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Posts Tagged ‘D.J. Durkin’

#3 Michigan 59 – Maryland 3: Speight shines as Michigan spoils Durkin’s return

Sunday, November 6th, 2016


speight-vs-maryland(mgoblue.com)

If there was any fear of a post-rivalry win letdown on Saturday, Michigan wasted no time erasing those fears. The Wolverines found the end zone on all five first half possessions while holding Maryland scoreless and cruised to a 59-3 win.

Michigan started with the ball and drive 91 yards on 10 plays as Wilton Speight connected with Amara Darboh for a 34-yard touchdown to start the scoring onslaught.

After forcing a Maryland punt, Michigan needed only six plays to march 84 yards — most notably a 40-yard pass from Speight to Jehu Chesson. Speight capped the drive with a 10-yard touchdown run.

Maryland put together a decent drive, but missed a 29-yard field goal, and Michigan took advantage with a 7-play, 80-yard scoring drive. On the second play of the drive, Speight hooked up with Jake Butt for 37 yards, and a few plays later, De’Veon Smith scored from three yards out to put Michigan ahead 21-0.

um-maryland_small-final
Final Stats
Michigan Maryland
Score 59 3
Record 9-0, 6-0 5-4, 2-4
Total Yards 660 337
Net Rushing Yards 273 78
Net Passing Yards 387 289
First Downs 31 19
Turnovers 0 2
Penalties-Yards 6-62 6-46
Punts-Yards 0-0 2-84
Time of Possession 32:12 27:48
Third Down Conversions 3-of-5 6-of-13
Fourth Down Conversions 0-of-1 0-of-3
Sacks By-Yards 3-15 1-1
Field Goals 1-for-1 1-for-2
PATs 8-for-8 0-for-0
Red Zone Scores-Chances 7-of-8 1-of-2
Red Zone Scores-TDs 6-of-8 0-of-2
Full Box Score

Maryland got to midfield, but Michigan’s defense stood strong on a 4th-and-3 conversion attempt and the offense took over once again. On the fifth play of the drive Speight threw deep to Drake Harris down the sideline. Harris made a great catch inside the 10-yard line, but was flagged for offensive pass interference. On the very next play, 2nd-and-34, Speight threw a screen pass to Chris Evans, who, after bobbling the catch, scampered 56 yards to the 1-yard line. Khalid Hill finished the drive with a 1-yard touchdown run.

A Maryland three-and-out gave Michigan the ball back with 2:33 left before the half and the Wolverines went 61 yards in less than two minutes. Speight connected with Chesson for a 33-yard touchdown to widen Michigan’s lead to 35-0 at the half.

Delano Hill intercepted Maryland quarterback Caleb Rowe on the first possession of the second half and Michigan’s offense quickly reached the red zone yet again. But this time the Wolverines couldn’t punch it into the end zone and had to settle for a 29-yard Kenny Allen field goal.

Maryland made it to the Michigan 35, but once again Michigan’s defense stopped the Terrapins on a fourth down attempt. This time, Michigan’s offense was unable to put points on the board for the first time all game. The Wolverines made it to the Maryland 14-yard line, but Khalid Hill was stuffed on 4th-and-1. But the Michigan defense stood strong again with another fourth down stop as Jabrill Peppers and Ben Gedeon combined to tackle running back Lorenzo Harrison for a 5-yard loss on 4th-and-2.

With a short field, Michigan’s offense needed eight plays to find the end zone right at the end of the third quarter. Smith crossed the goal line for the second time in the game to put Michigan ahead 45-0.

On Maryland’s first possession of the fourth quarter they finally ended the shutout with a 10-play, 55-yard drive that ended in a 37-yard field goal.

Michigan answered right back with a 53-yard Ty Isaac run on the first play of its ensuing possession. Two plays later, Smith scored from two yards out to make the score 52-3.

Delano Hill recorded his second interception of the game and John O’Korn led another Michigan scoring drive. The drive started with a 16-yard completion to freshman receiver Kekoa Crawford and ended with a 9-yard touchdown pass to Crawford — the first touchdown of his career.

Michigan’s offense piled up 660 total yards, their most in a game this season. Speight had the best game of his career, completing 19-of-24 passes for 362 yards and two touchdowns with no interceptions. De’Veon Smith topped 100 yards for the first time this season, finishing with 114 yards and two touchdowns on 19 carries for an average of six yards per carry. Chesson led the way through the air with five receptions for 112 yards and a score. Butt had five for 76 and Darboh had four for 77 and a score. For the second game this season Michigan didn’t have to punt.

Michigan’s defense surrendered 367 total yards to Maryland’s offense, but just three points. Quarterback Perry Hills, who entered the game tops in the Big Ten in pass efficiency, completed 4-of-4 passes but was knocked out of the game in the second quarter. His replacement, Rowe, completed just 12-of-23 passes for 203 yards — mostly on screens — and two interceptions.

Now 9-0 overall and 6-0 in Big Ten play, Michigan visits Iowa next Saturday for a primetime matchup against the Hawkeyes (5-4, 3-3). Iowa lost to No. 12 Penn State, 41-14, on Saturday.

Game Ball – Offense

Wilton Speight (19-of-24 for 362 yards, 2 touchdowns, 3 carries for 16 yards, 1 touchdown)
Speight gets the game ball for the third time this season after his best performance of the year. The redshirt sophomore started fast and never let up, completing 79.2 percent of his passes for 362 yards and two touchdowns. He looked cool and calm in the pocket, evading defenders like a seasoned veteran, and even saw an open running lane up the middle for a 10-yard touchdown run in the first quarter. After the game, Jim Harbaugh called his first half — in which he went 13-of-16 for 292 yards and two touchdowns — the best half of football he’s ever seen by a Michigan quarterback. Harbaugh also brought Speight’s name into the Heisman conversation. In reality, it’s too late for that, but if Speight keeps up this play, there’s no reason to think Michigan can’t win out and he’ll set himself up for Heisman consideration entering 2017.

Previous
Week 1 — Chris Evans (8 carries, 112 yards, 2 touchdowns)
Week 2 — Wilton Speight (25-of-37 for 312 yards, 4 touchdowns)
Week 3 — Jake Butt (7 receptions for 87 yards)
Week 4 — Grant Newsome, Ben Braden, Mason Cole, Kyle Kalis, Erik Magnuson (326 rush yards, 0 sacks allowed)
Week 5 — Amara Darboh (6 receptions for 87 yards, 1 touchdown)
Week 6 — Khalid Hill (2 carries for 2 yards and 2 touchdowns, 2 receptions for 19 yards and 1 touchdown)
Week 7 — Wilton Speight (16-of-23 for 253 yards, 2 touchdowns)
Week 8 — Amara Darboh (8 receptions for 165 yards)

Game Ball – Defense

Delano Hill (6 tackles (5 solo), 0.5 tackles for loss, 2 interceptions)
It seems like every week Ben Gedeon could be deserving of the defensive game ball, but narrowly misses out. This week was no different as he led the team with 11 tackles and three for loss. But strong safety Delano Hill gets the nod for his first two interception game of the season. The senior also recorded six tackles — five of them solo — including a half of a tackle for loss. His play in the secondary is important to Michigan’s defensive success as one of the unheralded stars. The defensive line gets a lot of hype, as do Peppers and Jourdan Lewis, but if Hill can consistently ball hawk from his spot, it makes the defense that much better.

Previous
Week 1 — Mike McCray (9 tackles, 3.5 tackles for loss, 2 sacks, 1 forced fumble)
Week 2 — Rashan Gary (6 tackles, 2.5 tackles for loss, 0.5 sacks)
Week 3 — Jabrill Peppers (9 tackles, 3.5 TFL, 1 sack, 2 kick ret. for 81 yards, 4 punt ret. for 99 yards, 1 TD)
Week 4 — Maurice Hurst (6 tackles, 3 solo, 3 tackles for loss, 1 sack)
Week 5 — Channing Stribling (2 tackles, 2 interceptions, 2 pass breakups)
Week 6 — Taco Charlton (2 tackles, 2 tackles for loss, 2 sacks)
Week 7 — Mike McCray (3 tackles, 0.5 tackles for loss, 1 fumble recovery, 2 quarterback hurries)
Week 8 — Jabrill Peppers (7 tackles, 2 tackles for loss, 1 sack, 1 two-point conversion fumble recovery for touchdown)

M&GB staff predictions: Maryland

Friday, November 4th, 2016


StaffPicks_banner20152

Previously this week: First Look, Five-Spot Challenge, Tailgate Tuesday, Big Ten power rankings, The Numbers Game, game preview

Fresh off a win over rival Michigan State, Michigan returns home to host former defensive coordinator D.J. Durkin’s Maryland Terrapins. Maryland comes in with a 5-3 record, but has lost three of its last four. Could Durkin shock his former boss? Or will Michigan stay focused on the task at hand and take care of business?

Justin won our weekly predictions last week for his first win of the season with his prediction of Michigan 33 – Michigan State 13. Here are this week’s picks:

Justin (1)
Staff Predictions
Michigan Maryland
Justin 45 17
Derick 48 13
Sam 38 3
Josh 38 17
Joe 42 7
M&GB Average 42 11

Four straight opponents have rushed for at least 200 yards on Maryland’s defense — Indiana (414), Michigan State (270), Minnesota (229), and Penn State (372) and there’s no reason to believe Michigan will end that streak. Look for Harbaugh to give the ball to Michigan’s stable of backs over and over and over again with some jet sweeps mixed in. Of course, Durkin will know that Harbaugh will do this, but his defense won’t be able to stop it consistently.

On the other side of the ball, Maryland will probably hit a few explosive runs. Remember, the Terps actually have nine more explosive runs (10 or more yards) than Michigan does so far this season — which ranks sixth nationally — and Johnson and Harrison average 8.6 yards per carry. They won’t have consistent success against Michigan’s stout defense, especially without a major passing threat, but they’ll bust a few.

But it won’t be enough as Michigan is simply more talented and experienced on both sides of the ball. The Wolverines top 300 yards rushing and score pass just enough to keep the defense honest. Michigan’s defense gets to Hills a few times, but surrenders a few big plays and a couple of touchdowns. Michigan has the game in hand by halftime and cruises to a comfortable win.

Michigan 45 – Maryland 17

Derick

Michigan hasn’t covered two weeks in a row after covering easily throughout most of the first half. D.J. Durkin is returning to the Big House with a much-improved Maryland team and a reinvigorated Perry Hills at quarterback. But Michigan’s defense is a completely different monster, and the toughest test Hills will face all season. I think Michigan will handle the Terps’ defense fairly easily and cruise to a big win

Michigan 48 – Maryland 13

Sam (1)

On paper, this game looks a lot like the Illinois game to me. Sure, Maryland has been playing a bit better than the Fighting Illini, but they don’t have the players or schemes to give Michigan much of a challenge. Expect the Wolverines’ ground game to be on full display yet again while Speight throws a couple first half touchdowns before packing it in after halftime. Give me the Maize and Blue in yet another snoozer.

Michigan 38 – Maryland 3

Josh (1)

I haven’t seen Maryland play this year. I mean, why would I want to watch that? But from what I can glean from some breakdowns and the traditional and fancy stats, they’re a spread-y team in the mold of Ohio State — except without freak athletes. This should be a good test to see how Don Brown handles the power-spread that D.J. Durkin could not. As we saw in this week’s The Numbers Game, Maryland is better on the ground than through the air and very good at generating explosive run plays, averaging 9.13 per game (6th nationally). But they’re not so good at explosive pass plays, ranking 111th. On defense, their run defense isn’t very good but their pass D is, so it could be interesting to see what Harbaugh has in mind. Michigan should have their way with the Terrapin defense, especially on the ground.

Honestly, I’m a little nervous about Maryland. It’s a classic trap game, sandwiched between a rival and a brutal away game at night. Plus, last year’s OSU game looms large in the back of my mind and Colorado had some great success early on against Michigan with their spread-y ways.

Maryland doesn’t have the athletes that Michigan does but spreading out the defense and going with three wide receiver looks opens the middle up for big runs, which they are very good at and Michigan has traditionally struggled with. Yes, Michigan does have Don Brown and Jabrill Peppers, but I think Maryland will find some success running the ball much like MSU did last week.

I expect them to dink and dunk down the field and get a big gainer here and there on their way to double digit points. I have a sneaky feeling this game will be uncomfortably close for longer than Michigan fans would like, thus refueling the concern against OSU, despite them appearing to be mortal.

Maryland puts up 400 yards and a fair deal of points, relatively speaking, due to busts on big runs up the middle. I’m looking at you Dymonte Thomas. Michigan wins but it’s close enough where the media, and fans, will start to question the elite status of Michigan’s defense.

Michigan 38 – Maryland 17

Joe (5)

We’re in the home stretch and everything is going as planned. I’m intrigued with this game only because we’re facing a former coach who knows Harbaugh and our boys fairly well. Durkin knows that the only way to keep things close is by draining the clock and keeping the Michigan offense on the sidelines. Maryland and their top 15 rushing attack will rely on a strong ground game and ball control. The defensive front will be tested but will also be out to prove the fourth quarter from last week is not going to happen again. I see Michigan coming out pumped and looking to bury the Terps quickly, which they do starting in the second quarter. Michigan wins this one big.

Michigan 42 – Maryland 7

#3 Michigan vs Maryland game preview

Friday, November 4th, 2016


um-maryland-game-preview-header(Isaiah Hole, 247 Sports)

Michigan dropped a spot in the national rankings after beating Michigan State last week. Ah, the universe has returned to normal. But really, Michigan remained second in both the AP Poll and Coaches Poll, but opened third behind Alabama and Clemson in the first College Football Playoff poll of the season.

um-maryland_small
Quick Facts
Michigan Stadium – 3:30p.m. ET – ESPN
MSU Head Coach: D.J. Durkin (1st season)
Coaching Record: 6-3 (5-3 at Maryland)
Offensive Coordinator: Walt Bell (1st season)
Defensive Coordinator: Andy Buh (1st season)
Last Season: 3-9 (1-7 Big Ten)
Last Meeting: UM 28 – Maryland 0
All-Time Series: Michigan 4-1
Record in Ann Arbor: Michigan 3-1
Jim Harbaugh vs Maryland 1-0
Last Michigan win: 2015 (28-0)
Last Maryland win: 2014 (26-13)
Current Streak: Michigan 1
Maryland Schedule to date
Opponent Result
Howard W 52-13
at FIU W 41-14
at UCF W 30-24 2 OT
Purdue W 50-7
at Penn State L 14-38
Minnesota L 10-31
Michigan State W 28-17
at Indiana L 36-42

In the grand scheme of things, it doesn’t matter one bit. Second and third are essentially interchangeable since they play each other in the CFP semifinal. But there are also still four games remaining, plus a conference championship game standing in the way. In other words, there’s a lot of football left to play.

For Michigan, it starts with Maryland tomorrow. The Terrapins enter with a 5-3 overall record and 2-3 in the Big Ten. They won their first four games of the season over Howard (52-13), FIU (41-14), UCF (30-24 in 2OT), and Purdue (50-7) but have lost three of their last four. The only win in the past month was a 28-17 victory over Michigan State two weeks ago. The losses came against Penn State (38-14), Minnesota (31-10), and Indiana (42-36).

Head coach D.J. Durkin is in his first season as a head coach after spending last season as Michigan’s defensive coordinator. He’s the fifth first-year head coach Michigan has faced in nine games, but he’s far from unknown to Jim Harbaugh.

“I follow all the coaches that we work with and pull for them, when they’re not playing us,” Harbaugh said. “That’s a happy-for-the-other-guy’s-success attitude that we have here at Michigan. Personally I like it, I like it a lot, professionally to see guys develop, reach their goals, especially when you know going in what their goals are because you ask them, you talk about it. You want to see your friends have success and be good. He definitely has been at every job that he’s had. He goes all out, does things at a very high level with a lot of enthusiasm. Kindred spirit, so I’m very happy for him.”

Durkin played linebacker for Bowling Green from 1997-2000 and then began his coaching career as a graduate assistant there. He worked his way up through the ranks to defensive coordinator at Florida in 2013-14. When the Gators fired head coach Will Muschamp prior to the Birmingham Bowl in 2014, Durkin assumed the interim head coaching responsibilities and picked up the first win of his career over East Carolina. Harbaugh snatched him up to run his first Michigan defense last season, but when the Maryland job opened up, Durkin couldn’t pass up the opportunity to take his first full-time head coaching gig.

Now, he looks to upset his former boss. Will Michigan suffer a post-rivalry win letdown? Or will Harbaugh keep the Wolverines focused to improve to 9-0? Let’s take a look at the matchups.

When Maryland has the ball
S&P+ Rush S&P+ Rush SR Rush IsoPPP Pass S&P+ Pass SR Pass IsoPPP Avg FP
MD Off 65 18 47.8% (31) 13 81 40.7% (69) 106 29.5 (71)
UM Def 1 2 24.2% (1) 100 1 21.4% (1) 50 27.0 (16)

While Durkin has always been a defensive guy, he needed to hire a good offensive mind, so he looked to Arkansas State for an up and coming offensive coordinator. Walt Bell guided the Red Wolves to the nation’s 12th-best scoring offense a year ago, averaging 40 points per game. His high-tempo offense topped 300 yards in 24 of his 26 games, 400 yards 18 times, and 500 yards 11 times. Prior to ASU, he coached tight ends at North Carolina where he developed Eric Ebron into a first team All-American in 2013, and prior to that he coached wide receivers at Southern Miss when they set a school record for total offense and went 11-2 in 2011.

Through eight weeks, Bell’s Maryland offense ranks fourth in the Big Ten and 45th nationally in scoring (32.6 points per game), second and 13th in rushing (252 yards per game), 11th and 110th in passing (171.8 yards per game), and fifth and 52nd in total offense (423.8 yards per game).

His quarterback, senior Perry Hills, leads the Big Ten with a pass efficiency of 149.9, but he has thrown just 140 passes all season. By comparison, Wilton Speight, who is right behind him at 149.2, has thrown 207 passes. The past two weeks, however, he has been solid, completing 43-of-60 passes (71.7 percent) for 448 yards, four touchdowns, and one interception. But he fumbled twice in the fourth quarter last Saturday, one leading to an Indiana touchdown.

Sophomore D.J. Moore leads the team in receiving with 400 yards and five touchdowns on 28 receptions. He had a big game against FIU in Week 2 with 147 yards and two scores but then three straights games with less than 20 yards. But he has scored a touchdown in each of the last three weeks and has nine receptions for 142 yars combined in the past two. Senior Teldrick Morgan has the same number of receptions as Moore (28) but 316 yards and three touchdowns. He has been pretty consistent all season with three or more catches in six of eight games and around 40-60 yards per game. Senior Levern Jacobs has 26 receptions, but the lowest yards per catch average of just 7.9. After catching just three passes through the first five games, Jacobs has exploded with 23 in the last three.

The running game is what powers Maryland’s offense, lead by the duo of sophomore Ty Johnson and freshman Lorenzo Harrison, who have combined for 1,199 yards and nine touchdowns, averaging 8.6 yards per carry. Johnson leads the way with 624 yards, but has been hot and cold. He had 204 yards on just seven carries against Purdue and has topped 100 yards each of the last two weeks, but managed just 11 against Penn State and 23 against Minnesota — two defenses that are relatively comparable to Michigan’s. Harrison gets more carries and is more consistent with just one game all season below 60 yards. Minnesota held him to 35, and he had a season-high 105 yards against Michgian State, but in the other six games he has been between 64 and 78 in each one. Hills is also a capable runner with 283 yards gained and four rushing touchdowns, though he has been sacked 19 times.

Senior left tackle Michael Dunn and junior left guard Mike Minter form a solid run blocking duo on the left side of the line. Dunn was an honorable mention All-Big Ten performer last season and has 45 career starts. Sophomore center Brendan Moore is just another guy, while the right side is made up of true freshman right guard Terrance Davis and redshirt sophomore right tackle Damian Prince. They’re better in pass protection than Dunn and Minter, but msot of the running game goes to the left side. Maryland has allowed 24 sacks — worst in the Big Ten — and a big part of that is the pass-blocking weakness of the left side.

When Michigan has the ball
S&P+ Rush S&P+ Rush SR Rush IsoPPP Pass S&P+ Pass SR Pass IsoPPP Avg FP
UM Off 15 21 47.3% (33) 55 9 46.6% (23) 31 36.3 (1)
MD Def 72 127 48.4% (113) 87 31 40.0% (58) 3 30.6 (90)

Instead of hiring a young, up-and-comer like Durkin did on offense with Bell, he picked 18-year veteran Andy Buh to run his defense. Buh has served as a defensive coordinator at Stanford, Nevada, and Cal prior to his stint in College Park. In Jim Harbaugh’s first season at Stanford, Buh was the linebackers coach, but was then promoted to co-defensive coordinator for the 2008-09 seasons. From there, he took the DC position at Nevada, where he turned around one of the nation’s worst defenses and made it a top-50-ish one. He was the linebackers coach at Wisconsin in 2012 before getting another coordinator gig, this time at Cal, where he didn’t have much success. Last season, he coached outside linebackers at Kentucky.

Buh’s defense ranks eighth in the Big Ten and 36th nationally in scoring defense (23.3 points per game), 12th and 109th against the run (220.1 yards per game), fourth and 18th against the pass (181.4 yards per game), and 11th and 63rd in total defense (401.5 yards per game).

The defensive tackles, junior Kingsley Opara and senior Azubuike Ukandu have nine combined tackles for loss and two sacks, but haven’t been very effective in stopping the run. Fifth-year senior end Roman Braglio has 4.5 tackles for loss and three sacks.

Juniors Shane Cockerille and Jermine Carter Jr. are the linebackers in Buh’s 4-2-5 system. Cockerille was a fullback last season and played the second half of the Indiana game at quarterback when starter Caleb Rowe was injured. Now being asked to stop the run as one of two linebackers is a tall task. He does lead the team with 73 tackles and ranks third on the team with five tackles for loss. Carter ranks second on the team with 64 tackles and has four for loss, three sacks, and an interception.

The secondary took a huge hit when first-team All-Big Ten corner and first-team All-America punt returner Will Likely tore his ACL against Minnesota, effectively ending his career. Cornerbacks Alvin Hill — a senior — and J.C. Jackson — a sophomore — have three of the team’s four interceptions and have combined for 11 passes defended and eight pass breakups. Junior strong safety Josh Woods is the team’s third leading tackler with 38 tackles, while free safety Darnell Savage has 28. However, Savage missed last week’s game with an injury and freshman Qwuantrezz Knight made his first career start.

The other third

Junior kicker Adam Greene has made 6-of-8 field goal attempts, but his long so far is 36 yards. He has tried just two field goals longer than that and missed both (38 and 51). Freshman punter Wade Lees in an Australian League Football veteran from Melbourne but he averages just 39.8 yards per punt with 15 of 43 downed inside the 20 yard line.

Prediction

Four straight opponents have rushed for at least 200 yards on Maryland’s defense — Indiana (414), Michigan State (270), Minnesota (229), and Penn State (372) and there’s no reason to believe Michigan will end that streak. Look for Harbaugh to give the ball to Michigan’s stable of backs over and over and over again with some jet sweeps mixed in. Of course, Durkin will know that Harbaugh will do this, but his defense won’t be able to stop it consistently.

On the other side of the ball, Maryland will probably hit a few explosive runs. Remember, the Terps actually have nine more explosive runs (10 or more yards) than Michigan does so far this season — which ranks sixth nationally — and Johnson and Harrison average 8.6 yards per carry. They won’t have consistent success against Michigan’s stout defense, especially without a major passing threat, but they’ll bust a few.

But it won’t be enough as Michigan is simply more talented and experienced on both sides of the ball. The Wolverines top 300 yards rushing and score pass just enough to keep the defense honest. Michigan’s defense gets to Hills a few times, but surrenders a few big plays and a couple of touchdowns. Michigan has the game in hand by halftime and cruises to a comfortable win.

Michigan 45 – Maryland 17

First Look: Maryland

Monday, October 31st, 2016


dj-durkin-maryland(Maryland Athletics photo)

Michigan got the Michigan State monkey off its back with a win in East Lansing on Saturday. Although the final score says the Wolverines won by just nine, the Wolverines were well in control by halftime. Michigan State scored a couple times in the fourth quarter and moved the ball better than most teams have against the Wolverines defense this season. All that means is that they’ll have plenty to improve upon and not get complacent or overconfident.

This week, they return home to face Maryland. It’s easy to predict a letdown game after a road win against your rival, but I think that already happened in the fourth quarter. Let’s take a look at how the two teams compare so far this season.

Maryland & Michigan statistical comparison
Maryland | Michigan Rank Defense Rank
Points Per Game 32.6 | 46.6 45 3
23.2 11.6 36 1
Rushing Yards 2,016 1,992 1,761 889
Rush Avg. Per Game 252.0 249.0 13 15
220.1 111.1 109 15
Avg. Per Rush 5.7 | 5.4
4.8 3.3
Passing Yards 1,374 1,825 1,451 961
Pass Avg. Per Game 171.8 228.1 110 72 181.4 120.1 18 1
Total Offense 3,390 3,817 3,212 1,850
Total Off Avg. Per Game 423.8 | 477.1 52 31 401.5 231.2 63 1
Kick Return Average 18.2 17.2 114 119 18.4 20.7 29 | 71
Punt Return Average 6.4 17.9 83 5 5.0 | 8.8 31 | 85
Avg. Time of Possession 28:23 33:48 89 14 31:37 | 26:13
3rd Down Conversion Pct 39% | 48% 68 | 19
36% | 16.0% 42 1
Sacks Allowed-Yards/By-Yards 24-169 | 11-83
112 | 19
20-130 | 27-184 42 | 9
Touchdowns Scored 35 49
25 | 12
Field Goals-Attempts 6-8 | 9-14
5-8 | 3-7
Red Zone Scores (28-30) 93%|(42-46) 91% 9 | 22
(21-30) 70%|(7-12) 58% 8 1
Red Zone Touchdowns (22-30) 73%|(33-46) 72% (17-30) 57%|(6-12 50%
Off. S&P+/Def. S&P+ 29.6 39.1 65 15 29.8 1.7 72 1

Statistically, Maryland is better than Michigan State and they also beat the Spartans on the field two weeks ago, but entering this week’s matchup it’s hard to imaging the Terrapins giving Michigan much of a fight. It feels like a chance to exhale after a big rivalry win on the road.

Maryland’s offense ranks among the top half of the Big Ten in most categories. The Terps feature the conference’s second best rushing offense behind only Ohio State, averaging 252 rushing yards per game. It’s the one area that ranks higher than Michigan, but only by three yards per game. They’ve eclipsed 200 rushing yards in six of eight games, 300 yards twice, and reached exactly 400 yards against Purdue. Minnesota’s 30th-ranked rush defense held Maryland to a season low 130 rushing yards and no touchdowns on 3.6 yards per carry. However, they bounced back with 247 yards and two touchdowns on 5.9 yards per carry against Michigan State. Michigan managed just 192 against the Spartans on 4.6 yards per carry.

The passing game, however, is a much different story. Maryland ranks 11th in the Big Ten and 110th nationally in passing with just 171.8 yards per game. This past Saturday’s win over Indiana yielded their best passing game of the season with 248 yards. They’ve been held below 200 yards passing four times with a season low of 96 yards against Purdue. The offensive line hasn’t given the quarterbacks much time to throw, allowing a Big Ten worst 24 sacks.

Defensively, Maryland’s strengths are flip-flopped. They’re solid against the pass, but have a hard time stopping the run. In fact, the 220.1 rushing yards Maryland allows per game is better than only Purdue and Rutgers in the conference. Indiana gashed the Terps with 414 rushing yards and six touchdowns, averaging 7.3 yards per carry. Penn State rushed for 372 yards on six yards per carry. Yes, the same Penn State that managed just 70 rushing yards on 28 carries against Michigan. And the only reason Maryland’s rush defense doesn’t allow a higher average is because they got the fortune of facing Purdue’s rush offense that can barely run forward. Maryland held the Boilers to just 10 rushing yards.

Maryland’s pass defense ranks fourth in the Big Ten and 18th nationally, giving up 181.4 yards per game. Only three of eight opponents have thrown for 200 or more yards on the Terps, lead by UCF’s 260. Indiana passed for 236 on its way to 650 total yards.

Maryland’s special teams are nothing to write home about, especially with their best return man, Will Likely out for the season.

Overall, Maryland is a solid, middle-of-the-pack Big Ten team that shouldn’t pose a threat to Michigan’s conference title hopes. Unless Michigan’s former defensive coordinator, D.J. Durkin — now Maryland’s head coach — can figure out a way to stop the Michigan running game, the Wolverines should cruise to 9-0.

Michigan hires Don Brown to replace D.J. Durkin

Monday, December 21st, 2015


Don Brown

While most expected Syracuse’s Scott Shafer, Stanford’s Lance Anderson, or Colorado’s Jim Leavitt to be Michigan’s next defensive coordinator after D.J. Durkin’s departure for the Maryland head coaching job, Jim Harbaugh went a different route by hiring Boston College defensive coordinator Don Brown. It was leaked via social media on Sunday night and officially announced by the school on Monday afternoon.

“We are very pleased and happy to announce that our top candidate and number one choice, Don Brown has accepted our offer to become defensive coordinator,” said Harbaugh in the statement released on MGoBlue.com. “After a very thorough search and talking with those I respect the most in this game, including Jack Harbaugh, John Harbaugh, Bill Belichick, Bob Sutton, Vic Fangio and others, it led me to Don Brown. Everything he has touched has turned to gold. Just look at his track record as a head coach, defensive coordinator and even as a baseball coach. We are beyond excited to welcome this high character, high achieving individual to our program and university. Teaching and player development are synonymous with coaching and Don Brown epitomizes those qualities.”

Brown seemingly came out of nowhere — at least publicly — but has a track record that should make Michigan fans salivate. This season, he led the nation’s top defense, which allowed just 254.3 yards per game. Michigan’s was fourth, allowing 281.3. The Eagles ranked second nationally against the run (82.8 yards per game), eighth against the pass (171.5), ninth in pass efficiency defense (104.66), fourth in scoring defense (15.4 points per game), first in third down defense (24.1 percent), and 10th in red zone defense (73.3 percent).

This season, Brown’s defense held Notre Dame to a season low 19 points, 15.8 below their season average, and Florida State to their second lowest point total of the season (14 points), just one more than Clemson allowed. It also held Florida State running back Dalvin Cook — who finished seventh in the Heisman Trophy vote — to a season low 54 yards on 15 carries, one of only three games he was held below 100 yards all season, and the only game he was held out of the end zone. For those efforts, Brown was named the assistant coach of the year by the American Football Coaches Association.

Brown spent three seasons as BC’s defensive coordinator, turning around a team that ranked 92nd nationally in total defense in his first season at the school (2013) to 11th last season and first this season. Prior to Boston College, Brown was defensive coordinator at UConn from 2011-2012 and Maryland from 2009-2010. He spent the first nine seasons of the new century as a head coach, first at Northeastern (2000-2003) and then at UMass (2004-2008).

He was considered by some a candidate for the head coaching job at Maryland before the Terps hired Durkin away from Harbaugh. Instead of sitting still, Harbaugh went out and hired the one man who had a better defense than Durkin this season. It has been considered a home run hire by analysts and recruits alike.


Boston College went just 3-9 this season, through no fault of Brown. The Eagles had the nation’s third-worst offense, averaging just 275.6 yards and 17.2 points per game. That, perhaps, makes the job Brown did with the BC defense even more impressive. With no bowl game to coach, Brown can prepare for the move to Ann Arbor through the holidays and will begin his Michigan role after the bowl season.

Predicting Michigan 2015: The linebackers

Tuesday, August 25th, 2015


PredictingMichigan-Linebackers

Joe Bolden(Kirthmon F. Dozier, Detroit Free Press)

Michigan’s linebacker corps was rock solid last season, but with its fearless leader Jake Ryan graduating to the NFL, it’ll be critical for a largely unproven group to fill the void.

As a unit, the Michigan linebackers were great in the run-stopping game last season, flocking to the ball, and for the most part, keeping running backs from getting to the outside. For the defense to take a step forward in 2015, the three starters will have to lock down the middle of the field and support the defensive line in the run game.

Here’s how the linebackers stack up.

Probable starters

More so than with other positions on the roster, there’s a clear separation in the chain of command within the linebacker core. The starters will be three seniors with a ton of experience over the past three seasons.

Joe Bolden figures to be the physical and vocal leader of the group after starting all 12 games in 2014. Bolden was a beast in the middle of the field, making 102 tackles, and at times, defending the pass. With the departure of Ryan, Bolden is the most likely candidate to wreak havoc in opposing backfields. He has five career sacks and 12 tackles for loss as a linebacker and continues to improve each season.

In the middle will be redshirt senior Desmond Morgan, whose 2014 season was lost to injury after the opener against Appalachian State. Morgan was Michigan’s best linebacker in 2013, with Ryan sidelined by injury, recording 79 tackles, 4.5 tackles for loss and three passes defended. Morgan is valuable in the middle of the field because he can dominate all aspects of the position, swallowing up ball carriers and dropping back into coverage. Morgan’s return will help soften the blow of losing Ryan, who was the undisputed leader last year.

The final starting spot will go to James Ross, who recorded 32 tackles in 12 games last season. Ross was quiet in 2014 after picking up 85 tackles and 5.5 tackles for loss as a sophomore and beginning the season with huge expectations. He can drop into coverage with tight ends and make plays on the ball in the backfield, though he disappeared at times last season. He’ll need to be closer to the player he was in 2013 to be a threat from the outside.

Projected Stats – Bolden
Total Tackles Tackles for Loss Sacks
80 5.0 3.0
Career Stats
Games Played Solo Assisted Total Tackles Sacks TFL FF FR INT
38 99 88 187 5.0 12.0 0 1 0
Projected Stats – Morgan
Total Tackles Tackles for Loss Sacks
100 7.0 1.5
Career Stats
Games Played Solo Assisted Total Tackles Sacks TFL FF FR INT
37 111 118 229 2.5 14.0 1 2 1
Projected Stats – Ross
Total Tackles Tackles for Loss Sacks
50 5.0 1.0
Career Stats
Games Played Solo Assisted Total Tackles Sacks TFL FF FR INT
37 86 67 153 2.0 11.0 2 1 0

Returning contributors

This is where the linebacker core gets a bit thin for Michigan. Royce Jenkins-Stone has the best chance after the starters to make an impact at linebacker this season after playing in 11 games last year. His value comes from his speed and athleticism, as he can drop into coverage better than most linebackers and can get around blockers to make a play on the ball. Jenkins-Stone has just eight career tackles, but he’s a candidate to break out in 2015 if he earns more snaps.

Ben Gedeon and Mike McCray also saw some time on the field last year, playing in 11 games apiece. Gedeon made 17 tackles and picked up a sack against Miami (Ohio). His specialty is getting into the backfield, where he can be disruptive off the edge. McCray, however, is more of a form tackler and can make plays if he’s in position. He’s the slowest of this group of linebackers, but he won’t miss a tackle and he can shed would-be blockers.

Michigan will need at least one of these three players to step up and give the linebackers some depth heading into the season.

Career Stats – Jenkins-Stone
Games Played Solo Assisted Total Tackles Sacks TFL FF FR INT
12 2 6 8 0.0 0.0 0 0 0
Career Stats – Gedeon
Games Played Solo Assisted Total Tackles Sacks TFL FF FR INT
25 21 15 36 2.0 2.5 0 0 0
Career Stats – McCray
Games Played Solo Assisted Total Tackles Sacks TFL FF FR INT
11 2 0 2 0.0 1.0 0 0 0

New face

Michigan didn’t bring in any high-profile linebackers to fortify the position this offseason, but they did move defensive end Jack Dunaway, from Bloomfield, to linebacker as a freshman. Dunaway likely won’t play much of a role on the field in 2015, but he’s a good tackler and can make plays in the backfield. The coaching staff hopes his move to linebacker will add depth to the position, which looks so thin after the starters.

Meet the rest

Allen Gant – senior, 6’2″, 225 from Sylvania, Ohio (Southview), 12 games played, 5 total tackles
Jared Wangler – sophomore, 6’2″, 230 from Royal Oak, Mich. (De La Salle), no career stats
Chris Terech – freshman, 6’2″, 215 from Saline, Mich. (Saline), no career stats
Nick Benda – senior, 6’0″, 223 from Champion, Mich. (Westwood), no career stats
John Andrysiak – freshman, 6’1″, 215 from Flint, Mich. (Powers Catholic), no career stats
Michael Wroblewski – junior, 6’2″, 241 from Saint Clair Shores, Mich. (Detroit Jesuit), no career stats
Tommy Whitted – freshman, 6’1″, 225 from Winter Park, Fla. (Winter Park), no career stats
Dan Liesman – senior, 6’2″, 233 from Lansing, Mich. (Lansing Catholic), no career stats
James Offerdahl – freshman, 6’2″, 220 from Fort Lauderdale, Fla. (Cardinal Gibbons), no career stats
Noah Furbush – sophomore, 6’4″, 217 from Kenton, Ohio (Kenton)
Cheyenn Robertson – freshman, 6’3″, 220 from Union City, N.J. (St. Peter’s Prep), no career stats

Michigan releases Spring Game rosters

Wednesday, April 1st, 2015


Michigan spring practice(Melanie Maxwell, MLive)

With the 2015 Spring Game just three days away, Michigan announced the rosters for the two teams on Wednesday afternoon. Defensive coordinator D.J. Durkin will coach the Maize team, while offensive coordinator Tim Drevno will head the Blue team.

Instead of a simple practice format that Brady Hoke, Rich Rodriguez, and late-era Lloyd Carr preferred, Jim Harbaugh is bringing a jolt of life to the event with a full game consisting of four 10-minute quarters. The team hosted a draft last Saturday to determine the two squads that will face off this Saturday.

Gates open at 10 a.m. with kickoff scheduled for noon. The game will be televised on Big Ten Network and Jim Brandstatter, Dan Dierdorf, and Doug Karsch will have the call on the Michigan/IMG Sports Network.

Maize team Blue team
No. Name Pos. No. Name Pos.
4 DeVeon Smith RB 2 Blake Countess DB
5 Jabrill Peppers DB 3 Bo Dever WR
6 Brian Cleary QB 5 Kenneth Sloss WR
7 Henry Poggi DE 7 Shane Morris QB
8 Channing Stribling DB 12 Allen Gant LB
9 Ramsey Romano QB 13 Terry Richardson DB
10 Da’Mario Jones WR 13 Matt Thompson QB
12 Alex Malzone QB 14 Drake Harris WR
15 Garrett Moores QB 16 Jack Wangler WR
17 Freddy Canteen WR 18 Antonio Whitfield RB
18 A.J. Pearson DB 19 Wilton Speight QB
19 Jared Wangler LB 20 Matt Mitchell DB
23 Dennis Norfleet WR 22 Jarrod Wilson S
27 Derrick Green RB 23 Jeffrey Houston DB
27 Travis Wooley DB 25 Dymonte Thomas DB
30 Reon Dawson CB 26 Jourdan Lewis DB
31 Nick Benda LB 28 Brandon Watson DB
34 Jeremy Clark S 29 Ross Taylor-Douglas CB
35 Joe Bolden LB 31 Kyle Seychel K/P
37 Bobby Henderson FB 32 Ty Isaac RB
40 Joe Beneducci FB 32 Shaun Austin DB
41 Ryan Tice K/P 33 Wyatt Shallman RB
42 Ben Gedeon LB 36 Joe Kerridge FB
44 Delano Hill DB 38 Francois Montbrun DB
44 Chase Winovich TE 38 Nick Volk FB
45 Brady Pallante FB 43 Chris Wormley DE
46 Deyanco Hardwick LB 43 Scott Sypniewski LS
49 Anthony Dalimonte DB 48 Desmond Morgan LB
49 Andrew Robinson LS 52 Royce Jenkins-Stone LB
50 Tom Strobel DE 55 David Dawson OL
51 Greg Froelich OL 55 Garrett Miller DL
52 Mason Cole OT 61 Graham Glasgow OL
57 Patrick Kugler OL 62 Alex Kaminski LB
62 Blake Bars OL 63 Ben Pliska OL
67 Kyle Kalis OL 66 Dan Liesman LB
73 Maurice Hurst Jr. DT 69 Willie Henry DT
75 Nikhil Brueggeman OL 71 Ben Braden OL
78 Erik Magnuson OL 72 Logan Tuley-Tillman OL
81 Brian Cole WR 74 Dan Samuelson OL
84 A.J. Williams TE 76 Juwan Bushell-Beatty OT
85 Maurice Ways WR 82 Amara Darboh WR
86 Jehu Chesson WR 83 Jaron Dukes WR
89 Brad Anlauf WR 88 Jake Butt TE
90 Bryan Mone DT 94 Ian Bunting TE
91 Kenny Allen K/P 95 Michael Jocz TE
93 Lawrence Marshall DE 96 Ryan Glasgow DL
97 Cody Zeisler DE

New in Blue: Stanford CB transfer Wayne Lyons

Tuesday, February 10th, 2015


Wayne Lyons

Wayne Lyons – CB | 6-1, 193 | Fort Lauderdale, Fla. – Dillard (Stanford University)
ESPN: 4-star, #7 Saf, 81 grade Rivals: 4-star, #6 Saf 247: 4-star, #4 Saf Scout: 4-star, #8 Saf
Other top offers: Stanford, Nebraska, UCLA, Notre Dame, Tennessee, Florida
*Class of 2011

Wayne Lyons became the second transfer to sign with Michigan since signing day Tuesday, joining D.J. Durkin’s defense as a fifth-year cornerback. Lyons spent the last four years at Stanford University, playing 41 games from 2012-2014 after his freshman season was cut short due to a broken foot.

Lyons’ calling card is his athleticism. He played both linebacker and cornerback in high school, so his tackling and ball-hawking skills help him stay with bigger receivers. He also ran track and specialized in hurdles, giving Michigan a dangerous speed combination to go with Jourdan Lewis.

Lyons picked up 30 tackles in 13 games last season, breaking up three passes and forcing a fumble. He recorded 69 tackles as a redshirt sophomore in 2013.

As a four-star recruit, Lyons was a top-10 cornerback out of Florida. He joins a Michigan secondary that lost starting cornerback Raymon Taylor to graduation and returns 2014 standout Lewis, senior Blake Countess, and gets mega-hyped Jabrill Peppers back from injury.