GAME 3 PROJECTION vs. RESULTS
Final Score: 63-10, Michigan by 53 over NIU
SP+ Projection: Michigan by 36 (+17)
CD Projection: Michigan by 32 (+21)
GAME 3 RECAP vs. Northern Illinois
No reason to over-analyze. Seems like Jim Harbaugh has the program back to the pre-pandemic standard. Michigan has taken care of business against 3 overmatched opponents. Now, the Wolverines will look to carry their momentum into the Big Ten season next weekend when they host Greg Schiano and the Rutgers Scarlet Knights.
Offensively, the big question coming into this game was whether Michigan would, or could, pass the ball effective coming off a 44-yard performance last week vs. Washington. Even though the game plan stayed heavy on the run game, both Cade McNamara (8-11 for 191 yards) and J.J. McCarthy (4-6 for 42 yards) were able to get live reps in this one.
The offensive line was absolutely dominant for the third consecutive week. Michigan combined for 373 rushing yards, and spread the love relatively evenly. Blake Corum led the way again with 125 yards and 3 TDs, including a 52-yard race along the sideline. Hassan Haskins did his part for the Boom & Zoom duo by setting up that 52-yarder with physical runs of 4 & 15 yards on the first two snaps of the drive. Corum took the third snap to the house.
Early in this game, there was some interesting cat & mouse between coordinators. Once Mike MacDonald effectively countered NIU’s initial play script, the Wolverines effectively clamped down for the final 3 quarters. Josh Ross let the unit with 6 tackles on the day. Gemon Green chipped in by picking off a tipped pass and returning it to the NIU 3 yard line to set up a short touchdown drive.
The top-line special teams summary goes like this: punter Brad Robbins successfully held the ball 9 times for PAT kicks, and was not asked to punt once.
In the return game, we saw A.J. Henning’s explosiveness, and his ceiling for making big plays is exciting. However, he was pulled after failing to catch a punt in the 2nd half, and Andrel Anthony was given the last few opportunities. Henning looked good, but needs to continue working on reading the ball as it goes into the air so he can get to the spot and make the catch. Onward!