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Posts Tagged ‘Jim Harbaugh’

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

Michigan vs Maryland game preview

Friday, October 2nd, 2015

Game Preview_Maryland_banner

With Hurricane Joaquin bearing down on the Washington, D.C. metro area, Saturday night’s game at Maryland has been moved up to noon. But with a Michigan squad that tore through BYU like a hurricane a week ago, will it matter what time it starts?

Last week, Michigan evened the all-time record with BYU, and while the Wolverines boast a 3-1 all-time win margin over Maryland, the Terrapins now stand as one of only two Big Ten foes to have a winning conference record against mighty Michigan. The other, Rutgers, is the other conference newcomer, and both beat the Wolverines last season. Jim Harbaugh will get a chance to right the record on both of those this season, and that begins with Maryland tomorrow.

Quick Facts
Byrd Stadium – 12 p.m. EST – BTN
Maryland Head Coach: Randy Edsall (5th season)
Coaching Record: 96-102 (22-32 at MD)
Offensive Coordinator: Mike Locksley (4th season)
Defensive Coordinator: Keith Dudzinski (1st season)
Returning 2014 Starters: 10 (6 offense, 4 defense)
Last Season: 7-6
Last Meeting: MD 23 – UM 16 (2014)
All-Time Series: UM leads 3-1
Record at Maryland: 1st meeting
Record in Byrd Stadium: 1st meeting
Jim Harbaugh vs Maryland: 1st meeting
Last Michigan win: 1990 (45-17)
Last Maryland win: 2014 (23-16)
Current Streak: Maryland 1

Maryland comes in just 2-2 with wins over Richmond (50-21) and South Florida (35-17) alternating with losses to Bowling Green (48-27) and West Virginia (45-6). For their part, Maryland was tied at 27 with Bowling Green in the fourth quarter in Week 2, but the Falcons scored 21 unanswered points in the final 12 minutes of the game to make a close game look like a blowout. Bowling Green racked up a season high 692 total yards of offense and 35 first downs. Last week, West Virginia also topped 600 total yards against the Terps with 601 and wasted no time keeping Maryland in the game. The Mountaineers scored three first quarter touchdowns and led 38-0 at the half. They took the foot off the petal in the second half and allowed a Maryland touchdown with 11:45 remaining, but that was the only positive of the game for Randy Edsall’s squad.

Early this week, the Maryland players reportedly held a players-only meeting which Edsall claimed to know nothing about on Tuesday’s Big Ten conference call.

“That’s news to me; I don’t think we had a players-only meeting at all,” he said. “We’ve had our normal meetings all week long.”

He then continued with a positive spin.

“If the players had the meeting and something productive came out of it, I think that’s great,” he said. “I’ve been happy with our leadership and I’m glad they did that. I had my normal 7 o’clock meeting and I had no idea that there was a players-only meeting.”

Players-only meetings typically aren’t a good thing. They’re normally a sign of trouble, either amongst the players themselves or more likely between them and their coach. Either way, it’s probably a good thing for Michigan.

Let’s take a look at the matchup.

When Maryland has the ball

Through the first four games of the season, Maryland’s offense ranks 84th nationally in total offense (389.3 yards per game), 50th in rush offense (196 yards per game), 98th in passing offense (193.3 yards per game), 118th in passing efficiency (106.91), and 73rd in scoring (29.5 points per game). By comparison, BYU came into last week’s matchup averaging 30.3 points per game — against better competition — and Michigan shut the Cougars out.

The quarterback position has been a revolving door in the early season with junior Perry Hill starting the first two games but completing just 52.9 percent of his passes. Last year’s backup, Caleb Rowe, took over and led the Terps to a win over South Florida, going 21 of 33 for 297 yards, four touchdowns, and three interceptions. But he struggled against West Virginia last Saturday, completing just 10 of 27 passes for 67 yards, no touchdowns, and four interceptions. That put him on the bench in favor of Oklahoma State transfer Daxx Garman, who went 4 of 9 for 86 yards, one touchdown, and one interception. Rowe will likely start tomorrow, but if Michigan’s defense treats him like it did Tanner Mangum last week, offensive coordinator Mike Locksley may give him a short leash.

The backfield is one of the bright spots thus far with four players over 100 yards rushing. Senior Brandon Ross is the leading back with 358 yards and two touchdowns on 59 carries (6.1 yards per carry). He carried the ball 18 times for 150 yards and a score in the season opener against Richmond and then 15 times for 130 yards last week, but combined for just 78 yards on 26 carries (3 ypc) in the middle two. Junior Wes Brown rushed for 74 yards and a touchdown on 13 carries in the opener, but hasn’t done much since, while freshman Ty Johnson is averaging 5.5 yards per carry.

The receiving corps lacks a true playmaker after losing Stefon Diggs and Deon Long to graduation. Redshirt junior Levern Jacobs leads the team with 15 receptions for 176 yards and two touchdowns, while his younger brother Taivon Jacobs leads the team with 22.6 yards per catch thanks to a 70-yard touchdown against South Florida. He has five catches for 113 yards and the one score. The third member of the receiving corps with more than 100 receiving yards is freshman D.J. Moore, who has six catches for 112 yards and one touchdown. Junior Amba Etta-Tawo ranks second on the team in catches (10), but has just 97 yards and has yet to find the end zone. Freshman tight end Avery Edwards matches the elder Jacobs with two touchdowns — both against South Florida — along with his 89 receiving yards.

The offensive line has some solid experience with three of last year’s staters back this season, most notably at the tackle positions. Junior left tackle Michael Dunn and senior right tackle Ryan Doyle bring a combined 57 career starts to the table, senior right guard Andrew Zeller adds 33. However, against West Virginia last week, Doyle was moved to left guard and redshirt freshman, former five-star recruit, Damian Prince, manned the right tackle spot. Sophomore Mike Minter started the first three games of the season at left guard, while senior center Evan Mulrooney has nine career starts under his belt.

When Michigan has the ball

Edsall promoted linebackers coach Keith Dudzinksi to defensive coordinator this offseason and the defense changed from a 3-4 to a 4-3. Dudzinski is trying to turn around a defense that ranked 10th in the Big Ten in scoring defense, 12th in total defense, 12th in rush defense, and 13th in pass defense last season. So far, however, the Terps’ defense has been one of the worst in the nation. It currently ranks 13th in the Big Ten and 107th nationally in total defense (467.3 yards allowed per game), 13th and 99th in scoring defense (32.8 points allowed per game), last and 100th in rush defense (200.3 yards allowed per game), and 10th and 101st in pass defense (267 yards allowed per game).

Four of last year’s top six defensive linemen are gone, leaving junior defensive end Yannick Ngakoue — an honorable mention All-Big Ten selection last season — to carry the load. So far, he has done well, leading Maryland with 5.5 sacks and 5.5 tackles for loss. On the other side is junior Roman Braglio, whose only start of 2014 came against Michigan. He has started three of four so far this year and has 4.5 tackles for loss and a pair of sacks. Redshirt junior Quinton Jefferson and sophomore David Shaw man the middle. Jefferson has made much more of a splash on the stat sheet with 4.5 tackles for loss and 3.5 sacks. Shaw, a first year starter, has six tackles and a half of a tackle for loss. Sophomore end Jesse Aniebonam — a four-star recruit in last year’s class — is the only change to the starting lineup so far this season, having started in place of Braglio against Bowling Green. He has 11 tackles, two for loss, and two sacks.

The linebacking corps is young, starting two sophomores — Jalen Brooks and Jermaine Carter — and a senior — Jefferson Ashiru. Carter leads the team with 46 tackles so far this season and is second behind Ngakoue with five tackles for loss. Brooks has 24 tackles, one for loss, and an interception, while Ashiru, who has 23 career starts, has 20 tackles, one for loss, and one sack.

The best athlete on the team resides in the secondary in the form of junior cornerback William Likely, a first-team All-Big Ten selection by both the coaches and media last season. Likely has yet to record an interception so far this season after leading the conference with six a year ago, but he does lead the team with five pass breakups. The other corner is senior Sean Davis, who leads the team with two interceptions and ranks second with 35 tackles. He led all Big Ten defensive backs with 115 tackles last season. The safeties are senior Anthony Nixon and fifth-year senior A.J. Hendy, who have combined for 55 tackles, one for loss, one interception, and two passes defended.

The other third

Senior kicker Brad Craddock is the reigning Lou Groza award winner as the nation’s best kicker. He also won the Big Ten’s Bakken-Andersen Kicker of the Year award. Over the course of his career, he has made 81.7 percent of his field goal attempts, and this season has connected on five of six with a long of 41. He does have plenty of range, having made a 57-yarder against Ohio State in 2014. He also shares punting duties with freshman Nicolas Pritchard, who has booted 12 punts for an average of 40.8 yards.

The most dangerous player on the field is Likely, who has already returned two punts for touchdowns this season and averages 28.1 yards per punt return. He’s also the main kick returner, but hasn’t broken through that way, averaging 21.7 yards per return. He ranked fourth nationally with a 31-yard average on kick returns last season, including a 100-yard return for touchdown against Stanford.


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.

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

Michigan 31 – BYU 0: Wolverines carry out mission vs BYU

Sunday, September 27th, 2015

Smith vs BYU - by junfuphoto(Junfu Han, Ann Arbor News)

When the oddsmakers opened last week with Michigan a six point favorite over BYU most fans figured it would come down as the week went on. But it turns out that none of us knew what we were talking about. Against a BYU squad led by a quarterback just off his mission it was Michigan that was on a mission on Saturday afternoon, dominating the Cougars 31-0.

After opening the game with a three-and-out, Michigan’s offense strung together five straight scoring drives to put the game out of reach by halftime.

The first touchdown, on Michigan’s second possession of the game, came on a 10-play, 80-yard drive that included a highlight-reel catch by Amara Darboh on 3rd-and-5. Jake Rudock also connected with Khalid Hill for a 19-yard gain on 3rd-and-11 and then Rudock found the end zone with a three yard run.

Michigan’s defense forced a punt and the offense went 90 yards in 10 plays, culminating with a 4-yard touchdown pass from Rudock to Darboh on 3rd-and-3.

Final Stats
Michigan BYU
Score 31 0
Record 3-1 2-2
Total Yards 448 105
Net Rushing Yards 254 50
Net Passing Yards 194 55
First Downs 22 8
Turnovers 0 0
Penalties-Yards 5-53 5-45
Punts-Yards 4-163 11-475
Time of Possession 38:38 21:22
Third Down Conversions 9-of-17 4-of-15
Fourth Down Conversions 0-of-2 0-of-0
Sacks By-Yards 3-27 2-15
Field Goals 1-for-1 0-for-0
PATs 4-for-4 0-for-0
Red Zone Scores-Chances 3-of-4 0-of-0
Full Box Score

After a BYU three-and-out, Michigan didn’t waste much time getting on the board again. Sione Houma rushed for eight yards and then De’Veon Smith broke out of a crowd and raced 60 yards, fending off a Cougar defender much of the way, for an impressive touchdown.

Another BYU three-and-out gave Michigan the ball back at its own 41 and the Wolverines kept the foot on the gas pedal. A roughing the passer penalty put Michigan in BYU territory and six plays later, Rudock crossed the goal line for the second time. This time, he raced down the left sideline from 17 yards out to put Michigan ahead 28-0. But they still weren’t done.

A clock-chewing drive that featured runs by Smith, Houma, Rudock, and Drake Johnson, as well as a 12-yard pass to Jehu Chesson and 18-yarder to Darboh, resulted in a 40-yard Kenny Allen field goal to give Michigan a comfortable 31-0 lead at the half.

Neither team scored in the game’s final 30 minutes as Michigan’s offense simply tried to run clock. The biggest drama of the second half was whether or not the defense could keep BYU out of the end zone and hold the Cougars below 100 total yards. Well, the Wolverines achieved one of the two as BYU never got closer than the Michigan 44, but topped the 100-yard mark as the games closing seconds ticked down.

Michigan outgained BYU 448 to 105 and held a Cougar offense that came in averaging more than 30 points per game scoreless. Michigan rushed for 254 yards and held BYU to just 50.

Smith led the way with 125 yards and a touchdown on 16 carries (7.8 yards per carry), while Rudock completed 14 of 25 passes for 194 yards, a touchdown, and two rushing scores. Darboh led all receivers with four catches for 57 yards and a touchdown. Michigan’s stifling defense held BYU’s heralded freshman quarterback Tanner Mangum to just 12 of 28 passing for 55 yards, and sacked him three times. BYU running back Adam Hine gained just 33 yards on eight carries, 29 of which came on one run.

After the game, BYU head coach Bronco Mendenhall — whose team has already faced Nebraska, No. 20 Boise State, and No. 10 UCLA this season — was exceedingly complimentary of the team that dominated his Cougars.

“In my opinion, that was the best team we played to this point, not only physically, but execution wise,” Mendenhall said of Harbaugh’s Wolverines.

BYU offensive coordinator Robert Anae agreed with Mendenhall’s statement and added, “We were dominated in every facet, their defense over our offense — every guy, every play…we were beat from top to bottom, play one through, uh, whatever it was.”

Those words from the coaching staff of a ranked team that Michigan just manhandled are music to the ears of Michigan fans longing for a return to the Michigan of old. And Saturday’s performance was the closest they’ve seen to that in nearly a decade.

Michigan improved to 3-1 on the season and will begin Big Ten play next Saturday at Maryland (2-2). The Terrapins lost to West Virginia 45-6 this weekend. BYU, meanwhile, gets a major reprieve from a tough opening four games when they host UConn on Friday night.

Game Ball – Offense

De’Veon Smith (16 carries for 125 yards, 1 TD)
For 15 of Smith’s 16 carries, he averaged a pedestrian 4.3 yards per carry. But three of those runs were on the first two drives of the third quarter when the playbook went vanilla, up 31-0. And to discount his highlight-reel 60-yard run is doing him a disservice, especially since the whole thing was pretty much all him. He didn’t get a huge hole, he squeezed through one. He benefit from downfield blocks, he shrugged off a defender. The only negative of the day was a sprained ankle suffered in the third quarter, but as long as it doesn’t hold him out for long, it’s clear that Smith is by far the top guy in the backfield.
Honorable Mention: Jake Rudock (14 of 25 for 194 yards, 1 TD. 10 carries for 33 yards, 2 TDs)

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)

Game Ball – Defense

Ryan Glasgow (3 tackles, 2 TFL)
When a defense holds an opponent to just 105 total yards, you can pretty much pick anyone as the game MVP. And Saturday’s performance was truly a team effort as no individual player had more than four tackles and none had a takeaway. But after the game when I stopped to think about which defensive player stood out the most it was Ryan Glasgow. Although he only made three tackles, he made the most of them with two behind the line of scrimmage. With BYU near midfield, he burst through the line and tackled running back Adam Hine for a loss of six. In the second quarter, on 3rd-and-8, he stuffed Hine for a loss of three. After years of mediocre defensive line play it is great to see the game ball go to a defensive lineman three of the first four weeks.

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)

Final Individual Stats
Passing Comp-Att Yds Avg. TD INT Long Sack
Jake Rudock 14-25 194 7.8 1 0 41 2
Tanner Mangum 12-28 55 2.0 0 0 14 3
Rushing Car. Yards Avg. TD Long
De’Veon Smith 16 125 7.8 1 60
Adam Hine 8 33 4.1 0 29
Jake Rudock 10 33 3.3 2 17
Francis Bernard 4 30 7.5 0 13
Derrick Green 10 28 2.8 0 6
Drake Johnson 5 26 5.2 0 11
Sione Houma 4 17 4.2 0 8
Blake O’Neill 1 9 9.0 0 9
Ty Isaac 2 9 4.5 0 8
Nate Carter 3 9 3.0 0 4
Ross Taylor-Douglass 3 7 2.3 0 5
Tanner Mangum 6 -18 -3.0 0 9
Receiving Rec Yds Avg. TD Long
Amara Darboh 4 57 14.2 1 21
Jake Butt 1 41
41.0 0 41
Khalid Hill 2 39 19.5 0 20
Jehu Chesson 2 17 8.5 0 12
Drake Johnson 1 14 14.0 0 14
Devon Blackmon 1 14 14.0 0 14
Colby Pearson 2 11 5.5 0 7
Ian Bunting 1 10 10.0 0 10
Nick Kurtz 2 10 5.0 0 7
A.J. Williams 1 7 7.0 0 7
Derrick Green 1 7 7.0 0 7
Mitchell Juergens 2 6 3.0 0 5
Adam Hine 1 5 5.0 0 5
Mitch Mathews 1 4 4.0 0 4
Nate Carter 1 4 4.0 0 4
Terenn Houk 1 3 3.0 0 3
Henry Poggi 1 2 2.0 0 2
Moroni Laulu-Pututau 1 -2 -2.0 0 -2
Kicking FG Pct Long XP Pts
Kenny Allen 1/1 100.0 40 4/4 7
Punting No Yds Avg TB In 20 Long
Blake O’Neill 4 163 40.8 0 3 49
Jonny Linehan 11 475 43.2 1 2 55
Kick Returns No Yds Avg Long TD
Devon Blackmon 2 30 15.0 20 0
Eric Takenaka 1 19 19.0 19 0
Punt Returns No Yds Avg Long TD
Jabrill Peppers 4 20 5.0 11 0
Micah Hannemann 1 5 5.0 5 0

M&GB staff predictions: BYU

Friday, September 25th, 2015



After winning 10 games or more in five of his first seven seasons in Provo, Bronco Mendenhall’s Cougars have finished 8-5 in each of the last three seasons. A 3-1 start in a very tough September schedule very well could set BYU up for 10 wins this fall since the remainder of the slate features UConn, East Carolina, Cincinnati, Wagner, San Jose State, Missouri, Fresno State, and Utah State. A loss to Michigan would mean winning out to reach 10.

For Michigan, meanwhile, BYU provides a good measuring stick before heading into Big Ten play. The season-opening loss at Utah showed that despite a heralded new coach, there are still missing pieces. Wins over Oregon State and UNLV showed some promise, but Michigan was expected to win both of those. BYU gives Michigan a chance to beat a ranked team for the first time since topping Notre Dame in 2013. It’s a swing game for both teams, but BYU’s swing is higher and Michigan’s swing is lower.


Staff Predictions
Michigan BYU
Justin 20 16
Derick 24 20
Sam 27 24
Josh 17 27
Joe 27 25
M&GB Average 23 22.4

The most terrifying matchup tomorrow is Jake Rudock against BYU’s pass defense. Although the Cougars rank just 86th nationally in passing yards allowed, they lead the nation with seven interceptions. Rudock has already matched his 2014 season total with five. Nebraska and Boise State were able to take advantage of the Cougar secondary, combining for 616 passing yards. But UCLA, with freshman quarterback Josh Rosen, managed just 106 yards and three picks on 23 attempts.

The good news, however, is that UCLA showed the path to success on the ground, rushing for 296 yards with an average of 7.8 yards per carry. But Mendenhall is sure to stuff the box to stop the run and force Rudock into obvious passing situations and then try to take advantage of his miscues. The quick outs and receiver screens will be big for Michigan’s receivers to gain yards, and I predict this will be the game in which Rudock finally connects on a deep throw, giving Amara Darboh a nice American citizenship present.

Defensively, Michigan will likely give up a scoring drive early on and then settle in. Jourdan Lewis, who leads the Big Ten with six pass breakups, will have his hands full with Mitch Mathews and Mitch Juergens, but Michigan’s defensive line should be able to keep enough pressure on Tanner Mangum to keep him out of rhythm. UCLA got to him four times, Boise State five, and Nebraska three. The 13 sacks allowed are the most in the nation and that’s where Michigan has the advantage.

In a low-scoring game, Michigan will win the special teams battle, finally get a big play from Rudock, and hold Mangum in check. Kenny Allen hits a field goal late to make BYU have to drive the field for a touchdown, and the defense prevents another Hail Mary.

Michigan 20 – BYU 16

Derick: Finally, after Michigan hosted a pair of West Coast cupcakes to open the home schedule, the fans will see this team put to its first test as No. 22 BYU makes the trip east to the Big House. Michigan rolled over Oregon State and UNLV thanks to a defense that surrendered just 14 total points.

But BYU is already battle-tested. The Cougars lost starting quarterback Taysom Hill and didn’t miss a beat as Tanner Mangum took over and led the offense to last-second wins over Nebraska and Boise State. BYU nearly went into the Rose Bowl and beat No. 10 UCLA, but a late push fell short as the Cougars suffered their first loss, 24-23.

Magnum will battle a Michigan defense that ranks seventh in the country with just 237 yards allowed per game. Unfortunately for BYU, the offense has been largely one-dimensional this season, averaging just 3.4 yards per carry, and matches up poorly against a Michigan defense that allows just 92.7 rush yards per game. In order to move the ball consistently against the Wolverines, Mangum will have to be extremely efficient in the passing game. The freshman is completing over 60 percent of his passes, but played against the 126th, 85th and 40th ranked passing defenses in Weeks 1-3, respectively.

BYU’s defense is slightly more susceptible to the pass (240.7 yards per game — 86th) than the run (162 yards per game — 74th), but Michigan will have some success running against this front seven. Drake Johnson has been cleared to play and De’Veon Smith and Ty Isaac offer strong, physical options out of the backfield for the Wolverines. Look for Michigan to set the tone through the ground attack, as it did in each of the last two games.

The Cougars are underdogs for the fourth straight game to start the season, but this could be Michigan’s toughest test of the nonconference schedule. BYU hung with UCLA on the road and there’s no reason to expect it can’t do the same in Ann Arbor. But Mangum won’t see another defense of this caliber all season and the Wolverines should take care of business at home for the third straight week. I’ll take Michigan in a dogfight.

Michigan 24 – BYU 20

Sam: I don’t feel too confident about this game after seeing BYU’s generally favorable results over the first three weeks paired with Michigan’s extra vanilla with a dash of more vanilla offense last week, but I also am not as good at predicting outcomes as Vegas, which has the Wolverines favored by nearly a touchdown at home now. Perhaps the strong defense will slow Tanner Mangum just enough for the Rudock-led offense to outscore the Cougars. I’ll begrudgingly take the home team for three straight.

Michigan 27 – BYU 24

Josh: I couldn’t for the life of me figure out why the odds makers had Michigan a favorite over BYU. Then I went back and watched some BYU tape and saw why. BYU is a boom or bust offense. They’re either getting big plays downfield or dinking and dunking it, but not moving the chains. Nine of their 11 touchdown drives had at least one play over 20 yards. So now the key to this game becomes can Michigan stop the big plays? I’m not so sure they can. The stats say that Michigan has been pretty good at preventing big plays over the past couple years, but lost in that is the fact that they don’t really play many explosive offenses.

I don’t think Michigan will get beat deep a lot, but they’ll get beat deep a few times and it could yield a good deal of points. Which will be a major issue for the Michigan offense, one who is not built on explosive plays and hasn’t shown they can go downfield with their passing game yet.

That said BYU isn’t a top 10 team and they haven’t been very consistent, on either offense or defense. If Michigan can take advantage of turnover opportunities, continue to run it consistently and not turn it over themselves then they’ll win this game handily. But I don’t think that’s what is going to happen. I think BYU goes up early on some deep balls (two of their receivers are over 6-foot-5 and will be damn near impossible for Lewis and Stribling to cover consistently, not to mention their slot ninja is pretty good too) and Michigan has to pass more as they play from behind. Rudock tosses an interception, or maybe two, and BYU adds a few more points.

While it’s been nice seeing Michigan beat up on bad teams the past two weeks they haven’t done anything to impress me or make me think they can beat a decent team, and one who has played in three tough venues each week thus far. The pass game is meh, the run game is decent but it’s not conducive to big plays and the defense still can’t get to the quarterback with just four. Michigan is just not a team that can beat anyone that is going to put points on the board and I think that’s exactly what BYU is going to do.

BYU edges out a game that feels closer than the score indicates and Michigan fans around the world finally realize that not only was this team poorly coached in the near past but also these kids aren’t as good as we thought they were (save for a few like Butt, Peppers and Lewis). Of course, I hope I’m wrong and Michigan just throttles them.

Michigan 17 – BYU 27

Joe: This is a huge game for the growth and development of the Wolverines. It’s a chance to battle a top 25 team in the Big House and show the nation that this team is on the rise. I hope the offense can establish a strong running game right off the bat and control the clock. The last two weeks were confidence boosters in both the run game and the overall defense. We will not be able to dominate defensively against BYU as we did the last two weeks, but we should hold them under to under 28 points. This team will go as far as the defense takes them. Peppers will have them pumped up and should create a few turnover opportunities early. If Rudock can “dink and dunk” without losing the ball, this team will control things with Butt and Smith doing the heavy lifting. I think the good guys pull this one out.

Michigan 27 – BYU 25

Michigan vs BYU game preview

Friday, September 25th, 2015

Game Preview_BYU_banner

A look through Michigan football’s record book reveals very few opponents that can boast a winning record against the Wolverines, but tomorrow’s opponent is one of them. Brigham Young overcame a 17-10 fourth quarter deficit to beat Bo Schembechler’s squad 24-17 in the 1984 Holiday Bowl. Redshirt sophomore Jim Harbaugh watched from the sidelines — he broke his arm in the fifth game of the season — as the Cougars claimed the national title.

Tomorrow, Harbaugh gets a chance to atone for that loss, but once again he’ll be on the sidelines, albeit in a far different capacity. He’ll try to do one of the few things his idol couldn’t: beat BYU.

Quick Facts
Michigan Stadium – 12 p.m. EST – ABC
BYU Head Coach: Bronco Mendenhall (11th season)
Coaching Record: 92-40 (all at BYU)
Offensive Coordinator: Robert Anae (3rd season)
Defensive Coordinator: Nick Howell (3rd season)
Returning 2014 Starters: 15 (8 offense, 7 defense)
Last Season: 8-5
Last Meeting: BYU 24 – UM 17 (1984)
All-Time Series: BYU leads 1-0
Record in Ann Arbor: 1st meeting
Record in Michigan Stadium: 1st meeting
Jim Harbaugh vs BYU: 1st meeting
Last Michigan win: Never
Last BYU win: 1984 (24-17)
Current Streak: BYU 1

It won’t be easy as the Cougars come to town already battle tested with wins over Nebraska (33-28 on the road) and 20th-ranked Boise State (35-24), and a near-upset of No.10 UCLA in Pasadena. Twenty-one years ago this week, Michigan suffered defeat at the hands of Colorado via the same method of victory BYU has used so far this season: the Hail Mary.

In the season opener, BYU completed a 42-yard Hail Mary with no time remaining to stun the Cornhuskers. A week later, BYU trailed Boise State by three in the closing minute, and facing 4th-and-7, completed a 35-yard Hail Mary to take the lead and ultimately win. The luck ran out last Saturday against UCLA as the Bruins scored with three minutes left to take a one-point lead and the Cougars comeback fell short.

But BYU enters tomorrow’s tilt as the college football darling and a sexy upset pick to beat the Wolverines, although the Cougars are the ranked team. Michigan secondary coach Mike Zordich spent much of the week discussing his team’s preparation for the Hail Mary and BYU’s tall receivers.

“It’s tough to watch, especially as a secondary coach, to see those kinds of throws from the quarterback,” Zordich said. “But it just adds to our challenge.”

It will be a challenge for sure, and a great test of how far Michigan has progressed since the season opening loss to Utah. Let’s take a look at the matchups.

When BYU has the ball

Through the first fourth of the season, BYU ranks 55th nationally in total offense (432.3 yards per game), 111th in rushing (121.7 yards per game), 24th in passing (310.7 yards per game), 70th in pass efficiency (132.61), and 72nd in scoring (30.3 points per game).

The Cougars suffered a huge setback in the season opener against Nebraska when starting quarterback Taysom Hill — a darkhorse Heisman candidate — suffered a season-ending injury for the third time in four years. But that bitterness quickly turned sweet when his backup, 22-year-old freshman Tanner Mangum, executed the late-game comeback to stun Lincoln and followed it up with another against Boise State. He has completed 62.8 percent of his passes for 664 yards, four touchdowns, and three interceptions, and although the college football world is just now hearing about him, he was a highly prized recruit in the 2012 class. He was ranked the third-best pro style quarterback in the class, was named MVP of the Under Armour All-America Game and co-MVP of Elite 11 along with some guy named Jameis Winston.

Mangum has a solid group of receivers to throw to in junior Mitch Juergens, senior Mitch Mathews, and senior Devon Blackmon. Juergens is the leading receiver with 244 yards and two touchdowns on 13 catches, but Matthews is the big play guy with 17 receptions for 185 yards and three scores. At 6-foot-6 and 215 pounds, he’s a tough matchup for defensive backs, and he’s the one that caught the Hail Mary to beat Nebraska. Juergens caught the one against Boise State. Blackmon, meanwhile, has 14 catches for 171 yards, but no scores. The fourth wide out with more than 100 yards receiving is 6-foot-5, 205-pound junior college transfer Nick Kurtz, who has nine catches for 161 yards.

While the passing game is dynamic, the running game leaves a lot to be desired. Expected starter Jamaal Williams withdrew from school in August for personal reasons, leaving senior Adam Hine to carry the load. He’s already more than halfway to Williams’ 2014 yardage total with 279 yards on 46 carries (6.1 ypc), but he isn’t getting much help. Hill’s 72 yards in the first game before his injury are second on the team by a wide margin, and since Mangum isn’t a running threat — though he is nimble in the pocket — the Cougars’ offense has taken on a much more pass-heavy look. Junior running back Algernon Brown has the second most rushing yards by a running back with just 23 yards on eight carries (2.9 ypc).

The offensive line returned three of last year’s starters with 62 career starts among them. Senior left tackle Ryker Mathews leads the way with 20, while junior left guard Kyle Johnson brings 11 and sophomore center Tejan Koroma has 16. The right side of the line is less experienced, although sophomore Ului Lupuaho has started 11, but the right tackle spot is a work in progress. Junior Brad Wilcox, who brought just one career start into this season, started the first three games.

When Michigan has the ball

Defensively, BYU is traditionally tough, partly because Mendenhall is a former safety and linebacker and has spent his whole career coaching defense, and partly because most of the players are physically older and more mature than those from schools that don’t require a two year mission. This season, BYU’s defense ranks 86th in total defense (402.7 yards per game), 74th in rush defense (162 yards per game), 86th in passing yards allowed (240.7 per game), 59th in pass efficiency defense (120.73), and 75th in scoring defense (25.3 points per game). Despite winning the first two and nearly pulling off the third, the Cougars have allowed at least 24 points in all three contests.

Last season’s sack leader (seven), defensive end Bronson Kaufusi, is the leader of the line in Mendenhall’s 3-4 defense. He has two tackles for loss and a sack so far this season. The other end is senior Graham Rowley, who has half a sack. Junior nose tackle Travis Tuiloma was the starter in the middle, and the team’s best defensive player according to Mendenhall, but suffered a knee injury that will keep him out for a few more weeks. In his place is a combination of sophomore Kesni Tausinga (who loves burritos, according to his profile on the team page) and senior Columbus native Logan Taele. Taele has three tackles for loss and 1.5 sacks so far.

The linebacker unit is led by junior middle linebacker Harvey Langi, who has a team-high four tackles for loss and three sacks to go along with 20 tackles and two interceptions. Fellow middle linebacker Manoa Pikula has 18 tackles, two for loss, and one sack. The outside linebackers are sophomore Fred Warner and senior Jherreymya Leuta-Douyere. The pair has combined for 25 tackles and 1.5 tackle for loss.

The secondary has allowed 240.7 passing yards per game, but free safety Kai Nacua has already picked off four passes and broken up three. The other safety, senior Michael Wadsworth, leads the team with 22 tackles. Michael Davis and Micah Hannemann are the starting corners and have combined for 19 tackles, one pass breakup, and an interception.

The other third

Senior kicker Trevor Samson has made all five field goals he has attempted so far this season with a long of 45 yards. All five have been between 32 and 45 yards. While Michigan has an Aussie punter, BYU counters with New Zealander Johnny Linehan, who is averaging 42.6 yards per punt. Blackmon and junior defensive back Eric Takenaka handle kick returns. The latter is a transfer from Snow Junior College, where he led the nation with 44.1 yards per kick return. Hannemann is the main punt returner with three returns for 16 yards thus far.


After winning 10 games or more in five of his first seven seasons in Provo, Mendenhall’s Cougars have finished 8-5 in each of the last three seasons. A 3-1 start in a very tough September schedule very well could set BYU up for 10 wins this fall since the remainder of the slate features UConn, East Carolina, Cincinnati, Wagner, San Jose State, Missouri, Fresno State, and Utah State. A loss to Michigan would mean winning out to reach 10.

For Michigan, meanwhile, BYU provides a good measuring stick before heading into Big Ten play. The season-opening loss at Utah showed that despite a heralded new coach, there are still missing pieces. Wins over Oregon State and UNLV showed some promise, but Michigan was expected to win both of those. BYU gives Michigan a chance to beat a ranked team for the first time since topping Notre Dame in 2013. It’s a swing game for both teams, but BYU’s swing is higher and Michigan’s swing is lower.

The most terrifying matchup tomorrow is Jake Rudock against BYU’s pass defense. Although the Cougars rank just 86th nationally in passing yards allowed, they lead the nation with seven interceptions. Rudock has already matched his 2014 season total with five. Nebraska and Boise State were able to take advantage of the Cougar secondary, combining for 616 passing yards. But UCLA, with freshman quarterback Josh Rosen, managed just 106 yards and three picks on 23 attempts.

The good news, however, is that UCLA showed the path to success on the ground, rushing for 296 yards with an average of 7.8 yards per carry. But Mendenhall is sure to stuff the box to stop the run and force Rudock into obvious passing situations and then try to take advantage of his miscues. The quick outs and receiver screens will be big for Michigan’s receivers to gain yards, and I predict this will be the game in which Rudock finally connects on a deep throw, giving Amara Darboh a nice American citizenship present.

Defensively, Michigan will likely give up a scoring drive early on and then settle in. Jourdan Lewis, who leads the Big Ten with six pass breakups, will have his hands full with Mathews and Juergens, but Michigan’s defensive line should be able to keep enough pressure on Mangum to keep him out of rhythm. UCLA got to him four times, Boise State five, and Nebraska three. The 13 sacks allowed are the most in the nation and that’s where Michigan has the advantage.

In a low-scoring game, Michigan will win the special teams battle, finally get a big play from Rudock, and hold Mangum in check. Kenny Allen hits a field goal late to make BYU have to drive the field for a touchdown, and the defense prevents another Hail Mary.

Michigan 20 – BYU 16

Five-Spot Challenge 2015: BYU

Wednesday, September 23rd, 2015


Congratulations to Freezer566 for winning Week 3 of the Five-Spot Challenge. Not only did he have the lowest deviation, but he also became the first contestant in the history of the challenge to correctly predict the final score. Even if he hadn’t, he still would have won, but the correct score prediction knocked his highest single deviation down to zero, giving him a total deviation of 45 for the week. He was the closest to Michigan’s total yards (377), only nine away, second closest to UNLV’s total yards (235), 15 away, and third closest to De’Veon Smith’s rushing yards (33), 57 away.

TheZachster came in second with a total deviation of 133, He was only one away from Michigan’s total punt return yards (24), just one away, and also consistently low across the other four questions. HTTV136 was the only one to correctly predict that Michigan’s first touchdown would be five yards, while Hazel Parker was second closest to Michigan’s total yards (11 away) and UNLV’s total yards (eight away).

All 23 contestants this week predicted Michigan to win by an average score of Michigan 44 – UNLV 8.

The weekly results have been updated, and I promise I’ll update the overall standings soon.

Michigan hosts BYU at noon this Saturday in what should be a good test of how much the Wolverines have progressed since the season opening loss at Utah. Here are this week’s questions:

2015 Big Ten power rankings: Week 3

Wednesday, September 23rd, 2015

Power Rankings_header

After a disastrous Week 1 (8-6) and an outstanding Week 2 (12-2), the Big Ten levelled out a bit in Week 3, finishing with a 9-3 record in out-of-conference games. Penn State and Rutgers kicked off the conference schedule two weeks early as the Nittany Lions picked up the first official Big Ten win of the season.

But the biggest news of the week came on Sunday, when Ohio State and Michigan State were named Nos. 1 and 2 atop the new AP Poll. Though neither team was dominant over the weekend, they treaded water while the rest of the top 10 crashed and burned. So now the Big Ten has a strong hold atop college football.

With most of the nonconference schedule ending this weekend, it’s nearly time to draw some solid conclusions about the state of the 2015 Big Ten. Here’s where the teams stand after Week 3.

East Division
1. Michigan State (3-0, 0-0) – Even
Last Week: Beat Air Force 35-21 This Week: Sat vs Central Michigan (1-2), 12pm, BTN

While Ohio State kept its hold on the No. 1 spot in the national polls, it’ll have no such luck in these power rankings. Michigan State underwhelmed in a 35-21 win over Air Force, but the combination of an emotional Week 2 win over Oregon and a first look at the true Triple Option offense makes the Spartans’ lackluster performance more understandable. Connor Cook enjoyed by far his best game of the season, throwing for 247 yards and four touchdowns on just 23 pass attempts. Eight of his 15 completions went to Aaron Burbridge, who picked up 156 receiving yards and three scores. The defense is definitely a concern for Michigan State as the conference season nears. After Western Michigan and Oregon racked up 383 yards and 432 yards of total offense, respectively, in Weeks 1 and 2, Air Force outgained MSU 428-324. Luckily for the Spartans, it doesn’t have to be pretty. If they win the rest of their games by a point each, they’ll find themselves comfortable in the four-team playoff.

2. Ohio State (3-0, 0-0) – Even
Last Week: Beat N. Illinois 20-13 This Week: Sat vs W. Michigan (1-2), 3:30pm, ABC

Ohio State, like MSU, struggled against an inferior opponent on Saturday. But Ohio State, unlike MSU, has no good wins to fall back on. The Buckeyes limped to a 20-13 win at home over Northern Illinois, which gained fewer than 200 yards of offense and averaged an awful 2.5 yards per play. The Huskies did not play well, completing just 14 of 31 passes, turning the ball over twice and gaining just 2.6 yards per rush, but had a chance in the final moments to knock off the No. 1 team in the country. Ohio State entered the season with a pair of potential All-Big Ten quarterbacks duking it out for the starting job, but now neither one wants to take it. Cardale Jones looked terrible in the first half, completing four of nine passes and tossing two picks. When J.T. Barrett took over, he was wild as well, completing 11 of 19 for a touchdown and an interception. Ohio State’s defense held NIU to just 190 yards, if the star-studded offense keeps turning the ball over, one of these upset bids is bound to turn into an actual upset.

3. Michigan (2-1, 0-0) – Even
Last Week: Beat UNLV 28-7 This Week: Sat vs BYU (2-1), 12pm, ABC

Jim Harbaugh and the Wolverines flew under the radar this weekend as the winless UNLV Rebels came to town. Michigan’s offense struggled again, scoring just 28 points, but it did rack up 377 yards. Jake Rudock threw his fifth interception of the season and averaged just 5.6 yards per pass as the downfield attack continued to be nonexistent. But Ty Isaac and Jehu Chesson finally made a pair of big plays for the Wolverines, each running down the left sideline for long touchdowns. Chesson’s 36-yard dash put Michigan up 14-0 in the second quarter and Isaac’s 76-yard score came just two drives later. Week 2 hero De’Veon Smith took a step back against the Rebels, gaining just 33 yards on 13 carries. The story for Michigan continued to be the defense, which held UNLV to just seven points and 235 yards. Keith Whitely (13 carries for 29 yards) couldn’t get anything going on the ground against Michigan’s front seven, but the secondary was just as strong, breaking up five passes and intercepting two. Jourdan Lewis returned from a Week 2 concussion to break up four passes in coverage. Since allowing 337 yards to Utah in the opener, Michigan has given up just 373 total to Oregon State and UNLV. The team will face its second ranked opponent of the season Saturday when No. 22 BYU visits the Big House.

4. Penn State (2-1, 1-0) – Even
Last Week: Beat Rutgers 28-3 This Week: Sat vs San Diego State (1-2), 3:30pm, BTN

Is there something about that Indiana air that prevents teams from playing defense? Only Purdue (106) has allowed more points than Indiana (104) in the Big Ten through three nonconference games. But Indiana has done so against two Conference USA opponents and an FCS team. This week’s shootout came against Western Kentucky, which fell to the Hoosiers despite gaining 568 yards of offense. Quarterback Brandon Doughty threw for 484 yards and three touchdowns to mask an ineffective running game (3.2 yards per carry) for the Hilltoppers. Indiana picked up a season high 639 rushing yards, led by Jordan Howard’s 203 rushing yards and Nate Sudfeld’s 355 passing yards. The Hoosiers haven’t played defense for years now, and last year they mustered just four wins all season. They’ll have a chance to reach that mark, and polish off an undefeated non-conference season, at Wake Forest Saturday.

5. Indiana (3-0, 0-0) – Up 1
Last Week: Beat W. Kentucky 38-35 This Week: Sat at Wake Forest (2-1), 12:30pm

Penn State dominated Rutgers in the first conference matchup of the season, scoring 21 points in the second quarter and cruising to a 28-3 win. Saquon Barkley paced Penn State with 195 yards and two touchdowns on 21 carries. Akeel Lynch accounted for the team’s third rushing touchdown with a 75-yard dash in the second quarter. Christian Hackenberg put in another uninspiring performance, completing 10 of 19 passes for 141 yards and an interception against a shaky Rutgers defense. Hackenberg has completed fewer than half of his passes this season and has just one touchdown.

6. Maryland (2-1, 0-0) – Up 1
Last Week: Beat USF 35-17 This Week: Sat at West Virginia (2-0), 3pm, FS1

Maryland bounced back from an embarrassing home loss to Bowling Green with a comfortable win over South Florida in Week 3. The transition to Caleb Rowe at starting quarterback had its ups and downs. Rowe threw for 297 yards and four touchdowns, but turned it over three times to keep USF in the game. The Terrapins gained over 400 yards on offense and allowed a season-low 17 points. They’ll face a big test Saturday in West Virginia.

7. Rutgers (1-2, 0-1) – Down 1
Last Week: Lost to Penn State 3-28 This Week: Sat vs Kansas (0-2), 12pm, BTN

The Scarlet Knights picked up right where they left off Saturday, losing their second straight game and falling to 0-1 in the Big Ten. Rutgers couldn’t get anything going on offense, averaging a terrible 1.3 yards per carry and turning it over three times. Penn State ran for 330 yards against the front seven, leading an anemic offense to 471 total yards. The Scarlet Knights have a great chance to finish the non-conference schedule even as Kansas comes to town this weekend.

West Division
1. Northwestern (3-0, 0-0) – Even
Last Week: Beat Duke 19-10 This Week: Sat vs Ball State (2-1), 8pm, BTN

Though the opening week win over a ranked Stanford team was the coming out party for this Northwestern team, a road win over previously-undefeated Duke made an even louder statement. Northwestern struggled to move the ball, gaining just 271 yards of offense, but its defense is legit. The Wildcats forced three turnovers and held Duke to 3.8 yards per pass en route to a 19-10 win. Solomon Vault made the big play for Coach Pat Fitzgerald, returning a kickoff 98 yards for a touchdown to give Northwestern the lead for good. It might not be pretty, but the Wildcats’ defense has passed its first three tests and should lead the way to a 4-0 start Saturday against Ball State.

2. Iowa (3-0, 0-0) – Up 1
Last Week: Beat Pitt 27-24 This Week: Sat vs N. Texas (0-2), 3:30pm, ESPNU

While most of the conference hosted teams like Northern Illinois, UNLV and Troy, Iowa returned home to play its second straight power five team. It was a back and forth battle, and Pitt completed off a 13-play, 75-yard touchdown drive with 52 seconds left in regulation to tie it at 24. But a trio of C.J. Beathard runs put the Hawkeyes in Panther territory and Marshall Koehn nailed a 57-yard field goal to seal the deal. Iowa picked off two passes and shut down Pittsburgh’s rushing attack (2 yards per carry) to put itself in position for the walkoff win.

3. Wisconsin (2-1, 0-0) – Down 1
Last Week: Beat Troy 28-3 This Week: Sat vs Hawaii (2-1), 8pm, BTN

The Badgers have bounced back nicely from an opening week loss to Alabama, beating Miami (OH) and Troy by a combined score of 86-3. Joel Stave is on cruise control at the helm and completed 13 of 17 passes for 202 yards and a touchdown against Troy. Wisconsin’s offense takes on a whole different look without a 100-yard rusher, but the team did average 5.7 yards per carry behind a stout offensive line. On defense, Wisconsin held Troy to 255 yards, but surrendered 19 first downs and lost the time of possession battle, which is unusual for the Badgers.

4. Minnesota (2-1, 0-0) – Even
Last Week: Beat Kent State 10-7 This Week: Sat vs Ohio (3-0), 3:30pm, BTN

Week 3 was a major disappointment for Minnesota, which opened some eyes with a near upset of No. 2 TCU in Week 1 and a road win over Colorado State in Week 2. Luckily for the Gophers, an outstanding defensive performance kept a disappointing week from becoming a disastrous week. Kent State gained just 142 yards in the game, going 3-17 on 3rd down and averaging fewer than 2.5 yards per play. On offense, Minnesota was terrible, scoring 10 points, committing three turnovers and eight penalties. Rodney Smith ran the ball 30 times but gained just 73 yards to pace the ground attack. Mitch Leidner completed 17 of 27 passes for 184 yards, but threw a pair of picks that helped Kent State stick around. Jerry Kill’s defense looks like one of the best in the country, but if Leidner can’t lead the offense back to respectability, Minnesota won’t compete for the West.

5. Nebraska (1-2, 0-0) – Even
Last Week: Lost to Miami 33-36 This Week: Sat vs Southern Miss (2-1), 12pm, ESPNN

It’s only Week 3, but Nebraska has already lost a pair of heartbreakers this season. Miami was blowing the Huskers out of the water in the fourth quarter before Tommy Armstrong led three straight touchdown drives (two of which ended in successful two-point conversions) to tie the game at 33 in the final minute. But the 23-0 run ended when Armstrong threw a pick in overtime and the Hurricanes kicked a game-winning 28-yard field goal. Nebraska’s defense really struggled Saturday, allowing 511 totals yards in Miami. If Mike Riley hopes to compete in his first year in the Big Ten, that’ll have to turn around quickly.

6. Illinois (2-1, 0-0) – Even
Last Week: Lost to N. Carolina 14-48 This Week: Sat vs Middle Tenn. (2-1), 4pm, ESPNN

Illinois could only hide behind weak competition for so long, and North Carolina exposed the Fighting Illini in a big way Saturday. Running back Elijah Hood averaged over eight yards per carry for the Heels and quarterback Marquise Williams rushed for 105 yards of his own as Illinois got steam rolled right out of North Carolina. West Lunt completed fewer than half of his passes and posted a quarterback rating of 14.3 as the Fighting Illini scored just twice in the contest. Josh Ferguson was the lone bright spot, rushing for 133 yards and a touchdown on 22 carries. Illinois will host another cupcake Saturday as Middle Tennessee State comes to Champaign.

7. Purdue (1-2, 0-0) – Even
Last Week: Lost to Virginia Tech 24-51 This Week: Sat vs Bowling Green (1-2), 12pm, BTN

Purdue couldn’t have looked much worse than it did Saturday against Virginia Tech in West Lafayette. The Boilermakers were outgained by over 200 yards, committed three turnovers and went just 2-15 on third down. Virginia Tech held the ball for over 38 minutes and held Austin Appleby to nine completions on 28 pass attempts. Appleby was a nonfactor on the ground too, rushing 13 times for 11 yards. Purdue is a candidate for an ugly loss in Week 4 as it hosts Bowling Green, a team that already stomped Maryland.

M&GB staff predictions: UNLV

Friday, September 18th, 2015


Jim Harbaugh picked up his first win last Saturday as head coach of his Alma mater, and now he looks to get above .500 for the first time when UNLV comes to town. Here are our predictions:

Justin: Work called me to Baltimore for the week and client obligations have taken up most of my time, so in lieu of a full game preview this week, we’re only going to do our staff predictions.

How great was it to see Michigan’s running game just ground and pound right through Oregon State’s defense in the second half last week? Well, the running game should gain even more steam this weekend given that UNLV’s defense is one of the worst in the nation. Out of 127 teams, the Rebels rank 120th nationally in total defense, 114th in rush defense, 105th in pass defense, and 114th in scoring defense. Expect to see a lot of De’Veon Smith, Ty Isaac, Derrick Green, and perhaps a few more carries for Drake Johnson as he continues his return from his second ACL tear.

Staff Predictions
Michigan UNLV
Justin 42 9
Derick 41 10
Sam 42 6
Josh 45 10
Joe 45 7
M&GB Average 43 8

Defensively, Michigan faces an offense that ranks 114th nationally in scoring, averaging 16.5 points per game. UNLV lost to Northern Illinois 38-30 in Week 1, then got plowed by UCLA 37-3 last week. The Rebels were held to just 56 passing yards, while UCLA racked up 526 total yards.

It will be a boring game, resembling the Michigan of old with a lot of running and a strong defense. Harbaugh and offensive coordinator Tim Drevno will look to refine the running game before a big matchup with BYU and then the Big Ten schedule. Michigan tops 300 yards rushing and wins big.

Michigan 42 – UNLV 9

Derick: Michigan added a new wrinkle to its offense during a 35-7 dismantling of Oregon State last weekend: a running game! De’Veon Smith led the charge with 126 yards and three touchdowns on 23 carries and the Wolverines averaged 4.7 yards per rush as a team.

Expect to see more of the same Saturday as a terrible UNLV team makes an appearance at the Big House. In two losses to open the season, the Rebels have given up a total of 1,071 yards — 437 of those on the ground. Michigan will jump out to a big lead and Smith will be asked to pace the offense again and keep the clock rolling. Drake Johnson is also expected to earn a few touches as he works his way back from injury, and don’t be surprised if Ty Isaac and Derrick Green approach double digit carries for the second straight week.

In his final tuneup game before a dangerous BYU squad comes to town, Jake Rudock will have to squash the turnover bug that’s bitten him in each of his first games in the Maize and Blue. Rudock threw three picks in Utah and added a fumble and an interception last Saturday against Oregon State. UNLV picked off three passes against UCLA over the weekend, so Rudock will have to focus on taking better care of the ball.

Michigan shouldn’t have any trouble with UNLV at home, especially if the offensive and defensive lines put in similarly dominant efforts in the trenches. Against the Wolverines’ staunch run defense, the Rebels will have to rely on a passing attack that managed just 56 yards against UCLA — a trend that makes it difficult to sustain drives with any consistency. This is a good matchup for Michigan, which will cruise to a big victory.

Michigan 41 – UNLV 10

Sam: If Oregon State couldn’t do too much to stop Michigan’s run game, I don’t see any way UNLV could. The Rebels, led by first-year college coach Tony Sanchez, figure to have a long ways to go to match the success of Sanchez’s Bishop Gorman High School teams, especially after surrendering 38 and 37 points in their first two outings. De’Veon Smith should run like a rodeo bull again while Jake Rudock finally has a game with no turnovers. I like the Wolverines in this one.

Michigan 42 – UNLV 6

Josh: UNLV’s offense is bad, very bad. And they’re likely without their starting quarterback. I’m hesitant to say we could be on shut out watch, so I won’t say it. Or maybe I will, I’m not sure yet. UNLV’s backup, Kurt Palandach, had a less than stellar stat line of 4 of 15 for four yards and a pick-six. Yes, you read that right. He’s not mobile either and he fumbled twice, one of which was just him flat out dropping the ball. Chris Wormley should have a field day. But with that said, Devonte Boyd is a pretty good athlete at receiver, and if UNLV is to score it’s likely gonna be him getting it into space far away from Jabrill Peppers then outrunning everyone else.

Oh, did I mention that UNLV’s head coach, Tony Sanchez, was coaching high school football last year? Yes, Bishop Gorman is a powerhouse at that level, but college ball is a whole new ball game.

On offense I expect Michigan to continue to do what they want to do; impose their will at the line and let De’Veon Smith churn his way to 100 yards at 4-5 yards per clip. I wouldn’t be surprised to see Rudock test UNLV deep a few times, as this is a great chance to work out the kinks in the deep passing game against a bad team. Getting that timing down will pay dividends as we get into the meat of our schedule.

I think the defense will force a few turnovers and maybe even take one back. This is also the time where I mention that while we all felt (or maybe it was just me) that Dennis Norfleet was always just one block away from six, I actually think Peppers is going to take a kickoff or punt return to the house and it’s gonna be glorious! Remember Steve Breaston? Yeah, those were the days. Anyway, Michigan will win and win big…. as far as a shut out, I’m not going to go that far but it won’t be close at all.

Michigan 45 – UNLV 10

Joe: I love the way last week’s game took shape and started to resemble Michigan games of old. It’s been years since we dominated in the run game like we did against an overmatched Beaver team. This week should be even more lopsided as UNLV has serious issues on the defensive line. UCLA put up huge numbers last week and the Wolverines will do the same. A huge dose of Smith with some Johnson sprinkled in will keep things moving and allow the lines to take control. Rudock will manage things easily enough and play catch with Butt anytime he wants. This is duo will be fun to watch over the course of the season.  The defense will have no problems containing a UNLV offense that has quarterback issues as well as offensive line problems. The 35 point spread is the largest in years and will still not be enough.

Michigan 45 – UNLV 7

Five-Spot Challenge 2015: UNLV

Monday, September 14th, 2015


Congratulations to kashkaav for winning Week 2 of the Five-Spot Challenge. For the second straight week our winner was the only contestant with a deviation under 100. Kashkaav’s 97 was 70.3 points better than second place Jim Mackiewicz’s 167.3. Kashkaav correctly predicted Michigan’s 225 rushing yards, was the closest to Seth Collins’ total yards (just 28 away), and was second closest to Jake Butt’s receiving yards (11 away).

Hazel Parker was closest to Butt’s receiving yards (nine away), while Northsider7 nearly predicted Jake Rudock’s quarterback rating exactly, only 0.3 away from Rudock’s 119.7. The1tab‘s prediction of 19 yards was the closest to Michigan’s longest kick or punt return, which was 11.

All 20 contestants picked Michigan to win by an average score of Michigan 35 – Oregon State 18. No one correctly predicted the final score, but Northsider7 nearly did with his prediction of 35-10.

The weekly results have been updated and the overall standings will be updated shortly.

This Saturday Michigan hosts UNLV for what should be the easiest game of the season. The Rebels lost to Northern Illinois 38-30 in Week 1 and No.13 UCLA 37-3 this past weekend. Here are this week’s picks:

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