1- I'm unhappy with how they played
We can forever scoff at the nonconference schedule that Michigan has had over the last few seasons. Still, I know the difference between playing down to your competition and not executing. In this game, especially in the first half of this team, Michigan's offense did not execute. J.J. was reckless with the football; they made a mistake on special teams, and against greater competition, they would've had trouble winning this game. This is why you schedule bad teams to work out the kinks. But in the season's first two games, I saw no flaws. I saw several flaws this evening. That was a bad first-half performance.
2- J.J. McCarthy is great, but he needs to be more careful with the football
I thought JJ McCarthy played essentially flawless football in the first two games of the season. He was accurate with the football, and the offense was in rhythm. We saw the opposite for a heavy majority of the ball game tonight. J.J. McCarthy has the highest ceiling of any Michigan quarterback of my lifetime, but with that comes a low floor. He was reckless as fuck in the first half. The one thing I know about J.J. is that he can turn it on in big moments (see the Ohio State game last season), but he knows he needs to be better.
3- The running game is going to be just fine
I actually saw some people who were legitimately concerned about the ￼ lack of push that the offensive line created in the first two games of the season. I was never that concerned. It was reminiscent of the way they looked in the first two games last season. While he was by no means bad, Blake Corum gave six out of ten efforts in the first two games of the season. He was everywhere tonight. He was missing tackles, and he was getting to the edges. He proved once again why he's one of the best running backs in the country. Even with J.J. McCarthy's mistakes, there is still a two-headed monster at running back that can be unleashed at any time. Michigan should take a lot of comfort in that. When the offense is firing on all cylinders, it can be a matchup nightmare against any opponent.￼
4- Jesse Minter's defense saved this one from getting hairy in the first half, and they put the foot on the gas in the second half
I was never concerned about Michigan losing this game. I knew they'd pull away at some point. With that said, my anxiety is bad enough. I didn't want to sweat this one out in the third or fourth quarter. I was never concerned they were going to lose, but Michigan did as much as possible in the first half to ensure that this would be a ball game. They had two ugly interceptions, including one in the end zone and a special teams gaff on their side of the field. Thankfully, the defense came to the rescue. They bent but didn't break on multiple drives in the first half, and in the second half, they forced multiple turnovers to put this thing on ice. Kris Jenkins snuffed out a screen past that led to an interception at the beginning of the third quarter. Because of how explosive the offense can be, we overlook how great Jesse Minter's defensive unit has been these last two years. They did what they were supposed to do on Saturday, even when the offense didn't. ￼￼￼
5- It will be nice to have Jim Harbaugh back next week
No disrespect to Jesse Minter, Mike Hart, or any of the interim coaches Michigan has had in these first three games, but they don't have the vice grip on this program that Jim Harbaugh does. I've been open about the fact that this three game suspension did nothing for me. I knew that Michigan would steamroll their opponents, but Saturday night was the first game in which I felt like his presence was needed, at least in the first half. There was nothing disastrous from a schematic standpoint, but the overall sloppiness and lethargic energy they came out with in the first half of football were not indicative of a Jim Harbaugh coached team. Thankfully, the circus is officially over, and things can go back to normal next week. ￼￼