Appalachian State vs. Michigan: Game Grades, Analysis for the Wolverines

Adam Biggers@@AdamBiggers81Senior Analyst IIAugust 30, 2014

Brady Hoke passed. 

Doug Nussmeier's offense passed. 

Greg Mattison's defense passed. 

OK, so the entire Michigan football team passed the first day of school by pummeling visiting Appalachian State 52-14 in front of 106,811 at The Big House on Saturday. 

Here are the marks for before and after recess. 

Class is in session for Team 135. 

Box score via


Michigan Game Grades
Positional UnitFirst-Half GradeFinal Grade
Pass OffenseA+B
Run OffenseCA
Pass DefenseAB+
Run DefenseA-B-
Special TeamsC (Matt Wile missed 48-yard attempt)B
Live stats provided by University of Michigan athletic department/sports information directors


Pass Offense

During the first half, Devin Gardner could do no wrong. Well, he did wrong once; his single incomplete pass was his only mistake, if that's what you want to call it. The fifth-year senior hooked up with Devin Funchess thrice for touchdowns in the first half and finished the day 13-of-14 with 173 yards and a rating of 267.4, per the UM athletic department stats. 

Funchess, now donning the coveted No. 1 jersey, became the first Wolverines wide receiver to have a trio of six-pointers in the season opener. That's something Anthony Carter and Braylon Edwards never did. 

Shane Morris completed a great pass to Keith Heitzman late in the third quarter, but then he turned around and threw a pick. He finished 3-of-5 with 37 yards. His performance only slightly dings the overall grade. 

But as a whole, a high grade is absolutely appropriate. 


Run Offense

This one is kind of tricky. Sure, the Wolverines ran wild over the Mountaineers, putting up a combined 350 yards on the day. However, it took a few moments before things really got started. The final two quarters were all Derrick Green and De'Veon Smith, who combined for 285 yards. 

Smith had a pair of touchdowns, while Green had one. Green had a 62-yard trot; Smith had one for 61. 

But, the first half wasn't great. There's work to be done all around, but Green and Smith became the first running back duo to go for 100-plus each since 2007. That deserves a gold star or something like that. 


Pass Defense

Appalachian State's Kameron Bryant met Desmond Morgan once, which had to hurt. That knock pretty much set the tone for the defense, which allowed just 52 yards through the air during the first half. With depth players in the mix, the Wolverines gave up a touchdown to Simms McElfresh, who has one of the best names in college football. 

During his post-game presser, coach Brady Hoke said that he and the defense want that one back. Who can blame them? Other than the one score and a total of 127 yards surrendered, Team 135's pass defense looked stout. 

But again, one must consider the competition. It wasn't Ohio State, Notre Dame or Michigan State. We'll see what these guys are really made of next Saturday when they battle the Irish—and then later against the Spartans and Buckeyes. 


Run Defense

Giving up 153 yards on the ground to anyone is a no-no, especially when that "anyone" is one year removed from FCS play. The Wolverines were solid in the first half, allowing former 1,000-yard rusher Marcus Cox just 19 yards. 

The second half wasn't so great, but that was due to rotation. Hoke made sure to give reps to plenty of guys. You can bet that Mattison will have a talk with his defenders, who were gouged up the middle. 


Special Teams

Nothing too special other than Ben Gedeon's punt-return-touchdown.

It's also worth noting that Jabrill Peppers limped off the field after returning a punt. He'll be ready to go this week, says Hoke, who emphasized the non-serious nature of his star frosh's ankle injury. 



Give these guys some credit—they've had to answer questions about 2007 for weeks. They put together a solid game plan that would have beaten a lot of Big Ten teams. Nothing is perfect, but Michigan's coaching staff was on the same page Saturday. 


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

Unless otherwise noted, quotes or references to quotes were obtained firsthand by the writer. 


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