Wednesday, January 15, 2014
Season wrap: Michigan
By Chantel Jennings
The Wolverines put together one of the more confusing seasons in college football, looking completely impressive at times and impressively incomplete at others.
Michigan culminated its season with a disappointing 7-6 record and a loss in the Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl to Kansas State. The biggest story of the season was the inconsistency displayed on both sides of the ball. Devin Gardner struggled early in the season, drawing much criticism, but played his best football in November, throwing for nearly 1,000 yards in the final four games of the season.
The defense also struggled with consistency as it didn’t live up to the expectations that coordinator Greg Mattison set this season. The Wolverines' defense allowed 42 completions of 20 yards or longer and 64 rushes of 10 yards or longer.
Offensive MVP: Senior wide receiver Jeremy Gallon set the Big Ten record for receiving yards in a game (369), set a Michigan program record for receiving yards in a season (1,373) and set a program record for recording a reception in 39 consecutive games. Gallon was Gardner’s security blanket all season and opposing defenses struggled to cover him consistently as he had a tremendous senior season.
Defensive MVP: Junior defensive lineman Frank Clark made major strides and improvements over the season and showed major flashes of the potential to be a talented pass-rusher. He finished the year with a team-leading seven quarterback hurries and a team-leading 12 tackles for a loss, including 4.5 sacks.
Best moment: The quick-change field goal to force overtime at Northwestern. Brendan Gibbons made a 44-yard field goal as time expired to get the Wolverines into overtime, allowing Michigan to pick up its third (and final) Big Ten victory of the season. However, it showed how coordinated and together the entire team was in such a clutch moment, while also providing what became known as the #DileoPowerSlide.
Worst moment: The failed two-point conversion against Ohio State. Most agreed that it showed faith in his team that Brady Hoke chose to go for two and the win against Ohio State rather than settling for the extra point and tie with just more than 30 seconds remaining. Later, it was discovered that Gardner had injured his foot earlier in the game, which both affected the play call and was a factor in why the Wolverines went for two. The failed conversion gave Michigan its second home loss of the season and its second loss to the Buckeyes under Hoke.