Zone coverage FTW. There was a time when we lamented that Michigan defensive backs were terrible at looking back and finding the ball. There were interceptions to be had, but Michigan didn’t, you know, have them. Don Brown had the defensive backs in chase mode all the time, and even though he was really good at his defensive coordinator job – Ohio State be damned – he hated zone defense. In this game a dose of zone coverage was enough to confuse inexperienced Minnesota quarterback Athan Kaliakmanis, and he threw more touchdown passes to Michigan’s guys (Will Johnson, Keon Sabb) than his own. In fact, he completed just 5/15 passes for 52 yards, 35 of which came on the final offensive play of the first half, a virtual Hail Mary that happened to come down in the hands of a diving Daniel Jackson for the Gophers’ only touchdown of the night. That passing total was the fewest amount allowed by Michigan since they allowed 24 against UConn in 2022.
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