Game Recap: Michigan Stomps Nebraska
Michigan 45 Nebraska 17
So, what if you told me Michigan played late in November with a potential BCS bid on the line vs. a top 20 team – and won in dominating fashion by 28 points? I would have told you to GTFO, because you are playing with my emotions!
Michigan came out on Saturday and took it to Nebraska in all three phases of the game in the aforementioned manner, dominating fashion – netting its first win over a ranked team in this fine season. This is the type of game that Michigan hasn’t been capable of producing for years – a straight beat down of a top 20 opponent. It wasn’t a shootout. It wasn’t a struggle. It was pure domination on offense, defense and special teams.
I want to repeat that, because it’s been so long since it’s been said: it was pure domination on offense, defense, and special teams. Ok, I’m good now.
Michigan’s defense, once again, showed up and further solidified the new-found perception that the unit might be amongst the best in the country(!). Nebraska had only eleven first downs, less than 300 total yards, and was 3-13 on third downs. On top of that – Michigan notched in six tackles-for-loss, three sacks, three fumble recoveries, and a blocked punt. The team in red reached the red zone twice all afternoon. Rex Burkhead, Nebraska’s bruiser who averaged 107 yards per game coming into Saturday, could only muster 36 yards on the outing.
Michigan outgained Nebraska 418 to 260 and did some serious work in the time of possession department – possessing the ball for 41 minutes versus the Cornhuskers’ 19 minutes. As Brady Hoke would tell you – your team’s best defense is when it’s offense is possessing the ball and working the game clock.
Before I drop in the box score – I feel obligated to say something about my disdain for Urban Meyer and Chris Speilman. Do you feel like, just a little bit, the quality of our color commentators and announcers are like, terrible? The vast majority of the first half was a play-by-play over-analysis of Denard’s play, how he should be coached, how he should play, etc. Urban and Spielman have this weird thing going on where they both agree with each other and it takes the topic to a level of exhaustion – and it never seems to be an easy listen. That’s all. Thank you. Bye bye now.
NEB MICH FIRST DOWNS................... 11 24 Rushing..................... 7 14 Passing..................... 4 6 Penalty..................... 0 4 NET YARDS RUSHING............. 138 238 Rushing Attempts............ 31 61 Average Per Rush............ 4.5 3.9 Rushing Touchdowns.......... 1 4 Yards Gained Rushing........ 162 271 Yards Lost Rushing.......... 24 33 NET YARDS PASSING............. 122 180 Completions-Attempts-Int.... 9-23-0 11-19-1 Average Per Attempt......... 5.3 9.5 Average Per Completion...... 13.6 16.4 Passing Touchdowns.......... 1 2 TOTAL OFFENSE YARDS........... 260 418 Total offense plays......... 54 80 Average Gain Per Play....... 4.8 5.2 Fumbles: Number-Lost.......... 4-3 0-0 Penalties: Number-Yards....... 8-73 5-45 PUNTS-YARDS................... 6-276 4-147 Possession Time............... 18:39 41:13 Third-Down Conversions........ 3 of 13 8 of 18 Fourth-Down Conversions....... 0 of 2 1 of 1 Red-Zone Scores-Chances....... 1-2 5-5 Touchdowns.................. 1-2 4-5
Michigan: On Offense
So, when you can do the following and limit massive errors elsewhere, you are going to position your team to win the game:
- More than double up your opponent on first downs. Michigan had the edge 24-11
- Out rush your opponent by 100 yards, while running 30 more run plays (!) than your opponent
- Out gain your opponent 418 to 260
- Win the possession battle in killer fashion – 41 minutes for Michigan, 19 for Nebraska. Damn
- Convert 8 of 18 third down conversion and dialing up success on one 4th down effort (this was the fake field goal that Drew Dileo made)
Al Borges called a great game – and seems to have a solid grasp on what is working and what is not. Notice, Devin Gardner didn’t take a single snap before Denard Robinson’s day was over.
Denard Robinson [11-18 - 180 yards - 2 TD's, 23 rush - 83 yards - 2 TD's]
I thought Denard played great, outside of a few errant throws and missed running lanes. Seeing Denard miss those running lanes was different – usually Denard tends to have decent vision. Perhaps his vision improves the further he gets upfield – as it seems any vision mishaps happen near the line of scrimmage.
All in all, Denard will grade out well.
Jeremy Gallon [3 rec - 34 yards - 1 TD]
Is Gallon not just a joy to watch at this point? In the punt return game – Gallon is looking solid as ever making decisive decisions and cuts. There was the one punt he let go, but I’d rather see that than an oopsie happen back there.
I’m loving the screen play Borges typically calls when Michigan is nearing scoring territory. So far, Michigan is running the play well and to success. Gallon is sure handed and doing what he needs to do after the catch.
Fitz Toussaint [29 rushes - 138 yards - 2 TD's - 4.8 ypc]
This guy impresses more and more as the season presses on. Fitz has a knack for turning absolutely zero running room into something positive and really seems to be in a good groove. The dude is a lot of fun to watch right now and it’s crucial that he gets greater than twenty carries next week against Ohio.
Worthy of mentioning
Martavious Odoms: he is certainly making an impact on the field of late. Tae O is solid and is sure-handed – his catch in the back of the end-zone was a thing of beauty. Great concentration from Odoms on that catch.
Junior Hemingway: Junior is playing very well right now. He’s more fun to watch with the ball in his hands than he would ever get any credit for.
Roy Roundtree: great catch on the 3rd and 9 play during the first quarter. The contact was not intentional, good no-call, and Roy managed to pull it in while falling to the ground. I’m not going to be shocked if he comes up with a big game next week.
Michigan: On Defense
Seriously, did you think it was possible to have this much fun watching Michigan football in 2011? A team that got annihilated all last season – is now ranked 14th in the nation in total defense (316 yds/game) and 8th in the nation in scoring defense (16.2 pts/game). It is one of the greatest single-season single unit turnarounds ever in the history of major college football. I’d like to know when the last time a unit has improved by nearly 100 freaking teams in total defense. Anybody know? Do share.
Jordon Kovacs said:
Coach Mattison is establishing an NFL defense here. We do a pretty good job of disguising and giving the quarterback something to think about. But the offense helps us a lot. Any time you’re not on the field as a defense, they can’t score too many points on you.
I’m on board with that. Let’s take a look see at what went right on D:
- Allowed 260 yards
- Recovered 3 out of 4 available fumbles
- Held Nebraska to 3 out of 13 third-down conversions
- Stopped Nebraska’s late scoring effort – where Neb missed on their only 4th down conversion attempt
Michigan held Nebraska to well below their season averages on offense. It was a thing of beauty. Greg Mattison is being touted as the best hire of 2011 – how could you not agree?
The entire defense. The group is playing so solid as a unit – I’m wasting my time by calling out individual players. Mike Martin and Ryan Van Bergen were great – a continuing trend. JT Floyd and Blake Countess played spectacular – that is a continuing trend. Kovacs was witnessed in the Nebraska backfield notching another TFL – also a continuing trend. Jake Ryan continues to play in all out beast-mode. I even saw Troy Woolfolk get in on a pass break up!
The entire defense is playing very well right now.
One more week. Who be excited? I be.
Photo Cred: AnnArbor.com.