"Michigan had two turnovers (2nd quarter interceptions by Chad Henne) to Illinois' four: a fumble on the first play caused by Gabe Watson, and three interceptions in the second half.
"And Michigan was 10 of 20 on 3rd down, which is good, and 2 of 4 on 4th down, also good. And Michigan's defense did well on 3rd down as well, holding Illinois to 5 of 16."
"Michigan had 408 total yards on offense, which is very good.
"Chad Henne keeps improving ... his biggest mistake was the first interception he threw into the end zone in the 2nd quarter, which was returned for 72 yards. Illinois got points off both his turnovers, on back to back possessions.
"Mike Hart ... what can you say? 40 carries, that's big time ... Chris Perry had the one game with 50 last year against MSU. SO 40 is getting into that catagory. And he averaged 5.8 yards per carry ... that'sreal good, and the first time he's had a great average yards per carry. That comes from doing the extra things ... watching film, in the weight room. And it's good to see Max Martin get in there. With Kevin Grady coming in next year as well, Pierre Rembert and Jerome Jackson ... well at least one of them will have to switch position, probably to safety.
"And Michigan didn't fumble - that's a positive.
"Braylon Edwards kind've got shut down as Illinois double-teamed him, but Jason Avant stepped up, and so did Hart on screen passes. And Henne hit seven different receivers, which means he's going through his progressions well.
"One negative - penalties. Michigan had 10 for 86 yards ... 10 penalties is too many. One was the holding call at end of game, which was kind of deliberate. But nine real penalties ... that's high.
"Overall offensively however, it's coming together ... plays one week are developing off plays the week before ... you can see the progression."
"On the other hand, I'd have to say the defense is underperforming a bit.
"Illinois got 19 first downs, which is too high. Although Michigan did well on third down conversions, as I said. Illinois had 254 yards overall, and under 100 yards running ... not bad ... the U-M turnovers but them into short field positions ... Michigan gave them 10 points on those short field situations.
"But the offense played better than the defense. And overall, although the defense is playing fairly well -- giving up 19 points a game -- it is not dominating like expected.
"Illinois said the hell with Marlin Jackson ... Michigan brings an extra safety, Ernest Shazor, up into the box, so Illinois just went after the other corner. And Illinois and other teams this year are also attacking the middle of the Michigan defense behind the inside linebackers. Most of the passes completed against Michigan are in the middle of the field. So there are three factors in teams' success against the Michigan defense.
1. They are attacking Leon Hall and Makus Curry. Both guys are making plays at times, and getting beat at times. Those two could use help, but there is no safety over the top with Shazor in the box.
2. Michigan is bringing Shazor down into the box to shore up the LB play. So teams are checking into passes over the middle, where Shazor is supposed to be. Rarely does a defense check back out of a defense, so there is Shazor, 60% of the time in the box. Michigan is doing it to stop the run. It's the right approach ... but not for next week!
3. Michigan's linebackers are not playing their zone coverages that well.
"Also against Illinois, Roy Manning didn't have a great game -- he bit on some fakes by the fullback.
"Gabe Watson is what gave Illinois the most problems ... both against the run, and in flushing the quarterback out of the pocket on pass plays by pushing the center back. Gabe is not going to be a big stats guy, but he's creating things for Ernest Shazor, Scott McClintock, and Roy Manning.
"Scott McClintock had 2 interceptions on 'Tampa Bay coverage', where McClintock lines up near the line of scrimmage from the middle linebacker spot, then at the snap quickly drops back into coverage. Both interceptions were poor reads by the quarterback.
"Next week -- Purdue! I'll say more about this game tomorrow, but for now ...
"As I said, bringing Shazor up into the box is not the answer against Purdue.
"Purdue loves to throw to their tight end Charles Davis on the slant play (Davis is from Orchard Lake St. Mary's ... I tried hard to get Michigan to recruit that guy! We went and watched him play basketball -- the guy had great feet! He played with Jermaine Gonzalez and Grant Mason at OLSM).
"Marlin Jackson will be more involved this week ... Purdue spreads the ball around.
"Michigan's safeties will be like cornerbacks in this game ... Michigan will take a linebacker out and play more DB's ... Marlin, Hall and Curry will all be out there at once."
Ouimet Wraps Up Illinois & Peeks At Purdue
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