Michigan pounds No. 22 BYU
Final: Michigan 31, No. 22 BYU 0
Telling stat: Michigan leads 317-62 in total yards at half
Wow, that was a statement. Maybe it was the presence of Derek Jeter. Maybe it was the first ranked opponent of the Jim Harbaugh era coming into the Big House. Whatever it was, Michigan came out ready to roll for this one on both sides of the ball. Anything Michigan wanted, it got. Amara Darboh made an Odell Beckham-like catch. De’Veon Smith ripped off a 60-yard touchdown after dragging a defender 30 yards. Rudock completed the longest pass play of the season to Jake Butt. And that was just the offense. The defense only allowed 10 points in the second quarter and made folk hero Tanner Mangum’s life miserable. Amazingly, the Michigan defense held them to 28 minutes without a first down. Not to get ahead of myself, but that was the best half of football played by any B1G team this year.
Key play: Jake Rudock scrambles in for rushing TD
Where did that come from? The Wolverine quarterback scrambled and capped off a 10-play, 80-yard drive to get Michigan on the board. It was his first of two rushing touchdowns of the day, which was a career-high. Give the senior signal-caller from credit. He’s been taking a beating and rightfully so. He hasn’t been accurate and against a BYU team that led the nation in interceptions, it could’ve been an ugly day. Instead, it was the best day of his brief Michigan career. Perhaps the confidence Jim Harbaugh showed in Rudock during the week had an impact. Whatever it was, he showed everyone how dangerous the Wolverines can be when they have balance in the offense.
-De’Veon Smith is the guy…if he’s healthy
Ok, I know I talked up Ty Isaac a lot last week, and I still feel like he’s going to have a role in the Michigan offense. But how could you not be amazed at the effort Smith put together again? He was in full-blown #BeastMode on that 60-yard touchdown run in which he dragged a BYU defender 30 yards. Poor tackling aside, that was a man’s run. Another 100-yard game could’ve been a 200-yard game had the Wolverines not been up 31-0 at the half. He did get his ankle rolled in the second half, which hopefully won’t be a serious injury. Credit the offensive line, as well, for showing vast improvement after that opener against Utah. It’s clear that this team will be able to pound the football with the best of them.
-Michigan beats first ranked team in two years
The Victors hadn’t beat a ranked team since 2013. In their last 22 games against ranked opponents since 2009, the Wolverines were 3-19. That all went out the window on Saturday. BYU isn’t necessarily some national championship contender, but the Cougars had earned that No. 22 ranking with wins at Nebraska and Boise State. This was no slouch opponent. For the first time in recent memory, Michigan looked like a powerhouse program. The Harbaugh effect, indeed.
What it means: Michigan has a poll presence
Michigan might not have earned a place in the top 25 after dominating the likes of Oregon State and UNLV, but the Wolverines looked like a ranked team on Saturday. It’ll take a lot for Michigan to get enough votes to crack the poll all of the sudden. The Wolverines might have to get a B1G win to completely convince the writers. But hey, I’m convinced.