5 Takeaways From Michigan's Win Over SMU

5 Takeaways From Michigan's Win Over SMU

Football

5 Takeaways From Michigan's Win Over SMU

It was a fight despite the 25 point victory. Michigan came in as huge favorites over the SMU Mustangs and the Mustangs kept themselves in this game for as long as they could.

Michigan scored first in the second quarter and SMU answered right back. After the huge pick-six by safety Josh Metellus, Michigan would start looking like their old selves again and were able to slowly put SMU away. SMU still battled until the very end and gave Michigan some troubles. Here are my five takeaways from today’s victory.

1. Penalties are still a problem for Michigan

13 penalties for 137 yards isn’t what Michigan needed today, or ever. The Wolverines got a majority of penalties on the defensive side of the ball, especially defensive pass interference. This wasn’t as bad of an issue compared to last week, but it did remind me of their game against Notre Dame.

Against Notre Dame, the majority of the penalties were avoidable and just bad plays by the Wolverines, today some were questionable by the crew, but these were penalties, while avoidable, they weren’t dumb plays made by the players.

You can’t get 13 penalties and win by 25 often, so Michigan will take it and they must improve before Big Ten play gets underway.

2. Shea Patterson is the guy

Michigan had quarterback issues last season with the revolving door of starters with Wilton Speight, John O’Korn, and Brandon Peters. Despite missing a few plays against Notre Dame and resting against WMU, Shea Patterson showed today that he is the guy Michigan has needed at quarterback.

He didn’t just complete passes, he did so at every level. Short, medium and deep throws were all looking good for Patterson. His ability to keep plays alive and get first down yardage is impressive, and avoiding sacks the way he did was mind-blowing.

Patterson also used his legs on a few plays, seeing that nobody was open and running for yards, making people miss was just something Michigan fans have wanted to see for a few years now.

3. Donovan Peoples-Jones is improving

For the first time since 2015, a Michigan wide receiver had three touchdowns in a game, the last to do it was Jehu Chesson. Peoples-Jones was quiet his freshman year in 2017 but has taken a big step forward in 2018, with friend Tarik Black out with an injury.

Peoples-Jones finished today with four catches for 90 yards and three touchdowns. His playmaking ability was overall great and impressive for the Michigan receiving core. With tight end Zach Gentry getting some attention too, finishing with four catches for 95 yards, it helped Peoples-Jones get open and less attention. Peoples-Jones can start becoming a big threat for the Wolverines if he can keep this pace up in big games down the road.

4. Running backs are depleting

Starting running back Karan Higdon didn’t play today against SMU as according to U-M Radio, got dinged up in practice. He would dress, but never played and that meant Chris Evans got the nod as the starter.

Evans struggled early on and would finish with 18 carries for 85 yards, but he would leave the game early as well, seen limping as he was headed to the locker room. Tru Wilson would see more playing time then and finished with 53 yards on 11 carries and a touchdown. O’Maury Samuels also got two carries for 22 yards.

Coach Jim Harbaugh would tell reporters “we’ll see” when asked if Evans and Higdon would play next week against Nebraska. Michigan can’t afford to lose their best two running backs, as they are down to their third and fourth string guys.

5. Offensive line shows inconsistency in the end

Michigan’s offense had a rough start to the game, getting only 103 total yards of offense in the first quarter, 45 from rushing the ball on 14 carries, the offensive line couldn’t create holes for Evans at all. Patterson was facing pressure instantly and almost threw an interception that was luckily tipped to wide receiver Oliver Martin.

Patterson would face pressure again later and throw his lone interception, and in the second quarter he took a hit and was luckily able to pass it to Gentry for the first down.

The second half the offensive line improved and was able to give Patterson time to throw the ball, and holes started to open up for the running backs, getting three yards under 200 to finish the game out. The offensive line needs to stay consistent in protection because one half of good football isn’t as good as three or four quarters.

Contact/Follow @WolverinesWire@BKnappBlogs

Latest

More WolverinesWire
Home