2021 Michigan vs. Rutgers Awards

2021 Michigan vs. Rutgers Awards

September 30, 2021
Brad Hawkins

Let’s see more of this guy on offense . . . A.J. Henning. Henning has been a decent receiver (3 catches, 36 yards) and an outstanding runner (2 rushes, 100 yards, 1 TD) early in the season, but when push came to shove against Rutgers, the coaching staff almost completely ignored him. His only overall touch was on a punt return, and the only attempt to get him the ball on offense was an early fade route on the outside. Michigan needs to make more of a concerted effort to get guys like Henning the ball on the edge.

Hit the jump for more.

Let’s see less of this guy on offense . . . Trevor Keegan. I’m a little surprised I’m saying this, but if I had to replace anyone on the offense at this point, it would probably be Keegan. Overall, I think the guard spots have been the weakest on the offense, and Keegan did not have a good game on offense. He makes some really nice blocks, but he whiffs a little too often. He’s still young and in his first year of starting, so I think he can be good down the road, but Saturday was a struggle.

Let’s see more of this guy on defense . . . Josh Ross. Ross left Saturday’s game with what appeared to be a shoulder injury, and the defense seemed to self-destruct a little bit. Michigan is very thin at linebacker overall, so there isn’t much behind him at middle linebacker. Ross was lobbying to get back in the game and the training staff seemed to give him a shot to prove himself, so hopefully he’s back against Wisconsin.

Let’s see less of this guy on defense . . . Kalel Mullings. Mullings hopped on a few tackles, but he’s wearing a cast on his hand after off-season surgery and just doesn’t have the presence right now to attack downhill and be an effective blitzer. He’s a good athlete overall who’s only in his second year, but experience at inside linebacker is highly valuable, and the defense is better with Ross in there.

Play of the game . . . Michigan’s 4th-and-1 stop on a surprise sneak. The biggest play was probably Michigan’s fumble recovery near the end of the game to seal it, but in the first half, Rutgers tried some trickery. Scarlet Knights quarterback Noah Vedral pretended to be getting signals from the sideline, while running back Isiah Pacheco hopped under center to try to get an easy first down during the confusion. Except Michigan wasn’t confused and converged for the stop.

MVP of the game . . . Brad Hawkins. I thought Hawkins quietly played a very solid game in coverage and supporting the run, making 4 tackles, 1 tackle for loss, and 1 pass breakup. He seems to have taken a step forward overall, and he looks a little bigger and faster here in 2021.

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