Observations on the win over Northwestern, 42-24
Michigan comes up with 35 points on 6 red zones, and overcomes 3 first half turnovers and a 10 point halftime deficit to outscore the Wildcats 28-0 in the second half. Michigan scores 7 points off two Northwestern turnovers, and the Wildcats earned 10 points off 3 Wolverine turnovers. Northwestern scored 24 points in four first half red zone trips, but their last red zone came when the game clock ran out.
Denard Robinson was 17 of 26 for 337 yards, 2 TDs and 3 interceptions, and ran 20 times for 117 yards. Offense came up with 541 yards, 179 rushing, 23 first downs and was 15 of 18 on 3rd and 4th down conversions with a huge 16 minute time of possession advantage which led to an 8 play advantage. It also limited the Wildcats to only 5 second half possessions: a three and out, 2 turnovers, a 4th down stop and the final possession of the game that ended when the clock expired. Devin Gardner was 2 for 2 for 25 yards, and ran twice for 4 yards and a TD. Our three tailbacks had 23 carries for 58 yards, but Shaw did get in the end zone. J.R. Hemingway had 5 catches for 124 yards and Jeremy Gallon had 45 catches for 61 yards. Roy Roundtree had 3 catches in the second half for 83 yards including a big 57 yarder. 5th Year Senior Steve Watson caught his first TD pass on a 9 yarder and got his first start as a Wolverine with a double tight end formation. Jordan Maybin had 12 tackles, David Nwabuisi had 11, Bryce McNaul had 10 and Ibraheim Campbell had 9 tackles and 2 interceptions for the Wildcats.
Defense was unbelievable in the second half! What a difference in 2nd half adjustments by Greg Mattison and super execution by the players. We stopped them on a 3 and out to start the second half. Northwestern turns the ball over twice on a forced fumble by Thomas Gordon and an interception by Brandin Hawthorne. Jordan Kovacs came up with two big 4th down stops, and had 7 tackles including a sack. Kenny Demens had 10 tackles and a sack, Brandin Hawthorne had 9 plus his interception, Thomas Gordon and Mike Martin had 6 each and Gordon forced plus recovered the fumble. Youngsters Carvin Johnson, Blake Countess and Desmond Morgan came in and each had 5 tackles as did J.T. Floyd. We stopped them on downs on every drive or created a turnover in the second half, and only possessed the ball 9 minutes in those 5 drives. Will Campbell came in and got a late sack. Dan Persa was 32 of 44 for 331 yards, but they only had 90 yards of total offense in the second half until their final possession where they added another 79 yards in futility. The Wildcats were only 4 of 13 on 3rd and 4th down conversions. Jeremy Ebert had 11 catches for 86 yards, but coughed up the critical fumble.
Matt Wile had 2 touchbacks in 6 kickoffs with one out of bounds. Will Hagerup punted once for 38 yards, but it was returned 20 yards by Venric Mark with several missed tackles. We had 3 kickoff returns for our normal 18 yard average, and a touchback. Brendon Gibbons had his 37 yard field goal attempt blocked in the 4th quarter with a 35-24 score. The second half kickoff coverage was good on all four kickoffs.
Apparently neither Ricky Barnum nor Marvin Robinson made the travel team due to injuries. Neither Mike Cox, Brandon Herron, Richard Ash, Kenny Wilkins, Gregg Brown, nor Justice Hayes were on the travel team either. Perhaps, Brown and Hayes will redshirt. Surpisingly, both Jack Miller and Russell Bellomy did make the travel team. Travel Team to Northwestern
The Big Ten Football Coverage was horrid in the first half with several 2nd quarter black outs and problems with referee communication. All the media including myself had a difficult time at the end of the game getting accurate statistical information as well.
Michigan State will be tough on the road with the Spartans having two weeks to prepare, but this win on the road will sure help our confidence and preparation!