|Yeah Coach, that's about the size of it. (Kirthmon F. Dozier, Detroit Free Press)|
"Way, way, way, way too long."
--"Hanginaround," Counting Crows, This Desert Life, 1999
Fun fact: Michigan's lowest win probability in this game was 95%, about the middle of the second quarter. There was, statistically, never any real danger that Michigan was going to lose this game. So perhaps that wasn't the feeling. It was more mild annoyance that Michigan wasn't putting more distance between themselves and SMU during the course of this game. In the stadium, the heat/humidity was relentless, much warmer than any of the weather lookaheads would have seemed to indicate.
After the last decade of Michigan football, it seems particularly petty to complain about a 25-point win, but I am sure there will be those in the fanbase who are more than happy to disabuse me of the notion. I am very happy that Shea seems to have found a new toy in "The" Peoples-Jones. As the gentleman sitting behind me said as DPJ raised three fingers after finding the end zone for the third time: "You get a hat trick any day, any sport, you get to celebrate it." I am loathe to disagree. For so many people waiting for Peoples-Jones to live up to the hype and the stars, today's performance definitely was more than flashes. I am very happy that Josh Metellus decided to immediately make up for the PI penalty he drew on a 2nd and 17 late in the half by returning a pick 73 yards to cap off the first half. Fully, a third of SMU's first downs came courtesy of penalties, which made the game feel like it was dragging on interminably. We had reviews of targeting from the booth that hadn't been called on the field. We had reviews that we knew the press box knew weren't going Michigan's way because the video board wasn't showing a replay immediately. I am only surprised that we didn't have reviews of reviews, which given this crew, didn't completely feel out of the realm of possibility.
It feels wrong to complain about a win on a day when so many Big Ten teams fell, including Wisconsin and Nebraska. There are no style points. Many of the voters in the polls are going to see 45-20 and not dig any deeper. Michigan won by 25 at home against a G5 opponent. But I will say, this game was one of the least, if not the least, enjoyable Michigan Stadium experiences I have had where the end result was a victory. (Advisory note: I was not at Cincinnati or Air Force last year, because I can already hear you "ahem"-ing me.) It was just a joyless, superheated slog that would not seem to end. So many of the problems that we worried about on defense from the Notre Dame game showed up. On the plus side, Shea Patterson clearly showed some moxie. One that particularly stood out to me was on the 3rd and 4 from the Michigan 38 with 6:13 left in the 4th quarter. Flushed out of the pocket, he scrambled to the left side. Patterson was still directing receivers on adjustments before finally deciding at the last possible moment to just go and picking up 18 yards and a first down on the scramble. He had just four incomplete passes, which I didn't even realize until I started looking at the stats. The upgrade at the quarterback position this year is what made this game a 25 point win on a day when the defense was not its usual, expected self.
I don't want to be BAWWW, and I'm trying hard not to be. So I'll just take the win and look forward to the start of the Big Ten season next week.