Week 6 Review: #4 Michigan Wolverines 78 – Rutgers Scarlet Knights 0
Michigan’s defense has been good this year. Last year they had three straight shutouts, and while they have yet to shutout an opponent coming into today, they finally were able to do so in a dominating fashion. Michigan had a total of 600 yards. Rutgers? Just 39. Yea, 39 and a total of two first downs. Michigan’s offense was easily able to put up points once the rain stopped, but the defense was the true star Saturday night. Let’s review what happened.
Wilton Speight had a rough start. The rain was coming down hard and made it hard to throw the ball and for receivers to catch. After the first two series the rain stopped and Speight came out to play and did well. He ended his day by halftime, finishing 6/13 for 100 yards and a touchdown. While those numbers aren’t earth-shattering, for how much he was asked to do today, that was just fine. John O’Korn came in and was 2/2 for 19 yards and even got a touchdown pass. Shane Morris came in and went 0/1.
The rushing attack was very strong today, ending with 56 carries for 481 yards. De’Veon Smith fumbled the ball early in the game when it was still raining, he would come back in but not for long. Smith ended with five carries for 11 yards. Chris Evans was one of the major factors on the ground, getting 11 carries for 153 yards, with a 57 yard run that he busted through tackles and was just one yard short of a touchdown. Ty Isaac had 12 carries for 99 yards and two touchdowns, and Karan Higdon had 13 carries for 108 yards and a pair of touchdowns as well. Jabrill Peppers was seen again on offense in the wildcat and ended with three carries for 74 yards and two touchdowns. On an option play, Peppers ran for 63 yards as he burst to the left side, getting caught inside the five. The other rushing play for Peppers he looked like he was going to throw the ball, but the receivers were covered, so he juked the incoming defender and ran into the endzone. Fullback Khalid Hill still can’t be kept out of the endzone, ending with two carries for two yards and two touchdowns. Backup fullback Bobby Henderson was involved as well with three carries for 26 yards and a touchdown.
Receivers had a quiet day with Michigan being able to just pound the ball. Amara Darboh, Jehu Chesson and Khalid Hill all lead the team with two catches. Darboh ended with 65 yards, Chesson with 34 yards and a diving play for a touchdown, Hill had 19 yards and a touchdown. Jake Butt wasn’t left out though, he had one catch for five yards.
The offensive line started off with a bad sighting. Juwann Bushell-Beatty, the left tackle to replace Grant Newsome, was injured early and was replaced as Mason Cole moved back to the left tackle spot and Patrick Kugler came in to the center spot. Luckily for the Wolverines, Bushell-Beatty would return. Besides that scare, that was the only issue with the line today. They were able to create many holes for all of the running backs and no sacks were allowed. Michigan broke a record with nine rushing touchdowns and the offensive line was a big factor in allowing for that to happen.
The defensive line had a fantastic day. They held the Knights to 34 rushing yards on 36 attempts and were able to get two sacks on the quarterbacks. Taco Charlton lead the charge with those two sacks. Bryan Mone finally returned and recovered a fumble, good to see him back on the field. Maurice Hurst had four tackles, Ryan Glasgow had three. Overall the defensive line was able to flush the quarterback many times to escape the pocket and either throw a bad pass, throw the ball out-of-bounds or get the sack.
Linebackers did a good job once again this week. Ben Gedeon was the main man with five tackles and a sack. Mike McCray only had two tackles and so did Jabrill Peppers, who did most of his work on offense and special teams.
The coverage by Michigan wasn’t tested much today. Early on Rutgers tried Jourdan Lewis and it was batted away. Later they tried deep on Dymonte Thomas and he almost came down with an interception like Jourdan Lewis did last week. Overall Michigan allowed just five passing yards with only two complete passes to one receiver. Jourdan Lewis had two tackles and Delano Hill had one and it forced a fumble. Josh Metellus, the freshman safety had six tackles and a sack.
Special Teams for the Wolverines was solid today. They never attempted a field goal, so no update on who the starter is, but they punted well. Allen had four punts for 169 yards, one ending inside the 20 as Allen pinned them to the one yard line. Jim Harbaugh did fake an extra point and get the two point conversion on a holder rushing play. Chris Evans had a punt return for 15 yards and Jabrill Peppers only had two returns for three yards. Sadly though he had a 44 yard return for a touchdown taken off the board. It is hard to describe how he got the touchdown, so just watch for yourself
— SB Nation GIF (@SBNationGIF) October 9, 2016
Week 7 Preview and Notes
Michigan has a bye week next week, so players will get to rest and recover from any minor or nagging injuries. Michigan plays Illinois the following week and they lost to Purdue today, so Michigan might not have any issues with them. Next week though there are games to watch in the Big Ten and the NCAA. #1 Alabama plays #9 (will be lower next week) Tennessee Vols, Michigan State vs. Northwestern, and #2 Ohio State vs. #11 Wisconsin. While the Michigan State game doesn’t impact the Wolverines since the Spartans already have two conference losses, you have got to wonder how bad are they going to fall. If Alabama and Ohio State get upset, Michigan moves up to the number two, worst case three coming off a bye. Those two games are very important as it could keep Michigan staying at number four or boost them up a spot or two.
Overall for this week’s game, Michigan straight out dominated on all three phases. While Special Teams didn’t score or have any big plays, the play that wouldn’t end up counting for Peppers is enough to give the part of the team some respect. Michigan played like a championship team, and Rutgers showed how bad of a program they are right now. Michigan won’t be able to put up 78 points the rest of the year, so enjoy the last huge win. While the Wolverines should have some big wins against some opponents in the future, none will be this large.