Alabama 35, Michigan 16

Tag: Citrus Bowl

1Jan 2020
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Alabama 35, Michigan 16

Well, that last 30 minutes was ugly. Michigan was up 16-14 at halftime. That included some field goals in the red zone instead of touchdowns, and allowing some big plays to Alabama’s offense. But altogether, a 16-14 halftime lead is better than most of us were expecting. But then Michigan gave up 21 unanswered points, failing to muster much of anything on defense. It was a demoralizing second half.

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30Dec 2019
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Citrus Bowl Preview: Pass Offense vs. Alabama Pass Defense

Jared Mayden (image via


Michigan is #47 in passing offense (252.3 yards/game), #49 in passing efficiency, and tied for #31 in yards per attempt (8.1). All those numbers sound about right. Quarterback Shea Patterson seemed to settle in during the second half of the year, and his yards per attempt were solid the final three weeks (11.6, 11.4, 7.1 against MSU, Indiana, and OSU, respectively). The numbers against Ohio State should have been better, but Michigan’s receivers – mainly Donovan Peoples-Jones – lost their focus and forgot how to catch. Speaking of former 5-star Peoples-Jones, he was somewhat pedestrian during the regular season with 33 catches for 404 yards and 6 touchdowns. Injury did play a part early in the season, but he was outplayed by slot receiver Ronnie Bell (44/705/1) and gargantuan outside guy Nico Collins (33/681/7). Tight ends Sean McKeon and Nick Eubanks are also factors with 36 catches for 464 yards and 5 scores between them. Michigan’s offensive line gives up 1.83 sacks/game, which is #53 in the country.


Alabama is #9 in pass defense (183.4 yards allowed/game) with the #7 passer efficiency rating defense and the #5 yards per attempt defense (5.9). There had been some concern about their defensive backs going into the season, but they played well overall; however, star cornerback Trevon Diggs is sitting out of the Citrus Bowl to save himself for the NFL, taking his 3 interceptions and 8 pass breakups with him. Sophomore Josh Jobe (6’1″, 189) and redshirt freshman Jalyn Amour-Davis (6’1″, 182) are the possible replacements and should be frequent targets of Michigan’s passing offense. Elsewhere, safeties Jared Mayden (6’0″, 205) and Xavier McKinney (6’1″, 200) have combined for 7 interceptions. Alabama is #52 in sacks, led by senior linebacker Anfernee Jennings (6’3″, 259) with 7.5. Second-leading sacker Terrell Lewis will be hanging out with Diggs and watching the game from their safe space.

Advantage: Alabama. I do think Michigan can get some plays in the passing game, because I don’t see them getting a ton of pressure on the Wolverines. But the defensive backs at Alabama are well coached, so unless Patterson can get some big plays against Diggs’s replacement, there won’t be a ton of separation.

21Dec 2019
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Citrus Bowl Preview: Rush Offense vs. Alabama Rush Defense

Shane Lee (image via Touchdown Alabama)

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Michigan is #81 in rush offense after twelve games with 150 yards per contest. As a team they average 3.98 yards per carry, which is 89th in the nation, but they’re tied at #37 for touchdowns (26). Freshman Zach Charbonnet had double-digit carries in five out of the first eight games, including weeks five through eight; however, redshirt freshman Hassan Haskins has double-digit attempts in six out of the last seven games. Haskins (561 yards, 5.5 YPC, 4 TD) doesn’t have breakaway speed but does a good job of getting downhill and squaring up his shoulders. Charbonnet (642 yards, 4.7 YPC, 11 TD) has shown a good nose for the goal line in short yardage situations. Michigan’s offensive line is healthy going into the bowl game. All five players earned some sort of all-conference designation, and the left side is anchored by seniors Jon Runyan, Jr. and Ben Bredeson. Altogether, they have disappointingly been unable to push around opposing defensive lines not named Illinois or Notre Dame. Right tackle Jalen Mayfield shows flashes of excellence and superb athleticism, but he’s also prone to some mental mistakes.

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11Dec 2019
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Citrus Bowl Preview: Roster Notes

Najee Harris

Michigan will be playing Alabama in the Citrus Bowl on January 1, 2020. Instead of squeezing the game preview into one giant post, I’ll be breaking it up into several. Here’s an easy place to start: a look at Alabama’s roster.

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