Michigan Football shows signs of weakness in narrow win over Maryland
Michigan football hadn’t been tested before their Week 4 game against Maryland, but they were tested early and often against the Terrapins.
A victory is a victory. Michigan football is 4-0 and that’s all that matters. But looking back to the 3-427 win over Maryland, the Wolverines have weaknesses that the whole country now knows.
Signs of weakness for Michigan football game against Maryland
Michigan had questions heading into the season and their first three games told us nothing about it, even though we thought they did.
Michigan’s pass rush at times failed to penetrate the backfield against the Terrapins and put Maryland quarterback Taulia Tagovaila 20-30 through the air for 207 yards and a touchdown. The Terrapins threw for 269 yards and two touchdowns in the loss.
Tagovaila simply had too much time to throw sometimes. I think Michigan is still trying to settle when it comes to defensive line rotations. Mike Morris and Mazi Smith are the leaders on that line, but adding more snaps to Derrick Moore and Eyabi Okie could potentially help Wolverines get a better pass.
Both Maize and Blue have talent on the defensive line, but they have to find the right combinations for the situations to ensure they disrupt the opposing team’s quarterback.
Another sign of weakness that showed up in the narrow win over Maryland was JJ McCarthy’s inexperience. McCarthy, while still good, was not comfortable on Saturday.
McCarthy finished the game 18-26 for 220 yards and two touchdowns. It’s hard to look at that stat line and say he has to be better, but he admitted he had to be at the post-match press conference.
McCarthy had to run into the backfield and repeatedly, fumbling twice and taking a sack another time, losing a lot of yardage. Here’s what McCarthy said afterwards.
“I mean, the only fumble I had was just – I was tying it up like I was always told and just squeezing too hard. And a little movement happened, the ball went out. So it’s still a huge priority for us, in terms of ball safety, and I just have to do a better job.
And the other: It’s one of those games where I want to come back, where I just have to get rid of the ball, make sure I don’t put myself in a situation like that. And I kind of knew I was down just because the ball hit the ground as I was trying to stay upright. And yeah, those are two games I really want to come back to.
He also talked about the multiple knockdowns that could have helped the Wolverines retire for the Terrapins.
“My arm felt 110% today, and it’s been a while since I felt that way. So just being able to follow the practices this week and being able to adapt and go back a little bit more is going to be huge.
While that sounds like an easy fix for McCarthy, it’s worth noting them because JJ has always been a player who wants to extend the game as long as possible. But he has to learn that sometimes the best option is to throw the ball away.
McCarthy is still maturing as a quarterback and I don’t expect him to be a problem going forward, but those kinds of mistakes could prove costly against a better opponent.
The Wolverines will be tested again next Saturday as they take their first road trip of the season. They will face Iowa for a noon kickoff on FOX.