clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

What we learned Week 9: Revenge Tour cruises through the gauntlet

The Michigan Wolverines defeated 3 ranked opponents in three straight weeks.

Penn State v Michigan Photo by Leon Halip/Getty Images

The Michigan Wolverines put on quite a performance against the Penn State Nittany Lions over the weekend, putting up 42 points in a route over the No. 14 ranked team from (un)Happy Valley.

This was a statement victory for the Wolverines who desperately needed a win over a solidified top-25 opponent after both Wisconsin and Michigan State fell out of the rankings. They demoralized the Penn State offense after allowing just 186 total yards to an offense that has dominated college football for most of the season. The Michigan D forced three turnovers including a pick six by Brandon Watson, the second in as many games for the Wolverines defense.

Meanwhile, the Michigan offense put up over double of the total yardage that Penn State had accruing 403 yards of offense. This included 259 rushing yards on 52 attempts and the eighth straight 100-yard performance by senior running back Karan Higdon. Shea Patterson had quite a day himself going 11-for-17 with 144 yards and two touchdowns throwing the ball, and another 42 yards and a touchdown on the ground.

Overall it was a hell of an ending for the mid-season gauntlet that Michigan plowed through victoriously. Here is what we learned in Week 9:

What gauntlet?

We just witnessed one of the toughest three game stretches in the college football this season, Michigan utterly dominated their opponent in EVERY SINGLE GAME. Most expert picked the Wolverines to escape with two victories in this three game stretch, but very few anticipated the blows that Michigan has been delivering to three top notch opponents in the Big Ten. Let’s recap how well this team performed.

In game one of the gauntlet, Michigan cruised past the No. 15 Wisconsin Badgers as this defense was no fly zone (a common theme on the season) for Badgers’ QB Alex Hornibrook. He threw for just 100 yards and two picks in the ballgame. Although they allowed 100 yards rushing to one of the top back in the nation, Jonathan Taylor, they still held him out of the end zone and restricted his ability to break off big runs. Michigan wins 38-13.

Game two was the most nerve racking as the Wolverines faced a No. 24 Michigan State Spartans team that was coming off of a huge win over Penn State. After some pregame festivities between the entire Spartans team and Devin Bush, the Wolverines beat the crap out of the Spartans defensively allowing less than 100 yards of offense. The game was messy with a total of three turnovers including two fumbles by the Michigan run game. Yet, the Wolverines prevailed 21-7.

The third game against Penn State was the icing on the cake. Michigan did not let up after being absolutely obliterated last season losing 42-13. This year, Michigan returned the favor as they nearly pitched a shutout against the Nittany Lions. This series has big rivalry written all over it if these two teams stay atop the Big Ten East.

Overall Michigan held three of the best quarterbacks in the Big Ten to a grand total of 249 yards in these three games. This included allowing only one touchdown to three interceptions; two of those interceptions were pick-6’s. This amounted to an average total QBR of just 2.5. This Michigan defense can is capable of shutting down any quarterback in the country. I’m eagerly awaiting to see a quarterback who can put up a fight.

Michigan cannot look past its next two games:

Trust me, I understand. Rutgers and Indiana are nowhere near the competition Michigan just played over the past few weeks. But looking on to Ohio State now is a very dangerous game. Yes, this will more than likely be the closest matchup talent-wise in years, but lets get there first because in reality these should both be easy wins for the Wolverines.

Rutgers football is 7-32 in conference play since joining the Big Ten and is the laughingstock of the conference. Big Ten fans have been frustrated with the decision to add Rutgers to the conference since it occurred in 2014. The team is 1-8 this season and its only win came in week one against Texas State. Ohio State obliterated Rutgers in week two 52-3 and held Rutgers to just 134 yards. Michigan opens up as 36.5 point favorites to this simply inferior Big Ten opponent.

The team I am much more worried about looking over is the following weeks meeting with Indiana. The Hoosiers have nearly played upset in three separate occasions this season. They lost 35-21 against Michigan State after keeping up with the Spartans for the first half and nearly mounting a late comeback in the 4th quarter. The Hoosiers also trailed Ohio State by only 8 points at halftime of their game before allowing a 21-6 run in the second half. However, their closest upset was just a few weeks ago against Penn State as Indiana fell 33-28 and put their most complete game together of the season. This Hoosiers team is vastly underrated and has been playing jeopardy with Big Ten powerhouses all season. IF the Wolverines are caught napping, it could be a similar situation when they face off on Nov. 17.

This team is just so much fun

The Wolverines have completely embraced the mindset of the head coach Jim Harbaugh. They will shut you down and have fun doing it. They simply don’t care what you have to say or think about them. They are just going to execute and get the job done. That has been shown throughout this Revenge Tour and is what will make this one of the most memorable seasons of Michigan Football in my lifetime.

Where else are you going to see a college athlete like Chase Winovich call out media members for cold takes?

Where else are you going to see celebrations after touchdowns like this one?

Where else are you going to hear head coaches sing about their defensive coordinators?

The answer is only at the University of Michigan. This is a high point of Jim Harbaugh’s career with the maize and blue and it will be remembered as the funnest season in a long time.