5 Takeaways From Michigan's Win Over Northwestern

5 Takeaways From Michigan's Win Over Northwestern

Football

5 Takeaways From Michigan's Win Over Northwestern

Michigan survived a scare today against Northwestern in a 20-17 win as Michigan came back down 17-0 to win as Jim Harbaugh gets his first 17 point comeback as Michigan head coach, something that you should be bragging about, but it’s better to be able to come back down by that much than to always lose those games.

It was a tale of two halves for the Wolverines, like the Notre Dame game, but it had a different result. Michigan’s defense came up big after allowing 17 points in the first half to shut out the Wildcats in the second half. The offense had a rough get-go with some issues that would get fixed in the second half. Here are my five takeaways from today’s win over Northwestern.

1. PENALTIES continue to haunt MICHIGAN

11 penalties for 100 yards. Again, Michigan gets in the triple digits for penalties as due to some of them, Northwestern was able to put up 10 points off of the extra plays given to them.

Michigan struggled with holding calls on both sides of the ball, and a phantom holding call was debatable for the Wolverines as it wiped away a big run by Shea Patterson. Check out the play and see what you think of the holding call as it was on running back Karan Higdon.

2. Karan Higdon Is the bell cow

Running back Chris Evans didn’t play this week, so Karan Higdon was the main back of the night and it showed as he had 30 carries for 115 yards and two touchdowns. Higdon was the best player on the offensive side of the ball, despite Patterson making plays in the second half to help the Wolverines come back.

Higdon and Evans were looked at as the 1A and 1B coming into the season as both had their own roles and while that hasn’t changed, Higdon might see even more playing time with his level of play lately. He was the only offensive player to get inside the end zone today and if you can do that, you get the rock more.

3. The defensive line is the backbone of the defense

Coming into the season, the defense was the focal point of the Wolverine team and while they do have solid cornerbacks in David Long and Lavert Hill, good linebackers in Devin Bush and viper Khaleke Hudson, but the defensive line is what makes or breaks this defense.

While all the eyes are on star defensive end Rashan Gary, there are other names that don’t get mentioned as much, but they are putting up the numbers since Gary is getting double and triple teamed. Chase Winovich is one of those guys, but he has been a great player before this season, he is just building up more tape for his NFL Draft stock.

Winovich was the main lineman who helped make some big plays as he led the team in tackles with nine, three for loss and a sack. Kwity Paye had a nice game of four tackles and two sacks, while Josh Uche had two sacks for himself as well. Gary finished with three tackles as he missed some time due to a shoulder injury that took him to the locker room before returning.

4. Will hart could be an all-American punter

A position that nobody really talks about is the punter position. Will Hart for Michigan, is a solid one that could see his name on a list at the end of the season.

Before the Northwestern game, Hart is fourth in average punting yards with 52.6 yards per punt. Tonight against Northwestern, Hart punted the ball six times for 306 yards, averaging 51 yards per punt, with two landing inside the 20-yard line and one touchback.

Michigan wouldn’t like to see Hart on the field as much as they would like to be scoring on every offensive drive, but if they are forced to punt the ball, they are happy that Hart is their guy.

5. the offensive line held up well today

When the offense was struggling early on in the game, it wasn’t because of the offensive line. The weakness for the Wolverines offense this year has been the offensive line, but the problems early on in the game were on Patterson as he held onto the ball for too long and forced bad throws and tough catches to try and keep the drive alive.

They did allow one sack, but that isn’t a huge issue and they were able to help the offense rush for 180 yards and gave Patterson plenty of time to throw the ball when he needed it. This unit is getting better and better, and come in a few weeks they will be tested and then we will know how this offensive line is.

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