Michigan number 4 improved to 8-0 on Saturday night after beating rival Michigan State 29-7. Here are the biggest lessons from the game.
Corrections in the second half turn out to be crucial for Wolverines again
Since Michigan won on the road against Iowa, they have shown that they are the team that can get into the locker room at halftime and adjust both mentally and schematically.
The game is Michigan 13-7 at halftime, but the other half is Michigan, beating MSU 16-0. The state of Michigan was just 8 yards in the third quarter and 63 yards in the second half. MSU recorded eight first lows in the first half, but only three in the second half. The Spartans scored zero to five in third in the second half – see the trend here? Michigan dominated the second-half possession time, maintaining control 22:59 versus just 6:55 for MSU.
Hats off to the Michigan players and definitely the Michigan coaching staff. Defense Coordinator Jesse Minter is able to step down and have the best late game moments. The same could be said for co-aggressive coordinators Sherrone Moore and Mattu Weiss, who perfected the bully ball and made it clear who the band was physically dominant.
The best teams in college football play best after the break, which is a positive sign for Wolverines.
Michigan has still not stopped on the ground this season
Blake Corum has been one of the best defenders in college football this season and is very likely to be a Heisman finalist at the end of the year. Michigan’s offensive line was great schematically and physically and the word consistency certainly comes to mind. After Michigan made it through the entire Penn State quick defense top ten, they did the same against Sparta, for a total of 276 yards. Corum threw 177 yards and one goal, quarterback JJ McCarthy shot 50, Donovan Edwards threw 42. Michigan’s prescription last season was to punch in opponents’ throats, and it was a similar strategy this season for their first eight Games.
The result could be more lopsided / Jake Moody is amazing
While Michigan won 29-7 it was more like a 50-7 win over MSU. Michigan kicker Jake Moody was a miracle at it, winning five out of five in his shots. Moody won the Lou Groz Award last season, which goes to the top kicker in college football, and Moody has a very good chance of winning it again in 2022. Moody would be the first player to win this award in subsequent seasons. Moody’s career in Michigan may be nearing an end, but he is a full NFL candidate and we will be dating for many years to come.
What happened after the game was absolutely disgusting
Honestly, it was hard to write about football after what should have been a big gala evening for the Wolverines. Two Michigan players were attacked by Michigan State in the tunnel after the game. Videos of both incidents appeared – one player was hit with a helmet, another player was hit by multiple Michigan players in what Michigan head coach Jim Harbaugh called “ten against one.” The material is shocking, sad, disturbing, and this type of behavior has no place in this competition in a civilized society.
The incidents are investigated by the Big Ten and the University of Michigan Police. The criminal charges are substantiated, expulsions are necessary, and we’ll see how things turn out. Football is an emotional game, but it is a game and should never lead to what happened after the game.
Hopefully this will strengthen the Michigan team in the days to come.