After one of the longest first halves of the year, Michigan kept the pedal to the metal and blew out Rutgers on Saturday night, 49-16, and moved to 7-2 on the season and 4-1 in the Big Ten.
It was a crazy first half even though Michigan was in control the entire time. Here are my five takeaways from the game:
1. B1G refs are horrendous
- I mean, really, Big Ten refs? Did you really call Michigan for “intent to deceive”? You basically just called a penalty on Michigan for either trying too hard to win or not playing fair. Sounds a lot like a parent that doesn’t understand sports and believes all kids should get a participation trophy at the end of the season. Well, lets be honest, that’s the only trophy Rutgers deserves in 2015.
- As for the refs, they deserve to be under review for their performance. Not only was that unsportsmanlike conduct penalty ridiculous, they miss-spot the ball multiple times for both teams and missed at least two blocks in the back on the punt return that resulted in 3 points for the Scarlet Knights at the end of the 1st half.
2. Rudock haters need show some love
- How about Jake the Snake? (Yes, I’m taking full credit for that nickname) He not only had the best passing day of the season but also of his career. 337 yards on 18 of 25 passing for 2 TDs (basically 3 but that Peppers TD was a backwards pass). That’s exactly what he needed and the haters needed to take a positive step forward.
- He showed great poise and accuracy while throwing darts all over the field and picking apart the RU defense. He also, once again, showed his ability to slither out of pressure and make a couple great runs for scores.
- No matter how you cut it, Rudock had a very good game and proved the believers right that he just needed time to develop into exactly what Michigan needed in 2015.
3. The Running Backs need to get healthy
- Michigan finished the game with 150 rushing yards but it just wasn’t very smooth. I know, I know, “Harbaugh’s running style is anything but smooth.” But you can clearly see that there is a hitch in both De’Veon Smith and Drake Johnson’s giddy up. Even Derrick Green looked off.
- The offensive line did a pretty good job throughout to help them out but the staff will need to find ways to improve the running. Does that mean more Jabrill Peppers? Probably. He opens everything up and has that speed and quickness that is sorely missing in the backfield.
4. Jabrill Peppers will be on the Heisman Watch List in 2016
- Speaking of Jabrill, this kid is the truth. He’s not the greatest defensive back in the world, not even the best on his own team, but he’s an absolute stud football player.
- Not only does he change the game defensively with his ability to play multiple positions, but he also can break open the game as a running back, wide receiver, kick returner, kick holder and even as a decoy.
- The staff only played him for 66 plays against RU but that’s because the game was out of hand early and he wasn’t as needed. In the last three games, barring any blowouts, they’ll likely use him similar to how they did against Minnesota (90+ plays).
5. Don’t throw at Jourdan Lewis and don’t sleep on Dymonte Thomas
- Jabrill gets all the love but Jourdan Lewis is the best defensive player for Team 136. He’s the first lockdown corner I can remember for Michigan since Leon Hall and proved how great he was by breaking up multiple passes and setting the all-time UM record for PBU.
- Along with Lewis, former five star defensive back Dymonte Thomas has become a player to watch each game. He has all of the physical tools in the world and is finally starting to come into his own (Hoke’s staff really didn’t help him out). He’s starting to become a playmaking safety, though unlucky at times with his just missed INTs and horrible PI calls. Thomas also showed his athleticism and versatility with a long kick return when Rutgers foolishly tried to squib kick in the 1st half.
Extra Point: Don’t buy 8oz beers
- I made the dumb mistake of seeing a good deal and grabbing it when I was at the store. I thought it was a deal for eight 16oz beers but it was actually twelve 8oz beers. Don’t make this same mistake. It’s like drinking those little bottles of water. Doesn’t do much and makes you look like you have Andre the Giant-like hands.
Michigan heads to Bloomington next week for a match up with the Indiana Hoosiers, which should be a great game. Michigan’s defense will need to clean up their mental mistakes and missed tackles if they plan on making it easy on themselves throughout.
Photo Credit: Melanie Maxwell | The Ann Arbor News