maybe the defensive backs and linebackers have to get so low to approach them that it looks like it’s illegal, but when Martavious Odoms was called for a personal foul block below the waist in the second quarter, he literally hit the guy in the chest.

It was the second or third time this season a receiver has been called for the penalty when it wasn’t even close. That’s not even a penalty like holding that could be called on every play, or pass interference that is largely subjective. It’s not hard to tell if a guy hits another guy in the chest versus the legs.

Over/Under

If the game would have been three quarters long instead of four, I would have been close. But I’m glad it wasn’t, since it gave us a chance to see the debut of Fitzgerald Toussaint, in which he rumbled 61 yards to set up his own 5-yard touchdown run.

I ended up 17 over on offense and just two over on defense, leaving me 26 to 20 over on offense and defense, respectively for the season.

Redshirt freshman Fitzgerald Toussaint made ran for 61 yards on the first carry of his career (photo by John T. Greilick / the Detroit News)
Redshirt freshman Fitzgerald Toussaint ran for 61 yards on the first carry of his career (photo by John T. Greilick / the Detroit News)

 

I Said What?

“While Michigan’s offense has looked virtually unstoppable so far this season, it will be that much better with a proven back to take the pressure off of Robinson. Hopefully Shaw continues to emerge as that back, and I think he will.

Over/Under – 99 Rushing yards for Shaw. I’ll take the over. Marshall’s Andre Booker ran for 126 last week against Bowling Green.”

Shaw didn’t really need to do much on Saturday. He carried the ball 12 times for 59 yards and a touchdown, but that only accounted for 21 percent of Michigan’s carries. Counting the three quarterbacks, nine different Wolverines rushed the ball against BG.

Shaw didn’t get over 99 yards, so I was wrong (-1), but he certainly didn’t do anything to warrant losing his spot as the top back.

“Over/Under – 2.5 sacks. I’ll take the over again. Mike Martin, Ryan Van Bergen, Greg Banks, and Craig Roh have to be licking their chops right now and hope to use this game as a springboard for the rest of the season.”

I was dead on with this prediction as Michigan recorded three sacks. Jonas Mouton, Ryan Van Bergen and Greg Banks each got to Pankratz, besting the total number of sacks Michigan had in the first three games combined. (+1)

“Gardner seems to have passed Forcier on the depth chart, and Rodriguez would love to get him some live reps. On the other hand, Forcier has a year of starting experience under his belt and hasn’t sniffed the field yet this season. Rodriguez would probably like to get him out there as well.

My bet is that Gardner gets at least a few drives to show what he can do and Forcier becomes the Darco Milicic human victory cigar late in the fourth quarter.”

Well, Gardner was the first to relieve Robinson, but Forcier was anything but Darco Milicic and I’m rather embarrassed for even suggesting he would be.

Forcier is a very important piece of this team and I have a much greater respect for the kid after his performance on Saturday and the press conference afterward. He basically said he loves Michigan, he loves Rodriguez, and he’s all in. (-1)

“Over/Under – 49 rushing yards for Devin Gardner. Once more, I’ll go with the over. Of course, this all depends on the first-team offense playing well enough to yield playing time, but my guess is that Gardner will get three or four possessions. The game should be well in hand by then, so Gardner won’t be passing much. I could see him breaking one long run.”

Gardner did show his passing skills but only made it halfway to the rushing yards I predicted, so I was wrong. He has certainly shown his talent, but has missed some reads and seems to get tackled much easier than Robinson does. He’s just a true freshman though, so there’s a long way to go. (-1)

“Michigan puts it away early in the second quarter. The offense will be firing on all cylinders and the defense will force some turnovers. Bowling Green won’t have enough firepower to keep up and Michigan’s backups will finally get a chance to play.”

Well, that about sums it up. It was basically put away in the first eight minutes, but BG fought back before it was officially put away with Shaw’s touchdown run just before the half. (+1)

Denard me!

Denard pryor Week 4

Wolverine Wednesday: The Difference a Year Makes

Thursday, September 16th, 2010


Around this time last year, I wrote this, questioning whether it was time to expand Denard Robinson’s role in the offense. Now, just two weeks into the 2010 season, he’s a human Heisman.

Denard doing his Heisman thing, photo by Sam Wolson / The Michigan Daily

Denard doing his best Heisman pose (photo by Sam Wolson / The Michigan Daily)

I’ll be the first to tell you I didn’t expect Robinson’s development to happen this fast, but even in that article after last year’s Iowa loss, it was less about his future as a quarterback, and more about utilizing his athletic ability given where his development was at the time.

Now that he has, to borrow a phrase from the Fab Five, “shocked the world” with his play during the first two weeks of the season, leading the nation in rushing yards and total offense, and vaulting to the top of the list of Heisman Trophy candidates, it seems absolutely ridiculous to think of him anywhere else but lined up behind the center.

While Robinson has captured the attention of the nation, he certainly has his detractors who say there’s no way he can keep it up through the grind of the Big Ten schedule. He’ll end up getting hurt from all the pounding he takes. He still hasn’t proved he can pass.

Those are all legitimate claims and only time will tell whether they ring true or not, but one thing is for certain: Rich Rodriguez has his man.

To be honest, I still haven’t even figured out what happened in South Bend on Saturday.  I think @cjane87 said it best: “I have had every single emotion over the last four hours.”

The game started out ominously with Notre Dame quarterback Dayne Crist leading the Irish down the field for a touchdown. Michigan responded with a punt. But then instead of Crist coming back out on to the field it was freshman Tommy Rees who proceeded to throw an interception on his second play, and Michigan took advantage with a 31-yard touchdown pass from Robinson to Roy Roundtree. Just like that it was 7-7.

Jonas Mouton's first quarter interception led to Michigan's first touchdown of the game, photo by the Ann Arbor News

Jonas Mouton's first quarter interception led to Michigan's first touchdown of the game (photo by the Ann Arbor News)

From that point through the rest of the half, the inept combination of Rees and fellow freshman Nate Montana allowed Michigan to pull ahead 21-7. At that point, I was feeling good about the way things were going, but knew for sure that Notre Dame was going to come back.

Sure enough, the momentum swung back to the Irish as Crist returned to bring the Irish back, and ultimately hit tight end Kyle Rudolph for a 95-yard touchdown to take the lead with just 3:41 remaining. At that point, I may have sworn at the thought of my wife jumping up and down. She’s a Notre Dame fan, and I was out of town for the weekend on a business trip, thankfully.

In retrospect, the quick strike was a blessing for Michigan and served as fuel for the growing wildfire that is Denard Robinson. Unlike the Iowa game last season when Robinson had the chance to lead the offense down the field for the win, but instead threw this (at 2:12), Robinson was fully in command and marched the Wolverines on a 12-play, 72-yard scoring drive that ate 3:14 off the clock and sealed the Michigan win.

Just three minutes after NBC announcer Tom Hammond proclaimed that Rudolph’s go-ahead touchdown would go down as one of the greats in Notre Dame lore, Robinson created his own history, becoming the first Michigan quarterback to win his first start in South Bend since Jim Harbaugh in 1986.

That list includes Steven Threet in 2008, Chad Henne in 2004, John Navarre in 2002, Tom Brady in 1998, Todd Collins in 1992, Elvis Grbac in 1990, and Michael Taylor in 1988. In other words: most of the best quarterbacks in Michigan history couldn’t do what Robinson did on Saturday.

Robinson proved he has what it takes to lead the team down the field for the win, not just with his feet, but through the air as well. He hit Roundtree with a perfect pass to the two-yard line to set up the winning score. He actually went 5-6 on that drive for 55 yards and only rushed for 17 yards.

Notre Dame fans will always argue that if Crist had played the entire game, Notre Dame would have won. They may have an argument there and I may have to agree with them, but the cruel nature of the game is dealing with injuries, and Michigan has faced its far share of them this season as well.

After a rocky first game, Tate Forcier was in full support of Robinson against Notre Dame (photo by John T. Greilick / the Detroit News)

After a rocky first game, Tate Forcier was in full support of Robinson against Notre Dame (photo by John T. Greilick / the Detroit News)

In the same breath that an ND fan can say that, a Michigan fan can say that Rudolph never would have gotten open down field had Troy Woolfolk not suffered a season-ending ankle injury in fall practice.

The fact of the matter is, Michigan won for the second straight year and fourth time in the past five years.

The schedule sets up perfectly for a 5-0 start before another rival, Michigan State, invades the Big House.

We’ll get a good look at MSU this Saturday night as they host Notre Dame.

An ideal scenario for Michigan this week and next is to jump out to an early lead on UMass and Bowling Green, letting the starters play through the first half and possibly into the third quarter before giving way to the backups.

It would be great to get last year’s Notre Dame hero, Tate Forcier, some playing time, as well as freshman Devin Gardner.

Over/Under

Yeah, so I was wrong with my prediction that Notre Dame would win. Don’t call me a sell-out for picking against the Wolverines. As I said in the pick, I desperately want Michigan to win, but have to put bias aside when making my picks. I was only three off Michigan’s point total, but 13 under Notre Dame’s.

For the season, I’m 10 over for Michigan and 34 over for the opponents. I guess I should start respecting defenses, huh?
I Said What?

“The combination of Michigan’s defense this year and Notre Dame’s offense virtually requires Michigan’s offense to score 35-plus points if it wants to win this game.”

If Crist had played the entire game, maybe, but I was a touchdown too pessimistic. (-1)

“While you can’t look at the time of possession alone to determine the outcome of a game, it can certainly go a long way toward helping you win the game.”

Final time of possession: Michigan 34:09, Notre Dame 25:51. Michigan had the ball for just over eight minutes more than Notre Dame. Part of that was due to the 95-yard touchdown pass from Crist to Rudolph, allowing Michigan to put together a game-winning drive while eating the clock, but nevertheless, Notre Dame had just three drives of more than five plays the entire game. (+1)

“Two years ago in South Bend, Michigan lost four fumbles in the rainy conditions and lost 35-17. The weather forecast calls for similar conditions this Saturday, so whichever team takes better care of the ball could be the one that wins.”

The rain held off, but Michigan protected the ball for the second straight week. The only miscue was a fumble by Robinson in the first quarter, but Michigan recovered. On the flip side, Michigan picked off three Notre Dame passes, one of which directly lead to Michigan’s first touchdown of the game. (+1)

“The defense has to employ the bend-but-don’t-break attitude that it used last week, making Notre Dame work to get the ball down the field, rather than making big plays.”

Eh, not so much. The Crist injury may have contributed to Michigan’s success in the first half, but the big plays certainly did happen: A 37-yard pass at the end of the first half, which should have lead to three points, but Brian Kelly chose to go for the touchdown; a 53-yard touchdown pass early in the third quarter; and Rudolph’s 95-yard romp for the go-ahead touchdown. Three big plays that lead to 14 (should have been 17) points. All things considered, that’s a success against one of the most talented passing games Michigan will face all season. (-1)

“Michigan’s lines dominated UConn last week on both sides of the ball. There’s nothing to suggest it can’t do the same this week, as Notre Dame has a very young and inexperienced offensive line.”

Michigan didn’t exactly dominate Notre Dame’s offensive line, getting just one sack, though as MGoBlog points out, when Mike Martin and Craig Roh weren’t being double-teamed, they did this, this, and this.

The offensive line did well to not allow a sack for the second straight game and pave the way for Robinson to run for 258 yards. (+1)

So hey, three out of five isn’t bad.

We Can Always Use More Denard

WolverineWatchDenardvsPryor

A new addition to Maize & Go Blue is the Wolverine Watch, which is housed on the right sidebar. Currently, it features a side-by-side comparison of Robinson and Ohio State quarterback Terrelle Pryor, as seen above. It will be updated after every game for the entire season to show where the two stand in comparison.

If other Wolverines break out, they will be added to the Watch next to one of the Big Ten’s best at that position. Right now, the only one I could foresee is Roundtree if he continues his pace from the last few games of last season and has more games like his performance on Saturday (eight catches for 82 yards and a touchdown).

Go Blue!

Michigan vs. Illinois: Michigan Looks to Spook the Illini on Halloween

Saturday, October 31st, 2009


The last time Michigan played a game on Halloween, it survived a scare from Minnesota in the Metrodome in 1998, winning 15-10, thanks in part to career days by quarterback Tom Brady and receiver Tai Streets.

This time, 11 years later, Michigan is looking for its first Big Ten win in five weeks, and Rich Rodriguez’s first Big Ten win in October as Michigan head coach.

Thankfully, the opponent is Illinois, which isn’t scaring anybody this season.

*Juice Williams dominated Michigan the past two seasons, photo by Carlos Osorio/AP

*Juice Williams dominated Michigan the past two seasons, photo by Carlos Osorio/AP

Ron Zook’s squad has won just one game this season, over Illinois State, and ranks last in the conference in scoring offense (16.1 points per game) and scoring defense (27.7 ppg).

Quarterback Juice Williams was supposed to blossom into a star in this, his senior season, but instead ranks last in the Big Ten in passing efficiency.

Williams has thrown for just 963 yards this season with four touchdowns and five interceptions, while rushing for just 277 yards (3.1 yards per carry) and two touchdowns.

He’s been so disappointing that Zook is planning to rotate redshirt freshman Jacob Charest into the game.

“Everybody says they don’t want to be a two-quarterback system, and I’d be another one to say that,” Zook said on Tuesday. “But a lot of people do it and a lot of people have success with it. I think the thing we’re trying to do, just like everyone else, is to do the thing that’s best for us and what gives us the best opportunity to win.”

Charest got his first collegiate action last week against Purdue, completing four of eight passes for 52 yards.

While Charest isn’t a huge threat to Michigan himself, as a traditional drop-back passer, the combination of Charest and Williams could be the spark Illinois needs to even the playing field.

If Illinois is able to keep the struggling and injury-plagued Michigan defense on its heels with the quarterback rotation, it could be a long day for Michigan.

So that brings me to my first key of the game for Michigan:

Exercise the demons

Even though Williams is struggling this season, he had a monster game in Ann Arbor last season. He dominated the Michigan defense, throwing for 310 yards and two touchdowns and rushing for 121 yards and two more en route to a 45-20 win.

*Turnovers have plagued Michigan in three losses this season, photo by Lon Horwedel | AnnArbor.com

*Turnovers have plagued Michigan in three losses this season, photo by Lon Horwedel | AnnArbor.com

In the final few years of the Lloyd Carr regime, mobile quarterbacks were a thorn in the side. That should change under Rodriguez eventually, but not quite yet.

The Michigan defense has been tough up front, but the linebacker and secondary play have been poor all season, with the exception of junior Donovan Warren.

Illinois also has perhaps the best all-around receiver in the conference, in junior Arrelious Benn. Although Benn has just 25 catches for 287 yards and no touchdowns this season, the Michigan secondary will have to be careful not to give up the big play.

Big plays have hurt Michigan all season. The defense has given up seven scoring plays of 20 yards or more, including a 60-yard touchdown pass last week against Penn State.

In last season’s match-up, Williams connected on touchdowns passes of 57 and 77 yards.

Can Michigan’s defense finally come together for the final four games of the season? It’s a tall task, especially against a quarterback it hasn’t stopped in three years, but maybe this is the game it finally steps up.

More trick, less treat

In five wins, Michigan is even in turnovers, giving away seven, while taking away seven. But in three losses, Michigan has treated its opponents to 11, while gaining just four.

Michigan ranks last in the Big Ten in turnover margin at minus seven.

In its two biggest games, against Iowa and Penn State, Michigan coughed the ball up nine times. It’s nearly impossible to win against anybody when you do that.

Illinois isn’t much better, having a minus-five turnover margin in Big Ten games, but it really all comes down to Michigan taking care of the ball.

Suck the blood out of the Illinois rush defense

Michigan has the best rushing offense in the Big Ten, at 219.4 yards per game, while Illinois’ defense ranks worst in the conference, giving up 185.3 yards per game on the ground.

*Carlos Brown leads Michigan in rushing with 371 yards (7.1 yards per carry) and four touchdowns, photo by MGoBlue.com

*Carlos Brown leads Michigan in rushing with 371 yards (7.1 yards per carry) and four touchdowns, photo by MGoBlue.com

Michigan was able to run fairly effectively against Iowa and Penn State, but those defenses were much better took advantage of Michigan’s turnovers.

Seniors Brandon Minor and Carlos Brown should be healthy and ready to go, and need to feast on the Illini defense more often than in past games.

Minor averages just over 11 carries per game and Brown just over seven. The duo needs to get the ball more often to punish the weak Illinois rush defense and cut down on the potential mistakes made by freshmen quarterbacks Tate Forcier and Denard Robinson.

Michigan has to win this game to have any chance at making this a successful season. It currently stands at 5-3, and a win tomorrow would make it bowl eligible, an important step in the growth process of Rodriguez’s system.

Seven wins would be ideal, but losing this game would make a winning season hard to reach, with a visit to Wisconsin and home games against Purdue and Ohio State to finish the season.

Memorial Stadium in Champaign will surely be ready for a Halloween game and a chance to knock off Michigan for the second straight year, but Michigan should be able to run the ball well enough to score some points and control the clock.

Minor and Brown will combine for three touchdowns in leading Michigan to a win.

Prediction: Michigan 31 – Illinois 20