Break's Over

Breaking down Michigan's 35-10 win against Maryland

Melanie Maxwell, MLive
It's easy to overreact. Don't.

The 2nd half...well the 3rd quarter really, was pretty ugly for the Wolverines. Michigan scored quickly and a lot in the 2nd quarter. Given mostly short fields due to Maryland mishaps, Michigan scored 3 touchdowns, 2 within a minute of each other, to blow the game open and cruise to a comfortable halftime lead.

Maryland, give them credit, came out in the 3rd and played hard...while it appeared Michigan had really taken their foot off the gas pedal (whether they did or not, I don't know, it just seemed like it). DJ Durkin knows Harbaugh and played like it. He didn't let up in the second half...even though his field goal attempts while down by 4 scores were a white flag.

But when the game mattered most, Michigan shined. They outscored Maryland in the 1st half 28-0, outgained them 212 to 112 on mostly short field drives, averaged 6.8 ypp to Maryland's 3 ypp, while taking care of the football and committing no penalties. Michigan looked crisp and prepared. I'm choosing to remember this part of the game...not the second half where Michigan struggled to move the ball at all and Maryland did not.

Make no mistake, Michigan is playing Ohio State now. These last 3 games were all about Ohio State. Resurrecting the ground game and strengthening Michigan's more physical offense had nothing to do with Rutgers, Minnesota and Maryland, they were just the scenery. No, Michigan was playing Ohio State these last 3 weeks.

But even next week in Madison, it's all about Ohio State. Every play call, every defensive look, every snap is another opportunity to prepare for (or hide something from) the Buckeyes. Higdon comes back in this game if Ohio State isn't in 2 weeks. Michigan doesn't kneel down in the redzone to end the game if Ohio State isn't in 2 weeks.

The point is, break's over. It's big boy football time.

Of course the second quarter when Michigan quickly put 21 points on the board with a mix of run and pass that Michigan fans have been clamoring for since Brandon Peters came into the Rutgers game two weeks ago. Peters finished the game 9 of 18 for 145 yards and 2 touchdowns. Not overwhelming numbers, but once you add in 3 of those incompletions should have probably been pass interference calls, especially the first two throws of the game, then it seems a little better. Peters easily passes the eye test...he seems calm, confident and poised. He's got a good sense of where to put the ball, he feels pressure well...all that said, he may be the most complete QB on the roster right now.

Injuries. Michigan got a little dinged up in this game. They came INTO the game a little dinged up. Karan Higdon, David Long, Lavert Hill, Rashan Gary all left the game at certain points with varying injuries. Higdon left the game early, maybe as more a precaution than anything else. Long came back into the game, Hill was in concussion protocol, and I have no idea the extent of Rashan Gary's arm injury, but word is he should be fine.

Add those names to the list of already questionable or doubtful...Wilton Speight, Ty Isaac, Nico Collins, Tarik Black...and you have one pretty banged up football team, on both sides of the ball.

Offense: Zach Gentry
Had the catch of the game, the 33 yard touchdown grab on a gem from Peters over the top to go up 21-0 with 11:21 in the 2nd quarter. Added 2 more catches for 30 more yards in his best game as a Wolverine.

Defense: Maurice Hurst
Honestly, he could probably win this award every week. He's just that good. He tallied 9 tackles, 1 sack and 1.5 tackles for loss, but like Rashan Gary, most of his impact isn't felt on the stat sheet. He's simple a force on the interior.

Special Teams: Josh Metellus
His punt block in 2nd quarter set up Michigan's 4th touchdown. Two plays later, after a 16 yard Hidgon run, Peters found Sean McKeon wide open on a waggle to go up 28-0.

Coaching: Greg Mattison
Mattison doesn't really get the respect he deserves on this coaching staff, but his defensive line has had one of the best years a Michigan D-line has ever had. I don't think anyone saw this type of year coming from this defensive front which lost so much last year. They've been consistently great all season and they will be leaned on heavily these last 2 games of the season.

Honorable mention: Brandon Peters, Chris Evans, Tyree Kinnel, Khaleke Hudson, Josh Matellus

2017 Game Ball Standings
1. Don Brown (4)
2. Quinn Nordin (3)
3. Maurice Hurst (2), Greg Mattison (2), Karan Higdon (2), Chase Winovich (2), Ty Isaac (2),
4. Zach Gentry (1), Josh Metellus (1), The OL (1), Khaleke Hudson (1), James Foug (1), Jim Harbaugh (1), Ambry Thomas (1), Greg Frey (1), John O'Korn (1), Devin Bush (1), Brad Robbins (1), Donovan Peoples-Jones (1), Tyree Kinnel (1), Devin Bush (1), 

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