With that said, Michigan's 27-16 victory was... uninspiring. Purdue's defensive line thoroughly destroyed what has been one of the best offensive lines in the country this year. Part of that was due to Manimal Ryan Kerrigan, who made any Michigan lineman who tried to guard him look like a high schooler. His stat line was ridiculous: 4 sacks, 2 forced fumbles, and 10 tackles. Kerrigan is a legit top-10 NFL pick this year, but his end-to-end destruction of the offensive line is disturbing, both on a coaching standpoint (no H-back to chip block him?) and performance outlook. On Michigan's last drive, they went exclusively to their heavy set with both tight ends in the game and only two receivers, which had mixed, but generally positive results.
It stands to reason that both Michigan and Illinois were worn out from last week's marathon. Both teams faced wildly overmatched opponents (Purdue and Minnesota), and both struggled significantly. At least Michigan came out on top. The other mitigating factor was Michigan's inability to get anything going during the game due to turnovers, some of which could be attributed to the foul weather. Denard was constantly sailing deep passes--worse than he has all year, likely because of the rain--and holding onto the ball was a problem for both teams. It was an ugly win, but it was still a win. Michigan should regroup this week and get ready for the two-week gauntlet against Wisconsin and Ohio State.
- Though Denard looked bad all game, he didn't get much help from the offensive line that was getting constantly beaten at the line of scrimmage. Vincent Smith had a good day because Purdue was over compensating for Denard, and when Denard did pull the ball, the offensive line looked sluggish. His passing wasn't great either. Anything that he threw downfield sailed well over receivers' heads and his short passes were often inaccurate. This was probably Denard's worst game of the year, at least some of which would be attributed to the rain.
- Forcier looked just as bad as Denard did when he came into the game. Again, I think this falls on the weather and offensive line.
- Michigan's defense looked functional. They played in almost exclusively three-man fronts, and showed a lot of 3-3-5 with the occasional 3-4 look. It was encouraging that the defense performed the way it did without Mike Martin and Jonas Mouton, caveats about level of competition noted.
- I'll have to watch more closely on the tape, but I think Courtney Avery had a really good game aside from the 39-yard screen pass on which he was the primary culprit. Ray Vinopal also seemed to have another good day. And Mark Moundros appeared to play really well at both outside and inside lineback positions.
- I don't really have much else to say other than let's be thankful Michigan came out on top. I'm sure there will be plenty of stuff to break down this week to try and make sense of Michigan's awful day.