First to 1000

The Michigan Wolverines accomplished a historic 1000th victory today.  They are the first college football program to reach 1000 victories.  Today’s accomplishment is bittersweet as Coach Harbaugh was not on the sideline to celebrate with his team.  Yet, a victory is a victory.  The Wolverines must now focus on Ohio State.

Michigan’s 1000th victory was not a foregone conclusion.  Maryland runs a prolific offense captained by Taulia Tagovailoa.  He is an accurate and efficient quarterback who leads the Big 10 in passing yards and touchdown passes.  The Wolverine defense had their work cut out for them, and they rose to the occasion.

Today’s game was a trap game.  Michigan survived.  Their offense was stagnate and tired.  They missed their starting left tackle due to injury.  J.J. McCarthy appeared to have a lingering hip and leg injury from last week’s game.  Michigan’s back up left tackle was also hurt in today’s game and wide receiver Roman Wilson left the game upon receiving a vicious hit to the head after securing a 23 yard pass from McCarthy.  Rushing yards came hard as Blake Corum and Donnie Edwards were held to 3.5 yards a carry and failed to break 100 yards.

The Terrapin defense took advantage of the wounded Wolverines.  Their defense found ways to stuff the run consistently in the second half.  Their pass defense looks good on paper after the game, however the real story is McCarthy’s inconsistent accuracy.  He was rushed a few times and sacked only once.  However, he missed reads, threw into double coverage and was picked off once, while in the red-zone right before half time.  He was uncharacteristically inaccurate and inefficient. McCarthy’s poor play had little to do with the Terp defense.

The story of today’s win is all about grit.  Offense, defense and special teams played with grit and determination despite the offense’s injuries and relatively poor execution.  The defense and special teams won the game for the Wolverines.  The Wolverine defense forced three turnovers and a safety while the punt return team forced another safety.  During Maryland’s second possession of the game, on third down, Tagovailoa was sacked by Michael Barrett.  Tagovailoa lost the ball on the sack, and Derrick Moore picked it up and ran four yards for a touchdown.  The defensive line harried and confused the Terrapin offensive line with its constant stunts.  The Wolverines forced five sacks and multiple quarterback pressures.

Michigan defensive end Derrick Moore (8) scores a touchdown on a fumble recovery during the first half of an NCAA college football game against Maryland, Saturday, Nov. 18, 2023, in College Park, Md. (AP Photo/Nick Wass)

The special team’s safety occurred when the punt was blocked and as the ball was tumbling around in the end-zone, a Terrapin kicked it out of the end-zone.  The punt team set the stage for the second safety of the game when the Terrapins had to start an offensive possession on their own one-yard line.  A few plays later Tagovailoa, standing in his own end-zone, was forced dirt the ball 10 yards short of his receiver prompting the referees to call intentional grounding and thus a safety.

Mikey Sainristil intercepted Tagovailoa twice.  Sainristil’s first interception came in the third quarter and gave Michigan a short field.  The Wolverines drove the remainder of the field and scored on a reverse by Semaj Morgan.  Still, the Wolverine defense allowed 14 points in the third quarter on the strength of two long drives.  Coach Jesse Minter said enough was enough and the Wolverines blanked the Terps in the fourth quarter.

Blake Corum led the running back room with 94 yards rushing and two touchdowns on 28 carries.  Four different players ran the ball while McCarthy connected with seven different receivers though his completion percentage was barely over 50%.  The defense is healthy.  However the offense needs to get healthy in order to have their best shot at defeating Ohio State a second year in a row.

Today’s victory is historic, however, all Michigan cares about is winning 1001 next week in Ann Arbor.




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