B -September 22, 2014
The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com
Five things we learned: Utah 26, Michigan 10
Everything seemed to fall
part in the Michigan football
beam's 26-10 loss to Utah on
Saturday. And the two-and-
n-half-hour rain delay almost
eenedtobe a welcome respite.
The Wolverinesawere exposed
against the Utes, struggling in
nearly all areas of the contest.
Here are the five things we
learned after a wild, wet affair.
1. The defense will carry
Thismuch isclear: Michigan's
defense is the reason it had a
chance to win on Saturday.
Utah entered Saturday with
the No. 3 offense in the country,
averaging 557.5 yards and 57.5
points. But the Wolverines held
them to 286 total yards.
Utes' quarterback Travis
Wilson and tepotent pgssing
attack finished with 205 yards.
Just three passes went for more
than 20 yards, including a short
seven-yard pass that turned into
The rush defense eliminated
the ground game, the pass rush
finally got to the backfield to
record three sacks and they
grabbed an interception..
Michigan's defense even
provided, the offense by
way of redshirt sophomore
defensive tackle Willie Henry's
And they did it all without
starting senior linebacker
Desmond Morgan, starting
senior cornerback Raymon
Taylor and starting junior safety
If the Wolverines are going
to win games, especially against
offenses from Michigan State
and Ohio State, they're going to
need a defense to compensate
for an offense that can't get into
the red zone.
2. If you stop Devin
Junior receiver Devin Funchess and the Michigan offense were held without a touchdown Saturday afternoon. The Wolverines failed to reach Utah's red zone.
another went right down the
middle to Utah linebacker Gionni
Paul. Gardner's day - 14-for-26
with two interceptions - was a
disaster, and it wasn't the first
time it's happened this season.
It was enough to bring in
sophomore backup quarterback
Shane Morris in his place,
leaving Gardner on the sideline
for much of the fourth quarter.
Saturday, he reaffirmed his
three-interception game against
Notre Dame and his limited role
in the air against the RedHawks
as a trend.
5. Bold prediction: Shane
Morris will be the starter
before the Wolverines face
The conversation regarding
a potential quarterback
competition has changed in less
than a month.
In the middle of August,
Hoke said Gardner would be
the starter, as Morris watched
and learned. But now, he's
reevaluating his signal callers.
"We'll have a quarterback for
the Minnesota game and we'll
assess and compete and challenge
all week," Hoke said after the
game. "We'll see what happens."
That doesn't mean Morris will
impress by then, but Michigan
will likely needa change of pace
at quarterback and Gardner
could always move to wide
receiver if needed. And after
Gardner travels to Rutgers
or plays Penn State under the
lights, something will give for
Morris to step in.
The sophomore out of
Warren, Mich., didn't have
great stats in his limited time,
but he showed flashes that he
could still step in admirably. His
60-yard heave down the field, or
his run to move the chains on
third down was promising.
Gardner is still learning
offensive coordinator . Doug
Nussmeier's new system, and
Hoke and company may very
well think they're ready to save
time and start Morris.
Michigan couldn't find the red haul down passes that were
zone because its game plan was overthrown or underthrown his
abundantly clear. Every time way.
fifth-year senior quarterback Sophomore tight end Jake Butt
Devin Gardner threw the ball and redshirt sophomore wide
on Saturday, his first choice was receiver Amara Darboh couldn't
junior wide get open fast
receiver Devin enough to be
Funchess. He targeted.
was targeted "W e'll assess Dennis
10 times on Norfleet
Saturday, more and compete and Freddy
than any other Canteen are
receiver. and. challenge fast, but when
But a w Gardner
Michigan's all Wee . needs to go
hauled in just ineffective.
Stats can be misleading, but
here's one that's not: Derrick
Green rushed the ball 14 times
and De'Veon Smith rushed the
ball four times.
The sophomore running
backs were supposed to split
carries, Michigan coach Brady
Hoke said. But after Saturday,
the competition is, in essence,
over. It's Green's job now.
Green was already coming off
a game against Miami (Ohio), in
which he rushed for more than
120 yards and two touchdowns.
His 65 yards weren't
astounding, but it was more
production than Smith's five
yards. That's because Green
realized that he couldn't run in
between the tackles. He had to
rush to the outside and use his
speed to pick up yards.
Smith, meanwhile, was a
victim of the line's inability to
get a push against Utah's front
seven. Both are big and physical,
but Green figured out a way to
make something out of nothing.
And he's being rewarded for
4. Devin Gardner is
indecisive and inaccurate:
Gardner's first two passes
were completions. His next
three fell incomplete. And in
between, he couldn't decide
whether he should pass as the
line collapsed or run.
When he passed to Jehu
Chesson in the first quarter, he
underthrew him. His next pass
was thrown into the middle of
four defenders and knocked
away from Funchess. The
Wolverines were kept out of the
red zone on the drive and held to
a field goal.
His throws went too far in
front of receivers. one ball was
tipped for an interception, and
four passes as Utah often threw
double or triple coverage his
way. It didn't stop Gardner from
throwing to Funchess.
Gardner'sx. other target,
redshirt sophomore wide
receiver Jehu Chesson couldn't
So when Gardner steps back
to pass, Funchess will be his
target, even if three defenders
are covering him.
3. The running game,
featuring Derrick Green:
The Daily football writers do their
best to predict, against the spread,
what happens in the 2014 football
season. Each week we select a guest
picker to go against the "experts."
I I 1 '11- I - l- , -- 111.1 - - 1 1 11 - -11, 1.11-- -- - - 11-11,
Utah vs. Michigan (-4.5)
No. 22 Clemson vs. No.1 Florida State (-10.5)
No. 2 Oregon (-24) vs. Washington State
Florida vs. No. 3 Alabama -14.5)
No.40klahoma(-8)vs. West Virginia
No.5 Auburn (-8) vs.No.20Kansas State
No.6 Texas A&M033.5) vs. SMU
Mississippi St.vs. No. 8LSU(-10)
EastemMichigan vs. No.11MichiganState(-4S)
Troyvs. No.13 Georgia (-42)
No.14 South Carolina(-23) vs. Vanderbilt
Bowling Green vs. No.19 Wisconsin (-27)
Virginia vs. No.21BYU (-15)
Miami (FL)vs. No.24 Nsbrassas(-8)
Overall 31.33 3133] 3133 30.34 WA
DAILY TOP-10 POLL
Each week, Daily sports staffers fill out ballots, with
first place votes receiving 10 points, second-place
votes receiving nine, and so on.
1. FLORIDA STATE: In the end,
Florida State f(lattened) Clemson
quarterbacks right in the p(ocket).
2. ALABAMA: BBQ sauce from
Alabama is made with mayonnaise.
3.OREGON: The Ducks beat
Washington State by seven. Rutgers
only beat Washington State by
4. OKLAHOMA: What do West.
Virginia and Oklahoma have in
common? Lack of infrastructure
7. TEXAS A&M: Johnny Manziel
almost caught a touchdown pass on
a trick play this weekend. He plays
for the Aggies, right?
S8. MICHIGAN STATE: The
Spartans beat Eastern Michigan
by 49, and that's not even the worst
team in Washtenaw County!
9. OLE MISS: Mississippi didn't
play, and the exchange rate
between Confederate and U.S.
dollars stayed the same. Great
weekend in Oxford!
10. SOUTH CAROLINA: It was
wet and slippery in Nashville this
weekend, and the Cocks' linemen
had a hard time penetrating their
Vanderbilt counterparts, barely
slipping by in the end.
5. AUBURN: After a tough test at
KSU, the Tigers have eight weeks
to prepare until what figures to be
the game of the century against
6. BAYLOR: The Bears didn't play
this weekend as they mourned the
death of RGIII's NFL career.