Michigan football: Stock report after Week 3
For the first time in the 2023 season, the Michigan Wolverines looked imperfect. While their defense was the stalwart it’s been all season — holding Bowling Green to 205 yards while forcing 4 turnovers and continuing its streak of not allowing a touchdown yet this year — the offense struggled at times.
When it was all said and done, Michigan walked away with a 31-6 victory over the Green Falcons.
Next week, the Wolverines will get Jim Harbaugh back as they begin Big Ten play against Rutgers, and his presence will be critical if Michigan wants to contend for a national title.
Here’s the stock report for Michigan after Week 3:
Player of the Week: RB Blake Corum
The 2022 Heisman Trophy contender was a calming force for the Wolverines when the offense wasn’t rolling like it had in the previous 2 outings. Corum took the pressure off of JJ McCarthy and finished the game with 12 carries for 101 yards and 2 touchdowns. The senior stepped up big-time when his team needed him the most. If it wasn’t for Corum’s production, this game could have been a lot closer.
Biggest surprise: JJ’s weird stat line
There’s no doubting McCarthy’s lackluster performance against a sub-par team at home was the biggest surprise of Week 3. The Wolverines’ starting quarterback was nearly perfect in his first 2 games of the season. In the opener against East Carolina, McCarthy completed 26 of his 30 attempts for 280 yards and 3 touchdowns. He finished that game with an impressive QBR of 95.0.
The junior signal caller followed up his stellar Week 1 outing with another great performance against UNLV, going 22-of-25 for 278 yards and 2 touchdowns, with a QBR of 96.8.
He didn’t throw a single interception and made very few mistakes in the first 2 games of the year, but Saturday’s outing against Bowling Green was different story.
McCarthy looked confused and rattled throughout the game, lacking the poise Michigan fans have become accustomed to seeing. His final stat line is one he will want to forget. It’s clear Michigan’s game plan was run-heavy, as the starting signal caller completed just 8 of his 13 attempts for 143 yards, 2 touchdowns and 3 interceptions. He also was sacked for the first time in 2023 and ended the game with a QBR of just 10.6.
Biggest concern: Offensive consistency
Offensive consistency will be key as the games get harder with the Big Ten slate coming. While Michigan has one of the top running back duos in the country, the Wolverines can’t reach the College Football Playoff with a one-dimensional offense. They were dominated when it came to time of possession, holding the ball for just over 23 minutes while relying on their defense to take care of the job. Michigan converted just 1 of its 5 attempts on third down and turned the ball over 4 times. Those mistakes may be possible to bounce back from against a team like Bowling Green, but the Wolverines are going to need to clean up the things that went wrong on offense in a hurry.
Developing trend: Defensive dominance
Michigan’s defense has always been its strong point since Jim Harbaugh took over, but the 2023 unit has been nearly perfect. The unit has yet to allow a touchdown in 2023 — and on Saturday was the reason the team ultimately won. The Wolverines held Bowling Green to 205 yards and recorded 3 takeaways. This is clearly one of the top defensive units in the country — No. 1 in scoring D at 5.3 ppg — and one of the most important factors in Michigan accomplishing its goals this season.
First impression of Week 4 vs. Rutgers
This isn’t the same old Rutgers coming into the Big House on Saturday. The Scarlet Knights are also 3-0, with impressive wins over Temple, Northwestern and Virginia Tech. Thankfully for Michigan, Harbaugh will be back on the sidelines leading the Wolverines. They are going to have to play much better — especially on offense — if they want to pick up their first Big Ten win of the year.