Michigan football pulled itself together in the second half to preserve a 42-25 victory over Illinois on Saturday afternoon. After giving the game a rewatch, here are the report card grades for each unit.
What went right: Michigan’s offensive line was predictably able to maul an Illinois front that it should have mauled for most of the day. This led to Michigan having a pair of 100-yard rushers in a game (Zach Charbonnet, Hassan Haskins) for the first time since 2017. For as much grief as Shea Patterson has gotten, his performance for most of the day was pretty good and the stat line is a bit misleading. Michigan needed a response late when things got unnecessarily tight and Patterson provided it. At the end of the day, the got pretty much whatever they wanted when they were locked in.
What went wrong: The fumbling problems are a bad habit halfway through the season and the ball security problems continue to be unacceptable. Coaching and play designs still are questionable at times and it was another game where this unit sputtered coming out of the locker room and had to find a way to get some mojo back late in the game. The positives from Patterson’s performance are a bit overshadowed by the fact that he still looks unsure of himself in this offense with some poor reads and underthrown passes. The lack of focus here at times from this unit as a whole are frustrating because they do show potential when most everyone does their job. The offensive line is an example of this, as they moved the Illini throughout the day, but then at times were surrendering pressures to three-and-four man rushes.
What went right: Again, when they were locked in, they were every bit the unit that we have seen the last few weeks when firing on all cylinders. Jordan Glasgow continues to make plays whenever they present themselves and Cam McGrone’s trajectory continues to point upward. Things got dicey in the third quarter (more on that in a bit), but they were able to refocus and pull it together to end the game on their own terms in the fourth quarter after things got to 28-25.
What went wrong: This unit completely slept through the third quarter, whether it be due to frustrations with the offense (which should never matter) or simply falling asleep in a game they never were in much danger to lose...until they were. There were some uncharacteristic mistakes, poor tackling and some other errors from players that do not usually make them. For the most part, this feels like one they can mostly write off with the know
Special Teams: B+
What went right: They cleaned a lot of things up from last week and Jordan Glasgow was able to block a punt.
What went wrong: They might need to seriously decide their kicking battle.
What went right: Credit goes to the coaching staff for being able to keep their team playing after the 25-0 run by Illinois heading into the fourth quarter.
What went wrong: Michigan’s decision to sit on the ball at the end of the half feels like it was the kindling for the tire fire that was the third quarter. They were out of sorts offensively and defensively and those things shouldn’t happen against a bad team on the road when you’re trying to find yourselves. Gattis’ offense is still all over the place and there are plays on the field where there are three receivers ending a play within five yards of one another. There are still plenty of August mistakes heading into late October and a truly defining stretch of 2019, which does not inspire much confidence that they can get this figured out.