Defensive Line – 3
The line was responsible for 11 of Michigan’s 18 total QB pressures and both of its sacks, including the first of junior tackle Carlo Kemp’s career. Ends Rashan Gary (three QB pressures) and Chase Winovich (two) were great again, and combined for 11 ground-game tackles, with two for loss. If there was a disappointment, it is that the front four didn’t get home enough against an SMU offense that was yielding four sacks per game.
Season Grade: 4.0
Linebackers – 4
Junior MIKE Devin Bush plays at such a consistently high level it might be possible to take him for granted, but the moment he leaves the field – temporarily after a midfield collision on a pass breakup – his absence is noticeable. Junior Devin Gil had his best game of the year (grading out at 70.8 percent) in splitting snaps with sophomore Josh Ross. Three weeks in, though, we’re still looking for junior Khaleke Hudson. The viper is now in a three-game drought without a tackle for loss after leading the team in that category a year ago with 18.5. He was also ejected from the game in the third quarter (and will miss the first half this weekend) on a targeting call.
Season Grade: 3.7
Secondary – 2
SMU receiver James Proche entered the Michigan game with a single reception of 20 yards or more in the first two contests. He had gains of 50, 32 and 36 yards against the Wolverines, and had a fourth over 30 called back due to a hold in the offensive backfield. The defensive backfield was also flagged for three pass interference penalties, and allowed a Mustangs team completing just 47.6 percent of its pass attempts to go for 55.8. Josh Metellus’ interception and 71-yard return, however, was one of the biggest plays of the game, staking U-M to a 21-7 halftime lead. It’s the only play that keeps this unit from flunking week 3.
Season Grade: 3.0.
Special Teams – 5
What more could you possibly ask for from the special teams? The answer – not much. Junior Will Hart had a pair of 50-yard punts, redshirt sophomore Quinn Nordin split the uprights from 45 yards out, freshman kickoff specialist Jake Moody forced touchbacks on 4 of 7 kickoffs, the Wolverines were solid if not spectacular on coverage, and they didn’t misplay any punt or kickoff returns. I’ll gladly sign up for nine more weeks of this.
Season Grade: 4.7.