It certainly didn't hurt that the ‘real' Michigan defensive backfield was out there: Marlin Jackson and Ernest Shazor were the safety anchors of a secondary effort that blanketed the Houston receivers. And the defensive ends Jeremy Van Alstyne and Larry Stevens and outside linebacker Pierre Woods cam e to play as well against the Houston ‘spread offense': five first half sacks and six overall, and Woods also ran down a Cougar from behind from across the field on what would have been a long Houston touchdown. Overall the defense only allowed 138 total yards to the Cougars.
On the offensive end, Chris Perry played well once again, rushing for 184 yards, and also leading the Wolverines in receptions with five. Behind the powerful Michigan offensive line, the rushing game clicked in general, with David Underwood adding 108 yards and the Wolverines rushing for 392 total. The passing attack was not very effective, with Navarre throwing to a depleted receiver corps for only 13 of 30. To be fair, the Cougars overplayed the pass, resulting in Michigan's breaking through line of scrimmage to find, again and again, no linebacker in the center of the field.
After watching Notre Dame come from behind in the second half, behind the rushing of Ryan ("I wanna be a Wolverine") Grant and Julius Jones, to beat Washington State, the questions for next week are:
1. Can the Michigan defense slow down a powerful rushing attack (including a run-pass quarterback) like Notre Dame's?
2. Can Michigan put together an effective wide receiver corps, with all its injuries?
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