By JERAMY STOVER, Sports Editor
For most of the season the Michigan football team has played much inferior opponents and has their way with them. Their defense is above every team in most defensive categories and their offense has been able to overwhelm the weaker opponents.
But when the Wolverines went to Iowa this past weekend we saw what could happen when Michigan faces a more physical defense on the road.
Michigan mustered just 203 yards offensively – their lowest of the season. Redshirt sophomore quarterback Wilton Speight completed 42.3 percent of his passes and struggled with the deep passes.
Speight is a game manager – whether you want to admit it or not – he isn’t a quarterback that is going to lead his team to many victories. But to counter that, Speight doesn’t make many mistakes, his interception on Saturday night was just his fourth of the season. Speight has a skill set to keep drives alive as well with his ability to evade defenders in the pocket and throw an accurate deep ball most of the time.
But Speight isn’t the only issue, Michigan lacks playmakers everywhere except the tight end position – a position that isn’t utilized in a lot of big time moments during games.
Senior De’Veon Smith is a veteran running back with plenty of experience but also lacks that star power to carry the offense. Chris Evans has shown flashes of brilliance with his speed but he’s just a true freshman and needs time to develop.
The pair of senior receivers Michigan was looking to count on this season have made some critical drops. Amara Darboh could’ve helped put Iowa away on Saturday but dropped a pass on a key third down with under two minutes left. Other receivers such as Grant Perry, Kekoa Crawford, and Eddie McDoom are too young to count on when the game is on the line.
Michigan has taken care of the smaller opponents on their schedule but when it comes to the tough opponents, the Wolverines offense has struggled. They put up 14 points to Wisconsin, and scored just one touchdown against Iowa. If you look back to the Penn State game the Nittany Lions were missing a couple key players on defense making it easier for Michigan.
I’m not saying Michigan can’t beat its tougher opponents. They have the defense to hang with anyone – but their offense has to find a way to score points more often.
If the Wolverines can’t do that then the Saturday after Thanksgiving in Columbus could be a long one. Michigan’s defense is good but they haven’t seen an offense like Ohio State’s. And if the offense can’t do its job then it might not take many scores from the Buckeyes to put the Wolverines away and turn their season into a failure.