Michigan’s defense had an efficient and admirable showing against East Carolina. The final score was 30-3 Michigan, the defense gave up just 235 total yards, and East Carolina’s three points came in the final seconds of the game.
While the Wolverines are happy with how the game turned out, there are other things they want to improve upon in the weeks to come. One of those facets is the pass rush. Michigan didn’t tally a sack in the season opener.
East Carolina opted to throw the ball quickly, which led to no sacks for Michigan, but it also came at a cost — their passing game was inaccurate and ineffective. The ECU quarterback tandem of Mason Garcia and Alex Flinn combined for just 132 yards, one interception and a 59 percent completion rate.
Michigan edge rusher Braiden McGregor said how ECU was able to get rid of the ball fast was “really frustrating”, but he made it clear that as a pass rusher “you can’t get frustrated with it because you’re going to get a lot of opportunities”.
Despite not getting home for a sack as a unit, they were still able to pressure the quarterbacks enough to throw them off kilter.
“Being able to disrupt the quarterback in any way, whether it’s get your hand up or just push the pocket,” McGregor explained. “As long as they don’t complete a pass or get the first down, I think we did our job.”
While McGregor feels they did their job, he knows they can get better. They have a high bar for themselves.
“We definitely weren’t satisfied with what we did as an edge rush unit,” McGregor said. “We think that we have the best room in the country. Going out there and not being able to put any sacks on the board was frustrating, but we’re gonna get back in the film room and take it day by day and keep getting better.”
McGregor expects the pass rush to be chomping at the bit to tally some sacks this week against UNLV, saying “everyone’s gonna be hungry”.
“We’re so hungry, we all want sacks, we all want stats, we all want to eat.”
After the game on Saturday Jesse Minter evaluated East Carolina’s schematics which didn’t allow Michigan to pin their ears back and get to the QB. Minter believes the pass rush will get home soon. As soon as this week.
“I thought we had some really good rushes,” Minter said. “I think it will show on tape. But I know they were a little frustrated at not coming home with any sacks. I’m confident in a lot of improvements being made in those areas from week one to week two.”