Jump Around (Michigan 38, Wisconsin 17)

I came to win, battle me that's a sin

"Ope! Just gonna pan over to this guy real quick for no reason."


This is when you knew Michigan wasn't going to lose this game. Michigan players remembered clearly what it was like 2 years ago, down 35-8, when Camp Randall came alive for their end of the 3rd quarter tradition of "Jump Around". Two years ago, it was nothing but pain and anguish for Michigan. This year, up 20-10 with all of the momentum on their side, it was a totally different feeling. That's when the Michigan players decided to not let Wisconsin "steal their juice". This time, once again as a road underdog, it was Michigan who decided to not let anyone else dictate the outcome of this game. This time, they weren't going to flinch.

From a fans perspective, yesterday's game was a true test of intestinal fortitude. I don't think anyone was truly confident that Michigan could go on the road as an underdog, especially at a place like Camp Randall, and pull off not only a win, but a dominant win – a statement win.

Make no mistake, despite what anyone wants to tell you about how bad Wisconsin's offense is, or how poorly they've looked this season, this was a huge win for Michigan. Not because of who they beat, or where...but how.

Michigan beat Wisconsin by controlling the entire tempo of the game. They did this through staying committed to the running game, which didn't have a lot of explosive plays, but was still something Wisconsin's #1 rushing defense nationally had to stay committed to stopping. And then, letting Cade McNamara try to make plays and move the sticks through the air...which he was eventually able to do. He didn't lite up the stat sheet, 17 of 28 for 197 yards and 2 touchdowns, but he played a controlled game. McNamara might not be the most talented QB on Michigan's roster, but he's smart with the ball, runs the offense smoothly and efficiently, and just doesn't make a lot of mistakes. Most of the time, when you have a dangerous rushing attack, that's all you really need from your quarterback.

I tweeted out early in the game yesterday that I wasn't feeling McNamara. Wisconsin was playing tough, and Cade's passes just seemed to be a bit off. But once he settled in...that flea-flicker to Cornelius Johnson was a thing of beauty, and just the type of play a competent running attack will allow you to call early in a game like this...Cade got more confident, and allowed the game to come to him a little bit.

No bad throws, no INTs, no sacks, no fumbles, no plays for negative yards. And hey, how about Jake Moody going 3 for 3, knocking in kicks from 26, 47 and 48 yards?! My man had himself a day. It gets lost in a game like this when a lot of things are going well, but to make those kinds of kicks, get 3 points and not give up any field position (or momentum) is so huge in a close game like this.

Special teams in general were all very solid. All except the squib kick right before halftime. I get the thinking behind doing that...Wisconsin up to that point had really only drove the ball well once all first half – a 15 play 78 yard drive that ended with a field goal the drive before. I don't even think Graham Mertz himself knew he had those two incredible throws to Chimere Dike in him. Hindsight obviously says kick it deep and let Wisconsin kneel it to end the half.

The start of the second half was truly the turning point in this game. My reptilian Michigan brain was worried all half that the third quarter would start the way the second quarter ended. That's seemingly how it usually goes for Michigan teams under Harbaugh on the road in big games. But this Michigan team didn't flinch. In fact, they did the exact opposite.

Dax Hill, who was victimized on those long passes to Dike at the end of the half, made maybe the play of the game when he blitzed and sacked Mertz on 3rd and 9, hitting him square in the ribs and knocking him out of the game. That was a turning point in not only this game, but maybe for this team, to go from road underdog to controlling their own outcome. From then on, Wisconsin had no answers on offense. Michigan's defense under Mike Macdonald is just so much better suited to the players on this roster. They were able to get so much pressure on Mertz and Wolf up front. They stifled Wisconsin's ground game, holding them to just 43 yards. Wisconsin never was able to settle into an offensive rhythm. But Michigan did, and that was the difference. They were able to mix run and pass well enough to keep this top-ranked Badger defense on their heals all second half.

By the time the Wisconsin faithful did their "Jump Around" routine after the 3rd quarter ended, Michigan had already decided the outcome of this game. Just think about that for a second. Camp Randall is a tough place to play and a very tough place to win. Jump Around is something that intimidates visiting opponents so much that they've been doing it for years. And the Michigan team just jumped right in there and did it with them. It was the ultimate cryptonite for Wisconsin fans...something I've never seen before.

I think we all knew, one way or another, we'd discover what this Michigan team was really made of yesterday, and we certainly found out. This is not the 2020 Michigan team. Not at all. This is a now a top-10 team nationally that was unranked when the season began. This team is 5-0 after going 2-4 a year ago. This team hasn't trailed yet this season. And this team has one turnover (a garbage time INT from their 4th string QB yesterday) in 5 games.

It's off to Lincoln next week for a night game against Nebraska. Will we see the blue pants again? I certainly don't see why not.

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