A Statement Win

Michigan's 2018 revenge tour has commenced


All Photos: Patrick Barron
Teams don't beat Wisconsin like this. This was domination. When was the last time anyone, let alone Michigan, dominated Wisconsin physically?

Paul Chryst Wisconsin teams are 15-2 in true road games. Oddly, both of those losses are to Michigan (2016, 2018). Michigan ran for 320 yards. No one has done that to Wisconsin since the Rose Bowl against Oregon on January 1, 2012 and only the second time since 2005. Wisconsin has only lost by 25 points twice since 2008.

In a stretch where Michigan is playing 3 consecutive games against teams they lost to last year, this was a statement win for sure. Gameday was in town...big primetime game on ABC with Fowler and Herbsteit...the stars were aligned for another classic Michigan meltdown against a good ranked opponent. But instead, we got the opposite.

Michigan held Wisconsin to 3 completions for 25 yards through the first 55 minutes of the game. They held the leagues top rusher Jonathan Taylor to 101 yards on 17 carries and no touchdowns...his lowest ouput of the season. Wisconsin as a team averages 447 yards of offense a game...last night they mustered 283.

Perhaps the biggest statistical improvement by this Michigan team was in penalty yards. Michigan was averaging 79 penalty yards per game. Yesterday they only had 1 penalty for 15 yards...which was the celebration penalty after the pick 6. It won't get much publicity, but I think that was a huge part of Michigan's dominating performance last night.

Next up for Michigan on their 2018 revenge tour is a trip to East Lansing. Regardless of MSU's fluky win in Happy Valley yesterday, this Michigan team is peaking at just the right time. I'm not going to predict anything right now, but you have to feel good about the current state of the program after a dominating performance like the one we got to see last night.

Easy. The offensive line.

Yes, the defense was their usual dominating selves in the second half, but the story of the game was the incredible push and protection the Michigan offensive line created all night long. They seemed to get better and stronger as the game went on. Without a doubt the one single unit on the Michigan team that has gotten better week to week...and the one that needed to get better every week this season especially after the opening loss to ND...this offensive line has accepted the challenge of putting this team on their shoulders and it's paying off.

You have to tip your cap to OL coach Ed Warriner. What a difference he has made.

Yesterday, Wisconsin struggled to create pressure on Patterson and stop the Michigan run game. Make no mistake, Michigan won this game with toughness and running the football. Its been a LONG time we've been able to say that in a big primetime matchup.

My worst was Wisconsin's playcalling. On key 3rd and shorts through the second half, Wisconsin went to the pass to try and get the first down. Through most of the game, Wisconsin was averaging over 6 yards per carry, and Taylor was getting good yardage when he was getting the ball. But on those 3rd downs, Taylor was not even in the game.

There was another coaching head scratcher at the end of the first half when a Michigan drive stalled and they had to settle for a field goal attempt. The ball was pretty close to midfield and Wisconsin chose not to call a timeout to stop the clock with about :35 left on the clock. Michigan missed the field goal and the half ended. Had Chryst called a timeout, he would've given his team a chance to get into field goal range or at the very least a shot at the endzone.

Also, with 2:30 left in the 3Q, Wisconsin punted on a 4th and 3 from the Michigan 42 yardline while down 21-7. Its on thing to have faith in your defense and not panic...but what the hell man!?

If I'm a Wisconsin fan, I'm very upset about these coaching gaffes.

The turning point of the game was early in the 3Q when Wisconsin was flagged for roughing Michigan's long snapper Cameron Cheeseman on a punt, which extended Michigan's drive en route to a touchdown.

What was odd...okay maybe just more ironic...was Wisconsin roughing a player named Cheeseman.

Another oddity...fullback Ben Mason did not get a carry in this game. Did not expect a fullback to not get a carry against Wisconsin.

Offense: The offensive line
Like I said in my best of the game...no unit has improved more throughout the season than the offensive line. They dominated Wisconsin yesterday. Shea Patterson is going to make his plays, Karan Higdon is going to make his plays. But they need the OL to be there and they really stepped up in a big way in a big game.

Defense: Metellus and Kinnel
Josh Metellus and Tyree Kinnel were all over the field. They led the team in tackles with 5 each...but their real impact was just seemingly being in the right place at the right time. Really, I could give the defensive game ball to anyone on the Michigan defense...but to me, these guys really

Special Teams: N/A
No special teams game balls this week. Will Hart only punted twice...with an average of 45.5, which isn't bad at all, but not game ball worthy. And Quinn Nordin was 3 of 5 on the night with a slew of kicks that were pretty ugly, even the ones that went in. Quinn has the leg to be an elite kicker, but his accuracy and contact are all over the place.

Coaching: Ed Warriner
See best of the game and offensive game ball.

Honorable mention: Shea Patterson, Karan Higdon, Dylan McCaffrey, Nico Collins, Lavert Hill, Chase Winovich, Devin Bush, Brandon Watson, Don Brown, Pep Hamilton

2018 Game Ball Standings:
1. Offensive Line (2), Josh Metellus (2), Ed Warriner (2), Khaleke Hudson (2), Shea Patterson (2), Will Hart (2), Karan Higdon (2), Donovan Peoples-Jones (2)
2. Quinn Nordin, Chase Winovich, Devin Bush, Greg Mattison, Jim Harbaugh, Rashan Gary, Don Brown, Jim McElwain

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