I was otherwise engaged all day Saturday, so I didn’t finish watching the DVRed Michigan game until 12:30 a.m. on Sunday morning. Here are just a few takeaways from the game.
THREE GOOD THINGS
- Shea Patterson looked really good. I thought Patterson had one bad throw on what should have been a touchdown to Sean McKeon, but otherwise, he was pretty excellent. He finished 12/17 for 125 yards, 3 touchdowns, and 0 interceptions. The most impressive thing was how accurately he threw the ball on the run. He did similar things against Notre Dame last week, for the most part. Things seem a little discombobulated with him at times, and the timing doesn’t seem to be there with everyone on the offense.
- The running game took off. It doesn’t really prove anything for the long run, because Michigan still has to do it against the good teams. But at least the offensive line and running backs did what they should do against a MAC team. They ran for 308 yards on 8.8 yards/carry. Karan Higdon (13 carries, 156 yards, 1 TD) broke off 67- and 43-yard runs. I predicted 140 yards for him, and he had that by the end of the first quarter.
- Nico Collins looks the part of a deep threat. There were rumors coming out of camp that Collins was the best wide receiver on the team, and he looks the part…kind of. So far he’s the guy who has been able to get behind defenses, but it only translated to 1 catch for a 44-yard touchdown in this one. He also caught a deep ball last week. The real question is whether he can be more consistently used on short and intermediate routes.
THREE BAD THINGS
- Wide receiver depth is questionable. We already knew this, but man, Michigan is thin at wide receiver. We need to hope that Michigan doesn’t suffer any more injuries this season, because what we see now in the starting lineup is about all the Wolverines have. Walk-on Jake McCurry impressed people in the off-season and caught a touchdown pass from Dylan McCaffrey, so maybe he can play a little bit, but once the starters leave the field…Jake McCurry is on it.
- The offensive line did not impress me. Michigan should be mauling a team like Western Michigan up front, but that really was not the case. They did a good job in the running game, and the running backs were simply too good for WMU’s linebackers and secondary to tackle. But I hoped for a more dominating performance from the offensive line, and some of those guys still weren’t getting the movement up front that they should.
- The interior defensive line is not good. Michigan’s defensive tackle situation is the worst it has been in several years. Those guys aren’t making any plays whatsoever. Luckily, Michigan has good defensive ends and linebackers, but I thought somebody would flash a little bit. Instead, the defensive tackles combined for 8 tackles, 0 tackles for loss, and 0 sacks. Nose tackle Aubrey Solomon should be the best of the group, but he’s injured right now and had knee surgery last week with no return timetable right now.
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