Purdue wrap-up and reaction

Melanie Maxwell I AnnArbor.com
There was very little not to like about Michigan's performance against Purdue. Fitz's output was not exactly what I would call impressive, but you could tell Purdue keyed on him all day rather than Denard. The OL played well, but could have done better to make some holes for #28. However, the "non-Denard rushing game" aside, highlights for me include...

Good Denard. A 50% passing percentage for 100 yds and change with 1 TD and ZERO interceptions is fine with me. If we could get that sort of passing output from Shoelace each week, then I'd be thrilled. Of course adding 235 yards on the ground doesn't hurt either. Denard became the all-time B1G leading rusher for a QB on Saturday (with 3,905 yds), and took home Big Ten offensive player of the week honors for a 9th time in his career. That ties him with Ron Dayne for the most times winning the weekly award.

Defense. No question, the defense controlled the game on Saturday. Blitzes, keeping pressure on Terbush, forcing bad throws, blanketing receivers and keeping whatever little ground game Purdue has to a minimum. Tip of the cap to Raymon Taylor with the pick-6. That play could have been the nail in the coffin for Purdue's offense.

Little things. There seemed to be a certain feeling that the breaks were just going our way. Bounces, aside from the Gibbons kick that bounced off the crossbar, were all going in our favor. Special teams didn't play much of a factor in this game, but maybe when things are going well, you just don't notice them. Turnovers, penalties, things just seemed to be going our way. Michigan was rolling.

All of these things combined to create a win about as satisfying as anything I've seen during the Brady Hoke era. Sure, it's fun to watch Denard shred defenses to pieces, but holding someone down and pummeling them for 3 hours with your defense can really make your confidence about a team soar.

Highlights? Highlights.


Michigan stewed for a week after intercepting away the Notre Dame game and came back resolved to boringly suffocate opponents. Thanks to Greg Mattison's ability to turn anything more coordinated than a tube sock into a functional defensive tackle and those things on Denard Robinson that aren't arms—leargs or something—their first experiment in 1970s death football was a resounding success. There were no interceptions, and one lost fumble. Michigan won by many points.
JAKE RYAN – After watching #47 do his thing again, one word came to mind – MANSTER.  In the late ‘70s, Bob Ufer recalled how UM D-Tackle Chris Godfrey was called “manster” by fellow wolverine Ron Simpkins.  Why manster? He was half man, half monster. Jake Ryan – ‘nuff said!
Touch the Banner
I'm officially concerned about Fitzgerald Toussaint and the running game. Toussaint (17 carries, 19 yards, 2 touchdowns) looks slower this year, quite frankly.  He also looks like he's dancing too much instead of burrowing forward for a couple yards when he can.  Of course, it starts with the offensive line, and I haven't been impressed this year with what the offensive line is doing.  None of the offensive linemen has taken a step forward this year, in my opinion.  Taylor Lewan has taken a step backward, and the other guys are just average.  Obviously, Denard Robinson (24 carries, 235 yards) was great, but the offensive line can't open holes for the running backs.  Even Thomas Rawls, who had good numbers (4 carries, 33 yards, 1 touchdown), had to break tackles at the line of scrimmage to get anything done.
Hoover Street Rag
But the predicted doom and gloom never came.  Michigan looked like a team that had two losses to teams ranked in the top ten and Purdue looked like a team who had three wins over some of the dregs of FBS.  We don't know a lot of things after September. Some things are obvious, usually which teams are really good and which teams are really bad, but we also don't know a lot about the middle because of the imbalance of schedules.  Would we feel better about Michigan if the Alabama game had been, say, Buffalo or Ball State?  Probably, but we don't have that luxury now.  But we do know that no one who is eligible to play in the Big Ten championship game is really that much better than anyone else.  Today we saw Northwestern lose to Penn State, we saw Michigan State struggle with Indiana, a sentence I had difficulty typing over the sheer incredulity of it, and Nebraska and Ohio State trade points and make people question the existence of their defense.  Michigan answered its critics in a way that no other Big Ten team can claim today.