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Monday Morning Quarterbrews: Gameday Awaits

Michigan finishes “preseason” with a weird, but dominant performance against Maryland.

Dustin Johnston / Maize n’ Brew

The Wolverines whooped up on Maryland Saturday afternoon to the tune of 42-21, though the game was not nearly that close. The Terrapins struggled at basically everything, but they got a kickoff return for a score and a garbage time touchdown against Michigan backups to close the gap on the scoreboard.

We all knew five weeks ago that we’d likely be here: 5-1, high with confidence, yet unproven. The three game stretch that everyone has opined since the schedule was released would determine the Wolverine season is finally here.

Has Michigan shown enough? Is there enough yet to be shown? We’re all going to find out soon.

The Game

A couple of infuriatingly predictable play-calls, both after Sean McKeon catches to set up short-yardage situations, kept Michigan off the scoreboard early. I think the silver lining is both plays (a dive and a fullback dive), both came out of sets that look poised for expansion in the future — for example, a bootleg or read option out of the formation.

Shea Patterson threw an interception in the first half, though I’m not going to complain about it. When you have a 6-foot-8 receiver in the midst of a career day, you give him that chance 10 times out of 10. This was the lone blemish on both Patterson and Zach Gentry’s respective days.

Karan Higdon got in on the fun tallying 103 hard-earned yards on 25 carries. Paired with Patterson’s 282 yards (and three scores) through the air, this was the first time Michigan had players throw for 250 yards and rush for 100 yards in the same game since Chad Henne and Mike Hart. Throw in Gentry’s 112 yards receiving and it was a really balanced day for Pep Hamilton’s guys.

Donovan Peoples-Jones scored again and had another called back on a phantom holding call against Tru Wilson. That gives DPJ six scores through six games on the year.

On the other side of the ball, stop me if you’ve heard this before: Don Brown’s defense overwhelmed their opponent with a mix of aggression, athleticism and relentless effort. Khaleke Hudson was everywhere getting credit for five solo tackles, two TFLs, and a sack — though I think it could be argued that Dwumfour’s should’ve been his as well. Speaking of Michigan’s newfound beast in the middle, early indications are that he’s okay and his injury may have been nothing more than a twisted ankle after stepping on a cleat. In fact, Dwumfour tweeted out after the game:

Brandon Watson, whose return this year was already considered a boon, took a pick six back late in the fourth to temporarily open up the route. It’s hard to just focus on a few guys as the entire unit was remarkable.

At one point, Michigan had 300 yards from scrimmage more than the Terps. The defense had held Maryland to under 50 yards at that point though a couple late drives made Maryland’s day seem better than it was. Kasim Hill never got going, but struggles against Tyrrell Pigrome have to give fans some pause, as a meeting with Trace McSorely looms less than a month away.

Looking Ahead:

It’s Wisconsin week and I’ve got something coming later on that so I’ll keep this short:

In all seriousness, we know this is going to be a brutally physical bear fight. It’s Michigan vs Wisconsin. That’s how this game always is. I said after Notre Dame I’m done picking Michigan against good teams until proven otherwise, and I meant it. I’m excited to see an improved offense get a crack at a slightly-above-average Wisconsin defense. The Badger’s offensive line, while good, is not what one has come to expect. Rashan Gary’s return could be pivotal.

Around the NCAA:

The Throne

Bama is Bama and Clemson appears ready to turn the corner on being back to being Clemson.

SEC

The SEC had themselves a weekend with LSU and Kentucky losing at Florida and at Texas A&M. The World’s largest outdoor cocktail party is surprisingly setting up to be the game of the weekend - the Dogs beat Vandy.

B1G

Also, this Indiana/Ohio State copypasta is amazing

Pac-12

Who cares

ACC

Both good and bad versions of the Miami Hurricanes showed up in their win against Florida State. North Carolina State continues to look like Clemson’s biggest challenge the rest of the way. Notre Dame looked really good in Blacksburg so #QualityLoss.

Big 12

Remember the play-by-play call of this and subsequent “oops” moment? Okay. That may be true this time. Bill Snyder needs to retire and Will Grier was kinda bad.

American

The American has a top-three as good as almost any conference in the country. UCF, USF, and Cincinnati all won again this week. They’ll likely replace the Pac12 in this going forward

Dan’s Picks: (16-14: 3-2 last week)

Wisconsin +8 @ Michigan — as of finishing this, this line is already down to +6.5. Vegas started too high here.

Florida -8 @ Vanderbilt

Nebraska @ Northwestern -9 — This will be the week NU struggles, because of course it will.

Georgia -7 @ LSU

Purdue @ Illinois +10