The Michigan Wolverines are off to a Strong Start as Conference Play Opens up
Just this past Saturday, September 24th, the 4th ranked, Michigan Wolverines played the Maryland Terrapins in Ann Arbor. Both teams had came into this game with an undefeated record trying to remain undefeated with a win. This would be sophomore JJ McCarthy’s first “real test” as the starting quarterback for the Wolverines. Both Michigan and Maryland were aiming to get their first Big Ten win of the year as conference play started this past weekend. Ultimately the task was to big for the Maryland Terrapins as the Michigan Wolverines would win 34-27 in a one score game. For many Michigan fans this was not a very convincing win as it was only a one score game when they were favored by 17 points. A win is a win though and with a undefeated record all of Michigan’s goals are still in front of them. The name of the game is survive and advance and that’s exactly what the Michigan Wolverines did.
The Wolverine offense started really well after taking advantage of that muffed kick that went of a Maryland player’s face mask. The Michigan offense scored within the first 8 seconds of the game, on the first play of having the football, with a JJ McCarthy 10 yard touchdown pass to the tight end Luke Schoonmaker to put us up 7-0 right off the back. The Maryland offense would find its groove but their drive stalled out when the Michigan defense held the Terrapins to 3. Jake Moody would end up kicking a 52 yard field goal in the middle of the 1st to put Michigan up 10-3. But Maryland responded with a 2 yard Antwain Littleton II touchdown run to knot this thing up at 10 and let Maryland right back into it. Blake Corum was the biggest key to the Wolverine offense as he had 30 rushing attempts for 243 yards with 2 touchdowns. The most important play that happened occurred right before half on a 4th & 1 where Blake Courm was fed the ball and bounced outside and found his way into the end zone for a 33 yard touchdown run to put the Wolverines up 17-13 at half. Going into the third quarter the Michigan and Maryland offense would have to punt 2 times in a row with both of their drives stalling out. In both of those drives you could see the young and talented JJ McCarthy making some mistakes that could have costed us a win. He overthrew a couple of receivers that he could have easily hit in stride for an easy 6 points. His deep ball accuracy was not very good this game and you could tell that he knows he can make those types of throws. Michigan and Maryland’s offenses would put up a doughnut in the 3rd quarter, scoring 0 points. Early in the 4th quarter JJ McCarthy would connect with Roman Wilson for a 20 yard touchdown pass to put Michigan up 24-13. Jake Moody would end up kicking another field goal but this time from 38 yards away to give Michigan a 27-19 lead over the Terrapins. The Wolverines got the ball back and Blake Corum worked his was all the way to the end zone for a 47 yard touchdown run to put Michigan up 34-19. The defense would later give up some garbage time points so that is how the final score ended up being 34-27.
Final Offensive Stats
JJ McCarthy would complete 18/26 of his passes, he threw for 220 yards, and threw for 2 touchdowns. Blake Corum had 30 carries for 243 yards and 2 touchdowns. He averaged 8.1 yards per attempt which is crazy good. Luke Schoonmaker the tight end stepped up in a huge way, replacing injured Erick All. Luke had 7 receptions for 72 yards and a touchdown early in this game. Luke Schoonmaker was the leading receiver from this Michigan offense. The Wolverine offense put up 463 yards of total offense in which 220 of those yards were through the air. We had one turnover which CJ Strokes the backup running back for injured Donovan Edwards fumbled early on in the 1st quarter.
Final Defensive Stats
The Michigan Defense played well enough to win but not good enough to beat a Georgia or the Ohio States of the world. But there were three players from Saturday’s game that stood out to me on the defensive side of the ball such as Junior Colson the sophomore who had 13 tackles, Mike Sainristil the Senior who had 8 tackles and a sack, and Gemon Green who locked the Maryland wide receivers down. The defense gave up a total of 23 first downs and a total of 397 yards which isn’t ideal but this Maryland offense is super talented. The defense forced a total of 2 turnovers which both of them were interceptions thrown by junior quarterback Taulia Tagovailoa. RJ Moten and DJ Turner are the Wolverine defenders who came up with those two pics.
My Final Thoughts
Although this win wasn’t pretty nor ideal for most of us Michigan fans we can easily fix the mistakes we made in this game. Every mistake that we made was preventable so the room for improvement is there. You would love to watch your team win by 50 plus every weekend but that is just not the case in the Big Ten and College Football. A win is a win and then you move on and lock into the next week. All of Michigan’s goals are still in front of them and we have a favorable schedule to potentially go undefeated into the final game of the year Vs Ohio State. Michigan will learn from there mistakes and get better every single weekend. Onto week 5 Vs Iowa on the road for our first road game of the year.