Let's start with Michigan's Special Teams again, to see if they improved.
On punts/Minnesota's returns, they did okay. They ran the regular basic formation -- they went to basics and had no major problems. So that was shored up pretty well -- Michigan averaged over 40 yards punting.
On punt returns Steve Breaston did a good job, averaging18 yards a return. And on kickoff returns by the way, I don't think we'll see Jeremy Leseuer again as he comes back from injury. So it'll be Carl Tabb like against Minnesota, or Steve Breaston, and Darnell Hood.
On place kicks garrett Rivas did good job. He had the field goal at the end, and five extra points. And if you noticed, his kicks are getting higher.
The Michigan Defense.
The defense played well ... in the fourth quarter.
Michigan had a problem with Minnesota's running game. Minnesota have a good scheme, and they have good backs and a good offfensive line. They averaged 7 yards a carry and Marion Barber ran for 198 yds. Most of his big runs came on sweeps. Minnesota's receivers did a good job blockling Michigan's defensive ends., and Michigan's linebackers couldn't get outside.
Michigan didn't think Minnesota would run-run-run it like they did, Michigan thought they'd pass a little. At 28-7 the Michigan defense switched to playing the run -- better late than never, and they made a mistake with the goal line defense on Abdul-Khaliq's touchdown run. But they made some big stops in the fourth quarter.
And the Michigan defense never had a sack in their 18 drop backs. Obviously Michigan's defensive line has to get down and get to the quarterback better. They got to them the once, and Abdul-Khaliq threw the interception to Jacob Stewart.
By the way, Lamarr Woodley played outstanding. He had nine tackles. He has come into his own and is ready to go. Woodley is explosive. He was the backside end, and he would come from the backside ... or the Minnesota back would make a cutback and he would make the tackle. He was putting pressure on the offensive linemen on his side. Pierre Woods played a good game too. He's gonna be a good linebacker, it has just taken a little time for him to really come into his own.
Will Pat Massey move back inside for Michigan? I would think so, but that's just my guess.
One other thing: Michigan has to get LeSueur back. He helps the run defense. He will be back this week -- altho they won't need him.
The Michigan offense came alive in the 4th quarter and scored 31 points, a Michigan record. The defense finally helped the offense get the ball in better field position.
Michigan gained 483 yards in the game, averaging 6.1 yards per play. That's pretty good.
Chris Perry had an outstanding game. He showed he could catch the ball. Those routes Minnesota was giving him in the 4th quarter put a lot of stress on them.
Minnesota's linebackers played well good but safeties and cornerbacks are not that good.
Minnesota couldn't stop Michigan's receivers and John Navarre in the 4th quarter, once they started using a no huddle, and four receivers ... that forced Minnesota's cornerbacks and linebackers to cover more people. I was surprised not to see 3-4 wide receivers earlier in the game. I think we'll see Michigan change it up some more in the future.
Why was the game such a squeeker?
Michigan's defense gave up too many yards in the first 40 minutes, and too many yards per play ... Minnesota was 7 of 12 on third down. And two Minnesota backs rushed for over 100 yards.
Michigan needs to shore up their defense. Putting Woodley on the first team helps, he has played more and more snaps. Alain Kashama is just not an every down guy.
Also, Jeremy LeSueur is more important in stopping the running game than you can imagine. He would have helped on those outside runs Minnesota was getting. And Marlin Jackson played okay, but has played better. Hopefully Marlin will come back healthy ... after this next game it doesn't come easy for Michigan.
I think we'll see a more high powered offense from here on out. The Purdue game ... they will take the Minnesota/Oregon/Iowa films and watch those. Michigan came back offensively in all three ... they will learn all about the Michigan offense and defense in those three films. They have good special teams. This week should be a win, but watch Purdue!
Ouimet's Minnesota wrapup
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