By Phillip Lutz, Sports Editor
The Michigan Wolverines went into College Park, Maryland and dominated the Maryland Terrapins winning the game 35-10. The Wolverines improved to 8-2 overall and still have a small glimmer of hope for a Big Ten Championship opportunity.
“I really think it might have been our best ballgame in all three phases, there was so much good with the three and outs by our defense, the turnovers and interceptions, to the special teams blocked punt” coach Jim Harbaugh said after the game.
The Wolverines gave up 340 yards of total offense to the Terrapins. Maryland had 180 rushing yards on 32 attempts, and 160 passing yards on 18 completions. The Terrapins outgained the Wolverines in yards by 35 yards, and ran 14 more plays but still lost the game.
The defense for the Wolverines was incredibly fast and stifling all game long. They looked hungry for a win. No player was more impactful than viper linebacker Khaleke Hudson. For the second game in a row Hudson made his presence felt with seven total tackles with three of them being solo tackles. Hudson also made a crucial interception and returned it for 22 yards. “I saw the ball and grabbed it and then flashed back to high school as a running back and went from there” Hudson said after the game.
Defensive back Tyree Kinnel made 10 tackles with six of them being done solo. Kinnel made people stand up and look with his performance and the amount of passes he defended Saturday.
The major reason for the dominance that the Wolverines showed on defense on Saturday was the truly lights out play by the beast from the east Maurice Hurst. Hurst was in the face of all the runners for the Terrapins and imposed his will all day as he made nine tackles. Hurst also sacked Maryland quarterback Brand and caused a six yard loss. Hurst also had five solo tackles with one and a half of them being for a loss in yardage.
The Wolverines breathed a sigh of relief this week with the reinstatement of sophomore defensive back Josh Mettellus. Mettellus after being wrongly ejected last week became a household name this week as he blocked a punt, made six tackles, and broke up a huge pass to force a Maryland punt.
The biggest play of the game was the interception by David Long as he returned the ball 80 yards just falling short of a touchdown. Long also had four tackles and a big pass breakup. “It was a heck of a play kept them out of the endzone, David had good eyes saw the ball come out of the quarterback’s hand picked up some blocks and returned it darn near all the way 80 yards, 80 and some change and it was a heck of a play by Rashan Gary on the play as well” Harbaugh said after the game.
The Wolverines only allowed 15 first downs and forced the Terrapins to punt five times during the game. The defense played very fast and with a purpose. They definitely showed why they are the No. 5 defense in the country and the best in the Big Ten.
The Wolverines travel to Madison, Wisconsin this week as they take on the unbeaten Wisconsin Badgers. The game begins at noon eastern and will be on Fox.