I Attended Both The Michigan State & Michigan Games. An Observation...
By Beat Michigan on 19:19:05 08/11/19
[In reply to "Just re-watched the 2015 at Michigan game. I have no idea how we lost to MSU. *" by PukeTurtle, posted at 16:12:10 08/11/19]
In the morning leading up to the Michigan State game, the weather was perfect. The ESPN Game Day crew was set up in the Faculty Club and Game Day was on the Oval - everything was perfect. And while the weather report indicated rain in the afternoon, you would never have guessed the extent of what was about to happen based on the perfect weather during the morning leading up to the game.
Now here's something those who weren't there did not see. During the walk-thru before the game, team staffers and back-ups positioned themselves horizontally so that Michigan State could not see the reps behind them. I was stunned when I saw a back-up (Brionte Dunn?) taking the first team reps. I couldn't understand why he was taking the reps. Later, we learned that Ezekiel Elliott had been in the hospital all week with an infection and they were uncertain as to whether he could play. So Elliott was not 100%.
I believe that the game plan was built on decent weather, Elliott hurt/out, JT Barrett being the #1 option and occasional passes. Then the heavens opened up. When the weather became the #1 factor, the coaches stubbornly did not deviate from the game plan. They were afraid to give Elliott the ball, wind and rain prevented them from passing effectively so Barrett remained the only option. Over and over. Michigan State focused on Barrett and stuffed the run game. The wind and rain stuffed the passing game. It was - literally - the perfect storm. And Ohio State's coaches failed to adjust.
The next week in Ann Arbor was totally different. In addition to Elliott being healthy (and angry), it was perfect football weather and, after tremendous criticism from players, fans and media, the coaches opened up the playbook. They fed Elliott, which opened up things for Barrett and a surgical pasing game. It was a smackdown.
Elliott's health leading into the game, horrible weather and a failure to adapt. that's the only way that I can explain it.