South Carolina 26, Michigan 19

Submitted by Ace on January 1st, 2018 at 4:31 PM


[Marc-Gregor Campredon]

New year, same Michigan.

In one of the uglier games of an aesthetically unpleasant season, the Wolverines never managed to cobble together a coherent offense, and five-second half turnovers beget 23 unanswered points for South Carolina.

Quarterback Brandon Peters, playing behind a line down three starters by halftime, never looked comfortable. Factoring in two sacks, Peters averaged only 3.7 yards per dropback and missed a number of throws, including two late interceptions to seal the loss. Michigan fared little better on the ground, gaining all of 2.9 yards per carry.

While the Jim Harbaugh takes will reach a level of scorching usually reserved for large celestial bodies, it's fair to criticize the playcalling, which didn't do much to take the pressure off Peters or Don Brown's futilely amazing defense. No single call was responsible for the loss, but the third-and-short handoff to tight end Sean McKeon, fumbled for a South Carolina recovery, defied explanation until Harbaugh, taking responsibility, said after the game that Michigan had the wrong personnel on the field.


[Campredon]

That play was just one in a series of mistakes that turned a 19-3 second-half lead into a 26-19 loss. Karan Higdon fumbled inside the South Carolina five-yard line with the Wolverines leading 16-3 and poised to blow the game wide open. After Michigan added a field goal and SC responded their first touchdown drive, McKeon's fumble gave the Gamecocks the ball on the M 21; they needed one play to score again, with Jake Bentley's pass to Bryan Edwards cutting the lead to 19-16.

Michigan's ensuing drive went nowhere, and the defense—as we've seen too many times this year—cracked under the pressure of supporting an inept offense. Bentley improbably converted a third-and-17 on a jump ball to tight end Hayden Hurst; three plays later, Shi Smith beat Tyree Kinnel clean to the pylon for a 53-yard score.

The comedy of errors continued unabated. After driving Michigan 75 yards in seven plays, Peters committed a cardinal sin of quarterbacking, throwing under pressure across his body to get intercepted in the end zone. When the defense held, SC's punt clanged off Donovan Peoples-Jones's facemask, setting up the Gamecocks with the ball in the red zone, where they'd get a critical field goal to take a two-possession advantage.

Down to one timeout in the waning minutes, Harbaugh decided to go for it on fourth-and-ten deep in his own territory, but Peters's deep shot to Kekoa Crawford wasn't anywhere close to a completion. The defense gave Michigan one last chance, pushing SC back to force a missed field goal. Another interception by Peters, forcing it to a well-covered Crawford, ended it.

Fair or not, this will be a long offseason. The mitigating factors, or excuses, or whatever you care to call them, go away in 2018, when the program will be loaded with talent recruited by Harbaugh. They'll certainly look better than this. They'd better look a whole lot better.

Comments

Goggles Paisano

January 1st, 2018 at 4:45 PM ^

They were not prepared to play a football game today.  The play-calling, the lack of focus, the horrible QB play, the horrible punting, etc..  They would have rather been on the beach.  I honestly cannot get my head around what I just watched from a Harbaugh coached team.  He better get his shit right this offseason with himself and his staff or the hotseat will be calling his name.   And I NEVER thought I would say that.   

 

HarBooYa

January 1st, 2018 at 5:02 PM ^

That was a choke.  Quit would have been "giving up".  The offense and special teams were just lost.  Deer in head lights.  Fear of winning kicked in the second they had one moment of adversity.  Had they got a couple of first downs and not turned the ball over, it would have been ridiculously hard for SC to enter the game.  But oh well.

Chokers, not quitters.  

 

HarBooYa

January 1st, 2018 at 5:02 PM ^

That was a choke.  Quit would have been "giving up".  The offense and special teams were just lost.  Deer in head lights.  Fear of winning kicked in the second they had one moment of adversity.  Had they got a couple of first downs and not turned the ball over, it would have been ridiculously hard for SC to enter the game.  But oh well.

Chokers, not quitters.  

 

HarBooYa

January 1st, 2018 at 5:02 PM ^

That was a choke.  Quit would have been "giving up".  The offense and special teams were just lost.  Deer in head lights.  Fear of winning kicked in the second they had one moment of adversity.  Had they got a couple of first downs and not turned the ball over, it would have been ridiculously hard for SC to enter the game.  But oh well.

Chokers, not quitters.  

 

HarBooYa

January 1st, 2018 at 5:02 PM ^

That was a choke.  Quit would have been "giving up".  The offense and special teams were just lost.  Deer in head lights.  Fear of winning kicked in the second they had one moment of adversity.  Had they got a couple of first downs and not turned the ball over, it would have been ridiculously hard for SC to enter the game.  But oh well.

Chokers, not quitters.  

 

HarBooYa

January 1st, 2018 at 5:02 PM ^

That was a choke.  Quit would have been "giving up".  The offense and special teams were just lost.  Deer in head lights.  Fear of winning kicked in the second they had one moment of adversity.  Had they got a couple of first downs and not turned the ball over, it would have been ridiculously hard for SC to enter the game.  But oh well.

Chokers, not quitters.  

 

HarBooYa

January 1st, 2018 at 5:02 PM ^

That was a choke.  Quit would have been "giving up".  The offense and special teams were just lost.  Deer in head lights.  Fear of winning kicked in the second they had one moment of adversity.  Had they got a couple of first downs and not turned the ball over, it would have been ridiculously hard for SC to enter the game.  But oh well.

Chokers, not quitters.  

 

HarBooYa

January 1st, 2018 at 5:02 PM ^

That was a choke.  Quit would have been "giving up".  The offense and special teams were just lost.  Deer in head lights.  Fear of winning kicked in the second they had one moment of adversity.  Had they got a couple of first downs and not turned the ball over, it would have been ridiculously hard for SC to enter the game.  But oh well.

Chokers, not quitters.  

 

HarBooYa

January 1st, 2018 at 5:02 PM ^

That was a choke.  Quit would have been "giving up".  The offense and special teams were just lost.  Deer in head lights.  Fear of winning kicked in the second they had one moment of adversity.  Had they got a couple of first downs and not turned the ball over, it would have been ridiculously hard for SC to enter the game.  But oh well.

Chokers, not quitters.  

 

HarBooYa

January 1st, 2018 at 5:02 PM ^

That was a choke.  Quit would have been "giving up".  The offense and special teams were just lost.  Deer in head lights.  Fear of winning kicked in the second they had one moment of adversity.  Had they got a couple of first downs and not turned the ball over, it would have been ridiculously hard for SC to enter the game.  But oh well.

Chokers, not quitters.  

 

HarBooYa

January 1st, 2018 at 5:02 PM ^

That was a choke.  Quit would have been "giving up".  The offense and special teams were just lost.  Deer in head lights.  Fear of winning kicked in the second they had one moment of adversity.  Had they got a couple of first downs and not turned the ball over, it would have been ridiculously hard for SC to enter the game.  But oh well.

Chokers, not quitters.  

 

HarBooYa

January 1st, 2018 at 5:02 PM ^

That was a choke.  Quit would have been "giving up".  The offense and special teams were just lost.  Deer in head lights.  Fear of winning kicked in the second they had one moment of adversity.  Had they got a couple of first downs and not turned the ball over, it would have been ridiculously hard for SC to enter the game.  But oh well.

Chokers, not quitters.  

 

HarBooYa

January 1st, 2018 at 5:02 PM ^

That was a choke.  Quit would have been "giving up".  The offense and special teams were just lost.  Deer in head lights.  Fear of winning kicked in the second they had one moment of adversity.  Had they got a couple of first downs and not turned the ball over, it would have been ridiculously hard for SC to enter the game.  But oh well.

Chokers, not quitters.  

 

HarBooYa

January 1st, 2018 at 5:02 PM ^

That was a choke.  Quit would have been "giving up".  The offense and special teams were just lost.  Deer in head lights.  Fear of winning kicked in the second they had one moment of adversity.  Had they got a couple of first downs and not turned the ball over, it would have been ridiculously hard for SC to enter the game.  But oh well.

Chokers, not quitters.  

 

HarBooYa

January 1st, 2018 at 5:02 PM ^

That was a choke.  Quit would have been "giving up".  The offense and special teams were just lost.  Deer in head lights.  Fear of winning kicked in the second they had one moment of adversity.  Had they got a couple of first downs and not turned the ball over, it would have been ridiculously hard for SC to enter the game.  But oh well.

Chokers, not quitters.  

 

HarBooYa

January 1st, 2018 at 5:02 PM ^

That was a choke.  Quit would have been "giving up".  The offense and special teams were just lost.  Deer in head lights.  Fear of winning kicked in the second they had one moment of adversity.  Had they got a couple of first downs and not turned the ball over, it would have been ridiculously hard for SC to enter the game.  But oh well.

Chokers, not quitters.  

 

jmblue

January 1st, 2018 at 5:30 PM ^

I wouldn't say we quit - we did hold them to two FG attempts after our last two turnovers in our own territory.  But once again we were mistake-prone at the worst possible time, while again our opponent found our defensive weak spot (safeties in man coverage) in the second half.

Aspyr

January 1st, 2018 at 5:03 PM ^

Two years in a row they have talked about it being a business trip and yet both games they seemed less prepared than the competition who did spend time enjoying themselves. Next year I hope they approach it differently because this approach is not working. 
 
Also, I hope they don't do as many camps - stay home and get your business taken care of. All the off season stuff is just going to get mocked this year and rightfully so.

7_mile

January 1st, 2018 at 7:42 PM ^

I'm not so quick to toss out Coach Harbaugh's ideas.

We all know that fun can be had on a business trip, but the aim of a business trip is to close the deal and not just to have a good time. That's the point of what Harbaugh says, and I agree with Coach. He wants his players to enjoy their time on the team.

As far as the camps are concerned, it is telling that other coaches and AD's don't want us doing them! It's not because our competitors are altruistic and feel it'd be better for our team to handle our business only in Ann Arbor: They view camps as a competitive advantage of ours and don't want to have to keep up!

For whatever reason I'm reminded of commentors on this board who have said, "If our O-line and QB situation is bad this year, we have NO chance of having a good O-line or QB next year," but it's simply not true. Think about how different of a man you grew to, from the fall of your freshmen year to your sophomore year, and from your sophomore to your junior year! I can't express how much confidence I have in this coaching staff and its ability to develop both players and men. Very soon we will see the fruits of The Team's labor!

Yes, it is frustrating to deal with disappointing seasons, and with losses, and I feel it too.

Be patient. Our coaches will get it done.

-Adam in Kalamazoo

 

 

schreibee

January 1st, 2018 at 11:29 PM ^

I think the fact Monkey Man has 31 ups to 8 negs as of 11 pm est says a WHOLE LOT about where even the Mgoblog audience - by and large the most sensible portion of the fan base, save for those who stay off media entirely - are with the Harbaugh era.

"lack character"; "can't handle adversity"... just a few weeks ago that post would have 8 ups and about 80 negs!

This performance was disheartening maybe most of all because it seemed to put the lie, once and perhaps for all, to the idea that a "Stanfordization" of the M offense was coming.

The SC DB who said every tendency of this offense was easily diagnosed on tape and readily spotted in live time was unsettling at best!

And scariest of all is contemplating a future where Jim Harbaugh has failed at Michigan!!!

Then what? Then WHO?

FrankMurphy

January 2nd, 2018 at 1:40 AM ^

And scariest of all is contemplating a future where Jim Harbaugh has failed at Michigan!!!
Then what? Then WHO?

If that happens (and I agree that it's scary we're even contemplating this possibility) then I think it might be time to accept that this program has officially regressed into the second tier for the foreseeable future.