Let’s see more of this guy on offense . . . Chris Evans. Evans left the SMU game two weeks ago with a hamstring injury, and he’s still not back. He didn’t travel to Evanston with the team. Michigan needs more playmakers on offense, and Evans can be one of them.
Hit the jump for more.
Let’s see less of this guy on offense . . . Karan Higdon. With Evans out of the game, Higdon got 30 carries for 115 yards and 2 touchdowns. Michigan needs Higdon down the stretch, and I’m not sure he can handle 30 carries every time Michigan comes up against a solid opponent. The only other carry that went to a tailback was to Tru Wilson, who gained 6 yards on his one attempt. My take is that the staff doesn’t trust Wilson a great deal at this point, so they need to get both Higdon and Evans on the field.
Let’s see more of this guy on defense . . . Khaleke Hudson. For the first time in the last three games, Hudson was not called for targeting. Michigan typically starts a little slowly on defense, so this isn’t all on any one person. But the Wolverines really shut down Northwestern in the second half (97 yards allowed after halftime), and I think Hudson was a good chunk of that. He only made 2 tackles, but his speed and explosiveness are trouble for opponents.
Let’s see less of this guy on
defense special teams . . . Brad Hawkins, Jr. I’ve never understood why Brad Hawkins is lined up deep on kickoff returns. Michigan puts their primary kickoff returner (Ambry Thomas) to the kicker’s left, and they put Hawkins deep on the right. Obviously, they want their primary guy returning, so the Wolverines haven’t made the mistake of putting Hawkins at #1. But why is he back there in a position to return at all? He’s a decently skilled safety on defense, but he’s not known for his speed or elusiveness, and he’s not an offensive skill player. I understand not wanting to put a starting skill guy back there (Donovan Peoples-Jones, David Long, Lavert Hill, etc.), but get someone back there with some juice – O’Maury Samuels, Ronnie Bell, Christian Turner, etc.
Play of the game . . . Shea Patterson’s scrambles. Patterson ran the ball 7 times for 31 yards in the game, but he had a few critical scrambles in crunch time. A sampling:
- 3rd quarter: 3rd-and-6, Patterson scramble for 12 (drive ended with a Quinn Nordin field goal)
- 4th quarter: 3rd-and-6, Patterson scramble for 9 (drive ended with a Nordin field goal)
- 4th quarter: 3rd-and-6, Patterson scramble for 8 (drive ended with a Will Hart punt to give Northwestern the ball with 34 seconds left)
Every one of those scrambles was huge.
MVP of the game . . . Shea Patterson. The main reason is the scrambles I mentioned above, but he was 15/24 for 196 yards. He kept the ball moving when he had a chance. There were a couple throws that were off target, but he kept this team moving when the receivers weren’t getting open and the running game wasn’t working. Brandon Peters, Wilton Speight, and John O’Korn lose this game. Maybe Jake Rudock would have won it, and the jury’s still out on whether Dylan McCaffrey could have done it.
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