Michigan 14 - Kansas State 31: Coup de Grace

Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

The 2013 season goes out with a whimper as Michigan fell behind quickly and never seriously threatened to make a run against Kansas State in the Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl.

Sometime late in the third quarter twitter exploded with mentions of Anderson Silva's horrific leg injury in the night's UFC fight (the one you could have watched instead of this game had you went to a Buffalo Wild Wings).  A not surprising number of people (read: a lot of them) joked that watching that gruesome injury would be preferable to watching this debacle.  I can't say they are wrong.

First, what went right: Michigan rolled out true freshman Shane Morris for his first start and he handled himself well.  While he was given a number of easy completions to get things going, he made a few impressive throws and by the end of the game he was almost wholly responsible for Michigan's offensive output.

Meanwhile, Michigan's rushing offense once again fell apart.  Devin Funchess led all Michigan rushers with 14 yards on two carries (he picked all of them up on one run on Michigan's first drive) until a meaningless scramble by Morris on Michigan's last drive.  Michigan finished the game with 65 yards rushing, and 40 of those were from Morris's scramble.

Of course the defense also had its struggles.  Kansas State's first three drives combined to go 194 yards on 23 plays and all three ended with Tyler Lockett touchdown receptions.  Michigan would fare slightly better in the second half thanks to a botched Kansas State field goal attempt and a Michigan fumble recovery, but Michigan didn't have a drive go over 20 yards after its first two were on the books (both ended in field goals).

There are eight long months before we see this team take the field again, and in that time there will be no shortage of questions swirling around the program.  The run offense is a smoldering mess and the defense spent the last month of this season regressing.  Michigan will lose two NFL-level tackles from its offensive line as well as one of the best receivers in school history.  Even so, next year the excuse of youth and attrition under the previous regime is out the window.  It will be put up or shut up time for Brady Hoke and this coaching staff.

For the life of me, I have no idea what to expect.

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