Ask and you shall receive.
Seriously, I must be a wizard or something, because when I name improvements I would like to see the Michigan Wolverines make, they make them.
Last week, I said I wanted to see the team make some big plays. After Week 2, Michigan’s longest passing play went for just 28 yards and longest run was just 19. In the game against UNLV, Michigan took my advice, at least in the running game (though I have yet to receive a check from the team for my brilliant work).
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Jehu Chesson had a 36-yard TD run, while Ty Isaac had one for 76 yards. Those are crushing blows for a defense. Huge touchdown plays can feel like a gut punch. To let a team score from 36 or 76 yards out can take the wind out of your sails and make it incredibly hard to ever get the momentum in your team’s favor.
Chesson’s run was so sneaky (I will admit I had to watch the replay a few times before I could figure out what happened) that it is hard to blame the defense. Isaac’s run, however, could have easily been stopped by some better tackling. Both huge plays also came in the first 21 minutes of the game, making it that much harder for UNLV to find time to put together a comeback.
It is also good to see that De’Veon Smith is not the only strong runner on the team. It seems that there is plenty of speedy talent on the Michigan bench, making it much harder for opponents to prepare a gameplan.
Despite a great win, Michigan still needs to work on parts of its passing game. It is true that Jake Rudock has averaged 194 passing yards per game this season, which is great, but he has still thrown two more interceptions than TDs (5 INt, 3 TD), which is not so great. While it has not been much of an issue in the last two games, the Wolverines are set to face much better competition in the form No. 22 BYU on Saturday.
I’m getting picky now, but there are two other things I would like to see Michigan improve upon. First of all, the team’s turnover margin is still -2. I would like to see it be at LEAST even. And secondly, Michigan averages 5.3 penalties per game. That is not bad, but penalties are probably the most frustrating part of the game. The fewer, the better.
There is also the fact that the longest passing play is still only 28 yards. Trying to change that now might just lead to more interceptions, but if Rudock starts making some better decisions, he can go for big plays.
BYU will be a test, for sure, but Michigan is getting back its former confidence and should at least make the game interesting, if not amazing.