Saturday, August 30, 2014

Five Things To Take Away From Michigan's 52-14 Win Over Appalachian State

Here are five things to take away from Michigan’s 52-14 win over Appalachian State:
1) Devin Funchess:
In Devin Funchess’ first official game as a wide receiver and wearing the coveted No. 1 jersey, the former tight end lived up to the hype and then some with seven receptions for 95 yards and three touchdowns.
Funchess’ third touchdown reception was a thing of beauty as he used his length to pull down an amazing catch at the edge of the end zone to put Michigan ahead 21-0 halfway through the second quarter.
Michigan might have a shot to go straight up with a high-powered Notre Dame offense next Saturday if Funchess can keep these amazing stats. Funchess will also need help from other receivers such as Jehu Chesson and Keith Heitzman to alleviate potential double teams from ND defenders.
2) The two-headed U-M Running Attack:
One of the many question marks coming into the season was Michigan’s running game.
Any doubt was put to rest Saturday as the Wolverines used the one-two punch of Derrick Green and De’Veon Smith as they gained 174 and 115 yards, respectively. 73 of Smith’s 115 yards came in Michigan’s fourth scoring possession as he used a 61-yard run in the penultimate play to set up for a 12-yard TD run to go up 28-0 on Appalachian State in the second quarter.
3) Devin Gardner’s Performance:
Fifth-year senior quarterback Devin Gardner had a chip on his shoulder after finishing last season with losses in key games to Michigan State and Ohio State, ended the game completing 13-of-14 passes for 173 yards and threw for three touchdowns.
The influence of first-year offensive coordinator Doug Nussmeier has had a positive effect on Gardner thus far and it showed during the press conference. “(Nussmeier) got excited when I did the run check and I was thinking was he screaming at me for doing something wrong?” Gardner said. “But, he was so hyped about the run, which was seven yards and it eventually set up a touchdown for us.”
4) Special Teams/Defense:
Appalachian State sophomore quarterback Kam Bryant could not get into a groove as the Michigan defensive line gave him problems all day as he was rushed into quick passes and did not get support from his offensive line.
Bryant completed 8-of-19 passes for 59 yards before being pulled in the third quarter for Taylor Lamb. Bryant was sacked twice and it came courtesy of Taco Charlton and Chris Wormley.
Desmond Morgan and James Ross III led the way for Michigan with six tackles each. Appalachian State’s Doug Middleton led all players with eight tackles in the loss.
5) Michigan Gets Payback Seven Years Later:
While the outcome was well in hand by halftime, most U-M fans could not help but to go back to 2007 when Appalachian State upset Michigan 34-32 at Michigan Stadium.
Yes, the players and coaches for both teams are different in 2014, but Michigan fans seem to breathe a collective sigh of relief at the end of the game as not only its team won by 38, but did so with the ease and swagger of those pesky teams from the late 90’s- early 2000’s.

Only time will tell if Michigan’s performance will carry over to the final frontier with Notre Dame next Saturday Night at Notre Dame Stadium.
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Devin Funchess Press Conference Audio From The Appalachian State Game

After Michigan's season-opening 52-14 win over Appalachian State, wide receiver Devin Funchess talked to the media about his three TD's on 95 yards and seven receptions.

Funchess discussed the significance of next week's Notre Dame game, the importance of the No. 1 jersey and who his favorite player to wear the jersey is.


The audio is also available for download via Soundcloud.

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Live Blog: Appalachian State at Michigan

College Football returns in full force today as Michigan opens up its 2014 season against Appalachian State. Most fans remember the last time these two teams met in 2007 when Appalachian State upset U-M 34-32.

But enough about the past, this is where I will be live-blogging throughout the duration of the game. Feel free to chime away in the comments section.

Live Blog:

Both teams have taken the field as they warm up in their respective zones. Of note, Michigan wide receiver Devin Funchess will be wearing No. 1 this season.

Don't forget the game starts at Noon ET and you can watch it on ESPN2/WatchESPN.
Brady Hoke is 8-3 in home openers all-time as a head coach and has won six in a row, including a 3-0 mark at Michigan.

It is very humid on the field at Michigan Stadium, so expect cramping to be an issue for some players.

Michigan playing the same entrance music as South Carolina lol.

Michigan's defense is up to the challenge of Appalachian State's spread attack as it forces a three and out.

Nice screen pass from Gardner to Funchess for a 12-yard gain.

Off-setting penalties on Michigan and App State as Devin Gardner took a hit out of bounds.

Derrick Green tripped up for a loss on his second rush of the season.

Gardner showing poise in the pocket with a pretty throw to Jehu Chesson for a first down in the red zone.

Michigan answered its goal line woes from last season early as Gardner finds Funchess in the end zone for a 9-yard TD.

Extra point is good as U-M leads App. State 7-0 with 8:48 to go in the opening quarter. Also, a good sign to see Devin Gardner convert on two third-down plays in the first drive of the season.

On App. State's first play of the drive, Terrence Upshaw busts up the middle for a 26-yd gain.

An App. State penalty has stalled the drive as it is facing a 3rd and 23 at its own 40-yd line.

Roughing the punter on Michigan as it results in an automatic first down for ASU at the Mich. 45. Michigan is still up 7-0 with 5:52 left in the first quarter.

Commentator Dan Dierdorf was just introduced to the Michigan Stadium crowd during the timeout.

Michigan's corners sniffed out App. State's screen pass as it is forced to punt the ball on fourth down.

Michigan's defense holds twice in a row as they get the ball at their own 22.

Devin Funchess with an amazing leap out of bounds for a gain of 18 yards.
De'Veon Smith with room up the middle for a 15-yd gain.

A beautiful rollout on playaction by Devin Gardner as he finds Funchess towards the sidelines and stiff-armed a defender for a 34-yd TD pass. Michigan makes the XP as it leads App. State 14-0 with 1:52 left in the first quarter.

Kam Bryant unable to get into a groove as the Mountaineers go three and out.

Jabril Peppers' first return saw him allude several defenders only to return it six yards.

Michigan leads Appalachian State 14-0 at the end of the first quarter.

Michigan's running backs Derrick Green and De'Veon Smith have been able to find some running lanes at ease thus far.

Gardner with a simple handoff to Justice Hayes for a loss of one yards as U-M is forced to punt.

Jehu Chesson just laid the wood on ASU's BoBo Beathard on the punt return.

QB Kam Bryant unable to find any room as Chris Wormley tackles him for a loss of a yard.

Chris Wormley has been the most impressive Wolverine defensive player thus far. He has been able to plug gaps and stay in assignments.

Well, the ASU timeout didn't help as Taco Charlton came up to the middle to sack Bryant as they are forced to punt.

Fun fact: Funchess is the first player since Braylon Edwards in 2004 to wear No. 1.

Gardner moving U-M into ASU territory once more, but was unable to connect with Funchess on 3rd and 11.

U-M's kicking woes continue as Matt Wile's 48-yard FG goes off the right crossbar. U-M still leads 14-0 with 7:23 left in the second quarter.

Jacksonville Jaguars WR/RB Denard Robinson was just introduced to the U-M crowd.

Derrick Green with a 59-yard gain down the sidelines for U-M.

Gardner was face-masked by Rashaad Townes as he was attempting to go out of bounds.

What a Braylon Edwards-esque catch by Funchess in the end-zone for the touchdown. That's now three on the day for Funchess.

XP by Matt Wile is good as U-M leads App. State 21-0 with 3:59 left in the second quarter.

I think it is safe to say the transition from TE to WR for Funchess has been very swift and easy.

Marcus Cox with a 14-yard gain for ASU for its first first down in ages.
Kam Bryant unable to find time as Michigan's front three has given him problems throughout the first half as ASU is forced to punt again.

De'Veon Smith cuts loose down the field for a 61-yd gain for U-M and follows it up with an 12-yd TD rush.

Blocked punt by U-M as Ben Gideon recovers and takes it into the end zone for a TD.

XP is good by Matt Wile as U-M leads ASU 35-0 with 48 seconds left in the first half.

Halftime at Michigan Stadium as Michigan leads ASU 35-0. 

U-M Stats: RB De'Veon Smith 6 rushes, 99 yds and a TD. RB Derrick Green 8 carries, 85 yds. QB Devin Gardner 11-of-12 for 153 yes passing for three TDs. WR Devin Funchess 7 Rec. for 95 yards and three TD's.

A couple of nifty moves as Derrick Green goes down the sidelines for a 62-yd gain to begin the second half.

Michigan is challenging whether or not De'Veon Smith knee touched the ground after crossing the plane.

The ruling on the field stands and Michigan has no more challenges to use for the remainder of the game.

Derrick Green goes up the middle and pounds it in from a yard out to make it 42-0 U-M.

Derrick Green now has 157 yards on 13 carries and a TD for U-M. The question becomes when does Hoke pull Devin Gardner from the game to rest him up for the Notre Dame game next Saturday night.

Green and Smith become the first RB duo to run for 100 yards each since Brandon Minor and Carlos Brown in Oct. 2007.

Kam Bryant with a 34-yd pass to Jalen Barber in to goal line territory for ASU.

Bryant lobs one up top to Simms McElfresh on 3rd and 8 for a TD. First ASU score of the day. XP is good as Michigan leads ASU 42-7 with 7:12 left in the third.

Another roar just went through U-M Stadium as Navy regains the lead on No. 5 Ohio St. 14-13 in the third.

Update: Jabril Peppers is not uniform for the second half.

De'Veon Smith avoids an ankle tackle as he scores from 13 yards out for U-M.

XP is good as Michigan leads App. State 49-7 with 4:27 left in the third quarter.

Shane Morris now enters the game for U-M in place of Devin Gardner late in the third.

Morris avoids a sack as he completes it to Keith Heitzman for a 26-yd gain.

Morris then responds with a bad throw as he is picked off by ASU's Donte Blackmon.

QB Taylor Lamb enters the game for Kam Bryant as the third quarter ends with U-M leading ASU 49-7.

Update on Jabril Peppers as there will be no official word on his status for the time being.

Lamb with a handoff to Marcus Cox for a 1-yd TD run for the Mountaineers. XP is good as ASU trails Michigan 49-14 with 9:05 left in the game.

Today's attendance: 106,811.

U-M with 337 yards, the most since Oct. 2012 vs Illinois.

Devin Gardner's stat line on the day: 13-of-14 passing for 173 yards with 3 TD's.  

Matt Wile's 18-yard FG puts Michigan up 52-14 on App. State with 3:42 left in the game.

Final: Michigan 52, Appalachian State 14. Now it is on to the post game press conference, stay tuned.

Friday, August 29, 2014

The College Football Preview That Fans Really Need for 2014

By: DaVaughn Lucas

In case you have been under a rock or dreaming of Nicki Minaj's anaconda butt (wouldn't blame you if you did), the college football season for 2014 has now kicked off and the world's biggest and longest playoff tournament is now underway around the country and on campuses all over the United States. 

For most fans, though, the name of the game isn't the fresh grass and hot college co-eds you may see running around half naked after a pregame tailgate where they can't remember their name or realize they are wasting parent's money. Nope, for most fans, its about the smell of the wood that the 70-inch HDTV sits on, the feel of the leather couch you will sit on to watch the game, the texture of the remote control that you will use to flip around from game to game. 

Most of us realize that most sports are better watched on TV anyway. You save money, you don't deal with crazy crowds, and the food is cheaper. 

With all of that said, today's post will talk about some of the things you need to have to get ready for the 2014 college football season and some tips for survival to watch 10 hours or more of college football. Get ready, do your yoga, woooosaaaaaa, and enjoy. 

1. Have great time management through the week. Make sure that you do EVERY task during the week in enough time so that when the weekend comes, if you are in a relationship, your spouse can't say anything about you needed to do something or have a life outside of your television. 

2. Sex is better at halftime or in-between games, or better yet, forget about the College Gameday pregame and just get it on and all out of your system before the noon games begin. Once the football games start and throughout the day, you are either watching ESPN, FOX, ABC, NBC or any other of the 43957297829 networks watching games, or checking on your phone every 5 minutes. Not good for the love life. 

3) Precook all of your gameday food the night before. There are usually some fun Friday games that are good for noise in the background so get all of your food set early enough so when Saturday comes around, you are all set and you really don't have to leave the home or leave the television for really any reason but the bathroom, and well......the bathroom doesn't know the 4th quarter importance. 

4) Make your partner happy before the game, halftime and between games if you aren't paying close attention to what's going on. See #2 for more of that explanation. 

5) In terms of food, hand foods are far better. Think beef nachos with jalapenos, turkey dogs, hot dogs, ribs, chicken, things that you can just quickly grab, possibly heat in the oven and keep going. 

6) Your weekend nights do not exist during football season. You are not needing to be at the club flirting, the book club or any other random thing that precludes you from watching football. Flat out. You sacrifice for 14 weeks till the end of the season. 

7) If you are married or in a relationship, before the games or on that Friday, take your partner to dinner, make dinner at home, do the types of things that will show attention and appreciation. The idea is to garner enough brownie points so that no one can stop you or have a gripe with watching games from noon until 2:00 a.m. Bank up the brownie points no matter what. They will help you later. 

8) During the week, don't complain about anything. That just makes things contentious on game day & you want to be relaxed and focused for the big games. All of your energy needs to go to yelling like a banji. 

9) Know the phone numbers to your pizza place, your Jimmy Johns, the closest Buffalo Wild Wings and or Hooters. Make it to where you can go order quickly and efficiently and not miss much. 

10) If you do go out, know where to pick up the games on your smartphone. Have the apps for ESPN, Fox Sports Radio (iHeart Radio), CBS Sports Network and other apps that may broadcast games or give constant updates. Technology helps us stay connected. Use it. 

Thursday's Big Ten Roundup

Here is the roundup of Thursday's Big Ten action:

Minnesota 42, Eastern Illinois 20

Sophomore quarterback Mitch Leidner ran for two scores and threw a touchdown pass in Minnesota’s 42-20 season opening victory over Eastern Illinois.
Leidner went 9-for-17 passing with 144 yards, while senior running back David Cobb ran for 71 yards on 14 carries.
Freshman Berkley Edwards, the brother of former Michigan and NFL wide receiver Braylon Edwards scored two touchdowns on the ground in his first collegiate game.
Rutgers 41, Washington State 38
Rutgers junior running back Paul James ran for 173 yards on 29 carries and scored three touchdowns, giving his second straight season-opening 100-yard performance.
James scored his third and final touchdown with 3:24 left to put to Scarlet Knights ahead for good in its first game as a member of the Big Ten.
Senior quarterback Gary Nova threw for 281 yards and completed 16-of-27 passes in the victory.
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Thursday, August 28, 2014

B1G+4 Podcast Ep. 4- Justin Burnette, College Football Universe

I was able talk to the Managing Editor and Writer for the College Football Universe Justin Burnette as we previewed the Week 1 slate in the Big Ten.


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Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Quick Lane Bowl To Be Played December 26

On Aug. 26, the Detroit Lions announced a multi-year deal with Ford Motor Company’s Quick Lane Tire & Auto Center naming them the title sponsor of the new Detroit bowl game.
The game, which will be called the Quick Lane Bowl, will pit teams from the ACC and the Big Ten at Ford Field in Detroit, Michigan.
ESPN will televise the inaugural game on Friday, Dec. 26, 2014 at 4:30 p.m. ET.
“With a national platform to showcase the city of Detroit as well as Southeast Michigan football tradition, it was important for us to partner with an organization like Quick Lane who has a strong local and national presence,” Detroit Lions President Tom Lewand said in a statement. “We look forward to collaborating to institute a great bowl game tradition at Ford Field for years to come.”
The Quick Lane Bowl is replacing the Little Caesars Pizza Bowl, which had operated since 1997. That bowl game matched teams from the Big Ten and the MAC.
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Week 1 AP Top 25 College Football Television Schedule

With the 2014 college football season officially kicking off tonight with Abilene Christian at Georgia State, what better time to roll out the Associated Press Top 25 television schedule for Week 1.
All times (ET)
Thu. Aug. 28
No. 21 Texas A&M at No. 9 South Carolina 6 p.m. (SEC Network)
Boise State vs. No. 18 Ole Miss in Atlanta, GA 8 p.m. (ESPN)
Weber State at No. 19 Arizona State 10:30 p.m. (ESPN)
Fri. Aug. 29
Jacksonville State at No. 8 Michigan State 7:30 p.m. (Big Ten Network)
Sat. Aug. 30
No. 5 Ohio State at Navy in Baltimore, MD Noon (CBS Sports Network)
No. 7 UCLA at Virginia Noon (ESPN)
West Virginia vs. No. 2 Alabama in Atlanta, GA 3:30 p.m. (ABC/ESPN2)
Rice at No. 17 Notre Dame 3:30 p.m. (NBC)
Florida Atlantic at No. 22 Nebraska 3:30 p.m. (Big Ten Network)
South Dakota State at No. 24 Missouri 3:30 p.m. (ESPNU)
Arkansas at No. 6 Auburn 4 p.m. (SEC Network)
UC Davis at No. 11 Stanford 4 p.m. (Pac-12 Network)
No. 16 Clemson at No. 12 Georgia 5:30 p.m. (ESPN)
Liberty at No. 23 North Carolina 6 p.m. (ESPN3)
Louisiana Tech at No. 4 Oklahoma 7 p.m. (Fox Sports Net PPV)
Stephen F. Austin at No. 20 Kansas State 7:10 p.m. (No TV)
Fresno State at No. 15 USC 7:30 p.m. (FOX)
No. 1 Florida State vs. Oklahoma State in Arlington, TX 8 p.m. (ABC)
No. 14 Wisconsin vs. No. 13 LSU in Houston, TX 9 p.m. (ESPN)
South Dakota at No. 3 Oregon 10:30 p.m. (Pac-12 Network)
No. 25 Washington at Hawaii 10:30 p.m. (CBS Sports Network)
Sun. Aug. 31
SMU at No. 10 Baylor 7:30 p.m. (Fox Sports 1)
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Monday, August 25, 2014

Michigan Releases Its First 2014 Depth Chart

Michigan released its first depth chart since last December for Saturday's Appalachian State game on Monday.

Below is the full depth chart in its entirety highlighted by fifth-year senior quarterback Devin Gardner returning as the starter.

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Getting To Know Appalachian State

For every game I will be covering on-site this season, there will be a “Getting To Know” article for both teams involved. The Appalachian State Mountaineers are the first feature.
When Appalachian State kicks off its first season in the Football Bowl Subdivision this Saturday at Michigan in Ann Arbor, the seven-year journey will come full circle.
That journey for the Mountaineers began on the opening week of the 2007 season when they were a 33-point underdog to the No. 5 Wolverines at Michigan Stadium, only to come away with a 34-32 win.
The win helped Appalachian State gain national notoriety as it claimed its third national championships in as many seasons later that season.
Fast forward to 2014, Appalachian State joins the Sun Belt Conference, despite finishing 4-8 overall and 4-4 in the Southern Conference last campaign— its worst record since 1979, when it finished 3-8 (.273 winning percentage).
However, just like any other team in the FBS, the start of the season marks a new beginning and renewed sense of hope.
Here are some key players to watch for on ASU’s offense:
Sophomore running back Marcus Cox: Cox rushed for 1,250 yards and 15 touchdowns last season, along with 43 receptions and 559 yards. Before coming to Appalachian State, Cox received offers from Mid-American Conference schools like Miami (Ohio), Ohio and Buffalo, but chose ASU because of an opportunity for immediate playing time as a starter.
Sophomore quarterback Kam Bryant: Bryant started eight games as a freshman last season and completed 71.2 percent of his passes, while throwing for 14 touchdowns and four interceptions. Bryant’s stats are a sign that he could flourish in second-year ASU head coach Scott Satterfield’s up-tempo spread offense.
Offensive Line: The Mountaineers are expected to start the season with Graham Fisher at center, Kendall Lamm at left tackle, either Will Corbin or Davante Harris at right tackle and Beau Nunn, Colby Gossett and Alex Acey in the inside positions.
Defense: Sophomore nose tackle Tyson Fernandez will be counted on to clog up space in the middle. The 330-pounder’s conditioning might be a question mark as he could be limited in the number of snaps taken in Saturday’s game. The linebacker and secondary positions are filled with inexperience and could be a soft spot in the season opener.
Special Teams: Junior placekicker Zach Matics is expected to be the top guy replacing Drew Stewart, who made of 13-of-18 (72.2 percent) field goals last season. Punter Bentlee Critcher returns as he netted 2340 yards on 51 punts with his longest at 63 in 2013.
2014 Schedule:
Sat. Aug. 30 @ Michigan
Sat. Sept. 6 vs. Campbell
Sat. Spt. 20 @ Southern Miss
Thu. Sept. 25 @ Georgia Southern
Sat. Oct. 4 vs. South Alabama
Sat. Oct. 11 vs. Liberty
Sat. Oct. 18 @ Troy
Sat. Nov. 1 vs. Georgia State
Sat. Nov. 8 vs. Louisiana-Monroe
Sat. Nov. 15 @ Arkansas State
Sat. Nov. 22 @ Louisiana-Lafayette
Sat. Nov. 29 vs. Idaho
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