Michigan Dominates Northwestern In Second Half For 42-24 Victory

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Michigan Vs. Northwestern Score: Wolverines Second-Half Surge Overtakes Wildcats For 42-24 Win

It was a tale of two halves for the Michigan Wolverines in Evanston Saturday night.

After trailing 24-14 at halftime, Michigan rediscovered its defense while Northwestern caught the turnover bug. That resulted in a second-half surge for the Wolverines, carrying them to a 42-24 at Ryan Field.

Denard Robinson compiled 451 yards of total offense, beating the Wildcats with his legs and his arm. Robinson passed for 338 yards and two touchdowns, completing 17-of-26 passes. After throwing three interceptions in the first half, he didn’t turn the ball over in the second.

Devin Gardner also got some snaps at quarterback, rushing for a touchdown and completing his two passes.

Junior Hemingway provided a deep threat for the Wolverines’ passing game, catching five passes for 123 yards. Roy Roundtree added 83 yards on three receptions. Jeremy Gallon and Steve Watson each notched a touchdown catch.

Robinson also rushed for 113 yards and another two scores on 25 carries to lead the Michigan rushing attack. Michael Shaw accumulated 27 yards and a touchdown on six carries, while Fitzgerald Toussaint added 26 yards on 14 rushes.

Northwestern quarterback Dan Persa had an impressive game, completing 32-of-45 passes for 334 yards. But much of that yardage came once the Wildcats fell behind and needed to move the ball quickly. Persa didn’t throw for any touchdowns, however, and tossed a second-half interception.

Jeremy Ebert caught 11 balls for 87 yards, but his fumble early in the fourth quarter effectively killed whatever rally Northwestern had left. Drake Dunsmore added 74 yards on seven receptions.

After rushing for 101 yards in the first half, Northwestern added only 78 yards in the second. Jacob Schmidt was the team’s leading rusher with 29 yards on five carries. The Wildcats’ offense also abandoned mixing in Kain Colter for some option plays, which worked effectively in the first half. But if that was in the second-half game plan, it likely got scuttled once Michigan pulled ahead.

With the win, Michigan has a 6-0 record for the first time since 2006. And though it might seem silly to point this out, the Wolverines are also bowl-eligible in early October. Last year, Michigan didn’t win its sixth game until Nov. 6. That sixth win was elusive in the previous two seasons. But obviously, this team is aiming quite a bit higher now.

Next week, Michigan travels to Michigan State to face the 4-1 Spartans. Besides in-state pride (and maintaining an undefeated record for the Wolverines), this year’s matchup will feature added stakes. First place in the Legends Division will be on the line.


Michigan Vs. Northwestern Score: Wildcats Lead First Half Shootout, 24-14

The Michigan football team appears to have left its defense back in Ann Arbor while traveling to Evanston.

In a shootout reminiscent of the 54-51 game between these two schools in 2000, Northwestern leads Michigan 24-14 at halftime Saturday night. The Wolverines and Wildcats have combined for 564 yards of total offense, with defense being almost an afterthought.

Whatever strides Denard Robinson appeared to have made in the passing game last week versus Minnesota have regressed thus far at Ryan Field. Robinson has thrown three interceptions to go with two touchdowns in the first half. He’s completed 10-of-18 passes, as Michigan went away from the short passing game it employed against the Golden Gophers, opting for longer throws down the field.

The deep passing game has worked for Michigan in getting the ball down the field, but poor reads by Robinson — especially in the red zone — has prevented the offense from putting more points on the board. Junior Hemingway leads the team in receiving thus far, with 105 yards on four receptions. Jeremy Gallon added 57 yards and a touchdown on four catches. Tight end Steve Watson has the other TD catch for Michigan in the first half.

Offensive coordinator Al Borges has also called Robinson’s number more in the running game, with the quarterback running 10 times for 46 yards on several designed keeper plays. Fitzgerald Toussaint is the team’s second-leading rusher in the first half, with 21 yards on six carries.

Northwestern quarterback Dan Persa has been as effective as many Wolverine fans (and coaches, surely) feared, completing 16-of-24 passes for 196 yards. The Wildcats have also shown the Michigan defense a few different looks, bringing in Kain Colter to run the option.

Mixing in the option has worked well for Northwestern, which ran for 101 yards in the first half. Adonis Smith leads a balanced rushing attack for the Wildcats with 26 yards on five carries. But four other Wildcats have 12 yards or more on the ground.

To the frustration of Brady Hoke and Greg Mattison, the Michigan defense hasn’t generated much of a pass rush on Persa. The Wolverines have no sacks at the half. Though Persa has gotten rid of the ball quickly on most plays, Michigan also hasn’t pressured him very often. The defense tried to blitz Persa early in the game, but got burned for long passing plays and have stuck with a safer scheme since then.

Michigan gets the ball to begin the second half.

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