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Ghost Peppers: The Story of Michigan’s Swiss Army knife

Taking a look at the several things Peppers does for the Wolverines, and how what you don’t see may be the most important.

NCAA Football: Colorado at Michigan Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

I was a Boy Scout for about six months when I was a kid. It didn’t last long. The idea of camping or building a matchbox car or doing miniscule tasks to earn sew on patches was lost on me when there were things like The Legend of Zelda to conquer Metal Gear to accomplish. Looking back, I wish I’d given it more of a shot. Some of those skills would be incredibly useful to put into practice today. I did, however, learn during my brief time in the scouts that many things could be accomplished with a Swiss Army Knife.

I was amazed at how much use was tucked away into such a small package. I mean, look at this thing: It can be used as scissors, a wrench, knife, saw, hook. You name it, this thing can do it. The benefits of having one of these at your disposal in times of need cannot be measured. Rather than carry all these tools around individually, you pack all this power into this small device.

Michigan’s Swiss Army Knife is Jabrill Peppers.

Peppers is coming off of an amazing week. You could argue that Michigan isn’t 3-0 right now if Peppers isn’t on the team. His stat line against Colorado is mind boggling. He ran the ball two times for 24 yards. Peppers had four kick returns for 99 yards and a touchdown and returned two kickoffs for 81 yards. Throw in 9 tackles, 3.5 of which went for a loss, and a sack and you’ve got one of the more dominant single game performances in Michigan history. That’s not hyperbolic.

I would easily rank Peppers’ Colorado stat line with Denard Robinson’s performance against Notre Dame in which he tallied 502 total yards of offense.

Let’s take a look at Swiss Army Peppers and the different tools he brings to the table:

Brick Wall Peppers: Peppers has accumulated 9.5 tackles for loss through three games this season. No further explanation needed.

Surface-to-Air Peppers: After Colorado quarterback Sefo Liufau went down with an injury his backup Steven Montez dropped back for a pass. Peppers timed the snap so perfectly on a blitz that Montez probably only had time to think “Why is there a smiling missile coming towards my face?” before getting sacked.

Broken Screen Door Peppers: Colorado foolishly decided to try a wide receiver screen towards Peppers. Peppers shrugged off a block and blew the play up for a loss. I’d like to imagine their coaching staff went “Well, that was dumb.” after he blew it up for a loss.

Ghost Peppers: This is my favorite and all those other tools. All of those other tools are well and good and provide a stat line that pops off the pages that has some fans thinking New York City if he keeps it up. They’re right, but it’s Ghost Peppers that doesn’t show up on the stat sheet that makes him far more deserving. Of the five punts that Peppers fielded, Michigan’s average starting field position on Michigan’s 49-yard line. Much like he did when Michigan faced Michigan State last year, Peppers cuts the field in half by not letting punts roll. Even when punts are not returned for positive yardage Peppers has a knack for making it to the ball without letting it roll. This isn’t taking into account the 55 yard return Peppers had that set up Michigan’s touchdown before the half.