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Michigan-EMU Recap: A Teachable Game

Big House BobSenior Analyst IISeptember 20, 2009

ANN ARBOR, MI - SEPTEMBER 19:  Quarterback Tate Forcier #5 of the Michigan Wolverines throws a pass against the Eastern Michigan Eagles at Michigan Stadium on September 19, 2009 in Ann Arbor, Michigan.   Michigan won 45-17.  (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)

After last year, Michigan will take all the wins they can get. In fact, being 3-0 this year, the Wolverines have already equaled their 2008 win total.

Michigan won 45-17 on Saturday against Eastern Michigan, but there is a lot of work still to be done. Coach Rich Rodriguez after the game said there were a number of teachable moments in the game and I have to agree.

Michigan looked out of it for most of the first half. Their only saving grace was the offensive line's domination of the Eagles' defensive line, creating huge holes and memorable runs like Carlos "Santana" Brown's 90-yard touchdown scamper, the third-longest run in the history of Michigan football.

Still, the halftime lead was just seven points and Michigan has plenty of areas they will need to focus on as the Big Ten season starts next week. Here are some of the areas I believe Michigan needs to work on:

  • The defense needs to be able to stop the run. They gave up 179 yards on the ground and most of that was in the first half. The left side of the D-line and linebackers was the focus of the Eagles rushing attack.
  • The passing offense looked rusty and there were a number of drops. Michigan passed for a total of 68 yards. Yes, 68.
  • Michigan did look like they let down a bit after the Notre Dame game last week.

Don't get me wrong, I am very excited that Michigan is 3-0 and beat the Eagles on Saturday; I just saw a few things that concerned me. There was also some good on Saturday. Now, on to the much anticipated Cheers and Jeers....

Cheers

  • 380 Rushing Yards. This is the best the Michigan offensive line has played in years.
  • Brown went for 187 of those 380 and had a career game with 14.4 yards per carry.
  • Quarterback Denard Robinson is an amazing runner. He went for two more touchdowns on the ground.
  • Halftime adjustments. Again, the Michigan coaches made great adjustments at halftime to stop the Eagles' run attack and shut them out in the second half.
  • Running back Michael Shaw looks like he has found his speed again after an offseason surgery.
  • Many young players did get into the game late.
  • Defensive end Craig Roh had a nice pick off a tipped pass.
  • Donovan Warren is a really becoming a great cover cornerback.

Jeers

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  • Martavious Odoms needs to catch the ball. A drop cost Michigan a drive in the first half.
  • The Michigan defense in the first half gave up 17 points.
  • Tate Forcier struggled in the first half with the pass rush and fumbled once.
  • I'm worried about Brandon Minor's ankle. He only played a few plays and Coach Rod said it was sore and they sat him out.
  • Starting center David Molk went out with a foot injury.
  • Robinson's two picks don't concern me. He needs to throw the ball more and yesterday was just phase one.

Michigan was the better team and proved it on Saturday. The effort for the road ahead will have to be better.

Thoughts around the league on Saturday:

  • USC loses to the 2008 0-15 Washington Huskies: Great win for Washington. Terrible loss for USC. I'm glad this was the game the former coordinator won and not the Michigan game. It also shows that Ohio State lost a great opportunity to beat the Trojans last week in Columbus.

  • MSU loses to ND: Michigan State showed character against Notre Dame but they also showed stupidity with a number of lost of opportunities to win or tie the game. The last-minute pick was a huge mistake only down three points. So was the missed wide open receiver the play before. MSU is now 1-2 with Wisconsin and Michigan up next. Yikes!

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