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Posts Tagged ‘Maryland’

Five-Spot Challenge 2016: Iowa

Wednesday, November 9th, 2016


Congratulations to TheZachster for winning the Five-Spot Challenge for the second time in the past three weeks. His deviation of just 17 beat out bigred‘s total of 41. TheZachster didn’t have a single answer that was more than eight points off the actual. His prediction of 80 rushing yards for Maryland was just two away, tied with GrizzlyJFB. He was closest to Maryland’s longest play, just two away, and closest to Kenny Allen’s longest field goal, just one away. He wins a prize box of product from our sponsors, Lane’s BBQCultivate Coffee & Tap House, and Chayder Grilling Company.

DBenney09 was the closest to Amara Darboh’s 77 receiving yards with his prediction of 78. Ebenszac and artayay were both just one away from the total combined points scored (62).

Michigan Mack was the closest to the final score with his prediction of Michigan 56 – Maryland 0. The average score prediction among the 29 contestants was Michigan 46 – Maryland 10.

The weekly results and season standings have been updated.

This week, Michigan travels to Iowa City looking for their first win since 2005. Here are this week’s picks.

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

Sunday, November 6th, 2016


speight-vs-maryland(mgoblue.com)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Game Ball – Offense

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

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

Game Ball – Defense

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

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

M&GB staff predictions: Maryland

Friday, November 4th, 2016


StaffPicks_banner20152

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Michigan 45 – Maryland 17

Derick

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

Michigan 48 – Maryland 13

Sam (1)

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

Michigan 38 – Maryland 3

Josh (1)

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

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

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

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

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

Michigan 38 – Maryland 17

Joe (5)

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

Michigan 42 – Maryland 7

#3 Michigan vs Maryland game preview

Friday, November 4th, 2016


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The other third

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

Prediction

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

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

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

Michigan 45 – Maryland 17

Big Ten power rankings 2016 – Week 9

Wednesday, November 2nd, 2016


power-rankings_header

Each Wednesday throughout the season we will release our Big Ten power rankings. These are voted on individually by the five members of our staff and then each team’s ranking is averaged to reach our power rankings. As these are simply power rankings, they are based on each team’s performance to date, not what happened last season or what will happen in the future.

Previous: Week 1, Week 2, Week 3, Week 4, Week 5, Week 6, Week 7, Week 8

week-9-power-rankings*Black dash signifies previous week’s ranking

Big Ten power rankings – Week 9
Team Up/Dn Last Week This Week
1. Michigan (8-0, 5-0) Even Beat MSU 32-23 Sat. vs Maryland (5-3, 2-3), 3:30pm, ESPN
2. Ohio State (7-1, 4-1) Even Beat Northwestern 24-20 Sat. vs #10 Neb. (7-1, 4-1), 8pm, ABC
3. Wisconsin (6-2, 3-2) Even Beat #7 Nebraska 23-17 Sat. at N’western (4-4, 3-2), 12pm, ABC
4. Nebraska (7-1, 4-1) Even Lost to #11 Wisc. 17-23 Sat. at #6 OSU (7-1, 4-1), 8pm, ABC
5. Penn State (6-2, 4-1) Even Beat Purdue 62-24 Sat. vs Iowa (5-3, 3-2), 7:30pm, BTN
6. Northwestern (4-4, 3-2) Up 1 Lost at #6 OSU 20-24 Sat. vs Wisconsin (6-2, 3-2), 12pm, ABC
7. Iowa (5-3, 3-2) Down 1 Bye Sat. at #12 PSU (6-2, 4-1), 7:30pm, BTN
8. Indiana (4-4, 2-3) Up 2 Beat Maryland 42-36 Sat. at Rutgers (2-6, 0-5), 12pm, BTN
9. Minnesota (6-2, 3-2) Even Beat Illinois 40-17 Sat vs. Purdue (3-5, 1-4), 3:30pm, BTN
10. Maryland (5-3, 2-3) Down 2 Lost at Indiana 36-42 Sat. at #3 Michigan (8-0, 5-0), 3:30pm, ESPN
11. Michigan State (2-6, 0-5) Even Lost to #2 Michigan 23-32 Sat at Illinois (2-6, 1-4), 12pm, ESPNN
12. Illinois (2-6, 1-4) Even Lost to Minnesota 17-40 Sat vs MSU (2-6, 0-5), 12pm, ESPNN
13. Purdue (3-5, 1-4) Even Lost to #24 PSU 24-62 Sat. at Minnesota (6-2, 3-2), 3:30pm, BTN
14. Rutgers (2-6, 0-5) Even Bye Sat. vs Indiana (4-4, 2-3), 12pm, BTN

There wasn’t a lot of movement in the rankings compared to last week as the top five remained the same and the bottom four remained the same. Michigan holds the top spot as the only unbeaten team remaining in the conference. Ohio State stayed at No. 2, although Wisconsin gained ground on the Buckeyes — 2.6 compared to OSU’s 2.4 — after knocking off Nebraska.

Northwestern and Iowa flip-flopped in the six and seven spots after the Wildcats took Ohio State to the brink and Iowa had a bye week. Indiana leapfrogged Minnesota and Maryland after beating the Terrapins 42-36. Michigan State remained 11th, stopping a five week drop in the rankings, and actually gained 0.8 points despite losing to Michigan. That’s because Illinois, Purdue, and Rutgers are even worse. Illinois has a chance to jump the Spartans next week as the two face off on Saturday.

 

week-1-9-power-rankings

Five-Spot Challenge 2016: Maryland

Tuesday, November 1st, 2016


Congratulations to Northsiders7 for winning last week’s Five-Spot Challenge. His deviation of 144 beat out last week’s winner, TheZachster, by six. Like TheZachster last week, Northsiders7 wasn’t the closest on any individual question, but was consistent across the board. His prediction of 250 passing yards for Wilton Speight was just six away, which was third best. His prediction of 300 total first half yards for Michigan was just 13 away and fifth best. And his prediction of 150 MSU passing yards was seventh best. His highest deviation on any question was just 45. He wins a prize box of product from our sponsors, Lane’s BBQCultivate Coffee & Tap House, and Chayder Grilling Company.

Ebenszac and Drumgodd were both just one away from Speight’s passing yards (244). GrizzlyFJB was just four away from MSU’s passing yards (184). Gdub18 was just two percent away from MSU’s third-down conversion percentage (36%). Drumgodd was just one away from Michigan’s total first half yards (287). Sistersueblue was seven away from Michigan’s longest touchdown of the game, which was only five yards. Finally, bluwolf77 was the closest to Jabrill Peppers’ total all-purpose yards (45). Something to note: the official box score does not count Peppers’ two-point conversion return in all-purpose yards.

Pinkfloyd2000 was the closest to the final score with his prediction of Michigan 37 – Michigan State 24. The average score prediction among the 33 contestants was Michigan 42 – Michigan State 11.

The weekly results and season standings have been updated.

This week, Michigan hosts D.J. Durkin’s 5-3 Maryland squad. Here are this week’s questions.

First Look: Maryland

Monday, October 31st, 2016


dj-durkin-maryland(Maryland Athletics photo)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Big Ten power rankings 2016 — Week 8

Wednesday, October 26th, 2016


power-rankings_header

Each Wednesday throughout the season we will release our Big Ten power rankings. These are voted on individually by the five members of our staff and then each team’s ranking is averaged to reach our power rankings. As these are simply power rankings, they are based on each team’s performance to date, not what happened last season or what will happen in the future.

Previous: Week 1, Week 2, Week 3, Week 4, Week 5, Week 6, Week 7

week-8-power-rankings*Black dash signifies previous week’s ranking

Big Ten power rankings – Week 8
Team Up/Dn Last Week This Week
1. Michigan (7-0, 4-0) Up 1 Beat Illinois 41-8 Sat. at MSU (2-5, 0-4), 12pm, ESPN
2. Ohio State (6-1, 3-1) Down 1 Lost at PSU 21-24 Sat. vs N’western (4-3, 3-1), 3:30pm, ESPN
3. Wisconsin (5-2, 2-2) Up 1 Beat Iowa 17-9 Sat. vs #7 Nebraska (7-0, 4-0), 7pm, ESPN
4. Nebraska (7-0, 4-0) Down 1 Beat Purdue 27-14 Sat. at #11 Wisconsin (5-2, 2-2), 7pm, ESPN
5. Penn State (5-2, 3-1) Even Beat #2 OSU 24-21 Sat. at Purdue (3-4, 1-3), 12pm, ABC
6. Iowa (5-3, 3-2) Even Lost to #10 Wisc. 9-17 Bye
7. Northwestern (4-3, 3-1) Up 2 Beat Indiana 24-14 Sat. at #6 Ohio State (6-1, 3-1), 3:30pm, ESPN
8. Maryland (5-2, 2-2) Up 2 Beat MSU 28-17 Sat. at Indiana (3-4, 1-3), 3:30pm, ESPNU
9. Minnesota (5-2, 2-2) Down 2 Beat Rutgers 34-32 Sat at Illinois (2-5, 1-3), 12pm, BTN
10. Indiana (3-4, 1-3) Down 2 Lost to N’western 14-24 Sat. vs Maryland (5-2, 2-2), 3:30pm, ESPNU
11. Michigan State (2-5, 0-4) Even Lost to Maryland 17-28 Sat vs #2 Michigan (7-0, 4-0), 12pm, ESPN
12. Illinois (2-5, 1-3) Even Lost to #3 Michigan 8-41 Sat vs Minnesota (5-2, 2-2), 12pm, BTN
13. Purdue (3-4, 1-3) Even Lost to #8 Neb. 14-27 Sat. vs #24 Penn State (5-2, 3-2), 12pm, ABC
14. Rutgers (2-6, 0-5) Even Lost to Minnesota 32-34 Bye

For the first time this season Michigan has surpassed Ohio State for the No. 1 spot in our power rankings. After Ohio State’s 24-21 loss to Penn State, Michigan gained all five first place votes, while Ohio State slipped to a 2.4 average with just three of the five second place votes. Wisconsin’s quality win at Iowa pulled them over Nebraska, solidly in the third spot, while Nebraska sits at 3.8. Penn State remains fifth, but gained a full point, moving from 5.8 to 4.8.

There’s a big two-point gap after the Nittany Lions, where Iowa and Northwestern are tied for the six and seven spots at 6.8. Maryland is close by at 7.6 after handing Michigan State its fifth straight loss. Minnesota and Indiana both dropped two spots to nine and 10, while Michigan State remains 11th but dropped another 0.8 spots on average to 11.6. The bottom three remain the same with Illinois and Purdue tied at 12.2 and Rutgers still holding all last-place votes.

Week 9 will separate Wisconsin and Nebraska, who have been neck and neck in our power rankings all season. They face each other in Madison on Saturday as Wisconsin tries to hang in the Big Ten West race and Nebraska tries to stay in the College Football Playoff race.

 

week-1-8-power-rankings

 

Big Ten power rankings 2016 – Week 7

Wednesday, October 19th, 2016


power-rankings_header

Each Wednesday throughout the season we will release our Big Ten power rankings. These are voted on individually by the five members of our staff and then each team’s ranking is averaged to reach our power rankings. As these are simply power rankings, they are based on each team’s performance to date, not what happened last season or what will happen in the future.

Previous: Week 1, Week 2, Week 3, Week 4, Week 5, Week 6

 

week-7-power-rankings*Black dash signifies previous week’s ranking

Big Ten power rankings – Week 7
Team Up/Dn Last Week This Week
1. Ohio State (6-0, 3-0) Even Beat #8 Wisconsin 30-23 Sat. at Penn State (4-2, 2-1), 8pm, ABC
2. Michigan (6-0, 3-0) Even Bye Sat. vs Illinois (2-4, 1-2), 3:30pm, BTN
3. Nebraska (6-0, 3-0) Even Beat Indiana 27-22 Sat. vs Purdue (3-3, 1-2), 3:30pm, ABC
4. Wisconsin (4-2, 1-2) Even Lost to #2 OSU 23-30 Sat. at Iowa (5-2, 3-1), 12pm, ESPN
5. Penn State (4-2, 2-1) Even Bye Sat. vs #2 Ohio St. (6-0, 3-0), 8pm, ABC
6. Iowa (5-2, 3-1) Up 2 Beat Purdue 49-35 Sat. vs #10 Wisc. (4-2, 1-2), 12pm, ESPN
7. Minnesota (4-2, 1-2) Up 2 Beat Maryland 31-10 Sat. vs Rutgers (2-5, 0-4), 12pm, ESPNU
8. Indiana (3-3, 1-2) Down 1 Lost to #10 Nebraska 22-27 Sat. at N’western (3-3, 2-1), 12pm, BTN
9. Northwestern (3-3, 2-1) Up 2 Beat MSU 54-40 Sat vs Indiana (3-3, 1-2), 12pm, BTN
10. Maryland (4-2, 1-2) Down 4 Lost to Minnesota 10-31 Sat. vs MSU (2-4, 0-3), 7:30pm, BTN
11. Michigan State (2-4, 0-3) Down 1 Lost to Northwestern 40-54 Sat at Maryland (4-2, 1-2), 7:30pm, BTN
12. Illinois (2-4, 1-2) Up 1 Beat Rutgers 24-7 Sat at #3 Michigan (6-0, 3-0), 3:30pm, BTN
13. Purdue (3-3, 1-2) Down 1 Lost to Iowa 35-49 Sat. at #8 Nebraska (6-0, 3-0), 3:30pm, ABC
14. Rutgers (2-5, 0-4) Even Lost to Illinois 7-24 Sat. at Minnesota (4-2, 1-2), 12pm, ESPNU

The top four remain exactly the same as last week with Ohio State at 1.2, Michigan 1.8, Nebraska 3.4, and Wisconsin 3.6, while Penn State remains fifth, but slips from 5.2 to 5.8. That means Michigan has received one first place vote, while two of the five of us believe Wisconsin should still be higher than Nebraska despite a pair of losses to Michigan and Ohio State. We will find out a lot more about Nebraska in the next three weeks when they visit both Wisconsin and Ohio State. Penn State, meanwhile, hosts Ohio State this Saturday.

Iowa, Minnesota, and Northwestern each move up two spots after wins over Purdue, Maryland, and Michigan State, respectively. Indian drops once spot to eighth after a close loss to Nebraska, while Maryland takes the biggest tumble of the week following a three touchdown loss to Minnesota. Michigan State continues its descent, dropping for the fourth straight week, all the way to 11th. Finally, Illinois and Purdue swap spots and Rutgers remains at the bottom. Both Illinois and Purdue face tough road games against top 10 opponents, Michigan and Nebraska, so Rutgers has a chance to move out of the basement with a win over Minnesota.

week-1-7-power-rankings

 

Big Ten power rankings 2016 – Week 6

Wednesday, October 12th, 2016


power-rankings_header

Each Wednesday throughout the season we will release our Big Ten power rankings. These are voted on individually by the five members of our staff and then each team’s ranking is averaged to reach our power rankings. As these are simply power rankings, they are based on each team’s performance to date, not what happened last season or what will happen in the future.

Previous: Week 1, Week 2, Week 3, Week 4, Week 5

week-6-power-rankings

*Black dash signifies previous week’s ranking

Big Ten power rankings – Week 6
Team Up/Dn Last Week This Week
1. Ohio State (5-0, 2-0) Even Beat Indiana 38-17 Sat. at #8 Wisconsin (4-1, 1-1), 8pm, ABC
2. Michigan (6-0, 3-0) Even Beat Rutgers 78-0 Bye
3. Nebraska (5-0, 2-0) Up 1 Bye Sat. at Indiana (3-2, 1-1), 3:30pm, ABC
4. Wisconsin (4-1, 1-1) Down 1 Bye Sat. vs #2 Ohio State (5-0, 2-0), 8pm, ABC
5. Penn State (4-2, 2-1) Up 4 Beat Maryland 38-14 Bye
6. Maryland (4-1, 1-1) Down 1 Lost to PSU 14-38 Sat. vs Minnesota (3-2, 0-1), 12pm, ESPNU
7. Indiana (3-2, 1-1) Down 1 Lost to #2 OSU 17-38 Sat. vs #10 Nebraska (5-0, 2-0), 3:30pm, ABC
8. Iowa (4-2, 2-1) Up 2 Beat Minnesota 14-7 Sat. at Purdue (3-2, 1-1), 12pm, ESPN2
9. Minnesota (3-2, 0-1) Down 1 Lost to Iowa 7-14 Sat at Maryland (4-1, 1-1), 12pm, ESPNU
10. Michigan State (2-3, 0-2) Down 3 Lost to BYU 14-31 Sat. vs Northwestern (2-3, 1-1), 3:30pm, BTN
11. Northwestern (2-3, 1-1) Even Bye Sat at MSU (2-3, 0-2), 3:30pm, BTN
12. Purdue (3-2, 1-1) Up 2 Beat Illinois 34-31 Sat. vs Iowa (4-2, 2-1), 12pm, ESPN2
13. Illinois (1-4, 0-2) Down 1 Lost to Purdue 31-34 Sat. at Rutgers (2-4, 0-3), 12pm, ESPNN
14. Rutgers (2-4, 0-3) Down 1 Lost to #4 Michigan 0-78 Sat. at vs Illinois (2-3, 0-2), 12pm, ESPNN

Yet again Ohio State and Michigan hold the top two spots, but for the first time this season Michigan received a first place vote. Wisconsin and Nebraska remain three and four, though they swapped spots during their bye weeks. Penn State made the biggest jump of the week, moving up five spots after topping Maryland. Maryland, Indiana, and Iowa are clustered together in the next wave, while Michigan State continues its slide all the way to the 10th spot this week after losing big to BYU. The Spartans rank higher than only Northwestern, Purdue, Illinois, and Rutgers. The latter two battle each other for the cellar this Saturday.

week-1-6-power-rankings