In game adjustments are crucial in college football.
And that was evident on Saturday in Michigan's 45-28 win against Colorado.
In just one quarter of play Colorado’s passing attack look unstoppable. U-M's secondary looked lost. CU wide receivers ran rapid down the middle of Michigan's defense, and the Wolverines simply looked confused on the field.
It cost the the Wolverines big time, too.
The Buffalos racked up 195 yards through the air in the first quarter, and led at one point 21-7.
So what was Colorado doing that made Michigan’s leave such wide-open passing lanes to start the game? Well, due to U-M’s aggressive linebacker play at the line of scrimmage, CU was using its play-action pass to draw Michigan linebackers in, and then promptly hitting receivers in the slot for big gains, says U-M linebacker Mike McCray.
Then, of course, U-M's coaching staff made halftime adjustments, McCray says, with Colorado only passing for 66 yards the remainder of the game.
“They just wanted us to be patient, you know,” McCray said of U-M’s coaches. “Cause the play-action, the linebackers got to fit the run first, be patient and basically don’t run, be patient, because that’s what they were doing the whole game running slants, and I feel like adjusted well coming out of halftime.”
Now, No. 4 Michigan (3-0) opens up Big Ten play with East Division rival Penn State (2-1), which presents a whole different challenge, says McCray, with PSU’s offense starring dynamic running back Saquon Barkley.
“He’s a great back,” McCray said of Barkley. “It’s going to be a big challenge for us to go up against one of the top backs in the country. We’re up to the challenge, I feel like.”
Challenge, indeed, Barkley already has 251 yards this season to go along with six rushing scores, all while averaging 5.1 yards per carry.
“They’re a great team, they want to run the ball, they got a great back,” McCray said of PSU. “I feel like we will be up for challenge. It will be a big challenge for us coming for Big Ten play and first game.”
Michigan plays host to Penn State at 3:30 p.m. ET.