Skip to main content
Publish date:

Three Up/Three Down: Michigan Survives In Lincoln

Michigan caught a huge break late and leaves Lincoln 6-0.

I sound like a broken record, but Michigan won again despite a less-than-perfect performance. There was some good, but there was also definitely some bad against the Huskers. At the end of the day, a 32-29 win is a win, especially on the road in conference.

Three Up

Daxton Hill's self tip drill-interception

Hill has been great all season and for two weeks in a row he's been rewarded with an interception. Tonight's was spectacular. He broke the pass up, popped it into the air and picked it off while laying on the ground with a receiver draped across his legs. Even though fellow defensive back RJ Moten tried to rake it out of Hill's hands, the talented junior held on and created another highlight play for his draft tape.

Hassan Haskins' will

Man, he ran hard tonight. There were several instances, whether it was short yardage situations or on longer distances, where he just refused to go down, kept churning his legs and picked up another three or four yards. He's constantly leaning forward, contorting his body to squeeze out another yard or putting a limb down to stay up just a bit longer. Whenever Jim Harbaugh talks about his senior running back, he lights up and praises him in several ways. All of those ways showed up on the field tonight.

Brad Hawkins comes up huge

What. A. Play.

Read More

The game was tied, Martinez had picked up a first down on the third-down run, but then got stacked up allowing Hawkins to come in and rip the ball away. The senior got the ball out with 1:45 left in the game and recovered it to boot. It gave U-M possession inside the Nebraska 20-yard line and allowed the Wolverines to run the clock out and kick the game-winning field goal.

Three Down

Linebacker play

Despite being led by senior and captain Josh Ross, the linebacker unit struggled all night. The Nebraska offense routinely put the LBs in conflict and the Wolverine backers got burnt multiple times. Freshman Junior Colson took a couple of bad angles while spying Adrian Martinez and also bit hard on a couple of play fakes, every linebacker bit hard on a play-action pass to Nebraska tight end Austin Allen as he jogged into the end zone and Nikhai Hill-Green got lost in coverage on a wheel route late in the third quarter that resulted in another score. George Helow's group came up way short against a versatile, creative offense and it was a big part of Michigan's loss.

RPO plays and dual-threat quarterbacks are a problem

We saw it to some extent with Noah Vedral and Rutgers, and we saw it in a major way tonight with Adrian Martinez and Nebraska. The hard play-action touchdown pass to tight end Austin Allen might've been a designed pass, but it still looked like an RPO and really caught the linebackers by surprise. Martinez also scrambled for multiple first downs and scored his rushing touchdown on a designed zone read keeper. He only ran it 8 times, but it felt like he could've done a lot more damage on the ground as a ball carrier had Scott Frost opted to go that route.

Cade McNamara doesn't seem to have it

For the first time this season, McNamara's average to below-average play really almost caught up with the Wolverines. He finished the night 22-of-38 (58%) for 255 yards and no touchdowns. He also threw his first interception. Even some of the passes he did complete were not good throws. He missed long a few times, he threw low and behind a few times. Overall, he was barely good enough. But, 6-0.

And I don't put all of that on Cade. If he's limited, and can't get the most out of the offense, then he shouldn't be the guy, and that's on the coaches. If he is capable, then it's on the Michigan coaches for not tuning up the passing game through the first three or four weeks of the season. It didn't bite them tonight, but it was damn close.