Boy, Rutgers must be really bad. I mean, Rutgers is bad. We know this. And Illinois is bad, too. But there are different levels of bad. Illinois was missing its starting quarterback (Michigan transfer Brandon Peters), and backups Matt Robinson and Isaiah Williams helped the Illini score 25 points. Meanwhile, Rutgers didn’t look like a viable FBS team in a 52-0 loss to the Wolverines.
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I’m ready for a good Michigan offense. Michigan has had a lot of years of waiting for a good all-around offense. Some teams are bad at everything (offense and defense), and some rare teams are good at everything. Michigan has had exciting offenses in the last decade (Denard Robinson’s years, in particular), but most of the time, it has been in the middle of the pack or down near the bottom. I guess it’s odd to complain about the offense after they put up 42 points, but there were too many times when they had a chance to close out the game when they simply couldn’t do anything to keep their feet on the throat of the enemy. Those 42 points might imply that the offense was a juggernaut, but the scoring was helped by the defense blocking a punt and intercepting the ball, giving the offense the ball two times inside the 10-yard line. Without those two easy scores, that puts the game at 28-25, which is exactly how close the Illini got before Michigan pulled away late.
Jordan Glasgow had a great game. For all the complaining about Glasgow after the Rutgers game, he had a very solid performance against the Illini. On Saturday he made 11 tackles, 0.5 tackles for loss, 1 pass breakup, and the aforementioned blocked punt. I think Glasgow is a perfectly serviceable piece against a lot of teams, but I do agree that he should be replaced against more athletic teams like Ohio State down the road – provided, of course, that Michigan has more athletic pieces available. Joshua Ross and Cam McGrone are probably the two best linebacker options, but Ross has missed the last few games with an injury.
Hello, Hassan Haskins. Haskins had a coming out party against the Illini, running 12 times for 125 yards and 1 touchdown. There’s not a whole lot of wiggle there, but he breaks tackles and runs over people. I have a feeling that he had great success against Illinois in large part because Michigan’s offensive line was helping him get the edge on the regular, something he won’t be able to do on his own with his lack of speed. But if the offensive line can actually block, then his downhill running style is appreciated.
The offensive line is good!(?). Michigan had its highest rushing output (295 yards) and highest yards per carry (6.15) of the season, surpassing the 233 and 5.18 they achieved against Middle Tennessee State in the season opener. The highest marks in any other game were 141 and 3.64 against Rutgers and Iowa, respectively. I don’t actually think the offensive line is good; Illinois is just really bad.
Michigan missed its starters. Kwity Paye dressed but did not participate, Lavert Hill sat out after suffering an injury against Iowa, and Nico Collins sat out for an undisclosed reason. Paye was replaced by Mike Danna, who did fine. But Illinois had some success against Vincent Gray that would likely not have occurred with Hill out there, and the 50/50 jump ball tactic of throwing to Nico Collins was not an option.
[Insert complaint about Josh Gattis here.] It’s been discussed ad nauseum. Numbers: Shea Patterson completed 11/22 passes for 194 yards, 3 touchdowns, and 0 interceptions. Yes, there was wind. No, it should not have impacted Michigan that much, especially with the running game humming along. Yes, Michigan is lucky that Ronnie Bell is good at running after the catch.
No, Donovan Peoples-Jones is not going to reach his potential at Michigan. He has 12 catches for 129 yards and 2 touchdowns in his junior year. That’s an average of about 3 catches for 43 yards and 0.7 touchdowns per game in the four games he’s participated. Other 5-star receivers in that 2017 class, through six games:
- Tee Higgins (Clemson): 24 catches, 549 yards, 3 TD
- Jerry Jeudy (Alabama): 42 catches, 538 yards, 6 TD
- Joseph Lewis (USC): Playing at Los Angeles Southwest College after spending six months in jail due to a felony domestic violence charge.
What does it all mean? I’m going to be shocked if Michigan can win in Happy Valley next Saturday night. Hopefully Paye, Hill, and Collins are back to full strength, which would make an upset more likely, though still a long shot.
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