FanPost

MSUFR: Offense vs. Wisconsin

[Autobumped.  WOOOO, metrics! -KJ]

OK, a couple of new things added this week. 

First of all, metrics!  I am basing metrics off of mgoblog's qualitative analysis system (major H/T).  I will be looking at three areas: 

  • Protection.  This is an individual evaluation of blockers.  I will give out pluses and minuses for each player and sum for a net performance rating.  Take with a grain of salt as most of the time "doing your job" won't get a plus.
  • QB failure analysis.  This is to see what happened with incomplete or intercepted passes and try to determine why they were incomplete.
  • Wide Receiver grading.  This is to determine how the wide receivers are doing.

I am also thinking about some way to evaluate running back performance.  I am open to suggestions on how to evaluate each RB's performance within their abilities.

Secondly, video!  I am working on some video breakdowns and will get them up tomorrow.  I will be also doing a "Picture Pages"-type breakdown feature of specific plays separately.

OK, let's grit our teeth and get to it:

 

Time Quarter Down/Distance LOS Offensive Formation Defensive Formation Play Result
15:00 1 Kickoff       Philip Welch kickoff for 68 yards returned by Glenn Winston for 18 yards to the MchSt 20.
Winston fields the kick at the two and heads left, getting a good block from Jimmerson. Hawken runs right past an angling tackler along with Linthicum; I think he blew the assignment allowing Winston to be tackled at the 18.
14:56 1 1st and 10 MSU 20 Ace big 4-3 Caulton Ray rush for 1 yard to the MchSt 21.
Wisconsin is playing an offset 4-3, with the wide side LB head up on the center, the middle LB on the short side tackle, and the short side LB outside the tight end. Gantt (+1) gets a good block to seal the LB and open a nice hole for Ray, but the middle backer is reading and flowing to the hole and stops Ray for no gain. Without a lead blocker getting to the second level, Ray has no chance. Interesting how the LBs were aligned that way...almost like they knew the play was going that direction.
14:17 1 2nd and 9 MSU 21 Ace big 4-3 Kirk Cousins pass incomplete to B.J. Cunningham.
MSU comes out in ace big again, then motions to shotgun with three wide to the wide side (and Gantt in the slot). The short side D end is lined up in the neutral zone; his helmet is even with or past the football; no call. Cousins throws it to Cunningham on the slant as he is covered by a linebacker. The linebacker has his upfield arm around Cunningham's waist and his downfield arm is holding Cunningham's left arm down. I'm calling this one "defensed", although it should have been a penalty. This is an absolutely terrible piece of officiating. The offside was obvious as was the pass interference. (DE/DE)
14:13 1 3rd and 9 MSU 21 Shotgun 4-3 Kirk Cousins pass incomplete to B.J. Cunningham.
There is pressure from the front four at the snap as the backers and safeties are bailing out. Moss (+1) crushes a DE allowing Cousins time to throw. Cousins throws it over everyone so I think he was throwing it away, or Dell ran the wrong route (Dell was the hi on the hi/lo and ran an in). (TA)
3 plays, 1 yard, punt. 0-0.
13:11 1 4th and 7 MSU 40 Punt Punt Return Brad Nortman punt for 37 yards, downed at the MchSt 3.
Considering Wisconsin was punting from MSU's 40, there isn't much the return team could have done. The Wisconsin punter just kicked it as high as he could and got a good bounce.
12:57 1 1st and 10 MSU 3 I-formation big 4-3 Kirk Cousins pass complete to Andrew Hawken for 6 yards to the MchSt 9.
Wisconsin has 7 tight up in the box. Both MSU's tight ends take off downfield at the snap, drawing the corners and the outside linebackers. Hawken leaks out into the flat and Cousins hits him. (CA)
12:25 1 2nd and 4 MSU 9 ? ? Larry Caper rush for 3 yards to the MchSt 12.
We miss the setup of this play as ESPN (-50) is showing us the back of Brett Bielema's head and blathering on about special teams. From the result it looks like an up-the-gut run by Caper.
11:52 1 3rd and 1 MSU 12 I-formation H-back 4-3 Larry Caper rush for a loss of 1 yard to the MchSt 11.
At the snap, Caper stands up and does a little hop, then moves forward to take the handoff. Not sure if this is supposed to be a delayed handoff, but since it is, the Wisconsin D-line and blitzing corner have time to fight off their blocks and get into the backfield to stop Caper for a loss. I'm giving -1s to Moss (who pulled but whiffed on the DE), Stipek (who let a DT swim over him), and Linthicum (who failed to get out and pick up the corner blitz). Gantt could get one too, but he can't handle a DE all by himself, IMO.
3 plays, 8 yards, punt. 0-0.
7:30 1 4th and 7 MSU 43 Punt Punt Return Brad Nortman punt for 43 yards for a touchback.
Again Wisconsin chooses to punt when inside or near the MSU 40. The football gods should be angry (but apparently aren't today). The punter just gets too much into it and it bounces in the end zone for a touchback.
7:21 1 1st and 10 MSU 20 Ace 4-3 Kirk Cousins pass complete to Blair White for 8 yards to the MchSt 28.
Cousins has plenty of time to throw the quick stop route to White, who is open as both the outside LB and the corner took Gantt.. I really like how White catches the ball and tucks it away quickly. (CA)
6:45 1 2nd and 2 MSU 28 I-formation 4-3 Glenn Winston rush for 1 yard to the MchSt 29.
Iso run play to the wide side. Stipek and Cironi (+1 each) do well to get their heads outside their respective men. Rather than cut it up inside for the first down, Winston decides to bounce it outside, where the safety flies through the hole he should have run through and meets Winston in the backfield. Winston spins off and falls forward for the yard.
6:08 1 3rd and 1 MSU 29 ? ? Kirk Cousins rush for 2 yards to the MchSt 31 for a 1ST down.
We miss this play as the camera is focusing on Winston. Looks like a QB straight ahead sneak for the first down.
5:43 1 1st and 10 MSU 31 Ace big 4-3 Kirk Cousins pass incomplete to Mark Dell.
Again Wisconsin is shading the backers over to the short side. Moss (-1) fails to hit the DE and he shoots into the backfield. Ray fails to get him as well, and Cousins, on the rollout, throws a wobbler off his back foot downfield right before he gets hit. Dell gets his hands on it but is falling down and can't hold on. Cousins has got to learn to zing that one out of bounds. (IN)
5:39 1 2nd and 10 MSU 31 Shotgun 4-3 Kirk Cousins pass complete to Keshawn Martin for 5 yards to the MchSt 36.
Wisconsin is covering tall, fast wide receivers lined up in the slot with linebackers. The MLB blitzes but is picked up; Cousins' throw is a bit far for Martin on the WR long handoff, but Martin hangs on (CA) and gets pushed out for the gain.
5:14 1 3rd and 5 MSU 36 Shotgun empty 4-3 WISCONSIN penalty 4 yard pass interference accepted.
Gantt at the slot, motions in and back. White runs a stop, then turns and runs around the overcommitting middle linebacker. The MLB grabs White to keep him from getting past and gets flagged.
5:08 1 1st and 10 MSU 40 Ace 4-3 Kirk Cousins pass complete to Charlie Gantt for 2 yards to the MchSt 42.
Wisconsin shows blitz, then backs out of it. Cousins hits Gantt (CA) on the TE out but the DB closes quickly and finishes.
4:33 1 2nd and 8 MSU 42 Ace H-back 4-3 Kirk Cousins pass intercepted by Mike Taylor at the 50 yard line, returned for no gain to the 50 yard line.
Gantt runs an 8-yard stop route. Cousins (BR) looks like he just doesn't see the MLB dropping back into coverage. The MLB is reading Cousins' eyes (Cousins is staring down Gantt all the way) and steps into the throwing lane, picking it off. Cousins was about to get hit, and should have thrown it underneath to Caper who was releasing on the swing.
7 plays, 22 yards, interception. 0-0.
1:22 1     Kickoff Kick Return Philip Welch kickoff for 70 yards returned by Glenn Winston for 36 yards to the MchSt 36.
Winston fields it 2 yards deep in the end zone. He gets good blocks from Jimmerson and Gantt before lowering his shoulder into a Wisconsin player and being brought down at the 36.
1:16 1 1st and 10 MSU 36 Ace trips 4-3 Caulton Ray rush for a loss of 1 yard to the MchSt 35.
Wisconsin again covering a slot receiver (White) with a linebacker. Trips are to the wide side; iso run to the left. Ray is lined up 9 yards behind the LOS. Moss (-1) is beaten right away forcing Ray to make a cut at the instant he takes the handoff. Cironi (-1) is also beaten and thrown to the ground by the other DE and Ray is stopped in the backfield.
0:44 1 2nd and 11 MSU 35 Shotgun 4-3 Larry Caper rush for 13 yards to the MchSt 48 for a 1ST down.
Wisconsin again covering a slot receiver (White) with a linebacker. Draw play; D.J. Young (+1) just clubs the bullrushing DE to the ground. The LBs step up and fill the holes but Caper cuts it outside. Cironi (+1) knocks one LB off his rush and Caper escapes for a nice gain. I like Caper's burst as he gets the edges. If MSU can spring him to the outsides he has the potential to be a home run back. One thing I absolutely do not like about Caper is how loosely he carries the ball. As he runs it is free, not tight to his body. One of the pursuing linebackers (Taylor) tries to punch it out from behind but misses, or it would be another MSU turnover.
0:10 1 1st and 10 MSU 48 I-formation 4-3 Kirk Cousins pass complete to B.J. Cunningham for 11 yards to the Wisc 41 for a 1ST down.
Good protection from the line. Cousins has time to throw and hits Cunningham (CA) on the 11 yard out.
15:00 2 1st and 10 WIS 41 I-formation big 4-3 Glenn Winston rush for 16 yards to the Wisc 25 for a 1ST down.
Wisconsin has the 4-3 package but the wide side LB up on the line and a safety and a corner even with the LBs and shaded outside the TEs, giving this a "5-4" look. The up LB blitzes but the run – an iso – is to the short side. I don't know why MSU's preference is to run to the short side. Anyway, all the LBs and DBs are flowing hard to the RB. Hopefully MSU can take advantage of this with some play-action in the future. Winston gets great blocks from Gantt (+2) (on a DE!) and Young (+2) and Stipek (+1) (who seal and drive an LB back into another LB and safety – 3 for the price of 1) and the lane is open for Winston to slash through.
14:29 2 1st and 10 WIS 25 I-formation 4-3 Kirk Cousins pass complete to Mark Dell for 8 yards to the Wisc 17.
The corner covering Dell bailed out presnap giving Dell a 7-yard cushion. Dell runs a 7-yard dig and Cousins' throw seems a bit low but Dell takes it and breaks down. (CA)
13:54 2 2nd and 2 WIS 17 I-formation 4-3 Glenn Winston rush for 3 yards to the Wisc 14 for a 1ST down.
The short side corner is up on the line, putting 8 men in the box. MSU again runs the iso to the short side. Stipek is lucky not to be called for holding, but his block (+1) was enough to prevent Winston from being caught in the backfield. Hawken (+1) does a nice job on the corner and Winston gashes through for the first down with push from Linthicum.
13:21 2 1st and 10 WIS 14 Ace H-back 4-3 Kirk Cousins pass incomplete.
Straight dropback by Cousins and all the linebackers drop hard into coverage. Cousins has plenty of time to throw, but his pass goes over the head of White on the skinny flag route. From what I can see, which is not much because the sideline camera truck is in the way, White is held up on his route by the cornerback in the end zone, preventing him from getting to where the pass was intended. I'm calling this one DE but it probably should have been pass interference.
13:16 2 2nd and 10 WIS 14 Offset I 4-3 Kirk Cousins pass incomplete.
Cousins gets some time, but the pocket starts collapsing fast as the DTs twist and Cousins runs forward, stutter steps, and then lets fly. He throws it away over Linthicum's head. (TA). I think he could have run it and picked up at least 5 yards as all the LBs had dropped back into coverage at the 5 and all the DBs were in the end zone.
13:11 2 3rd and 10 WIS 14 Shotgun 3-3-5 Kirk Cousins pass complete to Mark Dell for 14 yards for a TOUCHDOWN.
Wisconsin in a nickel package with a LB rushing stand-up off the strong-side edge. Both LBs blitz the A-gaps (along with the stand-up outside backer) but the center of the line is tight and Cironi does a good job of pass-blocking the DE. Cousins puts it up for Dell on the flag and Dell (TC) jumps and makes the catch, holding on as the DB tries to rip it out.
9 plays, 64 yards, touchdown. 7-7.
8:55 2     Kickoff Kick Return Philip Welch kickoff for 70 yards returned by Glenn Winston for 23 yards to the MchSt 23.
Kickoff is fielded right at the goal line. Winston heads left, gets a good block from Pendy, but Jenrette is thrown down and Blair White can't sustain a block on his man, who drops Winston at the 23.
8:50 2 1st and 10 MSU 23 I-formation 4-3 Caulton Ray rush for no gain to the MchSt 23.
Nichol in at QB now. Old-school option pitch (again to the short side). White fails to block the CB who is tracking hard on Nichol, and Nichol pitches it to Ray. White falls into Hawken knocking him down, so there's no lead blocker for Ray. Nitchman (-1), who is playing left guard, is pulling and gets to the second level and fails to block anyone there. Ray tries to cut it back inside but is surrounded by four Badgers and dropped at the LOS. This was a case of error compounding error. I wasn't planning on giving blocking minuses to WRs, but I have to on this play since White actually made it worse by knocking Hawken down.
8:15 2 2nd and 10 MSU 23 Ace big 4-3 Keith Nichol pass complete to Mark Dell for 12 yards to the MchSt 35 for a 1ST down.
Quick drop and release. Nichol throws it a bit early for Dell, who is on the 8-yard dig, and Dell has to turn all the way around and haul it in (TC). Obvious that timing is a bit off from the QB switch.
7:44 2 1st and 10 MSU 35 I-formation 4-3 Keith Nichol pass intercepted by Chris Maragos at the Wisc 31, returned for no gain to the Wisc 31.
If this is supposed to be a PA fake, it's the worst I've seen in a long time as Nichol turned left and the FB and RB were running right. Gantt (-1) is on the backside one-on-one with a DE and no help. He is beaten by a rip move and is holding on for dear life. Nichol feels the backside pressure and launches it toward Dell, who is double covered, and overthrows him (BR). The deep safety goes up and gets the ball. This is partially on the pressure and partially Nichol making a bad decision to launch a deep ball into double coverage.
3 plays, 12 yards, interception. 14-7 Wisconsin.
2:57 2     Kickoff Kick Return Philip Welch kickoff for 70 yards returned by Glenn Winston for 21 yards to the MchSt 21.
Fielded in the end zone and returned left again. Again Blair White can't sustain a block. Isn't he too valuable (and too inadequate at blocking) to be on the kick return team?
2:53 2 1st and 10 MSU 21 Shotgun 4-3 Larry Caper rush for 1 yard to the MchSt 22.
Wisconsin again covering a slot receiver with a linebacker. Cironi (-1) and Young (-1) can't handle a DE, letting a LB get around to seal the outside. Caper tries to wedge his way through and is hit by a pursuing LB from the back.
2:27 2 2nd and 9 MSU 22 Shotgun 4-3 Kirk Cousins sacked for a loss of 7 yards to the MchSt 15.
Again the LB on slot WR. Both backers drop back into coverage. Coverage sack as Cousins was about to throw it, then pulled it back down. Cironi and Moss were the two linemen that couldn't sustain their blocks, but this is on the coverage.
1:48 2 3rd and 16 MSU 15 Shotgun 4-3 MICHIGAN ST penalty 0 yard illegal touching on Mark Dell accepted.
Wisconsin drops back LBs into max coverage. Cousins still feels pressure, steps up, and throws to Dell right at the first down marker. Trouble is, Dell was ridden out of bounds by the DB then came back in and made the catch, so it's automatic loss of down.
2 plays, -6 yards, punt. 21-7 Wisconsin.
1:11 2 1st and 10 MSU 16 Shotgun empty 4-3 Kirk Cousins pass complete to Mark Dell for 16 yards to the MchSt 32 for a 1ST down.
Again with the LB on the slot receiver. Other LBs are dropping into coverage. Cousins has time, steps up, throws to Dell (CA) in the seam at the sideline.
1:06 2 1st and 10 MSU 32 Shotgun 3-3-5 Kirk Cousins pass incomplete to Mark Dell.
LBs dropping into coverage again. LB (Borland) is on Gantt rushing stand-up. He does a rush then loops around DT and has a clear shot at Cousins. Looks like he might have tipped the pass slightly at the line and it goes behind Dell. I'm calling this one BA.
1:02 2 2nd and 10 MSU 32 Shotgun empty 3-3-5 Kirk Cousins pass complete to B.J. Cunningham for 3 yards to the MchSt 35.
LBs dropping into coverage again. LB (Borland) blitzes from the edge. Cousins gets rid of it quickly to Cunningham who is blanketed right away for a short gain. (CA)
0:55 2 3rd and 7 MSU 35 Shotgun 3-3-5 Kirk Cousins pass incomplete to Mark Dell.
LBs dropping into coverage again. LB (Borland) blitzes from the edge. Cousins has time to throw but throws it over Dell's head and out of bounds. No reason to throw it away, so I think this was a bad Cousins throw (IN).
4 plays, 19 yards, punt. 21-7 Wisconsin.
13:49 3 1st and 10 WIS 29 Ace big 4-3 Larry Caper rush for 2 yards to the Wisc 27.
Wisconsin in a 4-3 with a cornerback over where the slot should be (TE spy) and the other outside LB over where the other slot should be. In effect, this is a 4-4 alignment. Caper takes the handoff and heads left to the wide side. There is good push by the line; Cironi and Gantt are doubling a DE but that leaves the cornerback unblocked. Caper cuts it back to the right where there is a linebacker unblocked and he gets Caper at the LOS. No minuses here as this is a case of 7 blockers trying to take on 8 defenders.
13:16 3 2nd and 8 WIS 27 Ace H-back 4-3 Glenn Winston rush for 14 yards to the Wisc 13 for a 1ST down.
Good blocking on display here. Stipek and Moss (+1 each) double and lock down a DT, Young (+1) crushes the DE, and a pulling Cironi (+1) levels the outside LB who stepped up. The safety whiffs on an arm tackle as Winston bursts through the hole. Winston is clear through the second level, stiff-arms a DB, and is finally converged on by the two safeties.
12:48 3 1st and 10 WIS 13 I-formation 4-3 Glenn Winston rush for 6 yards to the Wisc 7.
Again Wisconsin puts DBs over the slots even with the LBs. This time it looks like a 4-5. One deep zone. This setup just begs for play action as the Wisconsin Lbs have been are constantly selling out on the run. Actually, it appears they are keying on the TEs – if the TEs block, the LBs sell out on the run. The push is right and Winston cuts it up and through. +1s to the right side (Gantt, Young, Moss) plus Stipek.
12:18 3 2nd and 4 WIS 7 I-formation big 4-3 Glenn Winston rush for a loss of 3 yards to the Wisc 10.
I really hate the play call on this one. Wisconsin has 9 in the box with a corner in single coverage and a safety deep middle. Even Spielman shows the the mismatch on White with the telestrator. ^&##$%#$ run a play action (or even a fade to White)! Instead, the give is to Winston and there are too many rushers, too many gaps, and Winston hit in the backfield for a loss. No minuses to the line as they had no chance.
11:40 3 3rd and 7 WIS 10 I-formation 4-3 Kirk Cousins pass incomplete.
MSU motions Hawken sideways from the fullback spot like it's a run. He releases for the end zone and is covered well by the corner. Cousins has time and puts it over where the DB can't get it and it's too high for Hawken. Put a WR out there, though....Initially I was going to count this one as IN but on reflection all the receivers were well covered and so Cousins put it where it was going to be caught by either Hawken or no one. I'm changing it to TA.
6 plays, 19 yards, Field Goal. 21-10 Wisconsin. It's unfortunate that MSU couldn't get 7 out of the Wisconsin turnover and field position. That run on 2nd down with 9 in the box was a killer. Play selection was right out of the smashmouth book – run, run, pass, kick.
3:51 3     Kickoff Kick Return Philip Welch kickoff for 67 yards returned by Glenn Winston for 27 yards to the MchSt 30.
Return right. Looks like Denson blocks one Wisconsin player into another to get Winston free.
3:45 3 1st and 10 MSU 30 Ace H-back 4-3 Kirk Cousins pass complete to Andrew Hawken for 9 yards to the MchSt 39.
Ace formation unbalanced – strong to the wide side plus Hawken there as an H-back. Everybody is tight in. This is a PA waggle; Hawken drags under the line, Cousins fakes to Ray and rolls out and throws easily to Hawken (CA). Hawken stiff-arms the tackler but can't get free. THIS is the play they should have run on 2nd and 4 during the last series!
3:03 3 2nd and 1 MSU 39 Ace big 4-3 Glenn Winston rush for 12 yards to the Wisc 49 for a 1ST down.
Nice iso blocking up the middle. Stipek and Nitchman (+1) double the DT with the bonus of clogging up a linebacker; Cironi (+1) locks up the DE, and Moss (+1) gets his head playside of the other DT. The MLB reads well and shoots the gap but overcommits and Winston bursts right past him. Just to show how strong a runner he is, Winston drags a safety four yards before he is finally brought down.
2:34 3 1st and 10 WIS 49 I-formation big 4-3 Kirk Cousins pass complete to Brian Linthicum for 27 yards to the Wisc 22 for a 1ST down.
Wisconsin is cheating men into the box again; it's the "4-4" look. The corners are in a tweener position where they are outside the TEs but close enough to play the run. I 'm sure I can find something on this later on Smart Football. Anyway, Linthicum shoots out on the deep hook and is initially picked up by the LB, but Pendy drags out under and the LB keys on Pendy. Linthicum's corner is to the outside and the hook is inside. Cousins has all day to throw and waits for Linthicum to complete his route, then throws high where only Linthicum can go up and get it. (TC)
2:08 3 1st and 10 WIS 22 Ace H-back 4-3 Glenn Winston rush for 2 yards to the Wisc 20.
This is a wad-o-bodies play, straight ahead. Winston picks his way for a couple. This is a body blow setting up a knockout punch....
1:33 3 2nd and 8 WIS 20 Ace big 4-3 Kirk Cousins pass complete to B.J. Cunningham for 20 yards for a TOUCHDOWN.
Play action fake, finally. Stipek is lucky not to be flagged for holding as he had a fistful of jersey on a DT that broke through. Cunningham runs a post in between double coverage. Cousins throws it high and Cunningham makes an amazing catch and holds on keeping the ball off the ground (HC).
5 plays, 70 yards, touchdown. 24-17 Wisconsin.
14:56 4     Kickoff Kick Return Philip Welch kickoff for 70 yards returned by Glenn Winston 37 yards to the MSU 37, MICHIGAN ST penalty 7 yard holding accepted.
Winston takes it a couple yards deep in the end zone and heads out right, then cuts left. He gets a nice return but it's called back due to a hold on Charlie Gantt for the briefest of shirt-tugs.
14:49 4 1st and 10 MSU 7 I-formation 4-3 Kirk Cousins pass complete to Andrew Hawken for 10 yards to the MchSt 17 for a 1ST down.
Hawken motions out of the I to the short side slot. The CB is giving 10 yards cushion and seems more interested in covering Gantt. Hawken does a stop and Cousins hits him (CA). The LB switched over and makes the tackle.
14:20 4 1st and 10 MSU 17 Ace 4-3 Kirk Cousins pass incomplete to Blair White.
Again Wisconsin covers the slot receiver (White) with a linebacker. The safety switches over and jumps White's skinny post route. Cousins' throw is low, which is good or else it would have been intercepted. White may have gotten away with offensive pass interference here too as he made contact with the safety as the pass was coming in. I am calling this IN as it was low. Maybe purposefully, maybe not.
14:15 4 2nd and 10 MSU 17 Ace 4-3 Kirk Cousins pass complete to B.J. Cunningham for 14 yards to the MchSt 31 for a 1ST down.
Gantt in the slot, motions in and back. Cunningham runs a quick slant and Cousins hits him in stride in the seam (CA). Cunningham spins out of two tackles.
13:47 4 1st and 10 MSU 31 I-formation 4-3 Glenn Winston rush for 1 yard, fumbled, recovered by Wisc J.J. Watt at the MchSt 32.
Stretch run play to the short side. Good push downfield from the center of the line. Young (-1) lets the DE throw him aside. Pendy (+1) picks up the DE and is doing very well....unfortunately, Winston runs straight into Pendy and the ball pops out.
4 plays, 25 yards, fumble. 31-17 Wisconsin.
12:14 4 1st and 10 MSU 20 Ace big 4-3 Larry Caper rush for 5 yards to the MchSt 25.
Stretch run. Good blocks from Cironi (+1) and Linthicum (+1) to open the hole. Caper is met by the LB filling, but he keeps his legs moving and gets a couple extra yards.
11:40 4 2nd and 5 MSU 25 Ace H-back 4-3 Kirk Cousins pass incomplete.
Sims in at the H-back now. Cousins has time to throw to Gantt downfield. Looks like Cousins sailed it just a bit (IN) and Gantt couldn't adjust his course to get under it.
11:36 4 3rd and 5 MSU 25 Shotgun 3-3-5 MICHIGAN ST penalty 5 yard false start accepted.
D.J. Young anticipated getting off quickly to pick up the blitzing outside backer who moved and caused Young to flinch.
11:35 4 3rd and 10 MSU 20 Shotgun 3-3-5 Kirk Cousins pass complete to Dion Sims for 35 yards to the Wisc 45 for a 1ST down.
Again a linebacker is blitzing (rushing stand-up from the edge). Cousins has time to throw and hits Sims (CA) on the TE post for a big gain helped by poor tackling (the safety jumps on Sims' back rather than wrapping up low).
11:20 4 1st and 10 WIS 45 Shotgun 4-3 Kirk Cousins pass complete to Dion Sims for 5 yards to the Wisc 40.
MSU in no-huddle now. Sims runs the TE out underneath and Cousins hits him. (CA)
10:55 4 2nd and 5 WIS 40 Shotgun 4-3 Kirk Cousins pass incomplete.
Intended for Cunningham on the quick slant, the ball is batted at the LOS (BA) and is nearly picked off.
10:50 4 3rd and 5 WIS 40 Shotgun 3-3-5 Kirk Cousins pass incomplete to Blair White.
Wisconsin has 5 men lined up at the first down marker. Cousins pumps twice, rolls out, and launches it downfield for White in the end zone, but it's just a bit too far. (IN)
10:42 4 4th and 5 WIS 40 Shotgun 3-3-5 Kirk Cousins pass complete to Chris D. Rucker for 8 yards to the Wisc 32 for a 1ST down.
Wisconsin is lined up toes on the first down marker with 5 across. Rucker runs the slant, crossing over Linthicum, and gets the first down. (CA)
10:28 4 1st and 10 at WIS 32 WIS 32 ? ? Kirk Cousins pass incomplete to B.J. Cunningham.
Missed the presnap of this play due to previous play's replay. Cousins has plenty of time to go through three receivers before throwing to Cunningham on the post. Cunningham has a DB on his back with one arm wrapped underneath before the ball gets there and there is no call. Terrible. (DE)
10:23 4 2nd and 10 WIS 32 Shotgun 3-3-5 Kirk Cousins pass incomplete to Blair White.
Wisconsin is showing blitz by all 3 linebackers and a cornerback. Two of the backers drop back into coverage at the snap and the corner blitzes. Cousins unloads it quickly and it bounces off White. (DR/DR)
10:20 4 3rd and 10 WIS 32 Shotgun 3-3-5 Kirk Cousins pass incomplete.
Screen to Winston isn't set up correctly – Young (-1) let the blitzing linebacker spin off him and as a result he's in the space where the pass should be. Cousins tries to throw it over and it's too high. Calling this one IN but there was no way he could have thrown it accurately.
10:15 4 4th and 10 WIS 32 Shotgun 3-3-5 Kirk Cousins sacked for a loss of 5 yards to the Wisc 37.
Young (-1) is beaten badly on the speed rush by a linebacker and has to take the sack.
11 plays, 43 yards, turnover on downs. 38-17 Wisconsin.
5:23 4 1st and 10 MSU 21 Shotgun empty 3-3-5 MICHIGAN ST penalty 5 yard false start accepted.
Young (-1) false starts again, trying to get a jump on the LB that is rushing against him. Wisconsin has apparently discovered that Young is slow to move laterally and is rushing a quick LB off the edge every down now.
5:23 4 1st and 15 MSU 16 Shotgun empty 3-3-5 Keith Nichol pass complete to Mark Dell for 24 yards to the MchSt 40 for a 1ST down.
Dell (CA) runs the hook in the seam. He breaks a tackle but is tripped up; he stumbles forward for another seven yards.
5:09 4 1st and 10 MSU 40 Shotgun 3-3-5 Keith Nichol pass complete to B.J. Cunningham for 6 yards to the MchSt 46.
MSU has flopped the TE (Gantt) over helping Young out with the speed-rushing LB. Nichol throws to Cunningham on the under out; his throw is low but Cunningham brings it in. (TC)
4:46 4 2nd and 4 MSU 46 ? ? Keith Nichol rush for 25 yards to the Wisc 29 for a 1ST down.
We miss the setup because ESPN is telling us that Camp Randall is the fourth-oldest stadium among BCS schools. This has to be a designed run as all the receivers have dragged their coverage out to the boundaries and deep. Nichol waits for the gap to open in the center, then takes off. He dodges three tacklers, then gets a good block from Cunningham (+1) to turn a 14-yard gain into 24.
4:33 4 1st and 10 WIS 29 Shotgun 3-3-5 Keith Nichol pass incomplete.
Wisconsin shows blitz, then drops 2 LBs into coverage and blitzes the corner. Intended as a swing pass to Caper, the speed-rushing LB tips it. (BA)
4:08 4 2nd and 10 WIS 29 Shotgun 3-3-5 Keith Nichol pass incomplete to Mark Dell, broken up by Aaron Henry.
Nichol launches it deep for Dell on the flag route. The Wisconsin DB rips it out and it falls incomplete. (DE)
4:02 4 3rd and 10 WIS 29 Shotgun 3-3-5 Keith Nichol pass intercepted by Chris Maragos in the end zone, returned for no gain, TOUCHBACK.
Wisconsin blitzes two linebackers and a corner. Nichol sprints out, then turns upfield and just chucks it. The safety playing deep right field is the only one with the play on the ball. Got to throw that one out of bounds. (BR)
6 plays, 50 yards, interception. 38-17 Wisconsin.
2:47 4 1st and 10 MSU 38 Shotgun 3-3-5 Keith Nichol pass complete to Dion Sims for 19 yards to the Wisc 43 for a 1ST down.
Better protection this time. Sims settles into the seam on the TE post. Nichol hits him for a nice gain. (CA)
2:35 4 1st and 10 WIS 43 Shotgun 3-3-5 Keith Nichol pass incomplete to Blair White.
All 3 linebackers blitz; Nichol unloads it too high for White who hadn't completed his curl route. (IN)
2:31 4 2nd and 10 WIS 43 Shotgun 3-3-5 Keith Nichol pass complete to Keshawn Martin for 28 yards to the Wisc 15 for a 1ST down.
Nichol has lots of time to throw; he dances around a bit then throws it to Martin who is well open for a big gain. (CA)
2:14 4 1st and 10 WIS 15 Shotgun 3-3-5 Keith Nichol pass complete to Keshawn Martin for 15 yards for a TOUCHDOWN.
All 3 linebackers blitz. It is picked up well, though, and Nichol hits Martin on the stop route at the 10 (CA). Martin makes the DB miss and dives for the end zone.
2:07 4 2-point conv. WIS 3 Shotgun 3-3-5 Two-point conversion attempt, Keith Nichol pass FAILED.
Wisconsin lines 6 men across at the goal line. Young (-1) is beaten again off the edge by a speed rush, and Nichol is sacked. Not sure why they didn't kick the XP, even if they had made the 2-point conversion, they still would have needed two touchdowns to go ahead.
4 plays, 62 yards, touchdown. 38-23 Wisconsin.
0:27 4 1st and 10 MSU 9 Shotgun 3-2-6 Keith Nichol pass complete to Keshawn Martin for 91 yards for a TOUCHDOWN.
Wisconsin in a dime package. Cousins throws to Martin uncovered on the fly (CA) and it's off to the races. Where was that back in the 1st and 2nd quarters?
1 play, 91 yards, touchdown. 38-30 Wisconsin. EOG.

 

Metrics:

 

Protection
  + - Total
Gantt 4 1 3
Moss 3 3 0
Linthicum 1 1 0
Stipek 5 1 4
Cironi 3 2 1
Young 5 6 -1
Hawken 1 0 1
Nitchman 0 1 -1
B. White 0 1 -1
Pendy 1 0 1
Cunningham 1 0 1
  • Stipek has been playing very well.
  • Gantt is a good all around TE; solid blocker and good receiver.
  • Nitchman looks a bit lost; I still think he's not 100%.
  • Young started out well but had some major problems in the second half.  This may be due to Wisconsin figuring out his weaknesses and taking advantage.
  • Blair White cannot block to save his life.

 

QB failure analysis
  DR IN TA BA DE BR Total
Cousins 1 5 3 2 3 1 -6
Nichol   1   1 1 2 -5

 

Key:

DR: “Dropped” by receiver. A catchable pass that was flat-out dropped by the receiver. (+1)
IN: "Inaccurate." Passes that are plain uncatchable but for extraordinary intervention on the part of the wide receiver. (-1)
TA: "Throwaway." Passes which are not intended to be caught since the quarterback can find no one open. (0)
BA: "Batted." Balls which are deflected at the LOS. These are generally regarded as fluke occurences and are not held against the quarterback. (0)
DE: “Defended”. Defender in coverage either deflected the ball or hit the receiver to knock the ball free for an incompletion. (0)
BR: Bad Read. A major mistake by the quarterback.  (-2)
  • Not a good showing by either quarterback.

 

Receivers
  CA TC HC DR DE Total
Cunningham 3 1 1   2 8
Hawken 3         3
White 1     1 1 0
Dell 3 2 0   1 7
Martin 4         4
Gantt 1         1
Linthicum   1       2
Sims 3         3
C. D. Rucker 1         1

 

 

CA: routine catch (+1).
TC: Tough catch (+2). Usually any jumping catch, or one that requires the WR to drag a foot right at the boundary, or one that requires the WR to take a hit and hang on.
HC: Heroic Catch (+3).
DR: Dropped. This must be a catchable pass (-1).
DE: Defended (0). Broken up by defender.

 

  • Cunningham and Dell are the best receivers on this team.
  • White definitely had an off day.  I think Wisconsin was keying on him. 

Final thoughts:

1.  Cousins had a bit of an off day, honestly.  In both this game and against ND he showed calmness in the pocket when facing a rush or blitzes.  Where he struggles is when the LBs drop back into coverage -- in other words, when he faces a coverage sack.  He will learn when to throw the "toughest pass" -- the incomplete one.  He also needs to work on not staring down his receiver.  He did better later in the game, so they must have worked on it after the interception.

2.  Nichol, on the other hand, despite the late TD, was much worse passing-wise.  I think MSU tries to use him as a change-up due to his mobility.  In that case, DON'T LET HIM WING THE BALL DOWNFIELD!  Use him for his run option -- I hate to use the term "wildcat" -- then fake the run and let him throw.  As it was he only had 1 run but it was a good one -- 25 yards.  Otherwise, I really hope we have seen the last of the QB carousel.  My fear is that the stats didn't distinguish Cousins enough as the clear favorite for sole QB.  Nichol's two picks should be the decider, not the completion percentage or the garbage-time 95-yard touchdown.

3.  Winston appears to be the best option at RB.  He doesn't have home-run speed but has good burst through the holes and is the strongest runner (witness the play where he dragged the would-be tackler 5 yards.)  Unfortunately, he needs to work on ball security.

4.  One score on the first seven offensive drives.  Not a recipe for success when the defense is as bad as it is.

5.  Turnovers.  -3.  Enough said.

6.  Officiating was awful.  Blown calls on both teams.

This is a FanPost, written by a member of the TOC community. It does not represent the official positions of The Only Colors, Inc.--largely because we have no official positions.

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