The Michigan Wolverines leave Happy Valley 9-1 after defeating Penn State 21-17. Here are some immediate takeaways from the game.
Coordinators of Chaos
Enjoy it while you can folks, this is the best Michigan pass-rushing duo in the history of the program. I said what I said.
David Ojabo and Aidan Hutchinson combined for four sacks and two forced fumbles. These two led the way for a defensive front that finished with seven sacks (five in the first half), 12 tackles for loss, and the aforementioned pair of forced fumbles.
Hassan Haskins is less than a god, but more than a man
Once again without his counterpart in Blake Corum, the senior workhorse delivered in all aspects. Haskins carried the ball 31 times for 156 yards and added five catches for 45 yards. While it won’t show up in the box score, his pass protection is the best in college football and again played an integral factor in Michigan’s offensive success.
Haskins is the engine of this offense and is the most reliable Michigan running back since his position coach Mike Hart was toting the rock in the early 2000s.
Weathering the Storms
Michigan was fortunate the first quarter struggles did not plague it any worse than a 3-0 deficit. The Wolverines only ran six plays to Penn State’s 33, which is the greatest single quarter play differential in FBS this year.
While Penn State’s defense was stout, two false start penalties on Michigan’s lone two drives slowed the Wolverines down before they could find a rhythm. However, Michigan found an answer in the second quarter.
The Wolverines strung together a 15-play touchdown drive, while eating up 7:30 of clock.
Again in the second half, it was Michigan having to withstand and overcome another Penn State drive which included three fourth down conversions and a two-point conversion.
Tied 14-14, Michigan “answered” by allowing a strip sack deep in its own territory to gift Penn State excellent field position and an eventual three points.
Backs against the wall, Michigan answered with a 47-yard touchdown from tight end Erick All (first of his career) on a beautiful play call from offensive coordinator Josh Gattis.
Not to be outdone, the defense also rose up by forcing a three-and-out and the offense salted away the victory.
Red Zone Efficiency
The Michigan Wolverines entered the red zone two times and came away with a touchdown and kneel-downs to secure the victory.
On their scoring trip to the red zone, the Wolverines scored on a habit-breaking fake to Hassan Haskins and quarterback Cade McNamara connected with Roman Wilson for his second touchdown of the day.
Wilson’s first touchdown came from 21 yards away, just outside of the red zone.
No J.J. McCarthy
The talented and much-discussed freshman quarterback did not take a single offensive snap in a game for the first time this season. After his rocky road performance against Michigan State, the coaching staff opted for the steady hand of Cade McNamara throughout this one.
While McCarthy will be expected to see game-action against Maryland, his absence today leads one to believe he will not appear in The Game against Ohio State.