A resounding road dubya for Michigan, despite what the stat sheet says.

Both of these photos are modern art masterpieces.
Photos: Paul Sherman, MGoBlog
This was sort of an odd game to write about. I think it all comes down to your perspective.

I mean on one hand, Michigan really dominated a decent Maryland team that played pretty well for short bursts in this game. Michigan showed they could cash in on their opportunities while keeping Maryland from doing the same. They didn't turn the ball over, there weren't really any huge miscues, no one got hurt and right from the start all the way through to the end it felt like Michigan was in complete control...because they were.

But on the other hand, it wasn't really an overly satisfying win. I mean Maryland, despite the lopsided scoreboard, moved the ball well at times, right into the teeth of Michigan's run defense. They played Michigan tough...even when they were down by multiple scores. One could look at the final stats and draw a very different conclusion than someone who watched the game. Either way, it was a 31-point win on the road against an upstart opponent that was never really in doubt.

Whatever your perspective is, I think this sort of game will help this Michigan squad as they enter their second bye week to prepare for the final 3 games on the 2019 schedule.

For this team, to go on the road and dominate isn't something that should be overlooked or taken for granted, regardless of the opponent. Like we saw when Wisconsin lost to Illinois...anything can happen when a highly favored team tries to sleepwalk though an upstart opponent on the road.

Maryland had their changes to make this thing close. Their second and third drives both went 12 plays and marched well into Michigan territory. The first ended on the Michigan 12 yardline when Mike Dana got to Josh Jackson just in time to disrupt his pass that got intercepted by Josh Metellus. The following Maryland drive ended on the Michigan 20 with a missed field goal attempt by Joseph Petrino.

That really was the ballgame for Maryland as Michigan's special teams and offense kept adding to their lead. All told, Maryland's offense, for all of their success running the ball, never found the endzone as the Terps only touchdown came on a kickoff return right at the end of the 3Q.

For the Wolverines, it was a convincing win that featured no turnovers, no injuries, 5 touchdowns, 4 sacks, 8 tackles for loss, 1 interception, no sacks allowed, no offensive touchdowns allowed, a kickoff return for a touchdown and a blocked punt.

Not a bad way to spend a Saturday.

Maryland's offense is not a joke. They gashed Michigan's vaunted run D multiple times, especially on those two long first half drives I just mentioned. That was a bit worrisome, at least until Michigan stiffened at the right time to end any serious ground threat from the Terps.

All told, Michigan only gave up 129 yards on the ground...but it just felt like more I guess. During those two drives, it really seemed like Maryland could actually make this a game...much like Illinois did a few weeks ago when Michigan seemingly let up on the gas after getting a comfy lead.

Spoiler alert: Michigan did not let up and Maryland's ground threat never really materialized again throughout the remainder of the game.

The only thing I thought as a bit odd is how early Shea left the game to bring in Dylan McCaffrey. I mean Michigan was up 35-7 and it was late in the 3Q, but for some reason it just felt early for a backup to come in...especially since I think this offense could benefit from game reps with Shea in there. But that's just me.

Also odd was that there were two kickoffs returned for touchdowns. I don't recall ever seeing that before. I guess the good part for Michigan is Giles Jackson's return came on the opening kickoff, while Javon Leake's return came in the 3Q when the score was 35-0 Wolverines.

More MBN Maryland coverage: PreviewSTAT-O 

No comments

Post a Comment