I actually didn't see much of this game as I was out of town on business.
but, the bit I did catch, I think I saw both good and bad.
now, I don't think that OSU is a playoff team, and I expect Mich to beat them, but you never know. maybe they had a bad day against us? seems doubtful considering they had a bye week and were coming off a loss.
regardless, overall I think the team continues to improve. they were able to hang with a top ten team on the road and had a chance to win. they won the turnover battle but still made enough mistakes on their own to lose the game. plus OSU has some playmakers as well.
I think that a lack of depth is starting to show as the season wears on, but also shows against better talented opponents. pretty much every game this season, the defense has struggled at times in the second half, and I think a lot of that has to do with the lack of depth and the starters playing too many snaps and getting tired. that can only be fixed with recruiting and strength and conditioning.
offensively, I'm surprised that they're as far along as they are. I expected more freshman mistakes but AM appears to be one of the better QBs in the conference already. also remember that this is basically the same OL as last season, but I think they're playing much better (not just due to each player being a year older and more experienced) than last year. I also notice improvement at pretty much every position on both sides of the ball as the season has progressed (except for probably punter and special teams coverage and return units)
defensively, the focus on turnovers and big plays is starting to come to fruition.
special teams is back to a disaster. I like the ballsy call for the onside kick early, it's just too bad CL made an ass out of himself with the miss-kick.
this basically eliminates NU from a bowl game unless something weird happens like a few years ago when there weren't enough eligible 6 win teams to fill all the bowls and NU made it on academic progress.
we might see a few more players the final few games but I don't think there's enough healthy young players to even make a difference on the special teams block and coverage units.
I'm a bit concerned about AJ Bush and Illinois, I think that they'll hurt NU on the ground on occasion due to a poor run fit or a LB running themselves out of position, but I think that NU wont feel too threatened by the passing game and will focus on stopping the run. I bet they get a couple of turnovers and I bet the offense rolls pretty much the entire game.
anyway, it seems to me like this team is improving as the season goes on, which is something I'm not sure we've seen in quite a few years. and that's a sign that the coaching staff is doing something right.