ANN ARBOR, Mich. — Another week means another win for Michigan.
The Wolverines, who are No. 3 in the College Football Playoff rankings, continue to dominate as the season wears on. Michigan (9-0, 6-0 Big Ten Conference) defeated Maryland 59-3, and wasted no time establishing a presence against the Terrapins (5-4, 2-4).
Michigan scored on its first five drives, knocked out Maryland QB Perry Hills and denied Maryland its second chance to become bowl-eligible. Michigan QB Wilton Speight set a school passing record with 292 yards at halftime, and finished with 362 yards and two touchdowns on 19-of-24 passing.
Jake Butt had five catches for 76 yards and broke Jim Mandich’s Michigan tight ends record of 1,508 yards. Butt has 1,522 career receiving yards.
Here are five things we learned today about Michigan:
- There was no hangover from last week’s hard-fought win at Michigan State, particularly from the passing standpoint. By halftime, Michigan QB Wilton Speight was 13-for-16 for 292 yards and two touchdowns — a first-half Michigan record — and four receivers had at least 50 yards, including Jehu Chesson’s 104 yards on four catches by halftime.
- “The train” formation is alive and well. By the time Michigan took a 14-0 lead, it had used the notable formation twice in the first quarter, once on each of its first two drives. That likely wasn’t the only thing to confound the Terrapins, who struggled to keep the pace with the Wolverines, and was unable to score in its two red-zone opportunities, early in the second quarter when it reached the 4 and Adam Greene’s 29-yard field-goal attempt bounced off the right upright, and then with seconds left in the first half, when D.J. Moore caught a long pass from Caleb Rowe, then fell at the 1 just before time expired.
- Michigan, however, needs to cut down on penalties. Michigan had four penalties in the first half, and three of those wiped out valuable first-half yardage: when offensive lineman Kyle Kalis was called for a 15-yard personal foul on Michigan’s opening drive. Offensive lineman Ben Braden was called for a false start with about five minutes in the first half, and on the same drive, Drake Harris’ long catch was wiped out on an offensive pass interference call (Harris pushed off a defender’s mask), but one play later, Chris Evans’ 56-yard catch set up Khalid Hill’s 1-yard touchdown with 3:10 left in the half.
- Michigan, again, was pass-heavy, and took advantage of an undermanned Maryland secondary in the first half. Michigan, however, had 39 carries for 273 yards, and five touchdowns — including three by De’Veon Smith — Michigan’s highest rushing output this season.
- But if there’s any question that Michigan can continue to dominate, that question was answered Saturday against Maryland. The Wolverines didn’t waste much time against the Terrapins, and outgained Maryland 402-190 in the first half.
Jabrill Peppers’ lateral to Speight with less than five minutes left in the first quarter, which Speight then threw to Chesson for 40 yards, which put the Wolverines at the Maryland 13.
The play caught an already overwhelmed Maryland flat-footed. Two plays later, Speight’s 10-yard touchdown helped Michigan to a 14-0 lead.
How will the Wolverines handle November?
The month has gotten off to a good start for Michigan, as the Wolverines needed a little more than five minutes to take a lead against Maryland. Michigan plays next Saturday at Iowa, plays its final home game of the season Nov. 19 against Indiana then closes the regular season Nov. 26 at Ohio State in what many regard as a pivotal game.
How will the Wolverines fare when they go out of state for the first time in more than a month?
Michigan plays a night game next weekend at Iowa, only its third road game of the season and only its second night game of the season. But time and place, as we’ve seen on Michigan’s undefeated run, doesn’t seem to mean much.
Nine. Michigan has dispatched nine quarterbacks in its first nine games; Maryland quarterback Perry Hills exited Saturday’s game midway through the second quarter with an unspecified injury.
What it means
If there’s any question about Michigan’s standing in the College Football Playoff rankings, Michigan offered a few answers Saturday, and did it in dominating fashion.