Michigan reeled off five straight wins to start 2010, and the pressure eased on head coach Rich Rodriguez. But losses to Michigan State and Iowa have everyone in the Maize and Blue club very worried.
Michigan has been beset by mistakes and defensive shortcomings in its two-game slump. After a blunder-filled performance against Iowa, Rodriguez was pretty direct about the state of affairs.
"No question, the penalties were ridiculous. The turnovers are inexcusable," Rodriguez said. "We're not good enough to have those things and beat anybody, let alone a good Iowa team."
So Michigan forges ahead, but with Penn State, Illinois, Wisconsin and Ohio State still left on the schedule, the road ahead is still plenty tough.
--QB Denard Robinson passed the 1,000-yard mark in rushing for the season against Iowa, running for 105 yards on 18 carries before leaving the game in the third quarter with a shoulder injury.
--QB Tate Forcier replaced an injured Denard Robinson in the third quarter and completed 17 of 26 passes for a season-high 239 yards and a touchdown. He also rushed for another touchdown.
--Michigan will face Alabama in the 2012 College Football Kick-off Event at Cowboys Stadium on Sept. 1, 2012. This will be the fourth time Michigan and Alabama have met, but it will be their first meeting in the regular season.
--WR Martavious Odoms underwent surgery after breaking his foot in the loss to Michigan State. Odoms is the fifth starter or top backup the Wolverines have lost for the season, the others being LB Mike Jones (leg), S Jared Van Slyke (clavicle), S Mike Williams (multiple concussions) and CB Troy Woolfolk (ankle).
GAME BALL GOES TO: WR Junior Hemingway -- The onus was on Hemingway to take up more of the load after Martavious Odoms was lost for the season with a broken foot, and Hemingway produced career highs of nine receptions and 134 receiving yards in the loss to Iowa.
KEEP AN EYE ON: LB Kenny Demens -- The sophomore got the first start of his career against Iowa and responded with eight tackles. Demens is one of a number of young Wolverines who is getting the opportunity to show his stuff as the Michigan coaches search for solutions on their troubled defense.
QUOTE TO NOTE: "We just had opportunities in the end and we needed to make stops on defense or make a play on offense and all of the sudden the crowd is back into it and we have a chance to win the game. We just didn't do that. We have to clean up some things. The attitude of the kids is good. The effort is good, but the execution has to be better." -- Michigan coach Rich Rodriguez, on what his team has to do to beat quality opponents.
STRATEGY AND PERSONNEL
LOOKING GOOD: The Wolverines have watched P Will Hagerup improve week by week. Hagerup hit a 63-yarder against Iowa, after knocking one 62 yards against Michigan State. Hagerup has five punts of 50 or more yards in the past three games.
STILL NEEDS WORK: The Wolverines squandered two chances to turn the tide of the Iowa game, once driving down the field for a field-goal try that was blocked, and then later fumbling the ball away in the Iowa red zone. As this team matures and its players gain more experience, it will have to demonstrate the ability to cash in on those chances, which are tough to come by against the likes of Iowa.
--QB Denard Robinson left the Iowa game in the third quarter with a shoulder injury, and he did not return on the advice of team doctors. The extent of his injury was not known immediately after the game.
The TSX Files: Michigan post-Iowa
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