Let’s see more of this guy on offense . . . Drake Johnson. Johnson looked a little slow in the first half, and I do think he has lost a half-step or a step since last year. I guess that happens sometimes when you tear an ACL, especially for the second time. His best asset before the injury was his speed, and he also showed pretty good vision last year. But once he caught the screen pass for a 31-yard touchdown, he seemed to find his confidence a little bit. He finished the game with 13 carries for 68 yards and 1 touchdown, plus the touchdown catch. He should probably be the #2 guy going forward.
Hit the jump for the rest of the awards.
Let’s see less of this guy on offense . . . Ty Isaac. I was all for Ty Isaac getting some extra carries in this game, especially with De’Veon Smith out due to injury. Then Isaac completely laid an egg, fumbling twice on just 6 carries. He finished the day with 6 carries for 17 yards, 2 fumbles (1 lost), and a 15-yard roughing-the-punter penalty. Coaches teach runners to carry the ball “high and tight,” and Isaac interpreted that to mean “low and loose.” After the second fumble, he didn’t see any more offensive snaps. That made things tough with no De’Veon Smith and Derrick Green getting dinged up, so it was Johnson who picked up the extra slack before turning it over to fifth-stringer Ross Taylor-Douglas on the final drive.
Let’s see more of this guy on defense . . . Ben Gedeon. It looks like Mario Ojemudia will be out for the season with an Achilles tendon injury, so that leaves a big hole at a spot where Michigan couldn’t afford to lose someone. His backups are Royce Jenkins-Stone, who’s just a guy, and redshirt freshman Lawrence Marshall, who appears to be working his way out of the doghouse and hasn’t shown much yet. The Buck linebacker spot needs to generate a pass rush, and Jenkins-Stone can’t provide that. I might take a look at Gedeon for Buck linebacker, because he’s aggressive and athletic. He has been playing inside linebacker, so someone else might have to start getting more reps on the inside to allow Gedeon to slide over. Unless Marshall or a true freshman (Shelton Johnson, Reuben Jones) is ready, some reshuffling probably needs to happen.
Let’s see less of this guy on defense . . . nobody. After two straight shutouts and fifteen straight quarters of scoreless ball, things are looking pretty good.
Play of the game . . . Jake Butt’s 44-yard catch on a screen pass. It didn’t result in a score, but Butt caught a nicely designed screen pass in the right flat and eventually got tackled 44 yards later. Quarterback Jake Rudock faked a jet sweep to Jehu Chesson going right and then faked a handoff to the tailback going left, which distracted the defense long enough for things to get set up for Butt. He had Chesson and a couple linemen out front, and Butt patiently waited for them to get their blocks before stiff-arming a couple guys on his way to the big gainer.
MVP of the game . . . Desmond Morgan. Offensively, it was a group effort with nobody truly standing out. The whole defense obviously played well in the shutout. But Morgan ended up with 9 tackles, 2 pass breakups, and 1 interception. He was a solid tackler in the running game, and he made a nice diving interception on a tipped screen pass. He did have a pass coverage lapse or two when he simply wasn’t quick enough to stick with the running back, but overall, it was a very good day for the fifth year senior inside linebacker.
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