Sunday, November 05, 2006

The Sky is not falling!

As Michael Rosenburg points out in his editorial, Michigan fans don't panic; Carr knows what he's doing, Michigan fans do not need to worry after yesterday's 34-26 scare against Ball State. Carr played with fire yesterday, taking out the starting defense in an effort to get them some rest early in the third quarter. Backup cornerbacks Sears and Stewart gave up big plays that allowed Ball State to close within 8 points late in the game. It wasn't until Ball State drove to Michigan's own 2 yard line with a chance to tie the game that Carr put the full starting defense back into the game. When push came to shove, Michigan's defense held strong, keeping the Cardinals out of the end zone for seven straight plays from first and goal.

When you take out the 9 points surrendered by the offense, and 14 surrendered by the backup defense, Ball State managed to put up only 3 points against the starting defense. Offensively, Michigan put up over 500 total yards, Breaston played well, and Hart and Minor both managed over 100 yards rushing. All of this happened without a single reception by go-to wide receiver Mario Manningham, who was healthy enough to run several routes throughout the game.

As USC demonstrated against Oregon state, and Ohio State demonstrated with a close 17-10 win over Illinois, every game in college football must be played, and no win is automatic. Carr didn't take the game against Ball State seriously enough - partly because he wanted to rest the starters, partly because he didn't want to blow out friend and former assistant coach Brady Hoke, and partly because the entire team spent too much time focusing on November 18th. He played with fire, but the important thing is that the team came away with the win.

I think we're going to see a much more focused Wolverines team on the road next week. Indiana has the ability to put a lot of points on the board quickly, and I'm pretty sure Carr isn't going to flirt with danger one week before the biggest game in college football history. Ball State made it close, but it wasn't against the players that will be on the field on November 18th. Michigan won the game - their 10-0, and they are still ranked #2 in both the AP and Coach's polls. Breath easy, and rest assured that Michigan will be ready for the Game of the Century.