Looking Back at Week 3: Eastern Michigan

It can be argued that Michigan played pretty well in this game. It can also be argued that Michigan struggled in this game. It was really the tale of two halves. In the first half, we saw Michigan struggle to pull away early from an Eastern Michigan squad that ran the ball up the middle with relative ease. In the second half, Michigan was able to capitalize on some very nice field position and keep EMU off the scoreboard.

It should be noted that Michigan has outscored their opponents 21-0 in third quarters this season. Against EMU, the biggest halftime adjustment was in the run defense. Chalk it up to the Michigan D not being prepared to actually have to play in this game...that can be attributed to this being the typical "trap" game. Tough to get guys excited to play against EMU a week after beating Notre Dame in dramatic fashion...and that's probably why the first half of this game was a little closer than most would have liked.

What I Liked:
I really like the play of the offensive line. They made holes all day for Brown, Minor, Shaw, Robinson & Smith. Carlos Brown easily had the play of the day with his 90-yard TD scamper. Not to be outdone was Denard Robinson's two very nice TD runs. Both of which came at a time when Michigan needed to put some breathing room between them and the Ealges. That also gave UM a chance to get some backups in there to see some game time.

Tate Forcier played adequately. Nothing great. He showed a little bit of indecision on some of scrambles. EMU blitzed well and created some confusion when Tate would try and keep the ball on some of his option-reads. His throws were decent. No TDs, but he did connect some nice throws. It was a huge moment of terror when he went down in the 2nd half. You could literally hear the air taken right out of the lungs of Michigan fans when Tate was laying on the field in pain. It's pretty clear now that he probably got the air knocked out of him...and might have also bruised some ribs in the process. He got hit very hard.

But all in all, the offense rocked on Saturday. They scored quickly on big plays. EMU actually dominated time of possession with over 40 minutes...a testament to Michigan's efficiency of scoring.

What I Didn't Like:
Well, in this sort of game, you have to understand what the circumstances are and manage you expectations. To think that we were going to win 70-0 would be a little ridiculous. But, we should have been able to control the line of scrimmage better in the first half. EMU ran the ball pretty well, getting sometimes 6-8 yards per carry. They had a lot of 3rd and shorts. And they were successful in keeping our high-powered offense off the field as much as possible. They sustained long drives...something ND also did with regularity.

On offense, it would have been nice to be able to show off the passing game a little more, but with our running game doing so well, I can see why we didn't pass too much.

Overall the game was a success. We showed that we don't have to rely solely on the pass or QB. We were able to get some backups in the game. Having Sheridan on the sidelines the entire 2nd half shows that he is probably not going to see the field much at all the rest of the season. LB Jonas Mouton, served his 1-game suspension for allegedly hitting a ND player last week. He'll be back this weekend. Junior Hemingway returned from his injury in week 1 and looked good.

The biggest loss for us this week is center David Molk. He will be out 4-6 weeks with a broken foot.

Defensively, yes...we should all be concerned. I think we have bigger issues than just Mouton not being in the game. We have defensive line issues. We are young and small. Teams in the Big Ten like to run...and right now, we're less than great at stopping the run. Greg Robinson will have his hands full as the schedule plays out and if we can't stay healthy up front.

Something that I didn't think would be a possibility 3 weeks ago is that Michigan may find itself in some big offensive shootouts with some opponents this year. Suddenly, we have the confidence and the ability to score points. In three games this year we've scored 31, 38 and 45 points respectively. Last season we went 23, 16 and 17 in our first three games.

And, we're 3-0 for the first time since 2006! And that's something worth feeling good about. Big game this week as we start Big Ten play against a surprisingly undefeated Indiana squad when they come calling for homecoming.

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