Michigan football is currently up 28-7 at the half over Illinois in a game against a team that is Rutgers levels of terrible. That, of course, adds an asterisk to a lot of the things that take place throughout the stretch of the game, but there are still some notable occurances to discuss.
Here are the takeaways through two quarters of the football.
- Michigan’s run game came alive in the first half with both Zach Charbonnet and Hassan Haskins gashing the Illinois defense to get just about anything they wanted to get. The Illini are not even concerned with tackling and the edge was being completely wiped out by Michigan’s tackles, headlined by a pancake block by Jalen Mayfield on a long Haskins run.
- The lack of targets in the passing game to Donovan Peoples-Jones and Tarik Black (Nico Collins is not playing on Saturday) remains concerning. Only four receivers caught passes in the first half with Ronnie Bell leading the way with three catches for 93 yards.
- Shea Patterson was shaky early, but actually settled in and played nicely despite the coaching staff’s apparent lack of confidence that he can move the ball downfield. The last scoring drive that Michigan had to get to 28 points had a few decisive throws and good decisions that are things he can definitely build off of.
- Ben Mason on offense is something that should be totally scrapped unless they are in short-yardage situations. A few weeks after fumbling in the redzone at Wisconsin, he took a stupid unnecessary roughness penalty that cost the Wolverines 15 yards in the redzone and ultimately stalled out the drive. Michigan would then miss a field goal.
- Jordan Glasgow continues to make plays all over the field on defense and special teams. He’s important despite cries that he should not be playing by some pockets of fans.
- For as well as Michigan played in the first half, they left plays on the field again due to penalties and a fumble just past midfield by Charbonnet.
- Jim Harbaugh and his staff’s decision to not work on a two-minute drill opportunity with the football at the end of the half with three timeouts felt weak. Illinois is terrible and this is the perfect time to work on something like that. It’s windy in Champaign, but at least give it a shot. That said, you go into the locker room with Patterson playing well, so I can get on board with playing the mental game with him in a game where you really need him to get rolling to feel good about himself moving forward.