Because you never know what can happen, I usually do not leave games before they're over, even if Michigan is getting straight up dominated. (I stayed until the end of last year's 35-10 loss to Penn State, for example.) On Saturday, however, I headed for the exit with about six minutes left in the game, because Rich Rodriguez's ridiculous decision to punt indicated to me that the game was already basically over.â†µ
I'm no math major and I'm certainly not a football coach, but it was obvious to everyone that Michigan needed to go for it on fourth down. Yes, the Wolverines were backed up in their own end and needed nine yards to move the chains, but down 17 points with six minutes left, the game was not over. All it would have taken to make things interesting was one blown assignment by MSU, so there was no point in giving up. Rodriguez apparently had other ideas, though, because his decision to punt, to me, waved the white flag and conceded the game. This was his actual explanation:â†µ
"Probably a mistake," Rodriguez said. "I thought we’d get a quick turnaround, maybe get a minute and a half or two minutes off the clock. And we did get the stop, and then we run into the punter and give them the first down again.â†µ
"If I had do-overs, I wouldn’t punt. I was trying to get their attention, but it was too late. That was my fault."â†µ
I've been a defender of Rich Rodriguez even after the last two rough seasons. Right now, though, I'm starting to grow angrier and angrier with him as head coach of Michigan for little things like this. Yes, glaring issues like the lack of a defense and special teams are more problematic, but how incompetent do you have to be to not know to go for it in that situation? Even if you couldn't get the attention of your punting unit, simply call timeout and put your offense out there. Punting the ball served no purpose other than making it tougher for Michigan State to score again, and like I said before, it seemed like Rodriguez simply gave up on the game.