After every game of the 2005 season, The Michigan Daily’s football writers will take you for a ride in Lloyd’s car. The gauges all refer to different variables that will fluctuate from week to week, depending on how the team and fans perform.
Defensive Intensity is a measure of – you guessed it – how well the Wolverines manage to stop their opponents.
The Carr-o-meter is a rough gauge of head coach Lloyd Carr’s mood and opinion of his team’s play, as judged from his postgame comments.
The Hypemeter provides our opinion of how you, the fans, supported the Wolverines, taking into consideration the bowl game’s neutral site. Volume, consistency and awareness will all be considered.
Rush Yards is a straightforward measure of Michigan’s ground yardage total in each game. Since an effective running game is crucial to postseason success – especially for this year’s squad, which is loaded at running back – this statistic figures to be a consistently important indicator.
We could probably use the exact same entry from the Ohio State game and several other contests. For stretches, the defense looked as if it could stop anyone, but then the inconsistency that plagued the unit all year long reared its ugly head. The defensive line put more pressure on Nebraska quarterback Zac Taylor than it did on anyone else this year. Alan Branch, LaMarr Woodley and crew pounded the junior all game long to the tune of nine sacks. But the defense also gave up long runs to the diminutive Cory Ross. Ross finished with 161 yards, one touchdown and offensive MVP honors.
After the Ohio State game, it looked as if Lloyd Carr may have had tears in his eyes. After this game, he looked angry and tired. Carr congratulated Nebraska on a well-played game, but he thought his “players deserved better” in a game that he said was very poorly officiated. Like most games, Carr was happy with the effort his team gave, but it was obvious he thought the outcome could’ve been a little different. This press conference went like most of those after losses this year: Carr praised his team for never giving up, but he looked as if he was happy to be done with the game.
A neutral site, this was not. The Alamodome was a sea of red for the contest. The Wolverines didn’t give you much to be excited about this year, but 150 student ticket requests? That’s it? Predictably, crowd volume followed the color pattern. The noise was deafening when the Cornhuskers made a play, and considerably less so when the Wolverines came up with a big gain or a critical stop. Nebraska apparel was everywhere around San Antonio in the days surrounding the game, and maize and blue were rare finds. Props to the Nebraska fan standing in front of the press box with a big wad of chew.
What do you get when a healthy Mike Hart goes up against a battered group of Nebraska linebackers? You would’ve expected Hart to have a huge night, but instead he turned in a dud, picking up a measly 74 yards on 19 carries. Kevin Grady was mediocre in a backup role. Quarterback Chad Henne was the lone bright spot on the ground, showing an uncharacteristic willingness to keep the ball and run for first downs. Henne picked up 38 yards and a touchdown on the game. Still, the Wolverines couldn’t get it going in the rushing department. A thoroughly disappointing performance.