The Wolverines struggled a week ago, and Clemson did not. Michigan has got to bounce back and come up with a major win here tonight to get some dignity back. The Tigers are picking up where they left off, and are in prime position to make another run. Michigan has got to change things tonight, but Clemson isn’t going to make it easy.
Quarterback Dewey Ainge didn’t have the best debut possible. A lot of pass attempts, but not a ton of completions. And, it only led to 163 yards with a touchdown and an interception. Likewise, halfback Adam Croft had a tough time also with eight carries leading to only 18 yards. Receivers Darwyn Garcia, Cutter McGillicuddy, and Giorgio Pipino all had limited catches, but they’ll need to generate more tonight. McGillicuddy looked fantastic with a 61 yard grab, but Michigan needs more of that tonight.
The Michigan defense gave up 55 points a week ago. Certainly wasn’t the ideal spot to be in, especially against a fierce Clemson team coming in. Despite that, linebackers Jake Lake and Ty Palmer each had 10+ tackles. Lake finished with 16 while Palmer racked up 11. Factor in safety Miles Freeman who added 10 more tackles to that stack and the Michigan defense would look good. Except where they struggled in keeping their opponent out of the endzone and from converting on third downs.
It’s a revenge game for quarterback Javon Mack. He only put up 210 yards through the air last week and he didn’t score through the air. But then again, he didn’t need to either. Mack added 16 carries 108 yards with a touchdown. That doesn’t even compare to halfback Mike Chadwick and what he accomplished. Chadwick’s 25 carries led to 181 yards with three rushing scores. While none of the receivers scored, they each profited. Anthony Robertson III looked good, as did Keith Blazer. However, none saw a greater benefit than receiver Jay Moe to lead the way in receptions and yards.
The Clemson defense, in the meanwhile, looked great with linebacker Kobe King leading the charge. Not just him, though, as Barry Allen led with tackles. Allen had 12, while King racked up nine. But, King had three tackles for a loss. Oddly enough, the Clemson defense didn’t force any turnovers a week ago. Yet, they seemed to be in control for a majority of the game and that could spell trouble for a Michigan offense tonight.
QB Javon Mack vs. Michigan Defense
Look, it’s a revenge game for Javon Mack. And the only question is, will this Michigan defense be able to know how to stop Mack? After all, Javon Mack ran with the Wolverines for three seasons, but now he’s in his fourth season, and it’s on the wrong side of the Wolverines. Mack’s looking forward to put up major numbers tonight.
As far as I can tell, Michigan is on the wrong side of this game. Clemson looked strong last week, and now is in position to go 2-0. Unless, of course, Michigan looks far more crisp this week than they did last week. The Wolverine offense has got to get going, and that means getting Adam Croft going strong. Do that, and then Dewey Ainge can have success with his receivers. That means the Wolverine defense will be able to play cleanly and likely won’t feel quite so gassed. Unfortunately, I don’t know that it’s enough. Clemson wins.