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PFF Performance Analysis, Snap Counts, Trends: Michigan vs. Maryland

Michigan didn't exactly dominate Maryland but there are still some interesting things to take away from the Big Ten opener.

Michigan hosted Maryland in week three on Saturday and picked up a hard-fought win, 34-27. The Wolverines didn't dominate like many thought they would but they did do some nice things on both sides of the ball. Conversely, there are definitely some things to improve at on both sides of the ball as well. Here are the things worth looking at when dissecting the game snap by snap.

PFF Top Performers (15 Snap Minimum)

Offense

1. Blake Corum (80.2)

Obviously Corum was phenomenal. He carried the ball a whopping 30 times and piled up 243 yards and two long touchdowns — the carries and yardage total were both career highs. He was also very solid as a pass blocker. Give him a lot of credit for playing 62 of 66 offensive snaps with Donovan Edwards out and CJ Stokes struggling with ball security. 

2. Trente Jones (76.2)

After the game Jim Harbaugh said that Jones played his best game and PFF saw it that way too. Per the grading scale, Jones was outstanding both on running plays and passing plays. He did not give up a quarterback hit and only allowed one hurry.

3. Luke Schoonmaker (73.6)

Like Corum, Schoonmaker had a career day. The senior tight end reeled in seven catches for 72 yards and a touchdown in Erick All's absence. PFF saw Schoony struggle just a bit at run blocking at times but as a receiver, he was nearly perfect against the Terrapins.

Defense

1. DJ Turner (81.6)

Turner played every single defensive snap against Maryland and did very well in every aspect of the game. He obviously had an incredible diving interception and he also broke up another pass and recorded a tackle. He was targeted four times but only gave up one catch.

2. Michael Barrett (80.2)

Barrett was really, really solid in every area of defense except when rushing the passer. Whether he was defending the run, making tackles or out in coverage, he was well above average per PFF's grading scale. He finished the day with six tackles.

3. Gemon Green (72.8)

Green was targeted a whopping nine times and was definitely up for the challenge. He did give up four receptions but only for a total of 28 yards and obviously no scores. He continues to be very solid opposite Turner.

PFF Bottom Dwellers (15 Snap Minimum)

Offense

1. JJ McCarthy (49.1)

After three perfect performances, McCarthy came back to Earth a little bit. He fumbled twice and missed on several long throws. On the flip side, McCarthy hit two big-time throws (BTT) and escaped pressure half of the time he had to. He did take a couple of sacks and misread a zone read at least once. On paper, his day was just fine, and Michigan won, but it wasn't as crispy sharp as the first three outings. 

2. Cornelius Johnson (58.1)

Johnson was targeted four times and made three catches but only for 27 yards. He wasn't particularly good as a route runner against Maryland and also missed his only contested catch opportunity. That doesn't go down as a drop, but PFF sees it as a touch catch that could've/should've been made.

3. Giovanni El-Hadi (58.6)

El-Hadi wasn't bad as he settles into a starting role with Trevor Keegan out, but he wasn't dominant as a run blocker. He was slightly better as a pass blocker. 

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Defense

1. Kalel Mullings (40.0)

Mullings played 27 snaps and struggled in a few areas per PFF. He missed a tackle and made only one on the day. He really struggled making tackles and against the run in general.

2. Rod Moore (54.4)

Moore was very solid as a tackler but came up a bit short as a pass rusher and in coverage per PFF. He was targeted three times and gave up two receptions for a total of 30 yards.

3. Taylor Upshaw (58.4)

Per PFF, Upshaw struggled in a major way as a tackler. Per Michigan's official stat book, Upshaw didn't record a tackle but did miss one. He was also pretty pedestrian as a pass rusher despite getting 18 cracks at it.

Freshmen Contributors (Snap Count)

Will Johnson - 21

Mason Graham - 17

Derrick Moore - 11

Colston Loveland - 5

Darrius Clemons - 2

CJ Stokes - 2

Total Snap Counts

maryland snap counts

Notes

• After three weeks of playing 80, 90 even 100+ players, only 43 players only got onto the field for Michigan against Maryland.

• On a related note, a lot of freshmen made their way onto the field in games one, two and three, but against Maryland, only six rookies saw playing time. Cornerback Will Johnson paced the group with 21 snaps while running back CJ Stokes played just two after coughing the ball up on his first and only carry.

• All five starting offensive linemen played all 66 offensive snaps as did quarterback JJ McCarthy. On defense, cornerback DJ Turner was the only player to play all 76 snaps. He has become CB1 and is routinely locking people up and making plays. On the opposite side, Gemon Green continues to play well too but it's clear that Will Johnson is making a push there as they split reps 51 to 21 respectively. 

• As mentioned above, CJ Stokes played just two snaps before losing a fumble. Because he was thinking about that on the bench all afternoon, Blake Corum played a whopping 62 of 66 snaps, which is a lot for a running back, especially since 30 of those snaps included a carry.

• Corum obviously had a monster day on the ground and he did most of his damage on wide runs outside of the tight end. Around the left side, he piled up 97 yards and both of his scores. Around the right end, he added another 81 yards and four, first-down runs. 

• Per PFF, Michigan did not attempt one jet sweep, end-around or reverse, which is pretty puzzling considering how good guys like AJ Henning and Roman Wilson seem to be at those plays. Michigan also abandoned the bubble screen and quick throw that worked pretty well through the first three weeks of the season.