After watching the game live in Dallas I thought Denard actually played pretty good and looked good throwing the ball. After re-watching the game on TV upon my return my impression was that he played even better than I originally thought. Many people of the internets disagree with this statement, so I went back and looked at the starting QB stats for every game Alabama played last year against an SEC opponent plus Penn State. Below are those numbers.
|SEC + Penn State||11||21||56||109||0.4||0.9|
If you take into account that Denard didn't get much help from his receivers (a couple drops, Gardner rounding off some routes) and remove the 1 INT that was blatant pass interference, Denards numbers are on par, or significantly better in every category save %. The pass to Gallon was picture perfect, along with many other throws that were dead on. I believe Brain's UFR will prove this out. Sure he had a couple bad throws and reads, but every quarterback does, especially when playing a defense the caliber of Alabama. No QB threw for more yards against Alabama last year than Denard did on Saturday.
I also have the team rushing numbers from last year which are interesting.
|SEC + Penn State||29||58||0.2|
Overall I think Michigan did just about as good as could have been expected, and on par or better than the vaunted SEC did against Alabama last year. Granted this year's defense is not last years, but from watching Alabama very closely the past 3 years, I'd bet this defense ends up being better than last years. The cliche "they don't rebuild, they reload" couldn't be more fitting.