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Sunday Morning Brews (11/30/14)

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Well, at least that's over.

Greg Bartram-USA TODAY Sports

So much of football is preventing mistakes. Sometimes, teams are too focused on preventing the bad play (see: Kirk Ferentz) that they neuter themselves along the way. But a team can go a long way by just keeping their head down and playing error-free football. The Buckeyes made some mistakes, but the Wolverines couldn't afford any, and there were far too many.

There was at least a little wiggle room. Calling plays is a pretty nuanced science, but for this Michigan team criticism has been as easy as comparing the running backs' touches to the quarterbacks'. Yesterday, Michigan started doing some things right, and that gave them a chance to overcome an early and inexplicable interception.

Michigan got Devin Funchess to the outside, where he made several nice (and low-risk) grabs. That resulted in Funchess's second 100-yard game this year. It also ran Devin Gardner, though not enough, and the yards on the ground kept manageable down-and-distances for Gardner to operate effectively. Drake Johnson hesitated a couple times, but that's to be expected for someone still getting comfortable on the field. It was the last game of the season, but Johnson had never gotten more than 16 carries in any game.

(A fun fact: if Drake Johnson had as many carries as Ezekiel Elliott, he would have 1,261 yards right now. Derrick Green would have 1,123. De'Veon Smith would have 965. None of them have more than 520 yards.)

Sure, Norfleet danced, and Gardner was vulnerable to turnovers. The world still made sense. But underneath the mistakes that plagued this group from the beginning, there was a sign of what this team could have been. The team played with pride yesterday, and it made the whole game more enjoyable. It made the team more competitive. It brought back a little of the mystique of the Block M.

Hitting the Links Is A Wolverine

A Microcosm of Hoke's Tenure

This sums up everything very well. A good column by Nick Baumgardner.

Brady Hoke Postgame Comments

I respected him saying he's the football coach until told otherwise, and he was focused on the game. For all the legitimate complaints about Hoke's experiences with the media and the athletic department's mishandling of everything football-related, that was a professional thing to say.

The Worst Encore

Ohio State is now left to replace its second Heisman-level quarterback in one season.

ESPN Instant Analysis

Ohio State makes it to the Big Ten Championship Game, and they'll face a stingy Wisconsin defense and a Heisman candidate in Gordon. That said, one great offensive player does not guarantee a great offense. Melvin tore up Nebraska in large part because the back seven couldn't keep up with him, but OSU's secondary is very capable in that regard.

Stock Report: A Bull Market

Neither Hoke or Gardner are trending down. Well, it took them long enough.

MLive Writers Discuss the Matrix Movies, Interior Decorating With Leather

It's possible to look ahead to 2015 and see optimism - Drake Johnson has so much potential, the same as Derrick Green. De'Veon Smith is a little slow, but he's maybe the best #4 tailback in the Big Ten. And, of course, there's Ty Isaac.

The Class Act of Devin Gardner

No iconic moments came out of this game - though Urban Meyer's boxing impression was pretty good - so this stands as the lasting image of the 2014 Game: a man on his way out, and a man still making his way in the college football pantheon.


Days until Ohio State: 364

Get ready.