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Report Card: Grading Michigan football in a 42-3 win over Iowa

Chris Balas12/05/21
Article written by:On3 imageChris Balas

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INDIANAPOLIS, INDIANA - DECEMBER 04: Hassan Haskins #25 of the Michigan Wolverines scores a touchdown in the third quarter against the Iowa Hawkeyes during the Big Ten Championship game at Lucas Oil Stadium on December 04, 2021 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images)

Grading Michigan football in all facets of a 42-3 win over Iowa.

Michigan Football Rushing Offense: B+

Michigan’s 6.2 yards per carry might have been the most misleading stat of the night. Redshirt sophomore running back Hassan Haskins scored two touchdowns but was held in check for most of the game. He averaged only 3.3 yards with a long of 11 on 17 carries.

Freshman Blake Corum, though, set the tone with a 67-yard touchdown on U-M’s second possession. That was critical in making Iowa play from behind. Freshman receiver A.J. Henning added a 29-yard reverse — and sophomore Cornelius Johnson a 17-yarder of his own — and Michigan frosh quarterback J.J. McCarthy showed again how dangerous he can be with his feet. He notched 23 yards on four carries.

Even redshirt freshman Cade McNamara picked up a first down on a 15-yard draw play on third down.

Iowa’s defense made it tough sledding in the middle, but the Michigan runners found a way to amass 211 yards.

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Michigan Football Passing Offense: B-

McNamara had a tough first half, partly because of Iowa’s surprisingly aggressive defense and in part because he wasn’t seeing receivers. Michigan managed only 53 yards in the second quarter when the quarterback was often being chased from the pocket. The best throw in the first half, in fact, came on a trick play — a 75-yard touchdown pass from freshman running back Donovan Edwards to freshman receiver Roman Wilson.

A first-quarter interception on a poorly thrown McNamara pass to tight end Erick All derailed what could have been a first-quarter blowout. The Michigan signal-caller rebounded with a very good second half and finished 16-of-24 passing for 169 yards and a touchdown. He completed 67 percent of his passes after second-half adjustments put the Michigan offense in better position.

Michigan Football Rushing Defense: A-

Iowa running back Gavin Williams averaged 4.7 yards per carry as the Hawkeyes’ primary ball carrier, but he wasn’t gashing the Michigan defense by any means. Thousand-yard rusher Tyler Goodson averaged only 2.8 yards per run, and the Hawkeyes managed only 3.2 as a team.

Most of the Hawkeyes’ yardage came when the game was no longer in doubt. They averaged 4.9 yards on 14 carries in the fourth quarter, but only 2.4, 1.4 and 1.8 in the first three quarters, respectively, when the game was somewhat competitive.

Forced to pass, the Hawkeyes really had no shot without run support.

Michigan Football Passing Defense: B+

Iowa’s tight ends had some success early against the Michigan defense, as they always seem to in this game. Sam LaPorta hauled in six catches for 62 yards with a long of 21. Luke Lachey added a 22-yarder on his only reception.

The Michigan defensive line, though, got consistent pressure and made it tough on starter Spencer Petras. So did the back end of the defense. Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz lamented that his receivers just didn’t seem to gain separation.

Petras finished only 9-of-22 passing for 137 yards before leaving with an injury to his midsection, the result of a vicious hit. Alex Padilla replaced him and completed 10 of his 15 passes, but they went for only 38 yards. Wolverine legacy Caden Kolesar, who came to U-M a preferred walk-on, picked him off in the fourth quarter for some icing on an outstanding defensive performance.

Michigan Football Special Teams: A-

Michigan punt returner A.J. Henning fielded a couple balls inside the 10 (one inside the 5) that put the offense’s back to the wall for most of the second quarter. That was the only blemish on yet another outstanding day for the special teams.

Kick and punt coverage remains excellent. Kicker Jake Moody didn’t have a single kickoff returned, and punter Brad Robbins got a few rolls, but 51 yards on average is still 51 yards. Iowa return man Charlie Jones averaged minus-three yards on his two returns.

Henning did have two returns for 17 yards, and Moody made all six of his extra point attempts.