NCAA FB

Michigan on a slide offensively going into finale

Share This Story

   
 

ANN ARBOR, Mich. (AP)

Michigan opened the season by scoring 59 points. It had at least 40 in wins over relatively solid teams in Notre Dame and Minnesota.

The Wolverines even put up a school-record 751 yards of offense as they scored 61 points against Indiana last month to improve to 6-2.

Since then, they've struggled - especially with the ball.

Michigan was held scoreless in the second half of its 24-21 loss Saturday at Iowa, its third in four games. The Wolverines scored nine points the previous week in regulation before going on to beat Northwestern in triple-overtime; they were limited to six and 13 points, respectively, in losses to Michigan State and Nebraska.

Coach Brady Hoke says he's confident Michigan (7-4, 3-4 Big Ten) will be consistent for a change on offense against archrival and third-ranked Ohio State (11-0, 7-0) on Saturday at home. Even though the Wolverines are 14-point underdogs, Hoke said he believes his team has a shot to win against the undefeated Buckeyes.

''This game has always been different in some ways,'' Hoke said Monday. ''Are they a good football team? Yeah. They're a very good football team. Do we have to play better than we've played? I don't think there's any doubt.''

On offense, that's as clear as the difference between maize and blue.

Michigan ranks last out of 123 major college football teams in tackles allowed for a loss, getting stopped behind the line of scrimmage 103 times this season. That statistic has led to the Wolverines ranking 110th in sacks allowed, 100th in rushing and 95th overall on offense among Football Bowl Subdivision teams.

''I know they've probably gave up a thousand tackles for loss this season, but I know going into this game that they're going to try to give up as least as possible,'' Buckeyes linebacker Ryan Shazier said.

The Wolverines were in a position to get a clutch touchdown to win or a timely field goal to probably push the Hawkeyes to overtime Saturday, but quarterback Devin Gardner fumbled at the Iowa 31 with about 2 minutes left.

''I lost the game by myself,'' Gardner said. ''I fumbled the ball when they trusted me.''

Gardner has broken Michigan marks this season, accounting for 584 yards of offense and 503 yards passing against the Hoosiers. He matched school records with five touchdowns against the Fighting Irish and again against the Hoosiers.

In the last four games, however, he has averaged 182.5 yards passing and lost a total of 47 yards rushing.

''He's had some really good moments and some moments that he would rather redo if he could,'' Hoke said. ''I think we all have that; I do as a head coach. There are always moments that you think about and say, `Maybe we should've done this.' He's been pretty resilient. He's a guy who comes to work every day to get ready to play.''

Gardner's lack of consistency appears to be linked to rarely having time to throw behind a trio of inexperienced linemen and not having the luxury of a running game that defenses have to respect.

Michigan has shuffled several players around at center and both guard positions between senior tackles without much success.

The Wolverines gave running back Derrick Green a chance to carry the ball extensively against Northwestern in place of banged-up senior Fitzgerald Toussaint, and the freshman had 79 yards. Emblematic of Michigan's offense, Green then failed to find consistency in the next game as he had just 23 yards rushing on 11 carries against the Hawkeyes.

''We get a 9-yard gain, then we take a step back,'' Hoke said, trying to explain why his team has lacked consistency with the ball. ''Or, we've got good protection and don't finish the throw or execute the throw or catch the football.''

---

AP Sports Writer Rusty Miller in Columbus, Ohio, contributed to this report.

---

Follow Larry Lage on Twitter: http://twitter.com/larrylage

Tagged: Michigan, Devin Gardner

Related Stories

Member Comments

Please note by clicking on "Post comment" you acknowledge that you have read the Terms of Use and the comment you are posting is in compliance with such terms. Be Polite. Inappropriate posts may be removed by the moderator.

powered by

College Football Pick'em on FOX


NCAA FB Videos

Sumlin annoyed by media's Manziel questions Posted: Jul 16, 2014
Kevin Sumlin responds to questions about life after Johnny Football by toying wi...

AJ Pasquale's journey back to UCLA Posted: Jun 17, 2014
UCLA football ops intern AJ Pasquale describes his own personal journey after th...

Winston issued adult civil citation Posted: Apr 30, 2014
Get the latest news surrounding Jameis Winston's recent shoplifting fiasco.

Get Inside the Locker Room with Scout.com

More Than Sports on MSN

Fox Sports Store

    itemName itemURL imageSrc price itemDescription
    Nike Florida Gators Gridiron 2012 Team Issue T-Shirt - Royal Blue http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Florida_Gators/browse/featuredproduct/759777/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_759000/ff_759777_xl.jpg&w=100 24.95 Nike Florida Gators Gridiron 2012 Team Issue T-Shirt - Royal Blue
    Nike Michigan State Spartans Football 2012 Team Issue T-Shirt - White http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Michigan_State_Spartans/browse/featuredproduct/760171/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_760000/ff_760171_xl.jpg&w=100 24.95 Nike Michigan State Spartans Football 2012 Team Issue T-Shirt - White
    Nike USC Trojans Fight On My School T-Shirt - Cardinal http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_USC_Trojans/browse/featuredproduct/761373/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_761000/ff_761373_xl.jpg&w=100 24.95 Nike USC Trojans Fight On My School T-Shirt - Cardinal
    Nike Alabama Crimson Tide Elite Force Coaches Sideline Performance Polo - Crimson http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Alabama_Crimson_Tide/browse/featuredproduct/829709/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_829000/ff_829709_xl.jpg&w=100 64.95 Nike Alabama Crimson Tide Elite Force Coaches Sideline Performance Polo - Crimso..
    Nike LSU Tigers Elite Force Coaches Sideline Performance Polo - Purple http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_LSU_Tigers/browse/featuredproduct/829740/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_829000/ff_829740_xl.jpg&w=100 49.99 Nike LSU Tigers Elite Force Coaches Sideline Performance Polo - Purple
    Nike Oklahoma Sooners Legacy 91 Dri-FIT Adjustable Coaches Cap - Crimson http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Oklahoma_Sooners/browse/featuredproduct/830935/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_830000/ff_830935_xl.jpg&w=100 21.95 Nike Oklahoma Sooners Legacy 91 Dri-FIT Adjustable Coaches Cap - Crimson
    adidas Notre Dame Fighting Irish Hot Sideline Jacket - Navy Blue http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Notre_Dame_Fighting_Irish/browse/featuredproduct/861243/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_861000/ff_861243_xl.jpg&w=100 69.95 adidas Notre Dame Fighting Irish Hot Sideline Jacket - Navy Blue
    adidas Nebraska Cornhuskers Sideline Hot Quarter Zip Jacket - Scarlet http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Nebraska_Cornhuskers/browse/featuredproduct/861247/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_861000/ff_861247_xl.jpg&w=100 69.95 adidas Nebraska Cornhuskers Sideline Hot Quarter Zip Jacket - Scarlet
    Nike Alabama Crimson Tide 2012 BCS National Champions Players Locker Room Snapback Hat - Charcoal/Black http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Alabama_Crimson_Tide/browse/featuredproduct/1087345/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_1087000/ff_1087345_xl.jpg&w=100 29.95 Nike Alabama Crimson Tide 2012 BCS National Champions Players Locker Room Snapba..
    Nike Alabama Crimson Tide 2012 BCS National Champions Locker Room T-Shirt - Ash http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Alabama_Crimson_Tide/browse/featuredproduct/1093431/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_1093000/ff_1093431_xl.jpg&w=100 24.95 Nike Alabama Crimson Tide 2012 BCS National Champions Locker Room T-Shirt - Ash