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Posts Tagged ‘Jake Butt’

Michigan 28 – Maryland 0: Defense dominates Terrapins

Saturday, October 3rd, 2015

Michigan D vs Maryland(

The threat of Hurricane Joaquin moving up the Atlantic coast moved kickoff up eight hours, and perhaps Michigan’s offense didn’t get the memo for the first 30 minutes. But the defense did its part and when the offense woke up Michigan polished off its second straight shut out with a 28-0 win over Maryland on Saturday afternoon.

Maryland looked like it was going to be able to move the ball to start the game, picking up first downs on an 11-yard pass, a 10-yard pass, and an 18-yard run into Michigan territory. The drive stalled at the 47, but Michigan’s offense was unable to get anything going on its first possession.

The teams traded turnovers four of the next five possessions as Jeremy Clark and Desmond Morgan both intercepted Maryland quarterback Caleb Rowe and Jake Rudock and Ty Isaac each coughed up fumbles. On Michigan’s first possession of the second quarter, which started with the Morgan interception, the Wolverines advanced to the Maryland 24, but an intentional grounding penalty killed the drive and Kenny Allen missed a 47-yard field goal attempt.

Final Stats
Michigan Maryland
Score 28 0
Record 4-1 (1-0) 2-3 (0-1)
Total Yards 378 105
Net Rushing Yards 198 29
Net Passing Yards 180 76
First Downs 14 7
Turnovers 3 3
Penalties-Yards 7-65 5-66
Punts-Yards 6-242 13-473
Time of Possession 34:19 25:41
Third Down Conversions 5-of-17 1-of-18
Fourth Down Conversions 1-of-2 0-of-0
Sacks By-Yards 3-20 2-11
Field Goals 2-for-3 0-for-0
PATs 2-for-2 0-for-0
Red Zone Scores-Chances 3-of-3 0-of-0
Full Box Score

After a Maryland three-and-out, Michigan finally got on the scoreboard thanks to a Jabrill Peppers 29-yard punt return that set the Wolverines up at the Maryland 39. Michigan got as far as the 10 but had to settle for a 30-yard Allen field goal. Allen tacked on another, from 32 yards out, at the end of the quarter to put Michigan ahead 6-0 at the half.

The second half started similar to the first with neither team able to move the ball. Rudock was intercepted by defensive tackle Quinton Jefferson at the Michigan 44 on Michigan’s first possession. But the Wolverine defense forced a three and out. Two possessions later, Michigan finally got its first touchdown of the game when Drake Johnson took a screen pass 31 yards and dove for the pylon. Rudock connected with Khalid Hill for a two-point conversion to put Michigan ahead 14-0.

After forcing another Maryland punt, Michigan wasted no time finding the end zone again. Jehu Chesson took an end-around and raced 66 yards down the left sideline for another touchdown.

Michigan added a final score midway through the fourth. Maryland punted from its own five, but was called for kick catch interference as Peppers caught the punt, which gave Michigan the ball at the Maryland 24. Johnson carried the ball for runs of two and 20 yards, and after a Sione Houma one-yard run, Johnson polished it off with his second touchdown of the game to reach the final score of 28-0.

Despite three turnovers, Michigan’s offense racked up 378 total yards of offense, 198 on the ground. Rudock completed 16 of 32 passes for 180 yards, a touchdown, and an interception. Johnson led all rushers with 68 yards on 13 carries (5.2 yards per carry), while Jake Butt led all receivers with 61 yards on 4 receptions.

Michigan’s defense held Maryland to just 105 total yards — the same total BYU reached a week ago. Maryland gained just 35 yards on 46 plays (0.76 yards per play) after its first two possessions of the game. Rowe completed just 8 of 27 passes for 47 yards and three interceptions. Brandon Ross rushed 14 times for 44 yards as Maryland was held to just 1.1 yards per carry.

Morgan led the Michigan defense with nine tackles in addition to his interception. Matt Godin recorded 1.5 sacks, while Maurice Hurst and Willie Henry added one apiece and Mario Ojemudia notched a half a sack. Unfortunately, Ojemudia left the game in the second half with an Achilles injury that may end his season.

The shutout marked the first time Michigan has recorded back-to-back shutouts since the 2000 season.

Michigan improved to 4-1 on the season and 1-0 in Big Ten play and will host Northwestern (5-0, 1-0) for Homecoming next Saturday. The Wildcats are currently ranked 16th, but may move up in the rankings after topping Minnesota 27-0.

Game Ball – Offense 

Drake Johnson (13 carries for 68 yards, 1 TD, 1 rec for 31 yards, 1 TD)
Johnson emerged in the second half of last season as Michigan’s top running back and had a spectacular game against Ohio State before tearing his ACL for the second time. As this season began, he was buried on the depth chart and didn’t play in the opener at Utah while still recovering from the injury. But he has slowly been working back over the last four weeks, and when De’Veon Smith was ruled out of this one with an ankle injury and Ty Isaac struggled to hold onto the ball in the first half, Johnson was called upon to carry the load. He showed the talent and vision of last season, taking a screen 31 yards for a score, reeling off a 20-yard run, and scoring a rushing touchdown.

Week 1 – Jake Butt (8 rec for 93 yards and 1 TD)
Week 2 – De’Veon Smith (23 carries for 126 yards, 3 TDs)
Week 3 – Ty Isaac (8 carries for 114 yards, 1 TD)
Week 4 — De’Veon Smith (16 carries for 125 yards and 1 TD)

Game Ball – Defense

Desmond Morgan (9 tackles, 1 INT, 2 PBU)
Like Johnson, Morgan suffered a major injury last season, but it caused him to miss the entire year. The good news is that it gave him a fifth season to be a part of this team and he hasn’t disappointed. Today, he had his best game of the young season, leading all defenders with nine tackles, picking off a pass, and breaking up two passes. He was all over the field and played a major part in holding a second straight opponent to just 105 total yards.

Week 1 – Chris Wormley (5 tackles, 3 TFL)
Week 2 – Chris Wormley (6 tackles, 3 TFL, 1 sack)
Week 3 – Jourdan Lewis (3 tackles, 4 PBU)
Week 4 — Ryan Glasgow (3 tackles, 2 TFL)

Final Individual Stats
Passing Comp-Att Yds Avg. TD INT Long Sack
Jake Rudock 16-32 180 5.6 1 1 44 2
Caleb Rowe 8-27 47 1.7 0 3 13 3
Rushing Car. Yards Avg. TD Long
Drake Johnson 13 68 5.2 1 20
Jehu Chesson 1 66 66.0 1 66
Brandon Ross 14 44 3.1 0 18
Derrick Green 7 26 3.7 0 9
Jake Rudock 4 19 4.8 0 20
Ty Isaac 6 17 2.8 0 7
Sione Houma 2 12 6.0 0 11
Wes Brown 5 8 1.6 0 4
Amara Darboh 1 -2 -2.0 0 -2
Ross Taylor-Douglass 3 -3 -1.0 0 1
Caleb Rowe 1 -8 -8.0 0 -8
Daxx Garman 6 -15 -2.5 0 3
Receiving Rec Yds Avg. TD Long
Jake Butt 4 61 15.2 0 44
Jehu Chesson 4 41
10.2 0 16
Drake Johnson 1 31 31.0 1 31
Amara Darboh 3 27 9.0 0 15
Wes Brown 2 26 13.0 0 22
Levern Jacobs 3 20 6.7 0 11
D.J. Moore 2 17 8.5 0 10
Sione Houma 2 14 7.0 0 9
Kenneth Goins Jr. 1 13 13.0 0 13
Drake Harris 1 6 6.0 0 6
Taivon Jacobs 1 1 1.0 0 1
Freddy Canteen 1 0 0.0 0 0
Brandon Ross 1 -1 -1.0 0 -1
Kicking FG Pct Long XP Pts
Kenny Allen 2/3 66.7 32 2/2 8
Punting No Yds Avg TB In 20 Long
Blake O’Neill 6 242 40.3 0 2 59
Nate Pritchard 10 360 36.0 0 1 46
Brad Craddock 3 113 37.7 0 1 52
Kick Returns No Yds Avg Long TD
Jabrill Peppers 1 21 21.0 21 0
William Likely 4 91 22.8 31 0
Punt Returns No Yds Avg Long TD
Jabrill Peppers 3 38 12.7 29 0
William Likely 3 23 7.7 12 0

M&GB staff predictions: Maryland

Friday, October 2nd, 2015


Maryland(Greg Flume,

Michigan and Maryland had very different outcomes last weekend. Michigan simply dominated a BYU squad that had already taken out Nebraska and Boise State and nearly knocked off UCLA. Maryland got blown out by a West Virginia squad that had only played Georgia Southern and Liberty prior to the meeting. Tomorrow, the two meet in College Park before the weather turns nasty and Jim Harbaugh will try for his first road win since taking over as head coach of his alma mater. Here are our predictions.

Justin: The noon kickoff will allow Michigan and Maryland to avoid the bad weather that Hurricane Joaquin will bring, but the forecast still calls for rain and around 20 mile per hour wind. One conventional mode of thinking would say that should even up the matchup, making up for Michigan’s superiority. However, Michigan’s offense is predicated on the run game and Maryland’s defense has allowed all three FBS teams it has played to top 200 yards rushing. Bowling Green rushed for 201, USF for 240, and West Virginia 304.

Staff Predictions
Michigan Maryland
Justin 30 10
Derick 35 14
Sam 24 10
Josh 31 3
Joe 27 9
M&GB Average 29 9

Even if De’Veon Smith isn’t fully recovered from the ankle injury he suffered in the second half of last week’s game, expect Ty Isaac and Drake Johnson to carry the load and Michigan to still have success against an overmatched front seven. Maryland will, of course, stack the box and try to force Jake Rudock to make plays with his arm, but he has been slowly improving and as long as he avoids turnovers, will be able to do just enough to manage the game and let the running game do the work.

Maryland’s offense hasn’t seen anything close to Michigan’s yet. West Virginia ranks 26th in total defense, South Florida 45th, and Bowling Green 111th. Michigan’s defense is allowing just two-thirds of the total yards West Virginia has allowed per game and the Mountaineers have played just Georgia Southern, Liberty, and Maryland. In addition, Maryland currently leads the nation with 14 turnovers and the wet and windy conditions won’t help in that regard.

Michigan wins a soggy, boring game and racks up 250 rushing yards in the process. The offensive line will wear down Maryland’s defensive front, allowing for one back — Smith or Isaac depending on the former’s health — to top 100 yards. Michigan’s defense shuts down Maryland’s offense, takes advantage of some turnovers, and Jabrill Peppers gets his first career interception as Jim Harbaugh picks up his first road win.

Michigan 30 – Maryland 10

Derick: There’s a hurricane brewing on the Atlantic coast as Michigan makes its first trip to Maryland since the Big Ten’s expansion to 14 teams. But even Hurricane Joaquin can’t save the Terps from the beat down that’s coming.

Michigan is coming off the program’s biggest win in over three years behind a defense that expects to pitch shutouts every Saturday. In fact, the Wolverines have won their last three games by a total score of 94-14. It’s not the wind and rain Maryland should be worrying about.

Maryland’s home field advantage was just enough to keep the Terrapins within 21 points of Bowling Green in Week 2. Michigan has yet to win a road game under Jim Harbaugh, but if the defense continues to dominate against a team with quarterback and turnover problems, Saturday could get ugly.

I don’t expect Michigan to be as perfect as it was in the first half against BYU, but if Rudock takes care of the ball and Michigan’s defense (along with some near-hurricane strength winds) stifles Maryland, the Wolverines should coast to their fourth straight win.

Michigan 35 – Maryland 14

Sam: Michigan’s defense has been performing at an elite level, while Maryland’s offense is struggling mightily. As long as Michigan’s run game continues to truck forward behind an ever-improving line, I’m not sure Rudock will have to throw one pass to secure a win. Give me the Wolverines with their fourth straight win,

Michigan 24 – Maryland 10

Josh: Well, after last week’s game and my prediction of a Michigan loss I ate a large plate full of crow, and boy was it delicious! I love being wrong when it means Michigan wins. Clearly I underestimated the #HarbaughEffect.

It occurred to me that perhaps Michigan’s lackluster offense against Oregon State and UNLV in the second halves was not because it sputtered and died, but rather because Harbaugh is the ultimate tactician and did not want to give any future opponents any additional scouting material once the game was in hand.

It’s been so long since we’ve had that kind of coaching. Honestly, I’m not sure I’ve ever seen that in my lifetime. Carr and Moeller weren’t exactly master manipulators and I didn’t really get into football until after Bo retired. But I digress.

Maryland is a bad team, a very bad team with ZERO passing offense and a run game that isn’t anything to write home about. They’ve lost to a MAC team and got obliterated by West Virginia, their only wins came against an FCS school (is that still a term now since both divisions technically have playoffs?) and a very bad USF team. Let’s just say Hurricane Joaquin isn’t the only storm rolling into Maryland this weekend (sorry, I had to).

I fully expect this to be a blowout, maybe not another shut out but it won’t be close. Caleb Rowe is a turnover machine. Thank God he’s on the other team, and I think this Michigan defense is due to force a couple more turnovers. It’s what good teams do to bad teams, and we’re a good team. Wormley and Co. have a field day and force Rowe into some very bad decisions that are ultimately capitalized upon by the secondary and make for a very long night for the turtles. Dare I say we should be on pick-six watch? Yes, I do.

On offense we’re gonna see more of the same: pound the rock and then pound it some more. Mix in a few wrinkles, like the sweet double fake pass to Khalid Hill last week, and Michigan should easily top 30 points again. Maybe we’ll even see Rudock hit on a deep ball, but I’m not gonna hold my breath.

The one bright spot for Maryland is their return game and Will Likely. However, Harbaugh is well aware (FULLY aware) of this aspect and like the past few weeks Michigan will be prepared for it. Michigan teams are well prepared and well coached, it feels so good to say that.

I’m not ready to anoint this defense as elite but they’ve far exceeded my expectations thus far and Maryland shouldn’t be any different.

Michigan wins going away and prep begins for what should be a very good game against Northwestern.

Michigan 31 – Maryland 3

Joe: I did not see that last game coming. While I saw some big improvements during the first three games, the fourth sent me into a whole new stratosphere of GO BLUE excitement. This defense is for real and will keep us in games all year. I don’t care who we are playing, this group is big time. Ryan Glasgow is a beast on the line and Jabrill Peppers is…well, he’s Jabrill Peppers. I expect these guys to get better each week. It will be fun to watch.

If this game gets the weather expected, the defense will take control and never let go. I expect a game where the opposition has trouble reaching double digits.

The offense was a pleasant surprise last week and mainly because of Rudock. If we get this Rudock every week, look out. A healthy dose of Butt (giggle), Darboh and Smith/Isaac/Green/Johnson combo should help control the clock. Add a few short fullback carries for first downs (love those) along the way just to keep us old-schoolers happy. I’m hoping we are able to build on the last three weeks and keep this train rolling along. The good guys win it convincingly.

Michigan 27 – Maryland 9

Michigan 35 – Oregon State 7: Wolverines ground and pound Beavers

Saturday, September 12th, 2015

Harbaugh vs Oregon State(

Jim Harbaugh collected his first win in Michigan Stadium in 29 years when his Wolverines topped Oregon State on Saturday afternoon, 35-7. But he couldn’t have asked for a worse first three minutes.

Oregon State took the opening kickoff and diced the Michigan defense with ease, scoring the game’s first touchdown on a seven play, 79-yard drive that took just 1:59. Michigan took possession and on the third play, Jake Rudock was sacked by Rommel Mageo and fumbled, giving Oregon State the ball back at the Michigan 41.

Staring a possible 10 or 14 point deficit in the face, the Michigan defense came up with a big play as Mario Ojemudia forced a Victor Bolden fumble. Joe Bolden recovered at the 37 and raced 18 yards to the OSU 37. Eight plays later, Michigan was forced to settle for a 40-yard field goal by Kenny Allen.

The two teams traded punts on each of their next two possessions, with an Oregon State failed fourth-down conversion in between, until Michigan finally put together a scoring drive. The Wolverines took possession at their own 31 and went 69 yards in 12 plays, capped off by a 1-yard De’Veon Smith touchdown run, their first first-half touchdown of the season.

Final Stats
Michigan OregonSt.
Score 35 7
Record 1-1 1-1
Total Yards 405 138
Net Rushing Yards 225 59
Net Passing Yards 180 79
First Downs 21 12
Turnovers 2 1
Penalties-Yards 10-105 8-62
Punts-Yards 3-127 7-272
Time of Possession 38:01 21:59
Third Down Conversions 6-of-13 1-of-11
Fourth Down Conversions 1-of-1 0-of-2
Sacks By-Yards 2-17 1-17
Field Goals 2-for-2 0-for-0
PATs 3-for-3 1-for-1
Red Zone Scores-Chances 5-of-5 1-of-1
Full Box Score

Oregon State took the ball with 4:03 left in the half, looking to retake the lead before the break. Michigan’s defense held strong, forcing a punt, but as OSU punter Nick Porebski bobbled the snap, he appeared to tuck the ball and start running before finally booting it away. Michigan corner Jeremy Clark ran into him after the punt, and to Harbaugh’s dismay, was called for a 15-yard penalty. Harbaugh threw one of his trademark tantrums, the first time as Michigan’s head coach, but the call stood.

Now in Michigan territory, Oregon State still couldn’t muster any offense and was forced to punt once again. This time, Porebski got it away and it was downed at the Michigan 2-yard line. However, the Beavers were flagged for an illegal formation and backed up to the Michigan 49 to re-kick. The snap sailed over Proebski’s head and by the time he recovered, he was tackled at his own 3-yard line. Three plays later, Michigan scored again to take a 17-7 lead into the locker room.

Michigan took the opening possession of the second half 78 yards in 12 plays, but the drive stalled at the Oregon State 11 and Kenny Allen booted a 29-yard field goal.

After trading punts, Michigan had Oregon State backed up deep in their own territory, and on 3rd-and-9, Chris Wormley sacked quarterback Marcus McMaryion for a loss of nine. The ensuing punt gave Michigan the ball at the OSU 39, and after a first down run by Smith was called back for an illegal block, Rudock connected with redshirt freshman tight end Ian Bunting for 21 yards into the red zone. As the fourth quarter began, Smith ran it in from eight yards out to put Michigan ahead 28-7.

The Michigan defense forced a three and out, but Rudock was picked off by Mageo near midfield. Once again, Michigan’s defense rose to the occasion and forced another three and out. With the game in hand and clock needing to be run, Harbaugh put the ball in the hands of his running back stable. Derrick Green carried it four times for 23 yards, then Ty Isaac three times for 17. Green got two more carries for four yards before Rudock found Bunting for 12 to the OSU 17. Sione Houma got in on the action with a seven yard run and Isaac carried the ball down to the two before Green found the end zone to reach the game’s final score. On the drive, Michigan ran the ball 13 times for 61 yards.

When all was said and done, the Wolverines racked up 225 yards on the ground and 405 total yards of offense, while holding Oregon State to just 138. After the game’s opening drive, Michigan held OSU to just 59 total yards the rest of the way.

Smith led Michigan with a career high 126 yards on 23 carries (5.5 yards per carry) and three touchdowns. He also caught two passes for 24 yards. Rudock completed 18 of 26 passes for 180 yards and an interception. Amara Darboh led the Wolverines with four receptions for 50 yards, while Bunting caught two for 33 and Jake Butt caught four for 25.

Harbaugh got his first win as Michigan’s head coach, and just like his mentor, Bo Schembechler, did so by a 28-point margin. He’ll look for number two when Michigan hosts UNLV at noon next Saturday.

Game Ball – Offense

De’Veon Smith (23 carries for 126 yards, 3 TDs)
After a rough game against Utah in which De’Veon Smith struggled to find holes, the junior back set a career high with 126 yards and three touchdowns on 23 carries against Oregon State. He got better as the game went on, routinely fighting through tackles and carrying defenders for extra yards. Oregon State’s front seven isn’t Utah’s caliber, but if Smith can run like this the rest of the season, Michigan’s offense will continue to improve.
Honorable Mention: Ian Bunting (2 rec for 33 yards)

Previous Game Balls: Jake Butt (Week 1 – 8 rec for 93 yards and 1 TD)

Game Ball – Defense

Chris Wormley (6 tackles, 3 TFL, 1 sack)
Wormley continued to wreak havoc on opposing backfields, recording his second straight game with three tackles for loss. Now with six through two games, he’s nearly halfway to matching last year’s team leader, Jake Ryan, who finished the season with 14.5.
Honorable Mention: Joe Bolden (team-high 7 tackles, 1 fumble recovery)

Previous Game Balls: Chris Wormley (Week 1 – 5 tackles, 3 solo, 3 TFL)

Final Individual Stats
Passing Comp-Att Yds Avg. TD INT Long Sack
Jake Rudock 18-26 180 6.9 0 1 22 1
Seth Collins 9-16 79 4.9 1 0 21 1
Marcus McMaryion 0-3 0 0 0 0 0 1
Victor Bolden 0-1 0 0 0 0 0 0
Rushing Car. Yards Avg. TD Long
De’Veon Smith 23 126 5.5 3 19
Ty Isaac 6 35 5.8 0 12
Derrick Green 8 35 4.4 1 12
Chris Brown 7 33 4.7 0 26
Victor Bolden 4 30 7.5 0 21
Seth Collins 11 28 2.5 0 17
Sione Houma 2 20 10.0 0 13
Storm Woods 3 13 4.3 0 8
Deltron Sands 3 13 4.3 0 6
Jehu Chesson 1 4 4.0 0 4
Drake Johnson 1 3 3.0 0 3
Ross Douglass 1 3 3.0 0 3
Joe Kerridge 2 3 1.5 0 3
Jake Rudock 3 -5 -1.7 0 7
Marcus McMaryion 2 -7 -2.3 0 2
Receiving Rec Yds Avg. TD Long
Amara Darboh 4 50 12.5 0 22
Ian Bunting 2 33
16.5 0 21
Jordan Villarmon 3 26 8.7 0 12
Jake Butt 4 25 6.2 0 10
De’Veon Smith 2 24 12.0 0 20
Victor Bolden 3 23 7.7 0 16
A.J. Williams 1 22 22.0 0 22
Hunter Jarmon 1 21 21.0 1 21
Jehu Chesson 1 14 14.0 0 14
Ty Isaac 1 9 9.0 0 9
Caleb Smith 1 9 9.0 0 9
Joe Kerridge 1 3 3.0 0 3
Drake Harris  2 0 0.0 0 3
Chris Brown 1 0 0.0 0 0
Kicking FG Pct Long XP Pts
Kenny Allen 2/2 100.0 40 3/3 9
Punting No Yds Avg TB In 20 Long
Blake O’Neill 3 127 42.3 0 1 49
Nick Porebski 7 272 38.9 0 1 43
Kick Returns No Yds Avg Long TD
Jabrill Peppers 1 11 11.0 11 0
Rahmel Dockery 3 57 19.0 21 0
Punt Returns No Yds Avg Long TD
Jabrill Peppers 3 14 4.7 6 0
Rahmel Dockery 1 3 3.0 3 0

M&GB staff predictions: Oregon State

Friday, September 11th, 2015


Oregon State comes to town tomorrow as Michigan looks to pick up its first win of the Jim Harbaugh era. The Beavers topped Weber State, an FCS school, last week, 26-7 while Michigan fell 24-17 at Utah. While Michigan had to deal with Utah’s altitude last week, the Wolverines get an ancillary advantage this week in the form of time. When toe meets leather at high noon, it will be 9am Oregon time, not normally a time to play football. Michigan, of course, is used to noon kickoffs, so a quick start could put OSU away early.

Let’s get to our picks:

Justin: Harbaugh’s first game in the Big House as head coach of his Alma mater is sure to be a momentous occasion. SportsCenter will broadcast live outside the stadium in the morning and ESPN’s mobile Heisman House will be available for fans to tour. But what the Michigan faithful will really want is to witness Harbaugh’s first win.

Seth Collins’ running ability will test Michigan’s defense early on, but Harbaugh’s experience with Colin Kaepernick could pay dividends in the defensive game plan. The key will be forcing Collins to pass the ball and make him make plays with his arm. Jourdan Lewis will have his hands full with the size of Jordan Villarmon, but the rest of the receiving corps is manageable. Don’t expect Oregon State to score very often.

Staff Predictions
Michigan Oregon St.
Justin 31 12
Derick 38 17
Sam 27 10
Josh 24 21
Joe 27 17
M&GB Average 29 15

Michigan’s offense, meanwhile, will finally get rolling against an inexperienced defense that allowed 31.6 points per game in 2014. The rush defense allowed 158.2 yards per game, and even though Weber State couldn’t mange a ground game last week, Michigan is a much tougher matchup for the Beaver front seven, which is not close to Utah’s level. Jake Rudock will also show more of a comfort level than he displayed last week and take care of the ball.

Michigan won’t blow OSU away, and the game will stay close in the first half, but the Wolverines will pull away in the second half for a comfortable win just like Harbaugh did 29 years ago.

Michigan 31 – Oregon State 12

Derick: After falling short in an upset bid last Thursday, Michigan really needs a win in its home opener against a weaker Oregon State team.

The Beavers are coming off a 26-7 win against Weber State in which they allowed fewer than 200 yards on defense. But Michigan will be a much tougher task on Saturday. Jake Butt and Amara Darboh emerged as the two top targets in the offense last week and will face an easier assignment against the Oregon State secondary.

Jake Rudock won’t throw three interceptions again, and after his disastrous opener, I think he’ll bounce back and take better care of the ball. More importantly, Michigan needs to get some semblance of a running game going against a front seven that’s much less formidable than Utah’s.

I expect the defense to put up another strong performance and lead Michigan to a big win.

Michigan 38 – Oregon State 17

Sam: After a poor showing last week, I think Michigan’s offense (and specifically the line) will bounce back to open some big holes for the running game and Michigan’s stout defense should shut down a freshman-led Beaver attack. Drake Harris records his first catch and a touchdown and De’Veon Smith goes for 100-plus. Give me the Wolverines for Harbaugh’s first win back in Old Ann Arbor.

Michigan 27 – Oregon State 10

Josh: Oregon State won’t pose the same challenge as the stout Utah defense did but their offense might be troublesome. They only return two starters so this team is very young and inexperienced. Michigan traditionally has had issues with mobile quarterbacks and Seth Collins is mobile. The good news is that Oregon State’s spread offense is very run heavy so Michigan should be able to devote an extra man (Peppers) to keep Collins in check. If Michigan devotes too many men to stopping the run they might get exposed with a deep ball or two thrown in Stribling or Clark’s direction. Overall, this offense shouldn’t be too much for Michigan to handle.

The Beavers didn’t look all that great in pass coverage, playing mostly zone, and left a lot of holes underneath against Weber State, who unfortunately didn’t have anyone to exploit that. Michigan should be able to get its pass game going with Butt and maybe Darboh or Perry but the run game still concerns me. The offensive line didn’t do that great of a job against Utah and just looked flat out lost sometimes. Old habits die hard and they should get better as the season progresses. Luckily this Oregon State defense isn’t a world beater.

I expect Harbaugh to win his home debut but not by nearly as much as most people seem to think. Oregon State will get on the board with a big play here and there and I think Michigan’s offense will take time to hit its rhythm.

Michigan 24 – Oregon State 21

Joe: Game two of the Harbaugh era is an important one for me as I want to see how several key players rebound from an opening weekend loss. I expect Rudock to bounce back and have a much better game. I’m assuming his performance in the opener was due to nerves and a some inexperience of several receivers. If he can manage this game and keep the turnovers to a minimum, Harbaugh will have his first win.

I also expect Peppers to play a complete game instead of just one half.  He showed flashes of greatness in the opener with a very strong second half. This kid is a STUD and will only get better as the season progresses. I expect a pick and maybe a big return to help jump start this team.

Jake Butt needs to keep doing what he’s doing. He makes things easier for his quarterback and is the top option in this offense (for now). This kid is fun to watch and could turn into a game changer by years end.  I’m not expecting miracles in the first year, but I do want to see improvement every week. I think we see that and also see a Michigan victory.

Michigan 27 – Oregon State 17

Michigan vs Oregon State game preview

Friday, September 11th, 2015

Game Preview_OregonState_banner

The Jim Harbaugh era opened with a loss last Thursday, but the hype continues tomorrow when Harbaugh mans the Michigan Stadium sideline in a real game for the first time since 1986. The last time he won in the Big House was Nov. 1 of that year, a 69-13 win over Illinois. Incidentally, the last time the Oregon State Beavers visited Ann Arbor was that same year, the second game — and home opener — of Harbaugh’s senior season. In that game, Harbaugh completed 14 of 18 passes for 171 yards, two touchdowns, and an interception and rushed for 21 yards and another score to lead the Wolverines to a 31-12 win.

Quick Facts
Michigan Stadium – 12 p.m. EST – ABC
Utah Head Coach: Gary Andersen (1st season)
Coaching Record: 50-38 (1-0 at OSU)
Offensive Coordinator: Dave Baldwin (1st season)
Defensive Coordinator: Kalani Sitake (1st season)
Returning 2014 Starters: 11 (9 offense, 2 defense)
Last Season: 5-7 (2-7 Pac-12)
Last Meeting: UM 31 – OSU 12 (1986)
All-Time Series: UM leads 4-0
Record in Ann Arbor: UM leads 3-0
Record in Michigan Stadium: UM leads 3-0
Jim Harbaugh vs OSU: Tied 2-2
Last Michigan win: 1986 (31-12)
Last OSU win: Never
Current Streak: Michigan 4

This time Oregon State comes to town fresh off of a 26-7 win over Weber State, an FCS school that has won just two games in each of the past three seasons. New head coach Gary Andersen is looking for his fourth straight season of at least nine wins. In 2012, his fourth season at Utah State, he took the Aggies to an 11-2 record, a win in the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl, and a top-20 final ranking. He took the Wisconsin job vacated by Brett Bielema’s departure to Arkansas and continued the success that his predecessor started, going 9-4 in 2013 and 10-3 last season. But he moved back west to accept the Oregon State job when Mike Riley moved on to Nebraska.

He has his hands full taking over a Beavers squad that went just 5-7 in 2014 and tied Washington State for last place in the Pac-12 North. In addition, Andersen has to deal with just 11 returning starters, only two on the defensive side. The biggest loss was quarterback Sean Mannion, a third-round draft pick by the St. Louis Rams back in June. Mannion set the school’s and Pac-12’s career passing record with 13,600 yards.

Could Oregon State pull off its first win over Michigan in five meetings? Let’s look at the matchups.

When Oregon State has the ball

Last season, Oregon State’s offense ranked 72nd nationally in total offense, 110th in rushing, 31st in passing 69th in pass efficiency, and 86th in scoring. The Beavers’ 25.7 points per game ranked dead last in the Pac-12, though it was still nearly five points better than Michigan’s average of 20.9. The rush offense ranked second to last, but the pass offense was a respectable middle of the pack in a pass-heavy conference. That was flipped in the season opener against Weber State when Oregon State rushed for 281 yards and passed for just 110.

The main source of their rushing attack last Saturday was Mannion’s replacement, true freshman quarterback Seth Collins, who racked up 152 yards on 17 carries (8.9 yards per carry). Through the air, he completed just 10 of 18 passes for 92 yards and two touchdowns. The three-star recruit out of San Diego, Calif. enrolled early and performed well enough to win the job over a pair of redshirt freshmen and he didn’t disappoint in his first game. But a Weber State defense is nothing like a Michigan defense.

Collins does have help in the backfield in the form of senior running back Storm Woods, who led the team with 766 yards and five touchdowns a year ago. He also rushed for 940 yards and 13 touchdowns as a redshirt freshman in 2013. Last Saturday, he managed just 63 yards on 15 carries. Junior Chris Brown added 54 yards on 14 carries.

Jim Harbaugh led Michigan to a 31-12 win over Oregon State in 1986

Jim Harbaugh led Michigan to a 31-12 win over Oregon State in 1986

The receiving corps is headed by sophomore Jordan Villarmon, who caught four passes for 70 yards and a touchdown last week. At 6-foot-5 and 231 pounds, Villarmon is the exact same size Devin Funchess played at last fall. As a redshirt freshman a year ago, Villarmon caught 35 passes for 578 yards and a team-leading six touchdowns. He’s complemented by 5-foot-9, 174-pound junior Victor Bolden, who led the team with 72 catches for 798 yards in 2014. Bolden caught three passes for just six yards last week, but one was for a score. He had four 100-yard games last season. Senior tight end Kellen Clute caught 19 passes in 2013, but just one last season due to a season-ending knee injury. Last week, he caught one pass for no gain.

The offensive line returns 77 career starts, including last week’s game. Left tackle Sean Harlow is a three-year starter with 22 starts under his belt, while left guard Fred Lauina is the greenest of the big uglies with just five career starts. Center Josh Mitchell started all 12 games a year ago and was on the preseason Remington Award watch list. Right guard Isaac Seumalo is the most experienced with 26 career starts, though he’s breaking in a new position. He started 23 games at center and two at right tackle in 2012 and 2013 before missing last season with a foot injury. With Mitchell’s emergence in 2014, Seumalo was moved to right tackle this season. Finally, right tackle Dustin Stanton is a converted tight end who started six games at right tackle last season.

When Michigan has the ball

Oregon State’s defense held Weber State to just 178 total yards, but strength of opponent considerations apply. Last season, Oregon State’s defense ranked 74th nationally in total defense, 51st in rush defense, 91st in pass defense, and 96th in scoring defense. The 406.2 yards allowed per game ranked fourth in the Pac-12 and the 248.1 passing yards allowed per game ranked third. The good news is that Andersen was able to steal Kalane Sitake, who built Utah’s defense into one of the Pac-12’s best, to become his new defensive coordinator. The bad news is that Sitake has just two returning starters to work with.

With the move to Sitake’s favored flex 4-3 defense, senior Lavonte Barnett and sophomore Titus Failauga are the defensive ends. Barnett has just five career starts and recorded 5.5 tackles for loss and 4.5 sacks last season, while Failauga made his first career start last Saturday. Senior nose tackle Kyle Peko transferred from Cerritos Community College prior to last season but wasn’t able to play. In his first game action last Saturday, he made three tackles and one pass breakup.

The STUD linebacker, Jaswha James, is one of the returning starters, having started seven games a year ago, but didn’t record a tackle last week. With eight career starts, MIKE linebacker Rommel Mageo is the team’s most experienced linebacker, but spent last season as a backup. He led the team with 11 tackles last week, including a sack. The WILL is junior Caleb Saulo, who made five tackles against Weber State, while redshirt freshman Bright Ugwoegbu is the fourth linebacker.

The secondary is thin on experience, but is led by cornerback Larry Scott, who started all 12 games last season. The other corner, Treston Decoud, transferred from Northwest Mississippi Community College, where he was a First-Team All-American in 2014. Junior Cyril Noland-Lewis and sophomore Justin Strong are the safeties. Strong was the team’s nickel last season and started three games, recording 56 tackles, five for loss, and a sack. He notched six tackles last week. Noland-Lewis bounced between safety and outside linebacker the past couple of seasons, but is back at strong safety.

The other third

Sophomore kicker Garrett Owens has a big leg, having made a 57-yarder in high school. As the main kicker last season, he connected on 11 of 13 field goal attempts with a long of 46. He was 2 of 3 from 40 yards or more. Punter Nick Porebski is an Aussie who transferred to OSU from Snow College where he averaged 45.4 yards per punt. Last week he booted six punts for an average of just 37.7 yards, but downed three of them inside the 20.


Harbaugh’s first game in the Big House as head coach of his Alma mater is sure to be a momentous occasion. SportsCenter will broadcast live outside the stadium in the morning and ESPN’s mobile Heisman House will be available for fans to tour. But what the Michigan faithful will really want is to witness Harbaugh’s first win.

Collins’ running ability will test Michigan’s defense early on, but Harbaugh’s experience with Colin Kaepernick could pay dividends in the defensive game plan. The key will be forcing Collins to pass the ball and make him make plays with his arm. Jourdan Lewis will have his hands full with the size of Villarmon, but the rest of the receiving corps is manageable. Don’t expect Oregon State to score very often.

Michigan’s offense, meanwhile, will finally get rolling against an inexperienced defense that allowed 31.6 points per game in 2014. The rush defense allowed 158.2 yards per game, and even though Weber State couldn’t mange a ground game last week, Michigan is a much tougher matchup for the Beaver front seven, which is not close to Utah’s level. Jake Rudock will also show more of a comfort level than he displayed last week and take care of the ball.

Michigan won’t blow OSU away, and the game will stay close in the first half, but the Wolverines will pull away in the second half for a comfortable win just like Harbaugh did 29 years ago.

Michigan 31 – Oregon State 12

Oregon State Q&A with Andy Woolridge of Building the Dam

Thursday, September 10th, 2015


With Oregon State coming to town this Saturday, Andy Woolridge of the OSU blog Building the Dam was kind enough to answer a few questions about the matchup. You can follow him on Twitter at @BuildingtheDam.

1. How sick are you (and OSU fans) of hearing about Jim Harbaugh?

Most Oregon State fans have had more than enough of the Harbaugh blitz, but then we had years of it while he was at Stanford, and then more years of it while he was at San Francisco too, so its old hat by now. Most understand why its happening though.

2. For Michigan fans who didn’t see Oregon State’s game last weekend, give us a quick rundown. On the surface, it doesn’t seem like beating Weber State, who has gone 2-10 in FCS each of the past 2 seasons, is much of an accomplishment. What’s your take?

It was a good first step on a long road. Oregon State doesn’t just have a new coaching staff, they are running an altogether different system on offense, defense, and special teams. The Beavers also have a freshman starting quarterback, and which freshman that would be wasn’t even determined until during the 3rd quarter of the Weber State game. And they have only 2 returning starters on defense.

Weber State also appears to be on the upswing this season. So a game in which the defense played way better than could be hoped, the quarterback competition was settled, and the team generally made progress as the evening went on, was a good thing, and probably a better thing than could have been expected.

How good we will learn much more about this week.

3. Similar to the previous question, 110 total passing yards against a team like Weber State doesn’t look very good. Is that more a product of OSU’s ability to run the ball (281 yards, 5 ypc), or will the passing game be a sore point after losing Sean Mannion?

As noted, there is a new offense in place, one that at least initially, will be run first instead of pass first, and also one that primarily makes a lot of short throws, and takes fewer shots down field, so comparing passing numbers is the ultimate extreme in comparing apples and oranges.

But looking just at the numbers without seeing the game misses a couple of additional points. There were a couple of flat out drops on well thrown balls, a predictable result of working with a new quarterback. Had a couple of plays been made, and a couple of plays not been wiped out by holding penalties, all of which is correctable, the passing numbers and the score would have looked better, and good enough that no one would be questioning them.

The numbers also don’t include the yards that came from a couple of intentional pass interference penalties, where a well thrown ball to an open receiver, in the case of Jordan Villamin, one that’s going to be a mismatch for most corners all season, left no option but to commit a penalty. Those plays don’t show on the offensive stat sheet, but they did move the chains.

4. What matchup or aspect of this week’s game worries you the most?

After watching the Utah game, its apparent that Oregon State is going to have to prevent Michigan tight end Jake Butt from running free off the line.

5. Is there a specific matchup that you feel Oregon State has the advantage?

Everyone else will be looking at Oregon State’s running capable quarterback Seth Collins, and I do think he will be real problem for the Michigan defense outside the box, even though coach Andersen will be trying to rein him in for purposes of keeping the kid from getting himself killed.

But I will point to Villamin, whom I mentioned above. At 6’4” and 235 lbs. (and no, he is NOT a tight end playing wide out), he is a physical mismatch for most corners. He had the big touchdown catch that broke open the game, and prompted penalties as the only way to deal with him.

6. Prediction time. Who will win? What will the score be? And why?

Everyone in Michigan seems to want a prediction! We at Building The Dam normally steer clear of score predictions, because so much can happen in any football game, and with all the changes in place for both the Beavers and the Wolverines, that’s all the more the case here.

But I don’t think this will be a real high scoring game, and I also have a feeling the 2 touchdown line is too large, especially given the accuracy issues Michigan’s transfer senior quarterback Jake Rudock displayed against Utah.

I like how the Oregon State defense is playing, but I don’t like the 9 AM body clock start; those rarely work well for west coast teams.

Because of the unknowns, I’m not even comfortable calling a winner, but I do think the first team to 24 points will probably wind up winning.

2015 Big Ten power rankings: Week 1

Thursday, September 10th, 2015

Power Rankings_header

You see the excitement everywhere you go. Fans are sporting their favorite schools on their chests, talking about fantasy drafts and predictions and looking forward to Saturday tailgates and kickoffs. Rece Davis has taken over as host of College Gameday. Recruits are taking to Twitter to support their final schools. Jim Harbaugh is back in Ann Arbor to face off with Urban Meyer and Dark Dantonio. Finally, football is back.

Now maybe somebody should tell the Big Ten.

It was a terrible opening weekend for the conference, which won only eight of 14 games over the extended weekend. There were losses on the national stage with the whole country watching, losses to schools that have no business beating Big Ten teams and even a loss to a backup quarterback on a final-play Hail Mary.

Here’s how the conference shapes up after Week 1:

East Division
1. Ohio State (1-0, 0-0) – Even
Last Week: Beat Virginia Tech 42-24 This Week: Sat vs Hawaii (1-0), 3:30pm, BTN

After being crowned the first unanimous No. 1 team to open a season in college football history, Ohio State kicked the year off with a comfortable drubbing of Virginia Tech on the road. Cardale Jones won the highly-anticipated starting quarterback job and underwhelmed, completing just 50 percent of his passes for 186 yards. But Ezekiel Elliott gained 122 yards on just 11 carries and Braxton Miller gained a total of 140 yards in his first game as H back. The Buckeyes are loaded with playmakers and will likely cruise through the next nine games with ease.

2. Michigan State (1-0, 0-0) – Even
Last Week: Beat Western Michigan 37-24 This Week: Sat vs #7 Oregon (1-0), 7pm, ABC

Michigan State did not impress during a 37-24 win over Western Michigan on Friday, allowing Zach Terrell to tear apart the Spartan secondary for 365 yards passing. Connor Cook completed just 48 percent of his passes, a disappointing start for the senior. So why did Michigan State land at No. 2? The defense held Western to 0.8 yards per carry and the offense gained 452 total yards. If the Spartans can beat Oregon at home this weekend, they’ll be home free until October.

3. Michigan (0-1, 0-0) – Even
Last Week: Lost to Utah 17-24 This Week: Sat vs Oregon State (1-0), 12pm, ABC

How can Michigan be No. 3 after a loss to open the Harbaugh era? The Wolverines held Devontae Booker, one of the nation’s best running backs, to just 3.1 yards per carry, showed a pulse in the passing game with Amara Darboh and Jake Butt combining for 194 receiving yards and stuck with a top 25 team on the road. Jake Rudock had a disastrous debut for Michigan, tossing three interceptions and overthrowing two wide open receivers in the end zone. But the senior has a long track record of taking care of the ball, so his performance in one game isn’t likely to throw his entire season off the rails. The more pressing concern is Michigan’s running game, which picked up just 2.6 yards per carry with a long of seven yards. If the Wolverines want to compete, even in an average Big Ten, they have to be more effective in the ground game.

4. Maryland (1-0, 0-0) – Even
Last Week: Beat Richmond 50-21 This Week: Sat vs Bowling Green (0-1), 12pm, BTN

Maryland opened the season against an FCS opponent and took care of business, beating Richmond 50-21. Senior Brandon Ross stole the show, rushing for 150 yards and a touchdown on 18 carries. As a team, Maryland gained 341 yards on the ground and just 138 yards through the air. We won’t know much about the Terps until Sept. 26, when they travel to Morgantown to clash with West Virginia. Once Big Ten season rolls around, Maryland will find it much tougher to average 7.6 yards per carry.

5. Rutgers (1-0, 0-0) – Even
Last Week: Beat Norfolk State 63-13 This Week: Sat vs Washington State (0-1), 3:30pm, ESPNU

The largest victory of the weekend went to Rutgers, which stomped a bad FCS team by 50 points. Quarterbacks Hayden Rettig and Chris Laviano scorched the Norfolk State secondary for 248 passing yards on just 15 total attempts for an average of 16.5 yards per attempt. On the ground, three running backs earned 10 or more carries and combined to gain 269 yards. Leonte Carroo enjoyed the second three-score game of his career, catching three passes (all touchdowns) for 129 yards. On defense, Rutgers held Norfolk State to an astounding minus 3 rushing yards on 23 attempts. The Scarlett Knights outgained the Spartans 539-196.

6. Indiana (1-0, 0-0) – Even
Last Week: Beat Southern Illinois 48-47 This Week: Sat vs FIU (1-0), 8pm, BTN

It looks like another long season is on tap for Indiana after a 48-47 home win over an FCS team that went just 6-6 in the Missouri Valley Conference last season. Jordan Howard stepped into Tevin Coleman’s shoes and ran for 145 and three touchdowns on 20 carries to lead the Hoosiers. Quarterback Nate Sudfeld contributed 398 total yards of his own to lead Indiana’s 595-yard offensive attack. But the defense, which allowed 32.8 points per game last season, surrendered 659 yards to the Salukis, including 517 to quarterback Mark Iannotti (411 passing, 106 rushing). Indiana came within a two-point conversion attempt of losing the home opener to Southern Illinois, which doesn’t forecast a strong 2015 season.

7. Penn State (0-1, 0-0) – Even
Last Week: Lost to Temple 10-27 This Week: Sat vs Buffalo (1-0), 12pm, ESPN2

Remember Christian Hackenberg’s freshman season, when he completed 58.9 percent of his passes for 20 touchdowns and 10 interceptions? Well, all of those numbers worsened during his sophomore season, and this year he’s off to a terrible start following his performance on Saturday. The former No. 1 recruit completed just 11 of 25 passes for 103 yards and an interception against Temple, good for a quarterback rating of 3.2. Penn State couldn’t get its running game going, either, averaging just 2.9 yards on 28 carries. The defense, which allowed the eighth fewest points per game (17.7 – fewest in Big Ten) in the country last season, let Jahad Thomas run for 135 yards and two touchdowns while averaging 4.7 yards per carry. Temple also completed 76 percent of its passes and outgained the Nittany Lions 313-183. A 17-point loss to Temple in the season opener makes next week’s matchup with Buffalo look much less like a sure blowout win.

West Division
1. Northwestern (1-0, 0-0) – Even
Last Week: Beat Stanford 16-6 This Week: Sat vs N. Illinois (0-1), 3:30pm, ESPNN

Okay, obviously Northwestern isn’t the best team in the West, nor do I expect them to finish ahead of Nebraska or Wisconsin — both Week 1 losers — this season, but after a week one upset of No. 21 Stanford, the Wildcats earned the top spot. The game certainly wasn’t pretty, but nail-biters in Evanston rarely are (see Michigan vs. Northwestern, 2014). The Wildcats absolutely stifled the Stanford offense, allowing just a pair of field goals. Stanford’s vaunted rushing attack gained just 85 yards and Senior Kevin Hogan was held to 155 through the air. Northwestern was led by redshirt freshman quarterback Clayton Thorson, who threw for 105 yards and ran for 68 yards. Though he completed just half his passes, Thorson’s 42-yard touchdown run was the only non-field goal score of the game and ultimately led the Wildcats to their 10th opening week win in 11 seasons (lost to Cal, 31-24, in 2014). Northwestern has another tough matchup in Week 3 at Duke and will enter Big Ten play as one of the more battle-tested teams from its nonconference schedule.

2. Wisconsin (0-1, 0-0) – Even
Last Week: Lost to Alabama 17-35 This Week: Sat vs Miami OH (1-0), 12pm, ESPNU

After Northwestern, the West didn’t have many inspiring efforts in the opening weekend. Wisconsin got pounded on the national stage by an incredibly talented Alabama team, looking nothing like the Wisconsin teams of the past decade. The team that sent running backs to the NFL each of the last three seasons (Montee Ball, James White, Melvin Gordon) was nowhere to be found against the Crimson Tide, running for just 40 yards on 21 carries. They were led by wide receiver Alex Erickson, who picked up 25 yards on just one carry. Joel Stave had a solid game to kick off his senior season, completing 26 of 39 passes for 228 yards, two touchdowns and one interception. The story of the game with Derrick Henry, who ran all over the Badger defense for 147 yards and three touchdowns on 13 carries. Wisconsin should roll through the rest of its nonconference schedule, but it missed its only regular-season chance for a statement win.

3. Minnesota (0-1, 0-0) – Even
Last Week: Lost to TCU 17-23 This Week: Sat at Colorado State (1-0), 3:30pm, CBSSN

Northwestern pulled off the biggest upset in the country on Saturday, but Minnesota came within a score of one-upping them on Thursday night. With the No. 2 team in the country visiting, the Golden Gophers fell a touchdown short of a win as TCU escaped by a score of 23-17. Minnesota’s defense wasn’t great, allowing 449 yards and 25 first downs. But it played well in its own territory and forced the Horned Frogs to kick three field goals, which kept the Gophers in the game. Mitch Leidner couldn’t get anything going in the passing game, throwing for just 197 yards 19 of 35 passing. Minnesota’s best weapon was Rodney Smith, who picked up 88 yards and a touchdown on 16 carries. Jerry Kill’s squad is coming off of back-to-back 8-5 seasons and could surpass that total thanks to a reasonable schedule.

4. Iowa (1-0, 0-0) – Even
Last Week: Beat Illinois State 31-14 This Week: Sat at Iowa State (1-0), 4:45pm, FOX

For the second straight year, Iowa opened the season against a Missouri Valley opponent in Iowa City. This time things went much smoother for the Hawkeyes. Iowa controlled the entire game, scoring midway through the fourth quarter to take a 31-0 lead and surrendering just a pair of garbage time touchdowns. Illinois State gained just 106 yards before those final two drives as Iowa’s defense held the Redbirds to 1.2 yards per rush. Ruduck’s replacement, C.J. Beathard, threw for 211 yards and a touchdown while LeShun Daniels carried 26 times for 123 yards. Iowa’s defense looked dominant coming off a season of allowing 24 points per game. The Hawkeyes will look to avenge last year’s home loss with a trip to Iowa State in Week 2.

5. Illinois (1-0, 0-0) – Even
Last Week: Beat Kent State 52-3 This Week: Sat vs W. Illinois (1-0), 12pm, BTN

If a team opens the season against a reigning 2-9 MAC opponent, it’d better end in a blowout victory. Luckily for Illinois, that’s just what happened Saturday against Kent State. The game was postponed Friday due to lightning, but that didn’t help the Flashes’ offense the following day. Illinois held Kent State to 245 yards and forced four turnovers in the 52-3 thrashing. Quarterback Colin Reardon had a miserable day, completing just 15 of 34 passes for 156 yards and three picks. The rushing game was no better, as Miles Hibbler led the team with 15 yards on eight carries. The Fighting Illini weren’t flashy on offense, either. Wes Lunt completed 11 of 19 passes for 162 yards and four touchdowns. The ground game picked up just 3.7 yards per carry, but five receiving scores were more than enough to bury Kent State. Next week’s matchup with Western Illinois should yield similar results.

6. Nebraska (0-1, 0-0) – Even
Last Week: Lost to BYU 28-33 This Week: Sat vs South Alabama (1-0), 8pm, BTN

The Cornhuskers’ last-second, Hail Mary defeat was both painful and untimely, but they definitely deserved it. Mike Riley’s team was sloppy in his first game under the helm at Nebraska, committing 12 penalties for 90 yards, turning the ball over twice and allowing BYU to gain 511 total yards. It looked like Big Red would come away with a win after knocking electric duel-threat quarterback Taysom Hill out of the game in the 4th quarter. But backup Tanner Magnum came into the game and scored 10 points in three drives to complete the come-from-behind win. His 42-yard Hail Mary to Mitch Mathews was poorly defended by Nebraska as the clock expired, and in the end, it was BYU receivers hugging the refs after a 33-28 win. Like Wisconsin, Nebraska struggled to run the ball after losing a starting running back to the NFL Draft. With Ameer Abdullah suiting up for the Detroit Lions, Riley couldn’t find a consistent rusher against a solid BYU front. Terrell Newby led the team with 10 carries and 43 yards, but the team’s 3.4 yards per carry wasn’t enough to erase a horde of penalties and miscues. Jordan Westerkamp was a rare bright spot in the loss, catching seven passes for 107 yards and a touchdown. He’ll have to be a consistent playmaker for the Cornhuskers if the running game continues to struggle.

7. Purdue (0-1, 0-0) – Even
Last Week: Lost to Marshall 31-41 This Week: Sat vs Indiana State (1-0), 12pm, ESPNN

Coming off a winless second half to end the 2014 season, Purdue stretched its losing streak to seven games Sunday with a 41-31 loss to Marshall. Starting quarterback Austin Appleby showed flashes of brilliance early in the contest, but a pick six on the team’s first offensive play of the season would ultimately prove prophetic. Appleby threw four interceptions in the opener despite completing 31 of 48 passes for 270 yards. D.J. Knox and Markell Jones were a great one-two punch out of the backfield, combining for 174 rushing yards and two touchdowns on 34 carries. The Boilermakers outgained Marshall 454-397, but the four turnovers were too much to overcome. Purdue will finish the nonconference season with three straight home games.

Five-Spot Challenge 2015: Oregon State

Tuesday, September 8th, 2015


Congratulations to the first Five-Spot Challenge winner of 2015, bluwolf77. His deviation of 84 was the only one under 100 and 18 better than second-place Hazel Parker. Bluwolf77 wasn’t the closest to any individual question, but was the most consistent across all five, as his highest deviation was 37 on Michigan’s total yards. Hazel Parker was the closest to that one, just 11 away.

TheZachster was the closest to Jake Rudock’s passing yards (279), while MEKMichigan was just four away from Devontae Booker’s rushing yards. BigHouseBrandon and chris12qb were each just one away from Jabrill Peppers’ return yards (36), while chris12qb and gavanneste were each just one away from Michigan’s longest field goal (29 yards).

Of the 25 contestants, 22 picked Michigan to win by an average score of Michigan 25 – Utah 21. No one correctly predicted the score, although NRank, Northsider7, and tooty_pops each picked Michigan to win by the same score, 24-17. Chris12qb was the closest to the actual score with his prediction of Utah 21 – Michigan 17.

The weekly results have been updated.

Michigan returns home to face Oregon State this Saturday in Jim Harbaugh’s home debut. The Beavers beat Weber State 26-7.

First Look: Oregon State

Monday, September 7th, 2015

Oregon State(

While Michigan opened the season with a loss to Utah last Thursday night, Oregon State got the season started in the win column with a 26-7 win over Weber State. With the Beavers coming to town this Saturday, let’s take a first look at how the two teams compare through the first week of the season.

Oregon State Team Stats & Michigan Comparison
Oregon State | Michigan Rank Defense Rank
Points Per Game 26.0 | 17.0 T78 | T91
7.0 24.0 T19 | T70
Rushing Yards 281 76 58 129
Rush Avg. Per Game 281.0 | 76.0 21 | 109
58.0 | 129.0 T24 | T58
Avg. Per Rush 5.0 | 2.6
3.2 | 3.5
Passing Yards 110 279 120 208
Pass Avg. Per Game 110.0 | 279.0 T113 | 42 120.0 | 208.0 T20 | 63
Total Offense 391 355 178 | 337
Total Off Avg. Per Game 391.0 | 355.0 80 | 88 178.0 | 337.0 10 | 59
Kick Return Average 0.0 | 36.0 N/A | 10 17.6 | 00.0 35 | T1
Punt Return Average 7.7 | 0.0 49 | T84 4.0 | 14.0 T67 | T110
Avg. Time of Possession 35:25 | 30:41 18 | 52
24:35 | 29:19
3rd Down Conversion Pct 35.3% | 37.5% 83 | 75
00.0% | 23.1% 1 | 29
Sacks Allowed-Yards/By-Yards 2-11 | 0-0
T68 | T1
3-13 | 1-6
T28 | T76
Touchdowns Scored 2 | 2
1 | 3
Field Goals-Attempts 4-4 | 1-2
0-1 | 1-3
Red Zone Scores (3-3) 100%|(3-3) 100% T1 | T1
(0-0) 0%|(3-3) 100% T1 | T61
Red Zone Touchdowns (1-3) 33%|(2-3) 66.7% (0-0) 0%|(2-3) 66.7%

Michigan played a much tougher opponent in Week 1 than Oregon State did. Weber State is an FCS team that has gone 2-10 in each of the past two seasons. But Oregon State had no problem running the football, totaling 281 rushing yards compared to the 76 Michigan was able to tally against Utah’s stout defense. However, Oregon State managed just 110 passing yards compared to Michigan’s 279. But Oregon State threw just 22 passes, while Michigan threw 43.

Oregon State’s defense allowed just 178 total yards — 58 rushing and 120 passing — compared to 337 that Michigan allowed to Utah. Oregon State didn’t allow a single third-down conversion, or the Wildcats to reach the red zone, and recorded three sacks. But again, comparing Michigan and Oregon State’s first games is comparing apples to oranges. Let’s take a look at individual stats among each team’s starters:

Michigan-OregonState starters comparison_Offense

Rudock threw for nearly 200 more yards than did OSU’s quarterback Seth Collins, but what’s missing is Collins’ 152 rushing yards which led the team. Neither team’s running back did much, but Storm Woods averaged 4.2 yards per carry compared to De’Veon Smith’s 2.8. Oregon State tight end Kellen Clute didn’t catch a pass, while Jake Butt had a great opening game with eight catches for 93 yard and a touchdown. Amara Darboh, Jehu Chesson, and Grant Perry each had bigger receiving days than their counterparts, Jordan Villarman, Victor Bolden, and Hunter Jarmon.

The offensive lines are about equal in terms of experience with Michigan’s five having a combined 82 career starts and Oregon State’s a combined 77 career starts. OSU did allow two sacks last week and Michigan’s line kept Rudock on his feet.

Michigan-OregonState starters comparison_Defense


Michigan’s defensive line has the advantage in terms of Week 1 production, with the exception of Ryan Glasgow, who made just one tackle while his counterpart, Kyle Peko, made three. Mario Ojemudia and Chris Wormley recorded five apiece, along with four combined tackles for loss and one sack, while Titus Failauga and Jashwa James didn’t tackle anyone.

At one linebacker spot, Desmond Morgan and Rommel Mageo were about even, except that Mageo recorded a sack. Joe Bolden’s team-leading 13 tackles are countered by just five by Caleb Saulo.

In the secondary, only one starter on either team recorded a tackle for loss, and that was Jabrill Peppers who had two. His eight tackles led all defensive backs.

Overall, Michigan is favored and should win, but the Wolverines’ defense will have its hands full with Oregon State’s running game, notably the running ability of Collins. But if Michigan’s offense can have more success than it did against Utah, it should allow the defense to stay off the field a bit more and thus, be fresher. Stay tuned for our full game preview at the end of the week.

Utah 24 – Michigan 17: Harbaugh’s return spoiled

Sunday, September 6th, 2015

Jake Butt TD vs Utah(

It was everything we thought it would be except for the outcome we hoped for. The launch of the Jim Harbaugh era featured power running, lots of tight ends, and hard-nosed defense, but also turnovers, missed tackles, missed holes, and overthrows that resulted in a 24-17 loss to Utah on Thursday night.

Utah took the first possession of the game and marched down the field before stalling at the Michigan 12. Andy Phillips kicked a 29-yard field goal to put the first point on the board. Michigan responded with a good drive of its own with Jake Rudock starting at quarterback and De’Veon Smith getting the nod at running back. A Rudock 24-yard pass to Jake Butt put Michigan across midfield for the first time this season, but on 3rd-and-5 from the Utah 21, Rudock was intercepted by Cory Butler-Byrd.

Michigan’s defense stepped up to force a three-and-out on Utah’s next two possessions, the second resulted in a Utah punt form its own 2-yard line and Michigan getting the ball at the Utah 41. Two plays later, Rudock found Amara Darboh for 28 yards, and as the second quarter began, Michigan got on the board with a 29-yard Kenny Allen field goal.

Final Stats
Michigan Utah
Score 17 24
Record 0-1 1-0
Total Yards 355 337
Net Rushing Yards 76 129
Net Passing Yards 279 208
First Downs 20 20
Turnovers 3 1
Penalties-Yards 3-25 6-55
Punts-Yards 3-130 4-192
Time of Possession 30:41 29:19
Third Down Conversions 6-of-16 3-of-13
Fourth Down Conversions 1-of-2 2-of-3
Sacks By-Yards 1-6 0-0
Field Goals 1-for-2 1-for-3
PATs 2-for-2 3-for-3
Red Zone Scores-Chances 3-of-3 3-of-3
Full Box Score

Utah responded with an 11-play, 75-yard touchdown drive that featured three plays of 10 yards or more. Star running back Devontae Booker carried it in from a yard out to put Utah ahead 10-3.

Two possessions later, Michigan drove into Utah territory, but Rudock was picked off for the second time, this time by Marcus Williams, setting the Utes up at midfield. But Michigan’s defense held strong, forcing a field goal attempt, which Phillips missed from 48 yards.

Michigan opened the second half with a nice drive to the Utah 26, but came up empty when Allen missed a 44-yard field goal. On the drive, sophomore tight end Ian Bunting caught a 12-yard pass and Daboh a 16-yard pass, but Michigan was unable to get any points.

Utah finally got its running game going on the ensuing drive, marching 74 yards on 10 plays to take a 14 point lead. Booker rushed for three yards, then 10 yards, followed by Joe Williams for seven and quarterback Travis Wilson for eight. The latter was called back for holding, but Booker came right back with a run of eight. Wilson completed a 15-yard pass to freshman Britain Covey, and two plays later Wilson found Harris Handley for 18. On the next play, Wilson found the end zone on a 14-yard run.

Still without a touchdown midway through the third quarter of its first game, Michigan needed one to get back in the game. And the Wolverines did just that, going 75 yards on 12 plays. The drive was aided by a 15-yard late hit penalty on Utah linebacker Gionni Paul that gave Michigan first down instead of 4th-and-9. On the very next play, Rudock connected with Jake Butt for a 19-yard touchdown.

Utah put together a good drive, but it stalled at the Michigan 28 and Phillips missed another field goal, this time from 46 yards. Rudock hit Darboh for 16 yards and Smith rushed for seven to get across midfield, but on 3rd-and-3, Utah corner Justin Thomas jumped in front of a Rudock pass intended for freshman Grant Perry and raced 55 yards untouched into the end zone to put Utah ahead 24-10.

Running out of time, Michigan advanced into Utah territory, but on 4th-and-1 from the Utah 35, Smith was stuffed for no gain, giving the ball back to Utah. After forcing a punt, Michigan took over with 2:46 remaining and put together a solid two-minute drill. Rudock connected with Perry for gains of six, 10, and 25, Jehu Chesson for nine, Butt for 16, and finally Darboh for a 10-yard touchdown to pull Michigan within 24-17 with just 54 seconds remaining.

Allen’s onside kick attempt went out of bounds and Michigan was out of chances.

Rudock finished the game 27-of-43 for 279 yards, two touchdowns, and three interceptions. Smith gained 48 yards on 17 carries (2.8 yards per carry). Darboh led all receivers with 101 yards and a touchdown on eight receptions, while Butt added 93 yards and a score on eight catches. Joe Bolden led Michigan’s defense with 13 tackles, while Chris Wormley recored three tackles for loss and Jabrill Peppers added two.

As a team, Michigan outgained Utah for the second straight year, 355 to 337, but both resulted in a loss. Michigan managed just 79 yards rushing. Michigan’s defense held Booker to just 69 yards rushing on 22 carries, well below of his per-game average a year ago.

Game Ball – Offense

Jake Butt (8 rec for 93 yards, 1 TD)
While the running game couldn’t get going and Jake Rudock had trouble with his accuracy downfield and turned it over three times, the one constant was Butt. The junior tight end entered the season expected to thrive in Jim Harbaugh’s offense did nothing to disappoint. He had catches of four, 24, six, three, four, 19 (TD), 17, and 16. Six of his eight catches went for first downs, three of which were on third down, which accounts for half of Michigan’s third-down conversions.
Honorable mention: Amara Darboh (8 rec for 101 yards, 1 TD)

Game Ball – Defense

Chris Wormley (5 tackles, 3 solo, 3 TFL)
One of the question marks entering the season was who would step up on Michigan’s defensive line? It lost Frank Clark and Brennen Beyer, and expected breakout player Bryan Mone suffered a preseason injury. Senior end Chris Wormley answered the challenge in Week 1, constantly ripping into the Utah backfield and recording three tackles for loss.
Honorable Mention: Jabrill Peppers (8 tackles, 7 solo, 2 TFL)

Final Individual Stats
Passing Comp-Att Yds Avg. TD INT Long Sack
Jake Rudock 27-43 279 6.5 2 3 28 0
Travis Wilson 24-33 208 6.3 0 0 20 1
Rushing Car. Yards Avg. TD Long
Devontae Booker 22 69 3.1 1 16
Travis Wilson  12 53 4.4 1 14
De’Veon Smith 17 47 2.8 0 7
Ty Isaac 4 12 3.0 0 5
Jake Rudock 5 11 2.2 0 4
Joe Williams 1 7 7.0 0 7
Joe Kerridge 1 5 5.0 0 5
Derrick Green 2 1 0.5 0 2
Receiving Rec Yds Avg. TD Long
Amara Darboh 8 101 12.8 1 28
Jake Butt 8 93 11.6  1 24
Britain Covey 5 58 11.6 0 20
Devontae Booker 7 55 12.5 0 18
Grant Perry 3 41 13.7 0 25
Harrison Handley 2 25 12.5 0 18
Jehu Chesson 3 22 7.3 0 9
Bubba Poole 3 22 7.3 0 14
Siale Fakailoatonga 2 17 8.5 0 13
Kenneth Scott 2 15 7.5 0 9
Ian Bunting 1 12 12.0 0 12
Tyrone Smith 2 11 5.5 0 8
De’Veon Smith 1 6 6.0 0 6
Evan Moeai 1 5 5.0 0 5
Ty Isaac 1 3 3.0 0 3
A.J. Williams 1 2 2.0 0 2
Brian Cole 1 -1 -1.0 0 -1
Kicking FG Pct Long XP Pts
Kenny Allen 1/2 50.0 29 2/2 5
Andy Phillips 1/3 33.3 30 3/3 6
Punting No Yds Avg TB In 20 Long
Tom Hackett 4 192 48.0 2 0 74
Blake O’Neill 3 130 43.3 0 1 50
Kick Returns No Yds Avg Long TD
Jabrill Peppers 1 36 36.0 36 0
Punt Returns No Yds Avg Long TD
Britain Covey 1 14 14.0 14 0