ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- Looking into what is trending up and what is trending down after Michigan’s 63-13 win over UMass on Saturday.
The senior quarterback missed some throws but overall had his second straight efficient day, throwing for 291 yards and rushing for 106 more while accounting for four touchdowns. Considering his personal playground opponent of Notre Dame is next on the schedule -- he has accounted for 948 yards of offense against the Fighting Irish the last two seasons -- he is trending in the right way at the right time.
2. Players named Devin
The wide receiver/tight end combination of Devin Gardner and Devin Funchess combined for only four catches and 82 yards Saturday, but they also had two touchdowns and have scored five touchdowns in five combined starts. On an offense desperate for playmakers other than Denard Robinson, the two 6-foot-4 pass catchers are big targets who have shown they can make huge contributions on a weekly basis this season.
3. Michigan’s run game
The Wolverines are not completely satisfied with their running game yet, but junior Fitzgerald Toussaint started to show glimpses of the 1,000-yard rusher he was a season ago, picking up 85 yards on 15 carries. While the competition was nowhere near the difficulty level he will face the rest of the season, rhythm is huge for running backs, and he began to establish that Satuday.
1. Defensive line play
Another game, another adventure with front four pressure. Michigan’s defensive line recorded no sacks against one of the worst teams in the FBS and on the season have only 1.5 sacks from its defensive line. Sophomore Frank Clark is developing well, but Michigan needs to figure out a way to pick up the pressure so the Wolverines don’t have to commit more players to pushing the line of scrimmage.
Three games into the season, Michigan has yet to have an interception and has only recovered two fumbles. Last season, forcing turnovers -- especially at opportune moments -- was a big reason the Wolverines were able to finish 11-2. Right now, though, Michigan is unable to create any big possession-changing plays.
3. Offensive line play
While Michigan’s offensive line actually appeared to show some improvement Saturday, it wasn’t enough for its coach, Brady Hoke. Hoke lamented the blocking on running plays. Hoke wasn’t to the point where he was looking at shuffling the lineup around, but he said their play is nowhere near where it needs to be yet. This is concerning because Michigan’s next two opponents -- Notre Dame and Purdue -- have strong defensive lines.