Michigan destroys struggling Maryland
Final: No. 22 Michigan 28, Maryland 0
Telling stat: Caleb Rowe’s 8-of-27, 43 yards, three interceptions
This was a horrible matchup for Rowe. The nation’s leader in interceptions was going against arguably the hottest defense in the country. It showed. Rowe again struggled to move the ball down the field and made too many careless turnovers. He was replaced by Daxx Garman, who probably should’ve been starting after what Rowe did against West Virginia last week. Credit the Michigan defense for not allowing a struggling quarterback to gain any confidence all afternoon.
Key play: Drake Johnson 31-yard touchdown catch
For the first time since the end of last season, Johnson got into the end zone. And even better, he did so when the Wolverines needed some life. After they were held without a touchdown in the first half, the Wolverines got rolling with a 31-yard screen pass on a simple throw from Jake Rudock. Michigan was playing without starter De’Veon Smith, and needed a guy like Johnson to step up in some less-than-ideal conditions. Without Johnson’s score, the Wolverines might’ve had to grind that one out.
-Jeremy Clark starts in place of Channing Stribling, gets interception
We didn’t get an update as to why Stribling was out, but it didn’t seem to matter. Clark stepped up with a big interception in the first half to give the Wolverines a needed early stand. We don’t know the severity of Stribling’s injury, but we do know he’s been in and out of the lineup this year. Michigan’s defense has been an unstoppable force in the last four weeks, and a next-man-up approach is key.
-First time with consecutive shutouts since 2000
Wow. So this team has only allowed one touchdown in the last 15 quarters of football. In case you didn’t know, that’s really impressive. This unit is humiliating struggling offenses by not missing tackles and frustrating opposing ball carriers. And when the Wolverines weren’t stuffing Brandon Ross, they were pursuing Rowe. Matthew Godin, Willie Henry and Mario Ojemudia all stepped up and recorded sacks. We’re still looking for a weak link with this unit. As of now, we haven’t found it.
What it means: Michigan’s style travels, even without RB’s
The conditions were not great for football, but they were for the Wolverines. Rudock didn’t need to be the driving force with all the quality starting field position he was given. That’s important for this team. Michigan is going to be able to break off big chunks of yardage with its tailbacks if it blocks like that. Johnson looked like a feature back and Jehu Chesson ripped off a 66-yard end around touchdown of his own. This was exactly the style of hard-nosed football that Jim Harbaugh wanted to establish. It’s early, but it’s clear that the Wolverines are following a smash-mouth blueprint to success.