Michigan vs. Michigan State Awards

Michigan vs. Michigan State Awards


October 22, 2018

Donovan Peoples-Jones (image via Twitter)

Let’s see more of this guy on offense . . . Dylan McCaffrey. We have seen Penn State use two quarterbacks on the field at the same time with some effectiveness in recent years, and they also let running backs take direct snaps on occasion. I would like to see the Wolverines give McCaffrey a couple plays on the field with Shea Patterson, like they did briefly against Wisconsin. McCaffrey is a good enough athlete to do a few different things (run, catch, and throw).

Hit the jump for the rest of the awards.

Let’s see less of this guy on offense . . . that guy who fumbles. Chris Evans coughed one up on the 7-yard line that led to Michigan State’s only touchdown, and Karan Higdon fumbled once, too, but luckily it rolled out of bounds. This offense isn’t good enough to make turnovers against solid teams.

Let’s see more of this guy on defense . . . Rashan Gary. There has been much consternation about whether Gary will return this season or not. He has missed the last three games due to a shoulder injury, and reports late last week suggested he was perhaps going to give it a go against MSU. He didn’t, though, and people are wondering if he’ll take the Nick Bosa route and just turn his focus to preparing for the NFL. I hope he plays more this season. I think if people are being honest, they would expect more than 20 tackles for loss and 8 sacks for the entire college career of 2016’s #1 overall recruit. But a man’s gotta do what a man’s gotta do.

Let’s see less of this guy on defense . . . that guy who throws the flags. Michigan is #111 in penalty yardage (73.4 yards/game) and #106 in number of penalties (7.8 per game). They’re also #86 in opponent penalty yardage (51.4 yards/game) and tied for #93 in opponent penalties (5.6 per game).

Play of the game . . . Shea Patterson’s 79-yard touchdown pass to Donovan Peoples-Jones. Peoples-Jones only had one catch, but he made it count. He outran Michigan State’s corner, high-stepped out of a tackle attempt, and Paul Bunyaned in the end zone. It was a beautiful thing.

 

MVP of the game . . . Chase Winovich. Statistically, Winovich didn’t have an outstanding day (4 tackles, 0.5 tackles for loss, 3 quarterback hurries), but he was causing havoc in the backfield all day. Along with good coverage from the defensive backs, Winovich was a primary factor in forcing MSU quarterback Brian Lewerke into a 5/25 (20%) performance, which forced the QB to the sideline in favor of a totally unproven backup in Rocky Lombardi. Kudos to Josh Uche, the backup linebacker/defensive end who leads the team in sacks this year, but Winovich was constantly sending Lewerke into panic mode.

34 comments

  1. Comments: 229
    Joined: 12/24/2016
    INTJohn
    Oct 22, 2018 at 7:26 AM

    Patterson to DPJ for the go ahead score would prolly be most people’s pik for Play of The Game and can’t really argue with it but for me it was the Patterson 11 yard run on 4th & 2 that kept the td drive alive giving Michigan(or maybe I should say ‘Me’) some much needed breathing room.

    Go Blue………..intjohn

  2. Comments: 848
    Joined: 8/11/2015
    WindyCityBlue
    Oct 22, 2018 at 8:30 AM

    On offense, Tarik Black, and it’s not even close. Having him out there all the time and healthy, as another prime target for Patterson, will open up this offense far, far more than running one or two gadget plays a game with McCaffrey.

    • GKblue
      Comments: 268
      Joined: 8/11/2015
      GKblue
      Oct 22, 2018 at 9:46 AM

      If Tarik is full go I’d love to him out there with DPJ, the defense has to account for both. Seeing McCaffrey and Patterson in the backfield at once is just plain fun; hopefully not as just a decoy (or in desperation).

      So, let’s see more of Tarik.

    • Lanknows
      Comments: 3827
      Joined: 8/11/2015
      Lanknows
      Oct 22, 2018 at 3:35 PM

      Collins has caught most everything thrown his way. He’s a big target and a downfield threat. I don’t see a big change coming with Black back in the rotation. That said, of course it’s better to have him available and at full strength.

      • Comments: 848
        Joined: 8/11/2015
        WindyCityBlue
        Oct 22, 2018 at 10:18 PM

        Collins has been fine, but our passing game hasn’t exactly been lighting people up. Why do you think Ohio State’s and Alabama’s passing games are so potent? Because they have more than two big threats at WR. Our offense needs more playmakers, and Black is one that we’ve been missing.

        • Lanknows
          Comments: 3827
          Joined: 8/11/2015
          Lanknows
          Oct 22, 2018 at 11:40 PM

          I would bet the pass game continues to look nothing like Alabama or OSU.

          • Comments: 848
            Joined: 8/11/2015
            WindyCityBlue
            Oct 23, 2018 at 10:50 AM

            You say that as if it means our passing game won’t be better than it is if we add a high quality receiver to what we already have, which is silly.

          • Lanknows
            Comments: 3827
            Joined: 8/11/2015
            Lanknows
            Oct 23, 2018 at 11:43 AM

            “Ohio State’s and Alabama’s passing games are so potent… Because they have more than two big threats at WR. ”

            “Collins has been fine, but …our offense needs more playmakers, and Black is one that we’ve been missing.”

            So you’re saying you expect the M offense will look like Alabama/OSU once Black is healthy?

            No wonder you’re always so negative and disappointed. Unreasonable expectations.

            • Comments: 848
              Joined: 8/11/2015
              WindyCityBlue
              Oct 23, 2018 at 1:23 PM

              No, I’m saying it will very likely be better than it is now. OSU and Alabama are simply evidence that you can make effective use of more than two high quality wide receivers.

              Got it now?

          • Lanknows
            Comments: 3827
            Joined: 8/11/2015
            Lanknows
            Oct 23, 2018 at 11:54 AM

            I’m saying Black won’t change things very much. This is mostly about the offense in place.

            Secondary factor is that Collins is pretty good so the snaps that Black takes from him won’t see much impact. Moreso, Bell & Martin but those guys are bit players.

            Michigan is #13 in passing efficiency. Alabama is #7 and OSU #1. I’m guessing that’s not what you mean by lighting people up. In terms of yards OSU is #2, Alabama is #5 and MIchigan is #93.

            Is Michigan going to become a top 5 team (in terms of efficiency) because of Black — I doubt it.

            Is Michigan going to start throwing for upwards of 350 yards a game because of Black? — I guarantee not.

            • Comments: 848
              Joined: 8/11/2015
              WindyCityBlue
              Oct 23, 2018 at 1:26 PM

              More straw men. Who ever said we needed to throw for 350 yards a game to be better? No one, and certainly not me. You really are grasping at silly arguments in this thread.

  3. Comments: 962
    Joined: 1/19/2016
    je93
    Oct 22, 2018 at 8:54 AM

    I like Mac, but don’t think he’s what the offense is looking for
    Thunder, I’d like your opinion on MICHIGAN’s routes: are they taking too long to develop? Why is Patterson holding on too long?

    On D, I’d like to see more of Uche against pass happy PennSt & ohio

    • Thunder
      Comments: 2614
      Joined: 7/13/2015
      Oct 22, 2018 at 9:25 PM

      1. The routes are taking too long to develop. Michigan is using a bunch of condensed formations with tight ends, and it takes longer for those routes to develop because a) they have to space themselves out and b) the guys running them are slower.

      2. Patterson is holding on to the ball because he’s waiting for things to develop, and he doesn’t want to make critical mistakes. I think Patterson is maturing from where he was at Ole Miss, but it’s a struggle for him, because he’s not quite used to making these read progressions.

      • Comments: 848
        Joined: 8/11/2015
        WindyCityBlue
        Oct 22, 2018 at 10:26 PM

        Patterson certainly doesn’t seem to be in anything like full stride yet, for whatever reason. But as far as “maturing”, if he has any thought of bolting to the NFL after this year, he’d better speed things up. What he’s shown so far this year has been nothing special as far as the NFL is concerned, and he wouldn’t be better than a mid-round pick at this point.

        • Lanknows
          Comments: 3827
          Joined: 8/11/2015
          Lanknows
          Oct 22, 2018 at 11:41 PM

          No shame in that!

  4. JC
    Comments: 210
    Joined: 8/17/2015
    JC
    Oct 22, 2018 at 10:21 AM

    If anyone predicted Uche would be leading the team in sacks this year, I’ll buy them a beer and enlist their help with picking the next mega million numbers.

    If we’re getting McCaffrey involved in plays as a decoy/receiver/2nd quarterback, I would worry about his resilience. He’s still on the slighter side, and we could need a functional backup QB.

    • Comments: 848
      Joined: 8/11/2015
      WindyCityBlue
      Oct 22, 2018 at 12:13 PM

      I tend to agree. The drop-off from 2 to 3 appears large enough that it seems foolish to risk injury to McCaffrey unnecessarily. Especially since, as I’ve said before, we’re not going to lose any games we should have won just because we didn’t run a gadget. And of course, putting McCaffrey out there at the same time as Patterson is like flashing “Hey Defense..Trick Play Coming!” on the Jumbotron.

    • Lanknows
      Comments: 3827
      Joined: 8/11/2015
      Lanknows
      Oct 22, 2018 at 3:38 PM

      I don’t see much reason to worry about McCaffrey getting hurt. Michigan needs to keep the QB run game a significant part of the playbook and if McCaffrey can spare Patterson a few carries that would be nice. Nothings going to infuriate this fanbase more than if Patterson gets dinged for OSU in some meaningless situation against Rutgers or Indiana.

      • Comments: 848
        Joined: 8/11/2015
        WindyCityBlue
        Oct 22, 2018 at 10:09 PM

        Which is why you put the pedal to the floor against this teams, build up a big lead as early as possible, and get Patterson out of there completely by the end of the third quarter. Until then, he’s the best QB by quite a bit, so you keep him in. Sparing Patterson a carry or two by running McCaffrey ineffectively is senseless. We have backup running backs who can do that.

        • Lanknows
          Comments: 3827
          Joined: 8/11/2015
          Lanknows
          Oct 22, 2018 at 11:58 PM

          Backup RBs aren’t going to legitimize the QB as a running threat. IMO, Michigan needs to (continue to) do that. Their offense needs balance. My version of “putting the pedal to the floor” includes running the QB.

          • Comments: 848
            Joined: 8/11/2015
            WindyCityBlue
            Oct 23, 2018 at 10:53 AM

            Fine…so run Patterson more. He’s every bit as capable.

            • Lanknows
              Comments: 3827
              Joined: 8/11/2015
              Lanknows
              Oct 23, 2018 at 11:56 AM

              You just said you were worried about running McCaffrey a couple times a game because he could get hurt. But you’re fine risking the starting QB?

              • Thunder
                Comments: 2614
                Joined: 7/13/2015
                Oct 23, 2018 at 12:13 PM

                Yeah, I was thinking the same thing…but I just can’t engage this stuff all the time.

    • Thunder
      Comments: 2614
      Joined: 7/13/2015
      Oct 22, 2018 at 9:21 PM

      I didn’t predict it for Uche, but it also doesn’t surprise me a ton. This is about what I expected from Uche coming out of high school. He’s not an every-down player, but the dude can get after the QB.

      I don’t think putting in McCaffrey for 3-5 plays a game would expose him to a ton of harm.

  5. UM_1973
    Comments: 51
    Joined: 10/14/2015
    UM_1973
    Oct 22, 2018 at 12:31 PM

    As a Michigan fan, I feel that Michigan has been unfairly penalized especially during big games (but I suspect most fan base feel the same). Thunder, do you think Michigan has been unfairly penalized during the Harbaugh years?

    Jim Harbaugh, as a coach, has calmed down his antics significantly this year. Unlike his first and second year, he is no longer screaming at referees during games. Do you think Harbaugh’s first year antics have caused the ref to be biased towards Michigan?

    • Thunder
      Comments: 2614
      Joined: 7/13/2015
      Oct 22, 2018 at 9:20 PM

      I don’t really know the answer to that question, because I don’t watch enough of other teams to see how they fare from week to week with the refs. I’m sure every team and its fans have some qualms with the way their team is officiated, and they all think they’re getting screwed in one way or another. I think the statistics show that Michigan is getting penalized more often than the average team. Is that because they’re undisciplined? Are the other teams getting penalized less because all of Michigan’s opponents are more disciplined?

      I tend to think Michigan deserves most of its penalties (minus the Higdon holding call against Northwestern and the Glasgow late hit against SMU). I also think other teams (such as MSU) should be penalized more than they are. I don’t know the reason, though.

      • Comments: 12
        Joined: 8/12/2015
        EGD
        Oct 23, 2018 at 4:42 AM

        I don’t believe there is some grand conspiracy afoot to harm Michigan. But I do think there are some dynamics with the way B1G officials tend to call games that probably hurt M more than most in certain ways.

        For one, holding is seldom called in the Big Ten, especially on the interior (Higdon “penalty from a Mars” notwithstanding). That hurts teams with dominant defensive lines. When holding is called, it’s usually on edge runs (or special teams). But Michigan’s opponents don’t try to outflank Michigan very often in the running game because M’s linebackers are so fast—they’re usually better off trying to go north-south, where holding calls are less common.

        Then there is the pass interference bucket, where I think M has done quite well this season. There were a few questionable calls in the SMU game, but since the conference season started I don’t recall any bad PI flags on Michigan and—with the exception of some mercy-related non-calls against Nebraska—the flags have usually been thrown when opposing defenders have interfered with M receivers.

        Another dynamic is that Michigan has been in some games with extenuating circumstances that may color the officials’ approach to penalties. It was pretty clear in the MSU game that the officials wanted to use offsetting unsportsmanlike conduct calls to deter shenanigans while minimizing the yardage effects. That may have hurt Michigan because there were a couple instances of MSU starting stuff after the whistle and M guys getting flagged in “self-defense” or whatever, but then often refs only flag the guy who responds so who knows. Then in some earlier blowouts there seemed to be some “mercy calls” against Michigan, which is a nice problem to have.

        I will say have been some egregious non-calls this season with Michigan pass rushers being held. That probably happens to every team to some extent, but M has great edge rushers this season and so you’d expect to see those flags a bit more often than we have.

  6. Lanknows
    Comments: 3827
    Joined: 8/11/2015
    Lanknows
    Oct 22, 2018 at 2:51 PM

    It seems like Don Brown’s D isn’t designed to have the SDE put up big stats. That went for Wormley too. Heard similar grumbles about him (ironically, related to Gary coming in and starting over him.) Yet Worm won the team award for best DL over Hurst, Charlton, etc in 2016. He was drafted high and is a successful NFL starter.

    Like Gary, his teammates had nothing but praise, respect, and admiration for what Wormley did on and off the field.

    • Thunder
      Comments: 2614
      Joined: 7/13/2015
      Oct 22, 2018 at 9:13 PM

      I agree with you, but still… If I told you three years ago that Gary would come to Michigan and only produce 8 sacks in his career (I know that’s jumping the gun), you would probably be saying/thinking, “Then why is he the #1 recruit in the country?” The production doesn’t meet the rankings. He’s far from a bust, but he hasn’t produced what most people expected.

      • Lanknows
        Comments: 3827
        Joined: 8/11/2015
        Lanknows
        Oct 22, 2018 at 11:54 PM

        Not how I see things at all.

    • Comments: 848
      Joined: 8/11/2015
      WindyCityBlue
      Oct 22, 2018 at 10:34 PM

      Yes, the “He doesn’t get big stats because of the system” argument was inevitable, but why would Don Brown take the #1 recruit in the country and stick him in a “system” where he can’t make anywhere near the number of plays he’s capable of? I give Brown a bit more credit than that.

      And no one has ever said that Gary has not been a very good player, so why would his teammates not have good things to say about him? The only argument anyone has made is that he hasn’t lived up to the expectations for a #1 recruit.

      • Lanknows
        Comments: 3827
        Joined: 8/11/2015
        Lanknows
        Oct 22, 2018 at 11:53 PM

        Maybe you should look at it like an OT. It’s not a bad thing if an OT isn’t “making plays” that get in the box score. It’s about doing your job so the team can succeed.

        Not an indictment of Brown at all. He didn’t fail Gary or Wormley. They didn’t fail him. Elite defenses – thanks in large part to the job done by the anchor end.

    • Lanknows
      Comments: 3827
      Joined: 8/11/2015
      Lanknows
      Oct 22, 2018 at 11:50 PM

      I see some parallels to Robert Nkimdiche. 6 career sacks. 1st team all SEC. 1st round draft pick. Wouldn’t call him a disappointment by any stretch.

      • Lanknows
        Comments: 3827
        Joined: 8/11/2015
        Lanknows
        Oct 22, 2018 at 11:56 PM

        In case anyone is going to argue the distinction between DT and DE – maybe we should look at the Michigan SDE spot like a DT – where stats are barely relevant. Wormley is starting at NT in the NFL and Mattison has made statements in the past about the interchangeable nature of SDE and DT in his system. Gary could easily be an NFL DT at his size (at least in a 4-3).

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