Coming into today, only four FBS teams had yet to trail in a game this season: Alabama, BYU, Georgia and Michigan. Seven days after the Michigan football team reveled in the Wisconsin tradition of dancing to “Jump Around” between the third and fourth quarter, the Wolverines again rocked and rolled to an opponent’s theme song. Lights flashed, cell phones glowed and music blared as coach Jim Harbaugh’s team soaked in the energy of “Thunderstruck” by ACDC and beckoned Nebraska toward the middle of the field, with both sets of players taunting each other.Had Michigan wilted during the ensuing 15 minutes as its double-digit lead eroded, the between-quarter antics would have looked sophomoric. But this Michigan team is less fallible than the groups Jim Harbaugh has trotted onto the field in recent years. These Wolverines believe in themselves as much as they believe in Harbaugh’s new crop of coaches.
Michigan Vs Nebraska Stat Leaders
Cade McNamara does just enough to keep Michigan in front for the victory while the rushing offense stayed strong.
McNamara tosses first INT
So much of Michigan’s success prior to Saturday was the byproduct of ball security. Through five weeks — and five wins — the starting offense never lost a fumble and never tossed an interception. The lone blemish on the stat sheet came late in the win over Wisconsin — long after the game had been decided — when fourth-string quarterback Alan Bowman turned it over on a meaningless pass.
The streak snapped late in the third quarter Saturday when McNamara, who had yet to throw an interception in his Michigan career, attempted to rifle the ball to tight end Erick All over the middle of the field. The throw was inaccurate, the coverage good enough and safety Deontai Williams snatched it out of the air as Memorial Stadium roared.
Faced with their first deficit of the season late in the third quarter, these Wolverines looked within themselves to summon an incredible fourth quarter. Michigan scored on three consecutive drives in the final 11 minutes and generated a game-changing takeaway as Harbaugh’s club refused to yield. Behind a resurgent running game that generated 101 rushing yards in the fourth quarter alone.
Defense carries Michigan early
Perhaps the most impressive narrative from Michigan’s dream-like start to the season is the seismic defensive improvement under first-time coordinator Mike Macdonald, who was plucked by coach Jim Harbaugh from the Baltimore Ravens.
The Wolverines appear reinvigorated as stars Aidan Hutchinson and Daxton Hill anchor a unit exceeding even the most optimistic expectations — especially considering the number of holdovers in the secondary, which was arguably the worst position group last season. Entering Saturday, Michigan ranked seventh in the country in scoring defense, 15th in passing defense and 14th in total defense while allowing only three passing plays of 30 yards or more.
Things began inauspiciously for Macdonald’s unit Saturday when Nebraska gained 43 yards on a screen pass and 24 more on a fade down the right sideline to claw inside the 10. But as Michigan’s defense has done all season, the Wolverines bent without breaking. Defensive tackle Kris Jenkins stuffed mobile quarterback Adrian Martinez on a third-down carry up the middle before inside linebacker Josh Ross strung out another carry by Martinez on fourth down to give the ball back to U-M’s offense.