Michigan 41 Purdue 13 – Game 9 Recap


Final Score: 41-13, Michigan by 28 over Purdue
SP+ Projection: Michigan by 36.1 (-8.1)
CD Projection: Michigan by 30 (-2)


GAME 9 RECAP vs. Purdue

The Wolverines didn’t have their best night on offense. Actually, it could have been their worst of the season by some metrics. It was the lowest success rate of 2023 (44%), and their lowest yards/play (6.4). However, they still managed to put 41 points on the board, scored on 7 of their 13 drives, and converted 5.4 points per scoring opportunity. While JJ was admittedly a bit off target (2nd worst performance of the year by my eye), he still completed 65% of his passes for 335 yards. If this is the floor in terms of execution for this offense, that is absolutely good enough to win the remainder of their B1G Ten games.

For most of the second half, Purdue had 6 points on the board that came off two turnovers in Michigan’s end. While the Wolverines weren’t playing in the Purdue backfield the way I expected, they still held the Boilermakers to 24% success rate and just 3.0 points per scoring opportunity. However, the last touchdown leaves a little bit of a sour taste in my mouth. The game situation (4th & 3 with :20 on the clock) told me Purdue would go for the end zone on that play if the offense took the field. Sure enough, the corner got beat on a double move and gave up a touchdown. It was just one bad snap during garbage time, but it’s not the first time that lack of focus hurt this defense. On the positive side, big hat tip to tonight’s leading tackler: Makari Paige. He is becoming a player whose presence you can feel from snap-to-snap.

On special teams, I feel a bit let down as I started to get comfortable with Tyler Morris back on punt return. His error was not easy to spot on the muffed punt. It looks somewhat random that a blocker gets hit with the ball. The key is, though, Morris has to be more aggressive getting to that spot, and also communicating to the rest of his guys to clear the way. Jake Thaw took over from that point forward and did a fine job, including a big return of 32 yards. James Turner looked great on his FG attempts and extra points.

In the context of purely football and season objectives, this is another dominant performance for a 9-0 team that has a great chance to compete for a national title. Looking at the schedule, I wasn’t surprised to see a little discontinuity the week before playing Penn State. And, given the media firestorm around Signgate, I think this team did a fine job keeping the main thing the main thing. Hopefully they can keep their heads down and keep grinding, while conference and school leaders can hash out the rest of this drama without undercutting this team. Onward!

About Clint Derringer

@clint_derringer on Twitter U-M B.A. Sport Management & Communications ‘05 U-M M.S. Program & Project Management ‘18