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A college sports blog from The Oakland Press, dedicated to covering Michigan and Michigan State athletics as well as former Oakland County athletes at other schools.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Unlike year's past, Michigan will rebound after loss to MSU

For the third straight year, Michigan had its undefeated boat rocked by rival Michigan State. The Wolverines entered Saturday's game undefeated with a high national ranking (No.11), and yet again were humbled by MSU.
In 2010, Michigan came in 5-0, got blowout 34-17 and finished 7-6. In '09, the Wolverines were 4-0 and the Rich Rodriguez bandwagon was temporarily picking up steam before a 26-20 overtime loss that turned into a tailspin and a 5-7 season.
I don't think that will happen with Michigan this year.
"They need to feel this one," said Michigan coach Brady Hoke, who admitted the Wolverines were overrated in the polls. "We all need to feel this one for a while. But we'll turn the page."
That's the difference. Michigan will turn the page. There's a level of confidence and composure there that wasn't present under the past coaching era.
"I think it's easy now to say that this is the same Michigan team as the last three years, but there's no doubt in my mind that we're not," junior safety Jordan Kovacs said. "We're going to improve, learn from this, and win."
Saturday's loss to the Spartans wasn't a meltdown like in '09 when Tate Forcier gave the game away. It wasn't a complete embarrassment like when the Wolverines were blow out in their own house last season. It was simply a loss to a better, more physical team.
That won't derail Michigan's season.
The Wolverines no doubt have some issues. What to do with Denard Robinson remains the primary one. Robinson again struggled to throw the ball and turned in the worst game of his career statistically. If Saturday's any indication, going to backup Devin Gardner is not the solution. Gardner was held to 3-for-7 passing for 45 yards and had a -15 yards rushing on six carries.
Michigan doesn't have the personnel to have an efficient offense this season. That will take a couple recruiting classes to change. Robinson, however, does give Michigan big-play potential, which combined with a much improved defense will be enough to win some games -- as it already has.
Michigan could easily still finish the regular season 9-3 with a chance to win a bowl game. If that -- or a result close to it -- happens, Saturday's loss won't set back Hoke and the rebuilding process of Michigan's program.
The difference between Saturday and MSU's three previous wins over Michigan was that the Spartans beat a good Michigan team, not a bad one.
Look for the Wolverines to respond after their bye week with a big win over Purdue.


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