GAME 11 PROJECTION vs. RESULTS
Final Score: 19-17, Michigan by 2 over Illinois
SP+ Projection: Michigan by 21.0 (-19)
CD Projection: Michigan by 24 (-22)
GAME 11 RECAP vs. Illinois
There is an interesting thing that happens when Michigan’s football team is good. The season gets into November, and all the fans can think about & talk about are the Buckeyes. Some folks have a serious reflexive reaction to this, as if two guys on a podcast looking ahead will impact the team on the field. Talking heads definitely don’t impact the game on the field! But, resting so many key players against a physically & mentally tough Illini squad was almost more than Michigan could handle.
Offensively, this is by far the least efficient Michigan has looked in 2022. The 31% success rate, and especially the 28% success rate in the run game, is not what we’re used to. But context matters, and this game saw two quarters of action from the top two running backs on the team. Losing your Heisman-candidate running back for the 2nd half was suboptimal. Starting backups along the offensive line was not ideal, either. But, finding a way to get the job done with your back against the wall is very valuable experience for this team. I want to finish with a huge shout out to Isaiah Gash for bouncing back after a tough drop in the 4th quarter to step up and make a catch to convert a critical 4th & 3 on the final drive. Hail! to Isaiah for bouncing back.
The defense for Michigan was without Mike Morris, but managed to stay relatively healthy going forward, from what I could tell. For the first time this season, the 3rd quarter belonged to the Wolverines’ opponent. Illinois outscored Michigan 14-3 in Q3, while gaining 132 total yards, compared to just 66 for U-M. But, just like their offensive teammates, the Michigan defenders stepped up in the biggest moments of the 4th quarter. Pressure from Taylor Upshaw & open-field tackling from DJ Turner combined for one 4th down stop. Also, Michael Barrett’s well-timed blitz forced a holding penalty on a big Illinois 3rd down play (where the Illini had set up a 4th & 1 for the game without the penalty).
For special teams, big props to Ronnie Bell for a huge 40 yard return to energize the Michigan comeback. And finally, what else is left to say about Jake MONEY Moody? He is the greatest kicker in Michigan history. Full stop. Now, ONWARD down to Columbus!
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