Michigan 26 Iowa 0 – Game 13 B1G Ten Championship Recap


Final Score: 26-0, Michigan by 26 over Iowa
SP+ Projection: Michigan by 22.7 (+3.3)
CD Projection: Michigan by 24 (+2)



Michigan needed just 213 total yards on offensive to put the Iowa Hawkeyes away in he B1G Ten Championship game. JJ McCarthy completed 22 of his 30 passes for 147 yards, but no touchdowns. Cornelius Johnson takes the crown as king of the passing attack. CJ hauled in a career high 9 receptions, showing tremendous athleticism and soft hands throughout the game. Blake Corum handled the scoring load, finding pay dirt twice. Corum’s two touchdowns tie him for the career rushing touchdown record (55) with legend Anthony Thomas.

The Michigan defense handled their business against an overwhelmed Iowa offense. Mike Sainristil received the championship game MVP after he forced two fumbles in key moments of the game. The linebacker room also showed out. Michigan’s three leading tacklers all come from the LB room. Ernest Hausmann and Junior Colson collected 8 stops each, and senior Michael Barrett added 7 more tackles.

Nine minutes into the game, James Turner sealed the final result by kicking the first Michigan field goal from 35 yards out. Turner would finish with 14 total points by going 4-for-4 on field goals, and 2-for-2 on PATs. Tommy Doman also managed to out-perform Iowa’s Tory Taylor with a net punting edge 39.8 to 35.1. The field position advantage set the Wolverines up with an estimated 1.42 point advantage each time the field flipped.

No doubt, the Wolverines have spoiled Michigan fans with three consecutive titles to go with a three game win streak over the Buckeyes. However, team 144 is a little different than the past two. They immediately shift focus to the next objective. Blake Corum likes to quote Kobe Bryant by saying, “…job’s not finished.” OK, Blake. Bet!

Michigan 30 Ohio State 24 – Game 12 Recap


Final Score: 30-24, Michigan by 6 over Ohio State
SP+ Projection: Michigan by 6.1 (-0.1)
CD Projection: Michigan by 6 (!)


GAME 12 RECAP vs. Ohio State

Michigan’s offense vs. Ohio State’s defense shifted more than any other matchup when compared to the past two seasons. The Wolverines finished with a 46% success rate for the game, and averaged 5.8 yards/play. The Buckeyes succeeded in reducing their explosive play exposure. But, in the 2nd half when the game was decided, Michigan rushed for 122 yards and 5.8 yards per rush. The Wolverines posted a 64% success rate in the 3rd quarter, and 50% in the 4th. JJ McCarthy chipped in a 16-20 passing performance for another 148 yards and a touchdown to Roman Wilson.

Defensively, the Wolverines battled back-and-forth with a star-studded offense from Ohio State. All-world wide receiver Marvin Harrison Jr. caught five balls for 118 yards and a touchdown, while Emeka Egbuka also found the end zone. However, even though the Buckeyes established a much clearer commitment to rushing the football, they could not top Michigan. Tradition dictates the winner of the rushing battle wins The Game when Ohio State and Michigan clash. The Wolverines triumphed 156-107 on the ground.

The final slice of Michigan’s complementary football masterpiece came from the kicking game. Tommy Doman averaged 52.0 yards per punt, and James Turner looked rock solid on three field goals from 50, 38, and 37 yards. Jake Thaw also deserves a shout out for catching Ohio State’s punts in the air, often in heavy traffic. Michigan gained nearly a point of EPA per possession with their field position advantage.

Sherrone Moore continues his career ascension in Ann Arbor. He flourished as the offensive line coach and led his unit to back-to-back Joe Moore awards as the best in the nation. He added play calling duty in 2022 and improved the offensive output by 4.1 points per game. Now he lives forever as THE guardian of victory for stepping in during Jim Harbaugh’s November suspension. Enjoy the rivalry win boys, back to work on a B1G Championship tomorrow. Onward!

Michigan 31 Maryland 24 – Game 11 Recap


Final Score: 31-24, Michigan by 7 over Maryland
SP+ Projection: Michigan by 20.9 (-13.9)
CD Projection: Michigan by 26 (-19)


GAME 11 RECAP @ Maryland

A common assumption coming into this trap game was that big chunks of Michigan’s play book were likely off limits. JJ McCarthy kept for a short loss on just one surprising read option. Also, I don’t recall a single target for Donovan Edwards in the air. For the 2nd consecutive week, the Wolverines succeeded in winning on the road using predominantly their base run & pass plays. JJ was a bit off target, going 12-23 for 141 yards, 0 TD & 1 INT. Also of note, starting tackle Ladarius Henderson was not available, and back up Myles Hinton also limped off in the second half.

The Michigan defense provided much more firepower against the Terrapins, but also caused concern. Mike Sainristil stepped forward as a clutch play maker once again with two interceptions. Linebacker depth caused fear when senior Mike Barrett stayed down with an upper body injury, although he returned in the second half. Earlier in the game Barrett’s strip-sack led to Derrick Moore’s defensive touchdown.

Kenneth Grant and Mason Graham both created havoc from their tackle positions. However, we saw multiple DBs, including Sainristil & Will Johnson, give up explosive plays on vertical routes. Playing a bend but don’t break defensive game plan allows some run game success and underneath passes. But, the Wolverines also struggled versus double moves. This test will resurface very soon, from much more talented receivers.

The special teams units were the true stars of the 1,000th win for Michigan. Christian Boivin blocked a punt in the 1st quarter, leading to a 2-point safety. Punter Tommy Doman punted 5 times, averaging 47.2 yards per kick (average net 41 yards). His best came last: a golf shot downed at the Maryland 1 yard line. The Wolverines would get another safety on the ensuing defensive series.

Michigan fans understand being anxious during Game #11. The Wolverines tend to simplify their game plan, and also focus on reducing injury risk with the Buckeyes looming. This particular example weighed extra heavy given the ongoing NCAA investigation and Jim Harbaugh’s 3-game suspension. However, the Wolverines are 11-0 and still have every goal to compete for when Ohio State comes to Ann Arbor in just over six days. Onward!

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!

Michigan 49 Michigan State 0 – Game 8 Recap


Final Score: 49-0, Michigan by 49 over Michigan State
SP+ Projection: Michigan by 19.5 (+29.5)
CD Projection: Michigan by 27 (+22)


GAME 8 RECAP vs. Michigan State

Another team decided to create a game plan to stop the Michigan run game. While Michigan managed to hit the magic number 50% success rate on the ground, the Spartans held the Wolverines to 2.8 yards per run play (stats removed once the score was out of hand). Fortunately for Michigan, JJ McCarthy may be the best QB in the country. McCarthy had no problem throwing the team on his back and slaughtering the Spartan defense, finishing 21-27 for 287 yards and 4 touchdowns in 2+ quarters of action. Colston Loveland caught 2 of those touchdowns on twin 22-yard receptions, while AJ Barner and Roman Wilson also found the end zone. JJ and the starters were so efficient that Michigan’s depth players were able to play almost the entire second half.

On the other side of the ball, Jesse Minter and Steve Clinkscale finally put the finishing touches on a shutout for the Michigan defense. For the second time in B1G Ten play, the defensive unit outscored the opponent’s offensive unit thanks to another Pick-Six by captain Mike Sainristil in the 3rd quarter. Linebacker Junior Colson had a great bounce back game, leading the team in tackles with 11. Edge player Braiden McGregor led in the tackles-for-loss (TFL) column with 1.5. Eight different players made a play in the Spartan backfield as the Wolverines accumulated 8 TFLs total on the night.

All of the special teams units combined to execute cleanly with no major mistakes, which was the primary objective against an overmatched rival. The main item of note was that Tyler Morris seems to have seized control of the punt return role. He also made a good decision to field a bouncing punt, and did so cleanly and avoided taking a major hit in the process. I look forward to future explosive plays from Morris as a returner.

A road game against a bitter rival amidst major off-field distractions posed a major threat to derail Michigan’s special season to this point. Instead, the Wolverines seemed even more locked in and focused on the task at hand. It was another dominant performance in a season full of similar games against overwhelmed foes. This one was the most complete decimation to date, and I am glad they saved such a beat down for Sparty. Next is a bye week to rest and heal for the pivotal November stretch of B1G Ten games. Onward!