Overall Team Grades
My Player of the Game
Today was an excellent game for the Michigan Wolverines. Jim Harbaugh provided his QB, Joe Milton, with a great game plan to transition him into college football. This scheme focused on drag routes, screens, and short passes to ease Milton into the offense during his first start as a Wolverine QB. Another way Harbaugh assisted Milton was by leaning heavily on the run game. Due to Michigan's offensive line’s quality run blocking, their running backs combined for 195 rushing yards. Even Milton ran efficiently for 60 yards while displaying excellent mobility and physicality.
On the other side of the football, Michigan's defense disrupted Minnesota's gameplan from the game's beginning. Defensive end Kwity Paye and LB Michael Barrett harassed Gopher quarterback Tanner Morgan throughout the game yesterday. As a whole, Paye and the rest of the Wolverine defense generated 18 total pressures against Morgan. Additionally, Barrett forced an incredible fumble on a blindside sack against Morgan to set up Michigan with an explosive defensive TD in the first quarter. If Michigan can sustain success with this rushing attack and pass rush, they will be a force in the Big Ten conference.
Advanced Team Grades
Passing Offense (Overall)
Game Notes on Offense
Michigan's run-heavy approach neutralized the Minnesota Gophers' defense yesterday. During this game, running backs Hassan Haskins and Zach Haskins churned out long runs for 152 total yards against the Gophers. Furthermore, QB Joe Milton enjoyed success on the ground too, running for 52 yards and a touchdown.
The Wolverine's offensive success came from their offensive line. Against Minnesota, this offensive line only allowed one total sack and three pressures. Additionally, this unit's run blocking was strong enough to provide five Wolverines with opportunities to make pick up efficient yardage on the ground.
Joe Milton played well in his first start as a Michigan Wolverine. While Jim Harbaugh limited Milton's passes to simple drags and screens, Milton made good decisions and showcased excellent arm strength. This play, coupled with his mobility, is a promising sign for the Wolverines.
Similarly, Michigan's running backs made a good impression in their first game this season. Running back, Hassan Haskins led the way with 82 yards and showcased excellent vision in the red zone. Haskins' teammate Zach Charbonnet was also able to blow past Minnesota's defense on the ground with an explosive 70-yard TD rush to energize the Wolverines early. If Michigan's running backs and the offensive line can sustain this solid rapport, the Wolverine's run-heavy approach will make them a force in their conference.
Controlling the Line of Scrimmage
Game Notes on Defense
Don Brown's aggressive defensive scheme terrorized Minnesota's quarterback Tanner Morgan yesterday. By relying on his front seven's aggressiveness, Brown's team generated 18 total pressures against Morgan who looked like a deer in headlights for most of the game. In fact, LB Michael Barrett blindsided Morgan in the first quarter to set up Michigan with an explosive TD score. This play, coupled with other highlight-reel plays propelled Michigan's defense to victory. However, their inability to contain running back Mohamed Ibrahim, Chris Autman-Bell, or Rashod Bateman showcases a weakness in their coverage game.
As mentioned earlier, Michigan's defense is led by their dominant front seven. Aidah Hutchinson, Kwity Paye, and Michael Barrett are just a few of the monsters that Michigan used to harass Morgan. However, this defense is weak at the DB position. Besides Gemon Green, Michigan's corners were torched by Chris Autman-Bell and Rashod Bateman. While both of these big receivers are a tough assignment for any defensive back, Don Brown cannot allow this unit to be a liability next week against Michigan State.
Special Teams Comments
Michigan had solid special team coverage during this game, including a nice punt block by Preston Jelen. Michael Barrett's incredible kick-off return was also an energizing play to give the Wolverines momentum. However, Jake Moody missed an astonishing three FG attempts yesterday, which looks bad for Michigan early in the year.
Play of the Game
Michael Barrett forced a fumble on Tanner Morgan and recovered by Jeter for a TD.
Comments on Coaching
Jim Harbaugh coached an excellent game against Minnesota. Heading into this game, the Gophers were in an excellent position to knock off Harbaugh's Wolverines with quarterback Tanner Morgan. However, Harbaugh and his defensive coordinator Don Brown dashed any hope of a Minnesota victory by relying on the run game and pass rush. Due to their excellent playcalling, Michigan's offense and defense showcased the discipline and execution necessary to win this contest.