ANN ARBOR, Mich. – To say Michigan’s top-ranked defense struggled at Minnesota -- is an understatement -- as the Gophers were able to rack up 461 total yards on the “then” No. 1-ranked total defense.
Despite their struggles, however, the Wolverines were able defeat Minnesota, 29-26, withstanding a late goal-line stand as time expired, sealing the road Big Ten victory for U-M.
While it was a much needed win for No. 16 Michigan (6-2, 3-1 Big Ten), senior linebacker Desmond Morgan knows the Wolverines have corrections to make on the defensive side of the ball before Saturday’s home contest with Rutgers (3-5) at 3:30 pm.
“A lot of technique stuff we got to clean up and execute,” Morgan said. “Schematically we are all sound. We’re just not executing our jobs. Some of those big plays we gave up there, and that’s what it was, we got a lot of push up front with the defensive line, a lot of the guys were playing hard up front. We just had too many busts.”
Why did Michigan’s defense struggle so much against Minnesota? Well, Morgan says there is no direct answer to U-M’s problems, but has his ideas.
“It’s hard to put mu finger on it specifically,” Morgan said. “If I could point to one thing, I would and fix it. But it’s one of those things where stuff happens I guess. Obviously we are not proud of it. There is a lot of disappointment, we watched the film and the way things went, but it’s provided a lot motivation since then to come out and put fourth our best effort on Saturday – no doubt about that.”
Michigan didn’t fall too far in defensive rankings, the Wolverines now boast the No. 2-ranked total defense, giving up 242 yards per game, which is why Morgan says he’s not worried how the defense will play moving forward.
“We’re not worried about it,” Morgan said when asked about Michigan’s recent defensive struggles. “We’re still confidant in who we have. What we are capable of. Obviously what we put on the field is not what we are capable of by any means. But it’s one of those things, you learn and not every game is going to go exactly perfect. It’s one those things we’re going to build off of it and continue to improve.”