ANN ARBOR, Mich. — Michigan enters Saturday’s game against Maryland with the No. 1 pass defense in the country. But that dominance isn’t just because of the Wolverines’ personnel in the secondary.
It’s rather a collaborative effort. Michigan sports the No. 1 overall defense in the country, allowing just 231.3 yards a game — and just 120.1 passing yards per game.
“You can attribute it to the fact that it starts up front with the defensive line,” Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh said during Tuesday’s Big Ten coaches teleconference. “That’s really been the backbone of our team, that’s gotten tremendous pressure on opposing quarterbacks, not just with sacks but also with hurries.”
No. 2 Michigan (8-0, 5-0 Big Ten) has 27 sacks and 45 quarterback hurries in its first eight games, and linebackers Ben Gedeon, Jabrill Peppers and Mike McCray have combined for 11 quarterback hurries and 9 sacks.
But Harbaugh doesn’t exactly exclude the secondary, either. The front seven have simply made that unit’s job a little easier.
“When it comes to coverage, that’s really been the strength, the back ends and the safeties,’ Harbaugh said. “(Dymonte) Thomas and (Delano) Hill, both safeties, have been playing their best football. (Cornerbacks Jourdan) Lewis and (Channing) Stribling have been covering as good as you can cover. It all works together and that’s something that’s been good for our ball club.”