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Michigan 42 - UMass 13: Halftime Report


Despite things going pretty much as I predicted in my preview...

This isn't a particularly experienced [UMass] defense, as a number of starters and contributors are first and second year players or new to contributing roles, but guys like McIntyre and Thellen should keep the rest of this defense together and producing at a solid clip.

Still, MIchigan has the advantage at quarterback and running back. If the receivers continue to play well and the offensive line rounds into form, there is no reason that Michigan should struggle on offense in this one.

With that in mind I wouldn't be surprised if UMass put up around 100 rush yards and 300 yards of total offense. As Michigan tries its best to get some playing time for the younger members of the team, mistakes will happen. However, I can't imagine that UMass will end up within three touchdowns, and Michigan's defense should be able to make some very good plays to constantly end drives before or just inside Michigan territory.

...this one still feels pretty underwhelming, eh?

Michigan's offensive line is still struggling to open proper holes for Fitzgerald Toussaint, who is having a relatively quiet day with ten rushes for 48 yards and a touchdown. Most of that yardage has come thanks to great effort by Fitz and not the O-Line.

The superhuman efforts haven't been confined to Fitz, however. Denard Robinson has put together a very strong first half with 13/19 passing for 260 yards, two touchdowns and an interception. Robinson has been mostly accurate and has spread the ball around to eight different receivers, but one poor throw was picked and a couple others were overthrown worse than what we have seen yet from him his year. However, Denard's legs have made up for the few errors in the passing game. Robinson has nine carries for 106 yards and a touchdown.

The receivers have shown some very solid skills down the field including another touchdown for Devin Funchess, a spectacular effort by Devin Gardner to tightrope the sideline for a touchdown, and some good plays by Smith and Fitz out of the backfield.

Defensively Michigan has alternated very good stretches with some scary possessions. UMass has been able to string together two drives deep into Michigan territory, but both ended in field goals. UMass' one touchdown came on Robinson's pick-six and not at the fault of the defense.

It hasn't been as easy as you normally expect these types of cupcake games to be, but Michigan's skill far out straps anything UMass has, and that means that even when the Wolverines don't look sharp, they can still score.

With a 29-point lead, Michigan should be all backups from here on out. That is probably a good thing since so many of those players are freshmen.