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Michigan 49, Western Michigan 3

Michigan 49, Western Michigan 3 Adam Schnepp September 8th, 2018 at 5:00 PM

[Fuller]

Michigan’s defense was suffocating. Michigan’s offense was a breath of fresh air. Combine that with a special teams unit that blocked a punt and almost blocked a field goal that would make Southerners condescendingly mutter “bless your heart,” and the worst thing that happened at Michigan Stadium today was the press box nearly failing to have a halftime spread. Fear not, though, as the food was delivered in time for your author to return to his seat just as the third quarter began. It was just that kind of day.

The offense looked good for one play, a quick throw to Gentry in the flat out of a tight bunch that picked up a first down on the first play from scrimmage, before drawing grumbles. Pre-snap confusion forced Michigan to call a timeout on the next play, which was followed by a Juwann Bushell-Beatty false start. Michigan picked up four yards on their next three plays and was forced to punt, doing nothing to quell the fire and fury of a fanbase scorned.

An apparent run-fit issue resulted in a 25-yard rush from LeVante Bellamy on Western’s first offensive snap. Bellamy then picked up one yard on a reception before Jon Wassink sailed a pass, then nearly had his next attempt intercepted. Michigan’s offense got the ball back and took the game over from there.

Shea Patterson got things going with the improvisational skill he was lauded for as a recruit and during his time in Oxford, firing a cross-body dart into a miniscule window along the sideline for Oliver Martin. Karan Higdon then moved the offense from Michigan’s 33-yard line to Western’s 16 in three plays, including a weaving 43-yard carry that saw him make all the right cuts. Patterson hit McKeon in the flat off a waggle on the next play, and as McKeon turned up the sideline he found a way to undulate his body over the pylon.

Michigan’s next offensive drive lasted one play, as Karan Higdon popped through a hole to his left on what looked like a pin-and-pull, then outran everyone—his own blockers included—before tight-roping the home sideline past a pursuing safety and into the north end zone. Higdon ended the day with 13 carries for 156 yards.

 

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[Fuller]

Michigan’s run game was excellent in all facets; the offensive line blocked well, the tight ends (Gentry and McKeon in particular) were moving defenders, and three backs averaged 8.6 yards or more per carry. Chris Evans had 10 carries for 86 yards and two touchdowns, including one where he made a missed pull right by recovering from a shot that knocked him off balance and diving into the newly blue-painted end zone.

The passing game was similarly excellent, with nine different players recording a catch and four scoring touchdowns. Shea Patterson finished 12-of-17 for 125 yards and three touchdowns and showed impressive accuracy in and out of the pocket. His prettiest throw of the day came on a redzone play during which the offensive line allowed plenty of time to dial up a perfectly placed ball that gave Donovan Peoples-Jones room to take two full steps before going out of bounds. Dylan McCaffrey, who entered in the fourth quarter, used his feet to keep a drive alive, then found offseason hype target Jacob McCurry for an 18-yard touchdown.

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[Upchurch]

While the offense’s tide was rising, the defense did what fans have come to expect them to do: solve their problems with aggression. After allowing the aforementioned 25-yard rush early in the game, Michigan allowed 2.3 yards per carry the rest of the first quarter, 1.1 yards per carry in the second quarter, 2.3 yards per carry in the third quarter, and 3.9 yards per carry in the fourth quarter (a quarter in which almost every starter was eventually shelved). Lavert Hill, David Long, and Brandon Watson were in the hip pocket of their assignments throughout the afternoon, with Watson achingly close to recording an over-the-shoulder interception for the second week in a row; it was knocked away in the collision with the receiver and Josh Metellus, which says about all you need to know about Michigan’s coverage. Between that and the defensive line, which was stout up the middle and again collapsed the pocket and allowed the opposing quarterback precious little time to throw, Michigan’s defense looked like a vintage Don Brown group.

Special teams was an adventure. The good: Will Hart booted all his punts over 50 yards, Khaleke Hudson blocked a punt that Joe Hewlett recovered and returned 10 yards, and Michigan would have blocked a field goal that was attempted down 49-0 with under three minutes to go if not for an Ambry Thomas offsides call. The bad: Quinn Nordin missed a 40-yard field goal attempt, and Donovan Peoples-Jones, who had been making great fielding decisions, fumbled a return that he recovered for a loss of five.

Even so, Michigan had no option but to put on this type of performance. A loss would have turned a season of questions into a season of infinite pain; the subsequent run on supplies at Ann Arbor Torch and Pitchfork would have been unlike anything we’ve seen in… [/checks record book, is deeply uncomfortable with recent history] uh, it would have been really bad, okay? A dominating win gave Michigan’s offense more game-speed reps to build on, and next week’s home contest with 0-2 SMU, which lost by 23 points to North Texas, should provide more of the same.

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Autocracy Now

September 8th, 2018 at 5:07 PM ^

Good shit, Jedd. 

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In reply to Good shit, Jedd.  by Autocracy Now

hopkinsdrums

September 8th, 2018 at 5:17 PM ^

I miss Jedd's good shit

In reply to I miss Jedd's good shit by hopkinsdrums

ThatTCGuy

September 8th, 2018 at 6:31 PM ^

What is Jedd up to nowadays anyway?

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In reply to What is Jedd up to nowadays… by ThatTCGuy

elhead

September 8th, 2018 at 8:23 PM ^

Moved to Be-ver-leeeeeee

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In reply to Good shit, Jedd.  by Autocracy Now

JWG Wolverine

September 8th, 2018 at 10:37 PM ^

#BringBackJedd'sGoodShit

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FauxMo

September 8th, 2018 at 5:15 PM ^

I feel “meh” after this game. Needed to happen, but changes nothing. At least for me

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In reply to I feel “meh” after this game… by FauxMo

SWelch024

September 8th, 2018 at 5:21 PM ^

This is a bit pessimistic.  I was happy to see our first blowout in two years.  Shea and the defense looked awesome.  Wish this was game 1 instead of 2.

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In reply to This is a bit pessimistic. … by SWelch024

FauxMo

September 8th, 2018 at 5:38 PM ^

I have earned the right to be pessimistic.

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In reply to I have earned the right to… by FauxMo

crg

September 8th, 2018 at 7:35 PM ^

I still feel that this same level of performance would not win games against high end competition.  O-line especially.

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In reply to I still feel that this same… by crg

AeonBlue

September 8th, 2018 at 8:41 PM ^

Yeah, that's where I'm at. Watched Bredeson block air a few times, leaving Runyan with a 1v2. Several stunts were still a mess. Interior D-Line was still unimpressive. I didn't see enough to make me feel good against the top of the Big Ten East. 

It was still good to see the team do what they were supposed to do.

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In reply to I feel “meh” after this game… by FauxMo

Chipper1221

September 8th, 2018 at 5:26 PM ^

Put it this way. Last years team would’ve struggled in this game til about the fourth quarter. This year our second string was playing the fourth quarter 

Profile picture for user Occam's Razor

In reply to Put it this way. Last years… by Chipper1221

Occam's Razor

September 8th, 2018 at 5:38 PM ^

That's fine, but the problem is just how much better is this team? It was fun to watch Michigan beat up on a cupcake but the troubling OT signs were still there. They could easily be a better team and end up with a worse record because of the tackle issues. 

Tune up again against SMU and hopefully they look better on the outside against Nebraska. 

Tempered excitement until then. 

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In reply to That's fine, but the problem… by Occam's Razor

Blue Ninja

September 8th, 2018 at 7:28 PM ^

More than likely this team is good enough to pummel lesser teams like Western, win against mediocre teams but struggle against teams with any kind of good defense and a pulse on offense. This game doesn't change a lot but it is good to seem them putting away teams that they should and I think we can all agree this team really needed a confidence shot.

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In reply to I feel “meh” after this game… by FauxMo

kehnonymous

September 8th, 2018 at 5:28 PM ^

I'm a little bit more encouraged if only because the offense - while still a bludgeoning of a hopefully overmatched opponent - was entertaining to watch.  I don't expect a repeat performance when our tackles have to spot Nick Bosa but that's grist for another day.

btw, dude - regarding Colombia - I'm doing the first half with a tour company but the second week I'm poking around the Carribean coast around the Cartegena region.  Other planned pit stops for me include the town of Minca and Tayrona National Park.  Any other must-sees in that general area?

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In reply to I'm a little bit more… by kehnonymous

FauxMo

September 8th, 2018 at 5:43 PM ^

Cartagena has enough to do to full a whole week. You can spend nearly that just in Centro Historico (essentially, the oldest surviving City in the Western Hemisphere, the 500 year old part of Cartagena). I’ve spent a lot of time in Barranquilla (about an hour from Cartagena by bus) and love it, but it’s my wife’s city so I may be biased. And if you’re going to Tayrona you’ll probably have a chance to see Santa Marta, which is a great beach city. But trust me, you’ll not be disappointed. Just be careful at night and, assuming you’re a white dude that looks European, be prepared for lots of people to offer to sell you sex and/or cocaine. :-)

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In reply to Cartagena has enough to do… by FauxMo

kehnonymous

September 8th, 2018 at 5:55 PM ^

Definitely have two days blocked out for Cartagena plus at least a half-day when I depart.  I'll be able to see Barranquilla and Santa Marta en route to Tayrona, I hadn't planned on seeing much of them but given that the bus system can be pokey I'll probably have some time to check those out. 

I'm actually Chinese-American so I'm probably gonna get offered opium instead.  :)

I'm also happily spoken for so I should be able to resist the allures of Colombian women. (famous last words!)

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In reply to Definitely have two days… by kehnonymous

FauxMo

September 8th, 2018 at 6:04 PM ^

Well, given this new information, here is an odd factoid: Barranquilla has a surprisingly large and active Chinese-Colombian community. Much more so than any other part of Colombia I have been to. Lots of great Chinese restaurants and a few good shops. 

On the busses, the bus trip from Cartagena to Barranquilla to Santa Marta to Tayrona is...interesting. Not sure if you're taking Marisol or Berlinasur (or a private bus), but it's no more than 125-150 miles total, but takes almost a whole day with stops. And the drivers are fearless. Get ready to say, "oh dear God, no, you're not about to actually pass around a blind corner on a dilapidated two-lane road at 60 mph, are you??? Yes, yes you are. May god be with me." Oh, and when the bus stops for bathroom/gas, buy the things that look like home made Funyuns in a plastic bag. They're great... :-)  

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In reply to Definitely have two days… by kehnonymous

harmon40

September 8th, 2018 at 6:35 PM ^

Q’hubo, I used to live in Colombia years ago and vacationed in Cartagena. Don’t miss eating at Crepes & Waffles, I recommend the chicken Thai food crepe. The ice cream is also unreal.

You will love Cartagena! Islas de Rosario is well worth it but that’s a whole day trip. And there is so much to see...

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In reply to Q’hubo, I used to live in… by harmon40



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Michigan 49, Western Michigan 3

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