Week 9 Review: #2 Michigan Wolverines 32 – Michigan State 23
The Paul Bunyan Trophy is back in Ann Arbor! Michigan was able to break the three game losing streak to Michigan State. After having a heart-breaking loss last season, Michigan was looking for revenge in East Lansing. Michigan came in with a 7-0 record while Michigan State was 2-5 and they were on a five game losing streak. Michigan was hoping to get the Paul Bunyan Trophy in Ann Arbor. Were they able to? Check out the action below.
Wilton Speight had an average day. He wasn’t able to find the endzone, but he was able to connect on some big catches and deep passes. Speight ended up going 16/25 for 244 yards and an interception. The interception was his biggest mistake as he threw the ball up high for running back Karan Higdon and Darian Hicks was able to easily take it out of the air. Speight avoided sacks and was able to rush with the ball if needed and kept plays alive.
The rushing attack was led by De’Veon Smith with 11 carries for 38 yards and two touchdowns. Karan Higdon helped in the rushing game as well with 10 carries for 44 yards. Chris Evans, who had a concussion last week, returned, but in limited fashion with only four carries for eight yards. Eddie McDoom exploded on the scene with two carries for 53 yards. Jabrill Peppers got involved with the offense as usual, getting five carries for 24 yards and a touchdown as well.
The receiving core did a better job this week than last year. Michigan State didn’t have many changes in the secondary and this time Michigan’s receivers were ready. Amara Darboh wanted the trophy badly and put up solid numbers on the night, getting eight catches for 165 yards as he was able to catch everything on Saturday. Jake Butt had three catches for 35 yards and Jehu Chesson was quiet with only two catches for 29 yards.
The offensive line had its test with Malik McDowell today as him and Mason Cole were getting into it at times. They held MSU to zero sacks, but the rushing attack wasn’t as explosive as it once was. Michigan did get 192 yards and while that is still a good amount of yards, Michigan could have gotten more.
The number one defense in the NCAA had some troubles in the trophy game. The defensive line was known for stopping the run, but MSU was able to put up 217 yards and a touchdown on the ground. The defensive line wasn’t able to get any sacks and much pressure on the Spartans. Taco Charlton lead the line with four tackles, Ryan Glasgow had three.
The linebacker did well today. Jabrill Peppers lead the charge with seven tackles and a clutch sack in the fourth quarter. When Michigan State went for a two point conversion, there was a fumble that Peppers picked up and returned to the house to seal the win. Mike McCray also did great with eight tackles and a sack. Ben Gedeon lacked in coverage, but was able to get four tackles.
The defensive backs for Michigan impressed and sealed the win and a return of that glorious trophy. Jourdan Lewis had six tackles and an interception late in the second quarter that would turn into 3 points for the Wolverines. Delano Hill was everywhere today. He had 11 tackles and was involved in many stops and big tackles today, he was the stud in the secondary. Channing Stribling had five tackles, but was not good in coverage and his poor tackling cost Michigan a stop as Michigan State would have a big run.
Special Teams was the only mistake free unit today. Kenny Allen made all three of his field goals, the longest coming from 45 yards out. Allen’s three punts went for 122 yards, with one ending inside the 20. Jourdan Lewis had one kick return for 13 yards and Jabrill Peppers had one kick return for 15 yards.
Week 10 Preview and Notes
Overall Michigan played a good game, but it was closer than it should have been. The defense was not playing like the number one defense in the NCAA with allowing so many yards on the ground and relying on the linebackers to get the sacks while the defensive line was stuffed. The offense did well, but the rushing attack could have been better.
Ohio State won a close game as well, beating Northwestern 24-20. Penn State dominated Purdue 62-24 as the Big Ten East is now a three team race between Penn State, Ohio State and Michigan. If all three teams win the rest of their games and Michigan loses to Ohio State, it will be a three-way tie for first place in the division. Michigan and Ohio State would have an advantage over Penn State as they would look at the overall record and with Penn State having two losses, and Ohio State and Michigan possibly having one, they would be eliminated. So then it would come down to the highest-ranked team in the first College Football Playoff rankings after the Big Ten season is over, unless Michigan and Ohio State are within one spot of each other in the poll. If that happens, then the head-to-head results of Michigan and Ohio State would go on, which means Ohio State would go to the championship game if they beat Michigan to force the three-way tie.
Next week isn’t a trophy based game for the Wolverines, but it will be a good game against Maryland. DJ Durkin, the former Michigan defensive coordinator, will be bringing in his troops to Ann Arbor with a 5-3 record. They lost to Penn State, Minnesota and Indiana. Their key wins were against Michigan State, FIU and UCF. Michigan shouldn’t look over Maryland easy though as Durkin will want to prove to his old boss that he still has tricks up his sleeves.