Reviewing how Michigan Football fared vs. Rival Michigan State
Turns out, I was mostly correct. This game was a tale of two different Michigan Football teams. The first was the mistake-prone, somewhat scared-looking team we’ve unfortunately seen too many times in the past against Michigan State.
The second, which showed up at the beginning/middle of the second quarter was the dominant, defense-led Michigan football team we’re used to seeing.
While I’m sure just about no Michigan fans (myself included) are satisfied for settling for 5 (!!!) field goals, especially against a rival who you want to destroy, you have to love how Michigan was able to dominate the game and drive it down the field at will.
Outside of Michigan’s second-to-last drive, in which an insane almost-catch by Ronnie Bell was overturned, Punter Brad Robbins didn’t punt on any of Michigan’s other drives. The punt, late in the fourth quarter with the game out of reach, was the first Michigan punt since the Indiana game.
Now, let’s look at what I thought were the keys going into the game, and see how Michigan did.
Outside of the first offensive possession, Michigan football had zero turnovers. The coaches knew that the Michigan State defense couldn’t hang with the Michigan offense, so they called very conservative games.
The only way Michigan was going to not put points on the board was via the turnover. Because of this, or at least I hope because of this, the coaching staff chose a heavy dose of the run game.
Michigan fans, including myself, are waiting for the staff to open up the playbook and unleash JJ. While I do think they’re going to try to get him into a rhythm over the next few weeks, I see no reason to show our hand against opponents we can dominate with the run.
To sum up, Michigan did what it had to do: protect the ball. The Spartans weren’t given extra chances, which was crucial to the victory.
Winning 50-50 balls
This one still needs some work.
Early on, Michigan State torched Michigan with the jump ball. Keon Coleman was getting whatever he wanted versus Gemon Green. While Green was always side-by-side with Coleman, the two-sport athlete was able to win the jump balls with ease.
After Coleman’s dominant drive, we saw a much heavier dose of freshman Will Johnson, which seemed to pay off as Coleman and Jayden Reed combined for one catch for -1 yards in the second half until Coleman got a long garbage time catch.
Credit Jesse Minter for the amazing adjustments after the initial struggles, but there is still room for improvement, and this unit must improve by November 26th.
Keep the crowd in the game
This one is short and sweet. The crowd was going crazy the entire game. As a student, I heard just how loud it was. My voice was gone by halftime.
While there was some momentary shock after MSU took a 7-3 lead, the fans were quickly back into the game and stayed strong through all four quarters.
Great job by the team and the fans. Paul Bunyan is back in his rightful place, and I hope he’s here to stay.