Pat Fitzgerald/whatever happened on that red zone sequence early in the fourth quarter: F - 3rd-and-goal from the 10-yard line, down 7-0, arguably four-down territory. Trevor Siemian throws a short pass to the right to Justin Jackson for six yards. But on fourth-down, Fitzgerald decides to kick a field goal...
Northwestern just threw the ball five yards right to the sideline on third and 11 … to kick a FG. That's absolutely awful.— InsideNU (@insidenu) November 8, 2014
Like if you want to kick a FG, fine. But why are you wasting third down by getting closer? What is the thought process there?— InsideNU (@insidenu) November 8, 2014
I know we never #PlayedTheGame but that is all sorts of crazy from a math and common sense standpoint.— InsideNU (@insidenu) November 8, 2014
Update: Fitzgerald and Siemian did say that the third-down play was a check down by Siemian, and that the play was designed to go to the end zone.
Mick McCall: D - We don't know who was behind the Matt Alviti mini-experiment -- Fitz or McCall, or both -- but it didn't really make much sense. He ran the ball three times for -2 yards out of a wildcat-like formation, but wasn't giving a legitimate shot to run the offense.
.@MiamiRohan I wouldn’t even like that. Either give him a whole series or two, or keep him on the sidelines— Henry Bushnell (@HenryBushnell) November 8, 2014
Trevor Siemian: C - This was an ugly game, and Siemian certainly contributed to that. But with an ineffective run game, Siemian actually played alright, or at least better than he has been. And in the fourth quarter, he led two drives that we'd be celebrating and lauding if not for a failed two point try and the combination of the 3rd-down play call and the 4th-down decision. His final stat line was also decent: 32-49, 273 yards, 1 touchdown and 2 interceptions.
Offensive Line: C- - Brandon Vitable and Co. were actually pretty good in pass protection for portions of the game, but they couldn't pave the way for anything on the ground, which killed the offense. "We couldn't get any movement at the point of attack," Fitzgerald said afterwards. He also credited Michigan's defensive front though.
Defensive front seven: B+ - They made plays all game, and more than gave the team a chance to win. However, a lot of their success could be partially attributed to
Students who came: A+ -- To endure that first half and not succumb to the gravitational pull of the exit gates... that was pretty impressive.
Students who stayed home: A+ -- Some of the best decisions of their lives.
Ibraheim Campbell: A- -- Campbell made Northwestern's biggest play of the game. He intercepted Devin Gardner in the redzone, and took the return back 79 yards all the way to the Michigan 15-yard line. But with the way the offense was playing, he had to get into the end zone (and possibly could have), which bumps him down from an A+ to an A-.
Matt Harris: A- - Harris was great in coverage almost all day, as was most of the secondary.
Punt team: F - Chris Gradone's first punt of the game was a 24-yarder. He was later replaced by Hunter Niswander. On his first attempt, he fumbled a low snap, then somehow got off a left-footed punt that went for 20 yards. His next one went for a net of 25 yards. And then in the second half, his punt from the Michigan 43-yard line was kicked into the endzone by Godwin Igwebuike.
Tony Jones: F - Jones was the culprit on the game's most decisive play. He muffed a 3rd-quarter Michigan punt, giving the Wolverines the ball at NU's 21-yard line, and in two plays, they got in the end zone. Those seven points were all they would need.
Jack Mitchell: F - After a Michigan fumble three plays into the second half, Northwestern took over with great field position. But after three unsuccessful plays, Mitchell missed a 36-yard field goal that would've given NU the first lead of the game.