Let’s see more of this guy on offense . . . Joe Kerridge at H-back. Kerridge, a virtual starter on offense at fullback, has been splitting time with Sione Houma. Kerridge, however, is the superior blocker, and that’s pretty much all H-back Henry Poggi does on offense. With Michigan’s defensive line depth depleted, it might be a good idea to get Kerridge some snaps at H-back and let Poggi concentrate on defense. Meanwhile, Houma can handle the fullback duties.
Hit the jump for the rest of the awards.
Let’s see less of this guy on offense . . . Henry Poggi. Poggi has improved as the year has gone along, but he is limited as an offensive player. He has struggled at times with blocking, and he is not a receiving threat. It may be possible for Poggi to move to defense without losing much on the offensive side. Kerridge, Wyatt Shallman, Chase Winovich, Ian Bunting, or Khalid Hill may be able to do the same things Poggi does without much of a dropoff.
Let’s see more of this guy on defense . . . Willie Henry at nose tackle. Henry was a nose tackle and defensive tackle under Brady Hoke, but he moved to strongside end when Jim Harbaugh was hired. Despite the position change, he did not trim any weight. He would almost certainly be a better option at nose tackle than Tom Strobel, who has been playing a lot of offense this year and was previously a defensive end. Starting nose tackle Maurice Hurst, Jr. is listed at 6’2″, 282 lbs., and Strobel is 6’6″, 270 lbs. Meanwhile, Henry is 6’3″, 311 lbs.
Let’s see less of this guy on defense . . . Tom Strobel. I thought Strobel played okay on Saturday, especially considering that he was sort of an emergency replacement. He made very few plays (3 tackles), but I don’t think he was completely dominated. However, there are more talented and more experienced players available to play the position (a.k.a. Henry).
Play of the game . . . Jehu Chesson’s 5-yard touchdown catch from Jake Rudock. There are several options for play of the game, including Chesson’s 64-yard score and Delano Hill’s pass breakup to end the game. But on 4th-and-goal with six seconds left in the game, it was do or die. Rudock couldn’t get sacked, the ball couldn’t get batted down, the ball carrier couldn’t get tackled short of the goal line. Michigan was right there but not quite there. Rudock tossed a short jump ball to Chesson in the front of the endzone, who leaped up to catch the ball while getting hit by two defenders. I have criticized Chesson at times for his inability to catch the ball outside the framework of his body, but he took a major step forward on Saturday. He dropped a critical pass against Michigan State that was also thrown high. It’s good to see him developing as a receiver, and it’s nice to see that he and Jake Rudock are developing chemistry.
MVP of the game . . . Jake Rudock. Rudock played an excellent game on Saturday, so good that he was named Walter Camp Offensive Player of the Week. He finished the game 33/46 for 440 yards, 6 touchdowns, and 1 interception. He also ran 7 times for 64 yards (9.1 yards/carry). He hit deep balls and everything! He has taken a lot of criticism this year for being unable to complete passes down the field, but Indiana’s defense – and some improvement from Rudock – fixed that issue. From what I saw, he only made two bad decisions – a lofted crossing route to A.J. Williams that was snagged by a sinking defender, and a near-interception down at the goal line when he was trying to get rid of the ball, bringing back bad memories from the Minnesota game. Rudock’s previous career-high in yardage was 327 yards (against Rutgers last week), but more impressively, his previous career-high in passing touchdowns was 3 (as an Iowa Hawkeye against Ohio State in 2013). Those 6 touchdowns were a Michigan record, his 440 passing yards were #3 all-time, and his 504 total yards were #2 all-time. Who would have thought that a one-year rental of a game-manager quarterback would end up setting records that we’ll be looking at for years?
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