If I had to use two words to perfectly describe the University of Michigan’s football team this season, I would easily say disappointing and inconsistent.
Michigan is one of those teams that are actually worse than their record says. Making it close with teams like Connecticut, Akron and most recently Penn State, the Wolverines have disappointed fans that expected better of their team.
The Wolverines have been inconsistent all around through the first six games, but someone specifically has stuck out and that someone is quarterback Devin Gardner.
Gardner has played very inconsistently over his first six games. He has been a turnover machine. In fact coming into the Minnesota game, Gardner led the FBS with eight interceptions. After the close call with Connecticut, the Wolverines then had a bye week to work on the fundamentals.
After handling the Minnesota Gophers last week by beating them 42-13, Wolverine fans hoped that Gardner had put his turnover troubles behind him for good. Well he didn’t. Going into Penn State, the Wolverines were looking for their sixth win to stay undefeated overall and in the Big Ten conference.
The Nittany Lions had other things on their mind. They had come off a disappointing loss last week to the Indiana Hoosiers, so they wanted to prove something. Freshman quarterback Christian Hackenberg played well with three touchdowns in the game. Hackenberg also went 23 of 44 for 304 yards.
Although he played well, Hackenberg ended up with two interceptions. His counterpart, Gardner also ended up with two interceptions. The difference is that Penn State was able to turn those two turnovers into points, while Michigan couldn’t. Although it’s easy to strictly blame the quarterback, it’s not all his fault. There was no running game and the offensive line got pushed around all night.
The line has been struggling all season as they are compiled of mostly freshmen. Running back Fitzgerald Toussaint had 27 attempts for 27 yards on the night. That’s terrible for a team claiming they want to be a more traditional pro-style team.
On top of all those problems, All-American offensive tackle Taylor Lewan left the game with an injury. It was just a bad game overall by the Wolverines and one they won’t likely forget soon. The game had to go to four overtimes and ended Michigan’s undefeated season. They lost 43-40. This is a troubling trend for the Wolverines. T
hey don’t win on the road and they have trouble with teams that they should easily beat. Penn State is not a good team. They were 3-2 heading into the Michigan game. Their two losses came from Navy and Indiana. As I mentioned before, Michigan’s other problem has been the inability to win on the road.
The Wolverines are so bad on the road in fact, that under Coach Brady Hoke they are now 5-6. The problem is that the Wolverines don’t seem to improve week after week. They seem to always come in with the same problems.
That is a troubling sign for Michigan. They’re in the meat of their Big Ten schedule and now every game matters to keep Big Ten title hopes alive. Losing one to Penn State, won’t dash their title dreams in a weak conference, but they will have to play better with teams like Michigan State and Ohio State just around the corner.
If they don’t clean up their mistakes and stop being so inconsistent, this season will end up being a major disappointing for Wolverines nation.