Michigan football looked like a top team in the country against ECU. They were suffocating on defense, took care of business on offense, and took ECU out of the game early.
Yet, there are some questions about this team that came out of the game. Questions that will need to be answered by the end of the season.
Let’s dive right in.
Is the Pass Rush Improved?
This is probably the biggest question that came out of Saturday. Michigan’s defense recorded zero sacks against a very weak opponent. Is that cause for concern?
In my opinion, no, but it remains to be seen. ECU’s offensive game plan revolved around quick throws and tricky runs. There were very few times that the Eastern Carolina receivers were running routes farther than 10-15 yards.
Quarterback Mason Garcia completed 11 of 18 passes for just 80 yards, an average of 4.4 yards per attempt. While it doesn’t look good on paper that Michigan football recorded zero sacks, those passing stats are a valid reason. If Michigan was getting torched in the passing game, it would be a different narrative.
The interior pass rush looked phenomenal. Kris Jenkins and Mason Graham, while somewhat limited in playing time, looked the part. The biggest surprise of the day, in my opinion, was the dominance of DT Kenneth Grant. I mean, Grant looked like a superstar in the making. He forced Garcia into throwing an interception to Mike Sainristil on a crucial drive, which allowed Michigan to run away with the game.
Grant was consistently applying pressure while stuffing the middle of the line, which is going to earn him some good playing time this season.
The EDGE rushers were good, but not great. They didn’t dominate to the level many had hoped, and it’s going to be interesting to see how they play against UNLV. While they did a good job against the run, they didn’t apply much pressure for most of the game.
The jury is still out on the pass rush. It’ll take a few more weeks to make a fair determination on its status. The development at the EDGE position is going to be very interesting to watch.