The Wolverine

November 2021

The Wolverine: Covering University of Michigan Football and Sports

Issue link:

Contents of this Issue


Page 32 of 75

NOVEMBER 2021 THE WOLVERINE 33   MICHIGAN FOOTBALL Five Best Players 1. Redshirt freshman outside linebacker David Ojabo Ojabo stripped Rutgers quarterback Noah Vedral with less than two minutes remaining in a one-score game Sept. 25, be- fore freshman linebacker Junior Colson recovered the fumble to seal the 20-13 win. He forced another fumble the following week at Wisconsin. In the four-game span, Ojabo made seven tackles, five of which were on sacks, totaled four quarter- back takedowns (two were assisted) and posted 12 pressures, according to Pro Foot- ball Focus (PFF), with one hurry and three pass breakups. 2. Redshirt sophomore running back Hassan Haskins Six of Haskins' 10 rushing scores came over the last four games, with three two-touch- down outings. He accumulated 321 rushing yards on 75 attempts, moving the chains or scoring a touchdown 10 times on third- down runs. His most critical rush of the span, however, came when the Maize and Blue were down three points with less than seven minutes re- maining at Nebraska Oct. 9 and he hurdled a defender on a 50-yard run that set up the game-tying field goal in the 32-29 victory. 3. Sophomore safety Daxton Hill He's beginning to get some first-round NFL Draft buzz, with CBS Sports' Chris Trapasso projecting him to go No. 31 overall in a re- cent mock draft, and for good reason. Over the last four games, Hill notched 22 tackles, including three stops for loss and a half-sack (when he had a clean hit on Wis- consin's Graham Mertz, who did not return to the game after taking the shot), with one quarterback hurry and one pass breakup. He also made two of the team's four interceptions of the season — a key one in the third quarter at Wisconsin and an acrobatic takeaway against Nebraska. 4. Junior kicker Jake Moody In a recent interview, Moody described himself as a calm, laid- back person, and there's no better way for a kicker to prove that than making clutch kicks with the game on the line, something he did to lead U-M to victory at Nebraska. In Lincoln Oct. 9, he nailed kicks from 35, 21, 31 and 39 yards out, with the 39-yarder serving as the winner with 1:24 to go and the 31-yarder tying the score with three minutes to go. Michigan's leading point scorer connected on 11 of his 13 field goal attempts over the four-game span, with a long of 48 yards (at Wisconsin), while splitting the uprights on all 10 extra-point tries. Also handling kickoff duties, Moody notched 21 touchbacks on 28 boots. 5. Junior defensive end Aidan Hutchinson The heightened attention on Hutchinson has helped free up Ojabo and others, but he's also produced at a high level himself. Over the last four contests, Hutchinson recorded 23 quarter- back pressures (per PFF), two stops for loss, 1.5 sacks, 17 overall tackles, three hurries, a fumble recovery and a pass breakup. Hutchinson's 93.3 overall PFF grade for the season leads all edge defenders. His 34 pressures rank eighth nationally among those at his position, but he's played fewer pass-rush snaps than every player ranked ahead of him. Key Moment With the game tied at 29 and less than two minutes re- maining, Nebraska junior quarterback Adrian Martinez ran a quarterback draw up the middle, had picked up the first down and was fighting with everything he had to pick up hard-earned yards, before Michigan fifth-year senior safety Brad Hawkins ripped the ball out of his possession and recovered the fumble off the ground all in one motion. He returned it to the Nebraska 15-yard line with 1:45 to play, which set up the winning field goal. Best Offensive Highlight Michigan came out with some trickery to score its first touchdown against Wiscon- sin Oct. 2. Redshirt freshman quarterback Cade McNamara handed off to Haskins, who pitched it back to the signal-caller. McNa- mara, who notched the second two-touch- down game of his career, then found sopho- more wideout Cornelius Johnson in the end zone for the 34-yard flea flicker score. Best Defensive Highlight In the Nebraska victory, Hill broke up a pass in the middle of the field and hit the ground hard after doing so, but kept tracking the ball and then came up with a catch to inter- cept Martinez. The play was reviewed, but replays showed that Hill got his hands under the ball, corralling it for a pick. The play set up the first points of the game, with the Wolver- ines taking a 3-0 lead in the second quarter of the eventual win. Bold Prediction Michigan will finish 10-2 in the regular season. The Wolverines' over/under win total set by Vegas was 7.5 heading into the season, but they've exceeded expectations by a mile, and some of the other teams on the schedule haven't started as strong as expected. Three huge tests are upcoming — at Michigan State Oct. 30, at Penn State Nov. 13 and against the Buckeyes to conclude the regular season. The top-10 Maize and Blue have a 56-percent chance to take down the undefeated Spartans, according to's Foot- ball Power Index update following Week 8 and a 59.6-percent shot to beat the two-loss Nittany Lions. While the metric says it's likely the Wolverines win both of those two contests, we'll say they drop at least one, or another game (versus Indiana Nov. 6 or at Maryland Nov. 20), as well as suffer a setback to the Buckeyes (FPI gives U-M a 37.4 percent chance to win), finishing with at least 10 wins for the fourth time under head coach Jim Harbaugh and making a New Year's Six bowl game. — Clayton Sayfie Superlatives For Michigan's Four Games From Sept. 25 To Oct. 23 In the four games from Sept. 25 to Oct. 23, redshirt sophomore running back Hassan Haskins rushed for 321 yards and six touchdowns on 75 attempts. PHOTO BY LON HORWEDEL

Articles in this issue

Links on this page

Archives of this issue

view archives of The Wolverine - November 2021