2021 Michigan vs. Western Michigan Awards

2021 Michigan vs. Western Michigan Awards

September 6, 2021
Blake Corum (image via Maize ‘n’ Brew)

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Let’s see more of this guy on offense . . . A.J. Henning. Assuming Ronnie Bell is out for a while (hopefully not!), I think Henning is probably the guy who needs to see more touches. Michigan needs a guy who can run through tackles and make something happen after the catch. As much as I like Cornelius Johnson, Roman Wilson, and other guys, I’m not sure that any receiver besides Henning can offer that ability after the catch. Henning had a 74-yard touchdown on an end around and caught 1 pass for 11 yards from J.J. McCarthy.

Hit the jump for more.

Let’s see less of this guy on offense . . . Chuck Filiaga. With Zak Zinter’s playing time shortened due to a cast on his hand, Filiaga stepped in. It’s great to have a serviceable mammoth fifth year senior lineman ready to step in if someone is injured, but we heard for the past few months that Zinter is possibly Michigan’s best offensive player. If Zinter is better as a sophomore than Filiaga was as a redshirt junior last year, then we need to have Zinter on the field due to his upside.

Let’s see more of this guy on defense . . . R.J. Moten. I was happy with what I saw from Moten against Western Michigan, when he made 5 tackles. His availability allows Daxton Hill to move around in the secondary. Moten’s body has really developed and he looks ready to be on the field.

Let’s see less of this guy on defense . . . Kris Jenkins, Jr. I did not like seeing Jenkins on the goal line package playing defensive tackle, when he got manhandled out of the way for a short touchdown run by La’Darius Jefferson. Jenkins (6’3″, 275) needs another year or two in the weight room before he’s ready.

Play of the game . . . Ronnie Bell’s 76-yard touchdown catch from Cade McNamara. Honorable mention goes to Henning for his long run, Hutchinson for his strip sack, Bell/McNamara again for the one-handed catch, and to J.J. McCarthy/Daylen Baldwin for their 69-yard hookup. This award is more about offensive coordinator Josh Gattis, whom I have criticized at various times for conservative play calling. Michigan needs to take more deep shots, especially when they have mismatches. And those mismatches were numerous against Western Michigan. Gattis probably wanted to impose the offense’s will on WMU and wear them down, but you know what else opens up the running game? Creating big plays in the passing game. So if Bell, Henning, Daylen Baldwin, Cornelius Johnson, or some other physically superior receiver has a mismatch against a defensive back in one-on-one coverage, I hope Gattis lets McNamara unleash some deep throws.

MVP of the game . . . Blake Corum. Corum had his first career 100-yard game (14 carries, 111 yards, 1 TD), caught 2 passes for 22 yards and 1 touchdown, and returned 1 kickoff for 79 yards. He was too quick for Western Michigan’s defense to handle, and hopefully that explosiveness can carry over against tougher opponents.

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