Michigan bounced back in a strong fashion against Western Michigan University, winning 49 to 3 in their home opener in The Big House. The Wolverines were simply bigger, stronger and faster than WMU in every aspect of the game.
Takeaways from the Offense
Shea Patterson, though not throwing for more than 200 yards, looked solid throwing three touchdown passes in his home debut. His short and medium accuracy was excellent. His third touchdown to Donovan Peoples-Jones on the corner route in the back corner of the end-zone to go up 42-0 was an elite throw. Most of his passes gave his receivers opportunity to make plays when they caught the ball.
Against great teams, Patterson will not be able to afford to miss the deep ball opportunities when they show up. He connected with wide receiver, Nico Collins, in the first half for a touchdown for 44 yards, but every other deep ball he threw was overthrown. Michigan needs to see more consistency heading into conference play with the long ball. His arm strength was mostly shown with his throws on the run to his throwing shoulder and away from it.
The offensive line is the toughest to analyze. I want to say the offensive line improved from week one, but the defensive front for WMU was not a group that could compete with them. However, Michigan, at times, struggled against Western Michigan when they tried to run the ball outside, whether with a sweep or outside zone concept.
Their strengths so far are downhill, north and south run plays like inside zone, power, iso and counter (gap). Being able to get outside and not have leakage inside from the interior line for defenders to run down the play is an area that needs to be addressed by Michigan’s Big Ten Conference play. Pass protection was improved from last week, as well. Patterson had a clean pocket out of which to throw for most of his pass attempts.
The two-headed monster in Chris Evans and Karan Higdon took flight with a combined 23 carries, for 242 yards and three touchdowns. A successful run game has to happen if Michigan wants to compete for a Big Ten title.
Expect to see similar success in the run and passing game next week against Southern Methodist University (SMU).
Takeaways on defense
The Michigan defense played aggressive, angry, gap-controlled defense all game long against WMU. Western Michigan could not establish any type of rhythm offensively. The Michigan defensive backs were in the hip pockets of their receivers all game with their press man coverage, and the front seven dominated and controlled the line of scrimmage. Holding a spread offense to 208 total yards of offense is not easy to do. Anything less than a stellar performance from the defense against WMU would have been unacceptable. The same concept applies this week as they prepare for SMU, which arguably is worse than Western Michigan.
Expect Michigan to be extremely vanilla on both sides of the football against SMU to not show too much to their first conference opponent, Nebraska.
Featured image courtesy of Wagertalknews.com
“From Our Haus to Yours”