In determining why Michigan lost to Ohio State, one obvious aspect of the offense stood out. While Michigan was very successful at converting third downs in the first half, they struggled to do so in the second half. As a result, Michigan was unable to get into scoring range, and was shut out in that half.
First Half Third Downs:
-11:24 1st Quarter (3rd and 11)
From the 50 yard line, John Navarre made a great play to drift to his left away from the outside pressure of Ohio State. He then threw a perfect pass to Braylon Edwards on a deep out, for a 15 yard pick up.
-9:57 1st Quarter (3rd and 11)
From the OSU 37 yard line, as the protection broke down, Navarre delivered a perfect pass to Ronald Bellamy for an 18 yard gain.
-8:44 1st Quarter (3rd and 11)
From the OSU 19 yard line, OSU blitzed their strong side linebacker, and he wasn't picked up by the left side of the Michigan line. The play was designed to be a short crossing route to Jason Avant, where he would catch the ball and run for the remaining yards. This is a play that requires time to develop. Because the OSU pass rush was allowed to enter unimpeded, Navarre had to hurry the throw, which fell incomplete. The play didn't have time to develop, and wouldn't have picked up the first down even if the ball had been completed.
-1:30 1st Quarter (3rd and 1)
From the OSU 29 yard line, Chris Perry made a good run by cutting back to the left, away from his blocking. He picked up 2 yards on the run for a first down.
-13:41 2nd Quarter (3rd and 10)
From the Michigan 48, the pass protection broke down quickly, but Navarre stepped up well into the pocket. Despite bumping an offensive lineman as he released the ball, Navarre threw a perfect pass to Bellamy for a 15 yard gain and a first down.
-11:56 2nd Quarter (3rd and 9)
From the OSU 24 yard line, BJ Askew made a great pickup of the blitz to allow this play to work. Braylon Edwards caught the ball on the short out, and ran for an extra 5 yards. The play picked up 9 yards total, and a Michigan first down.
-11:05 2nd Quarter (3rd and 13)
From the OSU 18 yard line, Michigan attempted a fade pass to Edwards, but the ball was overthrown and fell incomplete.
-8:04 2nd Quarter (3rd and 9)
From the Michigan 9 yard line, Askew took the ball 11 yards for a first down on the draw play. This play worked because of a great block by Bellamy on the OSU linebacker, and of course, the unpredictability of running the ball in an obvious pass situation.
-5:10 2nd Quarter (3rd and 2)
From the Michigan 44 yard line, Askew made a nice tough run to pick up 2 yards, and just barely make the line for a first down.
-1:26 2nd Quarter (3rd and 4)
From the OSU 20 yard line, Michigan attempted to pass out of the shotgun, but with the pocket braking down, Navarre scrambled for 12 yards. Most impressive about this play was that Michael Doss had a chance to bring Navarre down 3 yards short of the first down marker. However, Navarre made him miss (I kid you not!), and picked up the first down.
-0:27 2nd Quarter (3rd and goal)
From the OSU 24 yard line, Navarre threw a perfect pass to Joppru on the post pattern. The play picked up 19 yards to the 5 yard line, which allowed Adam Finely to make an easy field goal.
Despite a very impressive 8 of 11 on third downs in the first half, Michigan needed an average of 9.55 yards to convert those third downs. Unfortunately for the Wolverines, the three third downs that they didn't convert were all in the redzone.
Second Half Third Downs:
-13:37 3rd Quarter (3rd and 2)
From the Michigan 35 yard line, Askew received the ball on a draw play, and picked up 9 yards. The OSU linebacker came too far up field, and Askew did a good job of running inside of him, and breaking an arm tackle.
-11:54 3rd Quarter (3rd and 6)
From the Michigan 49 yard line, Navarre attempted a short crossing route to Bellamy that fell incomplete. The play unfolded almost identically to the attempted pass to Avant at 8:44 of the first quarter, mentioned above. The blitzing OSU linebacker was unblocked, and Navarre had to rush the throw.
-8:06 3rd Quarter (3rd and 17)
Michigan had the ball on their own 47 yard line because of an incomplete pass, a penalty, and poorly executed screen on the previous plays. No one was open on the play, and Navarre made a nice dump off to Askew, who picked up 12 yards. Navarre and Askew made a nice play, but this drive was killed by the penalty.
-1:44 3rd Quarter (3rd and 7)
From the Michigan 40 yard line, Navarre completed the ball to Edwards on an out pattern. Edwards made a nice run after the catch to pick up 13 yards and the first down.
-0:18 3rd Quarter (3rd and 11)
Michigan should have had a third and six, but a false start pushed them back to the OSU 49 yard line. Navarre threw a deep fade to Edwards, but the ball was overthrown and fell incomplete.
-9:58 4th Quarter (3rd and 2)
From the UM 24 yard line, Navarre completed the ball to Bellamy on the slant pass for a 9 yard pick up, and a first down.
-8:44 4th Quarter (3rd and 15)
From the Michigan 28 yard line, the offensive line provided good protection, but Navarre threw the ball behind Bellamy for an incompletion.
-4:12 4th Quarter (3rd and 7)
From the Michigan 23 yard line, the offensive line provided great protection, and Navarre threw a perfect ball, but Bellamy was unable to hang on to the pass. Luckily for the Wolverine, a pass interference penalty was called against OSU, giving Michigan the first down.
-3:25 4th Quarter (3rd and 4)
From the Michigan 44 yard line, Navarre attempted a slant pass to Bellamy, but the ball was tipped at the line and fell incomplete. Michigan was able to convert on the ensuing forth down, with a well thrown deep out pass to Bellamy.
-2:35 4th Quarter (3rd and 5)
From the OSU 39 yard line, the offensive line provided good protection, and Navarre completed a nice pass to Edwards for 9 yards and a first down. Navarre fumbled the ball on the next play.
-0:48 4th Quarter (3rd and 10)
From the Michigan 20 yard line, Navarre delivered a nice looking throw, but the OSU defensive back made an excellent play to break up the pass. Michigan was able to convert on the following 4th down, with Navarre doing a great job to just catch the snap, and then find Edwards for 11 yards.
-0:01 4th Quarter (3rd and 10)
From the OSU 24 yard line, Michigan had one play to throw a touchdown and nothing else. The ball was intercepted by Ohio State.
After a great first half on third downs, Michigan only managed to convert 5 of 12 on third downs in the second half. Michigan needed an average of 8 yards to convert on their second half third downs. While this was less than the first half, the Wolverines had far less success, resulting in several stalled drives, and zero points in the second half.
Obviously, with over 8 yards needed to convert the average third down, the offense wasn't doing a good enough job on first and second downs.
While the play calling didn't seem substantially different than in the first half, penalties and poor execution prevented the conversion of numerous second half third down attempts.
A Tale of Two Halves - Offensive Film Breakdown
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