COLLEGE PARK, Md. – With two straight shutouts under its belt Michigan's defense is making its claim as one of the best units in the country.
The Wolverines have the No. 2 ranked defense, holding opponents to 184 yards per contest and are coming of their first consecutive shutout since 2000. Not bad, right? Well, according to Maurice Hurst Jr. the Maize & blue still could get even better.
“It means everything to us,” Hurst said when asked about U-M’s consecutive shutouts after Michigan’s 28-0 win at Maryland on Saturday. “That’s what we strive for in practice is perfection. Obviously we weren’t perfect, we have things we have to work on and look at in film so we can come out next week and play even better.”
Michigan has only given up seven points in its last 15 quarters of play and has held its past two opponents 105 total yards in each of its shutout wins. So how could Michigan possibly play better? What can U-M fix? Hurst has his ideas.
“I mean, everything,” Hurst explained. “Every time we come out we have big plays, we had a couple plays where we (let up) first downs. We got to look at that and correct it. I mean -- they shouldn’t have anything.”
On Saturday Michigan held Maryland’s offense to only seven first downs and 1-of-18 on third conversions.
“We take great pride in third and long, getting off the field,” Hurst said when asked about U-M’s third down defense. “ We have a lot of hungry people. We our rotating so much, and having so many fresh legs in there, we are just fighting to get on the field, so when we get on the field – we really get after it.”
Hurst, who finished with a four tackles and a sack against Maryland, says he could tell the pressure of U-M’s front seven was getting to Terps QB Caleb Rowe. The Terrapins' signal caller was pulled from the game after throwing three interceptions, finishing 8-of-27 for 47 yards.
“You obviously feel when the quarterback gets a little nervous in the pocket,” Hurst said. “He starts overthrowing balls, he trying to look to scramble. We really feel that, we feed off it. We just try to keep attacking him and get excited when he’s starting to lose a little bit of focus and starting to worry about the pass rush.”
No. 22 Michigan (4-1, Big Ten 1-0) plays host to No. 16 Northwestern (5-0) next Saturday at 3:30 p.m. ET.