The Michigan Man Podcast Episode 269: Northwestern Preview

October 8, 2015 by  
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Wildcat voice Dave Eanet joins the show.

In this edition of the Michigan Man Podcast, Northwestern radio voice Dave Eanet joins to preview Saturday's matchup between the Wildcats and Michigan Wolverines.

Behind Enemy Lines: Q&A with Inside NU

October 8, 2015 by  
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We sat down with Inside NU's Zach Pereles to learn Northwestern's perspective on the showdown between the No. 18 Michigan and the No. 13 Wildcats. And Zach ends our Q&A with a score prediction for Saturday.

In 2014, Michigan and Northwestern fans bonded as they watched their respective schools participate in one of the sloppiest, most-Yakety Sax-filled football games in recent memory. It was dubbed "#M00N," and we have since tried to erase it from our memory banks. One year later, we may see the #M00N again, but, if we do, it will be because we witnessed two of the best defenses in the nation take the field when No. 18 Michigan hosts No. 13 Northwestern at Michigan Stadium on Saturday.

It should go without saying how important this Saturday's showdown will be, but, as our managing editor Anthony Broome wrote in his Detroit Free Press column, it will feature the Big Ten's two most impressive teams thus far. We introduced you to this Northwestern team yesterday, but it's time to learn about the Wildcats from someone who knows them better than we do: Zach Pereles, who is an editor at Inside NU. Why has Northwestern had such a huge turnaround in just one season? How will Justin Jackson and NU try to move the ball against Michigan's run defense? Will Northwestern finally not "Northwestern" against Michigan? Zach answers that and much more below.

And here is the Q&A that I did at Inside NU, which includes my prediction for the game.


Last season, Michigan and Northwestern participated in the infamous #M00N game, during which both teams stumbled and derped their way to a 10-9 result and 5-7 seasons. Now, just one season later, Northwestern travels to Ann Arbor with a 5-0 record and as the No. 13 team in the AP poll to face No. 18 Michigan. Much has changed in a year. What's been the biggest difference for NU between 2014 and 2015?

The biggest difference this year, by far, has been the incredible jump made by Northwestern's defense and-- at a less-recognized but similarly impressive level-- special teams. Last year, Northwestern's defense was solid at times but was not a unit that could win a football game. This year, Northwestern's defense has basically been why the Wildcats beat their three most reputable opponents: Stanford, Duke (when Clayton Thorson struggled mightily) and Minnesota. While the offense has struggled at times, it doesn't have to be great when the defense is giving up just seven points per game. Additionally, last year's special teams performance cost Northwestern dearly. They finished the year ranked near the bottom of special teams efficiency ratings. This year, the Wildcats have gotten two game-changing returns-- a kickoff return touchdown to take the lead against Duke and a 55-yard punt return against Minnesota to set the offense up for its first touchdown-- and solid kick coverage.

Northwestern has three notable wins this season: vs. No. 16 Stanford (16-6), at Duke (19-10), and vs. Minnesota (27-0). Which of these wins was the most impressive? Why?

The win over Stanford was most impressive, and it continues to look more and more impressive each week as Stanford steamrolls through the Pac-12. Clayton Thorson had no turnovers in his college debut and the defense made a major statement by holding Kevin Hogan and Co. to just two field goals. The Wildcats used a near-perfect game plan and executed it: Justin Jackson's 134 yards led a 225-yard team effort on the ground-- nearly three times as many as Stanford's 85-- and the Wildcats played turnover-free football. When this team avoids turnovers, as they did against the Cardinal, they are tough to beat.

Northwestern's defense has been one of the best units in the nation. The Wildcats are first in the nation in scoring defense (7.0 PPG), fifth in total defense (247.4 YPG), and sixth in Defensive S&P+. The reason for this seems to be the pass defense, which is third in the nation in both YPA (4.0) and passer rating (83.35). Why has the Wildcats' back seven been so superb this season? And how will they plan to defend quarterback Jake Rudock, who has been an inconsistent game manager thus far for Michigan?

The Wildcats' defensive backs have been terrific because they are one very good, experienced, cohesive unit. Nick VanHoose, a second-team All-Big Ten performer last year, and Matt Harris are an outstanding cornerback tandem. Harris has been the ballhawk this year with three picks, but VanHoose is as steady as anyone in the nation and provides senior leadership. Safety Traveon Henry, a converted linebacker from two years ago, has finally settled into his role in the coverage schemes and can still pack a punch on his hits. Godwin Igwebuike is a terrific open-field tackler who has a penchant for making big plays. He had three interceptions last year against Wisconsin and forced and recovered a crucial fumble against Duke in Week 3 this year. The depth at the position is also outstanding, though it will be tested after Kyle Queiro went down with a broken arm against Ball State. Marcus McShepard, Keith Watkins II and Jared McGee (who's replacing Queiro) are steady replacements whenever any of the starters need a breather. In the linebacking corps, Anthony Walker and Drew Smith are good athletes who can cover decently, but the best coverage linebacker is Nate Hall, who swaps in and out with Jaylen Prater, who plays primarily on running downs.

Against Rudock, the Wildcats won't change their game plan: they'll hope to get pressure with their front four while allowing short yardage passes underneath and tackling consistently. Northwestern has been very good about not allowing people get behind the defense, and once the pass goes short, tackling has generally been solid.

If there is an area in Northwestern's defense that Michigan may be able to exploit, it's the run defense as the Wildcats are 44th in YPC (3.72). Though the run defense holds up well on a down-by-down basis, it can permit some explosive runs -- 57th in S&P+'s Rushing IsoPPP and 56th in 10-plus-yard runs allowed. Michigan generally isn't explosive on the ground barring two jet sweeps by receiver Jehu Chesson, but U-M can grind out yards with De'Veon Smith -- a bruiser of a back that should return from his ankle injury this weekend. How have opponents had success running the ball against Northwestern? And how should Michigan account for linebacker Anthony Walker, who has 44 tackles and eight tackles for loss against the run alone in just five games?

When the offensive line play holds up well, running backs have success. It's when Northwestern's defense wins the battle-- which has been the case most of the season-- when the Wildcats are especially adept at stopping the run. When the interior of the offensive line gets at least one person to the second level to engage in blocking Walker, running against Northwestern can be successful. When the defensive linemen occupy blockers and allow Walker to play downhill, however, it's very difficult to run because that's when Walker is at his best.

For as excellent as Northwestern's defense has been, the offense has been just as poor. The Wildcats are 89th in scoring offense (25.4 PPG), tied for 116th in yards per play (4.90 YPP), and 100th in Offensive S&P+. The blame mostly falls on the arm of redshirt freshman quarterback Clayton Thorson, who is 64-of-113 (56.6 pct.) for 711 yards (6.3 YPA), four touchdowns, and three picks. What have been Thorson's biggest issues as a thrower? And does he have any chance of success against Michigan's pass defense, which harassed BYU's Tanner Mangum and Maryland's Caleb Rowe into a combined stat line of 20-of-55 (36.4 pct.) for 102 yards (1.9 YPA), no touchdowns, and three picks?

Thorson has had, as one would expect, an up-and-down start to his career. Against Stanford, he made some shaky decisions that he was lucky to get away with, but in general he played solidly. After a good showing against Eastern Illinois, he really struggled against Duke, throwing two costly picks. Luckily for him, he got a terrific performance from his defense and special teams. He then again looked bad against Ball State, committing three turnovers in the first half, but he responded with a two-touchdown, turnover-free second half and then played very well against Minnesota. Over the past game-and-a-half, Thorson's decisions have been much better; he's thrown the ball away rather than forcing completions, he's looked more and more comfortable in the pocket, and his accuracy has improved.

Thorson's biggest issues have been turnovers and short pass accuracy. But he's improving, and any Northwestern fan has to be optimistic for his future in the program. I would expect something like this from Thorson against a very good Michigan defense: 14-for-24, 155 yards, one touchdown, one interception.

Even if Clayton Thorson can't get it going through the air, Northwestern's offensive success against Michigan will be predicated on how well NU runs the ball as the Wildcats are third in the nation in carries per game (57.0). Running back Justin Jackson is a workhorse (138 car., 636 yards, 4.61 YPC, TD), and Thorson (41 car., 165 yards, 4.02 YPC, 4 TD) is a threat with his legs as well. However, Northwestern relies on picking up chunk yardage on the ground to move the ball -- 109th in S&P+'s run efficiency metric and 29th in S&P+'s run explosiveness metric -- and Michigan's run defense shuts down big runs -- 19th in S&P+'s run explosiveness metric. What will Jackson and Thorson try to do to break through this stout Michigan run defense?

The plan rarely changes for Jackson, who has terrific footwork, agility, vision and patience. He'll never burn the defense with speed, but he sets up his blockers very well and is a terrific one-cut back. If the Northwestern offensive line gets a push, Jackson will chip away over and over again until he bursts a long one; he gets stronger as the game goes on. Thorson's carries are almost always on designed runs. If he gets to the corner, he's dangerous because he has good straight-line speed, but over one-fourth of his career rushing yards came on a 42-yard keeper for a score against Stanford.

Running back is another position where Northwestern has terrific depth. Warren Long is regarded as the short-yardage back, but even he broke off a 55-yard score against Duke. Solomon Vault is the quickest and most well-rounded of the group and a threat to catch the ball out of the backfield.

Michigan has a new staff in town, but, in the past, Michigan has had trouble handling up-tempo offenses. The Wolverines haven't faced one yet this season, but they will against Northwestern, who is seventh in adjusted pace. How has Clayton Thorson handled the increased tempo as a frosh? Have prior opponents struggled to defend it?

Early in the game, it doesn't seem that defenses struggle to stop the pace. But as the game wears on, defenses tire out and Thorson can simply continue to feed Jackson. It would seem that, nursing a lead, Northwestern would take more time in the fourth quarter, but that hasn't been the case. The Wildcats like to pick up the tempo late in games so defensive players can't sub out and the Wildcats can run the ball down their opponents' throats. Thorson has been good in this setting thus far, and Pat Fitzgerald makes sure to rotate a lot of players in at wide receiver and along the offensive line.

Northwestern and Michigan have the two best scoring defenses and nothing better than meh offenses, so this is expected to be "#M00N: The Sequel." Accordingly, special teams should have an added impact as both teams try to win the field-position battle. The edge here seems to go to Michigan as the U-M has had some of the best field position in the nation while Northwestern has had some of the worst. The culprit seems to be punter Hunter Niswander, who is averaging only 38.9 yards per punt -- 92nd in the nation. Why has Niswander struggled? How effective has Northwestern's punt coverage unit been as Michigan has a dangerous returner in Jabrill Peppers?

Niswander has his struggles, but he gets decent hang time on his punts-- or at least enough for his fantastic coverage units down the field. It's unclear why he has struggled so much, but last week he was certainly kicking into a strong wind on some punts. Also, Niswander's individual stat line is somewhat skewed because the Wildcats rank 45th nationally in net punt yards at 37.6 per punt, meaning they don't give up many return yards. Jabrill Peppers is a very dangerous return man as Fitzgerald mentioned in his Monday press conference, but this is one of the best special teams coverage units Fitzgerald had at his time here at Northwestern.

Northwestern has suffered some awful luck in each of its last three meetings against Michigan. There was the Hail Mary to Roy Roundtree in 2012. There was Brendan Gibbons' hurry-up field goal to force OT in 2013. And there was the Wildcats' failed two-point conversion in the final seconds in 2014. If it comes down to the wire again on Saturday, how terrible will your flashbacks be? And would NU's luck finally turn?

The flashbacks are terrible. Awful. Northwestern has "Northwesterned" each of the past three contests against the Wolverines, but they have to be due for some luck eventually, right? Right?

Fill in the blank: for Northwestern to beat Michigan, NU must _______________?

Win the turnover battle. The only times Northwestern has trailed at halftime this year has been when they've turned it over in the first half: against Ball State and Duke. If Thorson takes care of the ball, it's a huge boost to Northwestern's chances of pulling it out in Ann Arbor.

Prediction time. Who wins? What's the score? Will we stare at the #M00N again?

I'm taking Northwestern, 16-13. There's something special about this team. They have a certain mental toughness that has been missing the past two seasons. At halftime, it's 10-7 in favor of Northwestern. Heading into the fourth, it's 13-10 and the Wolverines tie it up at 13 about midway through the quarter before Jack Mitchell (who's great in clutch situations and not quite as great in other situations) comes through with the game-winner. The Wildcats' luck finally changes on the back of another solid defensive performance.


A big thank you to Zach for answering our questions! Follow him on Twitter here.

Week 6 Best Bets: Do or Die for the Rice Owls?

October 8, 2015 by  
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Nothing says you're a degenerate quite like dialing up a Conference USA match up of sub-.500 teams.

Last week was horrific, I won't even cut around the edges.

Big Ten picks have been A-okay, so if you're looking to wager on the Midwest maniacs, check out the earlier rendition of Week 6 odds (might not lose a Michigan game ever again).

By the way, hold your nose and slug a double shot of Clorox because we're heading down to Boca Raton for a Conference USA clash.

Lock of the Week: Rice at Florida Atlantic

Line: Florida Atlantic -3.5, 58.5

*Closes browser*

Hey, thanks guys and gals, this is why I adore you to level infinity.

The Conference USA is the Reese's Pieces of college football and frankly I'll welcome Type II any day of the week. Just your typical, "hey, can you guys hurry up and score so we can heave 78-yard, play action wheel routes, too?" If you aren't intact, GET INTACT. It's an eccentric core comprised of gunslingers alike, and I like the slot that the Rice Owls fall into on Saturday versus FAU.

For Rice, it's been an obstacle course as its seen the likes of Baylor, Texas and the Western Kentucky Fighting Doughtys; the result, just your average 161 points surrendered. Sitting at 2-3, head coach David Bailiff has three straight postseason bids on the line, but has notched a 17-5 record after Week 5 since 2012. This means absolutely nothing, however.

The offense has merely been ignited with just 20 points the previous two contests yet measures up with a lackluster FAU defense squandering 410 total yards per contest in 2015. Rice may not be vying for a conference title any time this season but a bowl bid still hangs in the balance.

Pick: Rice +3.5

Best Bets

The best bet of Saturday in terms of the Big Ten is unfortunately the Ohio State Buckeyes -32.5 versus Maryland. I've stacked the endless claim of "this is the week that the Buckeyes resuscitate and batter their opponents," yet I've been defied in four straight weeks.

You can only suffer for so long, so now OSU gets potentially the most inept team in the conference to prove the naysayers doubting the No. 1 ranking completely wrong. Ohio State fails to cover then don't even put them in the AP Top 25.

Pick: Ohio State -32.5

Real intriguing setup on Friday night as the Southern Mississippi Golden Eagles take on the Marshall Thundering Herd in Huntington.

I originally stamped the envelope for yet another spectacular season on offense for the Herd and have been stymied by a lack of chemistry. Injuries have setback the gelling and whether Marshall opts for Michael Birdsong or freshman Chase Litton, the unit remains in disarray with the lack of rhythm so far.

On the other hand, one of the hottest quarterbacks in the conference in Nick Mullens appears primed to step into the ring and deliver a blow to the defending C-USA champs. Head coach Todd Monken was sent over following his tenure as the quarterbacks coach at Oklahoma State, taking him two years to fiddle the kinks out and utilize a dynamic offense.

Last season, Marshall was a 27.5-point favorite on the road in this meeting, now laying just 6.5 at home. I'm not sure if the public has latched on to the 180 in Huntington thus far, but the 'books may have something up their sleeve come Friday night.

Pick: Southern Mississippi +6.5

Jeets Was Here on Business: Michigan Announces Partnership with The Players’ Tribune

October 8, 2015 by  
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The "Our Michigan" all-access series will cover football, men's basketball and softball.

The University of Michigan athletic department has partnered with The Players' Tribune to provide an in-depth look at some of the best programs the Wolverines have to offer.

The all-access series, titled "Our Michigan," will cover football, men's basketball and softball with both video and written content that will give fans an all-access look at some of their favorite Michigan teams.

The Players' Tribune was founded by former New York Yankee star Derek Jeter, who was in Ann Arbor a few weekends ago for the game against BYU.

Those familiar with Jeter's career know that he initially signed to play baseball at U-M before being drafted by the Yankees.

"I first fell in love with the University of Michigan on my recruiting trip and then again while I was attending classes there. My heart has been there ever since," Jeter said. "Alongside other sports fans, I’m looking forward to getting to know these teams and these athletes. Go Blue."

The full release can be read below:

NEW YORK, N.Y.  – The Players’ Tribune (TPT) announced today the second of its all-access series, "Our Michigan," in partnership with the University of Michigan Athletic Department. With major college sports entering a dynamic new era, TPT will journey through Michigan’s historic 150th season of varsity athletics to offer an exclusive inside look at three storied Michigan teams – football, softball, and men’s basketball. Through a combination of documentary videos, first-person narratives, photo diaries and alumni stories, "Our Michigan" will give a voice to these programs while providing unique focus on what life is like for student-athletes, coaches, staff and the surrounding community of a world-class university.

TPT’s unprecedented access to game days, practice, academic experiences, life on the road and time on and off the playing field will provide fans with total immersion into the world of a Michigan student-athlete. The coverage will be multi-dimensional, using imagery and the voice of student-athletes throughout the program’s iconic history to provide a 360-degree look at the Michigan experience.

"I first fell in love with the University of Michigan on my recruiting trip and then again while I was attending classes there. My heart has been there ever since," says Derek Jeter, founding publisher of The Players’ Tribune, who signed with Michigan on a baseball scholarship before he was drafted by the New York Yankees. "Alongside other sports fans, I’m looking forward to getting to know these teams and these athletes. Go Blue."

"With the largest alumni base in the world and fans across the globe, we’re excited to share the distinctive insights of Michigan through the lens of The Players’ Tribune," said Jim Hackett, interim Donald R. Shepherd Director of Athletics. "TPT is an ideal platform for us and we embrace this opportunity for our student-athletes to share their experiences at a university that pairs academic excellence with the competition of sport."

"Derek came to us with this idea, and his excitement is infectious," says Jaymee Messler, president of The Players’ Tribune. "The partnership will give sports fans a first-of-its-kind look into one of the most storied collegiate athletic programs."

The package will debut on The Players’ Tribune this month and subsequent content will roll out throughout the seasons.


The Players’ Tribune is a new digital media platform created and curated by some of the world’s top athletes. Founded by Derek Jeter in partnership with Legendary Entertainment, The Players’ Tribune features fresh content, produced daily, from the perspective of the pros. The site brings fans closer to the games they love while providing a unique insight into the daily sports conversation. For more information visit, or interact with the team on Facebook ( and Twitter (@playerstribune).


The University of Michigan sponsors 31 athletic teams and supports the academic and athletic experiences of more than 900 students. With a rich and storied athletics tradition dating back to 1865-66, Michigan athletic teams have claimed more than 50 national championships with students earning over 120 individual Academic All-America honors. The university boasts the winningest team in college football history and has earned more national titles in hockey and men's swimming and diving than anyone. Visit for more information or on Facebook ( and Twitter (@UMichAthletics).

Thursday Morning Brews: What Next For Nebraska?

October 8, 2015 by  
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The sequel to 9-win Bo has been just as rocky as the original.

Column: Nebraska's Way Out

"Am I supposed to make an opening statement after that?" Mike Riley said after watching the Huskers lose their first game of the year, a Hail Mary-capped affair with BYU. He soon recovered enough to vow that his team could fix all its problems, praising his players' competitive moxie. Little did he know, the Cornhuskers would lose not just one, but two more games in the next month in the final ten seconds or overtime.

Now the Huskers sit at 2-3, and things only get tougher in Big Ten play. Nebraska fills the role of host for Wisconsin this Saturday, then travels to Minnesota before hosting Northwestern on the 24th. It's a three-game stretch that has a risk of burying the Huskers season, with November games with Michigan State and Iowa still looming. Not only that, Mike Riley would have to go 5-0 in those games, and beat Rutgers and Purdue, to finish the regular season at Bo's trademark nine wins.

But, let's put that aside for a moment. Let's even put aside the most foreboding part of this, that 2015 wasn't originally expected to be a transition year. "Nebraska's set up for success," said Bill Connelly in the title of his season preview. "Can Mike Riley capitalize?" Well ... so far, that answer has been a resounding no, and that begs some interesting questions for a proud fan base that, in getting rid of Bo Pelini, risked consistency for greatness.

But let's put that aside, and instead look a little further ahead. After all, Mike Riley was always going to have a few seasons to right the ship, and one of Bo Pelini's bigger weaknesses - especially in his last few years - was recruiting. Recruiting is one way that Nebraska could regain some swagger, a chance to build a talent gap between the Huskers and all the various Boilermakers and Wildcats and Illini of the world. It's an area that a blue-blood like Nebraska, frankly, should dominate, and it makes development and production much easier down the line.

But unfortunately for Husker fans, they haven't been excelling at this, either, and that is almost more worrisome than a losing record over the season's first month.

Recruiting Snapshot - Since 2008
2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016
Nebraska Cornhuskers 10.7% 25.0% 36.4% 55.0% 35.3% 20.0% 16.0% 28.6% 20.0%
Oklahoma Sooners 63.6% 47.8% 55.2% 52.9% 44.0% 28.0% 33.3% 53.8% 27.3%

This table looks at the proportion of blue-chip talent that Nebraska has pulled in with each of its classes, alongside that of its neighbor and longtime rival, Oklahoma. As you can see, as much as half of the recruits that the Sooners land in any given year are blue-chip players. For Nebraska, though, that number is consistently smaller.

And that makes sense, given that the Sooners are closer to Texas talent, they focus quite a bit on the state in their recruiting, and play there several times a year. Not only that, but the Sooners grab several other blue-chip players from surrounding states like Mississippi, Louisiana, and Arizona. Nebraska, meanwhile, has developed an awkward "national" feel - the 2016 class stretches as far north as Eden Prairie, Minnesota, to as far south as Texas, as far east as New Jersey, and as far west as Cali. So much for building rapport between recruits.

Riley would be wise to focus on Texas and California, two states that consistently produce amazing amounts of talent. He could offer players proximity to home while playing in front of Michigan, Ohio State, and Penn State. He can draw in recruits with one of the best fan bases in the land - 343 straight sell-outs and counting. He should be able to point to five national titles, 46 conference titles, 3 Heisman winners, and 54 All-Americans. For goodness' sake, he coached the San Diego Chargers for three years. If anybody can open in-roads to California and generate excitement, it should be Mike Riley.

But Riley hasn't managed to pull it off. If Nebraska had a five-star QB from Cali right now, and a couple blue-chip wideouts from Texas, it'd be just a bit easier to explain away a poor start. 2-3, and so close to 5-0! Don't you worry, we'll get them next weekend! The table was all set for Riley when he arrived to Lincoln. But enthusiasm is starting to ebb away, and that was one of Riley's potential secret weapons. Instead, the program he inherited from 9-win Bo is stuck with more questions than answers.

Hitting the Links Is An Impact Freshman

Season-Ending Injuries For DB Cam Burrows, LB Nick Conner

Ohio State is looking a little bit thin on defense, which doesn't bode well for November.

Rutgers' Leonte Carroo Reinstated

If there's one match-up in Rutgers' favor against Michigan State, it is Carroo against the Spartans' secondary.

Revisiting NU's Four-Game Losing Streak To Michigan

Fun fact: Michigan is 56-15-2 all-time against the Wildcats.

Michigan vs. Northwestern: Three Matchups

Another fun fact: Northwestern's secondary has given themselves the moniker, "The Sky Team." And yes, they're good enough to have a moniker.

Wisconsin Roundtable | The Greatness of Joe Schobert

Corey Clement had 949 yards last year, and was expected to get 1,200 or more. After five games, he has 19.

Time For More Zander Diamont

Alexander Diamont was originally a low-three-star recruit out of Los Angeles, California. Nate Sudfeld was a three-star recruit out of Modesto, California. Tre Roberson was a three-star out of Indianapolis. Cam Coffman was a three-star out of Missouri.

Tevin Coleman was a three-star originally, too. So was Stephen Houston before him. So was Cody Latimer and Shane Wynn. Kofi Hughes, another star wide receiver under Kevin Wilson, was a two-star. It's a bit staggering what Indiana has done offensively without blue-chip talent.

Projecting the Big Ten With S&P+

The needle of advanced stats is currently pointing to a Michigan-Iowa Big Ten Championship.

Draft Kings, FanDuel Under Investigation

This comes on the heels of a DK employee winning $350,000 on FanDuel. Major League Baseball, Jerry Jones, and Robert Kraft, among others, have a stake in Draft Kings.

The Reason Why Duke Williams Was Dismissed

Yep, that'll do it. Also, Tennessee's Pig Howard was dismissed as well for undisclosed reasons.

Beautiful Spin Move By L.J. Scott

Pop quiz: following Michigan State's escape from Purdue, who leads the Spartans in rushing yards? That would be the 19-year old freshman L.J. Scott, who had 146 against the Boilermakers and leads the team in rushing yards and scores with a 6.2-yards-per-carry average.

This play summed up Ole Miss vs. Florida. Chad Kelly had shown a dangerous turnover streak before this season that he kept mostly under wraps up to this point. Florida's defense brought out his worst, though, as Ole Miss imploded against a great defense.

Oh, and the player who got the near touchdown? True freshman five-star defensive end CeCe Jefferson.

KaVontae Turpin's Four Touchdowns vs. UT

Turpin may have stolen my heart away from my previous favorite Big 12 receiver, Jakeem Grant. Turpin had 138 yards and 6 catches against the Longhorns, and is now second on the team in receiving yards as a freshman.

Also, fun fact: TCU's Trevone Boykin and Baylor's Seth Russell share the lead for passing touchdowns among all Division-I quarterbacks. They have 38 total, against 8 interceptions.

Boston College-Duke Highlights

Lions fans know the heartbreak of a touchdown pass that's ruled incomplete, and BC had one of those that would have won the game against Duke. BC had already held Florida State to 14 points and lead the nation in total defense.

Will Mike Riley's tenure end up being considered a 'success'?

  175 votes | Results

Former Wolverine Logan Tuley-Tillman Charged with Illegally Videotaping Sex

October 7, 2015 by  
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The reason for Logan Tuley-Tillman's dismissal from Michigan has been discovered.

Former Michigan offensive lineman Logan Tuley-Tillman was charged with three felonies on Wednesday in Ann Arbor's 15th District Court, MLive's John Counts has reported. Here are the main details of Counts' report:

Logan Tuley-Tillman was was arraigned on two counts of capturing/distributing an image of an unclothed person and one count of using a computer to commit a crime, according to court records.

All three are felonies. Capturing/distributing an image of an unclothed person is punishable by up to two years in prison, a fine of no more than $2,000, or both. Using a computer to commit a crime, in this case, would be punishable by up to 10 years in prison, a fine of no more than $5,000, or both.

The incident occurred in the 300 block of Catherine Street Sept. 4. Tuley-Tillman is accused of filming a portion of a sexual encounter with a woman without her knowledge and then transmitting it to his personal device without her permission, according to Ann Arbor police.

Tuley-Tillman is free on a $5,000 personal bond. A preliminary examination is set for Nov. 12. He is being represented by Student Legal Services, according to court records.

It was announced on September 10th -- six days after the alleged incident -- that Tuley-Tillman had been dismissed from the Michigan football team. No reason for the dismissal was released at that time, but this seems to be it given the timing of the events.

Before his dismissal, Tuley-Tillman was a redshirt sophomore offensive tackle at Michigan. He had not contributed much in his career but did play sparingly in U-M's season-opening loss at Utah. Tuley-Tillman was a four-star recruit and an Under Armour All-American in 2013. He is one of four linemen from that 2013 class no longer with U-M.

Stay tuned as we will update this story as it progresses.

Film Focus: Michigan’s Defense vs. Maryland

October 7, 2015 by  
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After reviewing the Michigan-Maryland film, Drew Hallett finds new ways to say how dominant Michigan's defense has been, finally talks about the linebackers, and discusses the impact of Mario Ojemudia's season-ending injury.

While Michigan's offense sputtered for much of the time against Maryland, seeming content to run into stacked boxes and waiting for a few big plays to materialize, Michigan's defense continued its stretch of dominance and led the Wolverines to a 28-0 win over the terrible Terrapins. This was Michigan's second straight shutout win, recording back-to-back shutouts for the first time since 2000. Further, this was the second straight week that Michigan held an opponent to no more than 105 total yards, becoming just the second team to achieve this feat in the past two decades. And, to top it off, in their last 15 quarters against Michigan, opponents have totaled only 447 yards -- mind you, 124 of them were tallied by UNLV in garbage time -- and averaged only 2.17 yards per play. This is mind-blowing.

Of course, the caveat is that Maryland does not have a potent offense. The Terrapins are 99th in scoring offense (23.6 PPG), 99th in yards per play (5.18) and 104th in S&P+, and they are -- or were -- guided by a quarterback in Caleb Rowe that has tossed 12 picks in 90 pass attempts for an astronomical rate of 13.3 percent in only his last four contests.

But Michigan did even more than what an elite defense -- second in scoring defense (7.6 PPG), second in yards per play (3.10), and third in S&P+ -- is supposed to do against an inferior offense like that. In Maryland's first four games, the Terrapins had averaged at least five yards per play in all of them. Against Michigan, Maryland averaged just 1.69.

Here are my thoughts on Michigan's defense after watching Michigan-Maryland film:

H2: Henry and Hurst, Jr. Harassed Maryland's Quarterbacks

In a trend that continues to repeat itself as Michigan excels on defense, the Wolverines won the war in the trenches against Maryland. Michigan has so much depth along the line, particularly at defensive tackle, that who stands out in a given game can rotate each week. In Michigan's first two games, it was Chris Wormley, who notched six tackles for loss. In Michigan's next two games, it was Ryan Glasgow, who had four tackles for loss. Against Maryland, it was a tag-team effort by Willie Henry and Maurice Hurst, Jr., who combined for three tackles for loss and two sacks. But it was more than just the sacks for Henry and Hurst, Jr. It was how fast each harassed the quarterback after the play began.

Let's take a look at Henry first. In the third quarter, Maryland has a 3rd & 2 on its own 39-yard line. The Terrapins are in a three-wide shotgun set with Daxx Garman behind the center. Michigan is in its nickel and plans to send five with Joe Bolden as a blitzer:

FF - Maryland - Henry - Sack - 1

With 3:52 on the game clock, Darman calls for the snap. Maryland's center begins to hike the ball back to Darman, and Henry is out of his three-point stance before the center has even flung the football back to Darman. That reaction time is unbelievable. Goodness:

FF - Maryland - Henry - Sack - 2

With 3:51 on the game clock, Henry has run right past Maryland's right tackle, who fails to bring Henry down with a cut block his teammates have done to U-M's other linemen:

FF - Maryland - Henry - Sack - 3

With 3:51 still on the game clock and as Darman finishes his drop, Henry closes in:

FF - Maryland - Henry - Sack - 4

Henry holds Darman and hurls him to the grass for a seven-yard loss:

FF - Maryland - Henry - Sack - 5

Darman never had a chance.

Then there's Hurst, Jr. On 1st & 10 on its own 31-yard line, Maryland is in a three-wide shotgun formation. Michigan is in its nickel, but, unlike the play diagrammed above, U-M will rush only three Wolverines, dropping Mario Ojemudia and Jourdan Lewis back into what will be a Cover 3. Ojemudia hasn't revealed this, but Lewis has by turning his hips:

FF - Maryland - Hurst - Sack - 1

With 5:00 on the game clock, Darman calls for the snap, and, boom, Hurst, Jr. is off. He has a one-on-one match-up with Maryland's center, which likely would not have been the case if the Terrapins had recognized that Ojemudia was dropping back into coverage. Thus, Maryland has three blockers assigned to Matt Godin and just one to Hurst, Jr.:

FF - Maryland - Hurst - Sack - 2

With 4:59 on the game clock, Hurst, Jr. completes his quick swim move past Maryland's center and speeds into the pocket towards Darman, who has just finished his drop:

FF - Maryland - Hurst - Sack - 3

With 4:58 on the game clock, Garman feels the pressure behind him and tries to move up and to the right in the pocket, but Hurst, Jr. will have none of that and closes the gap:

FF - Maryland - Hurst - Sack - 4

Hurst, Jr. grabs Garman's legs, and Garman falls forward for a six-yard loss:

FF - Maryland - Hurst - Sack - 5

These weren't the only times that Henry and Hurst, Jr. blew past Maryland's offensive linemen to pressure the quarterback. Henry's pressure here forced an interception:

FF - Maryland - Henry - Pressure

Hurst Jr.'s pressure here almost led to a safety, but Darman got the ball out just in time:

FF - Maryland - Hurst - Pressure

We've seen this explosion before from Hurst, Jr. It's the main reason why I selected him as Michigan's breakout defensive player in the preseason. His times the snap so well, and his first step is so fast that he can flash into the backfield before an offensive lineman even moves back. And he's becoming consistent, earning a sack in three straight games.

But this was the best Hurst, Jr. imitation I have seen from Henry yet. His reaction time was as impressive as Hurst, Jr.'s, and it allowed Henry to be a disruptive force behind the line of scrimmage. Henry also played well in other areas. He stood up to double teams well, which opened lanes for others to make tackles. He has been an excellent piece in Michigan's stunts as he repeatedly engaged two Terrapins, allowing Ojemudia, Taco Charlton, Royce Jenkins-Stone to fly in as a pass-rusher untouched. I see that continuing, though better offensive lines will be more prepared for it than Maryland was. Ultimately, the Terrapins just couldn't block Henry. It was easily his best performance of the year.

Michigan's Secondary Wasn't Perfect, But INTERCEPTIONS

Two weekends ago, Michigan's secondary played about as perfect of a game as that unit can. Tanner Mangum and his army of 6-foot-5 receivers were supposed to challenge Michigan's untested defensive backs. Instead, Mangum completed just 12-of-28 passes (42.9 pct.) for 55 yards (2.0 YPA), no touchdowns, and no interceptions. And it wasn't as if Mangum had open receivers that he just missed. Michigan had everyone covered down the field. Every time. Even Mangum's only completion that went longer than 10 yards ricocheted off Channing Stribling's hands for what should have been interception. The Cougars left absolutely no yards on the field because Michigan didn't give them any.

Michigan's defensive backs weren't perfect against Maryland, so they'll just have to settle for sensational. Caleb Rowe and Daxx Garman combined to complete 10-of-36 passes (27.8 pct.) for 76 yards (2.1 YPA), no scores, and three picks. You must be thinking, "Drew, how is that not a perfect performance?" Well, unlike BYU, Maryland left passing yards on the field. It wasn't enough to affect the outcome, but it wasn't chump change either. By my count, the Terrapin receivers dropped four balls that hit them right in the hands that would have gained at least 62 yards, and, if caught, all four of them would have moved the chains and extended Maryland's drives. So Michigan was more exposed.

Whereas BYU has tall, lankier receivers that lumber down the field, Maryland had smaller, shiftier pass-catchers. Michigan's defensive backs had no problem sticking to the hips of the Cougars' receivers, but they some trouble doing so against the Terrapins, particularly when Maryland's receivers ran slants and crossing routes over the middle.

But, ultimately, it didn't really matter because Michigan's defensive backs played tight enough coverage to be in a position to catch passes from the inaccurate Maryland quarterbacks. This was just the second time that U-M picked off three throws in a game since 2010 Notre Dame. And, heck, with this performance, the Wolverines already have more interceptions in five games this season (six) than in all of last season (five). So to see Michigan's secondary intercepting passes at this high of a rate is somewhat jarring.

There were two defensive backs that performed very well on Saturday. The first should come as no surprise: Jourdan Lewis. He notched three tackles, including one for a loss, a pass break-up, and his first interception of the season. On the pick, Michigan's defensive line swarmed Rowe, which caused him to scurry in the pocket before chucking this up:

FF - Maryland - Lewis - INT - 1

FF - Maryland - Lewis - INT - 2

FF - Maryland - Lewis - INT - 3

Nonetheless, Lewis' status as one of the nation's top cover corners shouldn't rely on the number of interceptions he has this season. Interceptions are a much easier statistic to track, which is why they heavily influence All-American and All-Big Ten honors, but shutting down half the field should be more important. And Lewis has been doing that:

The other defensive back that performed very well was Jabrill Peppers. This was the best grade he has received from me this season, and I don't think it was a coincidence that it occurred when Stribling was absent. In the first four games, Peppers had been U-M's hybrid-space player, which meant covering the slot. Though this has allowed him to showcase his ability as a screen destroyer, he has been beaten in coverage there. It's not easy for a freshman -- even one with world-class athleticism -- to prevent releases inside and outside when he hasn't mastered his technique yet. However, with Stribling out against Maryland, Michigan moved Peppers to the outside as the field corner in its dime package. And, with the sideline as his friend, Peppers locked down Maryland's receivers.

Peppers still is U-M's best hybrid-space player, but he can play cornerback if needed.

Michigan Has Linebackers? Really?! Let's Talk about Them Then!

For as much as I have written about Michigan's defensive line and secondary this season, I feel like I have written nothing about the linebackers. There has been a legitimate reason for this: the linebackers haven't had a significant impact on the outcome. One reason is that Michigan has used its nickel and dime packages often against the spread teams that it has faced in all five games. The other reason is that the defensive line and defensive backs have been so dominant that few plays have involved the linebackers. There was no better example of this than against BYU when Desmond Morgan essentially was the only linebacker that saw snaps and recorded just two assisted tackles.

But, boy, did Morgan come on strong against Maryland, posting nine tackles, a diving interception, and two additional pass break-ups. After a rough opening possession, he almost always was in the proper position to demonstrate his instincts and make the tackle or the deflection. The one play that stands out to me was not the interception, but his stop when Maryland tried to catch Michigan off-guard with a draw. Late in the first half, Maryland had the ball with a 2nd & 8. Michigan expected that the Terrapins would throw, so U-M called a Cover 3 in its dime. Except the Terps weren't throwing at all:

FF - Maryland - Morgan - Stops Draw - 1

The lineman tries to block Morgan, but Morgan shoots outside of him for the tackle:

FF - Maryland - Morgan - Stops Draw - 2

What could have been a larger gain goes for only three yards.

On the other hand, it doesn't seem like Joe Bolden will have that senior surge that we had hoped. Yes, Bolden leads the team with tackles (32), but, as I've said before, tackles do not reliably indicate how effective a linebacker has been. This is why we have the film review. And the film review shows that he still is very much the same player as he has been in the past. He doesn't have instincts like Morgan, so, when he is asked to read and react, he either makes the wrong read or doesn't react quickly enough, which can be the difference between a one-yard gain and a five-yard gain. Those errors add up over time.

For example, in the first quarter, Maryland has a 3rd & 10 on its own two-yard line. With a lackluster quarterback, the Terrapins don't have lots of options here. Yes, Maryland could run, but it would be only to give itself some breathing room for a surrender punt. Thus, Michigan doesn't need to be super aggressive and should be able to keep this play in front of them. Except, as Caleb Rowe fakes the handoff, Bolden crashes down hard and doesn't notice that the fullback is leaking out into the flat. Rowe rolls out and throws ...

FF - Maryland - Bolden - Bites - 1

FF - Maryland - Bolden - Bites - 2

FF - Maryland - Bolden - Bites - 3

First down, Maryland.

In the preseason, after Bolden's wonderful showing in the spring game, many selected him as Michigan's breakout defensive player for 2015. However, after five games, Bolden actually may be the weakest link on this stingy defense. What a strange turn of events.

How Will Royce Jenkins-Stone Fill In for Mario Ojemudia?

While playing in one of the best games of his career, Mario Ojemudia suffered an Achilles injury in the fourth quarter that will sideline him for the remainder of the 2015 season. It's terrible news, and, because Ojemudia has played in more than 30 percent of U-M's potential games, he isn't eligible for a medical redshirt. His career at Michigan is over.

The question now is whether Royce Jenkins-Stone can fill in for Ojemudia at the BUCK position without there being a drop-off. I think Jenkins-Stone can fill in admirably, but it's hard not to see a dip in production from that spot. Whereas Michigan had been rotating players often at the other three spots on the defensive line, Ojemduda had been playing almost all of the meaningful snaps in recent weeks. In fact, before Ojemudia's injury, I recall seeing Jenkins-Stone on the field for maybe two snaps against Maryland. It speaks to how well Ojemudia had been performing -- he amassed at least one tackle for loss in each game -- and the gap he had built between himself and Jenkins-Stone.

However, I don't think that this means that Jenkins-Stone will sink the masterful defense that Michigan has crafted. I paid close attention to how he played after Ojemudia was carried off the field. On one third down, Michigan ran a stunt like it has in the past for Ojemudia, and Jenkins-Stone sprinted through an open lane to force the quarterback to roll to his right and scramble for a minimal gain. He also had another play where he showed great discipline when Maryland tried to option him on a zone read and combined to make a tackle for no gain. It's this last part that I want to see from Jenkins-Stone on a consistent basis. Michigan needs to hold the edge and force the action back into the teeth of Michigan's defense. If he can do that and bring some pressure, Michigan will be fine.

Getting To Know Michigan’s Week Six Opponent: Northwestern Wildcats

October 7, 2015 by  
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Taking a look at Michigan's second Big Ten opponent this season and more in preparation for the weekend matchup.

Throughout the season during game week, we will be taking a look at what Michigan's opponent that Saturday has done so far and what the team looks like. With the game against Northwestern being a week six opponent, we automatically go to the Wildcats' win over Minnesota this past weekend and their defensive success.

Northwestern Overview: Big Ten's Surprise Program

Ricky: Michigan and Northwestern are two of the best defensive teams in the country. Per, Northwestern has the nation’s best scoring defense (7 points allowed per game); Michigan is slotted in at No. 2 with 7.6 points allowed per game. Michigan gets the edge in rushing defense (fifth in nation), while Northwestern bests the Wolverines in passing defense (seventh in nation). All signs point to a defensive slugfest. In that scenario, which team would it favor and how would that team get an edge?

Zach: I give the advantage to Michigan’s defense, for the reason being of Northwestern’s woes this season within the opponent 20-yard line. Bleacher Report posted a statistic that the Wildcats have reached the red zone 17 times, but have managed to garner to just five touchdowns. They have converted 90% of their field goals from the area as well. Considering how many times Northwestern has left four points on the board this year is enough for Michigan to get the edge to further continues NU's struggles. Being that this will be the defensive battle, the latest over/under is 36...if you’re a betting man like myself, would you have no problem placing money on the under?

Ricky: Oh, yeah. I feel that’s a comfortable over/under to bet on. I don’t see Northwestern scoring many points, if any. I believe Michigan’s defense is elite now. The playmakers are starting to show, and guys are improving at fast rates (Jourdan Lewis and Ryan Glasgow). As good as Michigan’s running defense is, you’d have to think Justin Jackson isn’t going to make things easy on the unit. Northwestern owns the top rushing offense in the Big Ten, and the sophomore running back is a huge reason. He’s slotted at third in the conference in rushing yards per game (127.20 yards). What are your thoughts on Jackson, and will he pose much of a threat to Michigan?

Zach: Through five games this season, Jackson has rushed for over 100 yards in four, highlighted by 184-yards and a long of 62-yard performance against Ball State two weeks ago. What’s more impressive about Jackson’s season is him coming off a meniscus injury last offseason to now considered to be one of the top rushers in the conference. Northwestern hasn’t been afraid for Jackson to carry the load on the ground, handing him the rock over 30 times in two games. If the Wildcats want to wear down the No. 5 ranked rush defense, they must utilize Jackson regularly, even if that means him carrying the ball 30+ times again. How about Michigan’s rushing attack though? Drake Johnson is back and is listed behind De’Veon Smith on the depth chart and had a solid outing (68-yards, 1 TD) against Maryland last week. Can he repeat this outing on Saturday?

Ricky: It’s hard to say. For most of the season, Michigan has been riding Smith and utilizing other backs when needed. One week, it was Ty Isaac. The next, Drake Johnson. Their roles fluctuate often. I really enjoy how well Johnson compliments Smith. If he sees extended action, say, 10 or more carries, I think it’s possible. He looks even better than last year, and he was darn good during that November stretch (320 yards and four touchdowns on 55 carries). Let’s look at the man handing the ball off to the backs; Jake Rudock. He struggled with the deep ball last week and looked bad in the first half. He completed 50 percent of his passes for 180 yards and a touchdown. He also threw one interception. What should the expectation be for Rudock vs. Northwestern?

Zach: Last season in his final year at quarterback for Iowa, Rudock threw just five interceptions. Flash forward to today, in five games at quarterback for Michigan, Rudock has been picked off six times. His inability to not turn the ball arguably cost Michigan a win against Utah in the season opener. Jim Harbaugh has reiterated that the starting job is Rudock’s so it’s easy to assume that there isn’t a solid replacement. The level of importance of Michigan winning this game is at an all-time high, and the difference between winning and losing falls on the transfer’s hands.

Recap: Northwestern 27, Minnesota 0

Before the season, Northwestern’s game against Minnesota looked to be all Gophers. They were eyeing the Big Ten West title after a string of strong seasons under Jerry Kill.

Northwestern wasn’t having any of that.

The Wildcats demoralized Minnesota Saturday, winning 27-0. Their offense totaled 312 yards of offense while holding the Gophers to 173 yards.

Northwestern quarterback Clayton Thorson was the perfect compliment to running back Justin Jackson. Thorson completed 74 percent of his passes while Jackson rushed for 120 yards.

The Wildcats defense — one of the best in the country — forced a quarterback change; three-year starter Mitch Leidner was pulled for freshman Demry Croft.

But neither could pose anything close to a threat against Northwestern.

Leidner went 10-for-21 passing with 71 yards and an interception. Croft completed 5-of-11 passes for 27 yards.

Minnesota could only convert 4-of-16 third down chances, and whiffed on all four fourth-down attempts.

Key Players To Watch

Justin Jackson, Running Back

As discussed in the conversation, Jackson is a work horse, leading the country in carries per game this season with 138 attempts. That being said, Jackson has yet to face a defense as physical and mentally tough like Michigan's. The Wolverines have been able to successfully contain each of the five running backs they've faced this year. But will that streak come to a close in Ann Arbor on Saturday?

Clayton Thorson, Quarterback

This will be the redshirt freshman's biggest game played this season, despite defeating now No. 16 ranked Stanford in week one at home. He understands the capacity crowd that'll be in attendance this weekend and told the Chicago Tribune that he won't let the crowd affect his style of play. Taking snaps in front of 100,000+ spectators can be intimidating and we'll see how that'll play a factor for the pocket passer.

Entire Defense, All 11 Players

Who would have thought that Northwestern would bring the No. 1 ranked defense into the Big House this Saturday? Their front seven is led by redshirt sophomore linebacker Anthony Walker, who's been a machine at the middle spot, already collecting three interceptions. The Wildcats were able to contain the No. 31 ranked offense (Stanford) to just six points in the season opener, so prepare yourself for a hard nosed battle between two talented defenses.

Hot Takes

Zach: Last year’s contest ended with a 10-9 win for Michigan. I fully expect the score in that ballpark on Saturday, as well as another Wolverines victory before their game against Michigan State.

Ricky: This game is going to be a defensive slugfest. But it will be Michigan who exits a winner, with a third-consecutive shutout.

Wolverines in the NFL: Charles Woodson snags career interception #62

October 7, 2015 by  
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With multiple Wolverines out due to injuries and bye weeks, Charles Woodson stands out yet again. This week he grabbed his 62nd career interception, placing him in the top ten all-time. Also, Schofield earns first NFL start and regular season action, Avant triples his season reception total, and Brady still makes headlines during his week off.


Tom Brady (New England Patriots)

Week 4 stats: Bye week

Brady Bye Week News:

Bye week chillin’ #shakabrah #tbt

Posted by Tom Brady on Thursday, October 1, 2015

Running Back

Denard Robinson (Jacksonville Jaguars)

Shoelace missed his second consecutive game with a lingering knee sprain. However, that's not stopping him from "assisting with coloring stations and bookmark design" at a community event in Jacksonville.

Wide Receiver

Jason Avant (Kansas City Chiefs)

Week 4 stats: 4 receptions on 5 targets for 43 yards

Avant tripled his reception total on the season with four grabs on Sunday. After seeing little action in the first two weeks, he seems to be gaining traction in Kansas City's offense. For some light reading about Avant beyond his weekly performance, check out "12 Things You Didn't Know About Jason Avant."

Devin Funchess (Carolina Panthers)

Week 4 stats: No stats on two targets

The jury is still out on what Funchess will become in Carolina as he "hasn't played enough to provide any meaningful evaluation time." However, Devin's catch-per-week streak died at three after being held receptionless on Sunday. He played on 45% of Carolina's offensive snaps and dropped a touchdown. Not good.

Offensive Line

Michael Schofield (Denver Broncos)

Schofield earned his "first start at right tackle" this week, which also meant his first playing time during the regular season since being drafted last year. He played on 100% of Denver's offensive snaps and received solid reviews from the Mile High Report:

"[Schofield] would finish the day with a (-0.1) pass blocking grade and a very respectable (+1.3) run blocking grade. That's as impressive as one would expect from a guy with that much pressure on him. I think it's safe to say the haters can withhold their "bust" label for a while and cut ole Mr. John Elway some slack as well."

Defensive Line

Alan Branch (New England Patriots)

Week 4 stats: Bye week

Mike Martin (Tennessee Titans)

Week 4 stats: Bye week


Kenny Demens (Arizona Cardinals)

Week 4 stats: None

Demens is still only seeing action on special teams - 20 (67%) of Arizona's ST snaps on Sunday - this year.

Brandon Graham (Philadelphia Eagles)

Week 4 stats: 6 solo tackles, 1 assist, 1 sack, 1 forced fumble

Graham made "the only big play all game on defense" with his forced fumble in an ugly 23-20 loss to the Washington Redskins on Sunday. The turnover was a "huge swing" for Philly and led to a touchdown three plays later. With his impressive stat line, Graham earned a solid +3.3 PFF grade this week.

David Harris (New York Jets)

Week 4 stats: 3 solo tackles, 1 sack

Harris has had a wonderful start to the 2015 season, tallying 20 solo tackles, two sacks, and two forced fumbles through four games. Unfortunately, he left the game early this week due to a quad injury. All early signs point to him being fine, and it should help that the Jets are entering their bye week.

Jake Ryan (Green Bay Packers)

Did not practice or play this week due to a hamstring injury.

LaMarr Woodley (Arizona Cardinals)

Week 4 stats: 2 solo tackles

Woodley was limited in practice this week due to a quad injury, but he still managed to play on roughly half of Arizona's defensive snaps while recording a pair of solo tackles.


Leon Hall (Cincinnati Bengals)

Week 4 stats: 3 solo tackles, 1 pass defended

Hall's Week 4 stat line doesn't jump off the page, but with Cincy's defensive backs plagued by injury, he helped the secondary "clamp down on the Chiefs' receivers and keep them out of the end zone. You might not be impressed by his three tackles, but he was solid when they needed him and is having a nice bounce-back season."

Jordan Kovacs (Miami Dolphins)

Week 4 stats: 1 assist

Like Demens, Kovacs is still only seeing action on special teams - 21 (72%) of Miami's ST snaps on Sunday - this year.

Charles Woodson (Oakland Raiders)

Week 4 stats: 5 solo tackles, 1 pass defended, 1 interception returned 11 yards

Woodson remains limited in practice due to that separated shoulder a few weeks ago, but that didn't matter as he played in 97% of Oakland's defensive snaps on Sunday and continues to be the only bright spot in their pitiful secondary. His interception of Jay Cutler marks the 62nd of his career and places him in a three-way tie for ninth all-time. It also came at a critical point in the game and should have helped seal a Raiders victory if their "offense had played just a little bit better."


Michael Schofield

First career start (and regular season action) deserves mention


Charles Woodson

Top 10 all-time in anything is a monumental career achievement


Jason Avant

Converted a third down pass by making a beautiful toe-dragging catch along the sideline.


Charles Woodson

See above video. #62.


Brandon Graham vs. the Redskins Offensive Line

Although Graham had been quiet during the first three weeks of the season, he appeared to come alive in the Eagles matchup against the Redskins this past Sunday. Graham finished the day with seven total tackles (six solo) and 1 sack. While the Redskins offensive line had a solid performance for a good portion of the game, Graham gave them all they could handle.

WINNER: Brandon Graham

David Harris vs. the Dolphins Offensive Line

Taken out with a quadriceps injury in the fourth quarter, Harris' final lines included three total tackles (three solo), one sack, one tackle for loss, and one QB hit. No word yet on the extent of Harris' injury, but head coach Todd Bowles said that he "should be OK." The Dolphins offensive line was unimpressive in this game, giving up three sacks and allowing the running backs to rush for only 59 yards on 11 carries.

WINNER: David Harris

Devin Funchess vs. the Buccaneers Secondary

Funchess was held without a catch on two targets during Sunday's game against the Buccaneers. The Bucs secondary as a whole was phenomenal, limiting Cam Newton to 124 yards passing.

WINNER: Buccaneers Secondary


Tom Brady vs. the Cowboys Defense

Brady and the Patriots (3-0) are coming off a bye week, while the Cowboys (2-2) are hopeful to bounce back after their heartbreaking loss to the Saints on Sunday night. The Cowboys defense is ranked 16th in the league overall, with the Patriots passing offense ranked 7th. Dallas' defense has been plagued with injuries thus far this season, with star LB Sean Lee exiting the game versus the Saints with a concussion. Luckily for the Cowboys, two of their best defenders in Rolando McClain and Greg Hardy will return for their game against Brady and the Patriots. However, Brady is 3-0 against the Cowboys in his career, including a victory in Dallas in 2007. He's also having one of the best seasons in his already illustrious career. Look for 'Touchdown' Tom to handle the ailing Cowboys defense quite well.


Michael Schofield vs. the Raiders Defensive Line

Coming off of his first regular season action in his career, Schofield looks to build off a promising Week 4 start against the Raiders in Week 5. On the other side, the Raiders defensive line has progressively improved since the start of the season and will be boosted by the return of DT Justin Ellis. The Raiders defense sacked Bears QB Jay Cutler three times last week and held RB Matt Forte to under 100 rushing yards. Look for the men up front for the Silver & Black to continue their success against a struggling Broncos offensive line.

ADVANTAGE: Raiders Defensive Line

Charles Woodson vs. Peyton Manning

On Sunday, we will see the eighth NFL meeting between 1997 Heisman Trophy winner Charles Woodson and the '97 runner-up Peyton Manning. Woodson is 3-5 against Manning all-time with no interceptions. Look for Manning to continue his dominance against Oakland's weak secondary.

ADVANTAGE: Peyton Manning

Wednesday Michigan Recruiting Roundup: 2016 Commits Release Highlight Videos

October 7, 2015 by  
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In this edition, check out the highlight reels of Brandon Peters (QB) and Vic Viramontes (ATH), both 2016 Michigan commits. Also, read which Top100 athlete included the Wolverines in his Top 8 and learn more about Michigan's newest offer.

On Monday, we outlined how several Michigan 2016 commits fared this past weekend in high school play. Two of those players were Avon, IN (Avon) QB Brandon Peters and Norco, CA (Norco) ATH Vic Viramontes.

Peters has been spectacular through the first seven games of the season, leading his team against one of the toughest schedules in the state of Indiana. On Monday, he released his mid-season highlight reel.

The four-star commit is ranked 7th at his position in the 2016 class and is expected to be in attendance for the Michigan-Michigan State matchup on Oct. 17.

Peters' stat line through 7 games: 1723 yards, 23 TD, 3 Rush TD, 2 INT, 128.3 QB rating

In addition to Peters, Viramontes released his week six highlight video on Monday, per Steve Lorenz of Wolverine247 (FREE). Viramontes led his team to a 50-34 victory over Serrano HS, throwing for 185 yards and three touchdowns, complemented with 113 yards on the ground and another score.

The three-star commit took his official visit to Ann Arbor back in September, witnessing the Wolverines' victory over Oregon State.

Viramontes' stat line through 5 games: 774 yards, 8 TD, 6 INT

G Joshua Fedd-Jackson Offered by Michigan

On Monday, Michigan extended an offer to North Arlington, NJ (St. Joseph) G Joshua Fedd-Jackson, according to Tim Sullivan of (FREE).

The 2017 prospect (6-3, 304) also holds an offer from Rutgers. Fedd-Jackson is planning on taking his unofficial visit to Ann Arbor later this fall.

Here are Fedd-Jackson's highlights from his sophomore season:

Top100 ATH Has Michigan in Top 8

Westwood, NJ (N Valley Reg H Old Tappan) ATH Jordan Fuller announced his top 8 per his Twitter account on Monday night, and Michigan made the cut.

The 2016 four-star recruit is the 9th-ranked athlete at his position and sits at No. 5 in the state of New Jersey. Also included in his top 8 were Rutgers, UCLA, TCU, Ohio State, Notre Dame, Penn State, and Virginia Tech.

In 4 games thus far this season, Fuller has accumulated 472 all-purpose yards, which includes both rushing and receiving. He also has 5 total tackles.

Here are Fuller's highlights from his junior season:

Michigan Will Host Pair of Defensive Ends for Northwestern Game

On Tuesday, Steve Wiltfong of Wolverine247 ($) confirmed that two highly-touted 2016 defensive ends will be in attendance for the Michigan-Northwestern matchup this Saturday in Ann Arbor.

The first one is four-star DE Quayshon Alexander, who committed to Nebraska back in June. Alexander is the 18th-ranked weak-side defensive end in his class and is yet another product from New Jersey (De Paul Catholic).

Here are Alexander's highlights from his junior season:

In addition to Alexander, three-star Allen, TX (Allen) product Levi Onwuzurike will take his official visit to campus this weekend. He is ranked at No. 24 in the nation at his position, and is also considering Baylor, Georgia, TCU, and Texas Tech.

Here are Onwuzurike's highlights from his junior and the beginning of his senior season:

Check back to Maize ‘n Brew on Friday for a complete list of the recruits slated to visit on Saturday.

‘Bama Commit Weighs Visit to Michigan This Season

Alabama commit and 2016 three-star tight end Miller Forristall is considering taking an official visit to Ann Arbor later this season, according to Steve Lorenz of Wolverine247 ($). He says that he will decide in the next few days.

Forristall highly values both athletics and academics, so Michigan is high on his radar. Tight ends coach Jay Harbaugh has been in constant communication with Forristall since he committed to the Crimson Tide back in June, and has emphasized how the player would thrive in the Michigan offense.

Forristall is currently ranked No. 15 in his class according to the 247Composite.

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