When the Northwestern Wildcats strutted into Ann Arbor on Saturday, Pat Fitzgerald’s club had surrendered the fewest points in the country.
Michigan‘s Jehu Chesson had other plans, as the wide receiver took the opening kickoff 96 yards for a touchdown, sending the Big House into a deluge of approval. A pair of successful drives resulting in touchdowns aided in a 21-0 first quarter blanking, propelling the Wolverines to a 38-0 win.
For a defensive-minded foundation that Jim Harbaugh’s attentively constructed, every facet of the game struck gold.
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Chesson’s opening percussion was complemented by an well-oiled offensive game plan and the ever so steady theme so far in 2015: defensive supremacy. Cornerback Jourdan Lewis returned an interception late in the second quarter–just one play after his counterpart in Jabrill Peppers dropped a surefire pick six–while the crafty run defense stood tall once again. Michigan suffocated Northwestern quarterback Clayton Thorson in transit to a 13 of 27 for just 107 yards
In terms of total defense, Michigan has succumbed to just seven points in the last 19 quarters. SEVEN. Not to mention three consecutive shutouts, the first time since 1980 the feat’s been accomplished. When the defense is rising to the occasion and consistently dominant, the lust for a high-octane offense appears strictly tomfoolery.
The maturity and development of quarterback Jake Rudock has utterly skyrocketed since the Week 1 loss, as he’s thrown just three interceptions the previous five contests. The Wolverines don’t require a star-studded offensive lineup that electrifies the crowd with periodic home-run gains; it’s simply been poetry in motion for Jim Harbaugh and Co.
Is Michigan the best team in the Big Ten? The question deems answering, yet its undoubtedly difficult to disagree after Saturday. The Wolverines meet the Michigan State Spartans next weekend in Ann Arbor.