Michigan Football: Grading All 22 Starters from the Illinois Game
I don't think Michigan could have come out Saturday and looked any more impressive.
They completely dominated Illinois, in every aspect of the game. This team has truly hit its stride and looks like it will wind up in Indianapolis on Dec. 1.
These men are playing together as a team, proven by the recent dominant performances.
Here's a closer look at the 22 men who started for Michigan.
QB: Denard Robinson
The fact that Robinson did not throw a pick shows improvement in itself. He went 7-of-11 passing, which is especially encouraging when considering the weather.
Once again, it was his rushing ability that got the job done, though. He ran for 128 yards, scored two touchdowns and averaged 11.6 yards per carry.
There's really nothing to complain about with his performance.
RB: Fitz Toussaint
Once again, Toussaint wasn't able to really get going. He rushed for 62 yards and scored a touchdown but had a very disappointing 3.4 yards per carry.
A lot of people blame the offensive line, but then, why were Rawls and Hayes able to find holes?
I don't think anybody would have a problem if Toussaint was benched in favor of Rawls at this point.
WR: Devin Gardner
Gardner had only one catch on Saturday, but it did go for 17 yards. Considering the conditions, it wasn't a disappointing performance.
People probably need to put more stock into a receiver's blocking ability anyway, and that showed in a big way on Saturday.
All of the receivers were willing to do the dirty work against Illinois, and it showed on a number of Robinson's runs.
WR: Roy Roundtree
Like Gardner, Roundtree only had one catch, but it was certainly a big one. It was a 33-yard reception that he hauled in with a crowd of defenders around him.
It was easily one of his biggest catches in what has been a disappointing season, so far.
His blocking ability was also on display when Michigan's runners got out into the open field.
WR: Jeremy Gallon
Gallon got the game started off with a bang, as he took a short pass and scored on a 71-yard touchdown play.
He did not have another catch after that, but Michigan only threw the ball 15 times on Saturday.
Gallon also fielded all of his punts cleanly, something that's not easy to do in rainy weather.
TE: Devin Funchess
Funchess caught yet another touchdown on Saturday, this time an eight-yard score.
He basically used his huge frame to shield V'Angelo Bentley in what was a very impressive catch in the back of the end zone.
Tight end was thought to be a big weakness coming into the season, but Funchess, Williams and Kwiatkowski have arguably turned it into a position of strength.
LT: Taylor Lewan
Many people think that this is Lewan's last season in a Michigan uniform. With rushing performances like this, his stock may continue to soar.
Lewan helped pave the way for Michigan runners to rush for 353 yards.
LG: Ricky Barnum
When Ricky Barnum went down with injury early in Saturday's game, many fans held their breath. Everyone knows Michigan can't afford to lose ANY offensive linemen.
Fortunately, Barnum returned soon after. Injuries have plagued him his entire career, and it looked like they may have struck again. Fortunately, that wasn't the case.
C: Elliott Mealer
Mealer faced his toughest conditions yet as a center, considering the elements. I was actually surprised Michigan ran as much shotgun as they did, but it did not turn out to be an issue.
Once again, Mealer had a solid game and continues to excel.
RG: Patrick Omameh
Omameh was honored during the week for his generosity toward C.S. Mott Children's Hospital, and he followed it up with a fine game.
Omameh seems to be a great person off the field, so it's even nicer to see a guy like him have the kind of success he has on the field.
RT: Michael Schofield
It truly was impressive the way Michigan was able to steamroll this Illini front seven. It wasn't only Schofield, but Rawls and even Justice Hayes joined in on the act, too.
This offensive line is hopefully starting to gel even more as a unit.
DE: Brennen Beyer
Even though it's basically a revolving door at defensive end, Beyer is actually the one who got the start.
This was especially encouraging to see when considering he had been out with injury for a while.
Clark and Ojemudia saw plenty of time as well, so the three can basically be looked at as co-starters.
DT: Quinton Washington
Quinton Washington has been one of the biggest surprises on this team. After basically being an afterthought in fall camp, he has become a very solid starting defensive tackle.
His play was, once again, solid on Saturday, as he and Campbell have been getting the job done the last few weeks.
DT: Will Campbell
Campbell hasn't been great this season, but he has certainly been good enough. He has been a big reason Michigan has been stuffing opponents' running games the last few weeks.
Saturday was much of the same, as Illinois couldn't do a thing on the ground.
DE: Craig Roh
Craig Roh is getting better but still isn't where he needs to be. At this point in his career, he'll probably never get there.
We are seeing him get into opponents' backfields a bit more often, so that's a good sign. If he could step up his game a bit more, though, it would really solidify this D-line.
LB: Kenny Demens
A lot of people think Kenny Demens is playing the best football of his career. And this is coming off a stretch of terrible play that had many people calling for his benching.
Well, he sure has responded in a big way. He is constantly in the right spot, proven by his interception on Saturday. That pick was a result of film study and understanding the opponent's tendencies.
LB: Desmond Morgan
Desmond Morgan received the honor of wearing Gerald Ford's No. 48 jersey, and he responded in a big way. Morgan was all over the field, seemingly assisting on tackles on the majority of the plays.
Without question, he represented the No. 48 jersey well.
LB: Jake Ryan
What can we possibly say about Jake Ryan that hasn't already been said? This kid is turning into one of the fiercest defenders in the Big Ten right before our eyes.
He is always in the opponent's backfield, making stops behind the line of scrimmage constantly.
All-American honors aren't out of the question before Ryan's career is over.
CB: J.T. Floyd
There really isn't a whole lot to say about J.T. Floyd. Illinois rarely threw the ball and wasn't very effective when they did.
Floyd did what he needed to do, though, and got the job done.
CB: Raymon Taylor
There really isn't a whole lot to say about Taylor either. Illinois threw the ball so seldom that it's hard to judge Michigan's corners.
They did both get the job done, though, even though there wasn't necessarily a whole lot to do.
S: Thomas Gordon
Michigan's secondary play is hard to judge in this game. Illinois' lack of production at receiver combined with its offensive game plan really didn't give this secondary many chances on Saturday.
This allowed them to come up and play the run a bit more, which Gordon did a fine job doing.
S: Jordan Kovacs
It may seem a bit generous giving everybody in Michigan's secondary "A's", but I don't see why not. They all did their job on Saturday, completely shutting down Illinois' inept passing game.
You can't ask a whole lot more than that.