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PFF snap counts, grades for Michigan’s Big Ten Championship win over Iowa

A slower night for the Wolverines’ offense was supplemented by a lockdown effort on defense.

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Syndication: The Indianapolis Star Grace Hollars/IndyStar / USA TODAY NETWORK
Matt Hartwell Matt covers all things Michigan football related for Maize n Brew and runs the social media accounts.

Michigan took care of business against Iowa in the Big Ten Championship, cruising past the Hawkeyes for a 26-0 victory and securing its third consecutive conference title in the process.

The latest data is in from our friends at PFF and there’s plenty Jim Harbaugh and company can take away from Saturday’s win. Offensively, the Wolverines turned in their lowest-graded outing on the season with a 64.8.

What really stole the show for the Wolverines was the heroics of the defense. The unit forced seven punts and allowed a total of five first downs all night. Michigan’s defensive performance grade of 88.1 is good enough for the team’s second-best showing of 2023.

Here’s a closer look at Michigan’s snap counts and some other grades against the Hawkeyes from PFF:

Offense

J.J. McCarthy - 64 / 75.7

Trente Jones - 63 / 72.8

LaDarius Henderson - 63 / 57.6

Cornelius Johnson - 60 / 71.1

Trevor Keegan - 58 / 65.8

Karsen Barnhart - 58 / 57.8

Drake Nugent - 58 / 62.1

Roman Wilson - 51 / 54.5

Colston Loveland - 47 / 52.6

AJ Barner - 41 / 55.1

Blake Corum - 38 / 61.6

Tyler Morris - 30 / 52.3

Donovan Edwards - 23 / 64.5

Max Bredeson - 10 / 48.0

Kalel Mullings - 10 / 59.5

Giovanni El-Hadi - 8 / 69.6

Greg Crippen - 8 / 60.7

Jeffrey Persi - 8 / 53.5

Peyton O’Leary - 7 / 58.4

Fredrick Moore - 3 / 58.2

Marlin Klein - 3 / 60.0

Andrew Gentry - 3 / 60.0

Myles Hinton - 3 / 60.0

Alex Orji - 2 / 63.4

Darrius Clemons - 2 / 58.1

Matthew Hibner - 2 / 59.8

Josh Beetham - 2 / 60.0

Semaj Morgan - 1 / 60.0

Takeaway: During the Wolverines’ postgame press conference, Jim Harbaugh defended J.J. McCarthy from the quarterback’s own criticism of his play on Saturday night.

“J.J., you didn’t make a mistake out there tonight,” Harbaugh said. “It was a near-perfect performance.”

To the head coach’s credit, Pro Football Focus sees this one similarly. McCarthy’s 75.7 offensive player grade leads the team this week in what was otherwise a fairly uneventful night on that side of the ball in general.

Surprises: Perhaps the unlikeliest of heroes, Trente Jones provided a much-needed spark to an offensive line that was evidently still figuring some things out one game removed from Zak Zinter’s injury. Jones’ passing blocking grade of 85.4 and run blocking grade of 77.0 paced the offense this week.

Defense

Mike Sainristil - 52 / 90.5

Junior Colson - 46 / 87.7

Josh Wallace - 46 / 72.4

Michael Barrett - 45 / 78.9

Jaylen Harrell - 39 / 66.7

Makari Paige - 38 / 73.1

Mason Graham - 35 / 74.5

Rod Moore - 33 / 63.8

Braiden McGregor - 31 / 68.1

Kris Jenkins - 30 / 68.9

Kenneth Grant - 28 / 70.3

Ja’Den McBurrows - 28 / 66.3

Derrick Moore - 25 / 67.9

Keon Sabb - 22 / 60.6

Quinten Johnson - 22 / 61.3

Rayshaun Benny - 21 / 64.8

Ernest Hausmann - 18 / 70.0

Josaiah Stewart - 18 / 60.5

Cam Goode - 18 / 56.5

DJ Waller Jr. - 9 / 64.1

Amorion Walker - 7 / 56.0

TJ Guy - 3 / 67.9

Brandyn Hillman - 1 / 60.0

Keshaun Harris - 1 / 60.0

Takeaway: Have a day, Mike Sainristil. The veteran defender’s staggering 90.5 overall grade marks a personal best for the season, while his coverage grade of 88.5 served as an identical stand-in outside corner performance for the injured Will Johnson.

Defensively, this was Michigan’s second-greatest showing of the year per Pro Football Focus (88.1). Led by Sainristil, who had two forced fumbles, a quarterback hit, a pass breakup and a tackle, the Wolverines turned in their highest-graded team coverage performance of the season (89.4).