I fully share the MGoCommune's disappointment that we lost the game, but there were tangible signs of improvement vs. 2017, and reason for optimism if the team continues to get better:
- Significantly improved QB play (from both Patterson and McCaffrey), especially considering that it was their first game—compare with Rudock vs. Utah. Patterson's throws were crisp, and McCaffrey did a nice job of running and throwing on the fly, especially on short notice. He has nice mobility.
- Statistically, as Zach Shaw notes, Michigan gained more passing yards (249) against ND than in 16 of its last 17 games, and that against last year's 5th-ranked S&P pass defense.
- The Ambry Thomas kick return -- when was the last time we had a KO return for a touchdown?
- The defense, after getting gashed early, stuffed a talented and mobile ND offense.
- The punting was better than expected -- Will Hart averaged 43.7 yards with a long of 51. Kickoffs were solid as well with Moody.
- We have five games to shore things up -- WMU, SMU, Nebraska, Northwestern, Maryland -- before the toughest part of our schedule emerges. Hopefully, JH and his braintrust uses that time to get Hudson and perhaps Mayfield into the lineup. Warinner now has game tape he can use to evaluate the OL. If we can somehow get the tackle spot up to mediocre, we can absolutely contend in the B1G.
Keep your chins up, Comrades!