Michigan: Did They Turn a Corner?
It feels as though college Football just kicked off, and yet we find ourselves a third of the way through the season. Through four games, it has been quite a rollercoaster for the Wolverines. They started off sloppy, fumbling out of the gate. A less than pretty couple of wins to open, and then an ugly loss to Wisconsin. Michigan finally played its first complete game on Saturday. What can we really take away from a win over Rutgers?
Michigan wasn’t going to prove themselves as a powerhouse against an inferior Rutgers team. The Wolverines did, for the first time, do exactly what they were supposed to. They played clean, limited mistakes, and more than covered the spread. That’s all you could realistically ask of them on Saturday. They couldn’t beat OSU or MSU this week, all they could do is play clean mistake-free football, and they did. Patterson completed 74% of his passes and didn’t fumble any reads or rushes. Michigan went a full 60 minutes without fumbling for the first time this season.
“It’s Just Rutgers” or Is It?
It’s easy to dismiss this as just “it’s Rutgers”. There is some truth to that, as it’s easier to make good decisions and throws when you’re not under pressure. It also helps that Michigan was more skilled in every area of the field. I might remind you, however, that this is what Michigan was supposed to do to MTSU. Yet in the opening week of the season, Michigan fumbled away the ball twice and dropped several easy passes. The game, which should have been a 54-7 breeze, became a sluggish 40-21 win.
Though Rutgers is a team Michigan was supposed to dominate, it is important to remember that they actually did. In the first two weeks of the season, Michigan was unable to complete tasks against other teams it was vastly more skilled than. This week is the first Michigan played a clean complete game, limiting penalties and fumbles. It’s also worth note, that with OC Josh Gattis on the sidelines, the offense looks less confused.
Calm But Optimistic
A win over the Scarlet Knights doesn’t mean Michigan is back on track. It does not guarantee they will achieve their ultimate goal. However, Saturday’s contest was a good step in the right direction. Michigan could have come out, played sloppy, unmotivated, and upset. They didn’t. They set the tone to carry over against a tough showdown with Iowa next week. It may have just been Rutgers, but if Michigan can take the next three, they could be back on track. Even if two of those wins are by slim margins, they’ll take them.
Michigan showed that they are capable of playing calm and confident football. The next step is to show they can do it against tougher opponents and in the face of adversity. Once again, we won’t know until they face off against Iowa, and Penn State, but this team certainly has the talent.Main Photo Embed from Getty Images