Michigan 59, Maryland 3

Submitted by Ace on November 5th, 2016 at 7:59 PM


Whether passing or running, Wilton Speight dominated the air. [Bryan Fuller]

Dominance is the new normal, and this team knows it.

"There's no feeling like the feeling we have right now, and I'm not going to take that for granted," said De'Veon Smith, who rushed for 114 yards and three scores on only 19 carries.

"The yards he got after contact were real eye-opening. He's real tough to get down," Jim Harbaugh said, in perhaps the understatement of the season thus far.

Even with that production, Smith accounted for a mere fraction of Michigan's total output. That total: 660 yards on an even ten per play and a few more entries in the program record book. Wilton Speight broke a school record with 292 passing yards in the first half; he'd surpass his career high less than five minute into the third quarter. Speight finished with 362 yards and two touchdowns through the air and added a ten-yard scramble capped with a leap into the end zone.

"Statistically and just the eyeball, that's the best half of football I've ever seen a Michigan quarterback play," said Harbaugh. "Moving and throwing and accuracy and just extending plays, all of the above. I don't know how you play better."

"There was one throw that wasn't a great throw. Other than that it was a perfect game."

"Wilton had an unbelievable game today," said Jake Butt. "He keeps coming through for us when we need him most."

Butt made some history himself. On a five-catch, 76-yard day, he surpassed Jim Mandich as Michigan's all-time receiving leader among tight ends. Butt said it was "hard to take in" that he broke Mandich's record.

"You talk about [Ron] Kramer and Mandich, [Eric] Kattus, some tremendous tight ends have come through here. I know I'm leaving some out," said Harbaugh. "Most catches, most yards for a Michigan tight end is a great accomplishment."

Jehu Chesson, meanwhile, had a bounce-back game, hauling in five catches for 112 yards and one of the easier touchdowns he'll ever have when Maryland let him slip behind the defense. That was a bit of a theme; Michigan's first score came when Amara Darboh was all alone on a post route, and when the backups took over, Kekoa Crawford found himself similarly forsaken and caught his first career touchdown for the final score of the day.

Harbaugh was "bewildered" by the call marking Chris Evans short of the end zone. That's one word for it. [Eric Upchurch]

For the offense, there was little to complain about, save a couple calls that didn't go Michigan's way. Drake Harris had a long catch negated by a ticky-tack offensive pass interference call, and Chris Evans got marked just short of the goal line after a spectacular juggling catch and weaving run through the Terrapin defense.

"It offends my football sensibility in all ways that he didn't get a touchdown," said Harbaugh, who threw his hat several yards in the air after the call. "I think that would offend the football gods, as well."

Michigan mostly didn't need offensive contributions from Jabrill Peppers, but they got an early highlight when Peppers took a pitch, then threw it back to Speight, who launched a 40-yard bomb to Chesson. Peppers had a couple carries for 19 yards and added another TFL to ever-rising tally on defense. Asked after the game if he was trying to bolster Peppers's Heisman candidacy with "flashy" plays on offense, Harbaugh said he's simply utilizing Peppers as he should be utilized.

"It's just happening organically. It happens au naturale. He just does so much," said Harbaugh. "It doesn't have to be a forced thing. Au naturale." With a chuckle, Harbaugh added that his quarterback should perhaps be under consideration for the Heisman, too.


Whether on offense or defense, Peppers's contributions are "au naturale." [Fuller]

Despite holding Maryland to 367 yards, there were some worrisome moments for the defense. The Terps had a clear gameplan to test Michigan on the edge with outside runs and tunnel screens, and those plays found success—Mike McCray and Channing Stribling, in particular, had tough games holding trying to hold those plays down. Maryland nearly had a touchdown on a tunnel to DJ Moore at the very end of the first half, but Dymonte Thomas kept the play in front of him long enough for McCray to chase him down from behind; the clock expired with the Terps on Michigan's one-yard line.

Those deficiencies will get plenty of attention over the weeks to come, and Ohio State's coaching staff surely took note. That shouldn't totally overshadow an otherwise dominant outing from the defense, though. Maryland averaged just 2.7 yards per carry; the non-screen passing game was non-existent; the Wolverines had three sacks and ten additional TFLs. As in seemingly every other contest this year, Michigan knocked the starting quarterback out of the game, and Caleb Rowe was a clear downgrade from Perry Hills—he threw two interceptions to Delano Hill that Hill deemed "gifts" after the game.

A road night game at Iowa awaits. While that looked like a huge test entering the season, it now appears to be another golden opportunity for Michigan to make a statement to not only the conference, but the entire country. They're two more dominant outings away from having everything to play for in The Game.

Don't take it for granted.

Comments

UMProud

November 5th, 2016 at 8:06 PM ^

Offensive yardage production by the Harbaugh scheme is astounding. Typically these yards and scores were a specialty of air raid style offenses. We have so many ways of killing you it's almost not fair

SC Wolverine

November 5th, 2016 at 8:09 PM ^

Our offensive excellence is really something.  If we had to rely on the defense only for The Game I'd be pretty worried.  We seem to get schemed a bit in recent games as teams exploit Brown's aggressiveness (he does adjust wonderfully, however).  But let's say that OSU can score 21-28 points on us (which I doubt).  Suddenly, it seems pretty hard for any but the most elite teams to keep us under 30 or so.  I'd kind of like to play Wisconsin again just to see how much improvement we have had offensively since that game.  Wilton played at an All-American level today.  Awesome.

PopeLando

November 5th, 2016 at 8:40 PM ^

Wisconsin has a legit defense.

Don't forget that we left 9 points on the field in missed field goals. They (Wisconsin) had nothing to do with those misses - out kickers just derp'd.

We make those FGs and it's 23-7, which is a 3 score win. Sounds about right to me.

stopthewnba

November 5th, 2016 at 8:13 PM ^

Performance for the first three drives... Over 265 yards of offense, 8 players running for a combined 110+ yards, Speight was 8/9 for 166 yds, as a team we had 14 first downs, and had faced only one third down.

This team is scary good and I'm enjoying every damn minute.

stephenrjking

November 5th, 2016 at 8:17 PM ^

Ho hum, average romp. Go work on the car, check the office, work on some stuff for next week, load up the gamer...

We just won 59-3. My whole life I longed for wins like this. And we've done it... I don't remember how many times we've won like this this year. But it's more than I'm used to.

What an awesome year so far.