Going For It (Also: Nebraska GIFs)
Michigan is solving their problems with aggression sorry sorry I'm trying to delete it
SITE STUFF: I’m still in allergy/prednisone hell and doing the best I can to function. The free podcast has been postponed for the time being. I’m hoping to at least be able to do a solo pod this week. If you have any mailbag questions about football or either hoops team, leave it as a comment on this post or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Long before Brad Hawkins ripped the football away from Adrian Martinez to set up the winning points, David Ojabo foreshadowed the turning point.
With a couple minutes to go in the first half, Ojabo slipped inside the right tackle and created a free path to Martinez, who’d stepped up to avoid Aidan Hutchinson and couldn’t see Ojabo coming. As Martinez reset his feet, he exposed the ball, and Ojabo didn’t need further invitation — he swiped down on it with both hands.
While Ojabo merely recorded a sack instead of a sack-fumble, Martinez was fortunate to hold onto the ball. I’d posit the ball gets raked out in that situation at least half the time.
Ojabo didn’t exhibit textbook tackling form. I’m certain some coaches would prefer he wrap both arms around Martinez and prioritize the sure play over the big play.
That’s not how Michigan is coached.
The tiresome platitudes have something to them. The annual coachspeak about fielding a more aggressive defense? It’s true in a number of ways. Setting the tone by running the ball? They’re pounding the rock in demoralizing fashion. Giving themselves a contrived emotional boost by dancing to the other team’s fourth quarter hype music? Twice in two road games, the second time while trailing.
Hell, the kicker huffs smelling salts before nailing game-winners.
That energy shows itself in moments of free, unrestrained play. Ojabo and Hawkins go for the ball like they’re backyard football bullies. Blake Corum bolts through the Nebraska defense and mock-eats an ear of corn.
When Hassan Haskins encounters a safety going for a form tackle in the open field, he simply leaps over the guy and keeps going.
One play before Dax Hill seals the game with emphasis, Gemon Green sniffs out a screen, charges full speed past the wall of blockers, and plants the running back face-first at the line of scrimmage. He gives the “no good” signal to the entire Huskers sideline. Scott Frost stands a few feet away.
Of course Hill taunts Samori Toure after Nebraska’s last-gasp pass falls incomplete. Any other reaction wouldn’t be fitting. Throw the flag. Fuck you. I won.