After the dominant 78-0 victory over Rutgers, Michigan has the top-ranked defense in college football. The Wolverines rank No. 1 in yards per game allowed with 212.8, No. 1 in scoring defense with 10.3 points per game and No. 1 against the pass, allowing 113.7 yards per game. Michigan is second in the country with 24 sacks.
"I don't know how many 3 and outs we had, but I know they had two first downs through the entire game," Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh said. "We were playing on half the field all night. The guys up front -- (Chris) Wormley, (Ryan) Glasgow, Taco Charlton had a great game. Mo Hurst. Michael Onwenu played both ways.
"The constant pressure (delivered was big) and the field position ... We were playing on half the field. The team's been tremendous. No third-down conversions."
Don Brown, the Michigan defensive coordinator, has quickly turned Michigan’s defense to the very best in the nation. Believe it or not, Rutgers did not pick up a first down until less than nine minutes to play in the game. On the season, Michigan’s opponents are 10-for-82 on third down.
The starting defense includes Chris Wormley (DE), Matthew Godin (DT), Ryan Glasgow (DT), Chase Winovich (DE), Jabrill Peppers (LB), Ben Gedeon (LB), Mike McCray (LB), Jourdan Lewis (CB), Channing Stribling (CB), Dymonte Thomas (S) and Delano Hill (S).
"The goal (for us) was to be the best D-line in the country and we've tried to prove that. The goal is to rush four and, the last couple weeks, I feel like we've been able to do that," said Charlton, who recorded two sacks on the day."
The Scarlet Knights finished 2-for-18 through the air for five yards and 36 rushing attempts for 34 yards. Rutgers punted the ball 16 times for 603 yards.
"There is no backups or (starters) or whatever, that's what we preach on the defense," Michigan's Jabrill Peppers said. "Every time you go out there, you're supposed to play like a starter.
"We don't look at the scoreboard. We just want to impose our will as fast and as hard as we can. I think the younger guys are starting to adapt to that. It's up to us older guys to set the foundation but they're starting to buy in (too)."
The 78-point win for the Wolverines is the largest margin of victory in Big Ten history for a conference game.
"It's not enough to just be up," Peppers added. "You keep playing hard until you win the game. This is college football, crazy things happen."