As I rewatch this dreadful game...my amateur analysis:

mjfelton15

Active member
We looked great, and I mean great UNTIL Faalele went down.
Fleck doesn’t believe in momentum. But watching this game on tv, and actually taking the time to analyze it, there is a clear and obvious turn of the tide. It starts when Faalele goes down in the first quarter. Morgan had enough time, on most plays, to make good calculated passes. There was one sack at 6:50 in the 1st that was bad, but that was immediately followed by the play that Morgan had a lot of time for Bateman to finally find some open space, ending in an amazing completed pass.
When Faalele went down at the 4:50 mark in the 1st quarter we immediately ran into issues. Called a timeout, looked confused. Ran Green into a wall for no gain. Controversially punted the ball away while we were on their 40 yard line.
At this point our defense was shutting down Taylor beautifully. Defense looked very solid the entire 1st quarter. Two bad plays in a row defensively were the bad coverage allowing Cephus to get the 1st down on 2nd and 13 with 47 seconds left in the quarter, followed by the costly pass interference on St. Juste with 26 seconds left. then we allowed Taylor his first solid run of the entire game to get them another first down on a long 1st and 15 to end the quarter. We were winning 7-0 after 1. Very little to complain about performance wise.

second quarter starts with Badgers in our end. Looked solid on first through 3rd down. This is where we made our first huge mistake, allowing Wisconsin to convert on 4th down with the end around. Everyone around me in the stands started bracing for impact as we are conditioned to do as long time Gopher fans. But then the defense comes up HUGE, absolute turnaround in momentum for us. They fumble, as the analysts and everyone was saying we needed then to do if we were going to win this game. The turnover margin NEEDED to go in our favor. Everyone knew that. So the defense still looked, for the most part, to be doing their job in winning us this game.

we start at the 32 with the ball with 13:55 in the second. Rodney goes 2 yards, followed by a bad miscue and sack on Morgan. THIS is where we start seeing how much we needed Faalele in this game. Morgan sees pressure two plays in a row. Badgers see the advantage they now have in the box. Morgan becomes immediately timid and looks jumpy after first sack mixed with immediate pressure on following play and forces an uncharacteristic pass off his back foot, resulting in the interception. Even with how bad this pass is, and set up for failure it is, Johnson actually had a shot at catching that ball. Went through his hands, just a little too high. Defense didn’t get much time to rest up. Wisconsin regained the momentum. They not only get good field position, but convert on 4th down. Defense bends by getting beat in the trenches allowing Coan to get the push he needed for that QB sneak, but it doesn’t break. Holds firm, but you can tell the D-line is getting gassed. Holds Wisconsin to 3.

The defense was still looking very good by the 9 minute mark in the second. Offense takes back over, completes some good passes. Has one solid run by Brooks for 5 yards. But can’t seem to snag any of the impressive sideline grabs that we’d been really solid with most of the season. Our play makers just weren’t making those game changing plays on this drive when it mattered. The refs missed a HUGE pass interference call that should have been made on the CB during the deep pass to Bateman. DB got away with yanking Bateman’s arm before the ball got there, it’s pretty clear. But you can’t count on the refs to make the right calls. I’d blame the play calling for this, we attempted too many 15+ yard passes along the sideline after a couple already failed. You need to stop at that point and go back to slants and shorter, higher probability of catch type passes. We end up having to punt, they start inside their 20. They complete a couple catches, the first one being for a first down.

defense shows that they’re getting tired, mixed with good play calling by Chryst, when they allow the screen play to the TE to go for 25 yards into our territory. Then follow that up with a great first down pass to Taylor. They started spreading us out and showing that they have some different dimensions. Defensively, this is where we hit a SERIOUS breakdown. Rossi didn’t know how to combat the diversity of play calls by Wisconsin on this drive, and they complete a pass to Taylor with no one really there to defend him other than Coughlin. Broken defensive play, clearly shouldn’t have ended up with Coughlin defending Taylor there. I knew on this TD, that our odds of winning just dropped drastically. I felt the sinking in my heart. From the stands it felt like a huge, collective sinking feeling in our fan base.

I would say that with 2:49 left in the 2nd, this is where we truly lost all momentum. We needed to score on one of our drives we had earlier. We needed to capitalize on that fumble recovery we had, and it needed to happen with 7. Not 3.

our final offensive drive before the half we had almost 3 minutes to retake the lead, and then get the ball back to start the second. Morgan looked shaky still. Making dangerous passes. Rodney breaks a big run, brings life back to the situation. But then our offensive line allows a huge sack. We attempt the screen to Autman-Bell. Doesn’t look as great as the one against Penn State. We get 5 yards. Then we try another deep prayer to Autman-Bell, it’s well defended. We don’t make anything of our chance. Go to half down 10-7.

we needed to be up at half. I truly think Faalele being out was the biggest piece to our lack of success. Followed by the interception that ruined our fumble recovery.

the second half the wheels came off. I don’t think I even need to break that down. But I do think our coaching staff should have been able to devise a halftime adjustment that answered not having Faalele. I think halftime adjustments should have been made to prevent any further screen plays to break for big yards against us.

in our first drive to start the second half though, we were driving. Slants were working VERY well. We completed two in a row for consecutive first downs. Followed by a stuffed run by Smith for no yards, and then a deeper sideline pass that went incomplete. I understand not wanting to be predictable, but you had the slants working. UNTIL YOU CANT. Why would you run Smith around the edge on 3rd and 10? In this same drive you had two slants work perfectly, and instead you think a run that was just stuffed on 1st and 10 is going to get you 10 yards on 3rd? Stupid.

They start with the ball deep in their end with a little over 11 minutes left in the 3rd. What started as a chance for us to make them tire out their offense (having to go 95 yards to get 7 more on the board), but this situation turns into a very manageable 60 yards to go in a matter of seconds. we maybe could have stood them up and gotten the ball back with solid field position, being down by only 3 STILL. We were STILL technically in this game at this point, even though most of us fans didn’t feel it momentum wise. Taylor then grabs 7 yards on the ground, and then 5 more for a first.
Then the game really felt out of reach quick. Coan completes the deep, 47 yard TD to Cephus. Huge break in coverage here, Howden didn’t drop back like he was supposed to soon enough. Leaving Barber as the guy trying to chase him down. This really deflated the entire squad. With our failed opportunities on offense, and the defense being told they need to come up big OVER and OVER again. It just wasn’t going to happen for us. Defense can only keep us in the game so long against a team like Wisconsin. For us to only have 7 this far into the game was the biggest disappointment for me. With an offense that, besides the first half against Iowa, had shown it could really burn people...I realized just how much we need to improve our depth at O-line. We can’t lose one lineman and see that big of a drop off in pass protection and the run game. Just can’t happen if you want to win these big games.

Everything after this is just embarrassing. And at this point when they went up 17-7 with 9:46 left in the 3rd. There was so much game left, we get the ball back. Big pass to Bateman. Spark of hope. Try a tunnel screen to Autman-Bell, 4 yards.
Then Ibrahim busts a huge run out of nowhere! Even bigger spark of hope. Could we make the comeback??? Well the miscue with Johnson on the deep ball out of the end zone...deflating again. We made it down to their 22 yard line. 8 minutes in the 3rd. We have 2nd and 10, bad unusual pass to Douglas incomplete and luckily not intercepted. Then we decide to play timid, use timid play calls. Run for 2 pathetic yards. Kick the field goal. It’s 17-10.
We.Are.Still.In.The.Game.

Aaaaaaaannnndddd then we’re not, just like that. Special teams gives up a huge kick return that goes into our territory. Totally deflated us again. So we FINALLY put a few more points on the board, and our Achilles heel (special teams) gets shot with an arrow by Bucky using a reverse on the kickoff. Defense by this point is probably collectively thinking “screw all of you”. They’re put into a situation with their backs against the wall, after how hard they’ve worked. Defense gives up a big first down pass to TE. Then it’s followed by an end around for a TD. Refs TOTALLY miss a HUGE holding call on #61. That gave them that TD, hands down. We had a guy right there. Now would he have gotten the tackle? I don’t know. But a penalty call is a penalty call. They missed it. Huge nail in the coffin. we answer their quick 7 with a run that gets stuffed, a nice first down pass, a run for little gain, a first down run by Brooks (very nice). We’re into badger territory. Marching nicely. Run the ball a couple times, end up 3rd and short. Snag a first down barely. 2:24 left in the 3rd, on their 36. Awesome first down completion to their 24. Run for 3 yards, slant that gets to their 6 YARD LINE. Imagine that..A SLANT THAT WORKED AGAIN. Run goes to the 4 to end the quarter.

we go into the 4th. down 2 scores. We’re knocking on the door to bring the game to within 7.

IN A GAME OF THIS MAGNITUDE, YOU NEED TO SCORE HERE. SO HELP ME GOD, FAALELE OR NOT, YOU PUNCH IT IN.

this is the MOST befuddling play calling of the game, if prior moments hadn’t been a bit puzzling already. We try 2 fade routes to Johnson, instead of Bateman. We run virtually the same pass twice in a row, out routes instead of slants. Refs missed the pass interference on the first one, and possibly even on the second one. Refs can’t be the deciding factor of a game though. HOW IS THAT THE BEST YOU CAN DO FOR PLAY CALLS? Where was Seth Green? What about a PA pass, draw the blitz give a nice toss over the line to a wide open TE? Something else!

the rest is history, and it was so bad that at this point while in the stands, I was just waiting for a Badger fan to say the wrong thing near me. I was hoping for an all out fan brawl. Something to unleash my anger on. But I couldn’t. Had to stay classier than Badger fans.

this game sucked, it hurt, and there was so much on the line...
very deflating.

i am still rowing the boat, still totally on board, and I sure as hell hope the players use this as motivation and a learning experience going forward. Hope we win our bowl game to go 11-2. Overall it was a beautiful season. But every season generally encounters some level of heartbreak. Just sucks ours had to be to our two biggest rivals. Can’t change anything though. I love where we appear to be headed as a program, haven’t had this much hope for the future or love for the present in a long long time.

SKI-U-MAH

who hates Bucky? WE HATE BUCKY!
 

MGGopher

Well-known member
Dude, props to you for rewatching that. I most definitely have not and will not. A few of those "highlights" woke me from my slumber on Saturday night, however.

You're right that Minnesota had chances in this game and was not totally outclassed. Wisconsin just slowly wore down our OL and DL. Combined with a handful of big plays that they made and we didn't, the Gophers got into a negative game script and let things snowball in the 4th qtr.
 

WorkingMyTailOff

Active member
I will not be rewatching this one either but thank you for the breakdown. The defense really did hang in there for quite a while. There were several big plays by the Badgers that gradually took the fight out of the Gopher defense. I was wondering if the Gophers thought of trying more deep posts like the one that Bateman scored the first td on in this game, but Morgan just didn't have enough time? It seems like those types of passes would be easier to catch in the poor conditions than the sideline back shoulder type of throws.
 

MplsGopher

Well-known member
Very good analysis.

One thing I haven't seen many people talk about: do you think the weather, especially later in the game (and I mean, the snow was really coming down), was a factor for our passing game?

We rode our passing game all year, and we couldn't get it done in this game. I'm sure Faalele was a big part of that.
 

MplsGopher

Well-known member
As far as holding on that play where they scored a TD, yes you're correct it was a holding call.

But the fact of the matter is that holding happens on every play in football, probably multiple guys. Refs have to decide when and how they're going to call it, and most importantly, be consistent about it.
 

Pedantic

Member
Very good analysis.

One thing I haven't seen many people talk about: do you think the weather, especially later in the game (and I mean, the snow was really coming down), was a factor for our passing game?

We rode our passing game all year, and we couldn't get it done in this game. I'm sure Faalele was a big part of that.
It's certainly an important note. Wisconsin scored on a big pass (with the wind) early in the third quarter. They chose the wind in the 3rd as opposed to the 4th, knowing the weather was likely to deteriorate. Smart move that definitely hurt the Gopher' throw game late.
 

MplsGopher

Well-known member
It's certainly an important note. Wisconsin scored on a big pass (with the wind) early in the third quarter. They chose the wind in the 3rd as opposed to the 4th, knowing the weather was likely to deteriorate. Smart move that definitely hurt the Gopher' throw game late.
I'm guessing Wisconsin's whole deal for this game was: stop the run at all costs, and hope that some combination of the weather and other factors limits our ability to hit big passes.

That wasn't working out for them so well early on, but it ended up working very well.
 

MennoSota

Active member
I don't rewatch games that we lose. I'm not a coach so I gain nothing from watching us fail again.
Instead, I await our bowl game and look forward to ending this year with a victory.
 

MGGopher

Well-known member
I'm guessing Wisconsin's whole deal for this game was: stop the run at all costs, and hope that some combination of the weather and other factors limits our ability to hit big passes.

That wasn't working out for them so well early on, but it ended up working very well.
Pretty much, yes. Load the box to stop run. Bring consistent pressure up the middle to fluster Morgan and force him to throw off his back foot. Play extremely physical on our WRs and hope the refs let most things go.

On O, they schemed to get playmakers matched up on our LBs, either in the passing game or on the edge. PSU and Iowa both had a lot of success with this early as well. Wisc clearly had about 5 or 6 plays they thought could go for big yards and at least 4 of them worked to perfection. Kudos.
 

Pompous Elitist

Well-known member
Pretty much, yes. Load the box to stop run. Bring consistent pressure up the middle to fluster Morgan and force him to throw off his back foot. Play extremely physical on our WRs and hope the refs let most things go.

On O, they schemed to get playmakers matched up on our LBs, either in the passing game or on the edge. PSU and Iowa both had a lot of success with this early as well. Wisc clearly had about 5 or 6 plays they thought could go for big yards and at least 4 of them worked to perfection. Kudos.
Derek Burns made the observation WI would show an even box until after TM2 made his sideline checks (ie the head turns) then would blitz a safety after the snap on nearly every play. This had two ramifications - it made the run plays less likely to succeed without the numbers around the LOS, and TM2 was getting hit and hurried all day, forced into quick decisions and throwing off balance.

Compounding, TM2 and the receivers were unable to take advantage of resulting man coverage. Neither the MN QB or WRs had a great day but credit WI for throwing timing off and making TM2 the most uncomfortable he was all season.

On defense getting burned on a few of those misdirection plays/screens were absolute killers. The Achilles heel all season. And, as noted our front 4 just can’t get much of a rush on any offensive line much less WI. Coan was good.
 

Winnipegopher

Wag more, bark less
I was really disappointed in punting on 4th down in the first quarter from the 35. I know Faalele was out but at this point, you either go for it or you trot out the kicker and hope for the best. Yeah, it would have been a 52 yard kick but if you make it- huge boost, if you miss it, oh well. Unless I am nuts, didn't the Gophers have the wind?

The punt worked out but Wisconsin moved the ball.

PS: I was just looking at the game log. Why the hell did Wisconsin run Taylor on 1 and 10 from their own 13 on the last play of the half. Wasn't that tempting fate for a fumble or an injury? Seems like a couple of kneel down would have been the better call.
 

GVBadger

Active member
PS: I was just looking at the game log. Why the hell did Wisconsin run Taylor on 1 and 10 from their own 13 on the last play of the half. Wasn't that tempting fate for a fumble or an injury? Seems like a couple of kneel down would have been the better call.
One of those coaching decisions that made absolutely no sense.
 
then would blitz a safety after the snap on nearly every play.
I'm amazed that more teams didn't try this. There are some exceptions, but most of the time Tanner can't handle pressure. It was a ballsy move to blitz as much as they did. That decision could have easily had them down by 21, suffocating with our boot on their necks, by the end of the first quarter!
 

Panthadad2

Well-known member
... then would blitz a safety after the snap on nearly every play. ...
I'm amazed that more teams didn't try this. There are some exceptions, but most of the time Tanner can't handle pressure. It was a ballsy move to blitz as much as they did. That decision could have easily had them down by 21, suffocating with our boot on their necks, by the end of the first quarter!
I think after getting burned big time right away by the pass, Wisconsin decided they would continue to blitz while the DBs would mug the receivers and take a chance at getting a 15-yard penalty worst case vs. getting burned for a touchdown with less physical DB play.

With the refs allowing the physical DB play, it put Minnesota at a double disadvantage. 1) It restricted the passing game, Minnesota's best advantage. Morgan and the the receivers weren't able to fight through both the physicality and the weather. 2) Fleck advocates a clean brand of football which usually is a positive, but not when the refs are allowing holding/tugging etc. Wisconsin's tactics worked big time. Kudos to them. Live and learn.
 
Last edited:

Panthadad2

Well-known member
In a hypothetical, if Coughlin and Barber would have grabbed the jerseys of the two receivers that burned them for touchdowns and taken holding or interference calls instead (or not), does that change the game? Same with other nice close passes Wisconsin receivers caught. The Goph DBs never changed their tactics to the physical playing being allowed.
 
The Gopher DB's weren't really close enough to interfere with anyone after the first quarter. St. Juste got away with one that was similar to most of the Wisconsin contact, but they definitely made a conscious decision to play very close pass coverage, which could just as easily be called cheating like the dirty skunks they are! I probably would have been satisfied with two PI calls instead of the one that we got. I disagree with the people that think it should have been called on all of our incomplete passes. That just sounds like crybaby talk from a loser team, and this team is a winner.
 

Section2

Well-known member
For as much talk we heard in the offseason about using the RBs in the passing game, we never did all year. Wisconsin countered our selling out to stop the run and heavy blitzes with screens and passing to the RBs. We apparently don't have that yet. The counter plays that we'd need to counter their defense we just aren't good at running yet, or don't have confidence in. TE use as well.

That's ok, credit Wisconsin, we learn and grow, and we get the benefit of basically the same offense back to keep what worked, and add more wrinkles and complexity. Future is bright.
 

Panthadad2

Well-known member
For as much talk we heard in the offseason about using the RBs in the passing game, we never did all year. Wisconsin countered our selling out to stop the run and heavy blitzes with screens and passing to the RBs. We apparently don't have that yet. The counter plays that we'd need to counter their defense we just aren't good at running yet, or don't have confidence in. TE use as well.

That's ok, credit Wisconsin, we learn and grow, and we get the benefit of basically the same offense back to keep what worked, and add more wrinkles and complexity. Future is bright.
My take was the RBs were needed for pass blocking. The OL had pass-blocking difficulties all season even with substantial numbers advantages. Same goes for the TEs. Morgan would have gotten killed.
 

BilldGopher

Section 211
Pretty much knew if Mo was in the call was a pass. He did have some runs of course but pass blocking on 3rd downs was his primary assignment this game.
 

Section2

Well-known member
My take was the RBs were needed for pass blocking. The OL had pass-blocking difficulties all season even with substantial numbers advantages. Same goes for the TEs. Morgan would have gotten killed.
yes, but if all their LBs are blitzing, sneaking a RB out for a quick dump pass can be really effective. He essentially lines up to block the LB and lets him go. I have no doubt it would have been effective, but we haven't done it all year.
 

Section2

Well-known member
Pretty much knew if Mo was in the call was a pass. He did have some runs of course but pass blocking on 3rd downs was his primary assignment this game.
Speaking of Mo, what was the injury? Couldn't tell at the game. Has anyone talked about it, or was it clear on replay?
 

DCinOK

Member
If the line shuflling and playing out of position due to DF's injury is what turned things against us, okay....but I don't think for a second it was because DF is such a great blocker (yet) that we missed him all that much. Don't want to rip on Big Dan, but I've watched him closely throughout the year and don't believe he's that great a blocker...run or pass...yet. He's not "mean" enough.
 

Section2

Well-known member
If the line shuflling and playing out of position due to DF's injury is what turned things against us, okay....but I don't think for a second it was because DF is such a great blocker (yet) that we missed him all that much. Don't want to rip on Big Dan, but I've watched him closely throughout the year and don't believe he's that great a blocker...run or pass...yet. He's not "mean" enough.
I think you’re wrong. He’s improved immensely, and he’s really our only OL who simply cannot be overpowered by anyone. Including Chase Young who I would have loved to see him go against. Now, Chase could beat him in other ways, but his power and strength are unmatched.
 

Great Plains Gopher

Well-known member
I can't watch it again, but didn't we have a first down inside their ten and end up with a field goal? A pass to a tight end might have worked better there than fades or straight runs. We never pass to our tight ends, a great weapon many teams utilize well. Also, the punt with fourth and two at the Badger 35 was simply stupid - in the biggest game of the year.
 

GermanyD

New member
Ok hello everyone, This is my first post. But I thought it would be a good time to chime in on this. One thing I also notice during the game, was that the Skunks knew exactly what was coming in many occasions. I am not saying they were stealing our calls, but at the very least, I think they scouted a very predictable Gopher team and had several PERFECT calls at exactly the right time.

Example 1 - Herbstreit kept talking about the slanting of the defensive line during the game. What was obvious to me was the fact that when a Gopher RB lined up either R/L the defense would slant the opposite direction on several occasions...and we ran right into their slant.

Example 2 - We ran a couple of fake Jet sweeps later in the game and both would have been perfectly covered even though the LBs and DL of the badgers were again selling out on the slant in both occasions.

Example 3/4 - On 2 plays we got beat on defense when a Gopher DB & LB end up on their best players for TDS with no over the top help.

Example 5/6/7/8/9 - Wisconsin's offense dial up perfect play calls over and over again on offensive during Gopher stunts and blitzes.

Other examples include pass blitzes with no slanting line during some obvious run situations.

I also appeared Herbie had inside information from Wisconsin on this as he talked about it at length during the game. If any of you are brave enough to re-watch the game let me know if you think I am imagining things.

It really doesn't matter in the long run if they were predictable, tipping their hand or just taken by surprise, outcoached is outcoached. Learn from it and be better next time.

I will now slink back into my quiet observer role, Thanks for your time and understanding.
 

MplsGopher

Well-known member
Herb watched both practices during the week, and talked to coaches. I think that is usual for the announcers.

Also why he did not make a pick in GameDay for this game, as he essentially had a lot of insider info.
 
Top Bottom