It wasn’t the way anyone wanted to see the offense get a boost but after a late hit to the neck/back of Wilton Speight, the big man was out of the game and John O’Korn got another chance to lead the Michigan offense. And he did just that as the former Houston transfer ended the game 18/26 for 270 yards passing, one touchdown pass, one interception and finished with an 84.9 QBR.
Though it was far from perfect, O’Korn led the Michigan offense on one scoring drive before the halftime whistle and then three second half scoring drives to help lead the Wolverines to a nice win over the upstart Purdue Boilermakers, 28-10. But the story was far from just about the offense as Don Brown and his defense quickly adapted to Jeff Brohm’s offensive trickerations to hold the Boilermakers to just 10 yards TOTAL in the second half and just 189 yards for the entire game.
- DE Chase Winovich
- Winovich was named Walter Camp Defensive Player of the Week and Big Ten Co-Defensive Player of the Week for his three sack performance against the Boilermakers. In a game where Michigan needed its defense to show up from start to finish, the golden locked rush end was a problem all day long. His game has been good all year but this game was easily one of his best in the winged helmet.
- QB John O’Korn
- I won’t lie, I completely wrote off O’Korn as a real option at the quarterback position. But the 5th year senior proved me and the heavy, heavy majority of both Michigan fans and national analysts wrong with his performance. Though it wasn’t pretty from start to finish, especially early on when he was bailing on reads too early, his strong arm and athleticism gave the UM offense something it’s been missing since Speight was injured last fall. You don’t like to see any players lose their position due to injury but it’s going to be hard for Harbaugh to go back to Speight after seeing what O’Korn can do for this offense while the offensive line continues to grow.
- RB Chris Evans
- It took four games to get there but the Captain America of 2016 looks to have had his breakout game. Evans gave the offense a much needed spark in the second half by averaging 6.9 yards per carry on just 14 carries (97 yards total). He scored the touchdown to give Michigan the lead in the 3rd quarter and then iced it with his 49 yard touchdown run in the 4th. It was a good sign to see, especially with the toughest tests coming up.
- TE Sean McKeon
- Normally I would only choose three standouts per game but I just couldn’t keep McKeon off of the list. While he may not be the huge play waiting to happen, like Zach Gentry, he flashed his potential to be the future safety blanket/Jake Butt-like tight end in this offense. He’s big, strong and has great hands. And he also looks to be a favorite of O’Korn. If O’Korn ends up starting from here on out, look for McKeon to continue to show out.
- Other Options
- CB David Long
- LB Devin Bush Jr
- TE Zach Gentry
Check out the highlights from the 2017 Michigan Wolverines vs. Purdue Boilermakers game (via WolverineDevotee):
Also catch the University of Michigan football program’s latest Inside Michigan Football episode for more of a behind-the-scenes look at the game:
What was your biggest takeaway from Michigan’s 28-10 win over Purdue? Is John O’Korn the guy moving forward? How scary can this defense really be? Let us know in the comment section below!
Photo Credit: Patrick Barron/MGoBlog