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MnB Player of the Week: Some O-Line Love

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This new weekly feature will take a brief look at a stellar performance and some honorable mentions from Saturday's game.

Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

Saturday's win was fun to watch, wasn't it? There was no, "Devin NO!" moment. Devin Funchess was real and spectacular. And the run game. Oh, that run game! Although Green and Smith were fantastic, I'm going to go in a different direction if for no other reason than because it's been a long time since we've been able to say something nice.

Player of the Week

- The entire offensive line

Anyone who watched Saturday's game could see the huge improvement in the running game over the previous year. Yeah, it's only one game. Confidence has to start somewhere, and the performance against Appalachian State could go a long way to restoring what we're used to seeing from a Michigan backfield. Where does it start, though? The offensive line. From a line that was [your euphemism for awful here] last year to what we saw on Saturday, it's already apparent that Doug Nussmeier is making a difference. Things started out slowly for the Wolverines, with just 36 yards on 10 attempts in the first quarter, but Derrick Green and De'Veon Smith got things rolling in the 2nd and combined for 285 yards and three touchdowns before the end of the day. None of it could have been done without the guys in the trenches.

Not only did they help resurrect a rushing attack, but Devin Gardner was given something very valuable...time. He was 13-of-14 for 173 yards, 3 TDs (all to Devin Funchess), and no INTs. The App State defense was able to get some penetration, but DG was never rattled in the way he was so many times last season. Overall, it was a very good offensive performance. There are some issues that still need to be worked through, but as atticus.finch.712 said yesterday, "[t]hese are Michigan problems. And it's good to have Michigan problems."

Cautious optimism will be the key going forward; I mean, the line didn't play lights out or anything, but for now let's raise a glass to a unit that is in desperate need of some praise. Let's hope that this is the small beginning to something much bigger.

Honorable Mention

- Will Hagerup and Jehu Chesson.

Only one punt for Hagerup, but it was a 46-yarder that allowed Chesson the opportunity to blow up Bobo Beathard at the App State 10 yard line. The defense then stepped up and stopped the Mountaineers on two 3rd down plays (the first one apparently didn't happen due to a time out being called, but I couldn't find anyone who heard a whistle stopping the play); the App State offense was able to gain all of one yard on the series.

- Ben Gedeon

Scoring a touchdown after the blocked punt to ostensibly end the first half.

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Stay tuned to MnB to see who will be next week's PoW.