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Handing out Game Balls for Michigan’s first win in Madison since 2001

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The Blue Pants Blowout at Camp Randall was one none saw coming.

NCAA Football: Michigan at Wisconsin Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

Michigan headed into Camp Randall as an underdog and secured its first victory in Madison since 2001. Moreover, this was Michigan’s first win as an underdog since 2013. The Wolverines outscored Wisconsin 25-7 in the second half and toppled the Badgers 38-17.

Michigan shook off the second half offensive sluggishness from last week and are 5-0 for the first time since 2016.

Several players are worthy of game balls, but these were my standouts.

Offense

For the first time this season, a running back is not in contention for a game ball. The Badgers bottled up the run and the Wolverines were forced to get it done through the air.

Cade McNamara shook off early miscues to finish with 197 yards passing, two touchdowns and no turnovers in his first true road start. Roman Wilson led the team with six receptions for 81 yards, but this game ball is for another pass catcher.

Cornelius Johnson finished with only two catches (three, if you count the two-point conversion), but both were for touchdowns. For a team still trying to figure out who can consistently replace the production of Ronnie Bell, C.J. made his case with this 14-point performance.

The Connecticut native battled a case of the drops early, but in the end he almost single handedly outscored the Badgers.

Defense

Despite allowing a season-high 17 points, this was Michigan’s best defensive game of the season. Specifically, in the trenches, where Michigan had been vulnerable at times this season. The Wolverines held the Badgers to 43 rushing yards, which is their lowest total since 2015.

Let’s just start name dropping players with a case for this game ball: Gemon Green who was so dominant his name was barely called. Christopher Hinton who clogged up the middle and notched four tackles, one tackle-for-loss and a sack. Aidan Hutchinson who again played like the best edge rusher in college football. Josh Ross who returned from injury to captain this defense. And Dax Hill, who overcame being the victim of two of Graham Mertz’s best career throws to finish with an interception and a vicious half-sack that knocked Mertz out of the game.

While the entire unit deserves recognition, David Ojabo was the one who rose above all with a career game. Ojabo played his best game as a Wolverine finishing with seven tackles (led team), 2.5 sacks (led team), 2.5 tackles-for-loss (led team), and one forced fumble (led team).

If Ojabo continues to ascend, this could become the best pass rushing duo of the Jim Harbaugh era. I said what I said.

Special Teams

While Brad Robbins was solid (four punts, three inside the 20), Jake Moody was perfect. Moody finished 3/3 on field goals connecting from 26, 47 and 48 yards. What’s more, Moody remained perfect on extra points for his career knocking through three more in Madison.

J-Moody bounced back with a perfect performance after missing his first field goal of the season last week against Rutgers. A reliable kicking game might be the biggest surprise of all this season.

Honorable Mention

J.J. McCarthy only attempted one pass in this game, but it went 56 yards on a rope for a Daylen Baldwin touchdown. At the goal line, McCarthy added another touchdown on the ground with the help of a Mikey Sainristil ‘Bush Push.’

McCarthy is the quarterback of the future and is now, also, the part-time quarterback of the present.