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Michigan Football: 10 Things We Learned from the Wolverines' W vs. the Minutemen

Adam BiggersSenior Analyst IIDecember 9, 2016

Michigan Football: 10 Things We Learned from the Wolverines' W vs. the Minutemen

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    The Michigan Wolverines' resounding 63-13 victory Saturday versus the visiting UMass Minutemen certainly taught us a few things.

    But we'll say it taught us 10 things.

    For one, it showed us that the Wolverines can answer when they're called into question after two previous lackluster showings (Week 1's 41-14 loss to the Alabama Crimson Tide, Week 2's 31-25 win over the Air Force Falcons).

    Saturday's beating of the Minutemen taught us that Denard Robinson -- not that we didn't already know, though -- is easily one of the greatest all-around athletes the game of college football has ever seen.

    That's not even up for debate.

    We learned that Robinson can spread the ball around when has to, but we also learned that Michigan's rushing attack is more like a soft punch and less like a knockout blow.

    Find out what else we learned in this post-game wrap-up of Saturday's 60-minute thrashing of the Minutemen.

Roy Roundtree Does Play for Michigan After All

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    Michigan Wolverines fans have patiently waited for the emergence of receiver Roy Roundtree, who was expected to be one of the top offensive weapons Michigan had to offer in 2012.

    Well, fans may have to wait a little longer; he wasn't exactly spectacular during Saturday's 63-13 win versus the UMass Minutemen, but he did have two catches totaling 25 yards.

    And for good measure, he hauled in an 18-yard touchdown reception; it was a nice catch, too.

    Roundtree had just two catches against the Alabama Crimson Tide and one against Air Force, a five-yard grab.

    Now, Saturday's game didn't suggest that Roundtree will be the receiver we all thought he'd be this year, but it did show that he can make a play or two when needed.

Michigan's Rushing Game Still Needs Improvement

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    Like Roy Roundtree's, the arrival of Fitz Toussaint has been eagerly anticipated by Michigan Wolverines fans.

    After sitting out Week 1, Toussaint failed to impress against the Air Force in Week 2, but he bounced back—in a sense—Saturday during Michigan's 63-13 win over UMass.

    Toussaint rushed for 85 yards, averaging 5.7 yards per carry, but wasn't as powerful and dominant as he could have been. Granted, the Wolverines didn't really need Toussaint, or other backs, on Saturday. But he struggled at times against UMass' undersized defense.

    It would have been easy for Michigan offensive coordinator Al Borges to feed Toussaint the ball a little more, but it would have been unnecessary. Although he was 15 yards short of 100, Toussaint didn't break away for a gaudy run, unless his 17-yard carry counts as "gaudy."

    Sophomore Thomas Rawls still looks uncomfortable—but he's getting better. The Flint native had 39 yards off seven carries and laid a hard hit on a UMass defensive back in the fourth quarter.

    Redshirt freshman Justice Hayes scored his first collegiate touchdown and erupted for a 14-yard carry in the fourth quarter.

    Vincent Smith had 20 rushing yards from three carries and scored twice.

    The stats look above average on paper, sure. But let's be honest here: There is still a lot of room for improvement in the backfield.

Drew Dileo Can Make Plays

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    Drew Dileo emerged as another target Saturday for quarterback Denard Robinson.

    He should be a target, of course; he's a wide receiver. But not many receivers have been given the opportunity to catch passes. Robinson has shouldered the load the past two weeks, forcing others to stand back and watch in awe.

    Dileo, a junior, had three catches and 91 receiving yards in Michigan's 63-13 win over UMass. He averaged over 30 yards per catch, but a 66-yard reception skewed that average. Dileo's big grab set up a touchdown and he looked great against UMass defensive backs, moving quickly between coverage levels and getting open with relative ease. 

    We'll have to see what he has in store against tougher teams.

UMass' Mike Wegzyn Played Well Under Pressure, for the Most Part

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    He probably knew his team was in for it Saturday.

    But he certainly didn't play the part of the pushover.

    UMass quarterback Mike Wegzyn had a respectable performance against Michigan, despite completing 14-of-29 passes. While he was just under the 50 percent mark in terms of completion rate, Wegzyn threw a few good balls and looked calm in the pocket—well, as calm as one could possibly be when Joe Bolden is looking to tear your head off your neck.

    Wegzyn was criticized on Twitter. But none of that matters. He should be proud of the way he engineered scoring drives. UMass hadn't scored a touchdown all season until it met Michigan.

    Small steps lead to bigger and better results.

    Good game, kid.

Punter Will Hagerup Has a Boot

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    Of course he's a great punter, he's kicking for a Big Ten program.

    And it's possible that most people already knew that Wolverines punter Will Hagerup had a tremendously powerful leg.

    But I didn't. So maybe this shouldn't fit in the "what we learned" part of the slideshow. Maybe it belongs in the "what Adam learned" section.

    All jokes aside, Michigan's kicking and punting have never been on my radar. Punting and kicking, in general, aren't things I'm very interested in.

    Hagerup had a net punt of 74 yards Saturday that pinned UMass in a compromising position. That boot was very Shane Lechler-like.

Mike Cox Was Overly-Optimistic

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    UMass running back Mike Cox knows Michigan Wolverines football.

    He should know the ins-and-outs; he played at Michigan before moving onto UMass as a graduate-transfer.

    Cox knows how tough the Michigan defense can be, and he probably also knows that he was overly-optimistic regarding the outcome of Saturday's game.

    "We definitely have a chance," Cox told the Pioneer Press.

    A chance at what, exactly? Now, I mean no disrespect to Cox, he was one of the good guys at Michigan. But if he honestly thought the Minutemen had a chance at beating Michigan...well, I'd have to say he suffered from a case of temporary insanity.

    Cox led UMass with 76 rushing yards in its 63-13 throttling Saturday. He put his helmet down, knocked around a couple guys and was well-received by his former teammates.

    Even Michigan coach Brady Hoke said he'll root for Cox on game day—but not when UMass plays Michigan.

UMass' Deion Walker Could Be NFL-Bound

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    Former Notre Dame wideout Deion Walker could find his way to the NFL after this season.

    The 6'3", 206-pound fifth-year senior transferred to UMass and had a respectable showing in a 63-13 loss to the Michigan Wolverines.

    Walker had four catches and 63 receiving yards. Nearly half of his total yards came on one catch, a 33-yard pass from quarterback Mike Wegzyn, but he found ways to get open and was a reliable target.

    I was immediately struck by Walker's size and ability to create separation. He could make his way to the NFL due to his skill set. He handled Michigan defensive backs better than I expected and was a player I paid close attention to Saturday.

Russell Bellomy Has a Ways to Go

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    Russell Bellomy may be a better suited quarterback for Michigan offensive coordinator Al Borges' system than Denard Robinson is, but he's certainly a work in progress.

    Obviously, Bellomy won't see many reps this season playing behind the "Shoelace." Devin Gardner may be the better option at this point, just in terms of experience.

    During his limited action this season, it's clear that Bellomy isn't as calm as some thought he was or could be.

    Sure, he's come a long way. But he still has a lot of work to do. His lone pass against Alabama was an interception, and he wasn't all that collected in Michigan's 63-13 win Saturday over UMass. 

    He'll get there. Give him time.

    "I've just been working hard since last year," Bellomy recently told the Detroit News. "I came in not knowing much, and I've been learning and taking physical reps, and so now it's all coming to me, and I'm just trying to help the team out. That's the main thing I'm focused on—getting better every day and getting reps with the team."

Devin Funchess Continues to Impress

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    The more I see of Devin Funchess, the more I respect his game.

    The frosh has a bright future ahead, and he could develop into one of the Big Ten's elite tight ends by his junior year—if not sooner.

    That may be a lofty claim, but if you look at how he's progressing, it's not too far-fetched of an idea.

    Funchess followed his 106-yard performance against the Air Force with 34 yards in Michigan's 63-13 win Saturday over the UMass Minutemen.

    But his stats may not stand out to the naked eye. Quarterback Denard Robinson connected with nine receivers, so there wasn't one in particular that had a breakout day in terms of production. There were a few steady guys, and Funchess was one of them.

    Grabbing the big pass seems to have become Funchess' specialty. He hauled in a 26-yard touchdown reception in the first quarter Saturday, putting Michigan on the board and ahead for good.

Dennis Norfleet Will Return a Couple Kicks for Touchdowns in 2012

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    If Dennis Norfleet was allowed to wear red gator boots on the football field, he'd probably never return a kick for a touchdown.

    It has to be incredibly difficult to run in stiff, wing-tipped boots like the pair he wears in the above video (which has no real value to this article, other than for entertainment purposes).

    But luckily for Michigan Wolverines fans, Norfleet has to wear cleats on the field. He's much faster in those, too. Rest assured, Wolverines followers, the former Detroit Martin Luther King star will return a couple kicks for touchdowns this season.

    It's just a matter of time.

    Norfleet was a couple blocks away from going to the house Saturday in Michigan's 63-13 win over UMass. He had 44 yards from two attempts, with a long of 27 yards. He's pretty fast.

    Yeah, he's pretty fast.

    Follow Bleacher Report's Michigan Wolverines football writer Adam Biggers on Twitter @AdamBiggers81

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