Michigan 1st Drive of OT 34-34 (PSU missed FG in first half of OT)
Play 1 - 1st and 10 - A few things are important to note coming into this series. Gibbons missed a FG at the end of regulation, but the kick was dead on target. He also he a 42 yarder or so earlier in the game with plenty of leg to spare. So being at the 25 yard line, a 42 yard kick, is fine. Any extra is essentially icing on the cake giving what was known of Gibbons before this OT period. He is money inside of 40. Get inside 40 and get out with a win.
Michigan lines up with the TE-wing to hash and two WRs to field. They are likely expecting PSU to go back to the 7 man front with a CB in the box as they did every down before the last 3 in which Michigan tried to kill the clock. But they stay in their 8 man front. The original call makes sense before Borges sees how the defense aligns. All evidence points to them going back to that and Michigan being able to run this. And remember, any additional yards is icing on the cake.
Alas, PSU is thinking Michigan is going to be conservative and stacks the box. Corners are well back. Yes, an extended hand off would be nice here, no doubt about it. But before you saw this, there was absolutely nothing wrong with the play call. This is hindsight theory working for people. And this is probably a situation in which Borges doesn't want Gardner to check because if those CBs approach at the last second, it could result in a pointless turnover. No problem with this play call given what the situation is and what the situation appeared to be going into the down.
Play 2 - 2nd and 9 - Michigan goes to a pro I set in an effort to get PSU out of the 8 man front. Remember the situation, yards are just icing on the cake. PSU goes cover 4, which you should expect, so you can't go stretch, it needs to be a run up the middle. Michigan runs Iso and gains about 2 yards. That's pretty much exactly what Michigan wants.
Play 3 - 3rd and 7 - Yeah, I just don't like this. I mean, I get the point, trying to center it and all, but it's a wasted down. Maybe this is an effort to just minimize the bad, so you can't get a 3 yard loss, but in my opinion run a run that at least gives you a chance to gain a few. Other than that, I have no problem keeping it on the ground in these circumstance.
Michigan 2nd drive OT 34-34
Play 1 - 1st and 10 - Alright, let's look at this logically. After the 3rd Quarter, PSU only stacked the box on the clock killing drive and when yards were just icing on the cake in the first OT. So you expect them to get back to what they were doing originally now that Michigan will tend to open up the offense. That's going into the drive, you haven't seen anything yet. Think about what you actually know and what you should actually expect to see from PSU.
Michigan comes out in a pistol set with 3 WRs. This is the formation that has given them the best gains all day. Perfect. PSU has 7 in the box, so Michigan can run veer option with it. Perfect. It's exactly what you want. The DE stays, forcing DG to give. Fitz, if he doesn't slip gets at least 4, probably 5. But he slips and he gets 3.
There is nothing conservative about this play call. This is how they produced a lot of yards in the 3rd quarter, with this very play. Play should have picked up half the first down yardage, didn't because of a slip, it happens, but we are on a decent track.
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I bring this series to its thrilling conclusion over at Maize n Brew. And the conclusion is very different than the common perception out there right now, and hopefully and in my opinion, supported by sound reasoning.