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

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Yeah, the fumbled punt was so freakish, it might not be worth thinking about alternatives.

Upon further thought I would have considered lining up like they were going to go for it and just having Rudock kick it. Force them to spread out to cover people and it seems way less likely that they can actually just bullrush through, you might be able to run out the clock, and even if he gets say a 15 yard punt off, it pretty much puts them out of hail mary range.

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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.

I don't think they should have gone for it or had Rudock attempt to punt. What I do think is that they were in the wrong formation and Michigan had the chance to adjust and didn't. State went for broke because that was their only chance to have one more meaningful offensive play.

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I would think the odds of a punt getting blocked in that situation to be atleast a 1 in a 100. Sure normal punts probably get blocked more frequently, but when all you are doing is just trying to get it off and not caring how far or where it goes I would have to assume the likelihood of it goes down big time. Plus if it was a blocked punt that still goes forward like a good chunk of them do it still would've left them with a very long hail mary at best. Just an absolute flukey play, it's like the Lions were wearing Michigan Uniforms for that play.

It's going to get remembered regardless but If Michigan State goes on to win the National Title(highly unlikely but for arguments sake they do) I wonder where this play will rank in college football lore? Twenty years from now will it be looked at like the Flutie Hail Mary, or "The Band is on the field" play?

Edited by RandyMarsh

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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.

Well... you are setting up a hail mary either way. The punt isn't going to take 10 seconds.

3.2% of punts are returned for a touchdown. This number is higher when the house is sent (and they inexplicably have gunners instead of staying in max protect).

4th and 2 is successful about 65% of the time, which is a guaranteed win by the way.

Hail Marys from the 50 or the opposing 20 have a roughly equal 2% chance of being successful.(Advanced Football Analytics (formerly Advanced NFL Stats): Hail Mary Probabilities).

Going for it, you have the following scenarios for Michigan State.

Punt: 3.2% (conservative) chance of touchdown.

96.8% chance of hail mary (2%) chance. (Total=3.3%)

Go for it: 35% chance of stopping. 2% chance of hail mary. (0.7% chance of winning)

Yes, there is a chance of them pulling a Kyle Orton, but I couldn't find a reasonable number for that, and I know the number is less than 3% of the time.

Punting was the wrong move, even before accounting for the all out block.

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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....

There is no way a hail mary succeeds 1 in 10 times.

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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.

I was there too and didn't notice. But ppl today are telling me about how bad it was. I had to skip a day thinking about it yesterday... (and I was UBER hung over LOL)

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I still don't know how I feel about the decision at the end of the game. I was slightly worried about them having to punt, but I wasn't convinced that doing something else would have been the right call. All they had to do was get the punt off and they win the game. But they also could have just run the ball into the line and defended the Hail Mary too. I don't think they had even a reasonable chance of getting a first down. I can't see them gaining the three yards on the ground against a stacked line. I think trying to throw the ball there would have been pretty risky because you know MSU would have brought the house and taking a sack would have given them a shot to attempt a game winning kick (maybe). The other issue is that a Hail Mary from the 40 or whatever would have been a lot easier than one from their own 20. All they had to do was punt the ball into the middle of the field. That's something that is successful almost every time. Obviously the highly improbable thing happened and they lost. It sucks but whatever.

They still have a chance to have a very good season if they beat OSU. It might even be enough to make the big ten championship game if OSU beats MSU but that is a long ways off.

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They still have a chance to have a very good season if they beat OSU. It might even be enough to make the big ten championship game if OSU beats MSU but that is a long ways off.

They'd need MSU to lose another game (they might) in order to win the division. The tiebreaker in a 3-way 7-1 tie is highest ranked in the playoff rankings, which tend to sort first by # of losses. The Utah lose would loom large.

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They'd need MSU to lose another game (they might) in order to win the division. The tiebreaker in a 3-way 7-1 tie is highest ranked in the playoff rankings, which tend to sort first by # of losses. The Utah lose would loom large.

I'm aware of the tiebreaker. I think it would be close but agree that it might require an additional loss by MSU. The Utah loss could in theory be excused if Utah continues to win. I'm sure the committee knows their ranking will determine the division rep, so if they have to rank these three teams I could see a scenario where mich ends up at least back to back with OSU, which would be enough to rely on head to head between them.

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I didn't watch the game, and was following via my phone at the end. All I really know is that the game turned in the last 10 seconds related to a problem with the punt.

Time to find it on youtube and take some medicine. I like to start my week with a kick to the teeth.

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Well they could have called the hold on the fumble return at about the 11 yard line. But its no surprise that they wouldn't make that call on the last play of the game.

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Well... you are setting up a hail mary either way. The punt isn't going to take 10 seconds.

3.2% of punts are returned for a touchdown. This number is higher when the house is sent (and they inexplicably have gunners instead of staying in max protect).

4th and 2 is successful about 65% of the time, which is a guaranteed win by the way.

Hail Marys from the 50 or the opposing 20 have a roughly equal 2% chance of being successful.(Advanced Football Analytics (formerly Advanced NFL Stats): Hail Mary Probabilities).

Going for it, you have the following scenarios for Michigan State.

Punt: 3.2% (conservative) chance of touchdown.

96.8% chance of hail mary (2%) chance. (Total=3.3%)

Go for it: 35% chance of stopping. 2% chance of hail mary. (0.7% chance of winning)

Yes, there is a chance of them pulling a Kyle Orton, but I couldn't find a reasonable number for that, and I know the number is less than 3% of the time.

Punting was the wrong move, even before accounting for the all out block.

3.2% of returning a punt for a TD seems very high, especially punting from midfield. I can't find anything but ok.

And I would think most of those are punt return TDs, not blocks. Not to mention punters will kick the ball quicker if they know that's all they have to do, I would think the greatest chance to lose this game on a punt is bad snap / dropped snap. Which is lower than 3.2%, probably 1%.

And here ESPN had 4% chance for BYU winning on a hail mary from the 42--and Cook has plenty of arm to do it from 50-55 yards out.

So I'd say 3% if they try for the first down, and I can't say for sure on the punt but it has to be less than that factoring out punts that are returned by a returner and field position.

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The highest risks going into the series were: a) a fumble on one of the 3 running plays rather than taking a knee (but the running plays were probably the right call because it gave the chance for a first down, ran off a total of 5-10 seconds more than taking a knee 3 times would have, and gave 10-15 yards better field position than taking a knee would have); or b) a Michigan penalty on one of the 3 running plays to stop the clock, which is how the Lions won a lost game last year against Atlanta I believe (although to be honest, I don't even know if stopping the clock on an offensive penalty is the rule in college). Either of those would have given the Spartans the ball around midfield with time for at least 1 play to try to get into FG range. Once Michigan successfully got through that and lined up for a punt, my only real concern was a high snap sailing over the kicker's head, because that could have been downed on the edge of FG range.

The probability of all of: a) the punter dropping a low-ish dry football in non-slippery conditions; and THEN: b) the punter deciding to keep playing rather than fall on it; and THEN c) the ball sailing right into the Spartan player's arms on the fly without him having to hesitate and bend over to try to get a handle on picking the ball up off the ground; and THEN d) the Michigan St. player covering 40+ yards without getting tackled is so, so low IMO that you can't blame the play call or the formation. It almost gets into the same level of unlikelihood as a QB who just needs to take a knee stumbling over his own feet as he backs up and having the ball squirt into the air while off-balance.

Edited by lordstanley

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I still don't know how I feel about the decision at the end of the game. I was slightly worried about them having to punt, but I wasn't convinced that doing something else would have been the right call. All they had to do was get the punt off and they win the game. But they also could have just run the ball into the line and defended the Hail Mary too. I don't think they had even a reasonable chance of getting a first down. I can't see them gaining the three yards on the ground against a stacked line. I think trying to throw the ball there would have been pretty risky because you know MSU would have brought the house and taking a sack would have given them a shot to attempt a game winning kick (maybe). The other issue is that a Hail Mary from the 40 or whatever would have been a lot easier than one from their own 20. All they had to do was punt the ball into the middle of the field. That's something that is successful almost every time. Obviously the highly improbable thing happened and they lost. It sucks but whatever.

They still have a chance to have a very good season if they beat OSU. It might even be enough to make the big ten championship game if OSU beats MSU but that is a long ways off.

I agree. In future situations, I think if I'm Harbaugh, I'm probably calling the same play. Of all my other choices, I don't think I want to run the ball, and give it right back to them with a chance to kick a 50 yard FG. I don't think I want to pass the ball and risk a sack or an INT for a pick 6. If in a situation where there is no one back to return the punt from the other team, I think I call for the punt again.

I think this will be a defining moment in the history of our team. I'm sure Harbaugh is going to use this for years to come as to why close games are never over. It should serve as a motivator for perfection in all times of the game, and hopefully it is painful enough to these players to do whatever it takes to not have to feel that type of moment again.

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I agree. In future situations, I think if I'm Harbaugh, I'm probably calling the same play. Of all my other choices, I don't think I want to run the ball, and give it right back to them with a chance to kick a 50 yard FG. I don't think I want to pass the ball and risk a sack or an INT for a pick 6. If in a situation where there is no one back to return the punt from the other team, I think I call for the punt again.

I think this will be a defining moment in the history of our team. I'm sure Harbaugh is going to use this for years to come as to why close games are never over. It should serve as a motivator for perfection in all times of the game, and hopefully it is painful enough to these players to do whatever it takes to not have to feel that type of moment again.

They should have been in some max protect formation. Even if he hadn't bobbled the snap State was going to be down his throat.

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They should have been in some max protect formation. Even if he hadn't bobbled the snap State was going to be down his throat.

Looking at the replay of the play, I don't think it was a lack of protection that caused MSU to get the ball. IMO, the bottom line is that if he would have caught the ball cleanly, he had plenty of room to punt the ball. I've heard many fans argue about whether they should have punted the ball in that situation. I see no reason why that wasn't the right call.

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http://grfx.cstv.com/photos/schools/mich/sports/m-footbl/auto_pdf/2015-16/depth_chart_event/depth_chart.pdf

Look at all those seniors. 12 on the defense alone. Harbaugh is a great coach, but man he inherited a pretty experienced football team.

Fortunately most of them aren't "real" seniors, so they also return almost all of the best players next year. We just have to trick Jourdan Lewis into not going pro somehow.

I believe out of major contributors, Michigan loses

Rudock, both fullbacks, AJ Williams, Graham Glasgow on offense

Ojemudia/RJS, the three starting linebackers, probably Lewis to the pros (nooo stay) on defense

and that's about it. Not really that bad, although the linebackers all being gone is an issue, I don't see amazing depth at that spot.

Comparatively I believe that State loses

Jack Allen, Arnett, Burbridge, Calhoun, Cook, Ed Davis, Joel Health, Kings Jr., Damon Knox, Lawrence Thomas, and probably some other guys

Mostly it just seems like MSU are losing their QB, top WRs, and most of their D-Line. And if I'm not mistaken the passing offense and d-line are the only things making them a good team.

Definitely seems like Michigan should have the edge next year, but who knows, maybe Conor Cook's backup is going to turn out to be the new best QB in the country just to mess with us

Edited by pyrotigers

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Looking at the replay of the play, I don't think it was a lack of protection that caused MSU to get the ball. IMO, the bottom line is that if he would have caught the ball cleanly, he had plenty of room to punt the ball. I've heard many fans argue about whether they should have punted the ball in that situation. I see no reason why that wasn't the right call.

What is the benefit of punting, if I may ask?

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What is the benefit of punting, if I may ask?

MSU had no return man back, so if the ball was simply kicked past the line of scrimmage the game was almost assuredly over, which in a max protect punt situation you would expect to happen over 99% of the time.

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Yeah, there is a good chance the clock runs out if they get the punt off. Even if there is a second or two left, a Hail Mary from the 20 is harder than one from the 50.

There are risks in trying to run another play and going for the first down. You ensure they will have time for a Hail Mary if you fail (which is highly likely with a stacked box and full rush). You also run the risk of a fumble. If you try to pass, you risk a fumble in the backfield, an interception, or a sack, giving them even better field position.

Regardless of the play call, something bad happening was still a minuscule chance.

All they had to do was execute a successful punt and the game is over or they have to go 80 yards in a single play.

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