After a bye week, Maryland football visits No. 15 Michigan at noon Saturday. The Terps’ last outing was a 42-13 win over Minnesota, but the Wolverines are
Testudo Times: Michigan is 4-1 and has won four straight after opening the season with a loss at Notre Dame. What’s the general vibe among Wolverine fans about where this team stands?
Maize n Brew: Cautiously optimistic I would say. As the season has went on, the Wolverine offense has started to come together as has the offensive line — a sore subject with Michigan fans for the better part of 15 years.
Until Michigan plays Wisconsin, however (which would be their first test since Notre Dame in week 1), we won’t know what this team is truly capable of.
TT: The Wolverines fell down 17-0 last week before escaping with a 20-17 win over Northwestern. What changed for Michigan, and what does the team need to improve on this week?
MnB: They did something previous Michigan teams haven’t done. They got down big early on the road and found a way to win.
The halftime adjustments by defensive coordinator Don Brown proved to be a huge determining factor in the outcome of the game, as Northwestern was shutout in the 2nd half. The offense had plenty of opportunities in the 1st half as well but due to dropped balls and missed chances they didn’t capitalize. In the 2nd half, they did.
Michigan needs to get out to a quick start, that’s the biggest area of improvement I’d say. Put the foot on the gas early, and control the game.
TT: Shea Patterson joined the team this offseason, and it’s clear the offense has improved with him taking snaps. What does he bring that Michigan had been lacking in past years?
MnB: A dynamic playmaker at the QB position.
Michigan hasn’t had a QB this talented since Chad Henne graduated, that’s the facts. Patterson brings elite level arm strength coupled with a quick twitch similar to Baker Mayfield, turning it up field in a hurry when the pocket collapses.
TT: Michigan has several stars on the roster, but which players (offensively and defensively) do you think could be X-factors on Saturday? Why?
MnB: Shea Patterson on offense and David Long on defense.
Patterson as just mentioned is a dynamic playmaker for this offense, and he should be looking to come out and get in a groove early. The offense will be slanted to him and his arm I’d imagine as they’ll want to get him rolling before the big game against Wisconsin next week.
David Long on the other hand is a lockdown cornerback who has given up little to nothing all season. He’s quietly had an elite year and is talented enough to take away a complete side of the field.
TT: What has to happen for Maryland to pull off the upset?
MnB: The Michigan offense would have to struggle mightily, as they did in the first half against Northwestern last week. If the Terps punch Michigan in the mouth and hit on some big plays early this game could be a lot closer than most expect.