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GDT: #7 Michigan State at #12 Michigan 10/17/2015

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Hokian decision on the punt formation and a ridiculous SPARTY NO moment for Michigan. But really as dumb as that was the difference was the talent at the QB position.

If you swap the team's QBs, I have no doubt Michigan wins this game 35-7. Cook hits guys who are covered all day with perfect throws, and Rudock can't hit wide open guys. The difference in talent between the teams at that position is just massive.

I'm not sure what else they were supposed to do with the punt. Catch and kick, no roll out was called. With nobody back game is over if he clears the line. If they have a robber or something who makes the tackle after the debacle, MSU still has time to line up for a field goal. And that would also leave only2 men in the wall, which would have only increased the 2nd guessing.

O'Neil simply needs to catch the ball or eat it once he drops it, instead he kicks it behind him right to a Spartan. At that point the only hope is the timing somehow works out that he's down inside the 2 as time expires, because anywhere else on the field there's still enough time left for a FG.

But yes, Cook really was incredible. Lewis was in the pocket of Burbridge so it was a 2-man show. Yet through all of those passes I can't recall M having an opportunity to pick a single one (other than the one that rightly got called back of course).

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It was going to be a fortunate win- State out gained Michigan by 150 yards or so.

Michigan lacks any type of QB and don't have much skill position talent. They have some weaknesses in the secondary and at LB but Cook is a great QB- D played fine outside of one 75 yard play to the fullback.

In both the Utah and MSU games, the difference at QB was telling. Same thing will happen against OSU. Rudock is extremely limited.

I think MSU had a 0.2 % chance to win entering that last play. That's a once in a lifetime gaffe by O'neill and gift to MSU.

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The State player that returned the ball for a TD suffered a dislocated hip in the aftermath. That's unfortunate.

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It was going to be a fortunate win- State out gained Michigan by 150 yards or so.

Michigan lacks any type of QB and don't have much skill position talent. They have some weaknesses in the secondary and at LB but Cook is a great QB- D played fine outside of one 75 yard play to the fullback.

In both the Utah and MSU games, the difference at QB was telling. Same thing will happen against OSU. Rudock is extremely limited.

I think MSU had a 0.2 % chance to win entering that last play. That's a once in a lifetime gaffe by O'neill and gift to MSU.

I feel this is a game where the yardage was a bit misleading. Cook put up yards but his completion % was pretty brutal. Outside of the one huge play I thought the Michigan defense played well. They were just facing a great QB having a very good game. MSU's run game didn't really do anything.

The issue to me is Rudock. MSU has a very good D-Line and a bad secondary. It's not a shock they couldn't run the ball, they have to be able to throw it.

He's just way too inaccurate to be a 'game manager' type. To make a Lions comparison, it's like Matt Stafford out there without the arm strength. Ugly.

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Yep. We have a good team and obviously should have won the game, but the loss isn't devastating in the national scheme of things. I think we have a QB that can go 9-3 or 8-4 with a good team around him, but obviously not a 11-1 or 12-0 guy (like Cook) that's going to threaten any of the top 4. In both our losses he's really missed some throws that would have completely changed both games. I expect the same thing will happen in 1 or 2 of the next 4, and then who knows if we can upset OSU.

First of all, Connor Cook is going to be a backup, at very best, in the NFL. He should have lost this game by 2 touchdowns if not for some complete gifts by the refs. He's wildly over hyped, but some unfortunate NFL team will find that out next year (probably will be the lions).

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I'm not sure what else they were supposed to do with the punt. Catch and kick, no roll out was called. With nobody back game is over if he clears the line. If they have a robber or something who makes the tackle after the debacle, MSU still has time to line up for a field goal. And that would also leave only2 men in the wall, which would have only increased the 2nd guessing.

O'Neil simply needs to catch the ball or eat it once he drops it, instead he kicks it behind him right to a Spartan. At that point the only hope is the timing somehow works out that he's down inside the 2 as time expires, because anywhere else on the field there's still enough time left for a FG.

But yes, Cook really was incredible. Lewis was in the pocket of Burbridge so it was a 2-man show. Yet through all of those passes I can't recall M having an opportunity to pick a single one (other than the one that rightly got called back of course).

I think they should have had a safety man behind the punter in that situation. And it's a situation where I'd still have done the rugby punt (maybe they were going to, I didn't really feel an urge to rewatch the play) because in the event of a disaster you probably just fall on the ball with like 5 seconds left at the 40 or so. Still a non terrible situation, and it's what your punter is used to doing.

No doubt that in the end it's just a ridiculous one in a billion play. If he kicks it, the game is over. If he just falls down they probably win unless MSU hits a hail mary or a 55+ fg. Instead he just kind of knocked it behind himself somehow. I suppose there's no reason to try to fix blame on something so flukish, but when it immediately loses the game...ouch.

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I thought Rudock was solid. Not perfect, but he didn't turn the ball over and made some big third down plays. He's not the second coming, but he's the best UM has this year and he's redeemed himself rather well since the first few games of the season. He missed a few, but so did Connor Cook who is supposedly a first round draft pick. I kind of felt like Harbaugh didn't go to the pass enough and as someone mentioned earlier, MSU's pass defense was suspect.

It's unfortunate that the game ended the way it did, because I think the atrocious officiating will get lost in the stunning defeat.

Rudock is puke. He misses too many open targets and can't get the ball down field. Couldn't get them a first down twice in the fourth quarter..........Good QBs get it done. Rudock is the best they have - so the backups must be a dumpster fire. MSU didn't need good pass defense today, the QB can't get it down the field. Just awful. I am glad he'll be gone next year. Won't win close games with him at the helm. He doesn't have the talent and he doesn't have that "it" that a QB needs. I'd call him vanilla, but I don't want to insult vanilla.

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I think they should have had a safety man behind the punter in that situation. And it's a situation where I'd still have done the rugby punt (maybe they were going to, I didn't really feel an urge to rewatch the play) because in the event of a disaster you probably just fall on the ball with like 5 seconds left at the 40 or so. Still a non terrible situation, and it's what your punter is used to doing.

No doubt that in the end it's just a ridiculous one in a billion play. If he kicks it, the game is over. If he just falls down they probably win unless MSU hits a hail mary or a 55+ fg. Instead he just kind of knocked it behind himself somehow. I suppose there's no reason to try to fix blame on something so flukish, but when it immediately loses the game...ouch.

I can't believe a coach wouldn't have said to him "Hey, just in case...........just fall on it, don't try to get cute............" Maybe they didn't want to put that image in his head, but it happened anyway. I feel bad for the kid, it was not a good snap, but it was in his hands and he should have held on to it. He panicked, He choked, but no game should EVER............EVER be left in the hands of a punter (Sam Martin fake FG comes to mind).

Absolutely devastating. This was Lionsesque...........I'd be still laughing if they did it. I hate the world right now. I hope East Lansing burns tonight, but I still would rather see them in the playoff than those bastards down south.

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I can't believe a coach wouldn't have said to him "Hey, just in case...........just fall on it, don't try to get cute............" Maybe they didn't want to put that image in his head, but it happened anyway. I feel bad for the kid, it was not a good snap, but it was in his hands and he should have held on to it.

I wonder if being Australian has anything to do with it. I think back to him deciding on his own to fake a punt on 4th and 18 or something a couple of games ago. Really good punter, but not the best football sense.

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The fact that it was a broken play was what sealed the Wolverines fate....stopping a 38 yd run back should not be difficult, but special teams are not designed to stop run backs that begin behind the line of scrimmage...all they had to do was kick the ball beyond the line of scrimmage, and the Spartans would have had a very difficult wall to climb....or as Harbaugh said, fall on the ball....not sure why that wasn't drilled into the punters head or why a safety wasn't placed behind him.

Oh, and....arrrrrrrgggghhhh.....blech....welp.

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First of all, Connor Cook is going to be a backup, at very best, in the NFL. He should have lost this game by 2 touchdowns if not for some complete gifts by the refs. He's wildly over hyped, but some unfortunate NFL team will find that out next year (probably will be the lions).

Complete gifts by refs, yes, but Cook is much better than you are giving him credit for. And it kills me to say that. And besides, just because a guy may not be a star in the NFL does not change the fact he's a good(great?) college QB. Judge him as an NFL QB when he's in the NFL.

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First of all, Connor Cook is going to be a backup, at very best, in the NFL. He should have lost this game by 2 touchdowns if not for some complete gifts by the refs. He's wildly over hyped, but some unfortunate NFL team will find that out next year (probably will be the lions).

What game were you watching? He torched the secondary for 330 yards... And could've easily been more if not for some blatant drops.

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What game were you watching? He torched the secondary for 330 yards... And could've easily been more if not for some blatant drops.

And a lot of those were great throws where Lewis was in very good coverage on Burbridge and they just made the play anyway.

It's hard for me to say anything about Michigan's pass defense in this case other than tipping my hat to a great QB. I would actually say Michigan probably matches up a lot better with Ohio State than MSU on that side of the ball. Of course it does look like Meyer is finally going back to Barrett instead of Cardale. Too bad.

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Can't believe Meyer didn't figure out he needed Barrett sooner

Someone commented on the yardage above. I think that's a bit misleading due to Peppers' big returns. We outgained them by 100 on return yards and that isn't flukey or random. STs are 14% of the game or so and Peppers is our most talented player. Before the long FB pass, I'd argue we were outgaining them.

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My dad and I watched the game yesterday and yet again I had to leave his house feeling dismayed about a football outcome this season. You could have run that scenario 100 times over and not come out with that result.

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If you watch the replay, State bull rushes the snapper and knocks him down immediately after snapping the ball. That's an automatic 15 yard penalty and was called in the Maryland-OSU game recently. That's one reason they were able to be on top of the punter so quickly.

But, it seems like an unwritten rule that penalties are never called on final plays.

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It was not Michigan's day with the refs

That's for sure. I was there without the advantage of slow motion and replay but watching parts after I got home confirmed that it wasn't their day.

Edited by Truth

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I think they should have had a safety man behind the punter in that situation. And it's a situation where I'd still have done the rugby punt (maybe they were going to, I didn't really feel an urge to rewatch the play) because in the event of a disaster you probably just fall on the ball with like 5 seconds left at the 40 or so. Still a non terrible situation, and it's what your punter is used to doing.

No doubt that in the end it's just a ridiculous one in a billion play. If he kicks it, the game is over. If he just falls down they probably win unless MSU hits a hail mary or a 55+ fg. Instead he just kind of knocked it behind himself somehow. I suppose there's no reason to try to fix blame on something so flukish, but when it immediately loses the game...ouch.

Would putting a safety man behind the punter be a legal formation? The bigger issue to me was that State had nobody back and Michigan lined up as if they did. They had their gunners and the linemen looked to get down field. The rugby style kick is not optimal under that pressure either which I wonder if Michigan accounted for before the play.

The kid made a mistake but I think the staff made a bigger one. They should have taken a delay of game penalty to regroup after seeing what State was lining up to do.

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FWIW, I thought before the play the choice to punt on the final play was a poor one. This was reinforced by the result. Too much bad stuff can happen. The best thing to do is to try to pick up that first down and defend the hail mary. I'll prove it with math later.

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angelique ‏@chengelis 10m10 minutes ago

Per ESPN: ESPNU will re-air MSU-UM on today 6-9 p.m., Monday, 8-11 p.m.

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Would putting a safety man behind the punter be a legal formation? The bigger issue to me was that State had nobody back and Michigan lined up as if they did. They had their gunners and the linemen looked to get down field. The rugby style kick is not optimal under that pressure either which I wonder if Michigan accounted for before the play.

The kid made a mistake but I think the staff made a bigger one. They should have taken a delay of game penalty to regroup after seeing what State was lining up to do.

MSU could have just as easily pressured Rudock and he could have botched the snap or they could have gotten the ball back and had a Hail Mary. It's just one of those things. I think the only difference is that Rudock is a 5th year senior and the punter has been playing actual football for less than two years. He just didn't have the experience to know what to do when the play didn't work. Credit MSU for recognizing that and stacking the line instead of setting up for a return.

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FWIW, I thought before the play the choice to punt on the final play was a poor one. This was reinforced by the result. Too much bad stuff can happen. The best thing to do is to try to pick up that first down and defend the hail mary. I'll prove it with math later.

I agree with this too. I actually thought about just running the ball wide and making sure you eat up enough clock even if the guy doesn't get the corner. Leaving them with one play from the 50 or so doesn't seem so bad. Especially in college where even if you somehow get a ridiculous pass interference on the last play they'd still be facing a 52 yard or so field goal.

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Who knows what the maths would say. I think a hail mary has a higher chance of succeeding than blocking a punt. I would think a hail mary is like 1 in 10 and a blocked punt (when you know it's coming) is like 1 in 40 and it being returned for a TD is 1 in 100.

AT the time blocked punt was #3 on my fear list behind hail mary and punt return.

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