What happened and what mattered in the Michigan 38-13 win over Wisconsin?
Michigan 38, Wisconsin 13
Give Michigan credit for making Wisconsin play weird. The offensive front was terrific, and the defensive back seven was amazing at not giving Alex Hornibrook anywhere to go. The wheels came off late for the Badger defense, but it held tough in the first half, and the Wolverines upped its game in the second. And that’s it. That’s the game that might finally wake everyone up to show just how good this Michigan team is.
Two key plays changed everything around. A bad call on a roughing the long snapper penalty kept a Michigan drive alive, and it led to a second half score. However, the Badgers had a shot to come up with a stop at the call, and didn’t. The bigger fail? Wisconsin was in Michigan territory on a 4th and short … and punted. Into the end zone. Paul Chryst didn’t have a good game, Hornibrook had an awful performance, and … Michigan was great.
There you go. Michigan has its big performance under Jim Harbaugh. There might still be games against Michigan State, Penn State and Ohio State to define the narrative, but for right now, it was a big game on a big stage, and the Wolverines more than came through. And now, considering the lone loss was on the road to Notre Dame, it’s time to give the team the credit it deserves for being among the ten best in college football right now. It takes a great performance and a strong team to make Wisconsin all but quit.
Alex Hornibrook? 7-of-20, 100 yards, one score, two picks, and one of those interceptions for a score. The passing yards didn’t come until garbage time. The O line actually did its part to get the ground game going – Jonathan Taylor ran for 101 yards on just 17 carries, but there was just no passing attack.
Shea Patterson didn’t do anything fantastic – outside of the 81-yard run early on – but he didn’t turn the ball over, completed 14-of-20 passes for 124 yards, and he got the win. In all, Michigan ran for 320 yards, but those were misleading – a lot came late after the game was over, and a bulk came on that one Patterson run. But for the team, no turnovers, one penalty, 37 minutes of clock control. This was about as perfect a game as the team could pitch.