Michigan Daily Sports Editor Kyle O’Neill is not a
collegiate athlete, nor is he a collegiate coach. But he was a
starting wide receiver for his winless team at Garber High School,
was third in Bay County in receptions his senior year and claims to
know something about the game of football. So each game,
we’ll let him and his 5-foot-10, 158-pound frame break down
why Michigan either succeeded or failed.
Key play: Second-and-10; 13:04, Third quarter
1. Anyone who still thinks that Ohio State’s Will Allen
— or the Buckeyes’ secondary in general — is just
as good as last year’s is kidding themselves. Losing safety
Mike Doss to graduation may have not affected the Buckeyes’
stats — 14 interceptions this year — but there is an
obvious decline in product on the field. On both of Braylon
Edwards’ touchdowns, and anytime a post route was run, a
safety could not give help like they should. On Edwards’
second touchdown, Allen was actually in position to make the pick,
but his lack of awareness allowed Edwards to sneak in right behind
him for the score.
2. Robert Reynolds may be the dirtiest player to ever grace
college football. He’s tough, and a key to the
Buckeyes’ defense, but twisting Perry’s ankle in a
pile, running Perry out of bounds with a late hit and ripping
Willis Barringer’s helmet off during a blocking scuffle are
hardly what football is about. Then there’s the whole Jim
Sorgi thing from the Wisconsin game.
3. There’s nothing like watching football players do a
“happy cry” as Tony Pape put it. Most of mine during
high school were the other way. So to Michigan, congratulations,
and have a “happy cry” in Pasadena.
Explanation: Like I said last week in my column, this
game would come down to Michigan’s wide receivers’
ability to make big plays and Ohio State’s defensive line.
This play exemplified both of these keys, as Michigan’s
offensive line dominated off the ball, and the Wolverines’
wideouts drew enough of Ohio State’s attention, it never had
a chance to catch Chris Perry. This was a simple pulling-guard
counter, but what made it extraordinary was the result that
Michigan’s wide receivers produced. Sophomore Carl Tabb had
defensive back Dustin Fox so convinced he was running a route, that
Fox followed Tabb all the way into the endzone without ever looking
back — clearing out the left side of the field for Perry.
What made this more effective than a 10-yard, downfield block was
that it completely removed the defender from the field. Even if Fox
had been blocked by Tabb successfully, Perry would have been forced
to cutback to the middle of the field where safety Nate Salley was
waiting for him.