How Michigan’s 2021 opponents fared in week 3
Michigan had no problem with northern Illinois in Week 3, putting in a full performance in a 63-10 win. But how did the rest of the Wolverines schedule go?
Western Michigan (September 4, win 47-14)
The Broncos represented their state and their conference fabulously, traveling to Pittsburgh and defeating the Panthers, 44-41. Kaleb Eleby went 23 of 34 for 337 yards and three scores, while Corey Crooms (eight catches, 161 yards, one score) and Skyy Moore (11 receptions, 124 yards, 1 TD) consistently burned Pitt’s secondary. Ladarius Jefferson (22 carries, 84 yards, two touchdowns) and Sean Tyler (14 carries, 78 yards, one touchdown) combined to create a rushing game strong enough to let Eleby and company do their job.
WMU was picked to finish second in the MAC West Division, but after Saturday the Broncos appear to be the best team not only in their division, but in the league. Michigan’s season opener blowout is only getting better. WMU welcomes San Jose State (2-1) in an attractive mid-major duel on Saturday.
Washington (September 11, victory 31-10)
The Huskies beat Arkansas State, 52-3, for their first win of the season after an extremely disappointing start. Dylan Morris threw for 367 yards and three touchdowns and Washington ran for 200 yards on 39 carries. It certainly didn’t hurt Morris that he had a newly available prime target in Jalen McMillan, who had 10 catches, 175 yards and a touchdown in his first injury return game. Meanwhile, the Red Wolves have averaged less than five yards per passing attempt and just two yards per carry against the Huskies defense.
Are Washington as good as they looked in a 49-point win over a Sun Belt team? Probably not, but at the same time, it’s probably not as bad as it looked when losing to Montana and Michigan (it bears repeating that the Grizzlies are one of the best teams in the Championship subdivision. of football). The Huskies host California (1-2) this Saturday.
Rutgers (September 25)
The Scarlet Knights got on with the business against Delaware, winning 45-13 over their opponent FCS to go 3-0 for the first time since 2012. Noah Vedral knocked out the Blue Hens secondary for 323 yards on 21 passes on 26., chaining on big gains with Bo Melton (six catches, 125 yards) and Brandon Sanders (three catches, 84 yards). Defensively, Rutgers held Delaware to 98 passing yards and had five sacks, but if there’s one spot to fear, the Blue Hens are averaging nearly five yards per carry.
Rutgers are undefeated, but their season stats, like averaging 3.3 yards per carry, still don’t scream “for real.” And the Scarlet Knights certainly haven’t played against anyone of Michigan’s caliber.
Wisconsin (October 2)
The Badgers were on leave this week for a Saturday clash against Notre Dame at Soldier Field. The Fighting Irish, who appear determined to push transitive ownership of the sport as far as possible, are 3-0 despite looking far less than impressive in wins over Florida State, Toledo and Purdue.
Nebraska (October 9)
The Cornhuskers came down to Norman to renew their old rivalry with Oklahoma and surprised just about everyone. As a three-TD underdog, they held their ground with the Sooners in third the entire game and lost 23-16.
Oklahoma certainly didn’t look great on Saturday, but it wasn’t all OU. Adrian Martinez dominated Heisman’s pre-season favorite Spencer Rattler, throwing for 289 yards and showing pinpoint accuracy throughout the game. The Nebraska defense, led by linebackers JoJo Domann and Luke Reimer, held off Rattler and the Sooners offense.
At the same time, the Huskers have shown why they haven’t made any tangible progress in four years under Scott Frost. The offensive line committed six penalties, couldn’t block, and Cameron Culp missed two field goals and one extra point that was returned to the end for an OR score of two.
Nebraska are a talented team and will surprise other teams if they play regularly like against Oklahoma, although their schedule as of now is not in their favor. There’s the state of Michigan in East Lansing this week.
Northwest (23 Oct)
There are three separate stories in the Wildcats’ 30-23 loss to Duke last week. The Blue Devils took a 27-0 first-half lead as Hunter Johnson was disastrous, throwing three picks and dropping the ball on a sack. Andrew Marty came in to replace Johnson and brought Northwestern’s offense to life immediately, leading the offense to two quick touchdowns in his first two practices. However, Marty suffered an injury in the fourth quarter and the Wildcats couldn’t complete the comeback with South Carolina transfer Ryan Hilinski replacing him.
Marty, if he’s healthy, seems to be the answer to the QB after getting 11 of 16 for 151 yards and two scores while running for 44 yards and another touchdown. But Northwestern’s defense still gave the Blue Devils 562 yards, so it’s not yet time to be bullish on the ‘Cats. They will host Ohio (1-2) this week.
Michigan State (October 30)
The Spartans dominated in a 38-17 victory in Miami, especially in a fourth quarter in which they outscored the Hurricanes 21-3. Payton Thorne had 18 of 31 for 261 yards and four touchdowns, while Kenneth Walker III exploded for 172 yards on 27 carries. MSU allowed 388 yards in the air but was opportunistic in defense, fending off D’Eriq King twice and forcing two fumbles. It was a statement opportunity for the Spartans and the boy, they made one.
Michigan State will host Nebraska this Saturday in what looks like a much more fun game than it looked before the season.
Indiana (November 6)
Considering how the Hoosiers looked in Week 1, a 38-24 loss to No.8 Cincinnati, whom they led in the fourth quarter, is a reason to cheer. Indiana had a powerful 328-yard offense and had the Bearcats in check even more before linebacker Micah McFadden was ejected for aiming late in the first half, a play that dramatically altered the momentum. But the play of Michael Penix (17 of 40, three interceptions) must be of concern, especially after a performance of 4.3 yards per attempt against FCS Idaho.
Indiana hits the road this Saturday to face Western Kentucky. The Hilltoppers (1-1) are averaging 456.5 yards in the air with Houston transfer Baptist Bailey Zappe in the lead.
Penn State (November 13)
The Nittany Lions, having beaten Auburn 28-20 in their first non-conference White Out game since 2011, have the best CV in the Big Ten and it’s not tight at all. While PSU couldn’t move the ball to the ground against the Tigers, Sean Clifford (28 of 32, 280 yards, two touchdowns) enjoyed a career night, leading his team with a balance and precision he lacked in the last season. No one really knows how good Auburn is, but this one felt like a marquee, perhaps a defining clash for the season, and the Nittany Lions seized the opportunity.
Penn State welcomes Villanova this Saturday. The Wildcats (3-0) are generally one of the best teams in the FCS, but they started out as underdogs with four touchdowns and it would be a major surprise if they were competitive.
Maryland (November 20)
The Terrapins had their first test drive this week and handled it … fairly. Joseph Petrino’s placement with time expiring gave Maryland a 20-17 victory over Illinois and their first 3-0 start in five years.
Taulia Tagovailoa was once again the star, going 32 of 43 for 350 yards and one touchdown. He distributed the ball a lot, as the Terps had four receivers with at least 66 yards. Defensively, Maryland’s pass rush never made it easy for Brandon Peters, with six sacks and four quarterbacks in a hurry. Sam Okuayinonu, Durell Nchami and Greg Rose each lost two sacks and two tackles.
Maryland is hosting Kent State this week. The Golden Flashs are 1-2 with big losses to Texas A&M and Iowa.
Ohio State (November 27)
Is it time to speculate if this could be the year Michigan does he do it?
Even if you’re not ready to take it that far, it’s fair to say that the Buckeyes aren’t the invincible force they’ve been in recent times. Their 41-20 victory over Tulsa was a one-scoring game until the end of the fourth quarter, and the Ohio State high school was porous against a Golden Hurricane team that lost to FCS UC Davis. Davis Brin threw for 428 yards, well ahead of CJ Stroud (15 of 25, 185 yards).
Running back Treveyon Henderson (24 carries, 277 yards, three TDs) was explosive and looks like the real deal, but the Buckeyes have more questions than answers after last Saturday. They will have the chance to play a more complete match against a very terrible team from Akron (# 125 in SP +) this weekend.