Don't Look Back

Yep, it was one of those kinds of games.

Towards the end of the game on Saturday, I made the mistake of tweeting out that there'd likely be a considerable amount of Jake Rudock overreaction coming after Michigan's 28-7 win over UNLV. Rudock finished 14 of 22 for 123 yards a score and a pick. Not a bad stat line, a 116.5 passer rating...but not stellar either.

On a day when all Michigan really needed Jake to do was take the snap, turn around and hand it off...he did just that – 39 times as Michigan's stable of running backs amassed 254 yards and 3 touchdowns. Michigan barely strayed from the most basic play calls as I'm sure there was an effort not to shows their cards to BYU or any other future opponents.

But there were a lot of things to be satisfied happy about. The offensive line did what they were supposed to do to an outmanned front...holes were made and QB's were protected. UNLV got only 2 TFL's and no sacks. Ty Isaac ran the ball better and more effectively then he ever has in the Michigan uniform. The defense played outstanding as usual. Special teams were solid and Michigan's punter Blake O'neill booted 4 of his 5 aussie-style punts inside the 20. All in all, it was a business as usual type of game...which is something you haven't really been able to say around Ann Arbor that much recently.

UNLV was never really in it. Thanks to a fast start on both sides of the ball, Michigan shot out to a comfortable 21-0 halftime lead. In the first 30 minutes, Michigan outgained the Rebels 233 to 93. With the game in hand and UNLV not really able to do much of anything offensively, Michigan let off the gas in the 2nd half...whether by design or not.

And that's really the crux of the frustration by Michigan's fans. The Wolverines should've hung 40+ on the Rebels, at least it seems as if they should've. And by almost any measure, Michigan probably could have. But they didn't. In their first 2 games of the season, Michigan looked sharper than they did in the 2nd half of their 3rd game.

Maybe sometimes, when you play bad teams, you just play bad? It wouldn't be the first time. Just ask #1 Ohio State after their 20-13 win against Northern Illinois. You're not as focused. You're not as prepared. You're just going through the motions. That's what it looked and felt like to me on Saturday.

The playcalling in the 2nd half seemed to lack flash or pop. In Michigan's 35 2nd half plays, 21 runs and 14 passes, they gained a modest 144 yards (4.1 ypp). The biggest gripe being that Rudock seemed off...not being on the same page as his receivers. In the small handful of downfield throws by Rudock, only a fraction seemed on target or catchable.

The reason I tweeted out that people would likely overreact about Rudock's performance was for 2 reasons.
1. We're Michigan fans and we reserve the right to react or overreact to anything and everything our quarterback does at any time.
2. See #1.
Look, I get it. At a time when Michigan's two primary rivals are ranked #1 and #2 in the polls respectively, that alone will make any Michigan fan a little nutty. And regardless of the fact that Jim Harbaugh is our coach, we're still a little tender when we see our senior quarterback who's known as ball protector throw his 5th pick in 3 games, it's bound to trigger some flashbacks of the last 2 years.

I think we know this team can play better than they did in the 2nd half last week. UNLV was one of those just get through it kind of games. BYU is going to test Michigan on both sides of the ball. We'll know a lot more what sort of team this is after this week.

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