Rays of Light: “Johnson Did a Great Job”

Former Michigan standout and Big Ten Network analyst Marcus Ray highlights Drake Johnson's breakout performance in the Wolverines' 34-10 victory over Indiana and previews Saturday's match-up with Northwestern.

For most observers not much was gleaned from Michigan’s 34-10 victory over Indiana other that the Wolverines did what they were supposed to do to an overmatched opponent.  There was one significant takeaway, however, and that was the play of redshirt sophomore running back Drake Johnson.

“I think Drake Johnson did a great job of reading his holes and just running downhill and I think he played with a chip on his shoulder,” Big Ten Network analyst Marcus The other two guys have been in the mix the previous eight games or whatever it was.  He didn’t really get an opportunity.  He was an afterthought, he was the last man on the totem pole if you will.  I think during training camp he had a chance to have his name thrown in the hat as a potential starter.  When you’re a local kid and you see guys from other places come in and they get put ahead of you and you sustain injuries or you get beat out for whatever then it bothers you and it forces you to play anger.  Drake just wanted to show in my opinion that he can get the job done if he gets the right opportunity.  I thought the offensive line did a great job of opening up holes.  We all know that Indiana is not very good, so we expected to see Michigan be able to do a little bit of something up front and Drake just happened to get hot and running downhill.  He played anger and took advantage of his opportunity and my hat goes off to Drake.”

Now the question is can Johnson do it again? He’ll have that chance versus Northwestern Saturday.

“When they go to the Evanston, they are going to see a defense that can be good at times,” said Ray.  “Northwestern’s defense was giving up somewhere in the high teens/low 20s as far as points per game.  They’re going to face a team that does not turn the ball over very much – at least going into last week’s game.  I didn’t really check all the numbers out and re-average it, but they’ve only turned it over eight times going into this Saturday.  They’re not a team that’s going to beat themselves, but they just don’t score points in the red zone.  I think they match up well with Michigan because they can run the ball just good enough with Justin Jackson.  He’ll hit the crease.  He’s a freshman, playing with a lot of confidence.  I like Trevor Siemian.  He’s not having a great year.  He’s one of those few guys that have more interception than touchdowns, right there with Devin Gardner and Hackenberg.  They’re all kind of right there.  You never know what you’re going to get with Siemian and when he plays at home and against Michigan it has always been a close game the last few years.  Pat Fitzgerald will have those guys ready to play.  Expect to see some great defense by Northwestern.  They’re going to try and get some interceptions.  They just can’t get to the quarterback very much.  That actually works in Michigan’s favor.  Michigan can’t protect versus a good defense line, but Northwestern can’t get to the football.  For some reason, they bend but don’t break.  They don’t give up a lot of points on average, but they did against the good teams they played.  I don’t think Michigan is a good team, so I don’t think we’re going to see a whole lot of points being scored, but it should be a close one.  I think whoever wins the turnover battle is going to win this game and Michigan has to get to Trevor Siemian, or he’s going to find a way to pick them apart defensively.”

To hear Ray’s breakdown in its entirety press play below.

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