As I think back about this game I am disappointed and then I think of things that were encouraging. Then I think it wasn't as close as the final score indicated, but then I think we played hard till the end and did some nice things in the forth quarter. A play or two and this game could have spun way out of control, but a play or two our way and this game could have stayed close.
Moral victory? They say there is no such thing but for this team, this year I think this could have been. Showing some fight and doing some good things on both sides of the ball shows that this team is better and while we aren't ready to compete for a Big Ten title, we are ready to compete in the Big Ten.
What I didn't like...
We couldn't stop them on third down. I thought that we often slowed their offense on first and second down but then we gave up way too much on third down. Officially they were five for 11, but it felt like they converted at a much higher rate. After forcing a three and out late in the first quarter, we really didn't stop them until the forth quarter. Defense just couldn't get them off the field.
We were awful on third down. Four of 15 is bad on two fronts. First it is just a bad conversion rate and getting into 15 third down situations means we could't ever get 10 yards on the first two plays of each set. We often got 5 or 6 yard chunks, followed by 2 yards and then third and short which we couldn't convert.
Rushing defense. This is obvious when your opponent rushes for 279 yards on the ground. Tackling was an issue but so where the massive holes for Wells/Herron. I know this is a great rushing team with a tremendous rushing quarterback, but 279 is unacceptable if you want to stay in the game.
What I liked...
Weber had a pretty solid game and really was a leader in the forth quarter. 23-36 is pretty good, especially when you consider that Decker was covered very well all day. He did throw an intercpetion which was a forced pass that was dramatically underthrown, but one INT on the road against the best of the Big Ten isn't exactly a terrible day. So all in all he was solid and got better as the game went along.
BPT was pretty good in coverage. He was the coverage on a Robiskie TD, but he also led the team in tackles and had three impressive pass break ups. Given time, receivers are going to get open, but BPT made a few nice plays. He was the lone member of the secondary who had a good day.
Not giving up in the forth quarter and this team fought til the end. They showed some heart and i think we'd all agree that the 2007 Gophers would have been steamrolled in the forth quarter.
What did you think?
This wasn't all that much fun to watch, but I still have hope for finishing in the middle of the Big Ten. What did you like or dislike?