Week 4 Review: #4 Michigan Wolverines 49 – Penn State Nittany Lions 10
Conference play started today in the Big Ten. Michigan was given some slack for taking on easy opponents in non-conference play and they dominated that. Today the Big Ten season kicked off and Michigan looked very well. Unlike last week, they started out strong and looked to control the match from then on. Even with the win there were some mistakes and some players may have to step up in the secondary now. Let’s break this game down!
Wilton Speight had an average performance. He didn’t throw any interceptions or fumble the ball, but he under or overthrew easy targets for most of the game. There were times where he was faced with pressure, but even at times where he had plenty of time to throw, he couldn’t connect with the receivers. He ended up going 21/33 for 189 yards and a touchdown. Speight will have to improve with his accuracy if he is going to help Michigan win big games as the season goes on.
The running game had a day and De’Veon Smith lead the charge, as predicted, getting 12 carries for 107 yards and a touchdown. The great thing to add to that as well is there were other backs that helped contribute. Karan Higdon was the next man up getting nine carries for 81 yards and two touchdowns. Then Chris Evans had eight carries for 56 yards and a touchdown. Ty Isaac didn’t want to be left out so he had 11 carries for 74 yards and a touchdown. Finally, Khalid Hill the fullback, had to score with two carries for two yards and a touchdown. All together this rushing game for Michigan today had 47 carries for 329 yards and six touchdowns, talk about power football.
Receiving for the Wolverines was quiet. Jehu Chesson was injured during the game but did return and finished with one catch for 18 yards. Amara Darboh lead the team in catches with seven for 44 yards. Jake Butt had four catches for 42 yards and Devin Asiasi had one catch for three yards and the only receiving touchdown.
The offensive line did need to impress this week, but it wasn’t against the best of opponents. Penn State had a horrible linebacking core with three injuries and another one happen during the game. Also the defensive line wasn’t able to put up a sack even with some pressure at times. Overall the offense had 515 yards compared to Penn State’s 191, which is impressive in itself.
The defensive line had a day against the weak Penn State offensive line. Michigan had seven sacks, getting to the quarterback and stopping the run in its tracks. Taco Charlton returned from his injury and did very well, getting three tackles and two sacks, Chris Wormley had the same stat line. Chase Winovich had three tackles as well along with a sack. Maurice Hurst lead the line in tackles with six and a sack and Matt Godin had four tackles and a sack.
The linebackers for Michigan did well today, lead by Ben Gedeon with 11 tackles. Jabrill Peppers had five tackles, a quiet day for him on defense. Mike McCray had three tackles and an interception to keep his great season going. They were impressive in stopping the run, holding Saquon Barkley to just 59 yards on 15 carries. Penn State had 28 carries for 70 yards overall, linebackers had a reason for that.
The defensive backs were stronger today with the return of Jourdan Lewis, who missed the first three games of the year. Lewis had two tackles. Channing Stribbling had a rough day, only getting one tackle but two pass interference penalties. Jeremy Clark, the number two cornerback for the Wolverines had one tackle, but was injured and left on a cart. Watching the replay, Clark went down with no contact and it could be a possible ACL tear. Dymonte Thomas had a better day with eight tackles and didn’t allow a touchdown. Josh Uche forced a fumble late in the game that would be picked up by Lavert Hill.
Special Teams was very quiet today. Kenny Allen never kicked a field goal as Michigan went to it on fourth down four times, ending 2/4. Allen did punt once for 44 yards. Kick returns were led by Jourdan Lewis who had two for 21 yards, getting clocked by the kicker on the second one. Jabrill had one return for six yards. Punt returns had only two for Peppers for 54 yards, and the first one was for 53 yards as the punter tripped him up as he stumbled inside the 10 yard line.
Week Five Preview and Notes
Michigan will finish its long home stand next week as they bring in the #11 ranked Wisconsin Badgers. Wisconsin just had a big win today as they shutdown the #8 Michigan State Spartans 30-6. This will be the first true test for the Wolverines as it could be a battle of two top 10 teams. Michigan will need to win this game to show the nation that they are a real threat for the College Football Playoff. Also, to show up Michigan State and beat someone they just lost too.
Jeremy Clark will most likely be done for the season, so who will step up for Michigan at the cornerback spot now? Bryan Mone missed today’s game, got to wonder when he will return. Overall this was a solid win and performance by the Wolverines as they will need keep it up as they take on the Badgers next week.