Are The Michigan Wolverines Good Enough?
Matthew Bassin: All right, Ryan, Michigan Wolverines, Penn State, Nittany Lions. We talked a whole bunch about this game coming into it. You believed one way I believed the other. We both thought Penn State would cover the seven-and-a-half-point spread.
You were pretty confident about the over. I wasn’t so sure about that one. We were both dead wrong about the seven-and-a-half-point spread of the Nittany Lions covering it because the Michigan Wolverines and the second half absolutely blew the doors off of them, and they tried to, in the first half, got stalled a little bit.
Penn State had a few quick back-to-back touchdowns to get back into the thing. But I was right about that running game that the Michigan Wolverines has, Penn State hadn’t seen anything even close to it, and it was the big difference in this game at the big 10.
Ryan Griffin: Yeah, it was a huge difference. the Michigan Wolverines had 418 yards rushing against a team that had only given up. I think they had 399 yards on the ground throughout their first five games.
But the Michigan Wolverines could create holes, and then the running bags could break off. Some really long runs. Each of Blake Corum and Donovan Edwards had a 60-yard run. Edwards is going particularly crazy, with 173 yards on average and 11 yards carrying.
Sixteen carries, excuse me, 173 yards is incredible. Two touchdowns for him, two touchdowns for Blake Corum as well, who, you know, not to get outshined. He did get outshined, but 166 yards on six yards of carrying, which is still really good. And then JJ McCarthy gave in 57 rushing yards of his own and had a 20-yard run in there as well.
So the Michigan Wolverines could do whatever it wanted to do on the ground. And it resulted in McCarthy not having a big passing day because he didn’t need to. He was 17 to 24. He had the one pick-six that bounced off the helmet. He had another throw, which probably should have been picked, and ended up being complete.
So maybe those ended up balancing each other out, but 145 yards through the air for JJ with no touchdowns. But that’s not even really indicative of his game because I thought he was. A pretty good game, outside of those two things that I guess could have been critical errors, but the way the Michigan Wolverines were just able to dominate on the ground and then on defense too.
I think the Michigan Wolverines had 13 first downs in Penn State. They probably had three at the time, or maybe even one. the Michigan Wolverines totally dominated this game. You look at their time of possession. They had the ball for over 40 minutes in the 60-minute game, right?
It was essentially 42 minutes for the Michigan Wolverines and 18 minutes for Penn State. And just in every single facet of the game, the Michigan Wolverines dominated them. And it was really impressive. the Michigan Wolverines lost they lost the turnover battle one to zero, and then they lost the penalty battle as well. They committed nine penalties.
So you probably want to get that cleaned up a little bit, but overall it’s just a really dominant performance.
Matthew Bassin: Yeah, I mean, there’s no other word for it other than dominant. Penn State had looked good coming in. I questioned who they played because they hadn’t played an offense anywhere near what the Michigan Wolverines bring to the table.
And the first half at Auburn, they might have been a little bit intimidated going into Auburn. Tough place to play. And they gave about 120 yards rushing in that game, which was the most they’d given up. All year up to that, up to this point against the Michigan Wolverines. But it was just, it was just absolute domination, just like you said, for them to hold the ball for as long as they did.
Have five drives of at least ten plays, a 15-play drive that took almost 10 minutes off the clock. Like the way, Michigan State ended the Big 10 championship against Iowa those years ago. You just suck their soul out with that kind of drive and do not allow the Nittany Lions’ offense to really get on the field to keep that defense on the field and just keep pounding away at them.
It makes it easier for you to do your job when the defense is so exhausted, but they can’t get off the field, and the offense can’t sustain any drives to get their defense any rest. It was just. It was perfect for the Michigan Wolverines to take complete advantage of what they do best: running the football.
They grounded it. They kept them. They kept the clock going. They kept Penn State’s offense on the sideline and just absolutely beat up the Nittany Lions. They were, Nittany Lions were, Penn State was lucky in the first half that, first of all, they were even in the game, but that the Michigan Wolverines didn’t convert those first few drives that were deep into Penn State territory into touchdowns.
They were field goals instead. And Penn State could get their touchdown and then take advantage of a fluky turnover to score another quick one, but outside of that, it was just, it was all the Michigan Wolverines, and that’s all it was. It was a Corum, and it was Edwards, and they didn’t need much help outside of that because Penn State couldn’t do a damn thing about it.
And I thought this would happen, but not to this degree. I, I thought they’d dominate the run game. I thought they’d have 200 and maybe 250 yards on the ground. I didn’t see 400 plus coming, and just absolutely embarrassing Penn State.
Ryan Griffin: Yeah. And so what this game. For many people, it solidified the Michigan Wolverines as a national title contender to just beat down Penn State like that.
And now the Michigan Wolverines’s looked at in that same tier as Georgia, Ohio State, and Tennessee. Now some people might, probably still have Alabama up there, Clemson, but within those teams every year where people look at, it might be a list of six teams, sometimes it might even be as small as two or three, where they’re like, this team can win the national title.
Now the Michigan Wolverines are part of that group. That’s what this game did. That’s what this performance did anyway, in beating Penn State, is it vaulted the Michigan Wolverines into that upper echelon? It didn’t do so much for their ranking. I think they might have only jumped up one spot in the ap.
But just like the conversation around the Michigan Wolverines, now you’re not talking about their weekly schedule. Because the team that they faced that most people thought at least was pretty good. They were ranked number. the Michigan Wolverines just went out there and beat their face. So now you can’t say anything because the Michigan Wolverines will probably not have another test until they.
Illinois, and even then, I don’t think Illinois is that great. They keep winning, but I think the Big 10 overall is just pretty bad. And then the Michigan Wolverines will go to Columbus at the end of the year, and then we’ll see what’s up. It’s going to be a defacto kind of playing the game before you get to go against those ever in the west and then blow them out in the Big 10 title game.
At least, that’s how we think things will end up playing out for the Michigan Wolverines. And Jim Harbaugh just continues to own James Franklin, which is pretty funny. And the score really wasn’t indicative of the game. A new set at Penn State was lucky to be up 14 and 13 for the time they were in Michigan takes a field goal before halftime to get up by two going into the half.
But that game could have easily been 55 to seven instead of 41 to 17. So I think 41 to 17 was even a little bit generous. For how not close this game was.
Matthew Bassin: Yeah, that 17th, that 15th, 16th, and 17th point came in Penn State’s opening drive of the second half. That is it. That’s the last time they got near the end zone.
Any points on the board, they didn’t sniff it again the rest of the game. And the Michigan Wolverines just absolutely dominated them. And you brought up their ranking and all that because they did fall back one after the, tied at halftime with Indiana, and then beat them up pretty well in the second half to win that one by 21.
And they fell from four to five. And this time now they, they went back, back to four on the ap. They went to three in the coaches Tennessee leapfrogged them in the AP poll because they squeaked one out against Alabama. This will all play itself out, I think, and. I don’t think anyone’s beating the Michigan Wolverines before the Ohio State game.
I would be stunned if they did. As we’re, we have a bi-week, the Michigan Wolverines and the Michigan State Spartans have bi-weeks before they face each other next week, and we will be excited and talking about that plenty in upcoming shows. And, we, I might get lost in the excitement and say something foolish Michigan State can pull this upset.
But I’d be surprised if anyone beats the Michigan Wolverines before they face Ohio State. And that game is going to be the game, no pun intended there with the name of it. It’s just this is what it’s going to come down to for the Big 10, which is nothing new. We’ve seen this plenty of times. The best teams are playing in the east very. Once in a while, Wisconsin gets snips out there in the west or something.
But the two best teams in the Big 10 are Ohio State and the Michigan Wolverines. They’re both in the east. They’re going to face each other to decide who’s going to the Big 10 championship. It’s a shame because they should be allowed to play each other twice for the Big 10 Championship as well. If you’re just going, to be honest about who the two best teams are in the Big 10 this year.
It looks like it’s pretty obvious this year. But kudos to the Michigan Wolverines. They absolutely did not overlook this one. They were ready for this one, and they absolutely dominated and looked more and more like they were a. Like you said, they are national title contenders, and we just have to start watching out for them, especially in the second half.
Their second halves are absolutely ridiculous. They were outscoring their opponents 115 to 45 before this game, adding another 25 points to their end and three for the opponents. And that one. So it’s 140 to 48 in the second half. the Michigan Wolverines are outscoring opponents by almost a hundred points. It’s just ridiculous.
That’s a dangerous team to be dealing with. Unlike other years where the SEC has just looked more dominant, the Georgias and especially the Alabamas, I don’t know if we’re seeing that this year. And there might be a real chance that the Michigan Wolverines or Ohio State can fight with these big dogs out of the SEC.
Ryan Griffin: There might be, and I mean, we’ve seen Ohio State do it before. They won the first college football playoff, but other than that, the Big 10 really hasn’t. Competitive, whether you sent Ohio State there and they got shut out, whether you sent Michigan State there and they got shut out, or you sent the Michigan Wolverines there and got blown out.
It didn’t get shut out, but you got blown out by Georgia last year. And yeah, I think you’re right. I think the top of the country is a little weaker than we’ve seen in years past, and that makes for more teams having a shot at it. I don’t think anyone would call the Michigan Wolverines the favorite right now.
I think the betting favor right now is Ohio State, actually. So obviously still in the Big 10, but last year when we went into the Georgia-Michigan match-up, you figured the Michigan Wolverines didn’t have a chance to win. And this year, a lot of football still has to be played for granted. But this year, where we’re sitting right now, on Tuesday, October 18th, it doesn’t seem like the Michigan Wolverines can’t beat Georgia.
I wouldn’t, they wouldn’t be favored to beat Georgia, but I wouldn’t say flat out it just couldn’t have.
Matthew Bassin: Yeah, no, I absolutely agree with you. I think this is as good of a chance as any the Big 10 has had to really fight for a national championship. Unless Georgia has just been, it’s the regular season, and we’ll turn it on when it matters.
I just don’t see it. And we’ve got a couple of months until we figure that out. So kudos to the Michigan Wolverines. Great win against Penn State. They get a week off. Then they’re welcoming the Michigan State Spartans in for the cross-town rivalry.
About The Show
▬ Griffin & Bass – Hosted by Ryan Griffin and Matt Bassin – We discuss the latest hot topics of the week and have some fun while doing it. New episodes are LIVE Tuesdays and Fridays.
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