A three-yard run on 3rd and 8, down 21 points, in the second quarter. Snapping the ball in shotgun rather than having your 6-5 quarterback under center on 4th and goal inside the one yard line. Unsurprisingly, Joe Milton was stuffed on his QB run to keep the Michigan out of the end zone.
The Wolverines might as well have waved a literal white flag down 14-0 – after Joe Milton threw two interceptions on Michigan’s first two drives.
Michigan trailed 28-0 at halftime. It was the largest halftime deficit in the 93-year history of The Big House. Wisconsin kept their foot on the gas after the break, easing their way to a 49-11 victory. The Wolverines are 1-3 for the first time since 1967.
That’s where we’re at in Year 6 of the Jim Harbaugh era – reaching lows not even met in the Rich Rod era. A lot of things have gone wrong in 2020, many of them out of the control of the Wolverines’ head coach. But it’s hard to imagine Harbaugh recovering from this.
Michigan may not reach three wins this season. The fanbase is rightfully irate. Recruits must be looking at this program with a raised eyebrow right now.
There’s so much to fix here, and I’m not confident in this coaching staff’s ability to get it fixed - certainly not in the midst of this year. That much is clear after a third straight game of lackluster effort.
Michigan’s run defense was atrocious. The Wolverines were embarrassingly overmatched at the line of scrimmage against Wisconsin’s front. A Badger fullback ran for 43 yards on a simple dive play late in the game.
Not having starters Aidan Hutchinson and Kwity Paye clearly hurts, but why does Michigan have so little depth along the defensive line? That was a position group of strength in Harbaugh’s early years, and even going back to the Hoke era. How has it deteriorated so dramatically since Greg Mattison’s departure?
Joe Milton regressed badly since Week 1 against Minnesota, who we’ve learned is horrendous on defense. He’s misreading defensive alignments. He’s not seeing open receivers. He’s over-throwing open receivers when he sees them. What is Ben McDaniels doing in the quarterback room? We have now seen several Michigan quarterbacks either regress or fail to improve under his watch.
Backup Cade McNamara came in for Milton in the third quarter, and promptly went 3-for-3 passing with a touchdown, and added a nice toss for a two-point conversion as well to cut the deficit to 35-11.
After Michigan finally got a three-and-out from its defense, the coaching staff dialed up a punt block attempt, and gave Wisconsin a first down by running into the punter. The Badgers scored a touchdown later in the drive, putting the final nail in the coffin.
That’s what it’s been all season long – a few flashes of good, quickly followed up by dysfunctional and undisciplined football. The nightmare of 2020 continued on a cold, rainy night in Ann Arbor, and there is no sign of the Wolverines waking up from it any time soon.