GAME 2 PROJECTION vs. RESULTS
Final Score: 31-10, Michigan by 21 over Washington
SP+ Projection: Michigan by 9 (+12)
CD Projection: Michigan by 6 (+15)
GAME 2 RECAP vs. Washington
For the second week in a row, Michigan outperformed my expectations, and SP+ projections, this time by dismantling the Huskies in front of an energetic Big House crowd. The Wolverines looked sharp as they executed the game plans on both sides of the ball. Even though this matchup lost some shine nationally after Washington’s Week 1 loss to FCS Montana, the team and the fan base still created another electric atmosphere Under the Lights in Ann Arbor. It was a vintage Jim Harbaugh era performance that featured run game flexing on offense, and a physical swarming defense.
Offensively, the Wolverines’ rushing attack pounded Washington mercilessly by calling run plays 78% of the game. Those play calls yielded 343 rushing yards, a 51% success rate, and an average EPA of 0.467. Hassan Haskins and Blake Corum split the work load relatively evenly again. The complementary nature of Haskins’ power (5.7 yards/carry) and Corum’s speed (3 TDs including a 67-yarder) earned a nickname in our house that I loved as soon as I heard it: we’ll be referring to the RB duo as Boom & Zoom.
Michigan’s defense also imposed their will in this game, led by captain Aiden Hutchinson. Hutchinson and his squad created consistent pressure on the QB. By the time Washington was able to find any holes in zone coverage, Michigan was up two scores. In fact, the Wolverines extended Washington’s offensive drought nearly to the end of the 3rd quarter when the Huskies were able to get a field goal. Their 4th quarter touchdown drive happened while Michigan led by 21, making it effectively garbage time. This Washington offense is not the best on the schedule by any stretch. But, through two weeks, I would say Mike MacDonald’s defensive install is ahead of schedule.
The special teams unit was a strength again, also. Jim Harbaugh’s fake punt call in the 2nd quarter not only paid off for a 1st down conversion, but Blake Corum scampered 67 yards for a touchdown on the very next snap. Jake Moody converted his career long field goal of 52 yards to open the scoring. Only one kickoff was returned, and former Wolverine Giles Jackson was unable to cross the 25 on that return. We did witness a couple shaky punt returns, but Caden Kolesar managed to return his second opportunity for 20 yards.
Again, the Wolverines took care of business at home. Some significant questions remain on both sides of the ball, but mostly because we aren’t sure how strong these first two opponents actually were. In terms of what we’ve seen, Jim Harbaugh has this team executing cleanly right now, and embracing a strong physical identity in all phases.
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