The things former Michigan staffer Mark Ouimet says! Here is his take on the Minnesota game, the Illinois game, and on the Big Ten.">
The things former Michigan staffer Mark Ouimet says! Here is his take on the Minnesota game, the Illinois game, and on the Big Ten.">

Ouimet Looks Back at Minnesota, Ahead to Illinois

"The Michigan offense is beginning to come into its own ... Minnesota will lose to Wisconsin and Iowa to end the season ... Illinois will have a new coach next year."<br><br> The things former Michigan staffer Mark Ouimet says! Here is his take on the Minnesota game, the Illinois game, and on the Big Ten.


Looking back at Minnesota. First the offense.

The Michigan offense is beginning to come into its own. Against Minnesota the offense got 29 first downs, and 190 yards on the ground, 328 in the air, for 518 total -- that's outstanding.

They also averaged 5.5 yds per play -- again, outstanding.

Michigan had 37 minutes in time of possession. They were 8 of 18 on third down (just under 50%), and they were 3 of 3 in the red zone. All very good.

The was only reason the score was as close as it is ... and the only reason Minnesota led in the 4th quarter ... Michigan's three turnovers in the first 16 minutes of the second half.

Michigan is getting more players involved in the offense now -- and as the games go by Chad Henne will get even more play calling variety and responsibility.

Braylon Edwards had another good game. Minnesota cheated a safety over the top of him so he didn't catch a long pass ... but he still had 98 yards in receptions. Braylon has become a reliable go-to guy, which is a big plus for Henne.

Jason Avant had 6 receptions ... he was able to get open over the middle with Minnesota focusing on Braylon. Mike Hart also had 6 catches, along with his 100+ yards on the ground, as he gets more involved. Hart is improving each week, just like Henne.

The tight ends Tyler Ecker and Tim Massaquoi had 7 catches between them, including the game winner to Ecker.

And Steve Breaston is still a threat in certain formations ... even though it's hard to catch a ball with that finger, he still had 3 receptions.

Chad Henne is checking down better and better to his #2 and #3 receivers.

Also the offensive line gave up only 1 sack -- with the juggling the line has gone through, that's not bad. Rueben Riley got his opportunity at offensive guard, and he did a good job ... he'll see that opportunity every week now that Leo Henige is out. Can Henige come back twice from the same knee? We'll see.

So the Michigan offense is developing and expanding each week. And we'll see more expansion as the season goes on.

The Michigan Defense

If there is a plus in the 189 yards Michigan gave up on the ground ... it's that that's Minnesota's average. Laurence Maroney is a helleva back. And Michigan did put the clamps on them in the 4th quarter, giving up 45 yards total.

Michigan held Minnesota to 4-16 on 3rd down ... that has become a great down for the Michigan defense.

And their QB Bryan Cupito was only 8-22 overall. Michigan was able to take them out of their passing game pretty much.

But they averaged 5.5 yards a play (same as Michigan) ... that's because the defense gave up 2 big plays, the 80 yard touchdown run and the 40 yard pass play to Wheelright, who is a good receiver.

The game was 'closer than it should've been' ... because of Michigan's 3 turnovers, and because of the 2 big plays the defense gave up.

By the way, Minnesota's offense runs a good scheme ... but they will lose to Wisconsin and Iowa to end the season.

Looking ahead

Michigan has Illinois this week, at Illinois. There is not that much to say about this game, except as a tune-up for Purdue the next week.

How much of a tuneup will this game be ... ... ... they will be game-planning this week for Purdue, especially defensively. So we'll see a little of their Purdue preparation this Saturday. It won't be obvious, and we won't see it all ... mainly in some of the coverages we'll see nickle and dime packages that are really meant for next week. And we will see some 4-3 that is a look ahead to Purdue. I don't think Michigan will show any new blitzes against Illinois, even though there will be some versus Purdue.

So Michigan will play pretty base stuff this Saturday, except for a few coverages.

Illinois offensively has improved over last year. Chris Pazan is starting at quarterback, and we offered him. Illinois is scoring 26.8 a game, they just can't stop anybody ... they have a terrible defense. Big Ten defenses are not very good this year generally.

My Prediction: The line is 19 ... Illinois played Purdue to an 8 point game at Illinois ... they are improved, but they will have a new coach next year.
Michigan will score 30+ this week: 34-14.

The best two teams in the league, with Michigan, are Wisconsin and Purdue, and they play this weekend at Purdue. In the next 2 weeks we'll find out how the Big Ten shakes out.

The Michigan Insider Top Stories