Wisconsin 24, Michigan 10

Submitted by Ace on November 18th, 2017 at 4:20 PM


A somber scene as Brandon Peters was down on the field. [Patrick Barron]

Michigan led undefeated Wisconsin, 10-7, in the third quarter at Camp Randall Stadium. Then Murphy's Law struck.

First, Wisconsin quarterback Alex Hornibrook shook off a shaky start to thread two inch-perfect throws to A.J. Taylor. The first victimized freshman Jaylen Kelly-Powell, who was on the field replacing injured starting corner Lavert Hill. The second was a touchdown up the seam to give the Badgers a 14-10 lead. Adding to the frustration, the drive only stayed alive due to a third-down pass interference call on Tyree Kinnel despite Hornibrook's throw hardly looking catchable.

Then disaster really struck. Facing third down on Michigan's ensuing possession, Brandon Peters took a hard hit from Andrew Van Ginkel, who stunted up the middle unblocked. Peters, who'd shaken off some huge hits in his last couple games, stayed down. As the team gathered around him, Peters took a cart off the field. According to MLive's Mike Mulholland, he was wheelchaired to the locker room, then transported to the hospital via ambulance. In postgame, Jim Harbaugh confirmed Peters has a head injury; he's expected to rejoin the team for the plane ride home.

That took the wind out of Michigan's sails. Wisconsin struck quickly, with a one-handed catch by Danny Davis setting up a 32-yard end-around touchdown for Kendric Pryor at the end of the third quarter. John O'Korn took over for Peters, and the offense never threatened to score. UW's Rafael Gaglianone eventually tagged on a field goal to provide the final margin.


A.J. Taylor's touchdown catch stood as the winning score. [Bryan Fuller]

Before it all fell apart, Michigan hadn't just scraped out a lead, but missed some opportunities to really put the Badgers on their heels. Wisconsin struck first when Nick Nelson picked up a punt off the bounce and worked his way past some poor coverage for a 50-yard touchdown. Peters had a chance to tie it up on the next series, but underthrew an open Zach Gentry, allowing Natrell Jamerson to recover for a pass breakup.

On Michigan's next drive, an apparent touchdown from Peters to Donovan Peoples-Jones was ruled incomplete, and despite replay showing that DPJ's left foot touched inbounds a fraction of a second before his right landed out, the call stood. On the very next play, Peters fumbled while scrambling for the end zone, and Michigan came up completely empty.

The young quarterback bounced back, though. Peters finally connected on a deep ball to Peoples-Jones, getting Michigan out to midfield, then made consecutive sharp throws to Chris Evans and Sean McKeon to set up a one-yard Ben Mason touchdown plunge. That knotted the score at seven heading into halftime.

After Devin Bush picked off Hornibrook to give the offense great field position, Quinn Nordin snapped his cold streak with a 39-yard field goal to give Michigan a short-lived 10-7 lead. Instead of compounding his prior error, Hornibrook morphed into Aaron Rodgers, and everything went terribly wrong in a hurry.

All other concerns at the moment are secondary to the health of Peters. If he can't recover in time to take on Ohio State next week, the odds stack even higher against Michigan unless Wilton Speight can make a remarkable comeback from his fractured vertebrae. As it stands, optimism for The Game is going to be hard to come by.

Comments

blue90

November 18th, 2017 at 4:48 PM ^

I actually think that game was winnable with Peters in there but that is besides the point.  Our backs can't run, our recievers can't catch and we are getting outcoached.  The only thing that makes sense now is for Harbaugh to do a complete rebuild of the offensive coaching staff for next year and if they don't at least go to the big ten championship game then he needs to be fired.  I'm sorry but 4 seasons is plenty enough time to get a team with that good of recruiting classes to the conference chapionship game.  He is not getting it done and also, O'korn is one of the worst QBs I have ever seen.

Bottom line is a bunch of people are going to make excuses like injuries and inexperience like they have been saying for three years now and you are just fooling yourselves.  Everyone has injuries and inexperience.  We haven't been winning important games and we haven't been to the big ten championship game and those are both facts.

Occam's Razor

November 18th, 2017 at 5:29 PM ^

Get ready for more. Excuses central until next year. 

It's either the refs here, luck there, etc etc. 

Just keeps going. 

Never realizing that maybe, just maybe, coaching is a bit lacking especially on the Oline where 2 QBs have now been murdered. 

 

Squash34

November 18th, 2017 at 8:35 PM ^

No that was a fact. Wisconsin was down 3 and had not moved the ball and we're about to go 3 and out again when they got a bad pi call on an uncatchable pass. This gave Wisconsin momentum and they scored to take the lead.
Peters was knocked out the next drive and that was it.
Those are facts. Not excuses.

DairyQueen

November 19th, 2017 at 12:27 PM ^

i agree completely, but I do wonder if Jim, privately of course, has tried to take on many more grad-transfers at QB. I mean, it cannot be understated how dire the stable of QBs was when Harbaugh took over for Hoke. I mean, literally worse than the average MAC team's QB-depth. No exaggeration.

Especially because with just one hit, in the blink of an eye, your QB, and entire offensive gameplan, even season--in our case--is gone.

And if you don't have worthwhile replacement, it's like driving with your eyes closed.

I can't imagine Jim wouldn't try to take a QB transfer(s) for next year as well.

Can someone who knows better than me tell me why coaches don't (or, if they do) try and take as many QBs per year as will agree to come, given the complete and total influence they have on the game of football?

 

snarling wolverine

November 18th, 2017 at 11:29 PM ^

There were two huge (no-)calls that went against us.  First, the blatant block in the back right at the beginning of their punt return TD (how was this not flagged?).  Second, the DPJ fade that was ruled incomplete even as review showed his left foot was inbounds first.  Those two amounted to a 14-point swing (7 for them, 7 off the board for us).

Did UW have calls against them that evened that out?  The replay that overturned a completion?  That cost them a first down, so perhaps they would have scored, though that isn't certain.   Not sure what else...

The Fan in Fargo

November 19th, 2017 at 1:36 PM ^

Witnessed it my whole life. On my own teams and so often with young Michigan players. I only say Michigan players because it's the only team and sport I watch pretty much. Anyway, you're always going to have a team with guys who fold under the momentum switch. I don't mean to sound like a jerk here either but they cant handle the noise from the crowd and the opposing teams energy surge. Hell, even guys like a JT Barrett can be overtaken by it.  I myself never fell to the initial surge because I've always understood what needed to be done. What did wear me down was when everyone else on my team folded and my numerous attemps at skull cracking and bitch slapping their best players were for nothing as my teammates would be looking around with bewildered looks on their faces. It didn't matter what positives were coming from the situation. It's one of the hardest things for a young team to fight . Yeah, I know I sound like a piss poor teammate and player but it is what it is. Why sugar coat as I always say? Some guys just cant handle the surges mentally and that's when you lose or start getting hammered down. They check out. It's always something that should be preached and shown to players how to handle it because once that first or couple players check out, the rest follow more often than not. It takes all 11 guys on a football field.

I always look back to the Chicago Bulls with Michael Jordan. They didn't win every game in their title runs but I don't ever remember them quitting even in blowout losses. As soon as that game was over, Mike was done with it and on to the next challenge. Didn't phase him. Just like Michigan, every team gave their best shot when playing them. How mentally draining would that have been? Unreal guys. Michael was the greatest competitor and so mentally sound on the basketball court that he was basically indestructable when his team was on the same page. That's when he had his good teams of coarse. 

Not to point fingers and slam kids but I see the lack of confidence in this offense when a guy drops a pass, a ball is overthrown and then you don't see a guy like Crawford do anything the entire rest of the game. You are one year away from having a potential NFL scout look at you to pay you over $500,000 a year and that's how you act? Comeon man, the team needs you. All of the hate towards JOK and I see him out there getting smacked, slinging it down the field and doing whatever he can no matter what the situation is on the field. If the entire team had his drive and mentality, they'd be way better off. John may be lacking in elite talent but he's a real competitor. I cant honestly say that for some of the other players that get time on the field for this football team.

1VaBlue1

November 18th, 2017 at 9:19 PM ^

So what, exactly, do you expect after replacing 4 of 5 OL (with the returning guy switching line positions - again), replacing all WRs, replacing the RB, and working on QB #3 on the season?

8-4 sucks, but it's also right in the range where most people were predicting.  Did you expect a team replacing 17 of 22 starters to look like a playoff team?

Um1994

November 18th, 2017 at 5:29 PM ^

Long time lurker, but I can't take the Mlive level comments on this board.  You are an example of the problem with this fan base.  You plan to fire Harbaugh if he isn't in the Big Ten Championship game next year.  Who do you plan to hire next?  This blog often says "people are in charge of things just because they are."  Well, I'm glad you are not in charge of anything.  The game was lost when Peters went out.  O'Korn is bad, but I don't think there are many teams that win a game on the road against a top 10 team with their 3rd QB.

Ryno2317

November 18th, 2017 at 6:56 PM ^

Wisconsin is a better team this year.  That's not an excuse.  Just a fact.  Losing late to a top 5 team on the road with a very young and injured team is not the end of the world.  I am getting off this site for a few weeks since most of you have the mental maturity of a 13 year old school girl.  You guys are terrible.  

Ryno2317

November 18th, 2017 at 6:57 PM ^

Wisconsin is a better team this year.  That's not an excuse.  Just a fact.  Losing late to a top 5 team on the road with a very young and injured team is not the end of the world.  I am getting off this site for a few weeks since most of you have the mental maturity of a 13 year old school girl.  You guys are terrible.  

Bando Calrissian

November 18th, 2017 at 5:41 PM ^

No credible person is saying to fire Harbaugh. Period, full stop.

What reasonable people are saying, however, is that the excuses of why this program cannot win a big game are beginning to wear thin. At some point, they're going to have to win one of them instead of just leaning on the old familiar excuses against ranked teams and rivals. It's not just bad luck and bad refs year after year after year for a decade or more. Something isn't working, and it runs deep.

Squash34

November 18th, 2017 at 8:51 PM ^

Or maybe people need to stop with the ridiculous narrative that no big games have been won. Year one, they beat 2 ten win teams and a 9 win team. Last year they beat 2 top ten teams and the 17th.
At a certain point the segment of this fan base complaining about "no big game wins" will have to realize they are absolutely incorrect.