Sunday, November 13, 2011

Illinois Post Game: A Michigan Defense

Brady Hoke and Greg Mattison have been talking about a "Michigan Defense" ever since they re-stepped into Ann Arbor this past January"That was a Michigan defense," Mattison said. "That was, without a doubt, a Michigan defense. Because they played as hard as they could, did whatever they had to do.
"Without a doubt, that was a Michigan defense tonight."

Can you remember a game in the last 3 to 4 years where the offense struggled and defense dominated?  I sure can't.  It was a team effort on defense as well.  The Michigan defensive line was lead by seniors Mike Martin and Ryan VanBergen who helped Michigan pressure the Illinois QB's all day which equaled 4 sacks and 37 total yards on the ground. 

JT Floyd lead the secondary with helping hold their #1 WR Jenkins to 103 total yards and a game saving interception.  Mike Martin had a team high 9 tackles.  The Illinois offense averages over 400 yards a game and nearly 200 on the ground.  Michigan held them to 214 total yards for the entire game.

  • Fitz Toussaint with 192 yards rushing
  • Devin Gardner for protecting the lead and making a nice pass to Odoms for a game saving TD
  • Greg Mattisoin clearly the best football coach on the field
  • The Michigan Defense for a Team Effort
  • A road win for only the second time this year
  • Denard is turning the ball over way too much.  I think he is maybe 60% healthy right now.  If I had to guess he has many more injuries then the wrist he banged on the helmet of and Illinois rusher. 
  • Red Zone offense
  • Not putting the game away in the first half
  • We lost to Iowa?

I am concerned about Denard's health with Nebraska and Ohio State on deck.  The good thing is these are at the Big House the bad thing is we need Denard in both games.   Michigan had a chance to put Illinois away in the first half and didn't do it.  It's great that Fitz has taken the #1 RB job, I personally would like to see Mike Shaw get a few more touches.  I think Vincent Smith is a bit banged up as well.

We are still missing a short passing game that I think the Wolverines really need.  I would like to see the RB sneak out for a few 5-10 yard passes and a few more screens.   Michigan seems very tentative in the redzone and I think they are concerned with Denard's decision making in the passing game.   Michigan needs to be able to pass in the Red Zone and this something they will need to fix. 

All in all Michigan played well on the road and that was something we were all looking for.  Michigan has 8 wins this year, which were the total of RR's first two years combined.   If the offense can get healthy and back on track and the defense can continue to get better each week, these last 3 games are going to be pretty fun.

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