Michigan Football moved to 8-2 on the season and won its third-straight game on Saturday when it took down Maryland by a score of 35-10.
As is always the case, there was some good, some bad and no shortage of storylines and questions to discuss, so let us get right to it.
Addressing the foot off the gas pedal
Michigan roared out to a 28-0 start and went into the locker room at halftime having played easily the best half of football they have all season long, but things were a bit different on the other side of the break.
The Wolverines came out sluggish and Maryland dominated the third quarter. At one point in the game, the Terrapins could not be stopped from moving the ball (and actually out-gained Michigan on the entire day) and offensively and defensively Michigan just did not have it.
There are a ton of hot takes on the Michigan coaching staff from game-to-game (hell, even snap-to-snap), but we have seen them struggle to drive the final nail in the coffin. Now, the closest that Maryland ever got was 28-10 and Michigan’s response to that came on a Chris Evans touchdown that sealed the deal.
Anytime a team looks flat in many facets of the game, that can be blamed on coaching. But what if I told you that by pulling back and trying different things, Michigan was looking ahead to the next few weeks?
Last week when they shoved the ball down Minnesota’s throats to the tune of almost 400 yards rushing, fans complained that Michigan wasted opportunities to get more action for Brandon Peters (more on him shortly) and an offensive attack that needs to develop. That is exactly what they did in the second half of this game and those same people are complaining that Michigan looked “awful” in the second half.
Well, it sure as heck was not pretty, but they tried some different looks and did give Peters a chance to throw more than he has. And despite the results, now the staff has something on film to study and correct, because they do need to open things up against Wisconsin and Ohio State.
Michigan is lucky that Maryland was not able to pounce on them in the second half, and these lapses out of the locker room cannot happen, but they were never in danger of losing this game. If people want to use the A-plus gameplans against the Marylands and the Minnesotas of the world, more power to you.
Brandon Peters review
Peters received his first start on the road and Michigan took the training wheels off a bit this week. Maryland stacked the box to stop the run early on and the Wolverines kept running it, which opened things up for the play action passing game.
If Michigan quarterbacks succeed at any one thing across the board as a position group, it is that they are all fleet of foot and able to get themselves out of trouble when protections break down. Peters has shown an ability to do that and he has a moe talented arm than his predecessors did. Nobody is filling out any Heisman ballots for what he has been able to do, but he still has not turned over the ball and this team is finishing drives with touchdowns.
Michigan got bit with injuries on Saturday, which could be a cause for concern moving forward. Ty Isaac and Michael Onwenu remained out, while Karan Higdon, Mike McCray and Rashan Gary. Harbaugh is tight-lipped about injuries and did not reveal much in the postgame, which at least means that nothing is considered too serious.
Michigan’s defense is still as good as any in college football, but they have been more susceptible to the big play in the second half of the season. Maryland, led by a fourth-string walk-on at quarterback, moved up and down the field with ease in the second half and it was frustrating to watch.
Now, they were able to pounce on mistakes and make the big plays when they mattered, but this group does need to tighten things up heading into Camp Randall next week. Don Brown may have the coolest seat on that coaching staff, so people out for blood should put their torches and pitchforks down. This group is learning too.
Did I miss anything? Sound off in the comments below!