The Michigan Wolverines emerged with a 31-10 victory over Washington in their 10th-ever night game in Ann Arbor. With the Big House radiating in maize, the crowd was feeling this game. The stadium was rocking and forced Washington into a delay of game with its first possession.
The maize crowd, and the team in all-blue, looked unstoppable.
The defense, to their credit, was the saving grace of the night. They were solid and suffocated Washington through all four quarters. Washington went around 20 offensive possessions without scoring before finally putting some points on the board in the third quarter. While the execution of the defense wasn’t 100% perfect, they looked more comfortable and the overall effort was promising heading into the rest of the season.
The turning point came when the Wolverines called for a fake punt on 4th and 1 in the second quarter. It was a gamble. Michigan was potentially risking crazy field advantage for the Huskies were they unsuccessful.
They rolled the dice and won.
Michael Barrett rushed for three yards to get Michigan a new set of downs. Right after this fourth-down conversion, the Wolverines found the end zone with Blake Corum after he rattled off a 67-yard run. This would be the first of Corum’s three TDs of the game. After Washington fumbled in their next series, recovered by David Ojabo of Michigan, the Maize and Blue grabbed the game and never let up the lead. What was so critical about this risky play call was that it was reminiscent of an earlier Harbaugh era and the gamble came from Michigan’s 33-yard line. It was so refreshing and almost unexpected. Michigan knew they had an edge on Washington’s line so they capitalized on it, which paved the way to Michigan’s ultimate victory.
What was even better about the call was that Washington had a chance at converting a 4th and 1, the possession before. They called timeout instead of running a play, then punted the football. The rest was history.
There were multiple aspects of the game that could have been better but that can be said about most of Michigan’s efforts. While we can actively praise the running room we have in the “thunder-lightning” duo in Corum and Hassan Haskins, the passing game left a lot to be desired. Especially when lurking in the back of our minds is the last game of the season on November 27th. While the offensive line and RBs put in a hell of an effort against a more solid-looking defense in Washington, Cade McNamara’s day was a little concerning. Sure, the passing game was almost obsolete because Washington had no response to Michigan’s run game, but finishing the game without even cracking 100 yards? Not the best moment for Michigan.
The receiving corps looked lost and was dropping passes left and right seemingly from being unaware they were the target. Hopefully, this gets fixed before Michigan opens Big Ten play or else it won’t be pretty.