After a near flawless first half, the Michigan football team went into the locker room up 28-0 on Maryland and feeling good. Obviously a little too good though as the young Wolverines came out a little sluggish and stale in all three facets of the game and ended up being out scored (10-7) and out gained (213-97) in the 2nd half by the lowly Terrapins. However, it was far from what some made it out to be on the Twittersphere as the Wolverines were in always control of the game and, when plays had to be made, both the offense and defense stepped up as iced the game to move Michigan to 8-2 on the season.
Brandon Peters made his second career start and showed off his poise and arm strength throughout. Though he only completed 50% of his passes, he made more than enough plays and took care of the ball more than enough to keep him atop the depth chart, regardless of Wilton Speight’s availability. He still needs to work on getting more receivers involved in the game, as Zach Gentry led the way with just three catches, and to continue to tighten up his deeper attempts, especially with Wisconsin and Ohio State coming up.
As for the running game, Karan Higdon and Chris Evans didn’t team up to go over 300 yards on the ground, like I predicted, but they made more than enough plays in the run game and in the screen game to keep Michigan’s offense rolling in the first half. However, Higdon ended up going down with an ankle injury late in the 2nd quarter and it clearly impacted the offense in the second half. And now it becomes the main thing to watch heading into the match up with the Badgers.
Going into the game, I mentioned that I wouldn’t be surprised if Michigan shutout Maryland and its 5th string walk-on quarterback. And even though the defense gave up 340 yards of offense to the Terps, it nearly pulled off the shutout as DJ Durkin chose to kick a field goal at the end of the 3rd quarter down 28-0 and then added a touchdown in the 4th quarter to break the double digit barrier. 20+ yard plays were a bit of an issue in the 2nd half, as Michigan’s back seven were overly aggressive and gave up some large chunk plays. But it was still a solid performance from the defense though the big plays will likely be a main talking point for Don Brown in the film sessions.
- CB David Long
- Though he went out twice with a knee injury, Long put in a very nice performance as he added his second interception of the season, which he nearly took back to the house. He also added a nice pass breakup after going off with the injury and showed his “stickiness” throughout the game. Getting him back to 100% will be important for Michigan moving forward.
- TE Zach Gentry
- Gentry had another nice performance in the maize and blue as he used his size, speed and hands to make two of the biggest offensive plays of the day for Michigan. His 33 yard touchdown reception up the seam was a thing of beauty and something I’d expect to see from the former quarterback recruit throughout this career.
- RB Chris Evans
- Evans didn’t have his best performance of the season but he was able to get into the end zone twice, including a 17-yard run in the 4th quarter to put the game completely on ice. However, it was his hurdle over the Maryland defender on the 3rd down screen pass that will be all over the season highlights.
- Other Options
- OLB/DE Josh Uche
- RB Karan Higdon
- S Josh Metellus
Check out the condensed game highlights from the 2017 Michigan-Maryland match up:
Photo Credit: Paul Sherman/MGoBlog