WHAT WE LEARNED: ABOUT MICHIGAN
Michigan adjusts well. This may be true on a week to week basis, but we don't have evidence to prove that just yet. I am talking strictly about in-game adjustments, especially of the halftime variety. Against Utah, Michigan trailed 10-3 at the half, and couldn't quite dig their way out of the first half hole they dug. However both teams scored 14 in the second half. This happened despite a Jake Rudock pick-6, which was essentially a 10 or 14 point swing. On Saturday, Oregon State put together a 78 yard TD drive to start the game. This looked to be alarming, but Oregon State only picked up 60 more yards and 0 points during the rest of the game. Michigan's defense adjusted extremely well. It's kinda nice to have an elite coaching staff, isn't it?
Michigan will have a strong homefield advantage. On the broadcast, Chris Spielman commented that he hasn't heard the Big House this loud in years, and keep in mind this was a game against a non-headline opponent. The fact is Michigan's fanbase is absolutely starved for a winner, and they have been waiting a long time for something to cheer about. Homefield advantage is so important in college football. A great crowd can force false starts from the opposing offense, influence referee decisions, and help to dictate which team wins the trench battles that are so crucial in determining who wins the game. This stuff will come in handy when foes from East Lansing and Columbus enter the Big House.
When Chris Wormley plays Monopoly, he always purchases hotels in the backfield. The most successful defenses generate pass rush without blitzing. This is a goal for Michigan, but in order for them to do this, they needed a DE to step up this year and really disrupt the offense. Chris Wormley has risen to this challenge, and registered 3 TFLs in each of the first 2 games. Only 1 player in the country has more than his 6 (Jordan Jenkins, UGA, 6.5). This is a great start to the season for Wormley, and continuing this pace would take a lot of burden off the secondary, who will need to be at their best against some of the better passing teams Michigan will play.
Jake Butt: More than just a tight end. Judging by this box score, Michigan should be lining up as a running back, and not a tight end. I mean, who can argue with this kind of production? This stat feels like some 4th grade RBs arguing about who is the best:
"I average 10 yards per carry!"
"Oh yeah? Well I average 20!"
"I have you guys both beat. I average infinity."
Infinity yards per carry = bragging rights for life.
Harbaugh's doghouse is not an ideal place to be. After the Utah game, Derrick Green did the stereotypical 5-star thing, and went on a retweet rampage of fanboys saying he should be a more integral part of Michigan's offense.
These retweets were reversed on Green's account the next day, but thanks to screen grabs, everything is permanent. Now back in the days of the Hoke Country Club, players could do whatever they want on social media, without fear of repercussion. After all...
Hoke: "I wouldn't Twitter. I would I want you to know I'm at McDonald's eating a cheeseburger? Cuz I'd probably eat three or four."— Stephen J. Nesbitt (@stephenjnesbitt) February 1, 2012
But there is a new sheriff in town, and while Harbaugh never directly addressed this matter to the media, it would seem he didn't take too kindly to Green endorsing these tweets about his lack of play.
Harbaugh placed former 5*, Top30 recruit Derrick Green on scout team this week w/ Drake Johnson returning. Sending a message #EarnedNotGiven— Teddy Blanks (@MaizeAndBlue14) September 11, 2015
If the two are related, the takeaway here is that accountability is huge for this team and the coaching staff. And this truly embodies Bo Schembechler's legendary quote "no one man is above the team". Not even the 5-star running back who took his gripes very public.
Guns don't kill people, Jabrill Peppers kills people. It's not every day you see The Undertaker's tombstone applied on the football field. And while that is not quite what happened on this play in real time, Jabrill's takedown of poor, poor Oregon State QB Seth Collins was quite photogenic.
WHAT WE LEARNED: ABOUT THE CONFERENCE
Going to Maryland may not be tough at all for Michigan. Maryland went to the half up 13-6 against Bowling Green. Then in the second half, Bowling Green went Full MACtion on Maryland, racking up 42 second half points en route to a 48-27 win. 42 second half points!! Some guy named Matt Johnson threw for a whopping 491 yards and 6 TDs.
Every time a MAC team beats a Big Ten team, it makes me think soccer-style relegation would be a real treat for the fans. Trade the top 2 MAC teams for the bottom 2 B1G teams every year. This will obviously never happen due to logistics, but just think about Indiana and Purdue's defenses getting lit up like a Christmas tree by MAC teams on a weekly basis. And seeing how some of those top-tier Northern Illinois teams would do against the Big Ten.
MSU played well enough to win against a Top 10 team. This was a good win for the conference, no doubt about it. Oregon is one of the top programs in the country, and MSU took care of business at home. Watching this game just made me thankful that Michigan FINALLY gets a home game against MSU, after 2 straight years with road games, a time period that felt much longer.
Wow. That's quite a hatchet job. Excited to be playing Michigan State at the Big House for the first time in about 15 years this year.— Scott Bell (@sbell021) September 13, 2015
Most everyone else feasted on cupcakes. While Michigan somewhat falls in this category, there weren't a lot of wins that could be considered "big" by the rest of the conference, aside from MSU beating Oregon, and possibly Iowa taking care of their in-state rival Iowa State. There aren't many conclusions to draw from Northwestern and Illinois shutting out FCS teams, for instance. Just another reason to get excited about conference play.
TWEETS OF THE WEEK
OH SURE WHEN HARBAUGH SCREAMS HE'S A "FIERY COMPETITOR" BUT WHEN I CHOKE A MAILMAN I'M A "MAILMAN CHOKER"— Fake Bo Pelini (@FauxPelini) September 12, 2015
Bret Bielema calls out Toledo for soft pre-conference schedule that includes Arkansas— Fake SportsCenter (@FakeSportsCentr) September 12, 2015
In the final three quarters: Michigan: 357 yards on 58 plays Oregon State: 2 yards on 32 plays— Drew Hallett (@DrewCHallett) September 12, 2015