UA-59049186-1 Michigan 41, Illinois 8 - Recap - Good if it Goes

Michigan 41, Illinois 8 – Recap

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First thing’s first: a big thanks to @DGDestroys, who makes the every snap videos that make these a lot easier to do.

Box Score

Grading Primer

This is how you know things are good: Michigan won by 33 and a lot of the fan base, myself included was like “eh.” Like, this was a great performance by Michigan, but after some of the games they’ve played this year, in particular the dismantling of Rutgers, plain old regular great doesn’t feel quite as special. Michigan put up 21 in the first quarter with the offense rolling and then the team’s foot began to ease off the gas. They would add ten in the next quarter and another ten in the second half as backups began to enter the game. Illinois managed to gain yards and even points on Michigan’s vaunted defense. Before we begin worrying, we should note that many of these yards and the Illini’s lose score came on a few busts. Beyond that, Illinois managed very little. Michigan’s offense looked quite good. Wilton Speight had his best game in quite some time. Ben Bredeson had the best game of his young Michigan career starting at left guard with Ben Braden kicking out to left tackle to fill in for the injured Grant Newsome.

Player Grades

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[Disclaimer: I think I differentiated between Joe Hewlett and Tru Wilson correctly, but I can’t guarantee that I did. This even tripped up Carl Grapentine.]

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How’d they do?

Ratings are out of 100 and should be read similar to Madden ratings. Overall ratings for the season are in parentheses.

QB: 90 (Season: 79, Change: +2)

Wilton Speight was very good.After the game, he said he spent the bye week studying film and it definitely showed. He had a couple excellent passes. I’m going to exercise caution with my optimism about Speight for now; if he can string together a couple more games like this, we can officially call Speight fixed. I know it was only Illinois, but two weeks ago, he struggled with Rutgers, so a game like this was great to see. One Illinois thing worth keeping an eye on: the Illini play Tampa 2. We’ll have to see how he reacts to other schemes, but again – cautious optimism.

Shane Morris got in on a RB sweep. John O’Korn played the fourth quarter and played pretty well.

RB: 95 (Season: 95, Change: +1)

De’Veon Smith had a great outing. Karan Higdon made the most of just about every one of his touches. Ty Isaac had a couple nice runs, but also a couple vision issues. Chris Evans had a nice run on his first touch of the game. Unfortunately, it would be his only touch of the game, as he would exit the game with a concussion. Jabrill Peppers got a few touches that didn’t go for very much. It began to seem like Jim Harbaugh was trying to force it with him. Joe Hewlett and Tru Wilson got in in garbage time. Both wear 27, so this tripped up PA announcer Carl Grapentine.

FB/H-B: 89 (Season: 89, Change: 0)

Khalid Hill a.k.a. Hammering Panda turned in a fine outing. Henry Poggi was less fine. Bobby Henderson played well when he got in the game late.

WR: 92 (Season: 91, Change: 0)

Amara Darboh had a very nice game; he was the recipient of a couple +2s. Jehu Chesson‘s minuses were on a penalty and a fumble; he was okay other than those two mistakes. Moe Ways had a big block on the Higdon TD. Kekoa Crawford made a couple nice blocks. Eddie McDoom (Doooooooom) had a couple really nice plays.

TE: 88 (Season: 94, Change: 0)

Jake Butt had a nice showing in the passing game and delivered some impressive blocks as well. It wasn’t all good news in the ground game for Butt, though, as all his minuses came in blocking. Devin Asiasi made some nice plays, but biffed a couple blocks. Tyrone Wheatley, Jr. had a strong outing; his potential is very exciting.

OL: 91 (Season: 87, Change: +1)

Ben Bredeson had his best game as a Wolverine thus far. Mason Cole was quite good. Erik Magnuson was fine. Kyle Kalis biffed a few blocks. Ben Braden played very well moving out to LT. Pass pro was solid all-around, so the grades understate how good the line really was. The Wolverines only allowed two sacks and one of those was more a result of Speight holding onto the ball too long.

DE: 96 (Season: 95, Change: 0)

The grades may seem a bit low for a rating this high, but that’s because the defense just wasn’t on the field long enough to rack up big scores. all four DEs that played played well. Rashan Gary was particularly impressive. Chase Winovich set up Michigan’s only sack by blowing up the play. Taco Charlton and Chris Wormley were both solid.

DT: 94 (Season: 96, Change: 0)

Michigan spent a lot of time in a dime formation with three down linemen, so that further limited snaps for the tackles. Maurice Hurst, Jr. turned in another fine outing, recording Michigan’s only sack in the process. Ryan Glasgow played well. Matt Godin ended up on the wrong side of a couple blocks and got dinged for a roughing penalty. Bryan Mone looks to be getting his feet back under him more after returning from his injury.

LB: 93 (Season: 92, Change: 0)

Jabrill Peppers was consistently good all day. Ben Gedeon had another game that makes me wonder why he was behind Joe Bolden last year and also makes me mad at Brady Hoke for not redshirting him. Mike McCray had a handful of biffs but was a positive overall. Devin Bush, Jr. saw some snaps with McCray out briefly and was fine on those snaps.

CB: 94 (Season: 94, Change: 0)

Jourdan Lewis was targeted early on a play where he ended up catching a PI call. Beyond that, Illinois seemed to know better than to try their luck. They tested Channing Stribling a few times to not much avail.

S: 90 (Season: 89, Change: +1)

Dymonte Thomas had an excellent game save for a couple biffs. Delano Hill also had a few biffs, including badly misplaying the ball on Illinois’ TD. He made enough plays to come away positive as a whole, though. Tyree Kinnel was okay before leaving with an injury. Josh Metellus seemed to blow a coverage.

Takeaways

This was another whomping. The offense took a nice step forward. Speight was not only not missing simple throws, but making difficult ones. Ben Bredeson took a very impressive step forward. In his first few appearances, he looked very much like a true freshman. His physical skills were apparent, but he looked lost on the field multiple times. In this game, he looked like he’d been starting for a couple years. I thought the coaching staff was kind of forcing it with Peppers. Also, at some point, he’s going to have to throw on one of these plays. This game seemed like an okay time to begin testing that out a bit.

The defense continued to dominate. Three plays led to the majority of the Illinois offense. The unit’s S&P+ rating went down. It’s now at 0.8, which is just bananas. For reference, #2 Clemson’s rating is 11.0. And S&P+ is opponent-adjusted, so that score isn’t just a result of whomping some lousy teams.

Helmet Stickers

Up to 3 may be awarded per player. Not necessarily the highest-graded players since different grades mean different things to different players (refer to the primer).

Offense

3: Ben Bredeson, Wilton Speight, Karan Higdon, Khalid Hill, De’Veon Smith, Amara Darboh

2: Jake Butt, Tyrone Wheatley, Jr., Mason Cole

1: Bobby Henderson, Ben Braden, Patrick Kugler, Erik Magnuson

Defense

3: Dymonte Thomas, Channing Stribling, Jabrill Peppers, Ben Gedeon, Maurice Hurst, Jr. Rashan Gary, Taco Charlton

2: Chase Winovich, Ryan Glasgow, Jourdan Lewis

1: Chris Wormley

Helmet Sticker Count

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Go Blue!

Twitter: @KSchroeder_312

E-mail: schroeder.giig@gmail.com

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