ANN ARBOR, Mich. — Nine weeks into a largely unbalanced schedule, Michigan simply continues to dominate.
Michigan (9-0, 6-0 Big Ten) began its march through November with a resounding, record-setting afternoon in a 59-3 win Saturday against Maryland (5-4, 2-4).
Even with a Sagarin schedule-strength ranking of 52 — only three of Michigan’s opponents this season have a more than six wins — Michigan has five wins by a margin of at least 30 points, and needs strong showings in November to stay within the top four in the CFP rankings.
Michigan is No. 3 in the College Football Playoff rankings and faces Iowa at 8 p.m. Saturday at Kinnick Stadium in Iowa City.
Here are grades for Michigan following its win against Maryland, grading on a scale from one star to five:
Offense (5 stars)
Wilton Speight and Jake Butt had record-setting days. Speight set a first-half school passing record with 292 yards, while Butt’s 76 receiving yards on five catches made him the school’s all-time leader for receiving yards for a tight end. Butt has 1,521 yards, with three games left in the regular season.
Paced by De’Veon Smith (114 yards on 19 carries, three touchdowns), Michigan’s rushing offense also had 273 yards, its third-highest output of the season.
Defense (4 stars)
While Michigan allowed Maryland just 78 rushing yards, it lost points on its pass defense, which allowed a season-high 289 yards against quarterbacks Perry Hills, Caleb Rowe and Tyrrell Pigrome. Prior to Saturday, only one team threw for more than 200 yards against Michigan, and that was Colorado (261 yards) back on Sept. 17 at Michigan.
Rowe replaced Hills in the second quarter and completed 12 of 23 passes for 203 yards. Faced with a heavier workload, though, Michigan didn’t fold. Safety Delano Hill had two interceptions, while Jourdan Lewis and Dymonte Thomas combined for five pass breakups.
Michigan had six players with at least five tackles, including Ben Gedeon, who led all defensive players with 11 tackles.
Special teams (4 stars)
Kenny Allen continues to be steady as Michigan’s kicker, punter and kickoff specialist. He made his only field goal — a 29-yard kick with 10 minutes left in the third quarter — and averaged 64.6 yards per kickoff. Michigan didn’t punt at all Saturday afternoon, so that was one less thing for Allen to focus on.
Michigan wasn’t able to produce much as far as its return game, and allowed Maryland three kickoff returns for 83 yards. Michigan’s field goal coverage team, however, forced a second kicker to miss in as many weeks. Andy Greene’s 29-yard attempt at 12:47 of the second quarter banked off the right upright.
Coaching (4.5 stars)
Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh showed no hospitality toward former defensive coordinator D.J. Durkin, who is in his first year as Maryland’s head coach. From the start, the Wolverines dominated offensively and scored on their first six drives en route to taking a 45-0 lead into the fourth quarter.
Overall (5 stars)
Just about every facet of the game was on point for Michigan in a game that was all but a mismatch. Given Michigan’s strength of schedule — or lack thereof in its next two games, Saturday at Iowa and Nov. 19 against Indiana — the blowout wins are a necessity to stay among the top four in the College Football Playoff rankings.