Well, Rich Rodriguez may very well live to coach again. The Wolverines pulled out a 30-10 victory over the Connecticut Huskies today at the new-and-improved, re-dedicated Big House. Sure, there were some mistakes made, but the 2010 Michigan squad already looks much-improved over last year. Now that the dust has settled, let's take a look at some of the things we saw today.
Denard Robinson—Holy S*@T!
Rich Rod decided to give Denard Robinson the starting QB job this year, bumping Tate Forcier to third on the depth chart behind true freshman Devin Gardner. I know it's extremely early in the season, but I was personally impressed with Robinson's performance. He can run for sure (we knew that already), and very well at that, running for 197 yards and managing to knock in a touchdown. And he can pass too, going 19-22 for 186 yards with no interceptions. Maybe this will be the beginning of more balanced QB play this season, with a good mix of passing and rushing. In my opinion, good move by coach Rodriguez.
Ground Game is Looking Solid
It was a windy Saturday in Ann Arbor, so there was more emphasis on rushing during the game. Michael Shaw and Vincent Smith both looked pretty good, with Shaw getting 15 carries for 48 yards and a touchdown, while Smith got 14 carries for 51 yards and a touchdown. As I said, Robinson's own rushing effort looked great alongside the two running backs, and definitely made a difference today. If everyone stays healthy, maybe we can store a few more points per game this year.
Defense—A Mixed Bag
Overall, the defense was pretty darn stout. They held the Huskies to only 10 points, even though UConn QB Zach Frazer managed to throw for 205 yards (18-for-37 with no touchdowns). The D-line and the linebackers stepped it up, holding RB Jordan Todman to 105 yards and allowing only one touchdown.
The secondary, however, is a different story. The young backs definitely looked a little shaky, letting the improved UConn pass game march the Huskies down the field and threatening for a touchdown late in the third quarter. Luckily, the game was saved by some great team defense by CB J.T. Floyd and LB Obie Ezeh, with Floyd forcing a turnover and Ezeh recovering. This set up a great drive by the Wolverines, with Denard Robinson connecting to Terrence Robinson to move the offense into scoring position. Practice WILL make perfect with this bunch.
The Fans are Keeping Faith
To close out the article, I have to give props to the fans in attendance at Michigan Stadium today. The fans definitely played a factor in this one, getting to Frazer and the UConn offense early on. There were a few plays where Frazer looked flat-out confused. That's what happens when you come to the Big House, I guess.
All in all, good start to the season by Big Blue. They have some things to work on, including getting the secondary some experience and practice. I liked a lot of what I saw today—it definitely got me pumped for the rest of the season. On to South Bend to take on the Fighting Irish next week. We'll see what Brian Kelly's boys have for Michigan.
As always, GO BLUE!