ANN ARBOR, Mich. – Michigan’s defense has shutout its last three opponents for the first time since 1980, a streak that has legitimized U-M’s defense among the elite squads in the country.
In fact, Michigan has only given up 378 yards during its three game shutout stretch, and dominated from start to finish in U-M’s 38-0 dismantling of Northwestern on Saturday.
That being said, can Michigan defense play even better? Is there room for improvement? Well, Jabrill Peppers seems to think so.
“There is still room for improvement,” Peppers said. “Time in and time out with a great game plan and it’s up to us to execute. We have a lot of talented guys who like to execute and take pride in what they do. When you have a group of 11 guys that are all doing their job and hungry to do their job, then the sky is the limit for us.”
Against Northwestern, U-M only gave 168 yards and were cheered “defense, defense” by Wolverine fans in the closing moments of the win. However, Peppers said he didn’t get too emotional after U-M’s defensive performance, noting U-M’s goal is to not let you get a yard, let alone score.
“I wouldn’t say any emotion, this is what we expected to do,” Peppers said, adding: “We really don’t worry about shutouts when we are out there, we are just trying to limit them as much as possible. When we are out there we don’t want to give them anything. If a shutout is the by-product of that, then so be it. But when we are out there we’re just concentrating on three and outs, constant three and outs and getting off the field.”
As far as stopping NW’s potent rushing attack, U-M held the Wildcats to only 38 yards on 25 carries, which Peppers says was a “statement” by the Wolverines defense.
“That was one of the statements we wanted to make,” Peppers said when asked about stopping Northwestern’s run game. “I guess they were number one in the Big Ten in rushing and I guess we were first in the Big Ten against rushing. We just wanted to come out here and make a statement."
Adding: “It’s all a collective effort. We definitely took it personal to try to come out here and make statement against the run.”