Michigan Football: Defensive line is coming on for Wolverines

(Photo by Steven Branscombe/Getty Images)
(Photo by Steven Branscombe/Getty Images) /

One group that has started to excel for Michigan football is the defensive line which seemingly gets better each week.

Michigan football fans entered this season with a bit of trepidation of how the team’s defensive line would perform.

Edge Aidan Hutchinson was the proven commodity entering the season and he has been as good as advertised with six tackles for loss and 4.5 sacks.

However, Hutchinson has not been alone. On the other side, Edge David Ojabo has really stepped up with 3.5 sacks in the last two games and he is now tied with Hutchinson for the team lead. There is a chance that Michigan football has two players reach double-digit sacks.

On Saturday, it was a group effort.

Pro Football Focus graded out Michigan’s defensive line as the best group in the country last week. Nebraska entered Saturday averaging 236 yards on the ground. However, the Wolverines limited the Huskers to 140 yards on the ground.

Chris Hinton and Mazi Smith have gotten better every week and they turned in solid performances again on Saturday. Smith nearly recorded his first sack of the season when his strip-sack of Adrian Martinez was overturned by replay. Michigan has also gotten solid performances from Donovan Jeter, Mike Morris, and Kris Jenkins.

Michigan football has what it takes to win in the trenches

As I have stated many times, winning football games starts in the trenches. It is particularly important when playing in the Big Ten. With remaining games against Michigan State, Penn State, and Ohio State, Michigan will need its defensive line (and offensive line) playing at a high level to win those games.

Michigan State has a balanced attack, led by running back Kenneth Walker, who is averaging 152 rushing YPC. Penn State struggles running the ball and is heavily dependent on quarterback Sean Clifford and wide receivers Jahan Dotson and Parker Washington.

Clifford left Saturday’s game, but he has a month to heal before Michigan comes to town. Ohio State stresses a defense with the amount of high-end playmakers at its disposal. However, C.J. Stroud has struggled this season when pressured.

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The best way to disrupt those offenses will be for Michigan to wreck havoc in the trenches. Here’s hoping that Michigan’s defensive line stays healthy and continues performing at a high level.