|Mike Hart/Chris Perry but fast, is that what you said Fred? I'm not buying it.|
This was the kind of game that most felt should have happened the previous week against UMass, and while that game still leaves a bad taste in everyone's mouth, it is great to see the Wolverines play vintage dominating football. This Bowling Green team might not be great, but they are not the level of the baby seal that was clubbed last year for nearly the same ridiculous stats. If there is anything to be concerned about from Saturday, it is that Denard Robinson doesn't need to take bone crushing hits to risk injury, but we all knew that already, even if we didn't want to admit it. So lets jump right in to my favorite things.
1. Quarterback Depth
Before we go too far, think back to 2008. Remember the feeling of unease that surrounded our quarterback situation? It was a mess, which relied on two quarterbacks who weren't good fits for the system and unable to run the offense successfully. Honestly, 2009 wasn't a whole lot better. Forcier played well most of the year, but he was a freshman and spent all of Big Ten play banged up. Robinson was electric but was unable to be an every down quarterback because of accuracy issues and an inability to play with the entire playbook.
From the beginning of Rodriguez's time in Ann Arbor the common refrain has been, "he can't win without his kind of quarterback". Now he has three of them, and we see just what the offense is capable of.
|Three Headed Monster.|
The only scary thing, however, was seeing him writhe in pain on his own sideline after falling awkwardly on his knee. It was the moment we had all feared since his first scare in the UConn game. While the injury turned out to be nothing serious, it did allow Devin Gardner and Tate Forcier to play more than they probably would have.
Gardner came in and started off slow. His first couple runs were bottled up for no gain and his long pass to Roundtree was under thrown. But this was a true freshman getting his first significant time in a game, and as he was given more time to settle in his play improved. He became more effective in the zone read and eventually tacked on a nine yard touchdown of his own at the end of the game. His deep passing also looked better as he threw both the good down field passes to Hemingway (drop) and Grady (penalty) that led to the turnover on downs. For a true freshman in his first prolonged game experience, Gardner did about all we could ask of him. The future is bright for number seven.
If this offense is the key to winning games this year, it is good to see that the offense is in good hands no matter who is under center. Gardner might still be young and Forcier might not be the electrifying force that Robinson is, but it is comforting to know that depth exists at the position, something that we haven't seen around Ann Arbor in quite some time.
2. The Offensive Machine
Welcome to the machine. This was the kind of offense we have been waiting for ever since Rodriguez came in to town. It has looked effective the past few weeks, but nothing quite like this:
|Courtesy of ESPN|
|You only get one miss on Denard.|
Odds are we won't see this kind of utter domination from the offense the rest of the year. The road gets tougher from here on out, but the offense seems to have finally hit that next level of production. The sky is certainly the limit from here on out.
It wouldn't be a Michigan game circa 2010 without a little bit of an emotional roller coaster, right? The defense certainly provided a bit of a scare in the second quarter when it ceded two touchdowns in five minutes to pull the Falcons within seven. Add to that the Denard Robinson injury and the air of uncertainty that still surrounded it at that point in the game and I was justifiably worried that this game could turn into another UMass nail biter.
What it turned in to is a solid game from our young defense:
|Courtesy of ESPN|
|This is how Bowling Green's day was when|
they put the ball on the ground.
This defense is not going to be a shut down unit this year, but if they can force turnovers and a fair amount of three-and-outs it will give the offense plenty of the room it needs to put the game out of reach. That is just what happened on Saturday, and it is an encouraging sign moving forward into Big Ten play.